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News Briefs for December 4, 2019

December 4, 2019

•Westborough, Massachusetts-based BJ’s Wholesale Club has announced a collection of premium spirits from the membership warehouse’s exclusive brand, Wellsley Farms. The collection includes an American vodka ($19 a 1.75-L), a Canadian whisky aged eight years in oak casks ($21 a 1.75-L), and an Irish whiskey aged four years ($28 a 1.75-L). The spirits collection follows the introduction of five wine labels under the Wellsley brand. BJ’s operates 219 club stores and is present in 17 states; the spirits will be available at select locations.

•Radico Khaitan has announced the U.S. release of Rampur Double Cask Indian Single Malt whisky, making this the third offering in the Rampur family to launch stateside. The 45% abv whisky is distilled from malted barley and aged in ex-Bourbon barrels for two-thirds of its maturation before spending the final third of aging in ex-Oloroso Sherry casks made from European oak. Rampur Double Cask is rolling out across the U.S. at a suggested retail price of $90 a 750-ml. SG Worldwide imports the Rampur portfolio, which also includes Rampur Select Single Malt and Rampur PX Sherry.

•Chilean winery Almaviva has named industry veteran Manuel Louzada as managing director. Louzada spent 18 years at Moët Hennessy and was most recently CEO at Tenute del Mundo, whose holdings include Argentina’s Achaval-Ferrer and Spain’s Arinzano, among others. In his new role, Louzada succeeds Felipe Larrain, who has managed the estate since 1999. Almaviva is a joint venture between France’s Baron Philippe de Rothschild and Chile’s Concha y Toro.

•Melbourne, Australia-based Starward whisky has appointed Simon Marton as its new CEO. Marton joins Starward from Treasury Wine Estates where he served as global CMO. In all, he has over two decades of experience in the wine and spirits world. The announcement follows the departure of Andrew Macdonald, Starward’s CEO of five years. Starward is part of the Diageo-backed Distill Ventures portfolio and has launched two whiskies in the U.S.: Two-Fold Double Grain whisky and Nova, a single malt. Park Street imports the brand to the U.S.

•3 Badge Beverage Corporation has launched Kirk & Sweeney XO, a new luxury-priced rum, in select markets. The 65.5% abv rum is bottled at cask strength and sourced from Santiago de los Caballeros in the Dominican Republic. Kirk & Sweeney XO is now available through 3 Badge Mixology and retails at $230 a 750-ml. Last year, Kirk & Sweeney was up 35.4% to 23,000 cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

•Hornitos Tequila, part of the Beam Suntory portfolio, is getting a packaging refresh. The new look frames the Hornitos name within an agave leaf to reflect the brand’s 100% agave Tequila and features a “Tree of Wonders” stamp on the stopper tape in a reference to an old name for the agave plant. In addition to a bright color scheme, the signature of Hornitos founder Don Francisco adorns the back of the bottle. The updated packaging is first rolling out on Hornitos’ 100% agave Plata, Reposado, and Anejo expressions, with plans to introduce the new look for whiskey barrel-aged Hornitos Black Barrel Tequila and Hornitos Cristalino in 2020.

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