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

News Briefs for June 22, 2012

June 22, 2012

•Spec’s Wines, Spirits & Finer Foods reportedly will open its second San Antonio store as early as next week. The 40,000-square-foot store, located on De Zavala Road, will feature a full-service deli and dining area as well as Spec’s usual selection of wine, spirits, beer, cigars and gourmet snacks. Houston-based Spec’s was operating about 100 stores at the start of the year. By July 1, Spec’s is projected to have around 135 units, with more expected later this year.

•Diageo has appointed Asian market specialist Ho KwonPing to its board as a non-executive director, effective October 1. His role will include membership in the board’s audit, nomination and remuneration committees. Ho is the founder and executive chairman of Singapore’s Banyan Tree Holdings Ltd., a hospitality group that develops, owns and operates luxury hotels and resorts, spas, retail galleries and golf courses worldwide. He also serves as an advisor to global investment bank Moelis & Co. Prior to joining Diageo’s board, Ho was a non-executive director at Singapore Airlines Ltd. and Standard Chartered Plc., as well as chairman of both MediaCorp Pte Ltd. and Singapore Power Ltd. According to Diageo chairman Dr. Franz Humer, Ho’s experience with luxury brand-building in Asia is expected to provide “valuable new perspectives and a deep understanding of the Asian consumer.”

•Washington D.C.’s recently launched Irish Whiskey Public House is aiming to expand its rare and high-end Irish whiskey selection in an effort to appeal to a growing number of whiskey consumers and connoisseurs. Established in January, the Irish Whiskey Public House concept blends traditional Irish pub influences with modern cuisine and a comprehensive bar program featuring more than 50 different Irish whiskies. The pub’s high-end collection currently includes Knappogue Castle 1951 ($130 a 2-ounce pour), Green Spot ($49 a pour), Knappogue Castle 16-year-old ($24 a pour), Redbreast 12-year-old Cask Strength ($19 a pour) and Greenore Valley 8-year-old ($13 a pour) and 18-year-old ($29 a pour). With Irish whiskey growing at around 20% annually in the U.S. market, specialty brand launches have been making landfall in the U.S. with increasing frequency.

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