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News Briefs for November 22, 2011

November 22, 2011

•Acker Merrall & Condit announced sales of $2.4 million at its most recent New York City auction held on November 19. The relatively small, 576-lot sale was 95% sold out, according to the auction house. The New York event follows Acker Merrall’s recent November Hong Kong auction, which produced $14.5 million in revenue and set a reported 140 world records. With two final auctions in Hong Kong and New York slated for December 8-10 and December 17, respectively, Acker Merrall is projecting 2011 revenues of more than $110 million. As a result, Acker Merrall claims it will be the first wine auction house to surpass the $100-million mark in annual revenue.

•Boston Beer Co. and Germany’s Weihenstephan Brewery will launch their collaborative brew, Infinium, in the U.S. at the end of November. Infinium, which first launched in 2010, is a holiday limited edition available at select locations across the country. Priced at $19.99 and packaged in a 750-ml. cork-finished bottle, the beer is made of only four ingredients—malt, hops, water and yeast—and adheres to the standards of the German Reinheitsgebot purity law. Champagne-like with fine bubbles, Infinium, which comes in at 10.3%-abv, can be consumed on its own or used as a cocktail component.

•Tennessee’s Moore County Council has vetoed a proposal to put a new barrel tax on Jack Daniel’s whiskey before the bill could reach the Tennessee state legislature, the Associated Press reports. The council voted 10-5 against the plan, which would have increased taxes on Jack Daniel’s Lynchburg-based distillery by up to $5 million annually. The distillery, owned by Brown-Forman, already pays $1.5 million in local property taxes.

•Washington state’s K&L Distributors is set to sell its regional beer distribution business to fellow A-B distributor King Beverage of Spokane, the Seattle Times reported, quoting K&L owner Dan Levine. The deal, whose price wasn’t disclosed, will roughly double King Beverage’s annual volume to between 11-12 million (2.25-gallon) cases. K&L will hold onto its beer wholesaling business in Alaska, of which Levine is the sole owner, and continue to oversee Young’s Market Northwest’s wine and spirits distribution operations in Alaska, in which Levine is a partner.

•Veuve Clicquot is the official Champagne of Design Miami, and to promote the annual design show—which will take place in Miami from November 30 to December 4 this year—the brand has unveiled the Veuve Clicquot Clicq’Up Café and Champagne Bar, a food truck and Champagne lounge that will tour select Miami locations from November 29 until December 2. Restaurateur and chef Jeremiah Bullfrog has been hired to create the limited-time menu.

•Chef Alex Stratta is opening his first New York City restaurant, called Bigoli, next week, the New York Times reports. Stratta will serve as executive chef and co-owner of the new Italian eatery, with partners Brad Nagy and Angelo Viscoso. Stratta gained recognition in the late ’90s as executive chef at Renoir in the Mirage in Las Vegas, and he then went on to open two award-winning namesake restaurants: Alex and Stratta, both in the Wynn Las Vegas. Alex closed earlier this year and while Stratta is still open, chef Stratta is no longer involved with the restaurant. Bigoli is slated to open on November 28 in Manhattan’s Greenwich Village neighborhood.

•Los Angeles Chinese restaurant Chi Dynasty has opened a new outpost in The Americana at Brand shopping center in Glendale, California, to celebrate 28 years of operation. This new installment marks the third Chi Dynasty location to open in the Los Angeles area, following the opening of its second location in Studio City, California, last year. The official grand opening celebration of The Americana at Brand Chi Dynasty will take place later this month.


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