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

News Briefs for October 2, 2018

October 3, 2018

•Diageo has launched White Walker by Johnnie Walker, a new blended Scotch that ties in with HBO’s Game of Thrones. The 41.7%-abv whisky is blended from single malts from Cardhu and Clynelish, among other whiskies. The company designed White Walker to be served from the freezer and the bottle features temperature-sensitive ink that displays a message for fans of the show when chilled. The limited edition whisky is launching around the world this month at a suggested price of £32 (around $42).

•Louisville Distilling Company has released the 2018 edition of Angel’s Envy Cask Strength Bourbon. The 62%-abv whiskey is aged for up to seven years and finished in Port barrels. The new entry retails at a suggested $200, with 12,000 bottles available across 26 U.S. markets. Angel’s Envy is part of Bacardi’s Incubation Brands unit. Last month, news surfaced that Angel’s Envy is exploring a new distillery project in Henry County, Kentucky, to complement its existing downtown Louisville distillery.

•Michigan’s ban on wine shipments from out-of-state retailers has been overturned in federal court, following a lawsuit from Indiana-based Lebamoff Enterprises, Inc., which operates the 15-unit Cap n’ Cork retail chain. While a 2017 law expanded shipping rights for Michigan retailers, those from out-of-state saw their shipping rights eliminated. Judge Arthur J. Turnow ruled the law unconstitutional because it discriminates against out-of-state retailers, and enjoined Michigan from enforcing it. The Michigan ruling comes as shipping advocates eye another opportunity to potentially expand the legal-shipping map via the Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Byrd case recently accepted by the Supreme Court.

•The two largest spirits and wine wholesalers in the U.S. have both officially unveiled new operations in the Oklahoma market, which switched from a four-tier to a three-tier system on October 1. Republic National Distributing Co. (RNDC) has opened its joint venture with Central Liquors of Oklahoma, originally announced last December. The new joint venture, RNDC-Oklahoma, operates out of a state-of-the-art, 406,000-square-foot automated distribution center in centrally located Oklahoma City. Meanwhile, Southern Glazer’s Wine & Spirits has closed its own joint venture transaction with Oklahoma’s Jarboe Sales Co., also announced last December. The new integrated wine, spirits, and beer wholesaling operation will operate as Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits of Oklahoma, LLLP.

•Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits has struck a new long-term deal to extend its U.S. import rights to the Luksusowa vodka brand. Deutsch Family has handled Luksusowa in the U.S. for 10 years, during which time the brand has shown solid growth. Last year, Luksusowa was up 10% to 275,000 cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank. Imported from Poland, Luksusowa is part of Pernod Ricard’s global portfolio.

•Delicato Family Vineyards is taking aim at Treasury Wine Estates’ new EmBrazen wine brand, which Delicato says too closely resembles its own Brazin trademark. Delicato launched Brazin in 2008, sourced from 40-100-year-old vines in Lodi. Treasury debuted the millennial female-targeted EmBrazen in recent weeks. According to Delicato’s complaint filed Friday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the EmBrazen brand’s “advertisement, marketing, promotion, sale, and/or offer for sale of wine with similar price points to wine bearing the Brazin mark in overlapping retail and distribution channels … creates consumer confusion.” Treasury didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

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