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News Briefs for June 27, 2017

June 27, 2017

•Hennessy is debuting a new limited-edition bottle for its XO Cognac created by industrial designer Marc Newson. Rolling out to retailers next month, the Newson-designed Hennessy XO bottle retails at $200. Hennessy surged 22% to 3.7 million cases in the U.S. last year, helping to drive the Cognac market—of which it comprises roughly two-thirds—to new heights.

•Auction house Acker Merrall & Condit has reported sales of $45 million for the first half of 2017, marking a 50% increase on the same period last year. Momentum was boosted by Acker Merrall’s final first half sale, held June 20-21 in New York City. The two-day event, which raked in more than $5 million, was highlighted by a 12-bottle original wooden crate of 2000 Petrus sold for $46,930, an 8-bottle lot of 1978 G. Roumier Bonnes Mares sold for $43,225 and a 12-bottle case of 1990 Petrus sold for $39,520, among others. Acker Merrall’s next two auctions are slated to take place September 9 in New York City and September 23 in Hong Kong.

•Kansas-based distiller MGP Ingredients has announced plans to expand distribution of its Till American Wheat Vodka. Beginning July 1, Till vodka will be available in Minnesota, broadening the brand’s Midwestern reach. MGP also debuted new packaging and bottle sizes for Till—frosted glass bottles are replacing clear ones, and 1.75-liter and 50-ml. formats will now be available in addition to the existing 1-liter and 750-ml. sizes. Made from Kansas-grown wheat, the 40%-abv vodka is now distributed across key Midwestern markets for $24.99 a 750-ml.

•Brown-Forman has made a pair of appointments to its Old Forester and Woodford Reserve Bourbon brand teams. Jackie Zykan, who has served as Old Forester’s master Bourbon specialist since 2015, has been named master taster for the brand. Concurrently, Tom Vernon has been promoted to the role of Woodford Reserve global brand ambassador. Vernon most recently served as the group’s American whiskey ambassador for a variety of brands in the U.K.

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