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

News Briefs for April 25, 2017

April 25, 2017

•Breakthru Beverage is expanding its operations in Canada with a separate sales and marketing division devoted to new business. Breakthru Canada senior vice president-general manager John Donohue will lead the expansion effort, reporting to Julian Burzynski, Breakthru’s EVP-Canada. Breakthru Canada has steadily grown its portfolio since initially forging an exclusive national partnership with Diageo in 2014, adding Jackson Family brands, Piper-Heidsieck and Charles Heidsieck. The company also acquired Canadian boutique broker and importer B&W Wines last year. “This investment will establish a structure to allow us to continue meeting the demands of Diageo and Jackson Family Wines while also attracting, onboarding and activating new supplier partners,” Burzynski said. A replacement for Donohue overseeing Breakthru’s existing Canadian sales team—which will continue to service its current supplier partners—will be appointed in the coming weeks.

•Amazon Prime users in the Richmond, Virginia area can now order wine and beer to be delivered by the e-commerce giant. The products available for delivery range from major brands like Bud Light and Barefoot Wines to local offerings like Stone Brewing. Amazon’s beer and wine delivery is an expansion of the Amazon Prime Now program, which allows users to order products directly from a local delivery hub between 10 a.m. and 10 p.m. Orders can be delivered within an hour, for a $7.99 delivery fee, or within two hours, for free for Prime members. Alcohol delivery will require a valid ID to receive the order.

•In celebration of the 10th anniversary of the reopening of George Washington’s Distillery, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a ceremonial bill naming George Washington’s Rye Whiskey as Virginia’s official state spirit. George Washington’s Distillery at Mount Vernon, which reopened to the public in 2007 following a $2.1 million investment by the Distilled Spirits Council and its members, produces small batches of rye whiskey, rum and fruit brandies. The distillery made its first batch of rye whiskey back in 2003, before it opened to the public. That initial batch totaled just 24 bottles, half of which have been sold at auction. The rest haven’t yet been put up for sale.

•Craft + Estate, part of The Winebow Group, has added France’s Figuière to its import portfolio. A 210-acre estate located within the Côtes-de-Provence La Londe AOP, Figuière is operated by the Combard family and specializes in organically farmed wines. Craft + Estate will import eleven offerings from Figuière ($13-$34), including a white, rosé and red from its Le Saint André range; Valérie White, Magali Rosé and François Red from its Signature Series; Première White, Première Rosé and Première Red from its Estate range; Confidentielle Rosé from the Estate Flagship range; and Atmosphère Sparkling Rosé from the brand’s Vin de France series.

•New York-based Excelsior Wines is introducing a new White Orchid extension under the Trivento brand from Argentina. Retailing at $11 a bottle, White Orchid resides in the Trivento Reserve range. The newcomer is a blend of 85% Torrontes (Argentina’s flagship white grape) and 15% Pinot Grigio grown at high altitudes in Mendoza’s Uco Valley. Excelsior is a joint venture between Concha y Toro and Banfi Vintners.

•Latvia’s Amber Beverage Group, a subsidiary of SPI Group, has appointed New York-based Aligned Beverage Solutions to represent the Moskovskaya vodka and Riga Black Balsam herbal bitter brands in the U.S. Moskovskaya, previously represented by Stoli Group USA, is produced in Riga, Latvia and retails at $12.99 a 750-ml. bottle. Riga Black Balsam, retailing at $21.99 a 750-ml., is comprised of 24 different ingredients native to Latvia.

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