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News Briefs for August 4, 2016

August 4, 2016

•MGP Ingredients’ net sales declined 5% to $157 million in the first half owing to a decrease in “lower-margin distillery product lines,” but operating income grew 21% to $20 million on brisk sales of higher-margin premium beverage alcohol products. President and CEO Gus Griffin said strong demand for Bourbon and rye whiskies continued in the second quarter, while MGP saw softness in its industrial alcohol business. Griffin added that MGP invested $6.5 million in the second quarter to build its inventory of aging whiskey. In addition to its contract distilling business, MGP launched its own Till American Wheat vodka ($25) earlier this year and says it’s been pleased with the early results.

•Beam Suntory is launching a new Laphroaig single malt whisky expression called Cairdeas Madeira in limited quantities around the U.S. this month. Carrying no age statement, the whisky was aged first in ex-Bourbon barrels and then underwent a second maturation in Madeira seasoned casks before it was bottled at 51.6% abv. The suggested retail is $74.99 a 750-ml. bottle. The whisky was created by distillery manager John Campbell.

•Beverage alcohol delivery provider Drizly has raised $15 million in Series B financing, led by Polaris Partners along with existing investors. The sum, which will be used to drive expansion plans and brand awareness both in the U.S. and abroad, brings the company’s total funding to $32.8 million. Launched in 2013, Drizly—which allows consumers to order beer, wine and spirits online or via mobile app and promises delivery within 20-40 minutes—currently operates across 23 markets in the U.S. and Canada. Earlier this year, Drizly, in which the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America holds a minority stake, told SND it plans to grow to around 30 markets by the end of 2016.

•Evan Cattanach, master distiller, Scotch whisky evangelist and one of the industry’s most renowned figures for many decades, has passed away at age 80. Whisky Advocate has the full story on Cattanach and his life’s work.

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