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News Briefs for February 16, 2022

February 16, 2022

•The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) has announced that president and CEO Michelle Korsmo will leave in April to helm the National Restaurant Association. WSWA chairman Chris Underwood credited Korsmo with successfully steering the organization through “unprecedented marketplace shifts and industry challenges,” strengthening advocacy at the state and federal levels, and improving agility and responsiveness to wholesaler member companies across the country. Korsmo joined WSWA in 2018. A search is underway for her replacement.

•Angel’s Envy, part of the Bacardi portfolio, has launched the fourth release in the distillery’s Cellar Collection, a rye whiskey finished in ice cider casks. The whiskey, a 7-year-old rye made from a mash of 95% rye, finished for 364 days in casks from Vermont’s Eden Specialty Ciders before bottling at 53.5% abv. Only 6,000 bottles of Angel’s Envy Rye Whiskey Finished in Ice Cider Casks will be released to retailers in NY, CA, FL, TN, IL, TX and KY, with each bottle carrying a suggested retail price of $250.

•J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines has unveiled J. Lohr Monterey Roots, spotlighting the company’s history of viticulture and winemaking in Monterey County. Monterey Roots will feature J. Lohr’s Bay Mist White Riesling and Wildflower Valdiguié wines, which were formerly part of the winery’s Estates portfolio. With packaging featuring images of cool-climate Monterey County—where J. Lohr farms 1,400 acres of vineyards—the Monterey Roots wines are rolling out this month. “Our Riesling and Valdiguié are quintessential Monterey wines,” said CEO Steve Lohr. “They are also two of the hidden gems in our portfolio. Showcasing them in their own tier will give them the spotlight they deserve.”

•Beam Suntory’s Courvoisier has named a new chief blender, Thibaut Hontanx, alongside a packaging refresh inspired by 19th century designs. Hontanx, formerly the brand’s master distiller, succeeds the retiring Patrice Pinet. The new packaging for the VS and VSOP expressions features a white label with red, black, and gold branding, and the XO has white and gold branding on a clear label. In addition, artist Yinka Ilori will serve as Courvoisier’s “Ambassador of Joy,” leading a series of global events, called “We Found Joy,” that will kick off in early March in New York City. The brand has also released a new ad, “Welcome to Maison Courvoisier,” on its website and social media channels.

•Italy’s Mezzacorona is entering the light wine segment with a new brand called Ventessa. The range includes a Pinot Grigio and Pinot Grigio Rosé, both bottled at 9% abv and containing 90 calories a five-ounce serving. Grown in Italy’s Adige Valley, the Ventessa wines retail at $13 a 750-ml. and are launching in select markets, imported by Mezzacorona subsidiary Prestige Wine Imports.

•Lobos 1707, the agave spirits brand backed by investors LeBron James, Maverick Carter, and Draymond Green, is debuting a new campaign called Build a Bigger Table: All for the Pack. According to the company, the new push “emphasizes inclusivity and invites others to pull up a chair and share their own personal experiences.” Focused on digital and out-of-home ads, the campaign also showcases the new bottle design for Lobos 1707’s Extra Añejo Tequila.

•Maison Ferrand has announced Ferrand Renegade Barrel No. 3, the newest eau de vie du vin in the house’s collection of spirits. Barrel No. 3 comes in at 48.2% abv and is double matured in rum casks (and therefore cannot be called Cognac under AOC rules). Ferrand Renegade Barrel No. 3 is rolling out now to select retailers across the U.S. for a suggested price of a $90 a 750-ml.

•Breakthru Beverage Group has announced the appointment of Mark Barry as national VP of Gallo Business Development. An industry veteran with nearly 30 years of experience, Barry has held a number of positions with E.&J. Gallo, most recently serving as the winery’s managing director of customer development for the Northeast. In this new role at Breakthru, Barry will oversee all aspects of Gallo’s portfolio of wine and spirits.

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