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

News Briefs for January 30, 2015

January 30, 2015

•Epic Wines & Spirits, the Capitola, California-based wine distributor owned by Bill Foley of Foley Family Wines, has added Burgundy’s Domaines Albert Bichot to its stable. Family-owned for six generations, Domaines Albert Bichot’s holdings span four estates across Chablis, Cote de Nuits, Cote de Beaune and Cote Chalonnaise, all cultivated using sustainable practices. Effective immediately, Epic Wines & Spirits will begin handling a variety of Albert Bichot wines—including its Bourgogne Chardonnay Vieilles Vignes, Bourgogne Pinot Noir Vieilles Vignes, Cremant de Bourgogne, Cremant Rose de Bourgogne, Pouilly Fuissé, Macon Villages and Saint-Veran labels—in the California market. Epic Wines & Spirits was established in 1995 and acquired by Foley in 2013.

•Charleston, South Carolina-based Island Club Brands, manufacturer and distributor of Chicken Cock American Whiskey and General Beauregard Dixie Southern Vodka, has relaunched as Grain and Barrel Spirits to consolidate its spirits holdings. With a focus on craft products and brands with significant history, the company will “be doubling down in key markets, with plans for increasing distribution and sales at the ground level,” says Grain and Barrel Spirits founder Matti Anttila, who launched the Cabana cachaca brand in the U.S. in 2006. Fifteen-year industry veteran Kevin Testa, who has previously worked for Diageo and E.&J. Gallo Winery, will lead those efforts as managing partner, overseeing day-to-day operations. The 159-year-old Chicken Cock American Whiskey brand was revived by the company in 2013 and has since grown to $2 million in sales through regional efforts in the Southeast and Upper Midwest.

•Bacardi Ltd. has named Paolo Perego as its new regional president for Europe. A 25-year spirits industry veteran, Perego joined Bacardi in 2012 and most recently served as regional president for Latin America and Caribbean. Prior to joining Bacardi he spent 20 years with Gruppo Campari, including as COO for North America. Perego succeeds Stefan Bomhard who has decided to leave Bacardi to accept the role of chief executive officer of Inchcape PLC, a leading global premium automotive group. Bomhard will stay with Bacardi through the end of March to assist in the leadership transition.

•Napa-based Mira Winery has appointed industry veteran Mark Carnucci as director of national sales. Carnucci, who has 20 years’ experience in the wine business, was previously state manager of the Massachusetts and Rhode Island markets at Kobrand. In his new role he will look to continue the growth trajectory for Mira, which was formed in 2009 by former Robert Mondavi winemaker Gustavo Gonzalez and Jim “Bear” Dyke, Jr., a former communications advisor in the administration of President George W. Bush. Currently, Mira’s Napa wines are present in 16 states, as well as Canada and Mexico.

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