Published Date

NORWALK, Conn., May 2, 2018 – Diageo, a global leader in beverage alcohol, today announced changes to the leadership team of its North American business.   Ed Pilkington, currently Chief Marketing Officer, Diageo Europe, is to be appointed Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, Diageo North America.  Claudia Schubert, currently General Manager, Diageo Continental Europe and Russia, is to be appointed President U.S. Spirits & Canada.

“We are delighted to welcome two of Diageo’s most talented and experienced senior leaders to North America,” said Deirdre Mahlan, President, Diageo North America.  “Claudia and Ed have both played critical leadership roles in the recent transformation of our Europe business, and both bring world-class multi-market experience that will help drive their respective functions forward.”

Pilkington takes the helm of marketing and innovation from James Thompson.  During his tenure Thompson has established a strong platform for growth in North America.  He has recruited and developed top talent, overseen a step-up in creativity and successfully implemented our refreshed consumer-choice framework. Thompson has decided to return to the U.K. for personal reasons and currently, with no suitable openings within Diageo, has decided to pursue opportunities outside the company. 

Pilkington has a long history with Diageo over the course of a 24 year career with the company that has seen him lead its marketing and innovation business in Australia, Latin America and the Caribbean and, prior to his current role, as leader of the company’s global vodka, rum and gin category.

Schubert takes on U.S. Spirits and Canada from Tom Looney.  After a 30 year career with the business, Looney has decided to retire. During his time with the business, Looney has been a key contributor to the company’s strategy, performance, and navigation of distributor alignment. His work has created stronger execution and focus across the U.S. Spirits commercial function.

This marks a return to North America for Schubert, who has spent time in the U.S. and Canada in a number of senior commercial roles, including President, U.S. Control States & Canada.  Schubert has most recently led Diageo Continental Europe to strong growth.

“Together Thompson and Looney have a combined 53 years with the business, and we are grateful for the significant impact and legacy they leave with us,” continued Mahlan. “Their leadership and passion will be missed, and we wish them the very best for the future.”

Pilkington and Schubert will transition to the North America market over the summer, reporting to Mahlan.  Thompson will remain through July 31, 2018, and Looney will remain to support the transition through September 30, 2018.  

Published Date

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (April 30, 2018) – The air gets a little smokier in May as Americans fire up the grill for National Barbecue Month. For this summertime exercise, the team at Moonshine University, the country’s leading bourbon educators, looked at BBQ sauces from all over the U.S. and did a big taste testing to see which bourbons paired the best with each sauce. Let that stew in your work jealousy for a while. The Moonshine team tried each sauce with both pork and chicken and then narrowed down what bourbons to match to based off the initial tasting notes of the sauce. Here is Moonshine University’s top BBQ and bourbon pairings.

Memphis BBQ Sauce

Memphis knows a thing or two about BBQ as well and is one of the most popular styles of BBQ. This sauce is a ketchup-based sauce that is generally sweet and peppery. Everyone enjoyed this style of sauce quite a bit. It hit every part of the mouth with a good flavor and it had a wide breadth of characteristics, not to mention the nice pepper and coriander notes.

  • Bourbon Pairing: Wild Turkey 101

A sauce with that much going on needs to be paired with a bourbon that has a whole lot going on too but in the same smooth, well-balanced way. That’s how we paired Wild Turkey 101 with this sauce. The Wild Turkey amplified all the best parts of the Memphis style sauce by adding nice, fruit notes, a subtle smoky note and gave the whole combination a full umami experience.  The 101 proof of the Wild Turkey was cut back by the sauce letting the flavors really come out. The combination also produced a delightful, sweet and spicy finish that lingered enjoyable on the tongue.

Texas BBQ Sauce

While Texas has many different regions that all prepare their meat differently, we’re going to focus on the sauce. Texas BBQ sauce is one of the styles people traditionally think of when they think of BBQ sauce. It’s a tomato-based sauce sweetened with molasses or brown sugar. The sauce we ended up with was a mild sauce and not very spicy at all. It was very tomato forward with black pepper and other spices coming in mid-palate and leaving us with a spicy finish.

  • Bourbon Pairing: Woodford Reserve

We found that Woodford Reserve was the right proof and flavor profile to complement this sauce. The proof added a little heat to the somewhat mild sauce, so the kick up in spiciness was a nice addition. Not to mention the rye notes that come out in Woodford rounded out the sauce and gave it a spicy flavor throughout. The spiciness of the rye in the bourbon pair perfectly with the spices in the BBQ sauce. It is a combo that really brought out the best in each other.

North Carolina BBQ Sauce

The Carolinas know their BBQ and it’s evident by the showing of 3 different styles of sauces on this list.  The ketchup-based version would fall under the realm of a ‘traditional’ type of sauce.  This sauce was very sweet, had notes of molasses and was mild, but had a rich umami, or meaty, character to it.

  • Bourbon Pairing: Buffalo Trace

After taking a bite of BBQ with this North Carolina sauce on it and taking a sip of Buffalo Trace, something magical happens. This relationship birthed a completely new flavor that we didn’t pick out of the sauce or bourbon individually.  The two together brought out a smoky and oaky character that was fantastic. Plus, the bourbon lessened the intensity of the sweetness and allowed a caramel note to pop out. The flavors blended well with one another creating an entirely new, sauce and flavor.

The debate about which region has the best BBQ will carry on for years to come. Personally, we like them all. But the same debate happens in the bourbon industry as well. Again, no favorites here. But the Moonshine U tasting panel tried to find common ground by pairing two of our favorite things together into something we can all agree on. Cheers to National BBQ Month!

Published Date

NEW YORK, April 30, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Amaro Montenegro, Italy's most popular and iconic amaro brand with more than 130 years of history and heritage, was recognized for its superior quality and taste at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition, one of the most influential spirits competitions in the world. Amaro Montenegro received three of the highest honors: the coveted Best in Show Liqueur award, Best Herbal and Botanical Liqueur, as well as the rare and prestigious Double Gold medal in the Herbal and Botanical Liqueurs category – an honor bestowed only when members of the esteemed panel of judges unanimously award a Gold medal designation based on a blind tasting.

The San Francisco World Spirits Competition was founded in 2000 as a way to recognize exceptional products in the spirits industry. This year's competition was the biggest in its history, featuring more than 2,200 entries.

"It is a great honor to be recognized as one of the top spirits brands in the world, and proof that the unique and authentic Amaro Montenegro recipe, which has been carefully protected over the years, truly stands the test of time," said Marco Ferrari, CEO, Gruppo Montenegro. "We look forward to proving our excellence for years to come, as consumers continue to embrace amaro as their spirit of choice."

This acknowledgement follows Amaro Montenegro's recent Gold medal in the Bitters - Digestive (Potable) category at the 2017 International Wine and Spirit Competition, an organization that promotes and rewards the quality and excellence of the world's best wines, spirits and liqueurs, reinforcing the brand's position among the top amaros in the world.

"Throughout the world, Amaro Montenegro has a long-standing reputation for providing exceptional quality," said Rob Cullins, North American Regional Director, Gruppo Montenegro. "As we expand into new markets, we believe this distinguished recognition as a superior liqueur will encourage new consumers to explore drinking occasions with Amaro Montenegro."

Amaro Montenegro is a 130-year-old amaro that is born of extraordinary experiences and baptized by irreverence. The award-winning bitter-sweet flavor of Amaro Montenegro begins with the cultivation and extraction of 40 botanicals collected from around theof the globe, preserved at a controlled temperature and humidity, and crushed only moments before they enter the extraction phase. Three different methods are used to extract the essence of each botanical: boiling, maceration, and distillation to create Amaro Montenegro's signature blend. This process is overseen by Master Herbalist, Dr. Matteo Bonoli, who oversees every batch just as the brand's founder, Stanislao Cobianchi, did back in 1885.

At 23 percent alcohol (46° proof) Amaro Montenegro is smoother and more balanced than other amaro brands. The robust flavor of Amaro Montenegro can be enjoyed on its own or mixed with other ingredients to craft a variety of cocktails — its versatility and taste create a deeply memorable experience, no matter the occasion.

For more information about Amaro Montenegro, visit or follow on Facebook, Twitter @AmaroMonte and Instagram at @AmaroMonte.

Published Date

TORONTO, April 30, 2018 /CNW/ - Squeez'd Beverages, a division of Sleeman Breweries Limited, debuts SPLASH Spiked Sparkling Water, a new ready-to-drink alcoholic beverage crafted with sparkling water, vodka and a hint of natural fruit flavours, now available in most markets across the country. With 110 calories per 355 mL serving and 5 per cent ABV, SPLASH is unsweetened with no added sugar and no artificial sweeteners. It's also gluten free.

"We created SPLASH Spiked Sparkling Water to satisfy the increasing demand in the market for an alcoholic beverage that has no added sugar and no artificial sweeteners," said Scott Pederson, Director of Marketing. "It's a refreshing option for people with active lifestyles, who are looking for a clean-tasting and convenient alternative to traditional sugary RTD products."

SPLASH Spiked Sparkling Water comes in two natural and refreshing flavours:  Mixed Berry and Tropical Grapefruit. Mixed Berry delivers a pleasantly sweet berry aroma highlighted by the flavours of blackberries with a hint of raspberry. Tropical Grapefruit has a lively citrus and tropical fruit aroma, with a juicy grapefruit flavour lead that is subtly sweet and supported with the topical flavours of passionfruit, mango and pineapple. "The flavours we've selected to offer have strong consumer appeal and the slim 355ml can retains the effervescence, chills fast and stays cool," Pederson continues.

"We are excited to be bringing SPLASH Spiked Sparkling Water to Canadians this summer in response to the growing popularity of these beverages internationally", Pederson continues.  Without compromising on flavour, SPLASH is unsweetened, has zero aftertaste and can be enjoyed chilled or served over ice.  

SPLASH Spiked Sparkling Water is available in packs of four 355 mL slim cans for a suggested retail price of $9.95. For shop locators and purchasing details, visit: Find SPLASH on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

Published Date

WESTLAKE, Texas, April 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Sanctified Spirits, LLC, producer of Oak & Eden Handcrafted Whiskey proudly announces the introduction of its remarkably smooth, highly original line of in-bottle finished, inspired whiskeys.  "Our whiskey is exceptional because of the way in which we finish it, in-bottle," says Joe Giildenzopf, the company's CEO.

In-bottle finishing utilizes a masterful combination of Spirit, Wood, Fire and Spice.  "We start with Spirit, Straight American Whiskey, in two varieties, Bourbon and Rye.  Next, using our patent-pending process, we add Wood, a 5-inch long spiral cut piece of American Oak to each bottle.  We call this our "Spire".  The Spire has been exposed to Fire (just like a barrel would be) in order to extract flavorful botanicals that when introduced to the bottle adds Spice, smoothness and character to our whiskey," stated Mr. Giildenzopf.

While our whiskeys are in-bottle finished, they're also inspired.  "Inspired Whiskey" has two meanings; the first, obvious meaning is there is a spire in our whiskey.  The second, less obvious meaning speaks to the Creation Story when God made Man from the earth and breathed His life into His creation.  Similarly, Oak & Eden uses elements of the earth, corn, rye and barley to create a spirit, whiskey.  We figuratively put a part of ourselves into our creation to bring it to life, or inspire it.  The spire in the bottle is emblematic of this impartation. "Oak" characterizes the origin of our creation and "Eden" the perfection of it.

Oak & Eden subtly honors The Creator by celebrating creators, those who are so inspired that they willingly endure long-suffering to refine their craft and make something that lasts.  "We get it.  It's a struggle, long and arduous.  That's why we share our creation: amazing whiskey, inspired from within by our spire, enabling our in-bottle finishing, defining our flavor and perfecting our creation.  It is a suitable reward for anyone who puts whatever is in them, out there," claims Brad Neathery, the company's Creative Director.

Oak & Eden is proud to curate, and commemorate other makers.  "For all the makers, we made this for you."  Stories of craftsmen, artisans, innovators, and explorers can be found at

Oak & Eden is available in Bourbon, finished with a Toasted Oak spire and Rye, finished with a Charred Oak spire and can be purchased in many Texas liquor stores.  Other innovative expressions will be released later this year, in limited, small batch quantities.  "In September, we will be releasing a "Cabernet-Steeped" variety, whereby we rest a French Oak spire in cabernet sauvignon for 6 weeks prior to using it to finish, in-bottle, an American Whiskey," claims Joe Giildenzopf.

Oak & Eden Handcrafted Whiskey is being distributed by Republic National Distributing Company.  The company aspires to grow the distribution of the brand to other states soon.

For more information, view


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