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

News Briefs for December 3, 2012

December 3, 2012

•Temecula, California-based South Coast Winery is set to begin a new expansion project after receiving approval from Riverside County, according to local news reports. The plans include 23 buildings with a combined 42,000 square feet, which includes a new 5,470-square-foot winery and tasting room, among other features. The new facility joins an existing 39-acre winery and resort that currently produces about 65,000 cases of wine per year. The new site will be the future home of Carter Estates (wine is already being produced under that label). Construction of the new facility is expected to begin shortly. South Coast Winery produces four collections from its Southern California vineyards, labeled by vineyard block.

•St. Louis beer distributor Grey Eagle, part of the Anheuser-Busch network, has completed its acquisition of fellow A-B wholesaler Illinois Distributing Co., based in Bellevue, Illinois, for an undisclosed sum. The deal, originally announced in September, will add 2.6 million cases of volume to Grey Eagle’s operation, which will now approach 10 million cases, service more than 3,000 retail accounts from Monroe County, Illinois to Gasconade County, Missouri, and have nearly 300 employees. With A-B encouraging consolidation across its 500-member U.S. wholesaler network in a bid to increase efficiency, more deals are likely to follow.

•The Sydell Group—the hospitality team behind The Nomad Hotel in New York City, the Ace Hotel in New York City and Palm Springs, California, and The Saguaro hotel in Palm Springs and Scottsdale, Arizona—is partnering with Los Angeles-based Korean-American chef Roy Choi, nightlife entrepreneurs and brothers Mark and Jonnie Houston, and designer Sean Knibb to open a new hotel in Los Angeles’ Koreatown. The team is taking over the space that currently houses the Wilshire Hotel and gut-renovating it to make room for The Line, a boutique hotel that will showcase the food, beverage and design of Koreatown, slated to open next summer. The Sydell Group is also opening a hostel in Miami next week called Freehand, featuring a food and beverage program designed by beverage consulting firm Bar Lab, which will debut a permanent location of its pop-up bar Broken Shaker inside the hostel.

•Denver, Colorado-based Smashburger opened its first Latin American restaurant over the weekend in Costa Rica, marking the first of 18 planned franchise units for the area by franchise partner Richard Eisenberg of QSR International. Eisenberg also plans to expand the brand to Central America, South America and the Caribbean. The Costa Rica Smashburger is the third international outpost for the brand, joining units in Kuwait and Canada. The company plans to enter Saudi Arabia early next year. There are currently 186 Smashburger restaurants in 28 states and internationally.

•French chef and restaurateur Joël Robuchon has partnered with Japan’s Sapporo Brewery to create a Joël Robuchon-branded Yebishu beer that will be offered at his L’Atelier de Joël Robuchon restaurants in Japan beginning February 20. The beer is made with malt from the French region of Champagne, crafted to pair well with Robuchon’s French cuisine, while the beer’s can design matches the red interior of L’Atelier.


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