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

News Briefs for June 22, 2016

June 22, 2016

•Château Lafite Rothschild became the latest first-growth to release its 2015 en primeur price—at a whiplash-inducing 420 euros ($473) per bottle ex-négoce, a 45% increase on the 2014. In retail terms, it’s currently selling in the U.S. for roughly $545 per bottle. Wine Spectator has up-to-date pricing and analysis on the ongoing 2015 Bordeaux futures campaign.

•Ireland’s Walsh Whiskey has completed work on a new €25 million ($28m) distillery. The Walsh Whiskey Distillery and visitor center at Ireland’s Royal Oak, County Carlow has a 650,000-case capacity, allowing Walsh to ramp up production on The Irishman and Writers Tears Irish whiskies (handled in the U.S. by Palm Bay International). Located on a 40-acre, 18th-century estate, the distillery will produce the three styles of Irish whisky—pot still, malt and grain—using both pot stills and column stills. Next year, work will begin on two maturation houses with capacity for 60,000 barrels. Walsh Whiskey founders Bernard and Rosemary Walsh sold a 50% stake of the company to Italy’s Illva Saronno in 2013.

•New Zealand’s Giesen family has forged a new partnership with Australia’s Oatley family to acquire joint ownership of Oatley’s Sonoma-based importer Pacific Highway Wine & Spirits. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Pacific Highway was originally established in 2008 as the U.S. import unit for Robert Oatley Vineyards. In 2013, the Oatleys decided to bring other independent wine brands—including Giesen Wines—into the fold. The 50/50 joint ownership deal will help support Pacific Highway’s expansion efforts, including the addition of at least two new brands. The portfolio is led by the South Africa-sourced Beachhouse range ($10 a 750-ml.), which sells roughly 85,000 cases.

•Drizly has partnered with a number of local retailers to provide drinks delivery in the Franklin and Nashville, Tennessee markets. Drizly’s entry into Tennessee is being facilitated by alliances with retailers Grace’s Wine and Spirits, Midtown Wine and Spirits, Red Dog Wine & Spirits, Red Spirits and Wine and The Bottle Shop at McEwan. The company says it’s the first alcohol delivery provider to hit the Nashville market.

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