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News Briefs for January 5, 2015

January 5, 2015

•Serge Gaston Hochar, the legendary co-owner of Chateau Musar, president of the Lebanese Institut de la Vigne et du Vin, and passionate ambassador for Lebanese wines, died Dec. 31, 2014, Wine Spectator reports. Hochar was on a trip to Acapulco, Mexico, with his family to celebrate his recent 75th birthday when he died in a swimming accident. While primarily focused on red wine, Chateau Musar also produces white wine from vines that are 100 to 150 years old. In all, the winery produces 58,000 cases a year. In addition to his career in wine, Hochar was founder and CEO of a real-estate development company in Lebanon. He is survived by his wife, Tania, two sons, a daughter and seven grandchildren. He worked with his sons Gaston and Marc at Musar, as well as his brother Ronald and nephew Ralph.

•Jacksonville, Florida-based International Spirits LLC has formed a new board of directors and unveiled a new strategic plan. The owner and importer of Ivanabitch Vodka, Gin and Brandy is looking to position itself as the first African American-owned vertically-integrated alcoholic beverage company in the U.S., with certification as a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) expected in the second half of 2015. The company will also seek to acquire additional brands while supporting Ivanabitch as well as portfoliomates Palmetto Moonshine, Palmetto Whiskey, Topper’s Rum and Diva Tequila. Executive vice president, sales and marketing, Greg Pierce will be tasked with expanding International Spirits’ brand portfolio and distribution network, currently at 31 states, Canada and the Caribbean. The Ivanabitch Vodka line will be streamlined with a focus on its top-sellers, such as the Original 80-proof, and two new flavors will be introduced in the year ahead.

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