Uncorkings: Spirit Giant Bacardi Acquires St-Germain

Plus more news and notes from the world of wine and spirits.


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Bacardi Limited has acquired the elderflower liqueur St-Germain from Cooper Spirits International, LLC., a privately held New York-based alcoholic-beverage company. The purchase continues the development of Bacardi’s premium spirits portfolio, which includes Bombay Gin and Grey Goose Vodka. According to Wine & Spirits Research (IWSR), St-Germain’s worldwide sales increased more than 50% to approximately 77,000 cases in 2011. While final data has not been published for 2012, total sales are expected to reach 100,000 cases. Watch Cooper Spirits accept the 2010 Distiller of the Year Wine Star Award for St-Germain.

St. Helena, California-based Trinchero Family Estates has agreed to spearhead the sales, marketing and distribution for the Washington State wine brand Charles & Charles, a partnership between industry veterans Charles Bieler (Three Thieves, Bieler Père et Fils, Gotham Project) and Charles Smith (K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines). The agreement marks the first time Trinchero has entered the Washington wine business. The Charles & Charles portfolio includes a Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah blend and a Syrah rosé, and each sell for around $12/750 ml.

Moët Hennessy’s first winery in China is slated to be completed in June 2013. Located in China’s northwestern region of Ningxia, the $5.5-million Chandon winery will be used to produce méthode Champenoise sparkling wines from locally grown Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc. The finished facility is said to include a winery, fermentation cellar, technical tasting room and visitor center. The first wines are expected to be released in 2014.

The Wine Market Council, a nonprofit wine-trade organization, has elected Dennis Cakebread as the chair of the association’s board of directors. Cakebread is also the director of sales of Cakebread Cellars in St. Helena, California. Cakebread succeeds Xavier Barlier of Maisons Marques & Domaines/Roederer Estate, who held the post from 2010–2012. Barlier has been elected to serve as the council’s immediate past chair.

Paul Hobbs, international winemaker, consultant and founder of Paul Hobbs Wines in Sebastopol, California, has been appointed consulting winemaker of Janicó Wines in Canelones, Uruguay. This is Hobbs’ first consultation project in Uruguay. He currently has clients in Argentina, Armenia, California, Canada, Chile and France, including Bodega Benegas (Mendoza) and Sterling Vineyards (Napa Valley).

According to the Beverage Information Group and the U.S. Census, the consumption of wine in the United States has increased 21% over the past decade, from 1.95 gallons of wine per American in 2001 to 2.36 gallons of wine per American in 2011. The consumption of distilled spirits in the U.S. increased 20% during the same period, from 1.25 gallons per American in 2001 to 1.51 gallons per American in 2011. Overall, beer drinking in the U.S. has declined 10% over the past 10 years, from 22.08 gallons per American in 2001 to 19.79 gallons per American in 2011.

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