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News Briefs for January 26, 2022

January 26, 2022

•Conecuh Brands, known for its Clyde May’s whiskey brand, has broken ground on its new distillery in Troy, Alabama. The Conecuh Ridge Distillery will produce Clyde May’s Alabama Whiskey, Bourbon and Rye. The distillery will be built on 76 acres and was designed by Luckett & Farley of Louisville, Kentucky. Initially a 24-inch column still will be in operation with room for additional stills. The current plan includes a rickhouse with a 10,000 barrel capacity, gift shop, restaurant and tasting room.

•Molson Coors and Coca-Cola have expanded their partnership, announcing a new line of RTDs based on the Simply brand of juices. The new RTD will hit shelves this summer and is based on Coke’s Simply Lemonade line. Simply Spiked will launch with four lemonade flavors—strawberry, blueberry, watermelon, and original—all at 5% abv and available in 12-packs of 12-ounce cans and individual 24-ounce cans.

•Gatlinburg, Tennessee-based Ole Smoky Distillery has reached 1 million cases in volume, according to the company. The distiller said it reached this milestone after growing 48% in 2021. In addition, Ole Smoky’s four Tennessee distilleries welcomed over 5.7 million visitors, breaking the company’s record of 4.5 million, set in 2019. While the bulk of the brand’s sales are in its flavored moonshines and whiskies, the company expanded into Straight Bourbon last year, launching the James Ownby brand of Tennessee Bourbon.

•Shelbyville, Tennessee-based Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey is launching several new expressions alongside a packaging refresh. This year, in addition to its current portfolio, Nearest Green Distillery will release Uncle Nearest Rye, Single Barrel Rye, and a new, more widely available Uncle Nearest Single Barrel Whiskey. Among the changes on the new bottles, the label sketch of the original Nearest property has been replaced with the insignia for the Nearest Green Distillery. The seven expressions in the distillery’s 2022 whiskey slate will first be released at the distillery ahead of wider distribution.

•Blended Scotch whisky Chivas Regal, part of the Pernod Ricard lineup, is debuting a new look for its flagship blend, Chivas 12. The redesigned bottle has been reshaped and elongated and its crest has been updated as well. The outer box housing the bottle now features burgundy in place of the silver and gold as the principal color scheme. Shipping now to U.S. markets, Chivas 12’s makeover is the first in a series of updates due to take place across the Chivas portfolio over the coming year.

•Hotel occupancy rates and room revenue should rebound to 2019 levels this year, according to the 2022 State of the Hotel Industry report from the American Hotel & Lodging Association. While that is good news, the report indicates that a full recovery is still years away, as revenue from food, beverage, and conferences is expected to remain depressed. For 2022, the AHLA projects that business travel will be down 20% and that only slightly more than half of planned conferences and events will happen. In 2019, business travelers made up 52.5% of industry room revenue, according to the AHLA; in 2022, it is projected to represent just 43.6%.

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