Monty, Mooshagian, Garren Join Benson

To manage digital and PR projects in both Benson’s Napa and New York offices, the agency has hired three new professionals.  All three will contribute to US-based campaigns for wine brands, regions, and spirits companies. Cristen Monty joined the agency’s New York office this month. Her PR expertise was honed in New York agencies including Rubenstein PR and JMG PR. Erin Mooshagian joined the Napa office with a background in technical and freelance wine writing for a variety of outlets, as well as wine education at Domaine Carneros winery Finally, Amanda Garren also joins the Napa office; her background focuses on in-bound marketing campaigns for SaaS companies outside the wine and spirits industry.

Greg Metze, Master Distiller, Old Elk Distillery

Old Elk Distillery Taps Benson

Benson has begun promotional work with Old Elk Distillery, supporting the company’s distribution expansion and helping to drive consumer awareness. The company was founded in 2013 by serial entrepreneur Curt Richardson. His desire to craft spirits that embody both innovation and legacy led him to create a distinctive house of brands out of Fort Collins, Colorado.

Today, legendary master distiller Greg Metze leads production:

  • Old Elk Blended Straight Bourbon Whiskey: 4x times the malted barley as traditional mash bills, and a slow-cut proofing process for smoothness.
  • Dry Town Gin: crisp citrus notes and Colorado sage jump out of the glass of this mixologist-friendly 92 proof spirit.
  • Nooku Bourbon Cream: The TTB had to create a new “category of one” for Nooku because it’s just bourbon and dairy cream, that’s it.

Watch this company because they are doing things right: investing for the long-haul, adding legendary distiller Greg Metze to the team, building their own distillery, quickly building a distribution platform, and opening The Reserve, a restaurant/bar in old town Fort Collins that doubles as a test bed for new spirits innovations.  And they grill a mean Elk burger.

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New Office for Benson FR

Appropriately, Benson France is one of the first companies to move into Lyon’s new gourmet landmark, l’Hôtel Dieu.
If you’ve been to Lyon in the past 4-5 years, you’ll recognize the rehabilitated, historic building along the Rhone. In 2019 the building will open the Cité de la Gastronomie, which will be dedicated to all things epicurean and healthy living. The landmark building is also home to a new 5-star hotel, a number of restaurants and shops, and modern office space for a wide range of companies dedicated to food, wine and technology. It’s the new hub of Lyon and an obvious move for us.  We hope to see you soon at l’Hôtel Dieu!

O.R.E. 118 Raw Vegan Gin

Introducing: 118 + 1st Raw Vegan Gin

Benson is pleased to start working with O.R.E. 118 Raw Vegan Gin, the first spirit of its kind in the U.S. and the only spirit to be allowed a Raw Vegan claim on its Certificate of Label Approval.

The gin was launched in time for National Gin Day on June 9. While there are other vegan gins – where no animal products or by-products are used in their distillation or filtration – O.R.E. 118 is the only raw gin available in the U.S. market. The gin is “raw” because throughout its entire fermentation and distillation process it is kept below 118 degrees Fahrenheit, the temperature above which many enzymes break down and foods and beverages are no longer considered raw.

This genre-defining spirit is the creation of founder Robert Elder. While dining at a raw vegan restaurant in Manhattan he requested a gin martini. Dismayed to discover that martinis were not served because there were no spirits that were both raw and vegan, he undertook to change that and established his family-run company, 118 + 1st, to produce hand-crafted, raw spirits. The name of Elder’s inaugural product, O.R.E. 118 Gin, has a double meaning: O.R.E. stands for “Original Raw Essence,” and the letters are also his father’s initials.

“You don’t have to be vegan to enjoy O.R.E. 118 Gin,” Elder says. “With its juniper, ginger and pepper notes, our gin is ideal for purists and cocktail enthusiasts alike. Still, it fills a need in the market for raw and vegan spirits. If gin is one of your favorite spirits, as it is mine, then you will love the depth of flavor and smooth finish O.R.E. 118 Gin offers, whether you are a vegan or an omnivore.”

O.R.E. 118 Gin can be found at well-known restaurants across New York City, including Nobu, Batard and Aquavit, and is currently featured on the cocktail lists at Candle 79 and Tribeca Grill. It is available for purchase at Crush Wine & Spirits and Mister Wright Fine Wine & Spirits, and is distributed by Opici Family Distributing.

Benson France Signs Champagne Vollereaux

Located in Pierry near Epernay La Maison Vollereaux has retained Benson’s Lyon office for a Brand Messaging Plan project to further refine its position in the French market. The project will be followed by a France-based PR campaign. The sixth generation at Champagne Vollereaux is lending its own perspective and creative to a long legacy of excellence.

Billecart-Salmon: 200 Years of Independence, Family Expertise

In 2018, Champagne Billecart-Salmon will celebrate its 200th anniversary by meeting champagne aficionados in five global capitals. Benson is proud to help this family-run company share its modern vision for the future. The year will be punctuated by a series of collaborative events and activities, including exclusive tasting events in New York and Los Angeles with rare cuvees and Michelin-starred chefs.

New York, Lyon Offices Expand with New Hires, Clients

Benson’s New York and Lyon offices are growing with the addition of new professionals. Meryl Bouchier and Pauline Ben hamou have joined Benson’s Lyon office. Meryl’s previous roles included communications responsibilities at Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) and a New York agency specializing in food and wine. Pauline joined the agency earlier this year, focusing on digital communications–creating and executing social media content and digital media campaigns.


Several new clients have joined the French roster as well, including Veuve Ambal, AOP Montlouis-sur-Loire, Wine Objectives, Château d’Antugnac and Gabriel Meffre.


In New York, PR specialist Emma Criswell brings experience to Benson from her previous role as PR manager at Maisons Marques & Domaines, the importing house of Champagne Louis Roederer and its properties. The agency is now better equipped to manage U.S. campaigns for new clients including Champagne Billecart-Salmon, Clos du Val Winery, Bread & Butter, Double Lariat, Reata and others.

WX Brands Retains Benson for PR and Digital Campaigns

WX Brands is one of the largest wine-producing companies in the U.S., with divisions in exclusive brands, contract production, and national brands. The forward-thinking company retained Benson to join its brand marketers on new promotions to raise awareness, trial and sales of its growing portfolio of national wine brands.  In December 2017, WX Brands announced the addition of Jelly Jar to its national brands portfolio, which includes Bread & Butter, Double Lariat, Reata, Chronic Cellars, and Our Daily Wines, among others. The campaign will encompass digital marketing, social media, and Public Relations.


WX develops exclusive brands of wine, beer and spirits for retailers around the world, and offers a unique portfolio of proprietary wine brands that are sold globally. Products are sourced from 17 countries and sold in 12 countries resulting in over 6 million cases sold worldwide.

Resurgent Clos du Val Taps Benson

One of Napa Valley’s benchmark wineries, Clos du Val is set to reimagine the Stags Leap District winery for the next generation. Spearheaded by a dynamic team of industry veterans including Steve Tamburelli (CEO), Ted Henry (winemaking), Jon-Mark Chappellet (production), Clos du Val retained Benson to help communicate its new approach.

2018 will be a busy year. The winery continues its transition to a focus on estate-based wines, and unveils a new visitor center and experience that will connect guests to its Stags Leap District home, Hirondelle Estate Vineyard.

As Steve Tamburelli says, “The history of great wineries aren’t written over a few vintages—they are written over decades and generations. They are captured in dusty bottles, and new vintages of wine aging in the finest French oak. As its stewards, we are writing Clos du Val’s next chapter. When we cut our Cabernet production in half to focus on estate wines, it was incredibly exciting. It said to people, more than anything, we care about making extraordinary wines.”

Chile’s Montes Winery and Argentine’s Kaiken Winery Join Benson Digital Client Roster

Benson’s portfolio of digital marketing clients expanded in May with the addition of Chile’s world-renowned winery, Montes S.A., as well as its sister winery in Argentina, Kaiken Winery. The agency will manage social media platforms and digital partnerships for the two brands.

Founded in 1987 by Aurelio Montes, Sr. and Douglas Murray, and later joined in 1988 by Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand, the founders’ dream was to produce Chilean wines a quantum-leap higher in quality than the standards of the time. Montes Winery continues to be an innovative, family-owned winery, whose wines are now available in 100 countries. The winery’s experiments in sustainable dry-farming, its ongoing support for community sustainability programs, and its Feng Shui designed winery – to pick three examples—have raised the bar for other Chilean producers. In April, the winery added a world-class experience for its visitors by opening the new Fuegos de Apalta restaurant, a partnership with internationally acclaimed chef Francis Mallmann.

Taking inspiration from the Caiquines geese that cross the Andes each year, Aurelio Montes, Sr. and his team crossed the Andes from Chile to pursue new horizons in Argentina. Kaiken winery was founded in 2001 by Aurelio Montes, Sr. and his son, Aurelio Montes, Jr., combining the exceptional conditions of the Mendoza region with the talents of professionals from Argentina and Chile. The winery’s imaginative team incorporates sustainability and biodynamic principles in its VistaFlores vineyard, produces an ultra-premium Cabernet Franc (unusual for Argentina) and continues to seek out new horizons in Argentine wine.