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

News Briefs for June 10, 2011

June 10, 2011

• California distributor Wine Warehouse has appointed Greg Akins to the role of president and chief operating officer. Akins first joined Wine Warehouse in 1989 and has since held a variety of leadership roles, including his most recent post as executive vice president and COO of the group’s northern California division. Akins’s appointment is concurrent with former president Jim Myerson’s move to chairman and ceo, as well as co-founder Bob Myerson’s move to chairman emeritus.

• The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reached a settlement agreement with Michael Migliozzi II and Brian William Flatow, the co-founders of an online campaign aiming to solicit investors for a takeover of Pabst Brewing Co. Details of the settlement weren’t disclosed. Launched in 2009, the “BuyaBeerCompany.com” campaign utilized social media platforms Twitter and Facebook to collect investor pledges for the $300 million necessary to purchase Pabst. In April of 2010, however, Migliozzi and Flatow shut down the campaign site after the SEC issued a cease-and-desist order, stating that the Internet campaign violated securities regulations. According to media reports, the pair is estimated to have achieved online pledges for $200 million prior to the campaign’s halt. Private investment firm Metropoulos & Co acquired Pabst Beer Co in June 2010.

• Starbucks is introducing beer and wine to two additional locations in the Northwest: an existing Issaquah, Washington location and a new outpost in Portland, Oregon. The move is part of an ongoing Starbucks test-run with local beer and wine, which began at Seattle-based Starbucks locations late last year. According to Starbucks regional vice president of the Pacific Northwest Kris Engskov, the beer and wine offerings contribute to a “restaurant at night” feel, which the company hopes will drive traffic during off-peak hours. If the test-run locations prove successful, Starbucks said it will expand the effort to around half of its stores globally.

• Washington state-based wine group Precept Wine Brands has changed its name to Precept Wine. According to CEO and founder Andrew Browne, the new name reflects Precept’s recent transition from a marketing- and sales-focused firm to a fully integrated wine producer. Founded in 2008, Precept now owns 3,700 vineyard acres as well as production facilities and tasting rooms. The company has a portfolio of more than 40 wine brands from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Germany and Australia. Labels include Waterbrook and Sagelands from Washington, Battle Creek from Oregon and Red Knot from Australia.

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