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News Briefs for December 7, 2011

December 7, 2011

Treasury Wine Estates has made the fifth and final appointment in its new brand management structure, naming Gary Burnand as managing director of Penfolds. Burnand has more than 20 years of experience in senior marketing and strategic roles in the consumer goods industry, including posts in Europe, Asia Pacific and the United States. His most recent position was global marketing and strategy director for J. Barbour & Sons. He’ll begin his new role in March 2012. Treasury has already named Stephen Brauer as managing director of Beringer, Michelle Terry as managing director of Lindeman’s, Simon Marton as managing director of Wolf Blass and Angus McPherson as managing director of Rosemount.

•Steve Hanson, founder and president of BR Guest Hospitality, has bought the Strip House’s New York City and Las Vegas locations, with plans to expand the restaurant brand. Grub Street reports that Hanson will keep the entire New York City Strip House staff in place, and that he will bring back chef John Schenk, who formerly served as chef at Strip House from 2004 until he left last year to work for ESquared Hospitality’s BLT restaurants.

•The Gerber Group is replacing the W Hotel’s Underbar in New York City with a new club called Lilium, which will open to the public on December 12. The Gerber Group has been renovating the space since Underbar closed in June 2011. The new concept will have a “seductive, subterranean vibe that represents the dark, mysterious feel of downtown New York,” according to the company. Chef and restaurateur Todd English has been hired to create Lilium’s small plates food menu.

•SABMiller has tapped Ari Mervis, currently managing director Asia, as managing director, Asia Pacific and chief executive officer of Foster’s. Mervis’s new post takes effect on December 16, just after ownership of Foster’s is officially transferred to SABMiller, which agreed to acquire the Australian brewer in September. Mervis, who will be moving from his current base in Hong Kong to Melbourne, replaces John Pollaers, who will serve in an advisory role with Foster’s for the first few months of 2012. While assuming direction of Foster’s, Mervis will continue to oversee SABMiller’s operations in the Asia Pacific region, including China, where the brewing giant is a joint venture partner in CR Snow, the country’s biggest brewer.

•Targeting Moscato drinkers, Piedmont’s Ricossa Antica Casa, part of MGM Mondo del Vino, is releasing a new sparkling red from the Casorzo DOC in the U.S. market. The new entry, Ricossa Casorzo ($15.99 a bottle, 5.5%-abv), is made from ripe, sweet Malvasia grapes in the low-alcohol style of Moscato. It joins a Ricossa Antica portfolio also including Ricossa Barolo DOCG, Barbera d’Asti DOC, Moscato d’Asti DOCG, and Gavi DOCG wines, all of which are imported to the U.S. by Touchstone Wines.

•Texas-based Bennigan’s Franchising Co. has formed a franchise agreement with Al Aroud Group to open 10 Bennigan’s chains in the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, with the first restaurant slated to open in 2012. Al Aroud Group, as a direct franchisee, will own the master development rights for the brand through the UAE and Turkey.

Southern Wine & Spirits has named Stuart Gray vice president-general manager of the company’s Pacific Wine & Spirits (PWS) selling division in California. The PWS Division in California represents the Diageo and Moët Hennessy portfolios across the state. Gray joined Pacific Wine & Spirits in Southern California in 2010, first as vice president-sales manager and then as vice president-trade development. Prior to that he was a veteran of E&J Gallo, beginning in 1992 and working his way up to national director of trade development. In his new role, Gray will report to Gerry Rivero, executive vice president and general manager of Coastal-Pacific Wine & Spirits’ corporate leadership team.


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