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Rum Wars. The long-running debate over excise taxes between rum-producing Caribbean islands and the US territories of Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands (where the rum facilities for spirits giants Diageo and Bacardi are located) reached a new level last week, when ambassadors representing the 15 members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) met with the US Trade Representative’s Office in Washington to voice their grievances. TMI correspondent Larry Luxner was there and will continue following this developing story. Page 1.
US travel retail operator Stellar Partners expands its sphere of operations, opening its first stores on the West Coast at California’s San Diego International Airport. Stellar CEO Susan Stackhouse discusses the company’s exciting new offer of national and regional brands. Page 1.
In the Boardroom. Advent International sells its remaining stake in Dufry; Beam sells off its “Value Creator” brands to US spirits company Luxco.
Association News. TFWA announces speaker lineup for March’s industry Conference on China. See page 3 for details.
ISPY2013 held its annual inflight crew training event last week, which this year included a trade show. And the winner of the Inflight Sales Person of the Year for 2013 is …. Answer is on page 4.
Services. Thornton Travel Retail Group uses proprietary engineering to launch a digital service to reach travelers prior to their trip with a targeted message on multiple platforms. More details on page 2.
Celebrating 25 Years. Congratulations to Miami distributor Essence Corp., which is embarking on its 25th year in business. To start off the milestone year, Essence hosted a week-long marketing meeting for its employees throughout the Americas, and highlighted it with a community-involved team building day. TMI was on hand to share in the occasion (and pull some weeds). Story on page 2 with additional photos on the TMI Facebook page here.
Supply Side. Brown-Forman to set up its own distribution company in France; Bacardi introduces a new look and taste for its Ready to Serve Cocktails for travel retail; Maui Jim holds a Hula-centered special launch promotion at Orlando International Airport during the opening of the new Nuance – DFASS duty free store. Inside Insider on page 4.