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News Briefs for December 13, 2016

December 13, 2016

•Whisky Advocate has named Yoichi Single Malt as its Japanese Whisky of the Year. Yoichi Single Malt is 45% abv and retails at $80 a bottle. Whisky Advocate is announcing its annual award winners from across 11 different whisky segments one day at a time on its blog through December 19. The awards will culminate with the naming of a Lifetime Achievement honoree on December 20 and the Distiller of the Year announcement on December 21.

•Kobrand Corp. has acquired Joto Sake LLC for an undisclosed sum, and will begin marketing the Joto portfolio effective January 1. Founded in 2005 by Henry Sidel, a veteran of Brooklyn Brewery and Millennium Imports, Joto’s range includes its namesake label, as well as fellow premium sake brands Eiko Fuji, Izumo Fuji, Watari Bune, Taiheikai, Hou Hou Shu, Chikurin, Seikyo, Maboroshi, Yuki No Bosha, Yuri Masamune, Fuku Chitose and Shichi Hon Yari. Joto’s portfolio skews toward the high end, averaging around $35 a 720-ml. bottle.

•Sonoma-based V2 Wine Group has announced a new partnership with Dundee, Oregon’s Joe Dobbes Collection. Under the agreement, which takes effect January 1, 2017, V2 will handle sales and marketing for the Joe Dobbes lineup throughout the U.S. Sourcing grapes from select vineyards predominantly in the Willamette and Rogue Valleys, the Dobbes portfolio includes Wine By Joe, Dobbes Family Estate and Jovino brands. Dobbes Family Estate is the company’s luxury label, while Wine By Joe is a value-priced Oregon appellation brand and Jovino is devoted to restaurant accounts. Dobbes is one of the largest producers in Oregon, with 214 acres of estate vineyards. V2 president Dan Leese recently told SND the company’s goal is to double its sales—currently around 600,000 cases and $65 million—within five years.

•After paying more than $100 billion to acquire SABMiller, Anheuser-Busch InBev (ABI) has agreed to sell SABMiller’s Central and Eastern European business to Asahi for €7.3 billion ($7.7b). The sale—mandated by E.U. regulators as a condition for approval of ABI’s purchase of SABMiller—includes SABMiller’s operations in Poland, Czech Republic (where SABMiller’s Pilsner Urquell is the top-selling brew), Slovakia, Hungary and Romania. Asahi, Japan’s leading brewer, paid more than expected, as analysts had been valuing SABMiller’s Central and Eastern European business at around $6.5 billion.

•Proximo Spirits will introduce a new raspberry flavor under its Jose Cuervo Authentic Margarita brand next February. The new offering joins Pink Lemonade, Mango, Strawberry Lime, Classic Margarita, Grapefruit Tangerine, Coconut Pineapple, Watermelon, Lime Light and White Peach Light in the premade cocktail brand’s lineup. Raspberry Margarita (19.9 proof) will be available in 1.75-liter bottles nationwide for about $15.99. Jose Cuervo Authentic Margarita, an Impact “Hot Brand,” sells more than 1.25 million nine-liter cases annually in the U.S.

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