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SB’s most-read stories in March 2023

From acquisition news to a collaboration that got tongues wagging (and mouths watering), the list of SB‘s most-read stories in March is as eclectic as an AI generated cocktail recipe…

Most read March
Below we count down the most-read stories from March

Last month we covered everything from new product launches and distillery openings, to government budgets and trade show news. But only 10 stories could make the list of our most-read articles throughout the month.

Keep reading to find out which ones made the list.

10. Ardgowan spends £100m on Sherry casks

Whisky producers were snapping up Sherry casks left, right and centre in March, and our coverage of this has landed in our most-read stories list not once, but twice.

The first of story, taking the 10th spot, regards Scottish producer Ardgowan’s £100 million (US$112m) deal for a decades-long supply of Sherry casks. The company partnered with Bodegas Miguel Martín, one of Spain’s oldest Sherry cask producers, on the deal, commissioning them to construct sustainably sourced European oak casks, at a cost of 30 to 40 times more than standard whisky casks.

The deal marks what is thought to be the first unique cask design in the Scotch whisky sector in more than a century.

You can read the whole story here.

9. Rampur Distillery unveils Sangam Indian whisky

Sangam World Malt Whisky

Our readers love to learn about the Indian whisky scene, so it was no surprise that the reveal by Radico Khaitan of Rampur Distillery’s newest single malt got them clicking in March.

Sangam World Malt Whisky will launch in the UK, the EU, the US, Singapore, Australia and travel retail this month. The name derives from the Hindi word meaning ‘confluence’, the merging together of two rivers to make something “bigger than their parts”, explained Sanjeev Banga, Radico Khaitan’s president of international business.

Tasting notes of the 43% ABV release include aromas of tropical fruits, with a ‘complex’ palate boasting with more fruit and ‘delicate peaty and salty notes’. The finish is described as pleasantly long.

You can read the whole story here.

8. Skrewball sells majority share to Pernod Ricard

Skrewball whiskey

Love whiskey? Love peanut butter? Then you and Pernod Ricard have something in common, as the French firm bought a majority stake in the world’s first peanut butter-flavoured American whiskey Skrewball last month, and it was big news in March.

While the financial details of the deal have not been disclosed, Pernod Ricard said flavoured whiskey was one of the fastest-growing spirits categories in the US, accounting for a quarter of all whiskey sales in the market, so it clearly sees some big value in the brand.

You can read the whole story here.

7. Macallan buys 50% stake in Grupo Estévez

Here it is: the second big Sherry cask story of the month landing in our most-read list, and this time it’s the turn of The Macallan, which bought a 50% stake in Grupo Estévez in order to have exclusive supply of its Sherry casks.

Grupo Estévez owns vineyards and bodegas in Jerez’s ‘Sherry Triangle’ and produces the ultra-premium Valdespino brand of Sherries and apéritifs.

Scott McCroskie, CEO of Edrington, said: “This is a partnership full of promise for The Macallan in the brand’s constant quest to continue producing exceptional quality single malt Scotch whiskies that are so well-loved by consumers around the globe.”

You can read the whole story here.

6. Absolut and Heinz create vodka pasta sauce

Heinz Absolut vodka

Yes, we had to check the date of this announcement, too, but no, it wasn’t an April Fool’s prank (you’ll find those here) – Absolut and Heinz really did join forces to create a tomato-vodka pasta sauce, and unsurprisingly our readers were all over it. Who doesn’t love vodka and carbs, right?

Inspired by a viral TikTok video posted by super model Gigi Hadid in 2020, the Pernod Ricard-owned brand said the vodka intensified the ‘rich and creamy tomato, basil and cheese’ sauce. When cooked, the vodka is reduced, which boosts the flavour compounds in the tomatoes.

Sounds to us like a dish that might pair well with this parmesan-garnished cocktail.

You can read the whole story here.

5. Diageo launches cask-maturation project


Johnnie Walker owner Diageo teamed up with scientists from Scottish university Heriot-Watt to investigate how whisky gets its flavour from cask maturation, and our readers were keen to learn the answer.

Unfortunately the results haven’t been revealed yet, but after a three-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership, the team will ‘demystify’ the process of maturation and figure out how to use analytical methods to explore the chemistry of whisky barrel maturation, which could significantly enhance whisky production in the future.

You can read the whole story here.

4. ChatGPT designs ‘best cocktail in the world’

Dusk ChatGPT Cocktail

The robots are taking over, but the good news is they’re making us cocktails in the process, so it’s not all bad… right?

Last month, nightlife app Dusk tasked AI software ChatGPT with making the ‘best cocktail in the world’, and to be fair to the chatbot, it gave it a pretty good go, combining 25ml gin with 5ml lime juice, 10ml St-Germain elderflower liqueur, 5ml absinthe, 25ml Cointreau, 2 dashes of orange bitters and 10ml honey syrup plus sparkling wine to top, and an orange twist for the garnish, to create the Heavenly Sipper.

The app also asked ChatGPT to ‘comment’ on the cocktail, and it wrote: “This Heavenly Sipper cocktail contains less than 50ml of spirit measure, which makes it a lighter but still sophisticated drink that is perfect for those who prefer a more balanced cocktail.”

You can read the whole story here.

3. Ardbeg launches BBQ-inspired whisky

With barbecue season just around the corner, Ardbeg has released a whisky that is set to elevate your grill-side experiences this summer.

Ardbeg BizarreBQ has been created by the brand’s director of whisky creation, Dr Bill Lumsden, and boasts flavours of smoky barbecue with a ‘meaty, peaty punch’. The limited edition whisky clocks in at 50.9% ABV, and is a single malt that is said to complement both whisky making and barbecuing.

“Barbecue lovers and Ardbeg lovers are one and the same – it’s all about the smoke – which is something Ardbeg BizarreBQ has in spades,” said DJ BBQ, who aided the creation process.

You can read the whole story here.

2. Ten of the biggest spirits acquisitions


Our readers tend to gravitate towards our merger and acquisition stories (proven by the two we’ve mentioned above), so when we rounded up 10 of the biggest spirits company deals in recent years, we weren’t surprised to see people clicking.

From US$1 billion celebrity deals to the big firms backing small brands, our list includes the ones that have dominated the headlines.

You can read the whole story here.

1. Top 10 award-winning Tequilas and mezcals

Award winning agave

When it comes to Tequilas and mezcals, our readers want to drink the best, which is probably why our round-up of the top 10 award-winning spirits in the two categories was the most read story on in March.

The list comprises Gold and Master medal-winning bottlings from The Tequila & Mezcal Masters 2023, which were awarded by a panel of expert blind tasters. Expect to find spirits from across Mexico in every style, variety and price bracket in this list.

You can read the whole story here.

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