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

News Briefs for January 12, 2018

January 12, 2018

•Tito’s vodka has become the largest-selling spirits brand in dollar terms on an annual basis for the first time ever in IRI channels, surpassing Jack Daniel’s Black Label whiskey and Smirnoff Red Label vodka. For the 52 weeks ending December 31st, Tito’s was up 38% to $207.6 million in IRI channels on a volume of 1.1 million nine-liter cases. Smirnoff Red Label vodka remains the largest-selling spirits label in volume terms in IRI channels, followed by Tito’s and Captain Morgan Original Spiced rum. Total spirits sales generated $8.1 billion last year in IRI channels, on modest 2.7% growth. In volume terms (including all flavors and line extensions), Tito’s ranked sixth among all spirits brands in the U.S. last year at 5.8 million cases on a 40% increase, according to Impact Databank.

•Napa Valley’s Huneeus Vintners is making its first foray into Oregon. The company is purchasing Benton-Lane Winery in the Willamette Valley. The deal includes the winery, brand and inventory. Benton-Lane currently produces 35,000 cases a year. Huneeus Vintners president Agustín Huneeus Jr. said the deal would close next week. He declined to disclose the purchase price. Owners Steven and Carol Girard will retain control of the winery’s 142-acre vineyard, planted mostly to Pinot Noir with some Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc. Huneeus has a five-year option to purchase the vineyard. Wine Spectator has the full story.

•CIL US Wines & Spirits, the U.S. subsidiary of Camus Wines & Spirits, is entering the Irish whiskey category with the debut of the Lambay brand. The Lambay range will include a Small Batch Blend ($30-$35) and a Single Malt ($65-$70), both of which are 40%-abv, non-chill filtered whiskies finished in Cognac casks. Lambay, which will be in-market by St. Patrick’s Day, is a collaboration between Camus and the Baring family’s Revelstoke Trust. The inspiration for the brand name is Lambay Island, a wildlife sanctuary located off the east coast of Ireland, owned by the Baring family since 1904. CIL US’s portfolio also includes Camus Cognac, Glencadam single malt Scotch whiskies and Discovery Point wines.

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