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

News Briefs for December 9, 2015

December 9, 2015

•Whisky Advocate has named Spirit of Hven Sankt Claus as its World Whisky of the Year. Produced by the Spirit of Hven Distillery, the Swedish whisky is 53.2%% abv and retails at 975 SEK ($116) a bottle. Whisky Advocate is announcing its annual award winners one day at a time on its blog, culminating with the naming of a Lifetime Achievement honoree on December 15 and the Distiller of the Year announcement on December 16.

•AB InBev CEO Carlos Brito defended his company’s proposed $110 billion takeover of SABMiller in front of Congress yesterday. Appearing before a Senate subcommittee focused on antitrust issues, Brito denied that the agreed merger would subvert competition in the U.S. beer market. “If anything, our divestiture of SABMiller’s interest in MillerCoors (to Molson Coors) will create an even more competitive marketplace,” by strengthening Molson Coors’ position, Brito asserted. Molson Coors CEO Mark Hunter supported Brito’s stance in his remarks, but Brewers Association CEO Bob Pease countered that ABI’s growing influence at the wholesale tier is proof of its aim to squeeze competitors. “ABI will continue to purchase additional independent wholesalers and discontinue sales of competing brands,” Pease said. In addition to offloading SABMiller’s 58% stake in MillerCoors in the U.S., AB InBev recently moved to address E.U. competition concerns by putting SABMiller’s Grolsch and Peroni brands up for sale.

•Daniel Humm and Will Giudara, owners of upscale New York City restaurant Eleven Madison Park, plan to open a fast-casual restaurant, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The partners will open Made Nice, a counter-service restaurant, on West 28th Street in Manhattan next year.

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