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

News Briefs for September 10, 2013

September 10, 2013

•Beam Inc.’s Cruzan rum has officially unveiled a trio of blended aged rums under its new super-premium Distiller’s Collection range. Rolling out this month, the lineup includes Cruzan’s new Estate Diamond Dark and Estate Diamond Light rums (each priced at $19.99 a 750-ml.), both of which are aged between five and 12 years. The range also includes returning expression Cruzan Single Barrel ($29.99), which is made from a blend of vintage rums aged up to 12 years and bottled one cask at a time. The trio, which are all intended to be consumed neat, on the rocks or in cocktails, marks Cruzan’s latest effort to move upmarket, following the brand’s debut of premium rum horchata entry Velvet Cinn ($20) this summer. Last year, Cruzan was up 3.4% to 750,000 cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

•William Grant & Sons is commemorating the 125th anniversary of its Glenfiddich single malt Scotch brand with a new Anniversary Vintage expression. A 25-year-old whisky aged in European oak Sherry casks, Glenfiddich Anniversary Vintage is characterized by notes of toasted almond, cinnamon, vanilla, ground coffee and sherbet, among others. Just 286 bottles of the limited edition, 55.2%-abv entry will be available globally, priced at a minimum of £699 ($1,100) a bottle. Glenfiddich Anniversary Vintage marks the brand’s latest entry in its Rare Collection series.

•Tequila marketer Blue Nectar Spirits has named former Bacardi exec José Chao vice president, national sales director, reporting to Blue Nectar co-founder and COO Nikhil Bahadur. Chao, a 30-year industry veteran, who held a series of sales and marketing leadership roles across Bacardi’s global business, is now tasked with driving growth opportunities in national markets, as well as managing the Blue Nectar sales force, distribution partnerships and sales and marketing strategy. Along with the appointment, Blue Nectar’s namesake small-batch Tequila—including Silver, Reposado and Special Reserve variants—is entering five new markets this fall: Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Indiana and New Mexico. Those markets join the brand’s existing footprint of Texas, Michigan and Colorado.

•Scotch producer Whyte & Mackay, part of Diageo-controlled Indian spirits giant United Spirits Ltd., is making moves in the U.S. market, announcing the appointment of beverage alcohol logistics firm Park Street to handle importing, back-office and enterprise resource planning services for its Whyte & Mackay Americas unit. Whyte & Mackay Americas was formed last year to handle the group’s The Dalmore, Jura, John Barr and Cluny Scotches, among other brands, in the U.S.

•Brown-Forman is introducing a new Hunter’s Edition bottle series for its Early Times Kentucky Whisky brand into national distribution this month. Early Times’ 2013 Hunter’s Edition is packaged in a brown and green camouflage design, celebrating sportsmen and the great outdoor traditions. The 80-proof, limited edition offering retails at $11.99 a 750-ml. Early Times’ U.S. depletions were down 1% to 564,000 cases in 2012, according to Impact Databank.

•Northwest winemaker Precept Wine is launching its House Wine brand in 3-liter boxes. The new format will feature the brand’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay varietals, priced at $25 each. They will be available in the Northwest across the Bartell Drugs pharmacy chain in time for the holidays, followed by a nationwide rollout beginning January 1, 2014. Seattle-based Precept—whose portfolio also includes Chocolate Shop and Ste. Chapelle, as well as Impact “Hot Prospects” Radius and Waterbrook, among others—is expected to reach 1 million casesacross its portfolio this year.

•Diageo North America has named the winners of its 10th Annual Golden Bar Awards, recognizing top-performing distributors across its spirits, wine and beer business. Southern Wine & Spirits subsidiary Coastal Wine & Spirits of Indiana received Diageo’s Distributor of the Year award for the spirits category, while Reliable Churchill of Maryland took home Distributor of the Year honors for wine.

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