Opici Wines Launches New Spirits Division

Plus U.S. breweries continue record-breaking rise.


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Last week, importer and producer Opici Wines announced the launch of its new spirits division, Market Street Spirits. Market Street Spirits—named for the street on which Opici’s first office was located in Paterson, New Jersey, in 1913—informally launched in 2013 with the introduction of the company’s own Rebellion Bourbon, a Bardtown, Kentucky small-batch Bourbon, which is aged six years and produced from 70 to 72 percent corn and 28 to 30 percent rye and barley. Beginning March 1, Market Street Spirits will begin importing Brinley Gold Shipwreck Rum, along with other global premium spirits.

The Beer Institute, a trade group representing the United States beer industry, reported that the country saw a higher number of new breweries enter the market in 2013, with a record of 3,699 active “permitted breweries” overseen by the Alcohol Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB). The group reports that the majority of the 948 new permits issued in 2013 went to brewpubs, while four states account for one-third of all breweries in the United States: California, Washington, Colorado and Oregon.

American distilled spirits exports broke new records in 2013, crossing the $1.5 billion threshold, driven by premium Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey, the Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) reported at its annual briefing for Wall Street analysts. The trade group cited factors such as product innovations, heritage and cocktail culture, expanded access, and hospitality tax restraint by state legislatures as contributing to the U.S. market growth. DISCUS Chief Economist David Ozgo also reported that while whiskey is driving the market, solid growth in Tequila, Cognac and vodka also bode well for the industry. Additionally, DISCUS highlighted social improvements, citing the latest U.S. government data to report that underage drinking has declined to historic lows, and binge drinking rates by teens also continuing its long-term decline.

The Unified Wine and Grape Symposium reported that the official total of 14,000 attendees surpassed last year's record audience by 600. The Symposium featured 668 exhibitors representing more than 30 countries in a three-day event with sessions exploring wine and grape production, marketing, business/operations and sales issues.

The Carneros Wine Alliance, a non-profit association of wineries and grapegrowers in the Carneros American Viticultural Area (AVA), announced the launch of a new online media campaign called “The Voices of Carneros.” The new campaign, along with a revamped Web site, are in preparation of the CWA’s 30th anniversary as one of the founding California AVA associations in 2015. The Voices of Carneros campaign will feature Carneros locals, from winemakers to farmers and growers, and will be published regularly on the alliance website and across all social media outlets, all as a way for consumers to get insight on the region. The group also announced it will focus its marketing on Carneros Chardonnay in 2014.

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