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News Briefs for November 21, 2011

November 21, 2011

•Italy’s Rossi D’Asiago has appointed Kobrand as exclusive distributor of its Antica Sambuca and Volare liqueur brands in the United States, beginning January 1, 2012. Rossi D’Asiago export director Nicola Dal Toso said Antica Sambuca and Volare are available in over 50 countries worldwide.

•Rochester, New York-based North American Breweries (NAB) is set to expand some of its craft brands, including Magic Hat, into Canada through a new long-term distribution deal with Ontario’s Brick Brewing, Canada’s fifth-largest brewer. “Not unlike the recent growth we’ve observed with our own U.S. craft beers, we’ve also witnessed tremendous growth within the Canadian craft beer market,” said North American Breweries CEO Rich Lozyniak. NAB was formed in 2009 by KPS private equity through the purchases of High Falls Brewing and Labatt USA. In addition to Magic Hat, it owns the Genessee, Dundee, Seagram’s Cooler and Pyramid brands, as well as exclusive U.S. importing and marketing rights to the Labatt range.

•P.F. Chang’s is slated to open a new version of its 173-unit fast-casual Pei Wei Asian Diner in Phoenix, Arizona, in April 2012. The new concept, called Pei Wei Asian Market, will take over an existing Pei Wei Asian Diner unit and compete more with quick-service restaurants than fast-casual, with a smaller menu and no table service. P.F. Chang’s executives expect this new concept to yield higher margins than the company’s fast-casual units, with plans to shift the Pei Wei Asian Diner brand away from fast-casual and more toward quick-service over the next year.

•Barney’s Beanery, the third-oldest restaurant in Los Angeles, is updating its menu for the first time since debuting 91 years ago. The new menu items are being rolled out at each of the company’s five units throughout Southern California, and will stay true to the brand’s roadhouse/sports bar theme, with dishes like individual pizzas and a range of chilis. They’ll join Barney’s Beanery’s infamous 700-item menu of American favorites, complete with nearly 200 imported and domestic beers, 40 of which are available on draft.

•Daily deal website LivingSocial has plans to raise nearly $200 million from new and current investors, DealBook reports. The company is also discussing a $100 million credit facility, which it expects to be settled by the end of the week. This transaction should place the company’s value at more than $5 billion. LivingSocial has been considering an initial public offering since earlier this year, but hasn’t finalized a plan.

•Mike’s Hard Lemonade has tapped Grey as its new ad agency, the company’s fourth in as many years, reports AdAge. Grey takes over creative duties for the brand from Havas Arnold, and beat out WPP, Trisect and Omnicom Group’s DDB for the position. According to Kantar Media, Mike’s Hard Lemonade spent $10.2 million in 2010 on measured media for its portfolio, which includes the flagship lemonade brand as well as the Classic Margarita by Mike’s, Mike’s Hard Mango Punch and Mike’s Harder Fruit Punch.


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