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News Briefs for October 15, 2014

October 15, 2014

•Sir Peter Michael, who made his fortune in high-tech before pursuing a dream to build a world-class winery in California, is the recipient of Wine Spectator’s Distinguished Service Award for 2014. He will accept the award at the New York Wine Experience on October 18Wine Spectator has the full story.

•Trinchero Family Estates has added new wines under its Ménage à Trois brand, including a Prosecco and a dark red blend called Midnight. Ménage à Trois Prosecco DOC is made from 100% Glera grapes and retails at $14.99 a 750-ml. Midnight, meanwhile, is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot that is positioned at $12.99. The Prosecco and dark red blend launch on the heels of another recent extension to the Ménage à Trois stable—its line of vodkas including Straight, Triple Berry and Triple Citrus, which debuted in June at $24.99 a bottle.

William Grant & Sons is releasing three upscale additions to its Balvenie single malt Scotch whisky brand this month: Tun 1509, Single Barrel Traditional Oak Aged 25 Years, and The Balvenie Fifty Cask 4567. Tun 1509 was created from 42 casks selected by Balvenie malt master David Stewart. The resulting blend was bottled at a natural strength of 47.1% abv and is priced at $350. Single Barrel Traditional Oak Aged 25 Years is a limited edtion of 300 hand-numbered bottles, each of which is 47.8% abv and retails at $599. The Balvenie Fifty Cask 4567, meanwhile, is a Sherry oak-aged expression presented in handblown glass, with only 131 bottles produced and 15 headed to the U.S. Cask 4567 carries an abv of 45.4% and a retail price of $38,000.

•Pernod Ricard’s Chivas Brothers has extended its Chivas Regal blended Scotch brand with a new super-premium offshoot. Rolling out this month, Chivas Regal Extra marks the brand’s first global release since the debut of Chivas 25-year-old in 2007. The 40%-abv addition, which is made with a blend of select whiskies and matured in Oloroso Sherry casks. Chivas Regal Extra is the fifth entry in Chivas Regal’s core portfolio, positioned between Chivas 12 and Chivas 18. For Pernod’s most recent fiscal year, ended in June, Chivas Regal was down 7% by volume to 4.6 million cases globally.

•San Francisco-based Anchor Distilling Co. is launching Berry Bros. & Rudd’s Blue Hangar 10th Limited Release blended malt whisky exclusively in the U.S. this month. At just 4,398 bottles, Blue Hangar 10th Limited Release is made with whiskies from a variety of distilleries, including Bunnahabhain 1987, Bunna Moine 2007, Mortlach 1997, Bunnahabhain 1988, Westport 1996 and a 2007 blended malt comprised of Bunnahabhain, Glenallachie, Glenfarclas, Glengoyne and Tamdhu. The 45.6%-abv entry, which is priced at $99.99 a bottle, marks the second Blue Hangar edition launched in the the U.S. In addition to Blue Hangar, Anchor handles Berry Bros. & Rudd’s No.3 London Dry Gin, The Glenrothes Single Malt Whisky and The King’s Ginger Liqueur brands.

•Heineken USA has inked a long-term deal to become the offical beer sponsor of Major League Soccer (MLS) beginning next January. The value of the sponsorship agreement was undisclosed, but Wall Street Journal reported that it’s a five-year accord worth more than $50 million. The deal includes exclusive rights to MLS content, and will be extended with individual MLS club deals to be announced at a later date. As the official beer of MLS, Heineken will be visibly featured during national broadcast matches, on-site and digital activations and point-of-sale materials. The Dutch lager replaces Budweiser as MLS’s official beer sponsor. The MLS has the third-highest average attendance of any U.S. sports league and the highest percentage of Hispanic and Millenial audience of any major U.S. sport, Heineken says. The move complements Heineken’s sponsorship of the UEFA Champions League (UCL) soccer organization.

•Eugene, Oregon’s King Estate Winery has promoted Rick Durette to senior vice president of global sales. Durette had previously served as the winery’s vice president of national sales, overseeing all domestic sales through national distributor partnerships, since joining the company in January 2013. In his new role, Durette will look to expand King Estate’s international presence, which currently extends to 40 countries. King’s Acrobat label is an Impact “Hot Prospect,” up 26% to 100,000 cases in the U.S. last year.


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