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News Briefs for August 21, 2018

August 21, 2018

•William Grant & Sons has launched Fistful of Bourbon, a 100% straight American whiskey. A blend of five straight American Bourbons, the new label is bottled at 45% abv and is currently rolling out across Texas in two size formats: 750-ml. ($25) and 50-ml. ($3). Fistful of Bourbon, which will be available throughout the U.S. in the next two years, marks William Grant & Sons’ second foray into the American whiskey category. In 2017, it acquired New York craft whiskey distiller Tuthilltown Spirits, having purchased the Hudson whiskey brand from Tuthilltown in 2010. William Grant’s whisk(e)y portfolio is centered around the Glenfiddich and Balvenie single malt Scotch brands, as well as Monkey Shoulder blended malt Scotch and Grant’s blended Scotch. The company also owns the Tullamore Dew Irish whiskey brand, which it bought in 2010. Under William Grant’s stewardship, Tullamore Dew’s U.S. volume has expanded from around 70,000 cases since the acquisition to 241,000 cases last year.

•Vintage Wine Estates (VWE) has announced that Jon Sebastiani and his Sonoma Brands team will assume management of VWE’s Viansa winery in Sonoma, which was founded by the Sebastiani family in 1989 and acquired by VWE in 2013. Sebastiani, who was previously president of Viansa, sold his Krave artisanal jerky brand to Hershey for a reported $220 million in 2015, and founded Sonoma Brands—a food and beverage incubator and private equity fund—the following year. Earlier this year, Sonoma Brands participated in the $75 million investment in VWE by investment firm AGR Partners. Via AGR’s agreement with Sonoma Brands, Sebastiani will become the fourth-largest shareholder in VWE and gain a seat on the company’s board. At Viansa, Sebastiani will be joined by his brother Christopher, who will become general manager, and longtime winemaker Amy Ludovissy, who will continue to oversee production and vineyard management.

•Brockmans Gin has appointed Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine Marketing as its sales and marketing agency in the U.S., beginning September 1. The Atlanta, Georgia-based agency will work to expand and develop Brockmans in the U.S., where the brand is currently available in Massachusetts, New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. Park Street will remain the importer for Brockmans Gin.

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