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News Briefs for January 16, 2013

January 16, 2013

•Moët Hennessy-owned Glenmorangie has unveiled the fourth limited edition release—Ealanta—in its Private Edition range. The 19-year-old Ealanta has been aged in virgin American white oak casks from the Mark Twain National Forest in Missouri. Only 1,500 nine-liter cases of Ealanta (46% abv) will be made available in the U.S. market. The Glenmorangie Private Edition range—featuring rare whiskies created by Glenmorangie’s distilling and whisky creation director, Bill Lumsden—has also included Sonnalta PX (aged in Pedro Ximenez Sherry casks), Finealta (aged in American white oak and Spanish Oloroso Sherry casks) and Artein (aged in rare Tuscan wine casks).

•Roustam Tariko, who took control of CEDC earlier this month, has tapped Vladimir Filiptsev as CEO of Russian Alcohol Group, a CEDC subsidiary. Filiptsev was previously CEO of Roust Inc., a leading Russian drinks distributor and subsidiary of Tariko’s Russian Standard. Filiptsev replaces Grant Winterton, who became CEO of CEDC when Tariko assumed operational control of the company about two weeks ago. Meanwhile, Oleg Kirillin, who had been commercial director at Roust, has been named to succeed Filiptsev at the helm of the distributor.

•U.S. regulators are eyeing Anheuser-Busch InBev’s (ABI) $20.1 billion deal for the remaining half of Mexico’s Grupo Modelo that it didn’t already own, and may require concessions before approving the transaction, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed sources. At issue is a long-term production and pricing contract between ABI and Crown Imports, which handles Modelo’s brands in the U.S. Regulators may ask Crown and ABI to terminate the contract if they believe it gives ABI too much direct influence over pricing in the U.S. market, where, even before the addition of the Modelo business, ABI holds a 50% beer market share. Crown, currently a joint venture between Modelo and Constellation, is expected to come wholly under Constellation’s wing in a $1.85 billion deal that’s subject to ABI taking full control of Modelo. Both Constellation and ABI say they continue to expect the related transactions to be completed in the first quarter of this year.

•Craft + Estate, the importing and marketing unit of The Vintner Group, has inked a deal to become the exclusive U.S. importer for Bodegas O. Fournier, whose wine interests span Argentina, Chile and Spain. Jose Manuel Ortega Gil-Fournier, chairman of O. Fournier, said the agreement will allow his group’s wines to “take a leap forward in our brand and sales development in the U.S.,” where they’ve been handled by Tempranillo Inc. A highly-rated producer, O. Fournier has received more than 30 90-plus scores from Wine Spectator, with its wines ranging from around $11 up through $80 a bottle.

•Sales of Virginia wines reached an all-time high in fiscal 2012 (ended June 30), rising 1.6% from the year earlier to about 485,000 cases. Over the last three fiscal years, Virginia wine sales have averaged 8% annual sales growth. The Virginia Wine Marketing Office also reports a sharp rise in out-of-state sales, albeit off a small base. Those sales jumped by 39% to around 14,000 cases in 2012. Meanwhile, export sales of Virigina wine rose more than 300% to about 3,300 cases. Most of the international sales were driven by the U.K. and China (Virginia wines entered mainland China for the first time last year).

•Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio is debuting a new restaurant called Colicchio’s Heritage Steak at the Mirage in Las Vegas this summer. The 250-seat eatery will offer a menu of meats cooked over an open flame and will open in the space that formerly housed Kokomo’s, which closed earlier this week. Colicchio has two other venues in Las Vegas, both at the MGM Grand: sandwich shop ‘wichcraft and fine-dining steak house Craftsteak.

•Chef Paul Liebrandt of the Michelin two-star Manhattan restaurant Corton plans to open a new concept called The Elm in Brooklyn’s Williamsburg neighborhood this spring. Details are scarce at this time, but the new restaurant will be located in the King & Grove hotel and will have a more casual atmosphere than fine-dining establishment Corton, where Liebrandt will remain the chef and partner.


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