Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

News Briefs for June 16, 2014

June 16, 2014

•Wine marketer Riondo USA is entering the spirits category via an agreement to handle sales and marketing for Dirty Tequila. Currently available in California and Arizona, Dirty Tequila—made from a blend of blue agave and cinnamon, pineapple, almond and vanilla flavors—will launch in Las Vegas next month, with other major markets slated to follow later in the year. The brand retails at under $25 a bottle.

•Restaurant reservation service OpenTable Inc. has agreed to be acquired by Priceline Group Inc. for $2.6 billion. OpenTable, which accepts and manages reservations for restaurants, takes online bookings for more than 15 million diners a month across more than 31,000 restaurants. OpenTable currently generates more than 80% of revenue in the U.S., but Priceline is expected to look to expand its international profile. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Truett-Hurst has appointed Paul Forgue as CFO and COO, effective today. Forgue was most recently senior director of financial advisory services company Alvarez & Marshall. Prior to that he worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Forgue succeeds James Bielenberg as CFO of Truett-Hurst, who resigned Friday to pursue other interests, although he will stay on temporarily to ensure a smooth transition.

•Stamford, Connecticut-based Serrallés USA has expanded its sales team with a pair of new hires. David Duran, formerly of Kindred Spirits and Krol Vodka, has been named west regional sales manager, charged with building Serrallés’ portfolio among key chains in the western U.S., with a particular focus on growing Don Q rum. Concurrently, Vincent Melita, formerly of Hood River Distillers, has been appointed east regional sales manager.

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