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News Briefs for February 12, 2013

February 12, 2013

Pernod Ricard’s Martell & Co. subsidiary has agreed to acquire Cognac producer Le Maine au Bois SAS for an undisclosed sum. Previously owned by Pierre-Hubert Lassalle, Le Maine au Bois is based in Saint-Eugene, which is part of the AOC Cognac region’s Petit Champagne area. Le Maine au Bois’ holdings include a distillery and other production facilities, as well as eaux-de-vie spanning all ages. The deal is expected to close by June 30. According to Pernod, the purchase reflects its continued focus on the “long-term development” of Martell, the world’s third-largest Cognac brand at around 2 million cases.

•Crimson Wine Group is releasing the debut vintage of Double Canyon, a limited-production luxury wine label sourced from Washington’s Horse Heaven Hills region. Double Canyon Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 is rolling out to Washington, Oregon, California, Alaska, Idaho, Nevada and Montana this month, retailing at $40 a bottle. Only 275 cases of the inaugural vintage were produced, but Crimson says future vintages will be more widely available. Crimson—known for California brands like Seghesio, Chamisal and Pine Ridge as well as Oregon’s Archery Summit—acquired the Double Canyon estate vineyard in 2005. It was previously owned by the Mercer family.

Heineken USA has recognized San Bernardino, California-based Gate City Beverage with its top distributor honor, the Red Star, for 2012. Last year, Gate City grew the Heineken portfolio’s sales by 8.6%, as the company’s Mexican portfolio (including Dos Equis and Tecate) rose 11.8% and its Dutch brands (including Heineken and Heineken Light) increased by 3.2%. Gate City also expanded Heineken’s on-premise distribution by 40% last year. In other company news, Heineken USA is extending its Beers of Mexico variety pack offering ahead of the summer season by rolling out a 12-pack of cans. The Beers of Mexico 12-can format will feature Dos Equis Lager, Tecate and Sol. The variety packs were already available in 12-packs and 24-packs of bottles, featuring Dos Equis Lager, Dos Equis Ambar, Tecate and Sol.

•California chef and restaurateur Bradley Ogden plans to open a new concept, Harvest & Hops, in Las Vegas. The venue will be located in the space that formerly housed Bottles & Burgers at shopping and entertainment center Tivoli Village in Las Vegas. The move marks Ogden’s return to Las Vegas following the shuttering of his eponymous restaurant at Caesars Palace last August to make way for Gordon Ramsay Pub & Grill. Ogden is opening Harvest & Hops with partner Bill Feather, who already owns View Wine Bar & Kitchen, Taste and Poppy Den with chef Angelo Sosa in Tivoli Village, though an official opening date for the new restaurant has not yet been announced. Ogden also has plans to open three new restaurants in Houston this year, as Shanken News Daily reported on October 17.

•Quaker Steak & Lube has announced plans to launch 17 new restaurants this year, with openings in Medina, Ohio, and Columbia, South Carolina, slated for the first quarter. The announcement comes on the heels of the unveiling of a new company-owned unit in Plano, Texas, last month. In 2012, Sharon, Pennsylvania-based Quaker Steak & Lube opened 11 new units and entered agreements with four new franchisees, boosting company revenues by 13%. The company currently has nearly 60 units in 19 states and Canada and in 2013 plans to expand in Texas, South Dakota, South Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida, among other states.


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