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News Briefs for March 30, 2021

March 30, 2021

•Old Forester The 117 Series, Dalmore Sherry Cask Select, and newcomers from Jefferson’s and Amrut are among the offerings featured in Whisky Advocate’s latest weekly roundup. The magazine’s website has all the details.

•Pernod Ricard has announced new watermelon flavors for both Absolut vodka and Malibu rum. Absolut Watermelon comes in at 38% abv and will be available nationwide beginning on April 12. Malibu’s watermelon offshoot is now available across the U.S. and comes at 21% abv; 750-ml. bottles retail for around $20 and 1.75-liter bottles go for a suggested price of $26. Last year was a particularly strong year for Malibu in the U.S., according to Impact Databank, with the rum brand jumping nearly 21% to 2.7 million cases. Absolut continues to face market challenges and was down 8.5% to 3.13 million cases in the U.S. for 2020.

•Grupo Cuervo has secured a $150 million loan to acquire the remaining 51% stake in Eire Born Spirits that it doesn’t already own. Eire Born, founded by mixed martial arts fighter Conor McGregor, is known for Proper No. Twelve Irish whiskey, which is marketed by Proximo Spirits and produced at Cuervo’s Bushmills distillery. Proper No. Twelve jumped 77% to 232,000 cases in the U.S. last year. Cuervo said it would use the new loan plus cash on hand to complete the acquisition of Proper No. Twelve for an undisclosed sum. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter.

•Louisville, Kentucky’s Barrell Craft Spirits has launched a new brand, Stellum, with a pair of barrel strength whiskies. Initially, the brand is hitting shelves with a Bourbon and a rye; each is a blend of straight whiskies sourced from Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Stellum Bourbon comes in at 57.49% abv and the brand’s rye is at 58.12% abv. Both retail for a suggested price of $55 a 750-ml. and are available in select locations across 45 states. In addition to Stellum’s blended releases, the company will also offer single barrel bottlings under the brand name.

•Bozal mezcal, part of the 3 Badge Beverage portfolio, is introducing Guías de Calabaza, a vegetarian Sacrificio-style mezcal from Río de Ejutla in Oaxaca. A single maguey expression made from 100% Agave Angustifolia (Espadín), Bozal Guías de Calabaza retails at $99 and carries an abv of 47%. Sacrificio mezcals are made in small batches for personal consumption as well as for fiestas with locals and neighbors. Their distillation often involves meat proteins like pork, chicken, or lamb. 3 Badge says Guías de Calabaza follows traditional sacrificio methods while eschewing the protein addition.

•Wild Turkey Distilling Co. and Russell’s Reserve Bourbon, both part of Campari America, are donating $20,000 to the Kentucky Distillers’ Association’s Lifting Spirits Foundation. Founded last year, Lifting Spirits is a program aimed at increasing diversity in distilled spirits through scholarships and externships. The donation will cover credits for students attending Bourbon-related certification courses at the University of Louisville, the University of Kentucky and Kentucky State University with preference given to Black students, women, people of color, LGBTQIA+, and other underrepresented groups.

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