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News Briefs for August 25, 2015

August 25, 2015

•Russian state-owned group FTE Sojuzplodoimport has renewed its fight asserting ownership of the Stolichnaya vodka brand. Legal journal Law360 reports that the state-owned company is pursuing infringement claims against SPI Group, whose Stoli Group USA markets the vodka label in the U.S., among others, despite its previous challenge being dismissed because a federal judge determined FTE was not a legal representative of the Russian Federation. Following that decision, the Russian Federation formally transferred rights to Stolichnaya to FTE in Russia so that it could pursue the trademark challenge abroad. After hearing oral arguments, a three-judge appeals panel in Manhattan reserved its ruling.

•The Glenmorangie Company posted operating profit of £18 million ($28m) on a 17% sales rise to £82 million ($130m) last year, with its Glenmorangie and Ardbeg single malts leading the way. Profit growth came in at 8% for the year, according to new Companies House figures cited by the Scotsman. The solid progress for the Moët Hennessy subsidiary came despite destocking by distributors in China. In the U.S., the Glenmorangie brand increased 12% to 120,000 cases last year, according to Impact Databank.

•Washington’s Goose Ridge Vineyards, part of the Vintage Point portfolio, is debuting a new brand, Tall Sage Wines, at the $10 price point. Created as a tribute to Goose Ridge patriarch Arvid Monson, who passed away last December, Tall Sage includes a 2014 Columbia Valley Chardonnay, Red Blend and Cabernet Sauvignon. The wines are rolling out in Washington now, with national distribution to follow next year.

•Sasha Petraske, founder of influential New York City cocktail bar Milk & Honey, died Friday of undetermined causes, according to the New York Times. He was 42. Petraske, who opened Milk & Honey on the Lower East Side in 1999, was known for his focus on classic, pre-Prohibition-style cocktails, and is widely credited with helping to re-establish a serious cocktail culture in the U.S. In addition to Milk & Honey—which relocated and eventually shuttered in 2014—Petraske was involved with a variety of similarly cocktail-focused bars, including Little Branch, Dutch Kills and Middle Branch in New York; the Varnish in Los Angeles; the Everleigh in Melbourne, Australia; and a second iteration of Milk & Honey in London.

•375 Park Avenue Spirits, a division of Sazerac, is launching Arranta Cask, a new offering under the Speyburn single malt Scotch brand. Exclusive to the U.S. market, Arranta Cask ($40) was created using first-fill American oak ex-Bourbon casks that were air-dried rather than kiln-dried, resulting in more residual moisture and flavor, the company says. The 92-proof whisky joins a Speyburn range that includes Bradan Orach, 10-year-old and 25-year-old expressions.

•Anchor Distilling has appointed Morgan Robbat as vice president of marketing. Robbat joins the San Francisco-based Anchor from Moët Hennessy USA, where she most recently served as brand director for Chandon.

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