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

News Briefs for March 27, 2017

March 27, 2017

•Winemaker Josh Phelps has sold his interest in Taken Wine Co. to Trinchero Family Estates for an undisclosed sum. The brand, which is produced by Trinchero, was co-founded by Phelps and fellow winemaker Carlo Trinchero in 2010. Targeted primarily toward millennials, the Taken Wine Co. portfolio features three tiers, including Napa-sourced Taken ($35-$40), Sonoma- and Central Coast-sourced Complicated ($18-$23) and an entry-level lineup called Available ($13). Following the sale, Phelps will be starting his own wine company based in St. Helena.

•Purchasing a ticket for an event like the theater, a baseball game or a music concert is standard procedure. But what about for a restaurant? An increasing number of restaurateurs believe that pre-purchasing a ticket for a meal in lieu of a reservation is the future. But does the system serve diners as well as it serves chefs? The most recent convert is the French Laundry, which switched its reservation system to the software Tock on March 20. Diners can now find three months’ worth of reservation slots for Thomas Keller’s Wine Spectator Grand Award–winning restaurant in Napa Valley. Wine Spectator has the full story.

•Moët Hennessy has unveiled Glenmorangie Pride 1974, the third edition in Glenmorangie’s ultra-premium Pride series. Pride 1974 features a blend of two whiskies, one aged entirely in ex-Bourbon barrels and another matured in ex-Oloroso sherry casks. Debuting next month, the 41-year-old single malt is limited to 503 crystal decanters ($9,050 each) in the U.S. To celebrate the launch, Moët Hennessy partnered with piano maker Steinway & Sons and musician Aaron Diehl, with Diehl releasing a new composition to commemorate the whiskey. Previous Glenmorangie Pride editions include 1978 and 1981, released in 2014 and 2011, respectively.

•California-based Preiss Imports has added Ferdinand’s Saar dry gin to its portfolio. Produced in Germany’s Mosel region by Avadis Distillery, Ferdinand’s Saar dry gin features more than 30 botanicals and is also infused with Riesling. The 44%-abv offering joins portfoliomates Ferdinand’s Saar Vermouth and Ferdinand’s Saar Quince in the Preiss Imports stable.

•New Jersey-based Niche Import Co. is launching France’s Clos Martin Armagnac in select U.S. markets. Clos Martin’s U.S. offerings include a VSOP 8-year-old and XO 15-year-old. Both expressions will be available throughout New York, New Jersey, Illinois and California. Clos Martin joins Bismarck vodka, Bärenjäger liqueur and Barr an Uisce Irish whiskey, among other spirits brands, in Niche Imports’ lineup.

•Clarification: Bub’s Beverage (featured in Friday’s issue) has been launched by Paulaner USA veteran Chris Heinz, not former Paulaner USA CEO John Coleman. However, Coleman’s new importing company, Beverage World Specialties, is a key supplier to Bub’s.

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