SC business notebook, Nov. 30

November 29, 2013 

Super Top Shelf

This Nov. 26, 2013 photo shows a bottle of Michter's Celebration Sour Mash in Louisville, Ky.


Market ends month on strong note

Stocks were largely flat in holiday-shortened trading Friday, but the market ended the month on a strong note. Retailers were among the leading gainers as the busiest shopping day of the year, Black Friday, got underway. More than a dozen major chains opened on Thanksgiving Day and planned to stay open through Friday, the traditional start to the holiday shopping season. Crowds formed early and often throughout the two days. Investors will be following sales trends closely to get a read on the health of retailers, as well as the wider economy. Consumer spending is a critical component of the U.S. economy. The Dow Jones industrial average shed early gains, closing down 10.92 points, or 0.07 percent, to 16,086.41. The S&P 500 index also closed down 1.42 points, or 0.08 percent, to 1,805.81. The Nasdaq composite rose 15.14 points, or 0.37 percent, to 4,059.89.

Sour Mash Whiskey: Only $4,000 per bottle?

A new whiskey created in Kentucky features a blend of age and scarcity that spiked demand – and its price. Whiskey fans including celebrities and CEOs are angling to snatch up the fewer than 300 bottles of Michter’s Celebration Sour Mash Whiskey at nearly $4,000 per bottle. Limited-edition offerings with heftier prices are common as American whiskey-makers dabble in new flavors to lure more customers. But this latest offering by Michter’s Distillery is bringing the high end of the American whiskey business closer to the rarest bottles of Scotch, cognac and brandy.

Pro-marijuana movement loses a key patron

With the death of Cleveland billionaire Peter B. Lewis, the push for relaxed U.S. marijuana laws lost its most generous supporter. Lewis, chairman of Progressive Insurance, died Saturday at 80. Since the 1980s, he had donated an estimated $40 million to $60 million to marijuana law reform – including underwriting ballot campaigns, research, political polling and legal defense efforts. Largely through Lewis’ efforts, and those of several other billionaires, 20 states since 1996 have passed medical marijuana laws, 17 have decriminalized the drug and two have passed legalization language.

The Associated Press contributed.

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