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

News Briefs for November 5, 2014

November 5, 2014

•New York-based wine and spirits company Sovereign Brands has sold its interest in the Armand de Brignac Champagne brand to a group led by rapper and entrepreneur Shawn “Jay Z” Carter. Financial details were undisclosed. Known as the “Ace of Spades” Champagne, Armand de Brignac is produced by Champagne Cattier and has been associated with Jay Z since 2006. Jay Z also endorses Bacardi’s d’Usse Cognac brand.

•Novato, California’s Square One Organic Spirits is launching new citrus-based vodka Square One Bergamot to select markets ahead of a national rollout next February. Grown predominantly in southern Italy and along the Mediterranean Sea, the bergamot is a sour orange with a peel that is floral and tangy, the company says. The unfiltered vodka is created by layering the citrus with essential oils of pressed mandarin, navel and tangerine oranges and the essences of ginger, coriander and juniper botanicals. Square One Bergamot is currently available in California, Illinois and Missouri at $35 a 750-ml. bottle and $4.99 a 50-ml. bottle.

•Oregon and Alaska voted to legalize recreational marijuana use in yesterday’s elections, following in the footsteps of Washington and Colorado, which voted for legalization in the 2012 election cycle. Oregon and Alaska are expected to see the opening of marijuana retail shops by 2016—stores that are similar those now operating in Washington and Colorado. Pot opponents in Oregon have vowed to take their fight to the state legislature, where they will push for strict regulation. Elsewhere, Washington, D.C. approved a proposal to legalize marijuana possession but not retail sales in a vote that’s subject to Congressional review. In Florida, a referendum to legalize medical marijuana failed. And in Maine, the town of Lewiston rejected a proposal to legalize small quantities of marijuana, while a similar measure passed in South Portland.

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