Shanken News Daily: Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

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San Francisco’s Anchor Distilling Company introduces Mezcal Amarás to the United States. Translated as ‘you will love’ in Spanish, Mezcal Amarás is hand-crafted by a collaboration of 5 master mezcaleros in the village of San Juan del Río in Oaxaca, Mexico. Mezcal Amarás reflects more than 400 years of traditional production techniques, and is made exclusively from locally farmed ingredients.

•The National Restaurant Association (NRA) is forecasting total U.S. restaurant industry sales to rise 3.8% to a record $709 billion this year. If that projection holds true, 2015 will mark the sixth consecutive year of real sales growth for the restaurant industry, which employs about 14 million people, or about 10% of the U.S. workforce. While the restaurant sector faces potential obstacles to growth over the coming year—such as rising food and labor costs—the NRA said the industry is seeing job growth outpace that of the overall economy, and noted that economic signs are generally pointed in the right direction for continuing progress in 2015.

•New York-based sales and marketing firm Blackheath Beverage Group says its portfolio reached 160,000 cases in volume in 2014, accounting for more than $18 million in sales. Founded in 2012, the company is led by industry veteran Jay Harkins as CEO and houses a stable that includes Atlantico rum, The Dalmore and Jura Scotches, Stillhouse Moonshine, Fernet Vittone and the recently added The Duke Kentucky Straight Bourbon, among others.

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