News Briefs for December 2, 2011December 2, 2011
•Pernod Ricard USA has unveiled another extension to its Absolut Cities limited edition series, Absolut Miami. The new variant, which blends passion fruit and orange blossoms, debuted yesterday at the Art Basel events in Miami and will be available to consumers starting New Year’s Day through the spring. Miami joins five other cities that have been featured in Absolut’s Cities series since 2007 – Boston, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, New Orleans and San Francisco.
•As export shipments of Scotch whisky continue to rise, the Scotch Whisky Association trade group is forecasting a potential supply shortage. According to the SWA, overseas sales of Scotch whisky in the last nine months rose by 23% from the same period last year, putting the industry on course to surpass its 2010 sales record of £3.4 billion ($5.3b). Faced with strong demand from emerging markets, particularly Asia and South America, the SWA is concerned that Scotch producers will fall behind, due primarily to Scotch whisky’s long production lead times.
•The James Beard Foundation has added a new award category called The Outstanding Bar Program Award, which “acknowledges the growing importance of cocktails, spirits and beer in many restaurants and bars,” according to Providence Cicero, restaurant and chef awards committee chair and Seattle Times restaurant critic. The foundation already has award categories for excellence in wine service, which recognize sommeliers, beverage directors, suppliers and educators in the industry. Along with the new bar award, the foundation also added new categories to its journalism awards, including excellence in food writing for non-food-focused publications as well as food-focused publications, and excellence in photojournalism.
•More than 100 of Chili’s Grill & Bar’s 1,534 units have undergone kitchen retrofits, with the installation of new equipment that the company hopes will reduce labor costs and allow for menu expansion, as well as a 4% improvement in net margins. The company also is revamping the brand’s exterior and front-of-house design, with a more contemporary logo, new awnings, chandeliers, glass dividers and paint. Roughly 70 Chili’s units have gotten that revamp thus far, with 200 to be completed by the end of 2012.
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