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

News Briefs for January 17, 2020

January 17, 2020

•In a bit of welcome news on the international trade front, the U.S. senate has passed the new North American trade deal USMCA, which is now set to be signed by the president. The deal allows for duty free trade of spirits and preserves formal recognition of terms like Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, among other provisions, across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. In 2018, U.S. spirits exports to Canada were valued at more than $234 million, the Distilled Spirits Council noted. Exports to Mexico in 2018 were valued at $61 million. The passage of USMCA follows the signing in recent days of a “Phase One” trade deal between the U.S. and China, which halts further tariff increases on most U.S. spirits as the two sides work toward a “Phase Two” agreement intended to remove the tariffs.

•Beverage alcohol e-commerce platform Thirstie has launched a new option for brands to implement online storefronts for their products. Thirstie Access, as it is called, offers a suite of tools to produce a customized digital store that allows consumers to order products for home delivery. The service, which will operate alongside the company’s existing Pro platform, also offers consumer data analytics and a full retail fulfillment network, among other features. It’s launching with Conor McGregor’s Proper No. Twelve Irish Whiskey brand as a client, as well as Ramona Wine Spritzes and Ten to One Rum. Thirstie has partnered with retailers in close to 50 cities that deliver spirits, wine, and beer both on-demand and on a scheduled basis.

•The Pabst Brewing Company is launching a line of beers under the new Captain Pabst brand. The first release from the new label is Seabird IPA (4.5% abv), brewed with Magnum, Citra, Cascade, and Mosaic hops. As part of the launch, the brewer has rebranded its Milwaukee taproom as Captain Pabst’s Pilot House, which will feature a selection of spirits blended and barrel-aged on site and a loyalty program called the Blue Jacket Club; it reopens on March 28. Seabird IPA is now available in 16-ounce cans in Wisconsin and Illinois. Pabst is the fifth-largest brewer in the U.S., according to the Brewers Association.

•Champagne Henriot has named Alice Tétienne as cellar master, effective April 1. Tétienne succeeds Laurent Fresnet, who spent 13 years in the role. She joins Henriot from Maison Krug, where she was a member of the tasting committee and handled vineyard relations. Tétienne’s Champagne career also includes time with Nicolas Feuillatte and Laurent-Perrier.

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