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

News Briefs for May 4, 2016

May 4, 2016

•Sazerac Co. is in talks with Pernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers to acquire the Paddy Irish whiskey brand. Paddy does only around 200,000 cases in total sales, with 15% of that in the U.S. market, according to Impact Databank. Last year, Paddy declined by approximately 15% in the U.S. to 28,000 cases, largely due to a significant slide for its flavor range, which lost nearly half its volume after launching just a few years earlier. Under terms of this proposed deal, Irish Distillers would continue to produce Paddy at its Midleton Distillery. Irish Distillers owner Pernod Ricard will continue to focus on Jameson, which dominates the Irish whiskey category, hitting nearly 2.5 million cases in the U.S. market last year to win its 15th straight Impact “Hot Brand” award.

•Minneapolis-based Phillips Distilling is launching super-premium Tequila range Clásico by Centinela into select U.S. markets. An extension of the company’s upscale Centinela Tequila brand, Clásico features Blanco and Reposado entries, both of which are made with 100% agave and retail at $24.99 a 750-ml. The lineup, which is produced using traditional clay oven and open fermentation methods, is being positioned as a handcrafted, heritage-focused brand. “The growth in the 100%-agave segment ties in with the trend of consumers seeking spirits with substance and flavor,” says Scott Meek, vice president of marketing for Phillips Distilling. “We’re seeing people moving from Bourbon and other whiskies into Tequila.” Clásico helps to round out Phillips Distilling’s Tequila portfolio, filling a gap between the group’s entry-level, 100%-agave Cabrito brand, which retails at $19.99, and the core Centinela franchise, which plays in the $40 range.

•The Cooper Spirits Co. is launching a 16-year-old Lock Stock & Barrel Straight Rye Whiskey. The 107-proof limited offering is debuting nationwide in a release of 3,000 cases, retailing at $150 a bottle. A 100% rye whiskey, Lock Stock & Barrel’s 16-year-old will look to build on the success of the brand’s 13-year-old expression. Cooper Spirits founder Robert Cooper passed away last week at the age of 39.

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