Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Jimmy Buffett Teaming Up With A-B
He is connected to two restaurant chains -- the Margaritaville Cafe and Cheeseburger in Paradise, owns shares in the minor league Fort Myers Miracle and Madison Black Wolf baseball clubs, appeared on Saturday Night Live, performed the first concert in Chicago's Wrigley Field and sang on the south lawn of the White House for a birthday bash for former President Bill Clinton. Now it looks like Jimmy Buffett is about to get his own beer.
Anheuser-Busch has received approval for a label from the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau for a brew called Land Shark Lager from the Margaritaville Brewing Co. in Jacksonville, Fla. There has been talk of a deal between Buffett and A-B since the middle of this year. Land Shark Lager may be part of the next wave of flanker brands from the makers of Budweiser. The company has been working at a fever pitch for more than a year in rolling out new products aimed at various consumer niches. The approach to the massive Parrothead community, as Buffett's fans like to call themselves, could be overshadowed in 2007 if A-B follows through on another rumored move -- the acquisition of Sweden's state run Vin & Spirit, which makes Absolut vodka. The company announced cash flow and balance sheet moves this week that could be freeing up cash for a major acquisition.
Ironically, the A-B deal with Buffett has caused Crown Imports to drop its sponsorship under the Corona brand of Buffett's concerts in America. A-B holds a 50 percent share of Mexico's Grupo Modelo, which brews Corona. A-B recently signed a deal with Grupo Modelo to serve as the import agent for Corona in China.