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News Briefs for May 23, 2011

May 23, 2011

• After nearly four decades on the wholesaler end of the wine and spirits industry, Charlie Andrews has moved to the supplier side. Earlier today, Banfi Vintners announced that it has appointed Andrews to the newly created position of general manager. In this new role, Andrews will be overseeing sales, marketing and public relations for the Old Brookville, New York-based wine marketer. Andrews will report directly to Banfi’s Executive Committee, consisting of co-ceos James Mariani and Cristina Mariani-May and coo Marc Goodrich. The appointment is effective June 6, 2011. Andrews, who began his career in 1973 at McKesson Wine & Spirits and was later president and ceo of both Sunbelt Beverage and Young’s Market Co, was most recently regional president and operating committee member of Republic National Distributing Co.

Pabst Brewing Co has tapped former Mars Food Inc executive Bryan Crowley to serve as the company’s chief marketing officer, replacing John Sayer. Specializing in brand revitalization and product innovation, Crowley will play a key role in what recently-appointed Pabst ceo John Cochran calls an “aggressive growth plan.” Most recently serving as vice president of marketing and sales for Mars, Crowley is credited with developing and revitalizing the global rice brand Uncle Ben’s through the launch of Uncle Ben’s Ready Rice and the “Ben Knows Best” campaign. Prior to joining Mars, he also held various positions with Anheuser-Busch and ConAgra Foods.

• UV Vodka is celebrating its 10th anniversary with Cake, the 14th extension of its flavor line. Retailing for around $13 per 750ml, Cake begins rolling out across the U.S. on June 1. UV, from Phillips Distilling Co, has been an Impact Hot Brand fixture in recent years, surpassing the million-case mark in 2010.

• Societé des Produits Marnier-Lapostolle has released Quintessence, its first new Grand Marnier expression in the U.S. since Cent-Cinquantenaire marked the company’s 150th anniversary in 1977. Quintessence ($700 a bottle) contains a blend of vintage Cognacs sourced exclusively from Grande Champagne. The Cognacs range from 25 to more than 100 years old—including the 1906 Grande Champagne and 1955 Grande Champagne. The product is made through double distillation of bitter oranges and sugar, a blend which is then mixed into the Cognac and stored for 12 months.

• California-based J Vineyards & Winery has appointed Kerry Manahan-Ehlow vice president of sales and marketing, replacing Jim McAllister. She will be responsible for overseeing all sales, marketing and direct-to-consumer operations, as well as further developing the winery’s Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals. Most recently serving as coo of Foley Family Wines, Manahan-Ehlow has worked with a variety of high-profile wineries throughout her 25-year career, including Robert Mondavi, Chalk Hill Estate, Matanzas Creek and Kendall-Jackson.

• Buffalo Wild Wings Inc, owner, operator and franchisor of the Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar restaurants, has opened its first Canadian location in Oshawa, Ontario and signed four additional leases for upcoming outposts in Ontario’s London, Newmarket, Mississauga and Guelph areas. In addition to offering Buffalo Wild Wings’ signature menu and Buffalo, New York-style wings, the Oshawa restaurant will also feature more than 30 beers, including Keith’s, Canadian and Mill Street, and 20 bar taps. Last August, the Minneapolis-based company announced its goal to open 50 company-owned and franchised restaurants in Canada over the course of five years, first entering Ontario, B.C., Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, and eventually Quebec and the Maritimes.

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