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

News Briefs for August 17, 2020

August 17, 2020

•Santa Rosa, California’s Epic Wines & Spirits has purchased the Pacific Northwest wine wholesaler Vehrs Distributing.

While financial details weren’t disclosed, the acquisition expands Epic’s distribution footprint into Oregon, Washington, and Idaho and gives the company full coverage of the west coast. Vehrs will operate independently from Epic and will remain under the guidance of its current COO Shaun Dobbelaere and the rest of the company’s management team. This acquisition—plus its earlier purchase of Pacific Wine Distributors—gives Epic roughly 16,000 accounts, delivering 1.2 million cases annually. Foley Family Wines owner Bill Foley purchased Epic in 2013.

•Proximo has expanded 1800 Tequila with a new, luxury-priced extension, 1800 Cristalino. The 40% abv spirit is made from 100% blue agave and aged for 16 months in American and French oak before finishing for six months in Port barrels. The añejo Tequila is then filtered to remove the color imparted by the barrel. 1800 Cristalino is now rolling out in select markets across the U.S. for $65 a 750-ml. Last year, 1800 reached 1.15 million cases in the U.S., up 9.5%, according to Impact Databank.

•375 Park Avenue Spirits has added Ming River Baijiu to its import portfolio, effective October 1. The importer, a division of Sazerac, will handle the brand’s sales and will also support Ming River’s marketing efforts in the U.S. Ming River is a young brand—created in 2018—from China’s oldest continuously operating distillery. The spirit is distilled from red sorghum and bottled at 45% abv. 375 Park Avenue will offer Ming River in 750-ml. and 50-ml. bottles.

•Rochester, New York-based Seagram’s is launching a new flavor for Seagram’s Escapes Spiked. New flavor Blue Razberry joins Strawberry Blast, Jamaican Me Happy, Citrus Punch, and Crazy Colada in the line-for the 8% abv, flavored malt beverage brand, a spin-off of Seagram’s Escapes. It will hit shelves nationwide in 23.5-ounce single cans in September.

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