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News Briefs for October 8, 2013

October 8, 2013

•Diageo is introducing two new flavors to Smirnoff vodka’s range this fall—Wild Honey and Cinna-Sugar Twist. Both are now in national distribution, priced at $15.99 a 750-ml. The flavors join Smirnoff’s existing Confections portfolio, which also includes Root Beer Float, Iced Cake, Kissed Caramel, Whipped Cream and Fluffed Marshmallow. Smirnoff, the U.S. market’s number-one vodka, was up 1.5% to 9.7 million nine-liter cases last year, according to Impact Databank.

•Beam Inc.’s Laphroaig single malt Scotch brand has reintroduced Laphroaig Triple Wood, its limited edition fall seasonal, in the U.S. Triple Wood, a 96-proof whisky, is matured three times, using ex-Bourbon barrels, 19th century-style quarter casks and European oak Oloroso Sherry casks. The returning entry will be available in limited quantities nationwide, priced at around $59.99 a 750-ml. Laphroaig Triple Wood is joined in the Laphroaig portfolio by the brand’s 10-year-old, 10-year-old Cask Strength, Quarter Cask, 18-year-old, 25-year-old, QA Cask and Càirdeas offerings.

•Former Champagne exec Guillaume Deglise has taken over as CEO of Vinexpo from longtime chief executive Robert Beynat. Deglise, 39, previously led Laurent-Perrier’s business in China and Switzerland, and prior to that was export director at Bollinger. Beynat is staying on for a transitional period as special advisor to Pierre Goguet, president of the Vinexpo Directorate and chairman of the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Vinexpo will hold its next eventMay 27-29, 2014, in Hong Kong.

•Sonoma County lost two prominent old guard vintners in recent weeks, Wine Spectator reports. Robert Hunter Jr. and Dale Goode were both members of a generation that began raising the county’s fine wine profile in the 1970s. Hunter, 91, passed away at his home Oct. 1. He was founder and owner of Robert Hunter Winery in Sonoma Valley, which specializes in sparkling wine. He planted his first vines in Sonoma in 1973 and released his first wines in the early 1980s. Today, the Hunter family farms 42 acres and son Rob Hunter is the winemaker. Goode, 79, the last of the founding trio of Murphy-Goode Vineyards and Winery, died Sept. 23 in Healdsburg. He had been in failing health for some time, complicated in part by a 1976 accident that left him partially paralyzed. Goode and partners David Ready and Tim Murphy founded Murphy-Goode in 1985 and sold it to Jackson Family Farms in 2006.

•Heineken USA will release a limited edition offering under its Newcastle brand, Cabbie Black Ale, in the coming weeks. It will be available nationally from November-January in 6-packs, 12-packs and on draft, priced in line with Newcastle Brown Ale. The launch of Cabbie Black Ale (4.2% abv) will be supported with a national digital campaign, social media and sampling activations, as well as a social responsibility program urging consumers to get home safely during the holiday season.

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