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News Briefs for March 23, 2021

March 23, 2021

•In recent days, Highland single malt Glen Garioch announced that it will reinstitute floor maltings, as well as install direct-fired heating on its wash still, in a series of moves aimed at restoring traditional production processes. In total, Beam Suntory will spend £6 million ($8.4 million) to carry out the upgrades, along with hiring and training staff to work with the production system. Work began last year and should be completed later in 2021. With these changes, Glen Garioch will bump up to 24/7 production, aiming to produce the first spirit made with the new equipment and techniques by the end of this year. Whisky Advocate has more.

•Cupcake has introduced a Sauvignon Blanc under its lower-calorie LightHearted range. The new entry retails at $10 a 750-ml. and joins Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Rosé, and Pinot Noir in the LightHearted lineup, which debuted last year. The new Sauvignon Blanc is at 8% abv and has 80 calories and less than 1 gram of sugar per 5-ounce serving and will compete in the rapidly expanding category of lighter wines, which has also seen recent launches from Bota Box, Kim Crawford, and Ste. Michelle, among others. Last year, LightHearted reached 107,000 cases, according to Impact Databank.

•Brown-Forman plans to double the capacity of its Versailles, Kentucky-based Woodford Reserve distillery. The upgraded facility will get three new copper pot stills, new fermentation tanks, a new building for the boiler plant, as well as a grain unloading area, additional barrel storage, and an employee training and conference center. The company expects the expansion will be completed by next summer and the distillery will remain open throughout construction. Last year, Woodford Reserve was up 23% to nearly 1 million cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank.

•California’s Riboli Estates Group has expanded its estate-grown Highlands 41 brand with a new Pinot Noir sourced from Monterey County. The new Pinot joins Highlands 41’s Paso Robles-sourced Cabernet Sauvignon; Black Granite, a red blend also from Paso Robles; and a Monterey County Chardonnay in the brand’s portfolio. All four wines are now available nationally for around $15 a 750-ml. The brand has also received a packaging update and now features a screw-cap.

•Radeberger Gruppe USA is extending its Schöfferhofer radler label with a new Passion Fruit expression. A blend of 50% unfiltered German Hefeweizen and 50% passion fruit juice, the new entry dovetails with the trend toward lower-alcohol offerings with an abv of 2.5%. The seasonal line extension is rolling out nationally from April through the summer, joining the flagship Schöfferhofer Grapefruit radler, as well as Schöfferhofer Pomegranate, in the brand’s lineup.

•Frankfort, Kentucky’s Castle & Key Distillery has unveiled Slow Hands Rye, a new series of single barrel whiskies. The series will initially launch with four barrels—with each giving up roughly 200 bottles of whiskey—all retailing for $60 a 750-ml. and ranging from 54.15% abv to 57.95% abv. Looking ahead, the company will expand the Slow Hands offerings and plans to make 10 barrels available by the fall. All of the whiskies are distilled from a mash of 63% rye, 17% corn, and 20% malted barley. Castle & Key Slow Hands Rye will go on sale at the company’s distillery beginning March 26, with wider distribution being planned.

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