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News Briefs for April 16, 2015

April 16, 2015

•St. Cloud, Minnesota-based Coborn’s Inc. has agreed to purchase western Wisconsin’s Marketplace Foods, a chain of four grocery stores, each with an adjacent liquor store. The stores are located in Hayward, Menomonie, Rice Lake and St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin. Among the features of Marketplace’s liquor departments are walk-in beer coolers, “create your own six-packs” and Wisconsin wines. Coborn’s beverage alcohol division manager Mike Kosloski will oversee liquor operations at the Marketplace stores. In addition to its grocery stores, Coborn’s retail brands include Coborn’s Liquor, Cash Wise Liquor, Captain Jack’s Liquor Land and Bill’s Liquor, with stores in Minnesota, North Dakota and South Dakota. Financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close by May 11, weren’t disclosed. With this acquisition, Coborn’s will now operate 52 grocery stores and approximately 40 liquor stores.

•French drinks group Belvédère SA has appointed a new executive committee headed by CEO Jean-Noël Reynaud. Daniel Rougé, a 30-year veteran of the agri-food sector with experience in the Candia Sodiaal, Orangina Schweppes, Tesseire and Boisset organizations, has been named COO. Aymeric Donon, who joined the company in November 2014, has been named chief financial officer and Stanislas Ronteix has been appointed chief marketing officer, having joined Belvédère last September. Donon has previously served as CFO of the Vranken-Pommery Monopole group, while 15-year industry veteran Ronteix is the former marketing general manager of Bisquit Cognacs within South Africa’s Distell. With a portfolio that includes Sobieski vodka, William Peel Scotch whisky and Marie Brizard liqueur, the company has sought to turn around declining sales. In December, it released a strategic plan that forecast its U.S. sales—led by Sobieski—to exceed €50 million ($54m) by 2018.

•California’s Crimson Wine Group has appointed industry veteran Shannon McLaren to chief financial officer, overseeing all financial and business service activities. She joins Crimson from Wente Family Estates, where she served for four years as senior corporate controller. Prior to that, she held various financial and accounting roles with the Clorox Company, Altera Corporation and KPMG. She will report directly to Crimson president and CEO Patrick DeLong, who took on the role following Erle Martin’s exit from the company last year. Based in Napa Valley, Crimson Wine Group—whose brands include Double Canyon, Seghesio Family Vineyards, Pine Ridge, Chamisal and Archery Summit—recently reported 2014 revenues up 3% to $58 million, on a volume increase of 2% to 315,000 cases.

•Chicago chef Homaro Cantu, a pioneer in molecular gastronomy whose Moto restaurant earned a Michelin star and a loyal following since opening in 2004, was found dead on Tuesday, an apparent hanging victim inside what was to become his newest venue, Crooked Fork Brewing, due to open this summer. Police were investigating his death as a possible suicide. Cantu, 38, also owned a coffeehouse called Berrista and another restaurant, iNG, that had closed. He had been sued recently by a Moto investor claiming that he had redirected restaurant profits to his own bank account for personal expenses. A native of Portland, Oregon, who had previously worked in the kitchens of Charlie Trotter’s, Cantu was perhaps best known for producing daily fresh menus composed on edible paper.

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