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News Briefs for February 6, 2014

February 6, 2014

•Diageo has tacked on another 2.4% to its existing stake in India’s United Spirits Ltd. (USL). With that transaction, which happened late last week, Diageo now holds a 28.8% controlling stake in USL, India’s dominant spirits producer, which had annual volume of 125 million cases in 2012, according to Impact Databank. A portion of Diageo’s ownership—about 6.9% of USL—is still being reviewed in the Indian court system. Creditors to debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines—part of former USL parent UBHL—won an appeal to nix Diageo’s play for the 6.9% in December, and the matter is now headed to the country’s Supreme Court.

•Zeiler Spirits’ Coldcock American Whiskey is adding several new markets in the first quarter, including Arizona, Maryland and Washington, D.C. in January, with Texas, Colorado, North Dakota and South Dakota to follow. The expansion will bring Coldcock’s footprint to 15 U.S. markets. The herbal whiskey brand ($19.99 a 750-ml.), which is targeting music and extreme sports events with its marketing, launched last September and sold 7,000 cases through December.

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