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

News Briefs for January 29, 2019

January 29, 2019

•A 70-year-old Scotch from Gordon & MacPhail, a barrel-proof expression from West Cork Distillers, single malts from Sweden and Finland, and a host of other new labels are profiled in Whisky Advocate’s latest weekly roundup of new whisk(e)y releases. Their website has the full story.

•Accolade Wines is launching a new Australian brand in the U.S., Barossa Ink. Produced by Accolade-owned Grant Burge Wines, the franchise includes a Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon. The ink-dark wines, both of which retail for $16 a bottle, are finished with concentrated Petit Verdot during the final stages of winemaking. Southern Glazer’s will distribute Barossa Ink in the U.S. Accolade’s other brands include Hardys and Houghton in Australia and Geyser Peak and Echo Falls in the U.S. Accolade has global volume of approximately 34 million cases.

•Bardstown, Kentucky’s Heaven Hill Distillery has named Conor O’Driscoll as master distiller. O’Driscoll—the fifth master distiller in Heaven Hill’s 84-year history—comes to the company with over a decade of experience, most recently with Angel’s Envy. Before that, he served with Woodford Reserve and other Brown-Forman brands. O’Driscoll is set to begin immediately. He replaces Denny Potter, who departed last fall to join Maker’s Mark as master distiller and general manager.

•California-based retailer BevMo, which has nearly 170 locations throughout California, Arizona, and Washington, has partnered with Detroit-area marketing company The Mars Agency to implement SmartAisle technology in five of its stores. The SmartAisle platform is a voice-powered, in-store shopping assistant that provides product selection and educational support for consumers, taking into account their preferences for flavor profile and price. The technology is currently limited to whisk(e)y recommendations—drawn from a 50-bottle library—and will be featured as a pilot program at five BevMo stores across northern California through the end of March.

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