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News Briefs for March 19, 2020

March 19, 2020

•Union Square Hospitality Group, helmed by restaurateur Danny Meyer, has laid off roughly 80% of its workforce, totaling some 2,000 front- and back-of-house staff at the company’s New York City and Washington, D.C. restaurants, and employees at its Manhattan corporate offices. The company closed all of its restaurants last Friday. According to CNBC, Meyer has donated his salary—along with money raised through pay cuts for executives—to support the employees that were let go. The goal of the layoffs, according to Meyer in a video statement, is to ensure that the company survives the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. In a written statement, he said that employees would be paid through the pay-week and that health coverage would remain in place for the next month.

•The Distilled Spirits Council has urged Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf to reconsider his decision to close all Fine Wine & Good Spirits stores in his state. The group noted that control states such as Alabama, Virginia, and North Carolina have adopted workarounds to serve the public while reducing risk to customers and staff, adding that Pennsylvania is the only state thus far to implement a total shutdown. “We respectfully request that you reconsider your decision to close all state stores,” Distilled Spirits Council president and CEO Chris Swonger and American Distilled Spirits Association president and CEO Matt Dogali wrote in a letter to the governor. “If you are unable to re-open all or select PLCB stores, an innovative alternative would be to temporarily allow “R” licenses that currently sell beer and wine to also sell spirits until PLCB stores are re-opened. Many restaurants are now selling takeaway food only and the loss of patrons is financially harming their businesses.”

•Sourced Craft Cocktails is kicking off a new bottled cocktail delivery program today, intended to put bartenders back to work while supporting local spirits retailers. Under the program, which is launching in New York, Dallas, Austin, and San Francisco, consumers can select from eight cocktail choices and receive delivery the same day when ordering before 3pm Eastern. The packages include a 750-ml. bottle of the base spirit and a bottle of cocktail mixer—along with a jigger and cups—and yield 12 drinks. All deliveries will be made by a local bartender. Sourced Craft Cocktails will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each bottled cocktail to the United States Bartenders Guild’s Bartender Emergency Assistance Program.

•Taub Family Selections has added Campania, Italy’s Mastroberardino family of wines to its distribution portfolio in the U.S. The New York-based importer and member of Taub Family Companies will now handle 14 Mastroberardino wines in the U.S., including three SKUs new to the market (Aglianico Irpinia DOC, Greco di Tufo DOCG, and Fiano di Avellino DOCG). The family-owned producer’s wines retail from around $20—for entry-level Italian varietals—to $215 for its prestige bottling. Previously, the Mastroberardino wines were handled by Winebow.

•Provençal winery Château Minuty has debuted its Minuty Prestige rosé in the U.S. Sourced from two estate vineyards—the original Château Minuty in Saint-Tropez and Vidauban-based Château Verez—Minuty Prestige rosé is a hand-harvested blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, and 10% Tibouren. The new wine ($30 a 750-ml.) is now available across the U.S. through New York-based importer Vintus, joining M de Minuty and M de Minuty Limited Edition, among other wines, in the producer’s stateside lineup.

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