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News Briefs for June 11, 2012

June 11, 2012

Russian Standard chairman Roustam Tariko is aiming to boost his company’s stake in fellow vodka player Central European Distribution Group (CEDC) into a controlling share, Reuters reports. Tariko said gaining control of CEDC is part of Russian Standard’s long-term strategy, adding, “how we will do it will be the subject of future negotiations.” In April, Russian Standard increased its stake in CEDC from 9.9% to 28% for up to $310 million, pledging to help CEDC reduce its debt. The transaction included $100 million in a combination of newly issued shares of CEDC common stock and exchangeable notes, and up to $210 million in newly issued, unsecured CEDC senior notes due July 31, 2016, at a blended interest rate of 6%. Russian Standard is the leading premium vodka company in Russia through its namesake brand, while CEDC sells over 15 million cases in the country annually, mostly at the lower end of the pricing spectrum.

•VeeV Spirits, producers of VeeV Açaí Spirit, has appointed Bryan Crowley as chief operating officer. Crowley has previously served as chief marketing officer for Pabst Brewing Company. Prior to Pabst, he was vice president of sales and marketing at Mars Inc. Crowley’s career also includes stints at Busch and Con Agra Foods. VeeV was founded and is owned by brothers Courtney Reum and Carter Reum, who launched the brand in 2007. Crowley is the company’s first COO.

Southern Wine & Spirits of New England has promoted Mark Simmons to vice president-general manager, wine. He replaces Peter Emery, who left SWS to take a sales management position at Trinchero Family Estates. Simmons will report directly to Randy Barnhart, vice president-general manager of Southern’s New England division. Simmons has been with SWS since 2005 and previously served as wine sales manager, northeast control states. Prior to that, he was a regional sales manager at Robert Mondavi Wines.

•Glass Distillery, a new craft spirits player based in Seattle, has launched its first brand, Glass vodka, made from grapes sourced from the Pacific Northwest. The 80-proof offering will initially be available on- and off-premise in the Seattle market. Glass Distillery today debuts a new tasting room located in Seattle’s SODO district.

•Acclaimed chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud has opened an outpost of his French fine dining restaurant Maison Boulud in Montreal in the newly renovated Ritz-Carlton hotel. This is the second location of Maison Boulud, which debuted in Beijing in 2008, and Boulud’s first restaurant to open in Canada since he closed two restaurants in Vancouver last year because the local seafood was challenging to work with. Boulud hopes to have more success with the seafood market in Montreal, which is similar to that of New York. Boulud currently owns more than a dozen restaurants worldwide, eight of which are located in New York City.

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