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News Briefs for June 13, 2012

June 13, 2012

Jackson Family Wines has acquired the 350-acre Ramal West Vineyard in the Sonoma Coast’s Los Carneros AVA for an undisclosed sum. Originally planted in the mid-80s by Buena Vista Winery, Ramal West specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It had replantings in 2004 and 2006 and now has 200 acres planted with the potential to add 70 acres more. Barbara Banke, chairman of Jackson Family Wines, called Ramal West “an ideal viticultural site with unique terroir.” The purchase follows another Jackson Family acquisition—460-acre Hickinbotham Vineyard in Australia’s McLaren Vale—by four months.

Wirtz Beverage Group has made several new management appointments, effective immediately. Glen Hoch, previously vice president of finance and strategic development at Wirtz Beverage Group (WBG), has been named vice president of business development. Dave Walsh, previously vice president of commercial strategy at Wirtz Beverage Illinois, has been appointed vice president of commercial strategy at WBG. Meanwhile, Carrie Bach, formerly director of trade development at Wirtz Illinois’s Alliance Division, has been named director of commercial development at WBG, responsible for commercial strategy integration across all Wirtz states.

•Germany’s Krombacher, one of the top-selling premium beers in its domestic market, is taking aim at the U.S. Known for its Pilsner variant, Krombacher has founded a U.S. subsidiary, Krombacher USA. The brand is currently available in Florida, Illinois, Texas, New York, Wisconsin, New Mexico, Arizona, Louisiana, Georgia, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina, focusing on the on-premise and selling in line with other premium European imports. The group’s total production increased 1% last year to 6.4 million hectoliters, equal to 75 million (2.25-gallon) cases.

•Minneapolis-based Granite City Food & Brewery Ltd. has obtained a $6.5-million investment from its controlling shareholder, Concept Development Partners LLC. The transaction—which will increase Concept Development’s 72% ownership stake in the casual dining chain by roughly 3.13 million shares—is expected to close before June 26. According to Granite City CEO Rob Doran, the capital will be used to accelerate expansion. Since opening its first location in 1999, Granite City now operates 27 restaurant and microbrewery outposts in 13 states, with a new location set to open in Franklin, Tennessee, by late summer. The chain offers a selection of six proprietary craft brews on tap, a portion of which are also available in six-packs at select retail outlets.

•London-based upscale Chinese restaurant Hakkasan has begun construction on its first Las Vegas outpost in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino. The restaurant and lounge is taking over 75,000 square feet of space and five floors of MGM and will include a nightclub space. Hakkasan Las Vegas is slated to open in December, joining other U.S. outposts in Miami and New York City, as well as locations in London, Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Mumbai. The brand also plans to enter San Francisco and Los Angeles within the next 12 months.


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