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

News Briefs for October 5, 2011

October 5, 2011

•The Barton family, owners of Bordeaux’s Châteaus Langoa Barton and Léoville Barton, have made their first acquisition since the 1820s, according to Wine Spectator. Anthony Barton and his daughter Lilian Barton Sartorius have purchased Château Mauvesin, a cru bourgeois in Moulis en Médoc. The price was undisclosed. The estate has been owned by the same aristocratic family since the 15th century, with the château built in 1853 by the last Marquis de Mauvesin. The sellers are the current generation—Alain de Baritault du Carpia and his wife, Helene Capbern-Gasqueton. Helene also operates Châteaus Calon-Ségur, a St.-Estèphe third-growth, and Capbern-Gasqueton, a cru bourgeois. The 500-acre estate includes 120 acres of vines, most of which are classified as Moulis en Médoc, with some in the Haut-Médoc appellation. The terroir is a mix of clay and limestone on gentle slopes planted to Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and a few rows of Carmenère.

•Real Mex Restaurants Inc. has filed for bankruptcy, citing economic instability, high rents and rising food costs. As a result, the California-based group has placed its El Torito, Chevys Fresh Mex and Acapulco Mexican Restaurant chains on the auction block. Majority-owned by a subsidiary of Sun Capital Partners Inc., Real Mex operates or franchises more than 200 restaurants across 17 states, with annual revenue of around $480 million. The news follows a recent wave of restaurant chain bankruptcies in the U.S., including filings from Perkins & Marie Callender’s Inc., Sbarro Inc., Fuddruckers and Charlie Brown’s Steakhouse. Another Sun Capital investment, Friendly’s, also declared bankruptcy this week and is expected to shutter more than 60 locations nationwide.

•The 2012 Michelin guide for New York City has been released, and 45 Michelin star recipients have been announced. They include Eleven Madison Park, up from one star last year to three stars this year, Marea, with two stars, and Gotham Bar and Grill and Gramercy Tavern, with one star each. Restaurants new to the list include Tamarind Tribeca, Heartbreak and Brushstroke, all with one star. The full list of star recipients can be found at michelinguide.com.

•The average meal cost in New York City has risen 4% this year, from $41.76 to $43.46, representing the city’s largest percentage jump in the past five years, according to the 2012 Zagat Survey. Despite the increase, Zagat reports that the city’s dining industry is showing signs of strength, with New Yorkers continuing to dine out about three times a week on average. The city also had 135 notable restaurant openings in 2011, compared to 68 closings—the best opening-to-closing restaurant ratio for New York City since 2007. Restaurant and lifestyle review group Zagat Survey LLC was acquired by Google Inc. last month. While neither party would comment on the purchase amount, the Wall Street Journal reported the price at around $125 million.

•Pernod Ricard USA has named Southern Wine & Spirits of Minnesota its exclusive wine distributor and preferred spirits distributor across the state (Pernod says it will also continue to work with other spirits distributors in the state). Pernod’s wine business was previously aligned with Wirtz Beverage Group in Minnesota. Southern now acts as the distributor for Pernod products in 27 states across the U.S. market. Southern entered Minnesota in 2010 via a joint venture with J.J. Taylor, one of the top U.S. beer wholesalers.

•Red Stripe may be synonymous with its Jamaican origins, but Diageo is moving production of the beer brand to Pennsylvania for better cost-efficiency. Beginning in 2012, Red Stripe’s U.S. supply will be brewed under license by City Brewing of Latrobe, PA. Jamaica-based Desnoes & Geddes Limited (D&G) will continue producing Red Stripe for Jamaica, Brazil, Canada and Europe and will receive royalties on Red Stripe’s U.S. sales. Diageo says the shift will generate cost savings that will enable greater investment in the brand in the U.S., one of its key markets. Red Stripe’s U.S. sales have more than doubled since 2000, and the brand is currently one of the market’s top 25 imported brews.

•A-B InBev has announced plans to invest more than $1 billion in its breweries and other facilities in the U.S. The funding—which runs through 2014—will be used primarily to modernize brewing operations and upgrade equipment, introduce packaging and brand innovation and reduce ABI’s environmental footprint. The investment includes money that A-B has already dedicated to projects launched since 2010, including $60 million to revamp the company’s historic St. Louis brewery and $34 million to expand production at its Houston facility. A-B has pledged a further $34 million to its Cartersville, Georgia brewery, $30 million to its Los Angeles operations and $27 million to upgrade its Baldwinsville, New York facilities, among other initiatives.

•Mount Vernon Estate in Alexandria, Virginia will roll out the inaugural batch of aged George Washington Rye Whiskey beginning at 10 a.m. on October 22. Only 300 of the limited edition bottles will be sold for $185 each, available at The Shops at Mount Vernon and the Distillery & Gristmill site. The whiskey was aged in charred oak barrels for two years using an original recipe at the reconstructed Distillery that reopened in April 2007.

Subscribe to Shanken News Daily’s Email Newsletter, delivered to your inbox each morning.

Tagged : , , , , ,


Previous :  Next :