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News Briefs for August 22, 2011

August 22, 2011

•After going bankrupt and closing in 2009, New York landmark Tavern On the Green may be re-created as a global chain by Tavern International LLC, led by former Mutual of New York manager Louis Bivona. Bivona has made an offer of $1.3 million to acquire the Tavern On the Green name with an eye toward opening locations in the U.K. and elsewhere. Tavern International LLC’s bid has been accepted by the bankruptcy trustee, but is still subject to competitive bidding and approval by the bankruptcy court. The proposed deal would grant Bivona’s venture royalty-free use of the Tavern On the Green name and logo for restaurants outside of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and parts of Pennsylvania.

•German wine producer Schmitt Söhne has introduced new packaging in the U.S. market that features Quick Response (QR) code technology for all of its brands. Consumers with a smartphone and QR code reader app can scan the code to go to the brand’s mobile site, where they will find product reviews and food pairings, among other features. Schmitt Söhne imports its own brands in the U.S., including Schmitt Söhne Blue Bottle Rieslings, Schloss Vollrads, Franz Keller, Franz Anton, Markus Molitor, Anything Goes, Superstition, Fünf, Relax (an Impact Hot Brand up 29% to 360,000 cases in 2010), and SV Dry. In total, the Schmitt Söhne portfolio sells around 1.2 million cases annually in the U.S.

•Ian Macleod Distillers will release its Isle of Skye 12-year-old Blended Scotch Whisky brand into the U.S. market in mid-September, with a suggested retail price of $38.99 a 750-ml. Imported by California’s ImpEx Beverages, Isle of Skye 12 follows the release of the brand’s 8-year-old expression, which hit the U.S. in 2009.

•France’s 2011 grape harvest is expected to total more than 47 million hectoliters, according to the French ministry of agriculture and fishing. The estimate, which represents a 6% rise on last year’s harvest, includes 23 million hectoliters of wines classified as AOP (Appellation d’Origine Protegée) and 13.6 million hectoliters of wine classified under the IGP (Indication Geographique Protegée) category. However, the ministry warned that humid weather and disease could still reduce the crop size below current estimates.

Rémy Cointreau USA has named New York-based marketing group The Vidal Partnership (TVP) the new agency of record for its Rémy Martin Cognac portfolio. TVP, known for its multicultural focus, will be responsible for the brand’s total market work—which includes strategy, brand advertising and digital activity—in the U.S. The agency’s Rémy Martin campaign is currently in development and is expected to launch in the third quarter of this year. Rémy Martin’s previous agency of record was Miami-based La Comunidad.

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