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Fortune to end Absolut venture and buy Cruzan

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) — Fortune Brands’ Beam Global will end its joint venture deal to distribute Absolut vodka in the U.S., turning over sole responsibility for the top-selling brand to new owner Pernod Ricard while also buying Cruzan rum and netting about $130 million in cash on top.

After the close of trading Thursday, Fortune announced the pact, which will accelerate the termination of the joint venture to distribute Absolut vodka here — originally slated to end in 2012 — to Oct. 1 in return for $230 million in cash. In addition, Beam will buy Cruzan from Pernod for $100 million.

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When traveling, inevitably the second question after “Isn’t this place beautiful?”, “Sheesh, isn’t it hot here?”, or “what’s that smell?” comes the question “where you from?”

During a five hour bus ride back from Tequila to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, last Friday, I had time to ponder that question.

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The cool thing is that recipe itself is surprisingly easy, and can be remembered by memorizing a little poem:

One of Sour, Two of Sweet. Three of Strong, Four of Weak.Translated, this means:

One part “sour,” which means freshly squeezed lime juice (do NOT use bottled lime juice — only fresh lime juice will do!);
Two parts “sweet,” which refers to a simple syrup (sugar + water);
Three parts “strong” — rum (only golden rum, NOT white rum);
Four parts “weak” — served over ice.

Get it?

Okay, to break it down into recipe form: the following would be how you’d make a gallon of Trinidadian rum punch:

Drinks Recipies Rum

Hershey’s, Apple and Nike all have stores to showcase their brand and products. Now Bacardi will have one, too.

Thursday’s grand opening of the Bacardi store in downtown Nassau, Bahamas may be the first of its kind in the spirits industry.

The store will sell all the Bacardi portfolio of brands, plus a variety of branded accessories never available to the public in an independent retail store.

“This is a way that people can interact with the company and learn about the brand in a different way then just going up to a bar and ordering a rum and Coke,” said Joaquin Bacardi, president and chief executive officer of Bacardi Corp. in Puerto Rico, who manages the operations of the entire Caribbean region.

Brand concept stores, which have been around for years in other retail segments, have grown in popularity as a way to make a direct connection with the consumer. Ultimately, those kind of connections help to build brand loyalty.

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