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News Briefs for October 17, 2017

October 17, 2017

•Beam Suntory’s Cruzan Rum Distillery on St. Croix has resumed production following an interruption due to Hurricane Maria. After roughly three weeks of repairs and restorations to Beam’s U.S. Virgin Islands-based facility, the distillery is producing spirits once again. Despite some damage to the company’s warehouses, Cruzan’s aging stocks were not damaged and the brand does not expect supplies to be disrupted. Additionally, Beam Suntory and its brands have distributed more than $2 million in relief aid to the Virgin Islands, the U.S. and to Mexico, including $1 million to the American Red Cross and $500,000 to the Fund for the Virgin Islands.

•Patrón Tequila has collaborated with French glassmaker Lalique to debut Patrón en Lalique: Serie 2. The new release features a blend of Extra Añejo Tequilas aged in different types of barrels—including American oak, French oak and Spanish Sherry—for an average of more than seven years. The liquid is then packaged in an Art Déco-inspired crystal decanter crafted by Lalique. Limited to 299 bottles, Patrón en Lalique: Serie 2 will be available at select retail outlets and duty free stores, priced at $7,500 a 750-ml. Serie 2 marks the second edition in the Patrón and Lalique partnership, following their debut of Patrón en Lalique: Serie 1 in 2015.

•A new company called Merchant23 Inc. aims to connect small wineries, mostly in California, with retailers and on-premise establishments while bypassing traditional distribution channels. Based in Marin County outside San Francisco, Merchant23 was founded by Jacob Moynihan, a former Sonoma County winemaker who has negotiated deals with distributors in 48 states to clear wines being drop-shipped directly from California to commercial establishments, with a mark-up typically pegged under 10%. “This is for restaurants and wine shops looking to buy outside the standard distributor book,” Moynihan said. “It’s also for wineries that haven’t been able to get national distribution.” He’ll soon have nearly 1,000 SKUs listed on his Merchant23 website, he added, and expects to recruit freelance salespeople to expand the firm’s reach. Merchant23’s main markets thus far are California, Florida, Texas and Illinois.

•The U.S. Association of Cider Makers, based in Portland, Oregon, has adopted its first set of cider style guidelines, meant to help consumers and the trade make better sense of the widening array of ciders found in most stores. The organization also is seeking to expand upon the style guide with standards for a sweetness scale and a cider marketing vocabulary, both expected soon. The guide divides ciders into two categories—standard and specialty. It includes 10 styles: modern ciders, heritage ciders, modern perries, heritage perries, fruit ciders, hopped ciders, spiced ciders, wood-aged ciders, sour ciders and ice cider.

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