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Maestro Dobel Pavito Pechuga Tequila

Maestro Dobel Pavito Pechuga Tequila
Maestro Dobel Pavito Pechuga Tequila.

Maestro Dobel Tequila Founder and 11th-generation tequila maker Juan Dobel has announced the limited-edition release of Maestro Dobel Pavito, a pechuga tequila. 

Featuring seasonal Mexican fruits and spices, Pavito also uses ‘pechuga’ — or turkey breast — to enhance and elevate the tequila, the company says.

“Maestro Dobel is renowned for producing modern expressions of tequila, rooted in familial tradition and generations of refined skill and craft,” says Juan Dobel, founder at Maestro Dobel Tequila. “Pavito is the ultimate expression of our commitment to tradition and innovation, inspired by ancestral techniques to create this first-of-its-kind tequila. We are thrilled to introduce Maestro Dobel Pavito at a time when we are seeing increased interest amongst U.S. consumers, trade and discerning spirits connoisseurs, who are looking for new ways to enjoy ultra-premium tequilas.” 

Made in the lowlands of Jalisco, Mexico, using 100% Blue Weber agaves, Pavito begins with a base of Maestro Dobel’s Silver tequila double distilled in copper pot stills. After a brief period macerating the fruits and spices, a third distillation is performed  — a first for the Maestro Dobel portfolio — during which the pechuga is placed at the top of the still, and infuses the tequila vapors with the aromatics of the fruits, spices and turkey breast.

This intensifies the tequila, the company says, creating layers of complexity in the liquid. This includes notes of cooked agave, fruits and spices, while also achieving a rich, savory profile. 

“Taking inspiration from and adapting ancestral methods by using the aromatic process of infusing the savory notes from a turkey breast in tequila, is not only a first for us, but also for the category,” says Alex Coronado, maestro tequilero and head of production at Maestro Dobel. “Unlike Mezcal, which is normally double distilled, the triple distillation results in a smooth, yet complex and balanced spirit that is not overpowered by the smoky notes.”

Maestro Dobel Pavito is available for purchase at select retailers nationwide for a suggested retail price of $59.99 per 750-ml. bottle.


Breakthru Appoints Tom Bené as President and CEO

Breakthru Beverage Group Tom Bené Bene President CEO
Breakthru Beverage Group has named Tom Bené as president and CEO.

The national beverage alcohol distributor Breakthru Beverage Group has named its next president and CEO.

Appointed by the company’s Board of Managers, Tom Bené moves into those top roles, effective October 4, 2021.

As Breakthru’s leader, Bené will advance the next phase of the company’s evolution focusing on growth and expansion, the company says, accelerating technology and innovation.

He has 30 years of leadership experience. Most recently, Bené served as president and CEO of the National Restaurant Association. Previously, he served as chairman, president and chief executive officer of Sysco Corporation, a global leader in foodservice distribution.

Prior to that, he served as president of PepsiCo’s foodservice business.

“We are thrilled to welcome Tom to Breakthru Beverage as our next President and CEO,” says Charles Merinoff, co-chairman of Breakthru’s Board of Managers. “Tom has a demonstrated history of leading organizations through periods of exceptional growth and innovation. His transparent, compassionate and inspirational leadership style struck us immediately, and we’re excited for him to continue building Breakthru’s culture of excellence and inclusivity.”

At the National Restaurant Association, Bené drove organizational and governance changes to improve overall engagement with its membership, the company says. He worked with large national restaurant brands and local operators in the restaurant, foodservice and alcohol beverage industries to navigate the impact of Covid-19.

For Sysco, Bené oversaw international expansion and numerous acquisitions, primarily of family-owned businesses, adding revenue to the top line.

“Tom brings invaluable expertise in distribution strategy and supplier and customer partnerships,” says W. Rockwell Wirtz, co-chairman of the Board of Managers. “We are confident that he will advance Breakthru’s position as an industry leader as we implement our growth strategy and continue to transform our business.”

Prior to joining Sysco in 2013, Bené spent 23 years at PepsiCo. He served in senior leadership roles including President of PepsiCo Foodservice and President of PepsiCo North American Beverages.

He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Kansas and is currently a member of the University of Kansas Business School Advisory Board.

Bené previously served on the Board of the Women’s Foodservice Forum, and has been an active member of a variety of charitable organizations, including the United Way.

“I’m very excited to join Breakthru at such an important time for the company,” says Bené. “Breakthru’s strong positioning in the marketplace provides a springboard to accelerate growth. I look forward to working with the Board of Managers and the company’s talented leadership team and associates to capture the many opportunities ahead and exceed expectations for our suppliers and customers.”

To ensure a smooth transition, President and CEO Greg Baird will serve as an advisor to the company, supporting Bené’s transition through the end of the year.

“On behalf of the Board of Managers, I’d like to share my heartful gratitude to Greg for his leadership and achievements,” says Merinoff. “His steadfast commitment to our suppliers, customers and associates has set the foundation for Breakthru’s tremendous future. We wish him the very best in his upcoming retirement and look forward to celebrating his contributions to Breakthru.”

This follows recent news from Breakthru, the new distribution of CBD beverages, and the passing of Chairman Emeritus Raymond R. Herrmann.


What’s Next for Alcohol Retail After Covid-19?

alcohol retail retailers trends covid 19 post pandemic covid-19 after business

Eventually the Covid-19 pandemic will wind down and industries worldwide like alcohol retail will move into a new world.

What will that look like? How will we act once the health crisis finally, mercifully recedes?

For a preview, look to the 2021 Beverage Alcohol Retailers Conference. Our annual event took place this summer in Austin, TX — before the Delta variant fueled another Covid spike

Many parts of this in-person conference felt odd. Handshakes. Indoor gatherings. Masks off. Meetings face-to-face. For most attendees, it was their first large in-person event since Covid slammed into America.

Signs of the health crisis still lingered, of course. Conference meals came in little individual containers rather than spread-out buffet style. Signs onsite and throughout Austin reminded people to wear masks if not vaccinated. And Covid safety procedures in the airports and airplanes continued to feel like 2020.

Otherwise, it was a whole new world.

Alcohol Retail Post-pandemic

One of the primary topics at BARC 2021 was the future of the alcohol industry as the pandemic subsides. 

The upshot? It’s difficult to tell.

“We have no precedent for coming out of a once-in-a-generation pandemic,” says Kami Banks Kane, owner of Delaware’s Banks Wine & Spirits and Top 100 winner, as she sat on the Industry Trends Panel.

The last time that America was in this odd, healing, fluid situation was the end of the Spanish Flu in 1920. Suffice to say, the world was different 100 years ago. Drawing parallels between now and then is not so simple.

So what can we predict for the new few years as Covid-19 recedes from our lives? For one, many attendees agreed: not all pandemic trends will continue.

The future of at-home mixology was met with skepticism, for instance. As bars and restaurants continue to reopen and recoup customers, the at-home mixology trend of 2020 will likely shift back to on-premise consumption.

The reopening of America will also affect retail alcohol sales. As dollars flow back to on-premise, retailers will unlikely replicate their extraordinarily high 2020 revenues. But this shift in consumer spending will not occur overnight.

“I think of it like a blown-up balloon,” says Banks, during the trends panel. “It got real big and now the air is gradually coming out, deflating slowly.”

Panels at the 2021 Beverage Alcohol Retailers Conference included the topic of alcohol retail after Covid-19.

One pandemic trend that nobody thought would decline considerably is ecommerce. Pick your metaphor — the cat’s out of the bag, the genie’s out of the bottle — because they are all true. Consumers who learned that they could order alcohol online during the pandemic, and have it delivered to their home, are not about to forget this new convenience. While not matching the hyper-growth of 2020, ecommerce is here to stay.

So too is one frustration from the pandemic. Namely: shortages. Covid-19 wreaked havoc on the manufacture and wholesale of all manners of raw materials. Complicating the issue, the world is now reopening and rebuilding faster than producers and distributors can keep up. Shipping bottlenecks remain. Demand badly outstrips available supply.

Alcohol feels this pinch with glass and aluminum. A shortage that began in the latter pre-pandemic — caused by the explosion of seltzers and RTDs — worsened significantly during Covid. Glass supply shrunk next. Now, leading American distilleries are considering non-glass bottles for their name-brand whiskeys.

Ask around and nobody has a precise estimate for when these shortages might abate. A common guess, though, is by sometime 2022 — at the earliest. Beyond that, it’s another mystery of our post-Covid era.

One bit of good news? Dan Butkus, VP of sales at Campari, believed that the bourbon shortage would conclude sooner than later. During the Three Tier Panel, he predicted that bourbon stocks would finally catch up with demand in the next several years.

Seeing that so many distilleries have recently invested in expansion — doubling production, in some cases — it’s hard to disagree with this hopeful vision.

Diversity and Inclusivity

Opening keynote speaker TJ Douglas, co-owner of The Urban Grape in Boston, delved into a critical issue facing the alcohol industry — now and in the years ahead. Despite recent advancements, we still have a long way to go in diversity and inclusivity.

Douglas expressed concern that customers may look at him — an individual of color — and not necessarily believe he’s an expert in wine. (A Top 100 winner, Douglas is a leading innovator in wine retail.) This frustration extends to his staff. Too often he sees other individuals of color apply for lower positions, such as stock boy, rather than areas with advanced skillsets.

This is troubling for many reasons. On one hand is the hurtful, insulting inequality prolonged by alcohol categories unconsciously associated with certain colors, classes or genders. This same issue affects women in whiskey. A common but false assumption is that women prefer smoother, lower-proof spirits. Studies (and reality) prove otherwise.

On the other hand, continuing racial and gender biases is simply bad for business. The U.S. population becomes more diverse every year. If you do not reach out and connect with these diverse customers, you will lose out to businesses and brands more in touch with the changing demographics of the country.

To address these issues, Douglas and his wife Hadley, Urban Grape co-owner, recently created the Urban Grape Wine Studies Award for Students of Color. Recipients attend the four-level Certificate Program in Wine Studies at Boston University’s Elizabeth Bishop Wine Resource Center. Recipients also receive hands-on, paid internships in the industry.

The goal is to “reduce racial isolation in the wine field.” Douglas, a graduate of the BU program himself, lamented that he’s too often the only individual of color at industry events. Thanks to his and his wife’s scholarship, diversity in wine is already improving.

Kyle Swartz is editor of Beverage Dynamics magazine. Reach him at kswartz@epgmediallc.com or on Twitter @kswartzz. Read his recent piece 9 Alcohol Trends in 2021-22.


Lawson’s Finest Liquids Kiwi Double IPA

Lawson’s Finest Liquids Kiwi Double IPA new zealand
Lawson’s Finest Liquids Kiwi Double IPA.

The latest release from Lawson’s Finest Liquids is called Kiwi.

A double IPA that has never been available outside the brewery’s Waitsfield Taproom until now, Kiwi is brewed with a charge of New Zealand-grown Nelson Sauvin and Pacific Jade hops.

Beginning this week, Kiwi rolls out to retailers across Lawson’s Finest’s nine-state distribution area: VT, CT, MA, ME, NH, NJ, NY, PA, and RI. 

“We love to experiment with hops from all over the world, and Kiwi is a great example of that,” says Sean Lawson, founder and CEO of Lawson’s Finest Liquids. “This blend of New Zealand grown hops delivers an incredibly smooth taste, even at 8.1% ABV. After we released Kiwi IPA at our taproom last year, everyone was asking when this beer was coming back, and the fact that we’re able to share it with beer fans across the Northeast is super exciting.”

This hop-forward double IPA leads with earthy, citrusy notes and finishes with fruitiness, the company reports. New Zealand is known for its crisp, acidic white wines, and the Nelson Sauvin hops bring hints of grape flavor and vinous character to Kiwi. The Nelson hops complement the herbal, peppery notes of the Pacific Jade hops to create an overall flavor different from most double IPAs available in the market, the company adds.

Following Kiwi’s run in September and October, the brewery will distribute Triple Sunshine across the Northeast to close out the year. 

Sip of Sunshine, Little Sip and the collection of beers from Lawson’s Finest’s Super Session single-hop IPA series are all available year-round throughout the nine-state distribution area. Craft beer fans looking for their nearest Lawson’s Finest retailer can click here.


Ruddell’s Mill Rye Whiskey

Ruddell’s Mill Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey ruddels covered bridge
Ruddell’s Mill Kentucky Straight Rye Whiskey.

The Covered Bridges Whiskey Company has announced the addition of a Kentucky straight rye to its flagship brand, Ruddell’s Mill. 

This rye complements the company’s Kentucky straight bourbon whiskey, which launched in select markets earlier this year

The brand takes its name from Isaac Ruddell. He founded a grist mill along Stoner Creek and South Fork Licking River, creating Bourbon County’s first industrial district. Here, the mill processed grains used for the production of early-day Kentucky whiskey. 

Ruddell’s Mill Kentucky Straight Rye has a high-rye mash bill and a touch of malted barley. This rye mash bill would have been common in the late 1700s, the company says.

Ruddell’s Mill Rye is a small-batch whiskey with individually numbered bottles, and a batch number on each label. It is non-chill filtered and bottled at 94.4 Proof. 

The suggested retail price is $49.99 per 750-ml. bottle.

Ruddell’s Mill is represented nationally by Worldwide Libations.

The Covered Bridges Whiskey Company pays homage to specific covered bridges with releases of whiskeys telling their stories. One of Kentucky’s first covered bridges, “Ruddles Mill” Covered Bridge, was built at the site of Isaac Ruddell’s grist mill in 1861. The bridge provided access to both sides of Stoner Creek until 1964, when it was destroyed by arson.


Jim Beam Announces Fred B. Noe Distillery

Fred B. Noe Distillery jim beam
Artist renditions of the Fred B. Noe Distillery courtesy of Jim Beam.

James B. Beam Distilling Co. has unveiled the Fred B. Noe Distillery, dedicated to Seventh Generation Jim Beam Master Distiller Fred Noe.

Leading this new distillery is Noe’s son, Eighth Generation Beam Distiller Freddie Noe.

The new site will produce several of Beam’s brands, including Freddie’s Little Book Whiskey annual series of blends, as well as future innovations.

“Our new distillery is really the heart and soul of the Beam legacy,” says Fred Noe. “Years ago after my dad, Booker Noe, created the original small batch bourbons, he looked to me to welcome more whiskey drinkers into our family of brands. Now as I look ahead, it’s with great pride that I hand the reins of this special place over to my son Freddie, and I look forward to working side-by-side as he leads the next chapter in whiskey making for the James B. Beam Distilling Co.”

“At the new distillery, Freddie will continue to experiment with new fermentation, distillation and blending techniques to produce category-defining and boundary-pushing whiskey of the highest quality,” he adds.

The Fred B. Noe Distillery joins the Beam family’s distillery campus in Clermont, KY, which has produced bourbon since 1935.

“This new distillery represents my family’s bourbon legacy – both where we’ve been and where we’re headed,” says Freddie Noe. “In this new home, I look forward to honoring all of my dad’s contributions and continuing to innovate and push the boundaries in American whiskey. Over the last five years, I’ve been exploring new and interesting blends, ages and flavors on my quest to build upon the legacy my dad and granddad pioneered. I’m eager to show the world what we’ve been up to, and to offer fans everywhere a taste of the special whiskies we’ve been cooking up.”

The Fred B. Noe Distillery, powered by renewable energy through an electric boiler and the purchase of renewable energy certificates (RECs), will also offer experiential learning through distillation sessions and seminars with Freddie Noe, hands-on activities in the blending lab, and a tasting bar to sample new and yet-to-be released whiskeys.

The Fred B. Noe Distillery upper floor.

The newly launched exclusive membership program, Barreled & Boxed, will allow consumers to experience the distilling company’s most exciting releases straight to their doorsteps in select states, where legal.

Additionally, a state-of-the-art classroom for the University of Kentucky’s James B. Beam Institute for Kentucky Spirits will operate in the Fred B. Noe Distillery, the company says.

The Fred B. Noe Distillery lower floor.

To bring the Fred B. Noe Distillery to life, James B. Beam Distilling Co. brought together a team of designers and builders.

The external inspiration and visitor experience was provided by LOVE, a spatial design, branding, packaging and advertising agency. Architects from Joseph and Joseph designed the base distillery build, and OJB designed the landscape. Buzick Construction, Inc. took the lead on building both of these areas. Additionally, architects from Bergmeyer designed the consumer footprint, which was built by Shawmut Design and Construction. Project management and owner’s representation for the visitor experience was led by Stys Hospitality Initiative.


Bud Light Seltzer Rolls Out Fall Flannel Pack

Bud Light Seltzer Fall Flannel Pack hard
Bud Light Seltzer Fall Flannel Pack.

Following the success of the Bud Light Seltzer Retro Summer Pack, the brand has announced the new, limited-edition Bud Light Seltzer Fall Flannel variety pack

This seasonal release includes three new, fall-inspired flavors, along with Apple Crisp, brought back from last year’s Ugly Sweater pack.

The new flavors are Bud Light Seltzer Pumpkin Spice, Bud Light Seltzer Toasted Marshmallow and Bud Light Seltzer Maple Pear.

“Since launching Bud Light Seltzer, we have continued to disrupt the seltzer category by expanding our portfolio with unexpected and delicious flavors,” says Andy Goeler, VP of marketing, Bud Light. “We’re excited to bring our limited-edition Fall Flannel variety pack to the market, giving consumers a new innovation that is inspired by the season and perfect for all autumn occasions.”  

The Bud Light Seltzer Fall Flannel seasonal pack features a fall-inspired plaid design. It comes in 12-oz. slim can variety 12-packs, nationwide, starting September 6 through the end of October.

In line with the Bud Light Seltzer portfolio, the Bud Light Seltzer Fall Flannel pack is made with cane sugar, natural flavors and comes in at 100 calories with less than 1 gram of sugar and 5% ABV. 


Four Roses Unveils 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon

Four Roses 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon whiskey
Four Roses 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon.

Four Roses Distillery has announced the release of their 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch. It’s an annual expression with a unique recipe.

Non-chill filtered and bottled at 114.2 proof, the 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch features different batches, aged 12 to 16 years.

These batches represent four of the distillery’s 10 bourbon recipes. Comprising the 2021 release are a 16-year-old bourbon from the OBSV recipe, a 14-year-old OBSQ, a 12-year-old OESK and a 16-year-old OESV.

“Hand-selecting the barrels to make up our annual limited edition bottling is one of my most rewarding experiences each year,” says Master Distiller Brent Elliott. “The ability to work with 10 bourbon recipes, each with distinct characteristics, opens up endless possibilities.”

“This year’s release brings a proof higher than any of the past Limited Editions,” he adds, “creating robust complexity and layers of flavors resulting from the variety of constituent batches and recipes.”

The exact percentages in the recipe are: 16-year-old OBSV at 13%, 14-year-old OBSQ at 6%, 12-year-old OESK at 23% and the 16-year-old OESV at 58%.

The average age of those bourbons puts this release on the older side. “A lot of the older versions of our annual release have that nice antique oak flavor, but they’re not dominated by that oak,” says Elliot. “There’s still a lot of vibrant flavors that come to the forefront.”

The 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch has aromas of ripe berries, light floral and rich warm oak, the company reports. Flavors include plum, orange peel and spice, leading to a finish of vanilla cream and dark chocolate.

Four Roses will distribute approximately 14,500 hand-numbered bottles of the 2021 Limited Edition Small Batch Bourbon. They are available at retailers nationwide, for a suggested retail price of $150 per 750-ml. bottle.

This special bottling rolls out in late September. Additionally, Four Roses will offer a limited quantity for sale at the Four Roses Distillery Visitor Center via a public lottery draw. Individuals may register for the lottery from August 31 to September 12 by visiting the Four Roses website. Those who selected via random draw will schedule appointments to pick up their purchase at the Four Roses Distillery.

This follows news that the distillery will increase distribution of its Four Roses Small Batch Select.


Barrell Craft Spirits Releases 2021 Gray Label Bourbon

Barrell Craft Spirits Releases 2021 Gray Label Bourbon
Barrell Craft Spirits 2021 Gray Label Bourbon.

In time for National Bourbon Heritage Month, Barrell Craft Spirits has unveiled its 2021 BCS Gray Label Bourbon.

The 2021 Gray Label is a blend of straight bourbon whiskeys matured for 15 years and bottled in Kentucky. It includes whiskeys sourced from IN, KY and TN.

The proof is 100.4, cask strength.

It features an oak-forward nose and a honey-brülée palate that “reveals the lushness of the grain,” the company says. Minerality yields to candied scents, and then savory earthy ones, fruity aromas, and finally herbs and spices. The bright palate is sweet with tastes of cola, with notes of allspice, fennel seed, peppermint and red fruit. The finish is dry, with notes of tobacco, walnut and iced coffee.

Barrell Craft Spirits 2021 Gray Label Bourbon has a suggested retail price of $250 per 750-ml. bottle. It is available at retailers nationwide and online

This follows the recent release of Barrell Bourbon Batch 30.


Firestone Walker Mind Haze Tropical Mixed Pack

Firestone Walker Mind Haze IPA Tropical Mixed Pack
Firestone Walker Mind Haze IPA Tropical Mixed Pack.

Firestone Walker Brewing Company has launched its Mind Haze Tropical Hazy Mixed Pack.

This release highlights three new flavors of Firestone Walker Mind Haze IPA — Tiki Smash, Hopical Crush and Citrus Cyclone.

“The Mind Haze canvas lends itself perfectly to different hops, fresh flavors and new ideas,” says Brewmaster Matt Brynildson. “This mixed pack gave us the opportunity to get creative and have fun reimagining the flavor possibilities. Each beer is built upon the main Mind Haze recipe, but they also come with their own tropical-inspired twists.”

The Mind Haze Tropical Hazy Mixed Pack rolls out to all Firestone Walker markets in 12-pack, 12-oz. can formats. It is also available at each Firestone Walker location.

The Mind Haze Tropical Hazy Mixed Pack features the following three new beers, with brewery-provided tasting notes:

Mind Haze “Tiki Smash” IPA

Tiki Smash IPA delivers a tiki-inspired flavor combination born of hops and freshly toasted coconut. Original Mind Haze hops including Azacca are now joined by Motueka and Sabro hops. The Azacca portion has been increased to amplify the sense of pineapple tropical character, while Sabro delivers its complementary coconut qualities. “We use an elaborate system to introduce freshly toasted coconut for a smooth, subtle extraction,” Brynildson says. “The resulting beer showcases the special synergy of natural coconut with the tropical hop flavors of Mind Haze.”

Mind Haze “Hopical Crush” IPA

Hopical Crush IPA, double dry hopped, has tropical Mai Tai-inspired flavors, including pineapple and orange. This beer begins by accentuating the original Mind Haze hop blend with the Strata cultivar, which offers up =pungent fruit and a touch of dank cannabis-like character. The beer is then double dry hopped with twice the amount of hops than usual — ultimately totaling more than five pounds of hops per barrel.

Mind Haze “Citrus Cyclone” IPA

Citrus Cyclone IPA delivers a taste of citrus flavors, with notes of real tangerine. The base beer is co-fermented with fresh California tangerines. This base is blended back with a separate lot of dry-hopped Mind Haze, then finished off with a final dash of tangerine to elevate the citrusy top note. Along the way, the Mandarina hop adds an orange character.

In the last two years, Mind Haze IPA has become Firestone Walker’s bestselling beer, alongside 805. The brewery also launched Double Mind Haze IPA earlier this year.

This follows the news of Firestone Walker 2021 Oaktoberfest hitting markets.