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News Briefs for March 30, 2020

March 30, 2020

•Having announced new dates for the 2020 Wine Spectator Grand Tour tastings last week, M. Shanken Communications has now also rescheduled its Big Smoke Meets WhiskyFest event for later this year. For a complete list 2020 M. Shanken events, click here.

•On Friday, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States applauded Congress for passing a sweeping bill aimed at providing relief to individuals and small businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill allocates loans for businesses and cash disbursements for citizens but also includes some tax relief for distillers. Now, distilleries will not be subject to the federal excise tax on spirits for any alcohol produced to make hand sanitizer. In addition to suspending the excise tax, the bill will make over $350 billion in loans available to small businesses, plus a 13-week extension of unemployment benefits for workers. “We are grateful that Congress recognizes the significant contributions of the nation’s distillers in producing hand sanitizer to help fight COVID-19, and for waiving the federal excise tax on these much-needed products,” said Chris Swonger, DISCUS president.

•Carlos Falcó y Fernandéz de Córdova, Marqués de Griñón, an innovator in Spanish wine and olive oil, died March 20 in Madrid. He was 83. An aristocrat, Falcó settled on a family property called Dominio de Valdepusa near the small town of Malpica del Tajo, about 60 miles from Madrid. In 1974, with counsel from renowned French enologist Émile Peynaud, he planted Cabernet Sauvignon, then forbidden in the region, later adding Syrah and Petit Verdot. His first vintage was 1983, and the wines caused a sensation in Spain and beyond. They received enthusiastic reviews from Wine Spectator, and three times earned spots in the Top 100 Wines of the Year. Wine Spectator has more on Falcó’s life and career.

•St. Louis, Missouri-based Luxco is donating $100,000 to the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s COVID-19 Response Fund. The CDP fund supports nonprofits working to help communities most vulnerable to the health and economic impacts of the pandemic. “Recently we’ve seen an increase in demand for Everclear Grain Alcohol in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Donn Lux, the company’s CEO. “During this time of need, we want to do the right thing and give back to our community by working with the Center for Disaster Philanthropy.” In addition to Everclear, Luxco’s portfolio includes El Mayor Tequila, Ezra Brooks Bourbon, and Rebel Yell Whiskey.

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