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News Briefs for March 1, 2012

March 1, 2012

Less than two months after falling short of a deal to acquire 10-store Dallas retailer Sigel’s, Houston-based Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods continues its aggressive expansion in the Dallas market. The Dallas Morning News reports that Spec’s has signed a lease for another Dallas store, after opening its first unit there in December. The new site would mark the fifth North Texas-area store that Spec’s has in the works. Like another recently announced location in Plano, the store will sell only wine and beer. Spec’s didn’t immediately return a request for comment.

•Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi has added Sweet Red and Sweet White wine blends to its portfolio. Available nationwide, both wines are priced at $7.99 a 750-ml. The Woodbridge Sweet Red is made primarily of Syrah, Merlot and various sweet white grapes. The Woodbridge Sweet White is a proprietary white blend comprised of Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Viognier and Verdelho. Woodbridge, which features 14 other varietals in its line, saw volume rise 5% to 8 million nine-liter cases in 2011, according to Impact Databank.

•Driven by growth in crafts and imports, beer sales in restaurants rose more than 9% by value in 2011 to $23.6 billion, according to the Beer Institute. Restaurants comprised approximately 24% of total beer sales in the U.S. last year and represented the largest share of on-premise beer sales. Overall, beer sales rose more than 2% in 2011 to surpass $98 billion in retail sales, the Beer Institute said.

Southern Wine & Spirits has appointed John Landry as vice president, general manager of its Coastal-Pacific Wine & Spirits division in Alaska, Oregon and Washington. Landry will report to Gerry Rivero, executive vice president and general manager of Coastal-Pacific, which represents the Diageo and Moët Hennessy USA portfolios. Landry previously served as senior vice president, general manager for Diageo NA, covering Georgia, Kentucky, South Carolina and Tennessee.

•Scottish craft brewer Innis & Gunn is rolling out a new extension in the U.S. market. Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask is touted as the first beer aged in former triple-distilled Irish whiskey barrels. A 7.4%-abv stout, the new offering will sell for $12.99 a four-pack across Innis & Gunn USA’s 17 regional markets, including most of the East Coast, as well as Tennessee, Alabama, Michigan, Illinois and Nevada. Innis & Gunn Irish Whiskey Cask joins a portfolio that also includes Innis & Gunn Original ($10.99 a four-pack; $5.99 a 750-ml.) and Innis & Gunn Rum Cask ($12.99 a four-pack; $6.99 a 750-ml.) The brewer began as a joint venture between Dougal Sharp and William Grant & Sons in 2003. Sharp led a management buyout in 2008 and now owns the company.

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