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

News Briefs for May 31, 2012

May 31, 2012

•Washington state’s Supreme Court today upheld the constitutionality of last November’s voter-approved initiative to privatize liquor sales in the state. The initiative, I-1183, which allows stores larger than 10,000 square feet (as well as some smaller stores) to sell liquor, goes into effect tomorrow, June 1.

Zagat and its parent company Google have joined forces to create Google+ Local, which combines Zagat’s restaurant grading system with the Google+ social media platform. Google+ Local is a way for Google+ account holders to share their restaurant reviews and grades with other Google+ members online—serving a similar function as user-generated review website Yelp. In addition, Zagat will now begin offering its website’s content for free for Google+ users. This marks the first joint move since Google acquired Zagat last fall.

•French chef and restaurateur Joël Robuchon will be closing the New York City outpost of L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon in the Four Seasons Hotel on June 30. Four Seasons and Robuchon released a joint statement yesterday confirming the amicable decision to close the restaurant, which opened in 2006 and currently holds two Michelin stars. The hotel hasn’t yet made definitive plans for a restaurant to replace L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon. Including the New York City outpost, there are currently nine L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon restaurants worldwide, with plans to expand into Beirut, Mumbai and Bangkok in 2013. Robuchon’s restaurant empire includes restaurants throughout 12 cities and three continents and a combined total of 26 Michelin stars.

•Wolfgang Puck will be temporarily closing his famed Los Angeles restaurant, Spago, on June 9 for a complete décor and menu redesign, led by designer Waldo Fernandez. Spago first opened in West Hollywood in 1982 before relocating to its current space in Beverly Hills in 1997. The revamped Spago is slated to open this fall, commemorating the restaurant’s 30th anniversary. Details about design and menu changes won’t be revealed until opening night.

•Los Angeles-based craft brewer Angel City Brewing has hired Dieter Foerstner—formerly of Gordon Biersch in Tempe, Arizona—as its new brewmaster. Foerstner’s appointment is concurrent with the brewer’s recent move to the city’s John A. Roebling Building, a historic, 27,000-square-foot space currently undergoing renovation. The new brewery’s first release will launch in the Los Angeles market in early June, with additional releases slated to roll out throughout summer. The building’s 8-tap bar, meanwhile, is still under construction, but is expected to open this fall for tours, tastings and events. Established in 1997, Angel City Brewing was acquired by Alchemy & Science, an independent subsidiary of Boston Beer Co. led by Magic Hat co-founder Alan Newman, earlier this year.

•Diageo has named Maggie Lapcewich as president of Diageo Canada effective July 1, replacing Debra Kelly-Ennis, who is leaving the company. Lapcewich has been with Diageo for 19 years, most recently as president, Global Tequila, managing the Jose Cuervo and Don Julio brands and Diageo’s global Tequila strategy and execution. She will report to Larry Schwartz, president of Diageo North America. Kelly-Ennis will remain with Diageo until early next year, when she’ll leave the company to focus on her board directorship positions with Pulte Homes and Carnival Cruise Lines and her advisory role with Dress for Success, a global charity focused on putting women back to work.

 

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