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

News Briefs for June 23, 2021

June 23, 2021

•When Covid-19 slammed the brakes on normal life last March, consumers in control states shifted gears and began stocking home bars with their favorite spirits in the face of lockdown restrictions. “Off-premise licensees were pumping out spirits like it was Christmas every week,” says Pat Gagliardi, executive commissioner of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission. “They really stepped up and moved a lot of product, with the help of our suppliers and distributors.” Some control states, including Virginia, Alabama, and Mississippi, are looking to expand and/or continue temporary provisions adopted last year to facilitate retail shopping, such as online ordering, curbside pickup, and home delivery. Market Watch has a look at the evolving control state landscape.

•New York-based Frederick Wildman & Sons has formed a sales partnership with Abruzzo, Italy’s Codice Citra. The agreement allows Wildman to handle importation, sales, and marketing duties for the wines produced by the Italian collective. Codice Citra brings together 3,000 farmers and produces wines from both Italian and international varietals like Montepulciano, Trebbiano, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Wildman will import three of Codice Citra’s labels: Citra, Sistina, and Niro di Citra.

•Monaco Cocktails has secured distribution for its spirits-based RTDs in grocery stores in multiple states across the U.S. The company is kicking off this new placement with its variety 6-pack featuring Citrus Rush, Tequila Lime Crush, and Blue Crush, with all three at 9% abv. The 6-pack is now available in Chicago-area Mariano’s, Jewel-Osco, Tony’s Finer Foods, and Binny’s; Michigan’s Kroger stores; Roundy’s in Wisconsin; Albertsons in Southern California; and Winco Foods located in Arizona, California, Indiana, and Nevada. An Impact “Hot Brand,” Monaco jumped 37% to more than 1.5 million cases in the U.S. last year.

•Campari’s Aperol liqueur has partnered with Cocktail Courier to sell a limited-edition Aperol Spritz kit for consumers to make the drink at home. Cocktail Courier, based in Chicago, sells a variety of brand name cocktail kits for delivery to consumers’ homes. The Aperol Spritz kit includes the liqueur, Cinzano Prosecco, soda water, oranges, and two glasses. It is available for purchase to residents of select cities from Cocktail Courier’s website, where it retails for $60.

•Louisville, Kentucky’s Rabbit Hole has launched its single barrel program with ten barrels of Heigold rye sold to accounts in Kentucky. Rabbit Hole’s single barrel releases will be bottled at cask strength and will feature unique artwork. To celebrate the launch of the program, the distillery sold 144 bottles at $106 a 750-ml. with all proceeds going to Covid relief grants to local businesses, administered through local charity Fund for the Arts. The wider release for the single barrel program—including releases of all four of Rabbit Hole’s core whiskies—begins in July. Pernod Ricard took a majority stake in Rabbit Hole in 2019.

•Kentucky Owl, the luxury-priced whiskey brand owned by Stoli Group, has announced that John Rhea has signed on as the brand’s new master blender. Rhea joins Kentucky Owl from Four Roses, where he served in a variety of roles starting with supervisor and culminating with COO. Rhea succeeds Dixon Dedman, a descendant of the original brand founder, who parted ways with Stoli in April.

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