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

News Briefs for March 29, 2013

March 29, 2013

•An SPI-led consortium has dropped out of the bidding for debt-plagued Central European Distribution Corp. (CEDC), essentially clearing a path for Roustam Tariko’s debt-reduction plan—under which the Russian mogul would acquire an 85% stake in CEDC. SPI had been working with with Russia’s Alfa Group and Mark Kauffmann, the former owner of Russian drinks distributor Whitehall Group—which CEDC acquired in stages ending in 2011—on a joint takeover bid for CEDC. Earlier this year Tariko assumed operational control of CEDC in exchange for $65 million in funds.

•Former Screaming Eagle co-owner Charles Banks has sealed a deal to acquire half of Sonoma’s Wind Gap Winery, reports Wine Spectator. Banks, who formed his own investment group, Terroir Selections, after leaving Screaming Eagle, will acquire a 50% share in the Sonoma winery as well as a separate brand called Agharta. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

•The Texas Senate voted 31-0 this week to approve two bills that will allow craft brewers and brewpubs in the state new opportunities to sell their beer. The legislation lets brewpubs sell a limited amount of beer through distributors and allows craft breweries to sell their products to consumers on location. The bills were initially promoted by the Texas Craft Brewers Guild and still have to be approved by the Texas House and governor. Another proposal passed alongside the two above, which bans “reach-back pricing,” a practice in which brewers change what they charge distributors after the distributor has sold the alcohol to retailers.

•Gordon Ramsay plans to open an outpost of his Las Vegas restaurant Gordon Ramsay Steak in Midtown Manhattan. Ramsay is reportedly in talks with restaurateur Jeffrey Chodorow to open the steak house concept in the space that currently houses Chodorow’s China Grill, located blocks away from the London Hotel, which houses Ramsay’s eponymous restaurant and bar—his only New York City venue. At this time, no agreement has been signed between the two restaurateurs. Ramsay is the owner of dozens of restaurant concepts throughout the world.


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