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

News Briefs for July 14, 2017

July 14, 2017

•Total Wine & More is expanding its presence in Austin, Texas with the opening of two new stores. The first outpost, which spans around 20,000 square feet, is opening this week in Austin’s Arboretum district, while the second location will debut in the city’s Mueller neighborhood later this summer. Both Total Wine stores will feature a wine tasting station, craft and local beer Brewery District section and walk-in humidor, among other amenities. The Arboretum and Mueller locations join existing Sunset Valley and Cedar Park stores in Total Wine’s Austin area footprint.

•A Whole Foods investor has filed a class action suit in federal court in Texas aimed at blocking the retail chain’s pending $13.7 billion merger with Amazon. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Robert Riegel, claims Whole Foods failed to inform stockholders about post-merger employment and investment opportunities for the company’s executives, opening the door to conflicts of interest. It alleges that “Amazon had preliminary discussions with certain Whole Foods executive officers regarding Amazon’s desire to retain such officers following the closing,” but failed to disclose “the timing and nature of all communications regarding the future employment and/or benefits relating to Whole Foods management.” Whole Foods CEO John Mackey is slated to remain in his current role following the closing of the merger, which is expected before the end of the year.

•Beam Suntory has added a new single grain offering to its Kilbeggan Irish whiskey range. Making its debut in the U.S., Kilbeggan Single Grain is made with 94% corn and 6% malted barley, and is aged in ex-Bourbon barrels before being finished in a mix of ex-Bourbon and fortified wine barrels. The 86-proof expression retails at $29.99 a 750-ml. Kilbeggan Single Grain joins the brand’s flagship Irish whiskey in the Kilbeggan lineup.

•The Guinness Storehouse, the tourist destination at the old St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin, has announced a €16 million ($18.3m) expansion plan. The project will double space for the Gravity Bar, the site’s rooftop bar that offers 360-degree views of Dublin. Under the plan, a new 360-degree space will be built next to the original Gravity Bar, doubling capacity to 500 people. A new three-story building adjacent to the Guinness Storehouse is also in the plans, and will provide new space for the Guinness Archives. Construction is slated to start in 2018 and be complete by 2019. The Guinness Storehouse and the current Gravity Bar will remain open during construction. The Guinness Storehouse has become Dublin’s most popular tourist destination, attracting total of 16.5 million visitors since it opened in 2000.

•Ireland-based Glendalough Distillery has launched its Wild Botantical Gin in the U.S. Sourced from the Wicklow Mountains in County Wicklow, Ireland, the 41%-abv Wild Botanical Gin is a combination of fresh flora, added to the still within hours of being handpicked; sturdy botanicals macerated in copper pot stills; and lighter botanicals suspended in baskets. Retailing at $30 a 750-ml., Wild Botanical Gin is available in major markets across the country, both on- and off-premise. The Glendalough portfolio also includes poitíns, double barrel whiskey, and 7- and 13-year-old single malt whiskies.

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