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

News Briefs for January 11, 2018

January 11, 2018

•Edrington-owned The Macallan has released a gift box in celebration of the upcoming Chinese New Year. The set includes two bottles of The Macallan Double Cask 12-year-old, a 43% abv whisky matured in Sherry-seasoned American and European oak, with special packaging to commemorate the Year of the Dog. Only 2,500 gift boxes will be released to the U.S. market. They are available now at select retailers for a suggested price of $130 each. The Macallan is gearing up for the opening of its new $130 million distillery and brand home in Speyside this summer.

•California-based Vintage Point Partners in Wine has added Dave Phinney’s Department 66 range of wines to its portfolio. Department 66 is Phinney’s Languedoc-Roussillon-based project, which includes a range of Grenache-based wines. According to Phinney, the Vintage Point partnership will allow Department 66 to expand and build new brands from the region. Vintage Point capped off last year by adding Rabble Wine Co. to its portfolio in December and projected that its U.S. volume would grow to around 325,000 cases for the year.

•Virginia Black whiskey, founded by entrepreneur Brent Hocking and recording artist Drake and marketed by Proximo Spirits, is looking to raise about $30 million in an initial public offering set to commence at the end of the first quarter. Launched in 2016, Virginia Black is a high-rye Bourbon at 80 proof and retailing at around $35 a 750-ml. In November, the whiskey label—which is present in 45 states—received a national TV ad campaign that has been running during NFL, NBA and holiday season programming. Virginia Black’s partners plan to use the IPO to fund expansion both in the U.S. and internationally, as well as for sales and marketing, working capital and other general corporate purposes. TriPoint Global Equities, LLC, working with its online division Banq, will act as lead managing selling agent and bookrunner for the offering.

•Former Diageo executive vice president Guy Smith is running for governor of Connecticut. Smith, a Democrat who launched his campaign this week, is joining the field looking to succeed current Democratic Connecticut governor Dannel Malloy. He spent 17 years with Diageo, retiring as executive vice president, corporate relations, in 2016. During his tenure at the drinks giant he led the fight to market spirits on television and in sports stadiums, and championed Sunday spirits sales and alcohol fact labeling. Prior to joining Diageo, Smith was a special adviser to former President Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings.

•Republic National Distributing Co. (RNDC) and Breakthru Beverage Group have named Nicholas Mehall as executive vice president and CFO of their proposed combined organization. Mehall, who is currently RNDC’s CFO, will report to Tom Cole, who will serve as president and CEO of the combined RNDC-Breakthru. Gene Luciana, Breakthru’s CFO, will serve in a key integration role with the combined company. The merger of RNDC and Breakthru, which will create a 30-state wine and spirits wholesale giant, is expected to close in the second quarter.

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