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News Briefs for September 20, 2013

September 20, 2013

•In a widely anticipated move, Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. has tapped former 7-Eleven CEO Jim Keyes to lead the Fresh & Easy grocery chain, which Yucaipa recently agreed to acquire from Tesco. Keyes ran 7-Eleven for more than two decades (1985-2006). More recently, he was CEO of Blockbuster prior to its bankruptcy and sale to Dish Network. Burkle reportedly is interested in relaunching Fresh & Easy under the defunct Wild Oats brand, a trademark that’s owned by Keyes.

•Massachusetts Beverage Alliance (MBA) is adding two new labels to its line-up: Bantam Cider Co. and Lost Nation Brewing. MBA will distribute Bantam’s Wunderkind and Rojo ciders on draft and in 22-ounce bottles ($7.99) throughout Massachusetts by early October. Meanwhile, starting in late September, three Lost Nation brews will be offered on draft in Greater Boston and portions of Western Massachusetts: Gose, a traditional German style; Saison Lamoille, a lower-alcohol farmhouse style; and Petit Ardennes, a light-bodied blond. The MBA network includes Atlas Distributing, Burke Distributing, Colonial Wholesale Beverage, Commercial Distributing and Merrimack Valley Distributing. Craft beer shipments in Massachusetts were up 14% to 32,000 barrels in the five months through May, raising craft’s share of the state’s total beer market to 16%, up more than 2 percentage points year-on-year.

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