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

News Briefs for May 4, 2018

May 4, 2018

•Entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist Leslie Rudd, who was active at all three levels of the drinks industry, passed away in New York yesterday of cancer at the age of 76. Rudd’s Wichita, Kansas-based Leslie Rudd Investment Company had wine and spirits investments including California’s Vintage Wine Estates, Covenant Wines, Rudd winery in Napa, and Distillery No. 209, among others. He also owned high-end grocer Dean & DeLuca for years, and was likewise the owner of Kansas wholesaler Standard Beverage Co., one of the largest distributors in the state, with a portfolio including key wine, spirits, and beer brands from Constellation, Delicato, Jackson Family, Trinchero, Deutsch Family, Bacardi, Diageo, Moët Hennessy, Sazerac, Beam Suntory, and others. In addition to his wide-ranging business endeavors, Rudd was also a noted philanthropist, spearheading a range of education and health care initiatives for those in need.

•Constellation Brands and Columbia Distributing are expanding their partnership in Washington and Oregon into the wine and spirits categories, effective June 1, 2018. Previously, the partnership between Constellation and Columbia only included the beverage giant’s beer business. The agreement marks the first foray into wine and spirits for Columbia, which is among the largest beer distributors in the country, with operations covering 20,000 retail customers across Oregon, Washington, and California. Constellation’s wine and spirits brands are currently handled by Young’s Market Co. in Washington and Oregon.

•Shaw-Ross International has partnered with Jaja Spirits to launch Jaja Tequila. The new brand includes Blanco ($40 a 750-ml.) and Reposado ($50) expressions, both made in Jalisco with 100% Agave Azul and distilled three times prior to bottling. Jaja Spirits—co-owned by Jerry Media founder Elliot Tebele, his brother, Maurice Tebele, and Martin Hoffstein—has also aligned with alcohol delivery provider Drizly to back the brand, which is expected to hit shelves this summer.

•Revel Spirits, an agave-based spirits company founded by former music executives Micah McFarlane and Jacqui Thompson, has launched Revel Avila, a 100% agave spirit from Morelos, Mexico. The spirit is made using a combination of roasted and steamed agave, resulting in a liquid that has elements of Tequila and mezcal, according to the company. Revel has launched with an unaged Blanco ($55), a 1-year-old Reposado ($75) matured in whisky barrels, and a 2-year-old Añejo ($150) matured in new French Oak. Revel Avila is now available in California and Minnesota, as well as online.

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