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

News Briefs for August 14, 2020

August 14, 2020

•Hong Kong has an enviable reputation as the global capital of live whisky auctions, even if not every sale at every auction house can deliver record-breaking prices. All eyes are currently on Bonhams, where rare whisky valued at $1.6 million-$2.1 million goes under the hammer in the Fine & Rare Wine and Whisky sale on August 21. On the block are 326 lots of whisky, comprising 444 bottles split between Japanese and Scotch whisky (plus two lots of Van Winkle Bourbon). What makes this auction so compelling is the wide range of offerings from shuttered distilleries, some rarely seen early-20th century bottlings, and the first opportunity for international whisky collectors to acquire the oldest Japanese whisky ever released. Whisky Advocate has a preview.

•Constellation Brands has signed agreements to sell Paul Masson Grand Amber Brandy and Kiwi wine brand Nobilo to Sazerac and E.&J. Gallo, respectively. The deals, which were previously announced in June, are worth around $385 million. Paul Masson will go to Sazerac for $255 million, pending FTC review, and the deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2021. Signing the Nobilo deal—for $130 million—is the next step in the ongoing attempts to sell just over $1 billion in wine and spirits brands and assets from Constellation to E.&J. Gallo. The deal is also expected to close by the end of second quarter 2021, pending FTC review.

•Phillips Distilling Company has launched Prairie Organic Sustainable Seasons, a new line of botanical and fruit flavored spirits. The 30% abv flavored vodka comes in three varieties: Grapefruit, Hibiscus, and Chamomile; Watermelon, Cucumber, and Lime; and Apple, Pear, and Ginger. Each contains 75 calories per serving and all are made with organic ingredients and without added sugar. The trio is rolling out nationwide for a suggested price of $22 a 750-ml. Last year, Prairie Organic was over 100,000 cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

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