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

News Briefs for June 1, 2018

June 1, 2018

•Following the Trump administration’s move to impose steel and aluminum tariffs on Canada, Mexico, and the European Union, the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. is urging against retaliatory tariffs on American whiskey in international markets. Earlier this year, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said Bourbon could be among the American products targeted for EU tariffs if the U.S. administration followed through with its levies on metals. In a statement, the Distilled Spirits Council said, “We hope the United States and its trading partners can resolve their differences without subjecting U.S. whiskey exports to retaliatory tariffs. A trade war will harm consumers, the hospitality sector, small businesses, and U.S. farmers that grow the grains used to produce iconic U.S. whiskeys that are enjoyed around the world.”

•Brown-Forman has launched Woodford Reserve Kentucky Straight Malt Whiskey, the brand’s fourth permanent extension. The 45.2%-abv offering is distilled from a mash that’s 51% malted barley (the mash bill includes an undisclosed proportion of corn and rye) and aged in new charred American oak. Woodford Reserve’s newest extension will retail nationwide at a suggested price of $35. In 2017, the Woodford Reserve portfolio crossed a half-million cases for the first time, according to Impact Databank.

•The Pinot Project is releasing its wines in cans for the first time. Starting today, The Pinot Project’s flagship California Pinot Noir, as well as its Italian Pinot Grigio and rosé, will begin rolling out in 4-packs of 250-ml. cans, retail priced at around $20 a 4-pack for the Pinot Noir and $18 a 4-pack for the Pinot Grigio and rosé. The range will be distributed nationwide through the Skurnik Wines & Spirits network. Launched in 2009 by Skurnik Wines & Spirits CEO Michael Skurnik, The Pinot Project has volume of close to 100,000 cases annually.

•Italy’s Ecco Domani, imported by E.&J. Gallo, has launched a limited-edition summer label for its 2017 Pinot Grigio, created in partnership with fashion designer Stacey Bendet. The new packaging features a series of bold black stripes, inspired by a striped pair of pants Bendet made for her luxury clothing brand, alice + olivia. Retail priced at $11 a 750-ml., the limited edition Ecco Domani Pinot Grigio is currently rolling out nationwide. Ecco Domani was down 4.5% to 750,000 cases in the U.S. last year, according to Impact Databank.

•Fever-Tree, known for its premium mixers and tonics, is opening a new U.S. subsidiary, based in Brooklyn. Fever-Tree USA will now be responsible for all U.S. market activities, including importation, warehousing, distribution, marketing, sales, and direct customer relationships. Concurrently, Fever-Tree has appointed industry veteran Charles Gibb as CEO for North America. Gibb was most recently president and CEO of Moët Hennessy’s Belvedere vodka and has also held senior roles with Diageo and Bacardi.


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