Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

Craft Brewing and Distilling News for October 9, 2014

October 9, 2014

•Delaware’s Dogfish Head has promoted Nick Benz from COO to CEO of the company. Dogfish Head founder Sam Calagione remains president and chairman and Mariah Calagione continues as vice president. Meanwhile, Dogfish Head, which produces over 200,000 barrels annually, is on the hunt for a new vice president of sales, as Adam Lambert will depart the post in November to join Michigan’s New Holland Brewing Co. In addition the company intends to add a vice president of business operations to its exec team, focused on overseeing its restaurant, inn and brewery tasting room, as well as an “expansion into other non-beverage businesses yet to be determined.”

•Epic Wines & Spirits has been named the exclusive California distributor for Frank-Lin Distillers Products Ltd. Headquartered in Fairfield, California, Frank-Lin Distillers produces and bottles a variety of craft spirits, including the Potters Scotch, Moraga Cay rum, 8 Seconds Canadian whisky, Puerto Vallarta Tequila and Orendain Tequila brands, among others. Frank-Lin currently sells around 500,000 cases in California annually. Epic Wines & Spirits is owned by Foley Family Wines’ Bill Foley, who acquired the distributor in 2013. As Foley told SND recently, “We’re focused on making Epic the third-largest distributor in California (behind Southern and Young’s). Its wine business is growing by double-digits, and we’re now moving into spirits. If you’re selling spirits, you can take wine along.”

•St. Helena-based Charbay Artisan Distillery & Winery has debuted a new bottle design across its full Charbay vodka range. The updated look, which was designed by Charbay grand master distiller Miles Karakasevic, features a classic feel, intended to contrast with the “loud packaging and bubble gum flavors” utilized by mainstream flavored vodka brands. The Charbay vodka range includes Meyer Lemon and Blood Orange flavors, as well as an unflavored Clear Vodka entry. Owned and operated by the Karakasevic family, Charbay is known for its collection of small-batch wines and spirits, including vodka, whiskey, brandy, rum, liqueur and Port offerings, among others.

•Houston, Texas-based craft distiller BJ Hooker’s vodka, which has been in business for about a year, is projecting 2014 sales of 5,000 six-pack cases. The brand is currently in about 350 retail outlets statewide, with the Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods chain being its top retail partner. The soft winter wheat-based vodka retails at around $15 a 750-ml. bottle, with new 1.75-liter and 1-liter sizes slated to launch by January 1, 2015.


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