The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2012

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Page 16 of 132

THE MESSAGE Whether THE TASTING PANEL goes to the brand execs or the brands call us, there is an abundance of news to report, from the latest releases to behind-the-scenes experiences with some of the world's most infl uential importers, winemakers, distillers . . . well, you name it. Brief Encounters We may not have enough pages in each issue to devote as much attention as we would like to each person whose path we cross, but please note that if it's in the publication, we deem it noteworthy —Meridith May, Publisher & Executive Editor Bitter Is Sweet for Campari America S ynonymous with the Negroni and riding the wave of interest in bitter fl avors, sales of the Italian aperitivo Campari have grown by more than ten percent in recent years, spurring both a name change for Gruppo Campari's U.S. division and a refreshed status for the iconic brand. Described by Campari America Chairman and CEO Gerry Ruvo as a "mixologists' brand," Campari is a component in several industry trends that are blurring the lines between wine, beer and spirits. Over a Negroni poured from a tap at Jasper's Corner Tap in San Francisco, Ruvo cites the top cocktail trends as barrel aging, tap service, carbonation and pre-bottled cocktails. "We're constantly looking for inspiration from the San Francisco bartending community and the West Coast in general," he said. "It's clear that the emphasis on bitter fl avors has put classics like the Negroni back in the lime light." Earlier this year, Ruvo further strengthened the brand's association with the industry's leading talents by sponsoring the fi rst-ever James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Bar Program, which went to Campari fan James Meehan of New York's PDT. Gerry Ruvo, Chairman and CEO of Campari America. 16 / the tasting panel / september 2012 Over the past years, Ruvo has been in the driver's seat behind the company's expanding U.S. portfolio, which leverages the Old World cachet of products like Campari and Cynar. While vodka in all forms continues to be the meat and potatoes of Campari's U.S. portfolio and, accord- ing to Ruvo, accounts for as much as 50 percent of the division's business, the company is mining fl avor trends in all categories and has invested deeply in Wild Turkey. 2013 promises to be a busy year for Campari America. Ruvo will relocate the company's headquarters to the top fl oor of San Francisco's iconic Levi's Plaza and open a new visitor center and packaging facility at the Wild Turkey distillery in Lawrenceburg, KY. —Deborah Parker Wong PHOTO: DEBORAH PARKER WONG

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