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

News Briefs for February 24, 2016

February 24, 2016

•Jay Maltby, former CEO of Cruzan International and partner in Angel’s Envy, has launched The Espiritus Group, a new sales and marketing company for artisan spirits. Partnering with a $30 million spirits venture fund, Espiritus will invest between $3-$10 million each on promising spirits brands. The company, based in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, currently holds national distribution rights to brands including Blue Nectar Tequila, Corner Creek Reserve Bourbon, Purus Organic Wheat Italian Vodka and Virginia Distillery Company Highland Malt Whisky.

•A. Hardy USA is rolling out a new small-batch rum from the Dominican Republic, Vizcaya Black Rum, in the U.S. market. Crafted using the traditional Guarapa method with pressed sugar cane juices, the 40%-abv offering is aged for 12 to 21 years in charred oak barrels. A. Hardy says the rum is meant to serve the growing demand for black rums in the U.S., as seen in the tiki cocktail trend. Vizcaya Black Rum is available nationwide at $28.99 a 750-ml. bottle.

•Barrymore Wines, the wine brand created by actress Drew Barrymore in collaboration with Jackson Family’s Carmel Road, will extend with a rosé of Pinot Noir offering this May. Retailing at around $18 a bottle, the rosé will join an existing Barrymore Pinot Grigio and Drew’s Blend Pinot Noir within the Barrymore-Carmel Road partnership.

•Cooper’s Hawk, the decade-old restaurant chain that makes its own wine, has a new agreement to open its 28th location in the Chicago suburb of St. Charles by the summer of 2017. The company also has deals pending for locations in Naples, Florida, and Reston, Virginia. Other recent expansion has come in Missouri, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.

•Frederick Wildman & Sons has appointed Greg Taylor as head of its wholesale division, which operates in metro and upstate New York as well as New Jersey. Taylor, a 19-year company veteran who will now take the title of senior vice president, Frederick Wildman & Sons, Ltd., previously led Wildman’s upstate New York wholesale unit as general manager.

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