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

News Briefs for November 28, 2011

November 28, 2011

•Scotch producer Edrington Group reported a 2% increase in turnover to £278.7 million ($433.9m) for the six months to September 30. Bolstered by strong performances in the U.S., Russia and emerging Asian markets, Edrington’s pre-tax profits rose 5.7% to £69.9 million ($108.8m). The Macallan sales were up 5%, while Famous Grouse and Highland Park grew by 7% and 4%, respectively. Edrington chief executive Ian Curle said the company’s recently established New York office will help bolster routes to market in the U.S., where its brands are handled by Rémy Cointreau USA.

•Rock musician and spirits entrepreneur Sammy Hagar has unveiled a new product, Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum, in partnership with Maui-based Haliimaile Distilling Company. The small-batch silver rum was officially introduced last week at the Hard Rock Café in Waikiki. It’s made from Hawaii-grown sugar cane matured for a full two years and is designed to be sipped as well as mixed in cocktails. Sammy’s Beach Bar Rum is currently only available for sale in Hawaii, but Hagar plans to extend distribution to the rest of the U.S. in early 2012. This is Hagar’s second venture into the spirits business, as he launched the Cabo Wabo Tequila brand before selling 80% of it to Italy’s Gruppo Campari for $80 million in 2008 and the remaining 20% for $11 million to the same company in August 2010.

•Chinese basketball star Yao Ming tells Wine Spectator that he’s entering the wine business with a high-end namesake label produced in Napa. Focusing first on Yao’s native Chinese market, this week Yao Family Wines will release the 2009 Yao Ming Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in Beijing, Guangzhou and Yao’s hometown of Shanghai. At $289 a bottle, the new entry will compete in the “ultra prestige” segment of China’s wine market, where the status labels of Bordeaux and Champagne reside. A second wine, Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, will debut next year. The winery will also begin sales in the U.S. market next year, Yao said. Yao Family produced about 5,000 cases of the Napa Valley Cabernet and fewer than 500 cases of the Family Reserve for the 2009 vintage, according to winemaker Tom Hinde. Hinde was previously general manager of Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates, as well as president of Sonoma’s Flowers Vineyard and Winery. Yao is the principal shareholder in Yao Family Wines, while Hinde and four other investors hold minority stakes.

•Houston-based Landry’s Restaurants, new owner of the former Trump Marina Hotel Casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey, is working to strip the venue of all “Trump” references and create its own brand for the building. The restaurant group bought the casino-hotel for $38 million in February and quickly began work to establish it as the Golden Nugget Atlantic City, which includes a $150 million renovation that will transform the interior and give the exterior a new layer of gold paint. Through October 2011, the casino-hotel brought in $106.1 million, down 15.4% from the same period last year. Landry’s also owns Golden Nugget locations in Las Vegas and Laughlin, Nevada.

•Craig Hopson is leaving his position as executive chef of New York City restaurant Le Cirque to open The Brewster, a restaurant and marketplace in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. Hopson is partnering with former general manager of Gramercy Park Hotel’s Rose Bar, Frank Roberts, and developer Ross Morgan to open The Brewster in the spring of 2012, the New York Post reports. The menu will consist of American food, but with French, German and British influences.

•The newest Grimaldi’s Pizzeria outpost in West Palm Beach, Florida, is the first to introduce late night hours. The location opened last week and serves Grimaldi’s signature coal-fire brick oven pizzas, along with beer and wine, until early morning hours. Brooklyn, New York-based Grimaldi’s Pizzeria currently operates 20 locations throughout New York, New Jersey, Arizona, Florida, Nevada and Texas, with plans to expand further in 2012.

•Brinker International’s flagship chain Chili’s Grill & Bar has unveiled a coupon-based promotion called HoliDaily, available through December 24. The holiday campaign offers daily coupon specials, such as free appetizers and desserts, promoted through the brand’s website, Facebook and Twitter page, as well as through emails to Chili’s Email Club members. In addition to the HoliDaily specials, Chili’s is offering deals on gift card purchases through December 28. Patrons who purchase $100 or more in gift cards will receive a 10% discount on the entire purchase, and patrons who buy gift cards for $50 or more online will receive free shipping.

•Following the recent passage of Initiative-1183 in Washington state, Young’s Market Co. has named Tom Kappenman, its general manager for Northwest Spirits Brokerages, as its “point person for all spirit distribution matters in Washington.” Dan Ewer, president of Young’s wine business in the Pacific Northwest, is point person for all wine matters in the state. Brian Renney, executive vice president for Young’s Market Co. Wines of Washington and Chris Sarles, executive vice president of Young’s Market Co. Wines of Oregon, will continue to report directly to Dan Ewer. Dave Engen, vice president of Young’s Market Co. Mountain States for Wine, will report to Ewer as well. John Guinasso will continue to oversee Young’s Market Co.’s Alliance (Bacardi, Brown-Forman and Remy Cointreau USA) business in Washington as well as Alliance’s brokerage business in the Pacific Northwest. Kappenman, Ewer, and Guinasso all report directly to Ted Simpkins, Young’s Market Co.’s executive vice president-corporate.


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

Tagged : , , , , , , ,


Previous :  Next :