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

News Briefs for December 11, 2019

December 11, 2019

•Trademark disputes involving Scotch whisky aren’t uncommon, but it’s usually the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) pursuing non-Scotch companies for misuse of protected terms like “Highland.” A new lawsuit, however, sees the roles reversed as Washington, D.C.-based Jos A. Magnus & Co. is suing Scotland’s Highland Distillers over its Highland Park Magnus single malt, which the American whiskey maker says infringes on its copyright and is causing “irreparable harm.” The lawsuit, filed November 6 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, also names as defendant U.S. Beverage Advertising Corp., doing business as Reserve Bar, whose e-commerce platform offers Highland Distillers’ whiskies in the U.S. Whisky Advocate has the full story.

•The Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. is hailing the signing of the new North American free trade agreement (USMCA) as a boon to U.S. distillers. The agreement among the U.S., Canada, and Mexico has been approved both by the Trump administration and Democratic congressional leadership but still needs to be approved by Congress. Last year, U.S. spirits exports to Canada and Mexico totaled $234 million and $61 million, respectively. “The prompt introduction and passage of legislation to implement USMCA will provide certainty to U.S. producers and importers and create new momentum for further discussions with the E.U., China, and Turkey to secure the swift removal of retaliatory tariffs on American spirits exports and U.S. tariffs on certain E.U. spirits,” said DISCUS president and CEO Chris Swonger.

•Spanish wine group D.O. 5 Hispanobodegas has tapped Connecticut-based importing, marketing, and distribution firm Votto Vines as the exclusive importer of its Bodegas Valdelacierva and Bodegas GarciGrande estates. Based in Rioja, Bodegas Valdelacierva will now offer the 2016 Valdelacierva Crianza ($28 a 750-ml.) and 2015 Valdelacierva Reserva ($38) wines stateside, both of which are made from 100% Tempranillo. Meanwhile, Rueda-based Bodegas GarciGrande is set to offer its 2018 Cuspide ($15), also a 100% Tempranillo expression, in the U.S. as well.

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