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News Briefs for March 21, 2012

March 21, 2012

•Ruth’s Chris Steak House is partnering with Treasury Wine Estates on an exclusive U.S. release of the 2007 Penfolds Grange Shiraz on May 1. The vintage will be served at a five-course dinner (with an average price of $165 per person) at 59 of the restaurant’s locations around the country, all hosted by Penfolds brand ambassadors.

•Panache Beverage Inc., the developer, marketer and distributor of Wódka vodka, has partnered with renowned chef Daniel Boulud and his restaurant management company The Dinex Group to make Wódka vodka the house vodka brand for Boulud’s 12 restaurants worldwide. The Dinex Group operates Daniel Boulud’s restaurants in New York City, Singapore, Beijing, London, and Miami and Palm Beach, Florida.

•Riondo USA has added three wines from Germany’s G.H. von Mumm Estate to its import portfolio: 50 Degree Riesling, Rheingau Rudesheimer Berg Rottland Riesling Trocken and Rheingau Assmannshauser Hollenberg Pinot Noir. The 50 Degree Riesling label ($14.99) will initially launch into 25 states before rolling out nationwide, while the G.H. Mumm Riesling ($39.99) and Pinot Noir ($69.99) will be available in 10 markets. The trio joins Riondo USA’s existing range of Italian, South American and domestic offerings, including Riondo Prosecco, Pink Prosecco, Pinot Grigio, Amarone and red blend Riondo Rosso, among others. Formed in 2008, Riondo USA sells nearly 250,000 cases annually.

•Atlanta’s SweetWater Brewing Co. has finished the first phase of a three-part, yearlong brewery expansion project. The completed phase includes an expanded bottling and packaging hall, keg line, quality assurance lab, machine shop, corporate office space, conference rooms, tasting area, rooftop deck and public event space. Phases two and three are expected to conclude this fall, expanding SweetWater’s brewing capacity from 100,000 barrels to 500,000 barrels. Currently available in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, SweetWater’s year-round offerings include SweetWater Blue, IPA, 420 Extra Pale Ale, Exodus Porter and Georgia Brown, as well as eight seasonal and limited edition offerings.

Diageo is set to pay up to $997 million in a mandatory tender offer (MTO) to gain full control of Chinese white spirits company ShuiJingFang. The offer is expected to begin soon and will last 30 days. Diageo says it will fund the MTO through “diversified financial resources.” The mandatory offer was triggered under Chinese law when Diageo, in a deal completed last summer, became a 53% owner of Sichuan Chengdu Quanxing Group, which owns 39.7% of ShuiJingFang. The drinks giant sees opportunities for the ShuiJingFang super-premium baijiu brand in markets outside China. It has already begun distributing the brand in the U.S., as well as Southeast Asia, Korea and Australia.

Campari America (formerly Skyy Spirits) has joined the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. (DISCUS), becoming the organization’s 14th voting member. Campari America is a wholly owned subsidiary of Davide Campari-Milano S.p.A. and has a portfolio of more than 25 brands, including Skyy vodka, Wild Turkey Bourbon, Wild Turkey American Honey and Campari, among others, combining for a total of nearly 5 million cases in the U.S. market.

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