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News Briefs for June 23, 2022

June 23, 2022

•Darden Restaurants saw sales climb 14.2% to $2.6 billion in its fiscal fourth quarter ended in May, propelled by brands like LongHorn Steakhouse and Capital Grille. LongHorn saw same-store sales rise 10.6% for the quarter, outpacing Olive Garden, Darden’s largest brand, which was up 6.5%. The group’s fine dining unit, including Capital Grille, was up strongly at 34.5%. Darden also benefited from the addition of 33 new restaurants during the quarter. The restaurant giant’s full-year sales rose 33.8% to $9.63 billion, resulting in EBITDA of $1.53 billion. For its new fiscal year, Darden is targeting total sales of $10.2 to $10.4 billion, with same-store growth of 4% to 6% and 55 to 60 new restaurant openings.

•Vintage Wine Estates has partnered with Warner Bros. Consumer Products Co. to launch a new House of the Dragon wine brand, tying in with the HBO series of the same name, which will premiere this fall. House of the Dragon is a prequel to the HBO hit Game of Thrones. The wine brand’s initial offerings, debuting nationally, include an Oregon Pinot Noir, a proprietary red blend from the Lodi appellation in California, and a Cabernet Sauvignon from California, all retailing at $20 a 750-ml.

•New Jersey-based Covered Bridge Whiskey Company has announced Pigeon River, a new Tennessee whiskey and the latest release from the bottling company that names its spirits for America’s historic covered bridges. The Pigeon River covered bridge is located in Sevierville, Tennessee and is the state’s oldest. The whiskey is bottled at 48% abv and carries a suggested retail price of $55 a 750-ml. through Worldwide Libations, LLC.

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