Pernod Snags Itself a New Bourbon Brand


Pernod Ricard North America has taken a majority stake in West Virginia's Smooth Ambler Spirits Co., best known for its Smooth Ambler Contradiction Bourbon and Old Scout Single Barrel Bourbon.

The distillery was founded in 2009 by Tag Galyean and John Little. Its full portfolio includes Greenbrier Gin, Barrel Aged Gin, Whitewater Vodka, Revelation, Contradiction, Yearling, Old Scout Straight Bourbon Whiskey, Old Scout Straight Rye Whiskey, Old Scout Ten Bourbon Whiskey, OSB single Barrel and OSR Single Barrel. Under the terms of the transaction, John will step into the role of ceo and continue to help grow the company.

"This investment illustrates perfectly our strategy of partnering with rising entrepreneurs sharing the same passion for authentic, high-quality brands," says Alexandre Ricard, chairman and chief of Pernod Ricard. "It represents a strong opportunity to enter the fast-growing, high-end bourbon market extending even more our fantastic portfolio of genuine brands in our number 1 market."

You may recall, Pernod was said to be interested in Utah's High West Distillery in September, but the company ended up going to Constellation Brands [see WSD 10-04-2016].

The transaction is scheduled to close in early 2017.


Once again Florida legislators are attempting to repeal state law that requires liquor stores to be stand-alone entities, or the alcohol separation law. Two bills have been introduced, SB 106 and HB 81, for consideration in the 2017 legislative session to repeal the law, backed by Sen. Anitere Flores and Rep. Bryan Avila, reports a local publication.

You may recall, spirits-in-grocery has been a hot button issue in Florida for the last several years, as retailers and lawmakers have made several attempts at repealing the alcohol separation law to push for spirits on grocery shelves. Advocates for repeal include major retailers like Target and Wal-mart along with the Big Bend Minority Chamber of Commerce and the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association. And in the other corner we have the state's package and convenience stores, the Florida Independent Spirits Association and Florida-based grocery chain Publix.

We'll see how far this latest effort will go.


Sazerac has taken a page out of the wine packaging playbook by launching its Fireball whiskey in box format, aptly named the Firebox. As far as we know this is the first time a spirits company has introduced this kind of packaging.

The Firebox includes two 1.75-liter pouches of Fireball whiskey, each with its own spigot that you can pop out on opposite ends of the box. It's retailing at about $60 a box. Sazerac had released the product on a limited basis at the start of the year, according to a local news affiliate. "We did a very limited release of The Firebox in January 2016 but have continued to get requests from around the world," said a company spokesperson in June.

We'll see if this new packaging pays off and if others will follow suit.


SAZERAC'S CASA SAN MATIA TEQUILA RELEASES SAN MATIAS TOHONA in US markets to celebrate the 130th anniversary. San Matia Tohona is a silver tequila made from 100% weber blue agave. It is currently available in select US markets at a suggested retail price of $60 a 750 ml, and will be adding markets through 2017.

FIRESTONE & ROBERTSON DISTILLING TO LAUNCH TX STRAIGHT BOURBON. The TX Straight Bourbon is aged for four and a half years and made using local Texas ingredients. A limited amount will be available at the Fort Worth distillery and in select stores in Dallas and Fort Worth starting December 12.

HAVE YOU REGISTERED FOR THE 2017 WINE & SPIRITS DAILY SUMMIT? January will be here before you know it so sign up today and kick off the New Year by joining us in San Diego at the Hotel del Coronado January 30-31. We've got a great lineup, check out our agenda to see who will be speaking. Spots are filling up quickly, see who's already registered. For more information and to register click here.

Until tomorrow,
Your Editors

Emily Pennington -
Sarah Barrett -

"It is not who is right, but what is right, that is of importance." -- Thomas Huxley

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