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News Briefs for April 17, 2018

April 17, 2018

•St. Louis-based Luxco has acquired a controlling interest in Derry, Ireland’s Niche Drinks for an undisclosed sum. Specializing in cream liqueurs, Irish coffee, and ready-to-drink cocktails, Niche Drinks produces Luxco’s Saint Brendan’s Irish Cream. The two companies are also partnered on Irish whiskey brand The Quiet Man, with Luxco announcing plans to open The Quiet Man Craft Distillery in Derry’s Ebrington Square. The project will join Luxco’s recently opened Lux Row Distillers production site in Bardstown, Kentucky, as well as the group’s new Tequila distillery in Arandas, Mexico, which is set to be completed by mid-summer.

Diageo has announced nine out of its 10 Special Release Collection whiskies for 2018. As it did last year, the company is keeping details of the 10th whisky under wraps until later in the year. Last year’s surprise whisky was Collectivum XXVIII, a blended malt containing whiskies from all 28 of Diageo’s malt distilleries. Collectors and savvy drinkers may notice a couple of gaps in this year’s list. For the first time since the Special Releases were launched in 2001, there’s no Port Ellen or Brora among them. Although Port Ellen and Brora are off the list, the 2018 Special Releases Collection does include whiskies from silent distilleries: a 28-year-old Pittyvaich (Speyside single malt) and a 48-year-old Carsebridge (Lowlands single grain). Whisky Advocate has more on Diageo’s 2018 Special Release whiskies.

•Chateau d’Esclans is extending its rosé portfolio with the launch of The Palm by Whispering Angel. A blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah sourced from Côteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, The Palm retails at $15 a 750-ml., slightly below Whispering Angel’s flagship rosé, which sells at around $22. Driven by the success of Whispering Angel, Chateau d’Esclans’ U.S. volume rose 58% to 315,000 cases last year, according to Impact Databank. With the launch of The Palm, d’Esclans and U.S. importer Shaw-Ross International will look to further extend the brand’s appeal by entering the popular $10-$15 area of the wine market.

•Jose Cuervo Authentic Margaritas has launched a new flavor, Berry Punch. Retailing at $17.99 a 1.75-liter, the new entry is a blend of natural blueberry flavors with Bartlett pear, lime, and orange notes and is debuting nationally. Jose Cuervo Authentic Margaritas grew 4% to 1.4 million cases in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank.

•Moët Hennessy USA’s Chandon California sparkling wine brand is rolling out a limited edition 45th anniversary Blanc de Noirs ($24 a 750-ml.). The special bottling marks the first Chandon release fully overseen by head winemaker Pauline Lhote, who came into the position two years ago. The wine, made from Pinot Noir and Meunier, is sourced from Chandon’s Carneros vineyards, in which the company has invested significantly in replanting in recent years. An additional 260 acres of Pinot Noir will be added to Chandon’s existing 300 acres under vine in the region later this year. In May, Brut and Rosé sparklers crafted under Lhote’s guidance will join the Blanc de Noirs release. Chandon California’s U.S. depletions were up 3.8% to 505,000 cases last year, according to Impact Databank.

•Beverage alcohol delivery provider Drizly is expanding in Florida, partnering with ABC Fine Wine & Spirits to enter six new markets in the state. Starting this week, consumers in Gainesville, Jupiter, Melbourne, Naples, Tallahassee, and West Palm Beach can shop local ABC Fine Wine & Spirits stores via the Drizly mobile app or website, with the platform offering delivery within one hour for $5 per order. The expansion builds on Drizly’s existing Florida presence in Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Tampa. Drizly has a current footprint spanning more than 70 cities across the U.S. and Canada.

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