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News Briefs for March 8, 2018

March 9, 2018

•Beam Suntory has launched the first whiskey in the Booker’s Bourbon 2018 collection. The newcomer, Kathleen’s Batch, is a 63.7%-abv Bourbon aged for six years and three months before bottling at barrel strength. This iteration of Booker’s Bourbon is named for Kathleen DiBenedetto, who worked as brand manager for the Beam’s small batch portfolio from its inception in 1991 and remains at the company serving as senior director of on-premise and luxury market. The whiskey was selected by Fred Noe with DiBenedetto’s input and is now available nationwide in limited quantities for a suggested retail price of $70-$75.

•Diageo’s Captain Morgan has launched Watermelon Smash, a brand extension targeting the shot occasion. The 25%-abv rum-based liqueur is made with added watermelon flavors and is now available nationwide for a suggested retail price of $16 a 750-ml. Like portfoliomate Captain Morgan LocoNut, Watermelon Smash has a scratch and sniff bottle, this time featuring a watermelon scent. In 2017, Captain Morgan was up 2.2% to just under 6 million cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

375 Park Avenue Spirits, a division of Sazerac, has reorganized its sales force to better align business with its distribution partners. Western division manager Jake Mutscheller will add the new title of general manager overseeing 375’s business with Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits across 15 states. Central division manager Sam Scheibal will fill the same general manager role in regard to 375’s business with RNDC-Breakthru across 16 states. Meanwhile, Mid-Atlantic division manager Lauren Martin Ward has been named control states director, a new position created to manage the Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Delaware markets, as well as all 17 control states. Additionally, Midwest regional manager Tom Kempski will now manage Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana; Southwest regional manager Carl Brach will now oversee Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri, and Arkansas; and Southeast regional manager John Ligget will now be responsible for Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Kentucky.

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