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

News Briefs for October 14, 2019

October 14, 2019

•Former Diageo CEO Paul Walsh has reportedly taken a stake in Brockmans Gin and become an advisor to the business. Brockmans, which is led by co-founder and CEO Neil Everitt, posted global sales up 26% to £10.3 million ($12.9m) last year on volume of 85,000 cases. The brand has been expanding from a small base in the U.S., where it’s handled by Blue Ridge Spirits & Wine. Walsh’s appointment and undisclosed stake, reported by The Times, is intended to further Brockmans’ position globally with the aim of doubling the size of the business over the next five years.

•The weather forecast was eerily familiar for Napa and Sonoma residents. Exactly two years to the day since the start of the devastating wine-country wildfires of 2017, hot, dry Diablo winds were expected to sweep through the North Bay Area. The forecast prompted Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), the natural gas and electricity company that provides service to most of Northern California, to shut off power to large areas due to the heightened risk of power lines falling and sparking fires. Winds and temperatures haven’t been as extreme as two years ago, but preventative shutoffs were conducted nonetheless. Wine Spectator has a full report.

•Sure as the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, the Old Rip Van Winkle whiskey lineup comes out every fall to much fanfare—even if few people ever get their hands on it. And thus next month, the lineup of five Bourbons and a rye will officially “hit shelves,” i.e., be allocated to bars and restaurants who will then decide how they want to sell it (or not) to the public. Whether you plan to pursue some Pappy or not, if you’re looking for details on this year’s whiskies, Whisky Advocate has all the info.

•Chicago-based auction house Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. has appointed two long-time industry executives to fill key roles. David Wainwright, formerly a vice president with Christie’s wine department and a senior managing director of Zachys Asia, will be based in Hong Kong for Hart Davis. Duncan Sterling, formerly a vice president and head of New York wine auctions with Sotheby’s, where he presided over sales totaling more than $200 million, will lend his expertise in securing international collections from his offices in both New York and Burgundy. Hart Davis’s next live event is a three-day auction running Nov. 14-16 in Chicago entitled “A Celebration of Bordeaux.”

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