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News Briefs for August 12, 2013

August 12, 2013

•Reports out of Scotland say several Whyte & Mackay (W&M) board members—including United Spirits Ltd. (USL) chairman Vijay Mallya—have stepped down from the United Spirits-owned whisky producer following Diageo’s acquisition of a controlling stake in USL. In addition to Mallya, Whyte & Mackay’s chief executive John Beard and director Ayani Nedungadi have reportedly resigned from W&M, effective immediately. Whyte & Mackay hadn’t responded to a request for confirmation at press time. W&M is led by its flagship Whyte & Mackay Scotch whisky as well as its Jura and Dalmore single malt brands. Regulators in the U.K. are currently examining whether USL will have to divest Whyte & Mackay now that Diageo has control, owing to the drinks giant’s already dominant position in Scotch whisky.

•Pernod Ricard’s Irish Distillers is looking to expand its Dublin bottling facility to keep up with rising global demand for its Jameson Irish whiskey brand, according to local reports. The multimillion-dollar investment is still in the planning stage, but would up capacity at Pernod’s Fox & Geese bottling plant in Clondalkin, which currently processes 3.5 million cases a year across the Jameson, Powers and Paddy Irish whiskey brands. On a contract basis, it also bottles roughly half a million cases of Southern Comfort annually for distribution across Europe. Pernod is reportedly eyeing the installation of new storage vats and an extension to Fox & Geese’s bottling hall, among other upgrades. Jameson was up 8.6% to 4.1 million cases globally last year, according to Impact Databank, with the U.S. accounting for 1.6 million cases.

•Diageo is taking Baileys upscale with a new extension, Chocolat Luxe, that’s hitting Western Europe this fall. Including 30 grams of Belgian chocolate per bottle, the new entry has a slightly lower abv than the original Baileys and will sell for £17 ($26) a 50-cl. bottle in the U.K. A Diageo spokesperson told SND there are no plans as yet to roll out Chocolat Luxe in the U.S.

•Mercadito Hospitality and its partners Paul Tanguay and Tad Carducci (known as The Tippling Bros.) will open a new concept in Chicago’s River North neighborhood this fall. To be named Tippling Hall, the new venue will offer “globally inspired comfort food with a focus on late-night dining,” and feature a beverage program designed by Tanguay and Carducci, who will be leaving their NYC flagship The Tippler, created in 2011 with other partners, to focus on the new Chicago restaurant and other Mercadito concepts throughout the country. Mercadito’s portfolio includes eponymous restaurants in New York, Chicago and Miami, as well as the Double A cocktail lounge, Tavernita restaurant and Little Market Brasserie in Chicago. New projects are slated for Las Vegas and Philadelphia in 2014.

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