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

News Briefs for October 7, 2013

October 7, 2013

Treasury Wine Estates has appointed Jim Casey as vice president of its U.S. East division. The appointment rounds out the leadership team for Treasury Americas managing director Sandra LeDrew, whose unit also recently added Shannon Grant as vice president of the Central division. Casey has over 15 years of experience in the wine and spirits industry and joins from Diageo where he served for the past five years leading sales and customer marketing, including managing customer marketing for the Charmer Sunbelt division nationally. Grant joined in July, also with 15 years of experience in the wine and spirits industry, most recently at Rémy Cointreau in a similar leadership role.

•William Grant & Sons is releasing a new Balvenie single malt expression exclusively for the U.S. market. Tun 1401 Batch 9 ($250) is a 49.3%-abv whisky sourced from 11 traditional whisky casks and three sherry butts, whose ages span a number of decades. It rested for several months in Tun 1401, one of the distillery’s unique “marrying vessels,” which also produced the previous limited releases Batch 3 and Batch 6. The Balvenie Tun 1401 Batch 9 will be distributed in limited supply beginning this month.

•Stolichnaya owner SPI Group has sold its Kremlyovskaya vodka brand to Classic International Group for an undisclosed sum. Established by a private financial firm to develop alcohol brands, Classic has obtained a license to sell the brand in Russia. Launched in the 1990s, the Kremlyovskaya range currently features an unflavored offering, as well as seven flavors. At its peak, the brand—which has been part of SPI since 2003—was selling more than 5 million nine-liter cases globally. The divestment is part of SPI’s long-term goal to focus on its core Stolichnaya franchise, as well as strengthen its position in markets such as the U.S., where the company recently set up its own importing company, slated to commence distribution on January 1.

•In its second acquisition in two months, Vintage Wine Estates bought the long-distressed Viansa Winery and Marketplace in Sonoma Valley’s Carneros region, Wine Spectator reports. The sale includes the winery and hospitality facility, the brand and inventory, plus the 168-acre property, which includes wetlands and 14 acres of vineyards. The sale price wasn’t disclosed, though Laurus Funds Inc., which assumed ownership in a 2007 bankruptcy deal, recently listed it for $25 million. The deal follows Vintage’s purchase of Napa Valley’s Clos Pegase Winery in August. The Sonoma County-based company has bought several wineries in recent years, including Girard, Cosentino and Windsor Sonoma. Leslie Rudd, owner of gourmet grocery chain Dean & DeLuca and Rudd Winery in Napa, is a key investor. Viansa is one of the closest Sonoma wineries to San Francisco, making it a popular destination for tour buses. The winery sold about 30,000 cases of wine last year directly to consumers, largely through its tasting room.

•National Distributing Company (NDC) New Mexico state president Bob Daws has announced his retirement, effective February 2014. Daws has been in the drinks industry for the past 35 years, of which 27 have been with NDC and its affiliates. NDC New Mexico does more than $150 million worth of business annually, making it one of the state’s leading spirits and wine distributors.

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