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News Briefs for March 23, 2020

March 23, 2020

•Pernod Ricard has partnered with Republic National Distributing Co. (RNDC) as its distributor in the Indiana market. With the deal, taking effect April 18, RNDC will distribute Pernod Ricard spirits in a total of nine markets, and its wines and Champagnes across 12 markets. Southern Glazer’s previously handed Pernod’s brands in Indiana. RNDC’s Indiana business had revenues of $435 million last year, according to Shanken’s Impact Newsletter.

•The Napa Valley Vintners have canceled their annual auction due to concerns about the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. Though the auction has been canceled, the group has announced that it will donate at least as much as the auction did last year, ensuring that the services that auction funds are able to continue and that local groups are able to respond to the new challenges posed by the spreading coronavirus. This year’s donation will come from the Napa Valley Vintners reserve funds. The 2021 auction has been set for June 3-6 of next year. Over the past 40 years the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) has donated $200 million to community health and children’s education.

•Amid the current sports-starved world, Nascar yesterday staged its inaugural “eNascar iRacing Dixie Vodka 150,” a virtual race featuring famous Nascar names such as Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano, and Bobby Labonte, among others. The virtual race was televised live on FS1, in place of Nascar’s originally scheduled Dixie Vodka 400 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway. iRacing simulates real world race cars and tracks, but drivers do use real steering wheels—as well as gas, brake, and clutch pedals. In yesterday’s race, the actual Nascar drivers guided their virtual cars around a virtual track—in this case Homestead Miami—from their respective homes. Denny Hamlin won the race, narrowly beating Dale Earnhardt off the final corner. Sponsor Dixie Vodka is part of South Carolina-based Grain & Barrel, owned by drinks entrepreneur Matti Anttila. Dixie is the official vodka of Nascar, as well as a title sponsor of Daytona International Speedway, the Daytona 500, Homestead Miami Speedway, Richmond Raceway, and the Nascar Hall of Fame in Charlotte, North Carolina. Yesterday’s event was targeted toward raising funds for COVID-19 relief.

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