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News Briefs for April 10, 2013

April 10, 2013

•Pernod Ricard USA said Major Brands will become its exclusive distributor in Missouri, starting May 1. Previously, Pernod’s portfolio was split between Major Brands and Glazer’s in the state. Earlier this year, Pernod—aiming to consolidate distribution in Missouri with a single distributor—asked a federal judge to declare that its terminations of both Major and Glazer’s for portions of the Pernod portfolio did not violate state franchise laws. That litigation is still pending.

•New York City-based Cognac One has added Baron Edmond de Rothschild’s Château de Malengin wine brand to its U.S. import portfolio. Purchased by France’s Rothschild family in 2003, the Château de Malengin vineyard comprises 111-acres located within the Montagne Saint-Emilion appellation. The brand will enter the U.S. with a 2009 vintage of its 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon red wine, retailing at around $20 a 750-ml. Château de Malengin is Cognac One’s first entry from the Rothschild estate, joining offerings from Ayala Champagne, Xavier Flouret Wines, Cave de Tain, Agricola Castellana, Gadais Tourmaline and Dereszia Tokaji in the company stable.

•Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) has partnered with the Court of Master Sommeliers, Americas to offer the first master sommelier courses and exams to the trade in Latin America. Treasury says the move underscores its commitment to the Latin American market, where its sales volume rose 16% in the six months through December. The program kicked off last month at the InterContinental Presidente Hotel in Mexico City, where, out of 48 participants (all sponsored by TWE), 46 passed the exam—an outstanding result according to the Court of Master Sommeliers. “We’re thrilled to be the first wine company to make this program available to professionals in Latin America seeking to advance their wine education,” said Sandra LeDrew, TWE managing director, Americas. “It is these graduates, after all, who will wield an important influence on the Latin American wine consumer.”

•Diageo has officially opened the new visitor center at its Talisker Distillery on the Isle of Skye after a £1 million ($1.53m) redevelopment. The facility features a new welcome area for visitors and an enhanced viewing gallery in one of the warehouses as well as a number of new tasting rooms. The only distillery on the Isle of Skye, Talisker had almost 60,000 visitors last year, up more than 10% from 2011. Talisker enjoyed net sales growth of 20% in the six months ending December 31, 2012, according to Diageo. The brand is part of Diageo’s Classic Malts range, which also includes Lagavulin, Caol Ila, Cragganmore, Dalwhinnie, Oban and others.

•Wemyss Malts has introduced two new Scotch whiskies—Heathery Smoke and Hive—to the U.S. market through Domaine Select Wine Estates’ Classic & Vintage Artisanal Spirits division. Heathery Smoke is a 30-year-old Scotch from Caol Ila distillery on Islay and is available exclusively in the U.S. as part of a limited edition 272-bottle release. The Hive, meanwhile, is an 8-year-old blended malt Scotch from a single cask bottling. It’s the latest addition to Wemyss’ collection of blended malt Scotch whiskies, which also includes Spice King and Peat Chimney. Both Heathery Smoke and Hive are now rolling out across the market. Earlier this year, the Wemyss family invested £3 million ($4.8m) in a new single malt Scotch whisky distillery and visitor center in Fife, expected to have a production capacity of about 150,000 liters a year.

•The English Whisky Co. (EWC) is launching several products in the U.S. this month. Based in Norfolk, England at the St. George’s Distillery, EWC is launching four whiskies: Classic Single Malt and Peated Single Malt ($74.99 a 750-ml.), as well as Classic Cask Strength Single Malt and Peated Cask Strength Single Malt (both $114.99). Those offerings are currently distributed in Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, California and Illinois through exclusive importer Purple Valley Imports, whose U.S. arm is based in Pittsburgh.

•Tilted Kilt Franchise Operating, owner of the Celtic-themed sports bar chain Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery, has partnered with NoCal Tilt Holdings to develop the chain in Northern California. The agreement will bring 10 Tilted Kilt units to Fresno, Sacramento and the Silicon Valley/East Bay areas over the next five years, with the first unit slated to open by early 2014. Founded in 2003 in Las Vegas, Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery now has more than 80 locations across the U.S. and Canada.

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