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Craft Brewing and Distilling News for February 28, 2019

February 28, 2019

•New York-based distributor Empire Merchants is launching a new craft spirits division, Independent Spirits. Opening April 1, Independent will have a team of more than 20 salespeople and distribute spirits from producers including The 86 Company, St. George Spirits, Royal Dutch Distillers, Buffalo Trace, and Compass Box, among others. Empire, a behemoth in the New York wine and spirits market, is projecting revenues of $1.9 billion this year. The company says the new Independent Spirits unit will give greater focus to the craft spirits suppliers within its portfolio, while also freeing up the rest of its sales team to continue growing its larger brands.

•Ecliptic Brewing will release Star Party Brut IPA late next month. The 8% abv beer draws on lavender and lemon flavors and was brewed with Lemondrop hops. It will be available on draft and at retail in 500-ml. bottles. Named for the path the sun traces through the zodiac, Portland, Oregon-based Ecliptic also produces Starburst IPA, Orbiter IPA, and Oort Imperial Stout, among others.

•Dogfish Head Distilling Co. has partnered with Hunterdon Distributing to bring a selection of Dogfish Head’s craft spirits to New Jersey. Hunterdon, which also handles Dogfish Head’s beer portfolio, is now rolling out Sonic Archeology (a premixed cocktail made from whiskey, rum, and apple brandy), Compelling Gin, Barrel Honey Rum, Analog Vodka, and Roasted Peanut Vodka to bars and liquor stores throughout the state. Milton, Delaware-based Dogfish Head’s spirits are also available in Delaware, Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

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