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

News Briefs for August 18, 2014

August 18, 2014

•Pabst Brewing is set to relaunch classic beer brand Ballantine IPA in select U.S. markets next month, reports USA Today. First produced by New Jersey’s Ballantine Brewing Co. in 1878, the original Ballantine IPA was discontinued in the 1970s, with a reformulated version available through the mid 1990s. Pabst plans to roll out the original brew across nine northeastern and mid-Atlantic markets, including New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland, in both six-pack and 750-ml. bottle formats. Ballantine IPA—which joins the brewer’s core Pabst label, as well as its Schlitz, Old Milwaukee and Lone Star beer brands, among others—is intended to help Pabst Brewing bring more craft beer consumers into the fold. Pabst, which is currently owned by private equity Metropoulos and Co., has been rumored to be on the selling block. The company’s core Blue Ribbon beer rose 7% to 35 million cases in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank.

•Asheville, North Carolina’s Biltmore Estate Wine Company has unveiled new packaging for its American Series wines. The new label features a rendering of the Biltmore House and the signature of founder George Vanderbilt. The family-owned winery’s “American grown, North Carolina produced” messaging also debuts this month for the series, which includes Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon ($12.99-$18.99). The Biltmore portfolio also includes the North Carolina-appellated Biltmore Reserve collection and California-appellated Vanderbilt Reserve collection. Overall, the company produces more than 150,000 cases annually.

•Hong Kong-based Branded Spirits has extended distribution of its line of small-batch artisanal liquors to the Chicago market. Already distributed in Texas, Nevada, Illinois, Tennessee and Kentucky, the company is looking to have a dozen states covered by the end of the year. The portfolio includes Ice Fox vodka ($19.99), Hana gin ($19.99), Motu rum ($19.99), HM The King blended Scotch whisky ($24.99), Majesté XO Cognac ($109.99) and Majesté VSOP ($47.99). The line is imported by Branded Spirits and Treasure Island Distillery.

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