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News Briefs for May 6, 2014

May 6, 2014

•Scottish drinks firm Edrington Group has joined the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS). The announcement follows Edrington’s recent establishment of a wholly-owned U.S. sales, marketing and distribution unit—Edrington Americas—earlier this month, comprised of expanded New York headquarters and regional offices in Miami, Chicago, Dallas and Orange County, CA. Edrington, whose portfolio includes The Macallan, The Famous Grouse, Cutty Sark and Highland Park whiskies, as well as Brugal rum and Snow Leopard vodka, is DISCUS’s 16th member.

•Don Pancho Origenes, a new line of aged rums from Panama, is scheduled to hit the U.S. by late June and initially will be sold in about two dozen states. The rum’s creator, Francisco “Don Pancho” Fernandez, said his 8-year-old expression will retail at $40 a 750-ml., the 18-year-old at $90 and the highly allocated 30-year-old at $425. All three expressions are at 40% abv. Only 2,000 bottles of the 30-year-old are being shipped worldwide, with 150 four-packs targeted for the U.S., according to Fernandez, who signs each bottle by hand. He explained that, while he was running Cuba’s rum industry through the 1980s, on his travels off the island he began laying down barrels of rum in Panama in 1982. He formally emigrated from Cuba in 1993 and six years later acquired the old Las Cabras Distillery in Panama. The importer is Terlato Wines’ Artisan Spirits division.

•Palm Bay International has been appointed exclusive U.S. importer for New Zealand’s Yealands Family Wines. Located in the Marlborough region’s Awatere Valley, Yealands was founded in 2008 by New Zealand entrepreneur Peter Yealands. It’s one of a handful of New World wineries that have been certified as carbon neutral. The Port Washington, New York-based Palm Bay will import the Estate-Grown Peter Yealands Sauvignon Blanc ($15.99), Pinot Gris ($15.99) and Pinot Noir ($18.99); the Yealands Estate Single Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ($24.99) and Pinot Noir ($34.99); and the Yealands Single Block S1 Sauvignon Blanc ($29.99). New Zealand has been one of the U.S. wine market’s fastest-growing categories of late.

•New York-based Cuca Fresca Exports is launching its Cuca Caipirinha ready-to-drink cocktail nationwide this month. The rollout is timed to overlap with the 2014 World Cup, which kicks off June 12 in Brazil. A 30-proof blend of silver cachaça blended with lime flavors, Cuca Caipirinha will be available at retail, priced at $12.99 a 750-ml. Focusing on premium, artisanal cachaças and RTDs, Cuca Fresca’s portfolio also includes its Prata (Silver) Cachaça and Ouro (Gold) Cachaça entries.

•Jack Daniel’s has reportedly dropped its trademark lawsuit against moonshine brand Popcorn Sutton’s. Law360 reports that U.S. District Judge Todd J. Campell granted a joint motion for dismissal of the suit after settlement papers were approved Monday. Details of the settlement haven’t been made public. In the lawsuit, filed last fall, Brown-Forman’s Jack Daniel’s Properties unit asserted that Popcorn Sutton’s 2012 redesign of its bottle—resulting in a square shape with rounded corners, white-on-black labeling and a raised signature—infringed on Jack Daniel’s own trade dress, and asked that the court order Popcorn Sutton to cease using the packaging and all promotional materials of similar design.

•Suerte Tequila, founded by Boulder, Colorado-based entrepreneurs Laurence Spiwak and Lance Sokol in 2012, has expanded distribution statewide in California through a new partnership with Southern Wine & Spirits Artisanal Group. Suerte, which is also available in New York, New Jersey and the Rocky Mountain region, includes small-batch, 100%-agave Blanco ($33), Reposado ($37) and Añejo ($60) variants.

•Panache Beverage has named Thomas Smith as its new CFO, effective April 29. Smith was most recently CFO of Newport International, an import/export distribution and food and beverage company with annual sales of $100 million. The appointment comes less than a week after Panache announced that president and CEO James Dale, COO Agata Podedworny and vice president of sales Sjoerd de Jong were stepping down, with managing director Michael Romer filling the president and CEO post on an interim basis. Meanwhile, Panache has unveiled a new Old South moonshine brand in Florida, with expectations of expanding the new label to more markets in the near future. The company is also in the process of installing a second bottling line at its Florida distillery, which will double its bottling capacity to 1 million cases a year.

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