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News Briefs for November 10, 2015

November 10, 2015

•Beam Suntory posted sales up 36% for the first nine months of its fiscal year, ended in September, as the company’s stable of whisk(e)y brands prospered in North America. Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s and Laphroaig all rose by double-digits in North America during the period, while Maker’s Mark also delivered strong volume growth. Beam Suntory added that consumer trends remain favorable for its Jim Beam flagship, with Jim Beam Apple “off to an encouraging start in key global markets.” Overall, Suntory Holdings’ beverage alcohol interests—also including its wine and beer units—increased sales 21% to ¥737 billion ($6b), while operating income jumped 27% to ¥48 billion ($381m).

•New York governor Andrew Cuomo has assembled a working group of drinks industry leaders to recommend changes to New York’s 80-year-old beverage alcohol control laws. The group, which includes more than 15 executives ranging from craft beer and spirits producers to wholesalers to industry lobbyists and attorneys, is set to hold an open meeting on November 12 at the New York State Liquor Authority’s Harlem office that will focus on revising or replacing current control laws.

•Luxury Champagne brand Armand de Brignac has launched 3,000 bottles of its new Blanc de Noirs cuvee into select global markets. Made with 100% Pinot Noir from Champagne’s Montage de Reims region, Blanc de Noirs is produced by Champagne Cattier winemakers Jean Jacques and Alexandre Cattier and features a blend of three vintages. The cuvée, which joins the Brut Gold, Rosé, Blanc de Blancs and Demi Sec entries in the Armand de Brignac stable—owned by rapper and entrepreneur Shawn “Jay Z” Carter—is priced at $800 a bottle.

•The Winebow Group has added Cloosterbitter, a new herbal bitter brand, to its Craft + Estate portfolio. Produced by Dutch genever distiller Boomsma, Cloosterbitter is based on a 15th century recipe, and is made with a blend of 17 herbs. The 40%-abv entry is currently available nationwide, retailing at $25 a 750-ml.

•Crimson Wine Group saw net sales rise 5% to $42.5 million in the first nine months of its fiscal year, ended in September. Within that performance, the group—which includes the Seghesio, Pine Ridge, Chamisal and Archery Summit brands among others—posted a 5% increase in wholesale channel net sales to $25.4 million, while direct-to-consumer sales increased 6% to $14.6 million.

•Napa’s C. Mondavi & Family has promoted COO Mike Jaeger to the role of president and CEO. In addition to promoting Jaeger, who has been with the company since 2011, C. Mondavi has named longtime legal representative Scott Thomas chairman, with Peter Mondavi Sr.—who turned 101 on November 8—becoming chairman emeritus. The board also will continue to include Peter Mondavi Jr. and Marc Mondavi, both co-proprietors of the company, as well as four new independent directors.

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