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

News Briefs for September 12, 2017

September 12, 2017

•Like many whisky lovers, Professor Gordon Cook of the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Center would love to get his hands on some Macallan 1878 27 year old. Yet he has no intention of putting it in his mouth. The whisky recently captured a lot of attention when a Chinese multi-millionaire reportedly paid 9,999 Swiss francs ($10,000) for the dram at the Hotel Waldhaus am See in St. Moritz, Switzerland. What’s even more surprising than the exorbitant price: the whisky may be a fake. Whisky Advocate has the full story.

•North Carolina-based importer Pacific Highway Wines & Spirits, owned by the Oatley and Giesen families, has announced a strategic partnership with global vintner Alejandro Bulgheroni. Under the agreement, Pacific Highway will sell and market seven Bulgheroni brands, including Garzón from Uruguay; Vistalba, Tomero, and Argento from Argentina; Château Suau from Bordeaux; and Renwood and The Cleaver from Amador County, California. Pacific Highway’s existing portfolio includes New Zealand’s Giesen, an Impact “Hot Prospect” that rose 42% to 77,000 cases last year, as well as a number of offerings spanning Argentina, Uruguay, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Chile, France, Oregon and California.

•The Distilled Spirits Council reports that U.S. spirits exports were up 10.6% by value to $698.5 million in the international market for the first half of 2017. American whiskey shipments (including Bourbon, Tennessee Whiskey and American Rye) grew 6.1% to $464.6 million. American brandy, vodka and rum also posted solid gains in the international market. American spirits are growing particularly well in the U.K. (+39% to $65 million), Germany (+33% to $55.4 million), France (+21.4% to $51.8 million) and Brazil (+313.8% to $10.2 million). Canada, at $88 million, remained the largest export market for U.S.-made spirits during the first half of the year.

•Europvin USA has added French wine brand Maison Tardieu-Laurent to its import stable. Featuring offerings from a variety of Rhône appellations, the Maison Tardieu-Laurent portfolio includes wines from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Condrieu, Cornas, Côte-Rôtie, Côtes-du-Rhône, Crozes-Hermitage, Gigondas, Hermitage, Rasteau, Saint-Joseph, Saint-Péray, Vacqueyras and Tavel. Europvin will begin exclusively handling the lineup nationwide, effective immediately. Tardieu-Laurent was previously imported in the U.S. by Wilson Daniels. California-based Europvin USA is owned in partnership by Spain’s Lustau, Cune and Vega Sicilia wineries.

•MillerCoors is gearing up to launch Two Hats, a new fruit-flavored light beer, in early 2018. The company is targeting younger legal-drinking-age consumers with a pair of fruit flavors: lime and pineapple. The 4.2%-abv beers are intended to deliver the crisp flavor of a light beer with a fruity spike. Two Hats will roll out nationwide in six-packs of 16-ounce cans next year. MillerCoors is launching Two Hats to attempt to gain a foothold with the younger consumers who, according to recent market research, are less likely than other age groups to choose beer. Two Hats will join MillerCoors’ existing Redd’s franchise in the fruit beer segment.

•Brazil’s Avuá Cachaça has added two new entries to its U.S. portfolio. Rolling out this month, Avuá Jequitibá Rosa Cachaça ($70 a 750-ml.) and Avuá Still Strength Cachaça ($45) are both limited edition offerings, with the former aged in Brazil’s native Jequitibá Rosa wood and the latter a high-proof, 45%-abv expression. The pair join the brand’s existing Avuá Amburana Cachaça, Oak Cachaça, Tapinhoã Cachaça and flagship Avuá Prata Cachaça labels.

•California’s Los Santos, LLC has tapped Rebecca Running as general manager of Santo Mezquila ($55), the Tequila-mezcal hybrid created by musicians Sammy Hagar and Adam Levine. Running comes to Los Santos from Infinium Spirits—Mezquila’s national importer—where she served as vice president of sales. In her new role, Running will work on growing the Santo brand throughout the United States. Additionally, Andrea Cromaz has been named senior brand manager at Infinium, effectively immediately. Cromaz will oversee Santo Mezquila, among other brands within Infinium’s portfolio.

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