GSN Backbar Review: February 9-13, 2015

indexE&J Gallo is launching a new liqueur, Viniq, into national distribution. A blend of premium vodka, Moscato and natural fruit flavor, Viniq was initially tested in seven markets beginning in May 2014 and enjoyed notable success in the nightlife sector in Los Angeles and Atlanta. Targeted at Millennial consumers, the 40-proof liqueur “shimmers” when shaken for an eye-catching effect, Gallo says. Now available nationally, Viniq retails at around $20 a 750-ml. bottle.

imagesIn an unusual twist, Chicago-based CH Distillery has introduced a spirit distilled from beer. The company borrowed several barrels of the neighboring Ale Syndicate’s du Sable Hoppy Saison, de-gassed the liquid and then distilled it twice before resting it in small rum barrels for five months. The resulting product is called Spirit of du Sable (40% ABV), priced at $11 a 2-ounce pour at CH’s own cocktail bar or $14 paired side-by-side with a 12-ounce pour of the original beer. Bottles in a 375-ml. size are available at retail in Illinois, priced at $30. Meanwhile, Chicago-based Mercenary Brewing and Distillery, is set to introduce a gin employing the same hops as its pale ale, as well as a whiskey made from stout. Distribution initially will be limited to northern Illinois.

indexDiageo is launching its second annual collector’s edition of Johnnie Walker Scotch whisky in celebration of the Lunar New Year. Johnnie Walker Blue Label Year of the Ram ($258 a 750-ml.) is now in limited release at retailers across the country. The styling of the new edition nods at traditional Chinese ceramic artistry: when four bottles with their signature Johnnie Walker labels are placed side by side, a single image unfolds, evoking a Chinese scroll painting. The bottle’s artwork illustrates three rams standing in distinguished positions, a traditional reference to the Book of Changes signifying a New Year of great fortune, according to the company.

indexPark City, Utah-based High West Distillery has relaunched Bourye, a Bourbon and rye whiskey hybrid offering. A blend of nine-year-old straight Bourbon and 10- and 16-year-old straight rye whiskies, the returning offering is positioned as a sipping whiskey, intended to be consumed neat or with water. Bourye is currently available across High West’s 42-state footprint, priced at $80 a bottle, and joins the distiller’s existing range of craft whiskies and vodkas.

indexBeam Suntory has introduced Skinnygirl Spicy Lime Margarita. Targeting the spicy-sweet flavor profile that’s growing in popularity, Skinnygirl Spicy Lime Margarita is 10% abv and retails at $12.99 a 750-ml., with a 1.75-liter positioned at $20 to follow next month.

imagesDiageo’s Captain Morgan rum is expanding with three new flavors, including Captain Morgan Pineapple Rum, Coconut Rum and Grapefruit Rum. The trio will be available nationwide, priced at $15.99 a 750-ml., and, according to Diageo, are targeted primarily toward the summer cocktail occasion.

indexMoët Hennessy’s Belvedere vodka has augmented its flavored lineup with the launch of Belvedere Wild Berry. Launching nationwide this April, the summer-inspired expression is made with a natural blend of Polish strawberries and American blueberries and includes no added sugar, the company says. Wild Berry ($34.99 a 750-ml.) marks Belvedere’s sixth flavored entry, joining the brand’s existing Citrus, Pink Grapefruit, Mango Passion, Lemon Tea and Bloody Mary offshoots.

indexBooker’s Bourbon, part of Beam Suntory’s small-batch whiskey stable, has released the first in a series of limited edition Bourbons celebrating founding distiller Booker Noe. The series’ first offering, called Batch 2015-1 or “Big Man, Small Batch,” is a 128.7 proof Bourbon aged seven years and two and a half months. Hand-selected by Fred Noe, Booker’s son and seventh-generation master distiller, Big Man, Small Batch ($54.99) will be followed by more commemorative limited release Booker’s offerings throughout the year.

indexPernod Ricard is launching its high-end Yellow Spot Irish whiskey in the U.S. market, beginning this month. A 12-year-old single pot still whiskey, Yellow Spot was previously available exclusively in select European countries. Made with a mash of malted and unmalted barley and triple distilled in traditional copper pot stills, the whiskey is matured in a combination of American Bourbon, Spanish Sherry and Spanish Malaga casks. It will retail for about $100 a 750-ml. bottle in the U.S. market.

All information courtesy of Shanken News Daily