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

News Briefs for June 7, 2016

June 7, 2016

•William Grant & Sons’ Sailor Jerry rum is marking the Fourth of July holiday with a new limited edition bottle. Rolling out this month, the black bottle features pin-up imagery from tattoo artist Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins, as well as patriotic symbols such as an eagle and stars. The commemorative packaging will be available nationwide by July 4, retailing at $15.99 a 750-ml. After years of solid growth, Sailor Jerry’s U.S. volume slipped 4.6% to 718,000 cases last year, according to Impact Databank.

•Bulldog gin has created a new Americas unit, to be helmed by industry veteran Chester Brandes as managing director. The new division, which will devote particular focus to the on-premise, will be responsible for driving Bulldog’s commercial strategy in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Latin America and the Caribbean. Bulldog Americas will work in tandem with Gruppo Campari, which in 2013 obtained distribution rights and a call option to acquire the brand in 2020. Bulldog was founded by former investment banker Anshuman Vohra, who remains CEO. Brandes was most recently CEO of Imperial Brands, known for its Sobieski vodka.

•Guarachi Wine Partners is introducing Aila, a new wine brand from Chile’s Leyda Valley. Aila, launching in select U.S. markets this month, includes a Sauvignon Blanc ($15) and a Pinot Noir ($17). The limited-production Aila brand joins a Guarachi portfolio that includes Black Ink, Bodega Norton, Montes, Guarachi Family Wines, La Domitienne, Santa Ema and Tensley Wines, among other labels.

•The Hidden Sea, an upscale wine brand from South Australia’s Limestone Coast, is launching this summer in a handful of key U.S. markets. Imported by MHW Ltd., The Hidden Sea line includes a Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz and Chardonnay, all retailing at around $25 a bottle. The brand is debuting first in New York, distributed by Southern Wine & Spirits, with Boston, Baltimore, Washington, D.C. and New Haven, Connecticut to follow in July, and a Miami rollout slated for October.

•Auction Napa Valley, in its 36th year, was the capstone to a weekend of fundraising events held by the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV)—four days that brought in $14.3 million for local nonprofits focused on community health and children’s education. Though that’s less than last year’s mark of $15.8 million and 2014’s record $18.7 million, the event continues to be the nation’s top charity wine event. Since its inception in 1981, Auction Napa Valley has given more than $150 million to charities. Wine Spectator has more.

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