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News Briefs for February 2, 2023

February 2, 2023

•Captain Morgan rum is teaming with coconut water brand Vita Coco on a new line of spirits-based RTDs. Vita Coco Spiked with Captain Morgan is on shelves now nationwide. The line of canned cocktails has an abv of 5% and is sold in 12-ounce cans for a suggested retail price of $15 per four-pack. The initial flavor lineup includes Piña Colada, Strawberry Daiquiri, and Lime Mojito. Captain Morgan net sales were flat in the U.S. in the six months through December, Diageo recently reported, “driven by growth in Captain Morgan Original Spiced, supported by successful sports platforms such as the NFL, which was offset by declines in other variants.” Impact Databank estimates the brand at 5.3 million case depletions in the U.S. for 2022, down 2.9%.

•Donald Hess, a businessman, art collector and a vintner on four continents, died at the age of 86 in Bern, Switzerland, on Jan. 30. Born in Switzerland in a family of brewers, Hess built a successful mineral water company before entering the wine industry in 1978 by purchasing 700 acres of vineyards in Napa Valley’s Mt. Veeder appellation. By the 1990s the Hess Collection had gained notoriety for powerful expressions of Cabernet Sauvignon. Hess also bought other winery properties starting in the 1990s, most notably in South America, purchasing or founding Mont Gras in Chile; Bodega Norton in Argentina; Chateau Tahbilk, Geoff Merrill, and Peter Lehmann Wines in Australia; and Glen Carlou in South Africa. Wine Spectator has more on Hess’s life and career.

•Following the addition of Austrian label Paul Achs to its portfolio last month, importer Vineyard Brands has picked up three more brands from the country. The first is Weingut Loimer, located in Austria’s Kamptal and a biodynamic producer of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling, among other varietals; 13 of its wines will be available nationwide. Next is Weingut Sattlerhof, which cultivates the steep hillsides around the village of Gamlitz, several parcels of which are designated premier cru and grand cru; 10 of its products will be available nationwide. Third is Weingut Wieninger, which cultivates two areas on opposite sides of the Danube, where differing climates and soils produce highly distinct wines; Vineyard Brands will import 13 of its bottlings for national distribution as well.

•Chopin Imports has introduced Santaleza Tequila to the U.S., with two luxury-priced expressions. Both are made from 100% blue agave without additives or diffusers before bottling at 40% abv. Santaleza Blanco carries a suggested retail price of $60 a 750-ml. and the brand’s Reposado comes in at $70 with four months of age in American oak. In July, the brand will debut its Añejo offering and, in December, Santaleza will release its Extra-Añejo. Santaleza Tequila is now rolling out in New York, New Jersey, South Carolina, Florida, Texas, Illinois, Colorado, Arizona, Washington, and California.

•Sláinte, the Irish whiskey from actor and director Liev Schreiber and drinks entrepreneur Richard Davies, has announced retail distribution in Texas, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Nevada, California, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts. The move brings the brand into brick-and-mortar stores for the first time as it was previously available exclusively online. For distribution, the brand has partnered with Sunshine Beverage in Florida, with Park Street in California and New York, Allied in New Jersey, Green Light in Texas, Tian in Nevada, and Martignetti Companies in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Sláinte’s flagship blend retails for around $38 a bottle.

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