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News Briefs for October 11, 2011

October 11, 2011

•Danny Meyer denied that his decision to sell iconic New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park was motivated by thinner margins at high-end venues in tough economic times. Eleven Madison Park, “has never been more successful, qualitatively and financially,” Meyer told the New York Times, adding that his enthusiasm for his other high-end restaurants—including the Modern, Gramercy Tavern, Maialino, Union Square Cafe and soon-to-open North End Grill—remains “undiminished”. Ending months of speculation, Meyer confirmed last week that he’s selling Eleven Madison Park to executive chef Daniel Humm and general manager Will Guidara. The restaurant, launched in 1998, has four New York Times stars and three Michelin stars. Meyer wouldn’t disclose financial details but said Humm and Guidara had long hoped to go out on their own and already have a partnership with the developers of New York’s NoMad Hotel to develop and run two restaurants. Meyer said he decided “to take a page from so many great European restaurants—where the original patron hands the restaurant over to his protégé.” Humm and Guidara, who have gained financial support from unnamed investors, expect the transaction to be completed by year-end.

•Jacques Rouvroy has resigned from as chairman and CEO of France’s Belvédère SA, owner of Sobieski vodka. He will be replaced by managing director Krzysztof Trylinski. At a general company meeting on October 31, Erick Antony Skora will be nominated to fill the position of managing director. Trylinski said his first goal as CEO was to pay off Belvedere’s debt, which “will be made possible very quickly by the sale of two brands,” not specifying which two brands he meant (speculation has centered on Marie Brizard liqueur and William Peel Scotch whisky, both of which have long been rumored to be on the block). Rouvroy and Trylinski founded the company in 1991.

•California Governor Jerry Brown signed bill AB 183 into law on Sunday, banning alcohol sales through self-serve checkout machines at retailers and supermarkets across the state. As of January 1, 2012, all alcohol sales have to go through a cashier. The bill, which was approved by the state legislature in September, aims to prevent alcohol access to underage drinkers by requiring face-to-face transactions.

•Vin65, a company that provides website management solutions for wineries, has launched a Facebook ecommerce app. The app brings special content to users who “like” the wineries’ fan pages and allows them to view and buy wine from the fan page without leaving Facebook. It also allows members to sign up for a winery’s wine club through their brand page, as well as providing the winery with analytics and reports to monitor consumer interaction and purchases. Vin65’s app is available to the company’s clients as well as WineDirect (IBG) clients on the Vin65 platform.

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