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News Briefs for February 15, 2012

February 15, 2012

•Isle of Arran Distillers is releasing the final installment in its limited-edition Icons of Arran single malt Scotch whisky series. Dubbed “The Eagle,” the new whisky, which was distilled in 1999, was drawn from 14 ex-Bourbon barrels and seven ex-Sherry hogsheads. It’s non-chill filtered and is at 46%-abv. Some 6,000 bottles of The Eagle are being released worldwide beginning in March, retailing at around £42 ($66) a bottle. The Eagle follows 2009’s The Peacock 12-year-old, 2010’s The Rowan Tree 12-year-old and 2011’s The Westie in Arran’s Icon series.

•The Briad Group—the largest T.G.I. Friday’s franchisee in the U.S.—has reached a licensing agreement with Fox Restaurant Concepts to expand the Zinburger Wine & Burger Bar brand throughout the East Coast. Under the deal, The Briad Group will be able to develop Fox’s Zinburger in all 23 states east of the Mississippi, with particular focus on the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. Zinburger currently has three locations in Arizona—which Fox will continue to own and operate—and one in New Jersey. The restaurant brand offers 21 wines (priced at $5-$15 a glass) that are designed to pair with a selection of gourmet Angus beef burgers.

•The Massachusetts Beverage Alliance (MBA), a group of MillerCoors wholesalers who’ve banded together to distribute craft and imported beers statewide, has added Massachusetts-based Notch Brewing to a portfolio that already includes Boulevard Brewing Co., Innis & Gunn, Backlash Beer Co. and Baxter Brewing. MBA, formed last year by Burke Distributing, Atlas Distributing, Merrimack Valley Distributing, Colonial Wholesale Beverage and Commercial Distributing, says it will seek to add more craft brands. Craft beer comprises about 12% of beer sales in Massachusetts, while imports account for 15%, according to MBA.

•Napa-based Dalla Terra Winery Direct, a direct importer specializing in Italian wine, says it sold more than 300,000 cases in 2011, with sales revenue increasing 15% to $25 million. The strongest growth came from Piedmont varietals including Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto, which rose by an aggregate 23%. Meanwhile, Tuscan wines, southern Italian wines and Pinot Grigio grew by 19% across the portfolio while Prosecco increased by 16%. Dalla Terra’s portfolio offers 19 Italian wine brands, including Adami, Badia a Coltibuono, La Valentina, Marchesi di Grésy, Saracco and Tenuta Sant’Antonio. Dalla Terra’s business model skips the national importer level allowing U.S. distributors to buy directly from the producer in order to offer more aggressive prices.

•New York chef Michael White is expanding his popular Soho restaurant Osteria Morini to Washington, D.C.’s The Yards, a new development located in the city’s Capitol Riverfront business improvement district. The moderately priced, casual Italian eatery is slated to open in summer 2013 and will be the third Osteria Morini location, following a New Jersey unit that opened earlier this month.

•Andy Richholt, who formerly managed New York City concert venue The Knitting Factory, is opening a 15,000-square-foot beer hall called The Well in the Danbro Studios building in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn this fall. The venue, 11,000 square feet of which will be devoted to an outdoor seating garden, will tout 60 draft beer selections and more than 250 bottled varieties, and Richholt is requesting a full liquor license so that he may also serve an assortment of whiskies. Concurrently, Richholt is opening a concert venue called The Wick inside Danbro Studios, a former brewery, which also is slated to open by the fall.

•Syracuse, New York-based Dinosaur Bar-B-Que is in the preliminary process of opening an eighth unit in Buffalo, New York. The roadhouse-themed bar and restaurant debuted in Syracuse in 1988, and has since expanded to additional New York locations, including Rochester, Harlem and Troy in 1998, 2004 and 2010, respectively. This spring, the chain’s fifth unit will debut in Newark, New Jersey, followed by one in Stamford, Connecticut, later this year and one in Brooklyn in 2013.


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