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News Briefs for September 15, 2011

September 15, 2011

• Beam Inc. CEO Matt Shattock says the company may well be an acquirer rather than an acquiree after it achieves standalone status next month. “In this industry, acquisition is a very important driver and something that we’ll be looking at very seriously,” Shattock told Bloomberg yesterday. “We won’t feel constrained in terms of the scale. We have a strong and very flexible capital structure, and that gives us the opportunity to contemplate various types of transactions.” While Shattock didn’t get into specifics regarding potential acquisition activity, his comments are consistent with Beam’s stance that it will not only remain independent, but that it will also aggressively pursue expansion.

Sotheby’s exceeded pre-sale estimates at its recent New York auction on September 10, bringing in a total of $4.18 million, reports Wine Spectator. The 1,183-lot sale was 98% sold, with a pre-sale high estimate of $3.9 million. Top sales included a case of Château Lafite Rothschild 1982 for $54,450 (8% above the Wine Spectator Auction index average) and two bottles of DRC Romanée-Conti 2002 for $22,990 (22% above the index average). While Sotheby’s wine president Jamie Ritchie conceded that market instability has affected “whether clients bid and how aggressively they bid,” the successful auction confirmed his belief in the recession resistance of the collectible wine market.

Boisset Family Estates is rolling out the inaugural vintage of its Amberhill Wines brand, a California-appellation offering. Amberhill’s first releases are two “Secret Blend” wines from the 2010 vintage, a red and a white, both priced at $9.99 a bottle and 13.5%-abv. The red blend is comprised of Syrah, Merlot, Grenache, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Malbec, while the white is a blend of Chardonnay, Muscat and Sauvignon Blanc.

• Brown-Forman has launched its 2011 edition of Old Forester Birthday Bourbon in the U.S. The small-batch, 98-proof offering is the tenth edition of the brand’s annual limited edition release, which marks Brown-Forman founder George Garvin Brown’s September 2 birthday. Each Birthday Bourbon is vintage-dated, packaged in a decanter-style glass bottle and features an individual flavor profile. Priced at $49.99 a bottle, the 2011 Old Forester Birthday Bourbon is available nationwide.

• BarHappy—a free resource to help consumers find food, drink and other entertainment deals in their city—has officially launched its website, www.barhappy.com, and iPhone mobile app. BarHappy’s database comprises more than 15,000 venues across 18 cities, including Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Washington D.C. The interface allows users to search across many criteria, such as the kind of deals they’re looking for, the neighborhood and the venue type. Businesses keep up with their own profile pages in real time so deals and information are current, and registered users can earn rewards by giving them ratings.

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