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News Briefs for May 23, 2012

May 23, 2012

Bacardi has unveiled Bacardi Classic Cocktails Light, a new range of low-calorie, RTD beverages. Made with natural flavors, juice and cane sugar, the line-up includes Piña Colada and Mojito offerings at less than 95 calories per 4-ounce serving. The Classic Cocktails Light launch will be backed by a full ad campaign—which is set to run through September—and a partnership with actress Busy Phillips. Featuring print, digital and social media components, the campaign will also include sampling events in 22 key U.S. markets. Bacardi Classic Cocktails Light will be available nationwide in 750-ml. and 1.75-liter formats, priced at $19.99 for the latter.

Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits chairman Bill Deutsch was awarded France’s prestigious L’Ordre National de la Legion d’Honneur at a ceremony Monday evening at the French Consulate in New York City. French Consul General Philippe Lalliot praised Deutsch’s longtime commitment to the promotion of French wine, including Deutsch Family import labels such as Les Vins Georges Duboeuf, Sauvion et Fils, Andre Lurton and Vidal-Fleury. The Legion d’Honneur is the highest French decoration for military or civilian service, established by Emperor Napoleon I on May 19, 1802. Last November, France also awarded Deutsch the Commandeur of the Ordre National du Merite Agricole, recognizing service to French agriculture.

•International Beverage’s AnCnoc single malt Scotch whisky brand has released a limited edition series, featuring artwork from Scottish illustrator Peter Arkle. The limited edition whisky is matured in Spanish oak sherry barrels (as opposed to the brand’s traditional American barrels), which impart a darker color and additional fruit and spice flavors. The whisky is offered in two bottlings, both of which feature a different rendering of AnCnoc’s Knockdu Distillery designed by Arkle. AnCnoc’s limited edition series will be available at select retailers in New York, Chicago, Seattle and New England, priced at $49.99 a bottle. International Beverage Holdings—which also markets the Old Pulteney, Balblair and Speyburn single malt Scotch labels—is a subsidiary of ThaiBev.

•Petaluma, California-based Robert Oatley Vineyards USA has formed a sales and marketing partnership with LangeTwins Family Winery and Vineyards. The LangeTwins wines, which were only available in select markets, will gain distribution in 30 additional states. The California brand’s offerings include LangeTwins Reserve, LangeTwins Estate and the recently launched Caricature brand, and range in price from $13-$30. The Robert Oatley Vineyards USA portfolio also includes the Foppiano, James Oatley Tic Tok, Robert Oatley, Pikorua and Sweet Tooth brands.

•Miami-based Japanese restaurant operator Benihana Inc. has agreed to go private in a deal with New York-based Angelo, Gordon & Co. Private Equity worth $296 million. Under the agreement, Angelo, Gordon & Co. will purchase Benihana’s common stock for $16.30 per share, which is 22.6% more than the restaurant company’s closing price on Monday of $13.30 per share. Benihana may solicit other offers through July 1, but the company says it expects the deal with Angelo, Gordon & Co. to be finalized during the second half of this calendar year. Benihana currently owns and operates 95 Japanese restaurants, with an additional 16 franchised units, throughout the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean.

•The Las Vegas Boulevard location of Los Angeles-based fast-casual chain Fatburger has been remodeled to be the first full-service Fatburger, as well as the first to have a “Fat Bar” offering beer, wine and spirits. The 3,000-square-foot newly renovated space has seating for 220 customers and is open 24 hours. Fatburger franchisees Fog Cutter Capital Group Inc. and The Talla Group partnered for the project, which, since completing earlier this month, has increased weekly revenue at the Las Vegas strip Fatburger by roughly 50%. Founded in 1952, Fatburger currently has nearly 100 restaurants worldwide.


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