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News Briefs for December 6, 2012

December 6, 2012

•Authorities in New York are making it easier to gain wine direct shipping licenses. Interstate direct shipping licenses, which have been renewed on an annual basis, will need to be renewed only once every three years starting January 1, 2013. Applicants still must pay $125 for each year of the license, or $375 for the three-year term. The change also includes licenses for wine wholesalers, retailers and wineries. While beer licenses are also issued every three years in New York, liquor licenses are issued every two years.

Diageo has renewed its distribution agreements with Johnson Brothers and United Brokerage in three Midwest markets. Under the agreements, St. Paul, Minnesota-based Johnson Brothers will continue as exclusive distributor for Diageo’s wine and spirits brands in North Dakota and South Dakota and for Diageo’s wines in Minnesota. United Brokerage will remain as the exclusive broker for Diageo’s spirits in Minnesota. The renewed partnerships are part of the second phase of implementation of Diageo’s new route-to-market strategy for its spirits and wine brands in the U.S. Alterations have included a consolidation of Diageo’s distribution across U.S. control states with Southern Wine & Spirits last summer, as well as a shift from a geographically-aligned sales approach to a distributor-facing model.

•Christie’s two-part auction of Charlie Trotter’s restaurant wine cellar has exceeded estimates with total sales of more than $1.1 million. The live segment of the sale, held November 16 in New York, was 98% sold by lot and by value, netting roughly $918,000. Highlights of the 357-lot auction included a three-magnum case of 1990 La Tâche (sold for $36,300) and four bottles of 1986 Côte de Nuits, H. Jayer ($29,040). The auction’s online-only segment, meanwhile, accounted for an additional $218,000. Running from November 20 through December 4, the online event featured 435 lots, including a top lot of two bottles of 1945 Château Haut-Brion sold for $5,445. Charlie Trotter’s wine auction follows the closure of the chef’s eponymous Chicago-based restaurant in August. Just prior to the Christie’s sale, 60 cases of the restaurant’s wine collection were stolen en route to New York.

Treasury Wine Estates is aiming to build its presence in global travel retail with three key new appointments. Tom King has been named global travel retail commercial director, while Alexandre Bussiere has been appointed global travel retail customer marketing director and Gordon Buchannan has been tapped as sales manager, travel retail U.K. & Continental Europe. King will report directly to Andrew Carter, Treasury’s managing director for global travel retail. He joins the company from Bacardi Ltd., where he was most recently global travel retail finance director. Bussiere will also report to Andrew Carter. He most recently served as wine category merchandising manager at DFS. Buchannan, who was most recently Bacardi travel retail regional manager U.K. & Ireland, will report to Tom King. All three will join Treasury in late January 2013.

•Donald Trump has turned his ire on William Grant & Sons, saying he will pull all company brands from his resorts and hotels following Grant’s bestowal of Glenfiddich’s “Top Scot” award on Trump nemesis Michael Forbes. Forbes has refused to sell Trump his 23-acre plot on the Aberdeenshire coast, where Trump intends to add a second golf course to his existing development there. Trump argued that the award should have gone to Olympics and U.S. Open tennis champ Andy Murray. He also alleged that William Grant named Forbes “Top Scot” for publicity purposes and out of jealousy for Trump’s own in-house single malt, produced by GlenDronach. William Grant & Sons responded that “Top Scot” is an open category in its Glenfiddich Spirit of Scotland awards, chosen solely by votes cast by the people of Scotland.

•In Idaho, wine direct shipping applicants now only have to submit one application—instead of two—for a wine tax permit and a sales tax permit. The Idaho Tax Commission has also made it easier for direct wine shippers to waive the need for a bond.

•The Westfield Group, operator of more than 100 shopping centers worldwide, has revealed plans to bring more than 60 restaurants and retail shops to the new Tom Bradley International Terminal at Los Angeles International Airport. The first phase of the $80 million development is slated for completion by spring 2013, with the second phase completion slated for 2014. Westfield plans to open a total of 21 dining concepts in the terminal, including outposts of “Top Chef ” season six winner Michael Voltaggio’s ink.sack, “Top Chef Masters” stars Susan Feniger and Mary Sue Milliken’s Border Grill, LA burger chain Umami Burger, III Forks steak house, Petrossian Caviar & Champagne Bar and Starbucks Evenings, among others.


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