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News Briefs for June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012

•Rémy Cointreau’s sales were up 13% to €1.03 billion ($1.28b) for its fiscal full year ended March 31, bolstered by double-digit growth in Asia-Pacific and the U.S. Rémy Martin Cognac’s sales rose 21.9% to €592.5 million ($737.9m) due to growth in Asia as well as strong performances in the U.S., Russia and travel retail. Cointreau liqueur and Mount Gay rum both grew in key markets, and Greek brandy Metaxa saw a return to growth after two years of decline. Rémy’s operating profit rose by 24.4% to €207.7 million ($259.2m) for the year, while net profits increased 57% to €110.8 million ($138m). According to Impact Databank, Rémy Martin grew 6.3% to 597,000 cases in the U.S. last year, while Cointreau was up 5.9% to 220,000 cases.

Vinexpo says attendance at its Asia-Pacific showcase, held May 29 to May 31 in Hong Kong, was up 25% to 15,785 visitors compared with its last event in the region two years ago. This year’s showing, the fifth Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, assembled 1,050 exhibitors from 28 countries and drew 5,705 wine buyers from China alone. Nearly 40% of attendees were trade professionals from Hong Kong, whose representation rose 18% from 2010. Contingents from Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and Malaysia also increased. Dominique Hériard Dubreuil, chairman of Vinexpo Asia-Pacific, said, “The fact that we have increased our exhibition space by 25% and still can’t meet demand is very encouraging. The Asia-Pacific market, while maturing, still has great potential for growth, and Vinexpo will continue to play a major role in shaping the business in this region.”

•The New Jersey Assembly’s Law and Public Safety Committee has approved a bill seeking to loosen restrictions on the state’s microbreweries and brewpubs. Sponsored by Democrats Craig Coughlin and Patrick Diegnan Jr., bill A-1277 would grant New Jersey’s microbreweries and brewpubs rights similar to those enjoyed by local wineries. A-1277 would increase the maximum annual allowable production for brewpubs from 3,000 barrels to 10,000 barrels, reduce fees on additional production and allow brewpub operators to open a maximum of 10 brewpubs, from the previous limit of two. It would also allow microbreweries to offer on- and off-premise consumption and sampling. The bill has been referred to the Assembly Appropriations Committee, where it awaits further consideration.

•Wolfgang Puck has opened a new casual-dining concept called Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar in Charlotte, North Carolina. The 120-seat restaurant, which features a menu of artisan pizzas, pastas and sandwiches, as well as specialty cocktails, regional wines and local craft beers, is a test unit, with three additional test units planned to open in the near future in Greensboro, North Carolina; San Diego, and Palm Desert, California. If these four test units are successful, the Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar brand will expand to more cities nationwide.

•Nobu Hospitality—which includes partners chef Nobu Matsuhisa, actor Robert De Niro and film producer Meir Teper—has partnered with designer David Rockwell and executives at Caesars Palace on the first Nobu Hotel, slated to open in Las Vegas later this year, with guest bookings available beginning October 1. The hotel’s design is meant to evoke elements of Japanese Zen gardens, with wood tiles, patterned carpets and custom Japanese art. Nobu Hotel will also feature an 11,200-square-foot restaurant and lounge serving chef Nobu’s popular Japanese cuisine, which can also be served in-room 24 hours a day.

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