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

News Briefs for July 24, 2012

July 24, 2012

•New York-based Panache Beverages is in talks to acquire Auckland, New Zealand-based VnC Cocktails. Panache Beverages’ current brands include Wodka vodka, Alchemia infused vodka and Alibi American whiskey. Under the proposed deal, the group would gain access to the VnC brand in its 30 global markets and 24 U.S. markets. VnC founder and managing director Shane McKillen and Panache founder James Dale previously worked together as the U.S. importers of New Zealand’s 42 Below vodka before it was sold to Bacardi in 2006. VnC projects sales of 200,000 cases this year. The brand is launching a 750-ml. size this summer and has expanded its range to eight flavors, including two released in the U.S.—Passionfruit Caprioska and Mango Daiquiri.

Treasury Wine Estates (TWE) and Accolade Wines are joining forces on global bottling operations, with Treasury packaging Accolade’s wines in Australia while Accolade will bottle TWE’s wines in the U.K. The new arrangements will begin in the coming weeks and will reach full volumes by January 2013. Treasury previously used several packagers in the U.K. but will now consolidate all its U.K. volume into Accolade Park in Bristol, where production will now increase by 30%. Accolade’s Australian wines will be bottled at TWE’s packaging facilities near Mildura and in the Barossa Valley, boosting production of those facilities by 4 million cases a year (about 25%). The deal will result in the loss of 175 jobs at Accolade’s Reynella bottling plant. Accolade Wines will outsource its Reynella warehousing and distribution to MacKenzie Hillebrand’s facilities at Outer Harbor, South Australia.

•Chef Michael White and business partner Ahmass Fakahany, who together own the Altamarea Group of restaurants, are opening a higher-end version of their Osteria Morini concept, which currently has locations in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood and in Bernardsville, New Jersey. Dubbed Ristorante Morini, the new two-story eatery will open on Manhattan’s Upper East Side with a café on the first floor and a formal dining room upstairs. The New York Times reports that in addition to opening Ristorante Morini, White and Fakahany plan to further expand the Morini brand with a more modestly priced enoteca version of Osteria Morini serving small plates and wines by the glass, but they have yet to find a location for this concept. Additional outposts of Osteria Morini are also in the works.

 

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