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News Briefs for July 13, 2016

July 13, 2016

•Shaw-Ross International is debuting Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof, an aged overproof rum.

The 54.5%-abv expression is rolling out July 31 in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Texas and California, as well as mid-Atlantic and Northeast markets, with others to follow. Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof, a blend of rums from Guyana and Trinidad, is said to be the last rum issued by Britain’s Royal Navy to its enlistees in 1970. The new entry will retail at $33-$35 a bottle.

•Christie Kerr Wines has launched Kerr Cellars, a range of micro-production wines from Napa and Sonoma crafted by winemaker Helen Keplinger in conjunction with golf legend Christie Kerr. Kerr Cellars will offer three small-production wines—a 2013 Napa Valley Reserve Red, 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir and 2013 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc—that can be purchased directly from the winery. Kerr Cellars joins Curvature Wines in Christie Kerr Wines’ boutique brand portfolio.

•Los Angeles-based Worldwide Beverage Imports has partnered with rock band AC/DC to launch the new Thunderstruck Tequila brand. Made with 100% Blue Weber agave, Thunderstruck includes Silver ($30), Reposado ($35) and Añejo ($40) Tequilas and will be available beginning this month in Las Vegas through Good Spirits Distributing, New Mexico through Southwest Wine and Spirits, and Minnesota, South Dakota and North Dakota through Southern Glazer’s. More key markets are expected to come online in the coming months.

•California’s Wente Family Estates has promoted Amy Hoopes to the role of president, overseeing marketing, sales, hospitality and retail operations for the Wente portfolio. Hoopes was previously the group’s chief marketing officer and executive vice president, global sales. Meanwhile, fifth-generation Wente winegrower and winemaker Karl D. Wente has taken on the role of chief operations officer and chief winemaker. He was previously senior vice president and chief winemaker. Both Hoopes and Wente will report directly to chief executive officer Carolyn Wente.

•Sidney Frank Importing Co. has revamped its U.S. commercial team. Under the new structure, the New Rochelle, New York-based marketer’s seven business units have been consolidated into three regions, each led by a vice president/general manager reporting to CEO Jeff Popkin. Michael Fuchs, formerly divisional VP of the Southeast, will lead the Eastern Region. Greg McCauley, previously divisional VP of Control States, will head the Western Region. Jeffrey Colbert, most recently vice president, managing director-central commercial business unit at Bacardi USA, will lead the Central Region. Additionally, Steve Bellini, formerly executive VP business intelligence/trade development, has been appointed senior VP distribution and control states strategy (reporting directly to Popkin), while Mike Glennon, previously VP, national accounts, will head Jägermeister’s U.S. national account and chain market team (reporting to Colbert).

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