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

News Briefs for February 5, 2020

February 5, 2020

•Gatlinburg, Tennessee-based Ole Smoky Distilleries saw visitors to its four venues increase last year to 4.5 million people. Ole Smoky’s The Holler in Gatlinburg welcomed 2.1 million visitors; The Barrelhouse, also in Gatlinburg, recorded nearly 1.1 million; Pigeon Forge-based distillery The Barn saw 1.1 million guests; and the company’s newest distillery in Nashville, 6th & Peabody, which opened last fall, welcomed over 200,000 visitors. Attendance was up from 2018’s 4.1 million patrons. Ole Smoky’s locations offer self-guided tours, tastings, live music, and gift shops, along with working production equipment. Ole Smoky produces a wide variety of moonshine and whiskey, with volume up 24% to more than 400,000 cases last year, according to Impact Databank.

•Pernod Ricard has unveiled a limited edition label for Jameson Irish whiskey, which is rolling out for St. Patrick’s Day. The new label includes designs by Dublin-based graphic designer Stephen Heffernan, aka Hephee. The bottles feature a QR code that brings up a website where fans can remix the label using Hephee’s designs and enter for a chance to win a Jameson bar sign matching their design (in some markets, consumers can also win bottles of Jameson with their custom labels). Last year, Jameson was up an estimated 6.5% to 3.7 million cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

•Epic Wines & Spirits, the California wholesaler owned by Bill Foley, has acquired Pacific Wine Distributors for an undisclosed sum. Epic says the move to purchase Pacific—which has more than 100 clients including alcohol wholesalers, independent producers, retailers, and importers—will bolster its statewide distribution platform. Moving forward, Pacific will be renamed Convoy Beverage Alliance, with founder and general manager Gino Pacella continuing to lead day-to-day operations.

•Lucas Bols USA’s Passoã liqueur has announced a bottle and label redesign that highlights the brand’s natural passion fruit flavor. The new logo also features a sunset graphic (replacing a tropically colored Brazilian flag), above a reminder that Passoã is made with natural flavoring. The 20% abv liqueur retails for $18 for a 750-ml. and it’s recommended as an ingredient in sangria or a mimosa.

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