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

News Briefs for July 2, 2015

July 2, 2015

•Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf is expected to veto a bill passed by the state legislature that would privatize the Keystone State’s retail wine and spirits monopoly. The congressional plan would phase out Pennsylvania’s roughly 600 state-owned wine and spirits shops and instead offer wine and spirits licenses to about 14,000 other vendors, while also relinquishing Pennsylvania’s control of the wholesale wine and spirits business.

•Total Wine & More has expanded its presence in central Florida, opening a store today in Altamonte Springs at 160 E. Altamonte Drive. The new Altamonte location joins two existing Total Wine locations in nearby Orlando. In all, Total Wine now has 24 stores across the Sunshine State. In addition to the Altamonte unveiling, the retail chain recently opened new locations in Long Beach, California; Manchester, Connecticut; and Sunset Valley, Texas.

•Heaven Hill Brands has launched upscale American whiskey label Pikesville Straight Rye, which retails at around $50 a bottle. A six-year-old, 110-proof whiskey, Pikesville is distilled at Heaven Hill’s Bernheim Distillery in Louisville and aged in its rickhouses in Bardstown, Kentucky. The super-premium entry takes its name from a historic Maryland brand dating back to 1895, and features a mashbill of at least 51% rye, as well as corn and malted barley.

•Forbes magazine’s 2015 list of the richest families in the U.S. includes two new members from the drinks industry: the Frank and Trinchero families. According to Forbes, the Trinchero family fortune—built on the success of wine brands like Sutter Home and Ménage à Trois—now stands at $1.9 billion, placing it 134th among America’s richest clans. Meanwhile, the Franks, benefiting from late patriarch Sidney Frank’s creation of Grey Goose vodka (now owned by Bacardi), have a net worth of $1.5 billion, ranking them 163rd on the Forbes list.

•California wine brand Qupé has added a new Blends Tier to its range. Featuring a pair of Central Coast-sourced blends, the Blends Tier includes A Modern White, which mixes Viognier, Chardonnay and Marsanne and is limited to 2,500 cases; and A Modern Red, made with Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre and limited to 7,000 cases. Both labels are priced at around $16.99 a bottle. Qupé, which is part of the Terroir Inc. portfolio, also produces Single Vineyard/Estate, Reserve and Core tiers.

•Four Roses Bourbon master distiller Jim Rutledge has announced plans to retire, effective September 1. Following his departure, Rutledge—who has been in the Bourbon business with Seagram and Four Roses for 49 years and has been Four Roses master distiller for more than 20 years—plans to remain involved with the brand as master distiller emeritus. He will be succeeded by current Four Roses operations director Brent Elliott.


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