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News Briefs for February 2, 2015

February 2, 2015

•Juan Rovira is leaving his post as chief marketing officer for Bacardi North America. Rovira was appointed CMO of Bacardi USA five years ago, and earlier this fiscal year his responsibilities were expanded to include the entire North American region. Previously, Rovira held a number of roles at Bacardi Ltd., including global category manager-Martini and marketing director-Spain, among other positions. Rovira’s departure follows the exit of Bacardi North America president Robert Furniss-Roe last August. Furniss-Roe was replaced by Pete Carr, a former executive with Glazer’s and Diageo North America. While Rovira’s next move is currently undetermined, Bacardi said that “the timing and possibility of alternative roles (with the company) is still under review.”

•UV vodka has unveiled a new flavor entry, Ruby Red Grapefruit. Launching nationally in March, UV Ruby Red is made with all natural flavors and real grapefruit juice. Part of the Phillips Distilling portfolio, UV ($12 a 750-ml.) was projected to hit 2 million cases in the U.S. market last year. The brand’s flavor line includes more than 20 entries, also including recently released Sugar Crush and Sriracha flavors.

•St. Helena-based Clif Family Winery has appointed Laura Barrett head of winemaking. Barrett, who began working with the winery in November, joins Clif from the Capay Valley’s Casey Flat Ranch, where she spent seven years as winemaker. In her new role, she will oversee operations for Clif Family Winery’s two estate vineyards—Cold Springs Vineyard and Croquet Vineyard—which are both based in Napa’s Howell Mountain appellation. 2015 will mark Barrett’s first harvest-to-bottle vintage for the winery. Clif Family Winery was established in 2004 by Gary Erickson and Kit Crawford, founders and co-owners of Clif Bar & Company, and released its first wines in 2006. The portfolio ranges in price from $22-$110.

•Shares of Shake Shack more than doubled in their first day of trading last Friday, ending the day with a market capitalization of nearly $2 billion. After the launch of Shake Shack’s much-publicized IPO, shares of the upscale hamburger chain, founded by restaurateur Danny Meyer a decade ago, opened on the New York Stock Exchange on January 30 at $21. They closed later that day at $45.90—a 118% jump. Based on the 63-unit chain’s 2013 earnings, Shake Shack is currently trading at a price-to-earnings ratio of roughly 325, according to Reuters, meaning that each outlet is valued at approximately $27 million.

•Chicago’s celebrated temple of molecular gastronomy, Alinea, is undergoing a makeover later this year. Partners Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas plan to close the 64-seat restaurant for six weeks this summer for significant renovations that will include a brand-new layout. Details are sketchy, but the new Alinea will offer meals in multiple parts, with arriving diners starting their experience (dinners often last 24 courses and four hours) in a downstairs salon and then moving upstairs to continue their meal, perhaps at multiple tables. Achatz told Chicago magazine that dinner at Alinea will be “like moving through space. The space becomes a tasting menu in and of itself.” He didn’t explain how customers’ wine and cocktail service will follow from table to table. The redesign of the restaurant is being engineered by Adam Tihany of New York (Per Se, Daniel, Aureole). While Alinea is closed, its owners are contemplating guest pop-up forays to other venues as a means of keeping their employees working through the hiatus. In 2012 Alinea and Eleven Madison Park in New York caused a stir when their staffs traded places for a week.

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