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News Briefs for September 30, 2013

September 30, 2013

•Pernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers has extended its Redbreast Irish whiskey brand with a new 21-Year-Old. Rolling out this month, Redbreast 21-Year-Old is made from a malted and unmalted barley mash, triple distilled in copper pot stills and then matured in a combination of American Bourbon barrels and Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks. The new entry is currently available across the U.S.—as well as in the U.K., France, Ireland and Germany—priced at $180 a bottle. Redbreast 21-Year-Old marks the ninth single pot still Irish whiskey in the Irish Distillers stable, as well as the brand’s oldest offering to date, joining Redbreast’s existing 12-Year-Old, 12-Year-Old Cask Strength and 15-Year-Old variants.

Treasury Wine Estates chairman Paul Rayner has denied rumors that former Treasury CEO David Dearie was ousted last week in response to pressure from institutional investors unhappy about the company’s move to take a A$160 million ($152m) writedown against its U.S. business in July. The Australian newspaper reported over the weekend that one major Australian institutional shareholder—joined by a group of smaller firms—demanded a sale of TWE’s U.S. business in the wake of the writedown, with Dearie’s firing seen by some analysts as the first step in that process (board member Warwick Every-Burns has been tapped as interim CEO). On announcing the departure of Dearie, TWE’s board made no secret about its displeasure in regard to the writedown, and said it was time to look for a new CEO “with a stronger operational focus to deliver the company’s growth ambitions.” Rayner vehemently denied, however, that the board been pressured by institutional investors eager to see TWE jettison its U.S. unit, which he has called “an integral part of the business.” While brands like Chateau St. Jean and Matua Valley have performed well for Treasury in the U.S. of late, the company’s overall U.S. business has slipped from 16.5 million cases in 2009 to below 13 million cases last year, according to Impact Databank.

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