What's Happening Across Beverages

SWIRL YOUR SODA?

No, you’re not looking at the new tasting lab for BevNET. This is the new Dry Soda office and store in Seattle, Wash., where the new, food-friendly soda brand is trying to counter the notion that CSD’s are only for fast food by serving it up in all kinds of winery-like digs.

WORLD OF SODA

PEPSI PACKAGES PERMUTATE

Giving former spokescelebrity Madonna a run for her money in the quick-change costume category, Pepsi Cola will feature a new package design every three or four weeks this year.

The frenzied molting will take place on bottles and cans and is expected, according to PepsiCo, to demonstrate the brand’s “fun, optimistic, and youthful spirit.” It’s real estate that the company has realized might be a source of interest rather than consistency, according to Dawn Hudson, the president of PepsiCo’s North American division.

With advances in packaging technology, according to Hudson, sending a new graphic template is not as difficult as it might once have been; in fact, it offers the opportunity to get the company in synch with its bottlers.

ZERO GROWTH

It’s not even two years old, but the next couple of months will be a major coming out party for Coke Zero.

The no-calorie Coke clone – called “bloke coke” in Great Britain because of its calculatedly masculine color scheme – will be featured in a major ad push during that most masculine of events, the NCAA basketball tournament.

The Coca-Cola Co. is also pushing a slightly revised black-andsilver color scheme that plays up the darker color, as well as a real gift to the brand, an emphasis on placement next to flagship Coca-Cola Classic on shelves and displays.

The idea is to stress the brand’s closeness to Classic in terms of taste – one that the company hopes to back up by adding fountain taps for Zero in major on-premise accounts like Wendy’s restaurants.

Zero has shown steady gains: it’s sales put it in the top 25 skus nationally, according to AC Nielsen. With most full-calorie sodas in decline, cannibalization can’t be as much of an issue for Coke as the loss of share to water and energy drinks.

THROWDOWN: HOGAN ENERGY VS. THE BLUE DEMON

Holy Captain Lou Albano! Even if mixed martial arts are displacing it on television, there’s just no stopping the progress of pro wrestlers onto the front of energy drink cans. The last year has seen a team-up between Socko Energy and barely-ambulatory former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan, while Coca-Cola has gone full throttle into ethnic marketing with the launch of sub-brand Blue Demon, which is named for Blue Demon, a famous masked Mexican wrestler and film star. Each man raised the profile of their sport in their own country, the Hulkster through a bombastic form of all-inclusive jingoism, the Blue Demon by, uh, wearing a mask. Ah, such innocent times. Anyway, here’s how the two brand mascots stack up against each other. Betcha neither one could top Hillbilly Jim or Uncle Elmer….

EXECUTIVE MOVES

Beam Wine Estates appointed Christopher Lynch as chief marketing officer.

Beam Global Spirits & Wine, Inc. named Rory Finlay as senior vice president and global chief marketing officer.

InBev named Glen Walter president of Labatt USA.

David G. Burke has joined Primo Water Corporation as vice president for business development. Brad Redenius, general manager of Judge & Dolph distributors in Peoria, IL, has been promoted to vice president and general sales manager of Griggs, Cooper & Company. Both companies are part of the Wirtz Beverage Group.

The Switch Beverage Company has named Maura Mottolese president.

Signature Wines, a specialty wine marketing company, announced it has hired Sarah Hundley Garcia as its new chief executive officer.

The Coca-Cola Company named Muhtar Kent as president and chief operating officer.

Heineken USA announced that John Larkins has been appointed general manager of the organization’s Central Regional Business Unit. He replaced Chris Steffanci, who is now the general manager position for Heineken USA’s Northeast Regional Business Unit. Additionally, Jim Sloan has assumed the general manager role for Heineken USA’s sister company, Star Brand Imports.

Patrick Piana has been named senior vice president, spirits marketing, at Pernod Ricard USA.

Bob Koon has joined Snow Beverages in the role of COO/EVP. Other new hires for Snow Beverages include Melanie Randall, vice president of marketing & promotion and Dennis Connelly, vice president of operations.