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News Briefs for June 6, 2019

June 6, 2019

•Rob Dietrich, former head distiller for Stranahan’s in Colorado, is taking the helm as new master distiller and blender for Metallica’s Blackened whiskey. Dietrich joined Stranahan’s in 2011, helping to build their portfolio of American single malt whiskies with innovations like Stranahan’s Sherry Cask Finish and limited-edition releases such as Snowflake, a special blend that’s released annually. He comes to Blackened, owned by Sweet Amber Distilling Co., less than a year after its launch, and replaces the late distilling legend Dave Pickerell. Whisky Advocate has more.

•Scotch whisky producer Loch Lomond is set to come under new ownership. Global investment firm Hillhouse Capital Management has partnered with the distiller’s management team to acquire the company from Exponent Private Equity. Financials weren’t disclosed, but Bloomberg reports that the deal gives Loch Lomond an equity value of $300-$400 million. Loch Lomond, which includes its namesake brand as well as Glen Scotia and Littlemill Scotch whiskies and the Glen’s vodka brand, is handled by Stoli Group in the U.S. Colin Matthews, Loch Lomond’s CEO, said the group plans to “innovate further, extend our portfolio of brands, and continue to expand our international presence, particularly in Asia where Hillhouse has significant experience.”

•Pernod Ricard is experimenting with adding interactive technology to bottles of Malibu rum. By scanning a QR code on the neck of Malibu’s new “Connected Bottle” or by tapping one’s smartphone against the Near Field Communication tag in the cap, consumers will gain access to a mobile game for a chance to win Malibu-branded merchandise. They will also be able to view cocktail recipes and other extras. The connected bottle has been tested in Germany and the U.K. and will debut in select U.S. markets and stores this month.

•Stags’ Leap Winery, part of the Treasury Wine Estates portfolio, is extending with a new Sauvignon Blanc varietal. Retailing at $30 a 750-ml., the new entry is sourced from Napa Valley and is rolling out nationally. According to Impact Databank, Stags’ Leap sells approximately 110,000 cases in the U.S. annually.

•Belvedere vodka has partnered with musician Janelle Monáe to create a new limited edition bottle for the brand. The bottle prominently features the phrase “Beautiful Future,” a tie-in with Monáe’s Fem the Future organization, a group dedicated to improving opportunities for women and overcoming structural discrimination. The limited-edition bottle is now available nationwide for $30 a 750-ml. and $38 a 1-liter. Belvedere sells around 400,000 cases in the U.S. annually.

•Beam Suntory has announced a new limited edition whiskey from the Tyrconnell. The 46% abv whiskey was aged 16 years in ex-Bourbon barrels and finished in barrels seasoned with Oloroso Sherry and Moscatel wine. The Tyrconnell 16-year-old Oloroso & Moscatel Cask Finish Single Malt Irish Whiskey is rolling out now across the U.S. at a suggested price of $100 a 750-ml. This limited release joins a trio of 10-year-old expressions (Madeira, Port, and Sherry casks), a non-age-statement ex-Bourbon cask expression, and a limited edition 15-year-old Madeira-finished expression in the Tyrconnell portfolio.

•Walla Walla, Washington-based Wines of Substance has named Anna Mosier as president. She joins from E.&J. Gallo Winery, where she most recently was vice president of finance for the premium wine business. At Gallo she also previously served as vice president of sourcing and co-manufacturing, among other roles. Before joining Gallo, Mosier sent 11 years with Procter & Gamble. Wines of Substance was founded by winemaker Charles Smith and holds among its portfolio K Vintners, Sixto, Vino CasaSmith, Substance, and B. Leighton.

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