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News Briefs for January 29, 2018

January 29, 2018

•Diageo’s Casamigos Tequila brand is reportedly set to expand into the mezcal category this spring. Casamigos co-founder Rande Gerber told Gotham Magazine that the mezcal extension will be a high-end, small-batch offering sourced from a family that has produced the spirit for five generations. Casamigos’ move into mezcal follows other high-profile investments in the small but growing category, including Bacardi’s recent stake in Ilegal and Pernod’s acquisition of Del Maguey. Diageo acquired Casamigos from Gerber and co-founders George Clooney and Mike Meldman last year for $700 million, plus another $300 million in potential earnouts.

•The owners of The Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog in New York City have teamed with Quintessential Brands to launch The Dead Rabbit Irish whiskey. Launching in New York and New Jersey in February, The Dead Rabbit is a blended Irish whiskey aged in seasoned Bourbon barrels for five years and finished in half-sized virgin American oak barrels. Retailing at $40 a 750-ml., the new entry is at 44% abv, and is hitting the U.S. in an initial supply of 1,500 cases. The Dead Rabbit whiskey is made in partnership with Quintessential Brands’ Dublin Liberties Whiskey Co., whose flagship label is The Dubliner. Quintessential Brands was founded in 2011 by former Campari CEO Enzo Visone and entrepreneur Warren Scott.

•Zonin USA has introduced Dos Almas, its first South American label, nationwide in the U.S. Dos Almas is a partnership between Zonin and Chile’s Vial family and retails at around $15 a bottle. The range includes a Cabernet Sauvignon and a Carmenère from Colchagua, a red blend from Maipo, and a Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Brut sparkling wine from Casablanca. The initial release consists of 200,000 bottles, with annual production set to increase to 700,000 bottles within three years. Future plans for Dos Almas include adding an Apalta-sourced icon wine to the range.

•ImpEx Beverages has debuted two new offerings from whisky brand Chapter 7. The latest additions include Allt-A-Bhainne 9-year-old ($64.99 a 750-ml.) and Aultmore 9-year-old ($69.99), both of which are single cask, cask strength offerings sourced from Speyside distilleries Allt-A-Bhainne and Aultmore, respectively. The brainchild of Swiss entrepreneur Selim Evin, Chapter 7 specializes in hand-selected single cask whiskies from Scotland and Ireland. Chapter 7 is joined in ImpEx’s import portfolio by the Isle Of Skye, Kilchoman Distillery and Tamdhu Scotch brands, among others.

•Norbert Goldner, the chef and owner of the Palm Beach, Fla., food-and-wine landmark Café l’Europe, died on January 14. He was 77. The restaurant is considered a pillar of the city and has held Wine Spectator’s Best of Award of Excellence since 1991. Wine Spectator has a look at Goldner’s life and career.

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