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Monday, October 09, 2006

Beverage Bulletin: Notes from the Drinks World

Christmas Comes Early to UK: Carlsberg announced plans to be the first major brewer in the United Kingdom to launch a Christmas beer. Following the tradition of Danish Julebrygs, limited release holiday beers, Carlsberg Christmas Beer will be a dark Continental-style lager. The beer will be 5.6 percent alcohol by volume and sold in cans.

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Whyte & Mackay Entertaining Bidders: After denying reports for several weeks Scottish distiller Whyte & Mackay confirmed that Indian drinks conglomerate United Brewerieshas made a takeover bid. The company also said it has talked with at least one other potential suitor.

Whyte & Mackay's markets the Jura and Dalmore single malts, Vladivar Vodka and Glayva liqueur. India is the world's largest whisky market. United Breweries owns the Kingfisher beer brand, an airline and other businesses.

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More Imports Coming to U.S.: Several imported brands including Aguila from Columbia, Cristal and Cusquena from Peru, and Tyskie from Poland are being brought into the U.S. by SABMiller in an effort to boost sales among ethnic populations.

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Back After a 30 Year Break: Beer drinkers around Reading, Pa., will get the chance to find out what their parents were chugging. Reading Premium Beer, last brewed 30 years ago, will soon return to area watering holes. Legacy Brewing Co. purchased the trademarks of the defunct Reading Brewing Co., which went out of business in 1976. The first of the retro beer is expected to flow by Dec. 1.

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Massachusetts Voters to Decide on Wine in Groceries: Important mid-term Congressional races will be just one thing on the minds of Bay State voters when they go to the polls on Nov. 7th. A proposition on the ballot would repeal a 72-year-old law that forces Massachusetts consumers to trek to liquor stores when they want a bottle of wine. Question 1 would give local municipalities the power to allow grocery stores to hold licenses to sell wine.

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A Bad Day in Bordeaux: For the first time ever U.S. wine imports in Great Britain are greater than sales by the French. During the last year U.K. consumers bought 3.5 million cases of American wine, compared to 3.4 million cases of French wine. The value of French wine sales in the U.K. is still greater, since much of the American wine is value table wine brands, while British consumers stick with well-known French labels when buying higher priced wine.

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