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News Briefs for November 16, 2011

November 16, 2011

•French wine producer Georges Duboeuf is rolling out the 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau at midnight, November 17. To mark the occasion, importer W.J. Deutsch & Sons and Georges Duboeuf are hosting a New York-based uncorking party tonight, from 10pm to 1:30pm. Additionally, French restaurants and bars across the country—including New York City’s Brasserie Julien, Chicago’s Velvet Room at the Clift Hotel, Washington D.C.’s Bistrot du Coin and Seattle’s LUC—will be hosting celebratory events in honor of the 2011 Beaujolais Nouveau, which will also be available at retail the same day. Priced at $10 a 750-ml., Beaujolais Nouveau is annually released on the third Thursday of November.

•Hong Kong-based Dynasty Fine Wines Group Ltd., in which Rémy Cointreau holds a 26.96% stake, posted a 54% drop in net profit and flat growth in revenue in the half-year through June, Reuters reports. The overall gross profit margin also dropped, from 50% to 42%, as costs of raw materials and manufacturing overheads rose. Dynasty sold about 30.9 million bottles of wine during the first half. The company expects profit margins to improve as it adds more premium wines to its selection in the coming years, as executive director Yaqiang Huang expects high-end products (defined as those selling above 100 yuan ($15.74)) to rise to 20% of sales, up from the 10%-15% they contribute now. Dynasty currently has 50 specialty retail stores across China. Huang says it’s on track to have 100 stores set up by the end of 2011. Dynasty is controlled by government-backed conglomerate Tianjin Development Holdings Ltd., which holds a 44.7% stake.

•Colorado craft brewer New Belgium Brewing Co. has added two new seasonal offerings—Fresh Hop India Pale Ale and Prickly Passion Saison—to its Lips of Faith series. Made with Amarillo, Centennial and Cascade hops, Fresh Hop IPA is described as a bitter, hoppy beer with 7% abv and an IBU (international bittering units) score of 70. Meanwhile, Prickly Passion Saison combines the flavors of prickly pear and passion fruit with Saison yeast to create an 8.5%-abv ale. The two labels join New Belgium’s existing Lips of Faith lineup, which includes Le Terrior, Abbey Grand Cru, Super Cru, Kick, La Folie, Le Fleur Misseur and Clutch.

•The owners of New York City sports bar The Ainsworth and gastropub The Fulton are slated to open a restaurant called Ainsworth Prime in Madison Square Garden. The sit-down eatery will feature a menu of pub fare and will be located in the space that formerly housed the Club Bar & Grill. The opening of Ainsworth Prime is part of Madison Square Garden’s effort to improve and expand food options.

•Daily deals website LivingSocial is testing the launch of two online restaurant ordering and delivery services among Washington, D.C. customers. With Instant Ordering, D.C. users can order from casual-dining restaurants on LivingSocial’s website for delivery to their home or office. The second delivery service option, called Room Service, is for fine-dining restaurants only and in addition to delivering food, the service will come with “high-quality tableware, dining accessories, top-shelf presentation of food and a special after-dinner treat,” the company said. The services are currently being tested with more than 70 restaurants in the D.C. area on Thursday and Friday nights.

•The New York Times has announced that Pete Wells has been selected as its new restaurant critic, succeeding Sam Sifton, who stepped down from his post in September. Wells was previously the Times’ dining editor, a position that Susan Edgerley will now take over.


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