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News Briefs for January 8, 2014

January 8, 2014

•Casual dining chain TGI Fridays has partnered with Beam Inc.’s Skinnygirl vodka brand to offer a lineup of lower-calorie cocktails. Made with Skinnygirl’s Bare Naked vodka, the new cocktail range includes a Skinny Appletini, Skinny Cosmopolitan, Skinny Cosmo Cooler, Skinny Martini and Skinny Pink Punk Cosmo. The drinks, which are all under 130 calories each, will be accompanied by several new lower-calorie food options on the TGI Fridays menu. TGI Fridays currently operates more than 900 restaurants across 60 countries.

•Southern Wine & Spirits of America, Inc. has promoted Eric Hemer to the new corporate position of senior vice president, director of wine education, effective January 1. Hemer, one of only four people to have earned both Master of Wine and Master Sommelier credentials, previously served as educational director, Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida, the company’s second-largest division. Hemer’s work for Southern has focused on educating sales staff and elevating wine knowledge among on-and off-premise customers. He began his career at Southern in 1988 in Palm Beach County as an on-premise wine consultant and worked up his way to Florida’s educational director, a position he began in 1998. Since then, he opened the Education Center in SWS’s Miami office, wrote a Wine and Spirits Sales and Education Training Manual and conducted hundreds of training classes for personnel across Florida, Pennsylvania and New England.

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