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

News Briefs for December 6, 2017

December 6, 2017

•Terlato Artisan Spirits has reached an agreement to sell and market the portfolio of Santa Barbara-based craft distiller Breaker Bourbon, effective January 1. Breaker Bourbon is located in the Sta. Rita Hills, just up the road from the Terlato family’s Sanford Winery. Its portfolio has three offerings: Breaker Bourbon ($49.99), Breaker Wheated Bourbon ($54.99) and Breaker Bourbon Port Barrel Finished ($54.99). A key characteristic of the Breaker whiskies is their Sta. Rita Hills provenance. The region’s daily temperatures can vary by 40-50 degrees—a factor that helps Breaker’s whiskies age more quickly due to increased contact with the wood, according to master distiller Steve Gertman.

•Irish whiskey sales in control states increased 15% in the year-to-date period ending in October, according to the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA). Irish whiskey remains the fastest-growing category among all spirits in NABCA channels, ahead of Tequila (+10% year-to-date), and far in front of total spirits growth in control states (+2.8% year-to-date). Pernod Ricard’s Jameson continues to lead all Irish whiskies, reaching 400,000 cases in NABCA channels so far this year (+15%). Jameson accounts for over 82% of the total Irish whiskey market in the U.S. and is expected to easily surpass 3 million cases by year-end, according to Impact Databank.

•The Winebow Group has revamped Italian wine brand Stella and unveiled new canned and boxed formats. The refreshed label features a young, Vespa-riding woman superimposed over a muted Italian landscape. The label’s colors vary by varietal. Two new formats—a four-pack of 250-ml. cans ($13) and a three-liter box ($25)—are also now available for Stella’s Pinot Grigio. Additionally, Stella has released a Prosecco ($15 a 750-ml.), which joins the brand’s existing roster of Pinot Grigio, Moscato and Montepulciano d’Abruzzo wines.

•California’s Fort Ross Winery has launched Sea Slopes, a new brand sourced from the Sonoma Coast that is currently in major markets and will roll out nationally in January. Sea Slopes includes a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir at $35, and will add a Sonoma Coast Chardonnay in February. Fort Ross previously used the Sea Slopes name for a limited production Pinot Noir, but this new launch is geared for expanded distribution.

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