May 2008

Industry Spotlight

By: The Tasting Panel Editorial Team
“Whisky Professor” David Mays at The Palm in L.A., with the Beam Small Batch Whiskey Collection.

Bourbon 101
Armed with his creative show-and-tell props—a Mason jar filled with 51 percent corn and 49 percent grain, a three-inch block of oak sawn from a charred barrel stave and a sample of new-make Jim Beam (clear, un-aged whiskey straight from the still)—David Mays gave a bourbon lesson to the guests who gathered for the Knob Creek Bourbon Dinner on March 19 at The Palm in Los Angeles. As a Knob Creek “Whiskey Professor,” Mays’s job is to instruct trade, press and consumers in the art and lore of bourbon. After his guided tasting of the Beam Small Batch Bourbon Collection (Knob Creek, Basil Hayden’s, Baker’s and Booker’s), a four-course dinner was matched with bourbon cocktails.

Union Beverage Ceases, Judge & Dolph Created

Union Beverage Company, owned by Glazer’s of Illinois, announced that the company will cease operations in Illinois effective June 30, 2008. Glazer’s and the Wirtz Beverage Group agreed to form a new firm, Judge and Dolph LLC, which makes it the largest spirit, wine and malt beverage distributor in Illinois. W. Rockwell Wirtz will assume the role of President.

 “The decision to create Judge and Dolph, LLC with Wirtz Beverage Group is one that we considered carefully,” says Glazer’s President Jerry Cargill. Glazer’s is a third-generation family business, founded in Dallas in 1933, operating in 12 states. Wirtz, also family owned-and-operated, is in five states and was founded in Illinois in 1926.

Make It a “Call” Brand: New Stoli Blakberi
Stolichnaya launches Stoli Blakberi, a flavored vodka with a creamy palate and intense flavor of fresh ripe blackberries.
"Stoli Blakberi is already creating quite a stir among on-premise establishments, retailers, bartenders and consumers across the country,” reports Craig Johnson, Brand Director for Stolichnaya at Pernod Ricard USA. Blakberi is available in four sizes: 1.75 L, 1.0 L, 750 ml. and 50 ml. SRP $23.99 for a 750 ml.

Rodney Strong Names New Managers for NYC & SoCal
Rodney Strong Vineyards recently named Dawn DuBois to the position of District Manager for Metro New York, a new position for the company that will focus on this key market as the winery begins to release higher-end wines from their “winery within a winery.”
Daniel Massucco has been named Area Manager for Southern California. Dan comes to the winery from Foster’s Wine Estates.

Partida Tequila Energizes Sales Team

J. Gary Shansby, founder and Chairman of Partida Tequila has hired Richard (Rick) Scully as Director of Sales, Western Division, Dave Singh as Director of Brand Development and promoted Thomas Smitherman to Director of Sales, Eastern Division, from Florida Regional Manager. “With Rick and Dave on board, together with the expanded role for Thomas, we’re well organized to better support our distributors and drive sell-through at the account level,” says Shansby. “Our sales and marketing is now more aggressive and street-focused.”
Scully was formerly with Meadowbank Estates, a division of Empson USA. Singh is a highly regarded premium tequila sales and marketing veteran and a mixologist certified by the American Bartender’s Association. Smitherman rapidly built Florida and Georgia into Partida’s top-performing states. His expanded responsibilities include the entire East Coast as well as Illinois and Indiana.

Building a Stellar Cellar

The Terlato Wine Group, in a luxury lifestyle partnership with Christopher Peacock Cabinetry, unveiled the “Stellar Cellar” wine room at the Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York City in March. The innovative room design features over 500 bottles of wine from Terlato’s portfolio and was showcased during the seminar “Where Wine Meets Design.” The construct, a combination of tall cabinets and lattice-front racks with storage for stemware and accoutrement, refocuses the wine “cellar” from the basement to the main floor of a house.
“People are integrating wine onto the main floor of their homes and into their daily lives,” says Bill Terlato, President and CEO of Terlato Wine Group. “They want to be able to try new wines and discuss them with their family and friends. Surrounding themselves with the wine will spur the conversation.”

Terlato has commissioned 150 Peacock cabinets to be installed at high-end wine retailers across the country. The program should be in place by June.

Carmen Electra joins Lisa McCann, Malibu Rum Senior Brand Manager, and friend at Malibu’s exclusive Winter Bash tour event at Polly Esther’s Club and Bar in the Stratosphere Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas. Malibu’s high energy Caribbean-themed events, happening from coast to coast, feature special guest DJs, dancers and signature Malibu cocktails.



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