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News Briefs for October 5, 2012

October 5, 2012

•Puerto Rico’s Destilería Serrallés has filed a lawsuit against Diageo NA, accusing the company of violating an agreement after it moved production of Captain Morgan rum from Puerto Rico to the U.S. Virgin Islands in 2008. Serrallés claims Diageo was to buy 1 million gallons of rum from Serrallés to sell exclusively in the U.S., and has accused them of not paying for or accepting 900,830 gallons of that amount. Additionally, Serrallés has accused Diageo of planning to sell the rum to Europe instead of the U.S., which would reduce payments to Puerto Rico under the U.S.’s rum cover-over tax rebate program. Serrallés is claiming more than $5 million in damages and asking that Diageo be made to buy the remaining rum and sell it in the U.S. only. Diageo issued a statement to Shanken News Daily saying they have honored all agreements with Serrallés and properly exited the supply contract.

William Grant & Sons revealed today that its sales were above £1 billion ($1.7b) for the first time in calendar 2011, on an increase of 9%. Operating profits slipped 4.6% to £126 million ($204m), the company added. Among the company’s key brands, Grant’s Scotch whisky was down 0.4% to 5 million cases in 2011, according Impact Databank, while single malt Glenfiddich rose 7.8% to 1 million cases. The rise of rum brand Sailor Jerry’s and Tequila label Milagro helped William Grant’s leading brands rise 4% to 3.7 million cases in the U.S. last year.

•Napa Valley has been awarded Geographical Indication (GI) status in Brazil, protecting the appellation’s name from fraudulent use in the country. Napa Valley, which includes more than 430 wineries, already has GI status in the European Union, India, Thailand and Canada. The news builds on a deal made earlier this year, when the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the Brazilian Trade Ministry signed an agreement to formally recognize each country’s native distilled spirits categories—the U.S. agreed to recognize Cachaça as a distinctive product of Brazil and in return Brazil will recognize Bourbon and Tennessee whiskey as distinctive products of the U.S.

•Pernod Ricard USA is introducing a limited edition Gingerbread flavor to its Kahlúa liqueur brand for the holiday season. The new entry, which will retail in line with the core brand at $17.99 a bottle, is billed as showing notes of gingerbread, nutmeg, cinnamon and clove, blended with 100% Arabica coffee and sugarcane rum. Kahlúa Gingerbread joins fellow holiday extension Kahlúa Peppermint Mocha.

•New York-based private equity company Praesidian Capital, which owns the Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse chain, has acquired Texas Steakhouse & Saloon, which has 19 locations in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. Financial terms weren’t disclosed. Praesidian will keep current Texas Steakhouse & Saloon executives and the brand will be managed by Charlie Brown’s co-owners Jim Burke and Brad Grow. Praesidian has owned the New Jersey-based, 20-unit Charlie Brown’s chain since April 2011, when it bought the brand for $9.5 million at auction from bankrupt CB Holding Corp.


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