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News Briefs for May 23, 2014

May 23, 2014

•Don St. Pierre, Jr. is stepping down as executive chairman of ASC Fine Wines, China’s leading wine importer, but will remain on the company’s board. Concurrently, St. Pierre has been appointed senior advisor to Suntory Wine International Ltd. (SWI), ASC’s parent group. St. Pierre, who co-founded ASC with his father in 1996, will relocate from Shanghai to San Diego, California, and work closely with the SWI leadership team on global business strategy, with the goal of expanding SWI’s presence in the global wine market. He will also continue to provide counsel to ASC CEO John Watkins and his team in China.

•Diageo’s newly launched Orphan Barrel Whiskey Distilling Company is releasing a third expression of its craft Bourbon nationwide in limited quantities. The new whiskey, named Rhetoric, will be progressively aged and released over the coming years, with its inaugural 20-year-old Kentucky Straight Bourbon launching in June, and a 21-year-old expression set for release in 2015. The initial 45%-abv offering will be available in limited supply for a suggested retail price of $85 a 750-ml. bottle. Stocks of Rhetoric were found in warehouses at the Stitzel-Weller facility in Louisville, Kentucky and it was bottled at Orphan Barrel’s headquarters in Tullahoma, Tennessee. Rhetoric joins Orphan Barrel’s 20-year-old Barterhouse and 26-year-old Old Blowhard whiskies.

•California winemaker B.R. Cohn is releasing a new ultra-premium wine called Gold Label Cabernet Sauvignon to select markets around the U.S. Blending grapes from the family’s Olive Hill Estate vineyard in Sonoma Valley with fruit from other Napa and Sonoma sites, Gold Label is the winery’s first new wine available for distribution in several years, originally reported in SND March 7. Napa Valley fruit from appellations like Howell Mountain, Spring Mountain and Atlas Peak represents 67% of the blend, while 33% is from Sonoma County with grapes from Chalk Hill and Alexander Valley as well as B.R. Cohn Olive Hill estate. Gold Label Cabernet Sauvignon has a suggested retail price of $40.

•CIL US Wine & Spirits, the U.S. subsidiary of Cognac producer Camus Wine & Spirits, has partnered with Canada’s Domaine Pinnacle for the U.S. release of Ungava Canadian Premium Gin. Launched in 2012, Ungava has grown to reach 60 counties and will be available in Florida, Tennessee and Kentucky in June, with expansion to 18 states anticipated by the end of the year. Ungava is distilled in northern Québec and is made in small batches with six botanicals handpicked by the native Inuit tribe for a yellow coloring, according to the company. Ungava Canadian Premium Gin is 43.1% abv and will retail for about $32.99 a 750-ml. bottle.

•Heaven Hill Distilleries is extending Evan Williams Bourbon with the summer release of Evan Williams Kentucky Slush to select test markets. The 12.5%-abv pre-mixed cocktail is made with the brand’s Bourbon along with Lemonade, Orange Juice and Sweet Tea flavors and will retail for about $14.99 a 1.75-liter bottle. Running under the marketing tagline of “For Seriously Refreshing Bourbon … Just Chill,” Kentucky Slush will be available June through August in Colorado, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia. Evan Williams Bourbon earned 2013 Impact “Hot Brand” honors with 15% growth to 1.65 million cases for the year.

•Devotion Spirits is debuting a new tea flavor for its line of vodkas, Tiki Tea. Billed as gluten-free and sugar-free vodka made 100% from corn, Tiki Tea joins Devotion’s range of flavors that includes Wild Cherry, Coconut, Blood Orange, Black & Blue and the Perfect Cosmo. The new flavor will be launched over Memorial Day weekend in New Jersey, with a phased national rollout throughout this summer and fall. Devotion partnered with Allen Flavors, the maker of Arizona Iced Tea, for flavoring within its vodka range, which retails for $19.99. In January, Devotion Spirits announced nationwide distributions plans and can now be found at retailers such as Publix, Kroger, Albertsons, Whole Foods and Total Wine & More, among others.

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