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News Briefs for May 10, 2018

May 10, 2018

•Lawrenceburg, Indiana-based MGP Ingredients will release two rye whiskies under its new Rossville Union brand in June. The new bottling marks the first time that MGP will release its own brand of rye whiskey, and joins George Remus Bourbon and Till American Wheat vodka in the MGP brand stable. Rossville Union Master Crafted straight rye is bottled at 47%-abv and retails at $40. The second release under the new brand is a barrel proof rye ($70), bottled at 56.3%-abv. The pair of Rossville Union whiskies will be available in Arizona, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and Wisconsin in June.

•Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group (DFRG) has announced an agreement to purchase Barteca Restaurant Group for $325 million. Both groups have been recognized by Wine Spectator for their wine excellence, boasting a combined total of 63 Restaurant Award winners in 2017. Wine Spectator has more on the deal.

•Campari America has extended Skyy vodka’s flavor line with a new Sun-Ripened Watermelon entry. Retailing at $14 a 750-ml., the newcomer is made with real fruit and is debuting nationwide. It joins Citrus, Blood Orange, Pineapple, Bartlett Pear, Honeycrisp Apple, Tropical Mango, Coastal Cranberry, Texas Grapefruit, and others in the Skyy Infusions flavor range. Skyy has been struggling amidst the ultra-competitive vodka category in the U.S. lately, with the flavor segment presenting particular difficulties. The brand was down 6% to 2.6 million cases last year to rank seventh among all vodka brands, according to Impact Databank.

•E.&J. Gallo Winery is expanding further within California’s Central Coast, acquiring Santa Barbara-based Sierra Madre Vineyard for an undisclosed sum. Located within the Santa Maria Valley appellation, Sierra Madre comprises 542 acres, including 151 acres planted to vine. The estate, which supplies grapes to roughly 35 wineries, is best known for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The move is part of Gallo’s recent efforts to bolster its luxury winemaking operations and follows the company’s purchase of Santa Barbara’s 436-acre Rancho Real Vineyard just last week. Gallo’s existing Central Coast holdings also include San Luis Obispo’s Edna Valley Vineyard, Santa Barbara’s Bridlewood Estate Winery, and Talbott Vineyards in Monterey’s Santa Lucia Highlands.

•Chilean winery J. Bouchon, imported by California-based Vine Connections, has added a new red wine to its portfolio. J. Bouchon País Viejo is sourced from 100-year-old, dry-farmed Gobelet País vines located in the Maule region of Chile. The estate vineyards were restored by the winery in 2014, when ownership passed into the hands of brothers Julio and Juan Bouchon. J. Bouchon’s País Viejo is available nationwide, retail priced at $15 a 750-ml.

•Following Bacardi’s completion of its purchase of Patrón Spirits, two Patrón execs are retiring. Chief financial officer Dave Lawrence is departing after leading Patrón’s worldwide finance and administration for 15 years. Albert Latour, a 17-year Bacardi veteran who was most recently vice president of financial performance for Bacardi North America, will now become vice president of finance for Patrón Spirits. Phil Gervasi, Patrón’s executive vice president of North American sales, is also retiring. In his place, Darren Doalson will become vice president, managing director of North American sales. Doalson has served as regional vice president of sales, West, for Patrón over the past five years.

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