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News Briefs for August 7, 2018

August 7, 2018

375 Park Avenue Spirits, a division of Sazerac, has announced a number of new, multi-year strategic partnerships in the U.S. with brands in Pernod Ricard’s global portfolio. Effective immediately, 375 will be the sole importer of Chivas Brothers Ltd.’s Ballantine’s, Passport, and Something Special Scotch whiskies; Jan Becher’s Czech Republic-based Becherovka herbal liqueur brand; Pernod-Brasil’s Cachaça Janeiro label; Pernod SAS’s Soho Lychee liqueur from France; and Pernod Finland’s Minttu Peppermint liqueur. Under the new agreement, 375 will have import rights to these brands for the next five years. Last month, the company announced it would start handling Corby Spirit and Wine’s J.P. Wiser’s Canadian whisky and Lamb’s rum brands in the U.S., which are also part of Pernod’s global stable.

•Joël Robuchon, one of the chefs who revolutionized French cuisine, died Monday of cancer in Geneva. He was 73. Robuchon’s culinary empire comprised 24 restaurants from Paris to Shanghai, Las Vegas to Hong Kong. Some aimed for the acme of French formality and grandeur, others for a more casual style—a few are essentially tearooms. He collected more Michelin stars than any other chef, ever. Wine Spectator takes a look at Robuchon’s life and career.

•Le Vins Georges Duboeuf has officially launched a new Pays d’Oc-sourced line of varietal wines, expanding its Beaujolais-focused portfolio. Referred to as the “Wildflower” collection—with each varietal featuring a different wildflower on the label—Duboeuf’s new wines include a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, all retailing at $12 a 750-ml. and imported by Napa-based Quintessential. After a long-term decline, Duboeuf has rebounded in the U.S. lately, with its 2017 volume at 150,000 cases.

•Brown-Forman will release its annual edition of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon on September 2. The 50.5%-abv whiskey was distilled in June 2006, before being bottled this summer at 12 years old. The 2018 edition is the first Birthday release bottled at Old Forester’s new Whiskey Row facility, which opened in June. This year’s Old Forester Birthday Bourbon will retail for suggested price of $100, with 2,400 6-bottle cases available across the U.S. Old Forester was up 12% to nearly 200,000 cases in the U.S. last year.

•Bill Corbett has been named CEO of Zamora Company USA, the new Dallas-based joint venture between Spain’s Zamora and New York’s Old Nassau Imports. A 35-year industry veteran, Corbett was most recently senior vice president of sales at Rémy Cointreau USA. The Zamora USA portfolio includes Zamora’s flagship Licor 43 brand and Old Nassau’s Double Cross vodka, with other Zamora labels like Martin Miller’s gin, Yellow Rose whiskey, and Lolea sangria expected to be added to the lineup looking ahead.

•Chopin Imports has appointed Chuck Kane as chief operating officer. Kane was most recently vice president, national sales manager for 3 Badge Beverage Corporation, where he was in charge of spirits sales, product innovation, and new brands. Chopin Imports markets its namesake vodka, Dorda liqueurs, Clase Azul Tequila, and other brands. Chopin vodka had estimated U.S. volume of 90,000 cases last year, according to Impact Databank.

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