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

News Briefs for March 15, 2017

March 15, 2017

•After a $115 million investment, Diageo has unveiled its new Bulleit distillery in Shelbyville, Kentucky. The new facility has an initial capacity of 750,000 nine-liter cases, but Diageo says it’s already exploring expansion opportunities at the site, given Bulleit’s ongoing growth surge. An Impact “Hot Brand,” Bulleit crossed 1 million cases in the U.S. in 2016 on 26% growth, and has more than doubled in size since 2013. The new Bulleit distillery, which sits on 300 acres and includes four barrelhouses and a 52-foot still, will not be open to the public, at least initially. However, Diageo also recently invested $18 million to open a Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience at its Stitzel-Weller site on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.Whisky Advocate has more.

•Constellation is debuting Modelo Chelada Tamarindo Picante nationwide. Made from beer, tomato, salt and lime, along with tamarind and chipotle peppers, Tamarindo Picante is 3.3% abv and retails at $2.99 a 24-ounce can. According to IRI, the chelada category increased 7% last year, with Modelo Chelada Especial accounting for 90% of the increase. Parent brand Modelo Especial, which continues to drive growth in the Mexican imported beer segment, reached 83 million cases in 2016.

•Deep Eddy vodka, part of the Heaven Hill Brands portfolio, is adding a new Orange flavor to its range. Made with real orange juice, the newcomer is launching nationwide this month, retailing at $20. Deep Eddy, an Impact “Hot Brand” that surpassed 1 million cases in U.S. volume in 2016, also includes a Straight Vodka, Peach, Lemon, Ruby Red Grapefruit, Cranberry and Sweet Tea.

•California-based importer Vine Connections has launched Bushido Way of the Warrior sake in canned format. Produced in Kyoto, Japan, the 18%-abv offering is a premium Ginjo Genshu-grade sake packaged in a 180-ml. can. The rollout is designed to tap growing U.S. demand for wine in cans, while leveraging growth in the sake category, which rose 7% in value and 5% in volume last year, according to Nielsen. The Bushido Way of the Warrior sake cans are currently in select markets and will be available nationwide by this fall, retail priced at $6 a can.

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