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News Briefs for February 12, 2014

February 12, 2014

•Pernod Ricard has rolled out a new global marketing campaign for its Aberlour single malt Scotch. The campaign, which features the tagline “Made From Experience,” highlights the craftsmanship behind the production of the Speyside single malt brand. It includes print, outdoor and online executions. Pernod Ricard has also given Aberlour a new logo that features an updated emblem depicting the mineral elements that come together to craft the brand: fresh water from Speyside’s Birkenbush springs and an oak tree to denote Aberlour’s Sherry cask style and the ancient roots of its location. Aberlour is one of the world’s top 10 single malt brands, selling nearly 200,000 cases annually. It’s the biggest-selling single malt brand in France, its largest market.

•Diageo has officially launched its new Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Co. series, which Whisky Advocate previewed in January. The collection, which is designed to showcase old and rare whiskey stocks, will debut with Barterhouse Whiskey, a 20-year-old entry priced at $75 a bottle, and Old Blowhard Whiskey, a 26-year-old offering priced at $150. A limited supply of both expressions will be available at retail starting in March. Headquartered in Tullahoma, Tennessee, the Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Co. will follow with additional releases as new stocks are discovered.

•New Jersey-based Opici Wines is launching a new spirits division, Market Street Spirits. According to the company, the new unit—named for the street in Paterson where Opici’s first office was opened in 1913—will focus on handcrafted premium spirits from around the world. The first members of the portfolio are Rebellion Bourbon and Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum. Rebellion, launched informally last year, is a six-year-old, 94-proof Bourbon with a mashbill of around 70% corn and 30% rye and barley. Created by the Opici family, it’s produced in Bardstown, Kentucky. Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum is a line of rums produced on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. Its variants include small-batch Shipwreck Spiced as well as Coconut, Mango, Coffee and Vanilla flavored offerings.

•Williams Selyem winemaker Bob Cabral, who took the reins from founding winemaker Burt Williams at the winery in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley 16 years ago, will be stepping down at the end of 2014. “I’m ready to do something different,” Cabral, 52, told Wine Spectator, “some things that didn’t necessarily fit into the plans at Williams Selyem. I can definitely see myself making my own wine.” Cabral, who previously worked as winemaker for De Loach, Kunde, Alderbrook and Hartford Court, helped lead Williams Selyem into a new era, adding new vineyards and regional bottlings, finessing the winery’s trademark elegant style and overseeing the construction of a $14.8-million winery. Jeff Mangahas will transition into Cabral’s role as director of winemaking as harvest approaches, while others in the company will assume his duties as the winery’s general manager.

•French police have rounded up 20 suspects in what they’re calling a highly organized crime ring dealing in stolen wine, primarily in Bordeaux classified growths, Wine Spectator reports. In an operation called Cassevins, the military police officers simultaneously swept through targets in Paris, Bordeaux and towns in the southwest of France following a six-month investigation. While the Bordeaux wine trade has kept quiet about the thefts until now, police say the alleged criminals have been targeting the region with alarming regularity—stealing wine stocks nearly every two weeks since at least June 2013, most recently on February 5. Thirteen châteaus and two warehouses stocking wines from multiple châteaus have been struck. According to investigators, the thieves were fulfilling orders for specific wines. The names of the châteaus have not been released.

•BevMo is set to open its latest California store in Riverside on February 21. The 151st BevMo outlet across California, Arizona and Washington, the Riverside location is 8,000 square feet and will feature a selection of thousands of wines, spirits and beers, along with hundreds of gourmet food items, cocktail mixers, glassware, bar accessories and other items.

•Wirtz Beverage Wisconsin (WBW) has appointed 20-year industry veteran Nate Phippen as vice president of sales, replacing longtime WBW leader Dick Deutsch who is retiring. In the newly defined leadership role, Phippen will oversee WBW’s sales and marketing efforts within the Wisconsin market. Phippen previously worked as vice president of sales at Wirtz Beverage Illinois, where he led two divisions. The move comes as WBW revamps its team amid a new route-to-market approach, which includes the creation of a number of new roles, among them the appointment of Mark Cirillo as strategic partnership leader, and a series of new sales and trade development posts.

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