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News Briefs for July 13, 2012

July 13, 2012

•Palm Bay International is launching a new Italian wine brand in the U.S. market, Umbria-sourced Tenuta Castelbuono. The new entry is the latest project of the Lunelli family, known for the Ferrari brand of sparkling wines. Tenuta Castelbuono’s wines include Montefalco Rosso DOC, a blend of 70% Sangiovese, 15% Sagrantino, 8% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon ($16.99 a bottle); and Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG, made up of 100% Sagrantino (the noble grape of Umbria), which will sell for $36.99 a bottle.

•Washington’s Ste. Michelle Wine Estates has appointed Southern Wine & Spirits as its exclusive distributor in Minnesota, effective August 1. The agreement extends the partnership between Ste. Michelle and Southern to 15 markets across the U.S. Ste. Michelle’s wines were previously handled by Wirtz Beverage in Minnesota.

•Moët & Chandon has inked a deal to become the official Champagne of the Professional Golfers Association (PGA) of America. The partnership marks the brand’s first move into golf, and will begin with exposure at the Ryder Cup event in Medinah, Illinois in September. Moët & Chandon, the top-selling Champagne brand both globally and in the U.S., saw U.S. volume increase by 1.3% last year to 410,000 nine-liter cases, according to Impact Databank.

•Daily deal website company LivingSocial is opening a speakeasy in the basement of its 28,000-square-foot, six-story event space in Washington, D.C. Beginning today, the bar will be open every Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and will require a password for entry, which can be found on LivingSocial’s Facebook page and Twitter account and will change each week. Jon Arroyo, mixologist of D.C. restaurant Founding Farmers, has created the speakeasy’s cocktail menu, with drinks ranging from $6 to $12. The venue will also serve bar bites items like chips and dip, but may expand to a larger food menu in the future.

•New York-based upscale sports bar The Ainsworth, owned and operated by Paige Management Properties, is expanding to the Hard Rock Hotel in Las Vegas by the end of the summer, in time for the opening weekend of college football. The venue will offer high-end cocktails and a 10-item food menu and will feature numerous televisions for broadcasting live sports games. This Las Vegas outpost of The Ainsworth marks Paige Management Properties’ first venture outside New York City and will bring the company’s total number of owned venues to eight.

•Wine Investment Group, LLC is opening a new wine bar in Washington, D.C.’s Glover Park neighborhood this summer. The concept, known as Slate Wine Bar + Bistro, will be taking over the space formerly housing Kitchen 2404 on Wisconsin Ave. Described as “a destination for wine lovers of all levels of knowledge and experience,” Slate will offer wine pairings, flights and daily specials, as well as a range of educational events and initiatives, including tasting seminars, winemaker dinners, wine clubs and escorted trips to wine regions. A variety of craft beers and cocktails will also be offered.

•Pernod Ricard has sold several aquavit and bitter brands to Norway-based Arcus Gruppen for €103 million ($126m). The brands included Danish aquavit labels Aalborg and Brøndums, the German brand Malteserkreuz Aquavit and the Danish bitter Gammel Dansk. Pernod said the deal was in line with its strategy of sharpening focus on its priority brands. Expected to close in the third quarter of this year, the transaction is the second in three years between Pernod and Arcus, which acquired Star gin, Red Port and Dry Anis from the French drinks giant in 2009.

•New York’s Employees Only cocktail bar will set up a pop-up location for one night on July 26 at the 10th annual Tales of the Cocktail event in New Orleans. They will transform New Orleans’ One Eyed Jack’s to resemble Employees Only’s West Village location. The night will include specially crafted cocktails, signature dishes by Employees Only chef Julia Jaksic, burlesque performances and live jazz band and DJ performances. Created to resemble the speakeasies of the 1920s Prohibition era, Employees Only was opened in 2004 by owners Billy Gilroy, Henry LaFargue, Jason Kosmas, Dushan Zaric and Igor Hadzismajlovic.

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