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

News Briefs for November 14, 2014

November 14, 2014

•Diageo has officially launched Piehole, a new range of flavored Canadian whisky-based liqueurs. Debuting with a trio of Apple Pie, Cherry Pie and Pecan Pie expressions, Piehole is made with a blend of flavored whiskies aged between four and eight years and is bottled in Canada. The 35%-abv entries, which are targeted toward the shot occasion, will retail for around $14.99 a 750-ml. Piehole joins Crown Royal and Seagram’s V.O. in Diageo’s existing Canadian whisky stable.

•Beverage alcohol delivery provider Drizly is expanding its Colorado presence with entry into the Boulder and Vail markets, with Boulder online now and Vail slated to open November 21, the first day of ski season. Drizly said its strong reception in the Denver market—which it entered in July—convinced it to expand beyond the metro area in Colorado. In addition to Colorado, Drizly is currently powering beverage alcohol delivery via its smartphone app and website in Boston, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Austin, Indianapolis and Seattle.

•Philip di Belardino, a long-time wine executive and well known figure in the world of fine wine, died in New York on November 12 from complications related to diabetes. He was 68. Di Belardino’s career in the wine business began in 1973 with Mediterranean Imports, an import company founded by his late father. The company was later sold to Palace Brands, a division of Heublein—a forerunner of today’s Diageo North America. Di Belardino worked at Palace Brands for many years, rising to become vice president of fine wines. He joined Banfi as vice president of fine wines in 1999. Di Belardino’s most recent role at Banfi was as Artisan Vino Specialist for Cru Artisan Wines, the company’s luxury portfolio.

•Private equity firm Metropoulos & Co. has completed its sale of Pabst Brewing Co. While the price wasn’t disclosed, the new owner—Blue Ribbon Intermediate Holdings, LLC—is said to have paid approximately $700 million for the 170-year-old Pabst. Blue Ribbon is a partnership between entrepreneur Eugene Kashper and San Francisco-based private equity group TSG Consumer Partners. Kashper, who began his brewing industry career 20 years ago with The Stroh Brewery Co., and went on to create a number of beverage companies—including, most recently, Cyprus-based Oasis Beverages—has been named Pabst’s chairman and CEO. Kashper, who immigrated to the U.S. from the Soviet Union as a child and subsequently became an American citizen, is now in the process of relocating from New York to Los Angeles, where Pabst is headquartered.

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