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News Briefs for August 3, 2015

August 3, 2015

•A fine-wine investment group called Grande Marque Trading is launching this month in Chicago with an initial fund of $10 million. The managing director is Edward Robert Brooks, a former Midwest manager for the New York auction house Acker Merrall & Condit, which had acquired Brooks’s Chicago auction firm Edward Roberts International in 2011. The chief financial officer is Anthony Bowker, the former chief operating officer of Chicago’s Goose Island Beer Co. The group intends to broaden the usual focus of such funds beyond Bordeaux and Burgundy to include California, Italy and Australia, with most collecting devoted to wines 20 years and younger, according to Brooks. “Our mantra will be blue-chip wines with impeccable provenance,” he says. His goal is to have $50 million in investments under management within five years. Competing wine investment funds include Bacchus Partners LLC and Elevation Wine Fund LP.

Edrington Group has named Alice Avis as a member of its board, effective August 1. Replacing Ronnie Bell, who served on Edrington’s board for 10 years, Avis was previously global brand director of Johnnie Walker, and was most recently executive chair of skincare business Lumene Oy. Edrington CEO Ian Curle added that Avis’s experience in e-commerce as former director of marketing and e-commerce at U.K. retailer Marks and Spencer will also be an asset, in line with “the growing importance of digital marketing in premium spirits.”

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