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Craft Brewing and Distilling News for November 12, 2014

November 12, 2014

•A Chicago retailer called Ezra’s, which focuses exclusively on craft spirits, has launched from a North Side storefront and an eponymous Internet address. The company is owned by twin brothers Parker and Adam Newman as well as Scott Reich, all aged 29. Their initial portfolio of 125 spirits will be available to customers in more than 40 states. Featured names include Journeyman Distillery of Three Oaks, Michigan; Balcones Distilling of Waco, Texas; Massachussetts-based Berkshire Mountain Distillers; Breuckelen Distillery of Brooklyn, New York; and FEW Spirits of Evanston, Illinois. Ezra’s offers no mainstream spirits brands. The eclectic web site includes recipes, videos and interviews with master distillers.

•Portland, Oregon’s Breakside Brewery is releasing two new craft offerings, a sour ale called La Tormenta and winter seasonal Imperial Red. La Tormenta, marking the brewery’s final bottle release of the year, is a returning 7%-abv Northwest-style sour ale made with a blend of citrusy, fruity hops, the company says. It will be available through January 2015. Breakside Imperial Red (8% abv) is a draft-only release brewed with Columbus, Amarillo, Simcoe and Cascade hops. Breakside beers can be found on draft and in 22-ounce bottles in Oregon, Seattle, Denver, Hawaii and British Columbia, and expansion plans next year include the introduction of six-packs of 12-ounce bottles.

•Louisville, Kentucky-based Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. is entering Georgia via a new partnership with Savannah Distributing Co. Copper & Kings’ full portfolio—including its Absinthe Blanche ($54.99 a 750-ml.), Craft Distilled Brandy ($34.99) and Immature Brandy ($29.99)—will be available in the market. The entry into Georgia brings Copper & Kings’ footprint to eight states, joining Kentucky, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, Ohio and Tennessee. Copper & Kings American Brandy Co. specializes in non-chill filtered, copper pot-distilled American brandy aged in Bourbon barrels.

•Rochester, New York craft producer Black Button Distilling is launching its first Bourbon offering, Little Barrel Bourbon. Debuting in a limited release of 1,400 375-ml. bottles that will retail at $40 each, Little Barrel will be hitting retail shelves on December 1. The company, which also produces Citrus Forward gin, Apple Pie moonshine and Wheat vodka, recently extended availability to New York City (through Blue Print Brands) and says it’s negotiating distribution deals in 10 additional states. Black Button is also planning a “Big Barrel” Bourbon for next year.

•Charleston, South Carolina’s Striped Pig Distillery has released three new small-batch craft spirits in its home state. Striped Spiced Rum ($24.99) is a spiced version of the company’s original Striped Rum, while its Striped Whiskey is made with locally grown corn and matured with charred barrel staves. Striped Gin ($26.99), meanwhile, is billed as a less juniper-forward gin, designed to appeal to those who don’t normally consider themselves gin drinkers. These three latest offerings join Striped Shine, Striped Rum and Striped Vodka in the micro-distiller’s portfolio.

•Portland, Oregon-based Indio Spirits has launched Indio Hopka, a new “hop liqueur” intended to appeal to both craft beer and spirits consumers. Made with a grain distillate and a blend of Citra and Cascade hops, Indio Hopka ($26.99) is packaged in a hinge-top 750-ml. bottle and features a beer-inspired label. The 40%-abv hybrid offering, which can be consumed in a mixed drink, as a shot or over ice, is currently available across Oregon and Washington. Established in 2004, Indio Spirits’ portfolio also includes Indio Silver, Marionberry, Lemongrass-Lime and Blood Orange vodkas; Snake River Stampede Canadian whiskey; James Oliver Rye and American whiskey; Cricket Club gin; Barrel Room rum and Curaçao; and Red Island Finger Lime rum and Spiced rum.

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