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News Briefs for July 15, 2013

July 15, 2013

•Since launching its Cicerone Beer Certification program in April, Total Wine & More says it has trained more than 650 employees to become Cicerone Certified beer servers, with hundreds of additional employees currently working toward certification. As a result, the retail chain claims to be the industry leader in terms of Cicerone certified personnel. The program is designed to help support Total Wine’s “Brewery District” store-within-a-store concept, which features a beer tasting bar and growler section with 12 rotating craft beer taps. In addition to the Cicerone program, Total Wine also requires all store team members to complete 150 hours of its wine education program. Total Wine & More currently operates 95 retail locations across 15 states.

E&J Gallo’s Shellback rum brand has agreed to become an official sponsor of defending America’s Cup champion Oracle Team USA. As sponsor, Shellback will host a series of events and activations nationwide celebrating yacht racing leading up to and including the 34th America’s Cup—to be held September 7-21 in San Francisco—including simulated boat races, opportunities to design branded “Shellbacker” boat shoes and samplings of signature cocktails featuring Shellback. Produced in the Barbados at the West Indies Rum Distillery, Shellback is available in two variants—Silver and Spiced, both of which are priced at $17 a 750-ml. Gallo entered the rum category for the first time when it launched Shellback, releasing it to the U.S. market last fall.

•Ian Macleod Distillers has unveiled a new look for Isle of Skye’s 8-year-old and 12-year-old blended Scotch whisky expressions. The packaging features a new color palette for both the label and bottle that reflects the Red and Black Hills of the Cuillin Mountains, as well as an image of a sunset over Scotland’s Isle of Skye. The age statement is also more prominently featured on both whiskies, as well as a new bespoke bottle. Imported by California’s ImpEx Beverages, Isle of Skye 8-year-old retails around $28.99, while the 12-year-old is at $37.99.

•Champagne Pol Roger’s Patrice Noyelle is stepping down from his position as president of the board of directors, a role he has held since 1998. He has been appointed to the Champagne house’s supervisory board, which is presided over by Christian de Billy. Following Noyelle’s departure, Laurent d’Harcourt will take over as president of the board. D’Harcourt, who first joined Pol Roger as an export director in 2006, has been a member of the board of directors since 2008. Founded in 1849, Champagne Pol Roger—whose export business comprises more than 80% of its 1.6-million-bottle volume—sold around 7,000 nine-liter cases last year in the U.S., where it’s handled by Frederick Wildman & Sons.

•Diageo today announced that Ian Wright, corporate relations director since 2004, is to leave the company. Wright will be succeeded by Charlotte Lambkin, currently group communications director of BAE Systems PLC. Lambkin will join Diageo in January 2014 and will replace Wright on the Diageo Executive Committee.

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