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Survey shows craft beer is the drink of choice this New Year’s Eve

BY Tara Smith

BOSTON Ring in the New Year with a full-flavored craft beer. A recent survey conducted by GfK Roper Public Affairs and Media found that men prefer craft beer as their drink of choice when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve.

The Samuel Adams Co. suggested making a good house warming gift of its Winter Classics collection or of Samuel Adams Utopias—the world’s strongest beer, with an alcohol content of 27 percent. The beer is meant to be sipped from a snifter glass like a fine port, cognac or sherry. “Beer has been bringing people together for festive occasions long before champagne was even invented,” says Jim Koch, founder and brewer of Samuel Adams. “2007 was a great year for appreciating craft beer, so I’m not surprised that more people will be raising their steins to ring in 2008.”

Fifty-nine percent of survey respondents said they’d prefer to be given craft beer as a host/hostess gift. The findings are the result of 315 telephone interviews of U.S. men ages 21-34, conducted from Dec. 13 to Dec. 15, 2007.

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Refocusing, Campbell Sells Godiva for $850 million

BY Tara Smith

CAMDEN, N.J. The Campbell Soup Co. agreed on Thursday to sell its Godiva Chocolatier unit to Yildiz Holding of Turkey, the largest consumer goods company in the Turkish food industry, for $850 million. Godiva will become part of the Ulker Group, which is owned by Yildiz.

The sale would help Campbell, which reported a 7.2 percent drop in fiscal first-quarter net income in November as a result of higher expenses, in part at Godiva. In addition, the company decided that the Belgian chocolate maker with $500 million in annual sales may not fit its increasing focus on marketing its products as part of a healthy lifestyle.

“The sale price reflects the strength of the Godiva business,” said Douglas Conant, Campbell’s chief executive. “Godiva is one of the world’s leading premium chocolate businesses and is an excellent strategic fit within Ulker’s portfolio.”

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Anheuser-Busch to distribute Starr Hill brew

BY Tara Smith

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. Anheuser-Busch announced Tuesday that it will distribute products from Starr Hill Brewery under a new agreement. Financial terms were not disclosed, but Star Hill stated the agreement will allow the Charlottesville-based brewery to use A-B’s nationwide distribution resources to distribute its beers outside of its core base in Virginia. Brewing and marketing decisions will remain the responsibility of Starr Hill and its management.

Starr Hill’s products include Starr Hill amber ale, a malty, full-flavored beer; Starr Hill Jomo Lager, a German-tradition lager; Starr Hill pale ale, a medium-bodied beer; and Starr Hill Dark Starr stout, an Irish-style ale.

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