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News Briefs for December 13, 2019

December 13, 2019

•Dublin, Ireland-based Mark Anthony Brands International has boosted its share in Ireland’s Glendalough Distillery to 100%. The distributor took an initial 40% stake three years ago in the craft Irish whiskey and gin producer. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Glendalough will continue to operate as a separate company from Mark Anthony Brands, retaining founders Barry Gallagher and Brian Fagan in their leadership roles. Mark Anthony—known as the owner of Mike’s Hard Lemonade and White Claw Hard Seltzer—imports a number of Glendalough products to the U.S., including Double Barrel ($41), 7-year-old ($75), and 17-year-old ($277) whiskies, Wild Botanical Gin ($42), and Poitín ($41).

•Folio Fine Wine Partners has debuted a new wine and refreshed packaging for its Sonoma County-based sparkling brand Piper Sonoma. All bottles of Piper Sonoma now feature the Bear Flag monument—a California landmark—on the front label, as well as label and hood embossing. Additionally, Piper Sonoma has launched Brut Reserve ($25 a 750-ml.), a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay taken from the brand’s best vineyard parcels. The new wine is available in limited quantities and will be targeted primarily at the on-premise. The Piper Sonoma portfolio, which sells approximately 100,000 cases in the U.S., also includes Blanc de Blancs, Brut, and Brut Rosé offerings.

•Burt Williams, whose iconic Williams Selyem Pinot Noirs from Sonoma inspired a cult following of consumers and winemakers alike and helped spark California’s Pinot renaissance, died December 11 of complications of Parkinson’s disease. He was 79. Williams and business partner Ed Selyem started making commercial wine in 1981, working out of a garage in Fulton, Calif., a one-stoplight town on the outskirts of Santa Rosa. Within the decade, they established Williams Selyem as one of California’s original cult wineries and showed a skeptical wine world that California indeed had great terroir for Pinot Noir. Wine Spectator has more on Williams’ life and career.

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