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News Briefs for October 7, 2014

October 7, 2014

•Canadian Club has released an all-rye grain whisky called Canadian Club Chairman’s Select 100% Rye, according to Whisky Advocate. The whisky is aged for seven years at Alberta Distillers, Beam Suntory’s western Canada distillery at Calgary, and then shipped to Walkerville, Ontario, for bottling at 40% abv. The product is priced about $1.50 higher than Canadian Club Premium at retail. Just 70,000 cases will be made available annually, and only in Canada—which may lead to some cross-border shopping, the magazine noted. See the full story in Whisky Advocate.

•Kobrand Wine & Spirits is entering the Washington wine category with the launch of a new brand, Mullan Road Cellars, a project by Dennis Cakebread. Mullan Road’s first wine, a Columbia Valley red blend from the 2012 vintage, is composed of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc and is now available nationally, retailing at $45 a bottle. Mullan Road takes its name from a 611-mile wagon trail into eastern Washington that was built in 1859 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The new brand will focus on small-production, age-worthy Bordeaux-style red blends. Kobrand has represented Napa’s Cakebread Cellars in the Americas since 1987.

•Spirits marketer and distributor Taliera Inc. has launched the super-premium Sugar Skull rum range in the U.S. Made with sugar cane molasses sourced from throughout the Caribbean and South America, Sugar Skull is produced by Caribbean partner distilleries before being brought to the U.S. for filtering, blending and natural flavoring. The brand makes its debut with five entries, including Sugar Skull Tribal Original, Mystic Vanilla, Native Coconut, Madagascar Wild Berry and Hellfire Cinnamon labels. The line-up is priced at around $27.99 a 750-ml. Taliera was founded by beverage industry veteran J. Smoke Wallin in 2006.

•California’s Niven Family Wine Estates is extending its True Myth brand with a new Cabernet Sauvignon offering, beginning with the 2012 vintage. True Myth Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon joins an Edna Valley Chardonnay in the True Myth range, which retails from $14-$25. In addition to True Myth, the Niven Family brand portfolio includes the Baileyana, Tangent, Zocker, Trenza and Cadre labels.

•An expanded New Hampshire Liquor & Wine Outlet is now open for business on Interstate 93 in Hooksett, New Hampshire. The newly revamped store, which opened late last week, is located at Hooksett’s southbound Welcome Center on I-93. It joins a similar unit at the northbound Welcome Center across the road, which launched on September 11. The two remodeled stores each measure 20,000 square feet—more than double the size of the previous units—and their spirits and wine selection has been increased by 50%. The New Hampshire Liquor Commission (NHLC) projects a total sales boost of up to $6 million for the two revamped locations, which would push their combined sales over the $40-million mark. In the NHLC’s most recent fiscal year ended June 30, 2014, the two Hooksett Welcome Center stores posted combined sales of $34.6 million. The NHLC operates 77 stores across New Hampshire, with gross sales hitting a record $626 million last fiscal. Traditionally the NHLC stores have thrived on business from out-of-state customers, mainly from Massachusetts. While Massachusetts legalized Sunday sales a decade ago and eliminated its alcohol sales tax in 2011 in an effort to stem that cross-border buying, the NHLC’s sales have continued to grow.

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