Exclusive news and research on the wine, spirits and beer business

News Briefs for May 30, 2012

May 30, 2012

•Wine and spirits importer Aveníu Brands—owned by Spain’s Grupo Codorníu—will roll out a new Spanish red blend, Mermelada, nationwide this summer. Mermelada, from the Raimat Winery in the Costers del Segre region of northeastern Spain, features a blend of Tempranillo, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It will be priced at $11.99 a 750-ml. bottle. Positioned as a “sassy, sweet red,” Mermelada will be targeted at young LDA female consumers.

•Casual dining chain Bahama Breeze has introduced its “Legendary Island Cocktail” program, a premium list of eight tropically inspired drinks. Each of the cocktails are based on popular drinks originating from famous island locales, such as Cuba’s Hotel Nacional and the Parrot Club in San Juan. Program offerings include the Original Daiquiri (made with Bacardi Superior Rum), Painkiller (Pusser’s Dark Rum), Dark ’n Stormy (Gosling’s Black Seal Rum), Goombay Smash (Captain Morgan Original Spiced Rum and Myers’s Original Dark Rum), Batida de Coco (Leblon Cachaça), Havana Hotel Special (Bacardi Superior Rum and DeKuyper apricot brandy), Parrot Passion (Cointreau and Bacardi Limón) and Barbados Rum Punch (Mount Gay Rum).

•DineEquity Inc., parent company of Applebee’s Neighborhood Bar & Grill and IHOP Restaurants, has signed an asset purchase agreement with American Franchise Capital LLC to sell 33 company-owned Applebee’s units located primarily in Missouri and Indiana. This marks the first Applebee’s acquisition for American Franchise Capital, although the company’s managing partner, William Georgas, previously served as co-managing owner of The Georgas Group, a franchise company that operated 47 Applebee’s units. The transaction is slated to close in the third quarter of this year and is expected to total about $26 million after taxes. DineEquity acquired the 2,018-unit Applebee’s chain in 2007 and has since sold 342 company-owned locations to franchisees, with the ultimate plan of becoming a 99% franchised restaurant chain. After this deal with American Franchise Capital is completed, in addition to another pending sale of 39 Applebee’s units in Virginia, the brand will be 97% franchised.

•Private members club Soho House is expanding into five new markets by the end of 2014, including Toronto, Chicago, Mumbai, Istanbul and Barcelona. Soho House Toronto is slated to open this fall with at least two food and beverage lounges, while Soho House Chicago is expected to open in spring 2014 and will have three restaurants, as well as a rooftop lounge boasting a glass-enclosed bar and kitchen, an outdoor deck and a 60-foot pool. The additional three new Soho Houses have planned openings in 2014. Soho House debuted in London in 1995 and has since expanded into New York City, Los Angeles and throughout Europe.

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