Liquor Industry News 5-30-13

Franklin Liquors


Thursday May 30th

TGI Fridays operator faces class-action suit for alleged alcohol-swapping scheme in N.J.



Brent Johnson / The Star-Ledger

May 29, 2013


Two Monmouth County women say it’s time for the nation’s leading operator of TGI Fridays to pony up.


Kristi Pasieka and Nicole E. Ruglio filed a class-action lawsuit last Friday in Mercer County Superior Court accusing 13 of the chain restaurant’s New Jersey locations of serving customers less-expensive liquor disguised as top-shelf brands.


“Being that it was spread over multiple stores, it clearly was a common policy,” Stephen DeNittis of Marlton, a lawyer for the two women, said today. “I don’t think it was a mistake.”


The class-action suit, brought “on behalf of New Jersey consumers,” is the latest development in what the New Jersey Division of Alcohol Beverage Control has labeled “Operation Swill,” a year-long investigation that last week accused 29 bars and restaurants across the state of practicing similar switches at the hands of unwitting drinkers.


The sweep by state agents included 13 TGI Fridays operated by the Briad Group, a Livingston-based hospitality company that runs 70 TGI Fridays nationwide. In all, Briad operates 16 of the restaurants in New Jersey.


The lawsuit claims that Briad instituted “a uniform policy” to “substitute cut-rate liquor” for premium brands to inflate profits over at least the last year, which violates the New Jersey Consumer Fraud Act.


DeNittis said Pasieka and Ruglio were both suspicious of drinks they had ordered at a TGI Fridays in Hamilton.


“One of them had a couple of Grey Goose vodkas,” DeNittis said. “She thought they tasted funny. But she thought, ‘Maybe it’s just me today.'”


Then, the attorney said, the women notified his firm after hearing of the state’s sting operation.


“These people didn’t get what they ordered,” DeNittis said. “It’s classic consumer fraud.”


The suit seeks refunds for customers in addition to three times the price of each drink in punitive damages, DeNittis said.


Pasieka and Ruglio could not be reached for comment today.


Rick Barbrick, the president of Briad, said today the company hasn’t review the complaint yet and “therefore are not clear on its merits.”


“However, we reiterate our ongoing mission to treat all of our patrons honestly and fairly and will continue to do what is right to fulfill that mission,” Barbrick said in a statement. “We have already begun our own investigation to learn if any of the reported allegations are accurate. Based on what we learn, we will take the steps needed to correct any issues that are identified.”


TGI Fridays declined to comment on the lawsuit today.


The chain’s corporate office n Texas issued a statement last week saying it had “zero tolerance for actions that undermine the trust of our guests and call into question the reputation we have built up over the past 48 years.”


The state ABC and Attorney General’s Office said last week they were still testing 1,000 bottles of alcohol collected from the 29 places. If found to have violated state law, the bars and restaurants could have their liquor licenses suspended or revoked.


Officials said no criminal charges had been filed.


The TGI Fridays accused are situated in Clifton, East Hanover, East Windsor, Freehold, Hamilton, Hazlet, Linden, Marlboro, North Brunswick, Old Bridge, Piscataway, Springfield, and West Orange.




Suntory set to raise $4.7bn in soft drinks IPO (Additional Coverage)


Source: FT

By Ben McLannahan in Tokyo

May 29th


Suntory Holdings is set to raise up to Y476bn by selling shares in its non-alcoholic drinks business, in what would be the biggest initial public offering on the world’s hottest main equity market this year.


The Japanese group was on Wednesday cleared for the listing of Suntory Beverage & Food (SB&F), best known outside Japan for its Orangina Schweppes business, on the Tokyo Stock Exchange.


Offering shares in the business would realise a long-held ambition for Suntory Holdings, Japan’s number two drinks company by market share, which sharpened its focus on soft drinks after failing to pull off a merger three years ago with its domestic rival, Kirin Holdings.


Nobutada Saji, chairman and president, recently told the Nikkei newspaper that the bulk of the proceeds from the IPO would go towards deals overseas, with an emphasis on southeast Asia.


Pricing will be finalised on June 24, Suntory said, with shares beginning to trade on July 3. At the indicative price of Y3,800 a share, an offering of the maximum 125.2m shares would raise Y476bn ($4.7bn). With its parent holding on to a 59.5 per cent stake, SB&F could rank among the world’s top 20 drinks groups by market capitalisation, on a par with Asahi Group Holdings.


Bankers said the offering – the largest in Tokyo since the return of Japan Airlines from bankruptcy last September – should provide another shot in the arm for a domestic market reinvigorated by the growth-friendly policies of Shinzo Abe, prime minister.


Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock average has risen 52 per cent over the past six months, beaten only by Venezuela and Ghana, as investors have bet that Mr Abe’s aggressive mix of fiscal and monetary stimulus will lift profits at the nation’s biggest companies.


The SB&F IPO comes as Japan’s drinks groups seek to diversify from their historic dependence on selling beer to the domestic market, where the outlook has been depressed by shifting tastes and an ageing population. Last year, for example, Japan’s brewers shipped 220m cans of beer, down 36 per cent from a decade earlier.


In 2009 Suntory bought France-based Orangina Schweppes for ?2.6bn and the Frucor energy drink group in Oceania for ?600m. Last year the group’s overseas sales ratio was 21 per cent – short of Kirin’s 30 per cent ratio, with its rival having spent Y1tn on foreign deals between 2007 and 2010.


Tokyo has seen a steady flow of new listings this year, as companies have rushed to tap the rapidly rising market. Thursday sees the Y120bn debut of Jin Co, a retailer of eyewear, which becomes the 26th company to list shares in 2013.


Japan accounts for less than $20bn of the $44bn raised in IPOs and follow-on issues across Asia so far this year, according to Bloomberg.


Nomura, Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan were named as joint global co-ordinators for the SB&F deal.


Shares in Asahi and Kirin lagged behind a rising market on Wednesday as consumer-focused investors reset portfolios to take account of more supply.




Suntory: dealmakers drink up


Both investors and Japanese drinks company must be careful not to overpay


Source: FT Lex

May 29th


Ask old hands in Asia’s moveable feast of food and drink deals and there is one maxim they hold to: Japanese companies always overpay. If Suntory, which plans to list its non-alcoholic drinks business in July to raise funds for overseas deals, holds true to form, there will be some happy dealmakers and soft drinks owners. Just as well, then, that it may face constraints.


Since the Japanese group first mooted its plans last year, its peers have collectively rallied by two-fifths. That should be good for the IPO’s pricing. Encouragingly, too, share prices relative to book value have risen by a third – but only by a tenth versus expected earnings – suggesting a reassessment of the sector’s value rather than overly optimistic estimates of future sales. As for Suntory’s spending power, credit is seductively cheap. But the yen’s one-sixth decline against the dollar in those five months will at least curb the company’s cash-splashing freedom.


Japanese drinks companies have spent more than Y1tn ($10bn) overseas in the past six years – including Suntory’s purchase of Orangina Schweppes and Frucor. But there are signs that they may be learning to control their thirst. Kirin, which netted about Y50bn profit from selling its 15 per cent in Fraser and Neave to Thai Beverage in February, has since announced a similarly-sized buyback plan. Suntory executives, too, have said they will walk if deals are too pricey.


Fans of Suntory’s Japanese whiskies will be disappointed that the listing will include only its food and soft drinks unit, worth about three-fifths of sales. Lovers of Lost in Translation will have to hold the jokes for now. There are few details of the float size or price yet. But this is likely to be Tokyo’s biggest deal of the year, so will attract plenty of interest. Over to investors, then, to make sure they do not overpay.




PERNOD RICARD (+)  China: short-term pause, medium-term gain


Source: Exane BNP

May 29th


TP: EUR109 . Upside: 14%

Beverages (-) . France . Price (28 May. 13): EUR95.2


Pernod Ricard hosted an Asia CMD event in Beijing on 28-29 May

The CMD was hosted by the Pernod Ricard Asia and China teams. The key speakers included incoming CEO Alexandre Ricard and regional managers.


China still expected to see strong growth given the size of the incremental consumer base

Pernod confirmed that the Chinese imported spirits market has seen a deceleration (impacted by the general slowdown in the economy post-leadership change). Yet the presentations strongly supported the view that the medium-term opportunity remains immense. The group will need to manage through the current cyclical slowdown, but if the number of MACs (Medium Class and Affluent Consumers) does indeed grow to 400m (from 200m) by 2020 as projected, the sheer size of the incremental consumer base over the coming 6-7 years will ensure continued rapid growth. Pernod believes this supports its view it can sustainably deliver high single-digit to double-digit growth in net sales in China. We agree this is fundamentally possible even in a more subdued economic environment.


Pernod unveiled some bold targets for Asia

In China, the group targets to grow its market share by at least 3 percentage points (to more than 50% share of imported spirits) over the next few years and deliver double-digit growth in operating profit. In India, the target is the same for both market share and profit growth. For Asia overall, Pernod targets to grow its share of the spirits market to more than 40% by 2015 (+5 percentage points versus 2012) and to deliver double-digit operating profit growth sustainably.


The track record in Asia has been remarkable

The CMD event served to highlight the Asia division’s impressive performance over the past decade (2002-12). In China, sales have increased 27x and profit by 50x; in India, sales have risen by 7x and profit by 11x; and in Korea, sales have climbed 7x and profit 7x. Overall, since the acquisition of Seagram’s Asian business back in 2002, Pernod Ricard’s Asia sales have risen 7x and business profit increased 10x, to EUR1bn.




Concerns over rum subsidies


Source: Trinidad Express

By Carla Bridglal

May 28, 2013


Rum was on the agenda for Caricom leaders as they used yesterday’s visit by United States Vice-President Joe Biden to Trinidad and Tobago to highlight concerns about the impact of US rum subsidies to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.


“The most contentious issue is rum subsidies to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. We don’t expect (Biden) to make a decision today but we expect to let him know the whole position and the full ramifications of continuing those subsidies and that it will clearly affect rum production,” Trade Minister Vasant Bharath said yesterday.


The US has  been running a “Rum Cover-Over Programme” since 1917, which consists of a tax levied on sales of spirits in the US market.


Most of this revenue is transferred to the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico-US dependencies-to aid these territories’ economic development.


These islands, however, use much of these funds to encourage their local rum industries, at the expense of other Caribbean rum-producing countries.


Caricom has since considered taking the matter to the World Trade Organisation.


Bharath was speaking at a discussion on the Logistics Performance Index report on Trinidad and Tobago at the Arthur Lok Jack Graduate School of Business, Mt Hope.




Diageo Applauds the Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) For Approving Serving Fact Information on Beer, Wine and Distilled Spirits Containers


A Victory for Public Health and American Consumers Who, After a Decade-Long Wait, Finally Get Basic Serving Fact Information


Source: PR Newswire

Press Release: Diageo

May 29th


The following statement is for attribution to Guy L. Smith, Executive Vice President, Diageo North America:


“Almost ten years ago – in December 2003 – Diageo led the industry when it stood with a coalition of consumer and public health advocates to publicly call on US regulators to allow Serving Fact information to be displayed on beverage alcohol products.  Today, we are proud to celebrate a victory on behalf of the American public.  The Alcohol Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) granted the industry permission late yesterday to voluntarily label our beer, wine and spirits products with the serving size, number of servings per container, alcohol per serving, number of calories, and number of grams of carbohydrates, protein and fat per serving.


“While there is still work to be done, this action by TTB, coupled with a recent FTC ruling on labeling, is a stunning leap forward for consumers who have a clear right to know what is in their drink.  It is important to note that prior to this ruling by the TTB, It was illegal for an alcohol manufacturer to list these basic serving facts about alcohol products on the packaging.  Simply put, this common-sense ruling will allow us to bring our products in line with all other consumable products that include Serving Fact information on all of their labels.  This information is important in helping consumers make informed and responsible decisions.


“We want to acknowledge the more than 70 consumer and public health groups that stood with us in support of labeling in 2003, and specifically mention the National Consumers League and the Center for Science in the Public Interest who supported this important initiative from the very first days.  We are proud that today is the day when we can finally say: Consumers wanted it, common sense demanded it, and Diageo fought for it.”




Move over tequila, here comes Chinese firewater


Source: Reuters

By Pete Sweeney

May 29th


Chinese baijiu, a flammable, pungent white liquor averaging a 110-proof wallop, is the world’s most consumed form of liquor thanks to its popularity in China, but for the first time distillers are looking to develop export markets.


According to data from International Wine & Spirit Research, Chinese people drank over 11 billion liters of baijiu in 2012; the spirit, distilled from sorghum, wheat or rice, accounted for more than one-third of all spirits consumed in the world.


But as a new generation of Chinese drinkers discovers the imported spirits that were unavailable to their parents, baijiu risks losing that market share unless it creates new markets overseas.


“Baijiu hasn’t been marketed to the West yet but I think it can be,” said James Rice, managing director of Sichuan Swellfun Co Ltd, a baijiu maker in Chengdu, western China, in which London-based beverage multinational Diageo has taken a sizeable stake.


“People are interested in China and here’s a piece of Chinese culture that can go right to your dinner table.”


The opportunity has also attracted small entrepreneurs like David Zhou, who founded Washington-based Everest Distillery to import a Chinese baijiu and rebrand it for sale locally.


“We really want to go for mainstream U.S. consumers and we do believe they can accept it.”


But Rice, and other distillers, have to deal with a major challenge: baijiu tends to make a terrible first impression.


“I thought it tasted like paint-thinner and felt like a liquid lobotomy,” said Michael Pareles, manager at the U.S. Meat Export Federation in Beijing. “However, like many other things in China, I eventually grew to like it.”


Torsten Stocker, head of Greater China consumer practice at Monitor Group in Hong Kong, was skeptical about prospects for overseas expansion.


But he suggested the liquor could be better distributed to the swelling overseas Chinese community, which now depends on duty-free stores in airports to stay stocked.


Baijiu’s punch makes it a tough sell in Western bar culture where people drink on an empty stomach. So does its fuel-like odor and its aftertaste. But the history of alcoholic beverages shows that nearly any taste can be acquired.


“Tequila has a very unusual flavor compared to more popular spirits,” said Derek Sandhaus, industry consultant and author of a forthcoming book on baijiu appreciation.


“But through clever marketing, good cocktails, and good management, it’s earned a place on the bar shelf. I see no reason why the world’s most popular spirit can’t do the same.”




But an adjustment is still probably necessary.


Matt Trusch, a former China resident, founded a distillery called Byejoe USA that imports baijiu base from China, then re-filters it to make it more drinkable.


“We’ve made it much more palatable to American tastes.”


Vinn Distilleries in Portland, Oregon, founded by a family of ethnic Chinese immigrants from Vietnam, is reproducing a generation-old baijiu recipe, and Vinn president Michelle Ly has marketed it – in very small volumes – to non-Chinese consumers.


Curiously enough, she said a group of investors had approached her with an idea to export her U.S.-made baijiu back to China, advertising it as a product of high quality control – an issue domestic baijiu brands have struggled with.


Baijiu expert Sandhaus thinks the best avenue for developing drinkers overseas is to follow the model of Japanese sake and market baijiu as the alcohol to drink with Chinese food. But he added that there is no need for distillers to rush.


“It will still be a very long time before baijiu stops being a very lucrative business in China.”




Boricuas Slam Coors For Using Puerto Rico’s Flag On Beer Cans


Source: Fox News Latino

May 28, 2013


Boricuas are “insulted” by the use of their flag on beer cans.


As companies gear up for the annual Puerto Rican Day Parade in New York City, one grassroots group is not happy with one beer giant’s marketing campaign.


According to Latino Rebels, “Boricuas for a Positive Image” have formally asked the company MillerCoors to stop distribution of a special Coors Light beer can which dons an image of the Puerto Rican flag.


In a statement released last week, the New York based community group said: “We believe Coors has insulted the Puerto Rican community by using this promotion before the parade.”


The activist group further noted that other Puerto Rican organizations, elected officials, activists, and neighborhood groups asked that “Coors, Inc. cease distributing a promotional beer can with the symbol of the Puerto Rican flag.”


One of the group’s members, Lucky Rivera, said that the beer can is “an insult to our culture, history, and flag. We will not allow Coors to insult us.”


If Coors chooses to not comply with their demands, the group warned it will plan protests and demonstrations.


Along with contacting Coors directly, the group has also sent a letter to Simon Bergson of Manhattan Beer Distributors asking that he “immediately stop manufacturing and/or distributing your offensive promotion.”


The group is also disappointed that the marketing agent of the parade, which will be held in Manhattan June 9, has “more interest in profit than in portraying a positive image.”


As the “Boricuas for a Positive Image” voice their concern at a corporate level, The National Institute for Latino Policy said some of the blame must also be placed on the parade’s board of directors.


“It seems like the leadership of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade just can’t help themselves!”


The group further noted: “The cry is going out on the need to hold the board of directors of the Parade accountable.”


Given that the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has found that Puerto Ricans have one of the highest rates of alcohol dependence in the Latino community, it is “surprising to many in the Puerto Rican community that the Parade leadership would allow the Puerto Rican flag to be displayed this year on a beer can.”


The policy institute also said in light of the theme for this year’s parade being Salud — Celebrating Your Health, the choice of sponsorship is even more egregious.


“So, in this case, they must be using ‘salud’ as drinkers do,’¡Salud!’ and not as a public health message.”


The move has left many scratching their heads.


“The Board and many other volunteers of the Parade work hard every year to pull off this unique and high profile event, why would they want to tarnish their efforts in this way?”


Coors and the parade’s board of directors have yet to comment on the issue.




The Real McCoy Rum from Barbados Becomes RUM FOR ALL’s Newest Member!


Source: Spirit Journal, Inc./RUM FOR ALL

May 29, 2013


Rum For All continues to expand as The Real McCoy, a new Rum from Barbados, becomes the initiative’s newest member. The Real McCoy is named after the pioneer Rum Runner of the Prohibition era, Bill McCoy, who fuelled the Roaring Twenties by supplying New York’s speakeasies with his famous uncut Rum that earned him the moniker, The Real McCoy. To bolster the name, The Real McCoy recently scored a 92/EXCELLENT-Highly Recommended rating at Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2013 and a silver medal at the American Distilling Institute Artisan Spirits competition in Denver, CO.


Said co-director and spirits authority Sean Ludford, editor of, “Paul, Sue and I warmly welcome The Real McCoy to the Rum For All advocacy initiative. These forward-thinking Rum producers get the Rum For All educational message of ‘The rising tide lifts all the boats’. Maybe in this case, we’re talking Rum running schooners. Together, the RFA members affirm Rum For All’s unifying, proactive theme of media, trade, and consumer education about this great spirit.”


Added co-founder of The Real McCoy Sean Heyniger, “We are honored to become members of Rum For All because we’ve been telling our staff that we are not just in the Rum business, we’re also in the education business. Our award-winning The Real McCoy Rum delivers exactly what the name says – only the best, unadulterated, finest quality Rum. It really is The Real McCoy and, as such, we’re proud to share it with Rum For All.”


The current Rum For All Members are:

. 10 Cane, Trinidad

. Appleton Estate, Jamaica

. Bacardi, Puerto Rico

. Banks Rums, West Indies

. Brugal, Dominican Republic

. Cruzan, Virgin Islands

. Depaz, Martinique

. Diplomatico, Venezuela

. Don Q, Puerto Rico

. Mount Gay, Barbados

. Ron Abuelo, Panama

. Shellback, Barbados

. The Real McCoy, Barbados


After highly successful events across the continent in 2012 and so far this year in New York and Chicago, Rum For All is conducting major media and trade educational programs in Denver, CO, Kansas City, MO, Washington DC, Boston, MA and more cities in 2013.




Bordeaux 2012: Mouton tops Sotheby’s en primeur list


Source: Decanter

by Richard Woodard

Wednesday 29 May 2013


Chateau Mouton Rothschild was the ‘clear winner’ of the Bordeaux 2012 en primeur campaign, according to a league table released by Sotheby’s Wine Retail in the US.


The top 10, ranked in order of total value of each wine sold by Sotheby’s New York office, includes four out of the five First Growths – Latour having withdrawn from the en primeur system – as well as Right Bank luminaries Cheval Blanc and Ausone.


But more keenly priced châteaux, such as Palmer and Pichon Baron, also make the list, which was drawn up after just over a month’s en primeur trading, but before Sotheby’s had taken delivery of its allocation of Pétrus.


Sotheby’s Wine president and CEO Jamie Ritchie said Mouton had been a clear winner ‘by a significantly large margin’, and added: ‘Congratulations to Baroness Philippine [de Rothschild], [winemaking director] Philippe Dhalluin and the whole Mouton team for making a terrific wine and pricing it very sensibly.’


The top 10, with price per six-bottle case and change on 2011 pricing:


1: Mouton Rothschild (US$2,244, down 30% on 2011)

2: Margaux ($2,244, down 31%)

3: Lafite Rothschild ($3,174, down 22%)

4: Mission Haut-Brion ($1,398, down 28%)

5: Cheval Blanc ($2,814, down 28%)

6: Palmer ($1,374, down 5%)

7: Ausone ($3,450, down 23%)

8: Lynch Bages ($570, down 10%)

9: Haut-Brion ($2,244, down 30%)

10: Pichon Baron ($600, down 7%)




Hansen Chinese Cabernet priced at ?500


Source: Decanter

by Richard Woodard

Wednesday 29 May 2013


Chinese winery Chateau Hansen, based on the edge of the Gobi Desert, is set to sell a new icon wine for ?500 a bottle in its home market.


Hansen, based in Wuhai, Inner Mongolia, is poised to release the new wine, a single varietal Cabernet Sauvignon called Red Camel, this summer.


Up to 10,000 bottles of Red Camel will be produced, sourced from a single parcel of vines in organic vineyards in the neighbouring region of Ningxia.


The grapes are harvested in two waves: the first batch, making up about two-thirds of the blend, when the grapes reach about 12% alcohol; and the second very late, when the vines are bare and the grapes are beginning to shrivel.


The wine is matured for two years or so in 100% new French oak under the supervision of winemaker Bruno Paumard, sommelier, author and former winemaker at Bouvet-Ladubay in the Loire Valley.


Château Hansen is based in an area of Inner Mongolia more renowned for coal-mining than winemaking, but is close to the winegrowing regions of Ningxia and Gansu province.


Hansen’s production – wines include Cabernet Gernischt, Semillon and Riesling – has reached 2m bottles, with the vast majority of sales in its home market of China.




Top Australian winery


Source: Barossa Herald

May 29, 2013


Château Tanunda has been awarded a top honour at the 2013 Berlin Wine Trophy for the third time.


Last Friday, the Five Red Star winery was awarded Australian Wine Producer of the Year at one of the biggest international wine competitions in Europe.


Not a winery to shy away from the gold,  the prestigious winery also won a Premium Gold Medal Best Red Wine over 20 euros and Best Dry Red Wine of the show for The Château’s 100 Year Old Vines Shiraz 2010. The 2009 vintage won the same awards at the 2012 Berlin Wine Trophy.


Château Tanunda proprietor John Geber said he was absolutely thrilled about winning such high profile awards.


“The growing critical acclaim on three continents makes me very proud and is a tribute to the team behind the growing and making of our wine,” Mr Geber said.


“I am delighted that our delicious old vine wines from the ‘New World’ are consistently winning such coveted awards in the ‘Old World’.


“I am not aware of any other winery that can beat our recent track record which truly reflects the best of both worlds.”


Over the years the Barossa Valley has built a name for itself as the home to premium wines and in recent months it has become very evident world wide that the Barossa is home to outstanding premium wines.


Grange has wowed judges in the United States, Thorn-Clarke Wines took out the title of Best Australian Shiraz in London and now Château Tanunda has brought home more gold for the iconic region from Berlin for their 100 Year Old Vines Shiraz 2010.


“No one has ever won Australian Wine Producer of the Year three times, at the Berlin Wine Trophy,” Mr Geber said.


“The award shows our consistency in making premium wines.


“It is great for the Barossa and great for Australia,” Mr Geber said about all of the wineries receiving recognition for their great wines from international wine bodies.


In addition to the international awards won by Château Tanunda  the winery has been accredited with a 5 Red Star Winery rating by James Halliday Australian Wine Companion 2013.




Wine estate in receivership and for sale


Source: NZ Herald

By Vaimoana Tapaleao, Morgan Tait

May 30, 2013


A winery estate with a capital value of $2.3 million is for sale after being placed in receivership.


The popular Ascension Wine Estate in Matakana, north of Auckland, was established by Darryl Soljan and his wife, Bridget, in 1994.


The property, well known as a classy venue for weddings, business functions, music concerts and festivals, was initially marketed for sale in the middle of last year but was placed in receivership this month.


The land and buildings, with a capital value of $2,318,000, is being advertised by Bayleys Real Estate. Tenders close on June 27.


Agent Scott Kirk said the land, buildings, hospitality business and winery/vineyard assets were all being marketed for sale but the business was still running for the time being.


“To all intents and purposes, the business is running as usual and is being sold with a substantial number of corporate and private function bookings already confirmed throughout the year and right up until Christmas and beyond,” Mr Kirk said.


“A number of concert acts are also scheduled to perform at Ascension throughout the second half of 2013 and the receiver’s expectations are that those dates will be honoured should a new owner look to buy the business with that intention.”


The 7.56ha vineyard, winery and function centre is known for its summer concerts including this year’s Classic Hits Winery Tour, the Hollies, Fat Freddy’s Drop, and Shapeshifter.


High-profile guests include some from international software company Microsoft.


Receiver Andrew McKay of Corporate Finance was unavailable for comment yesterday.


Directors John Bulog and Russell Hay did not want to comment on the situation, referring all calls to Mr Soljan; he did not return the calls.


The Soljans developed the estate in a bid to make their own way in the wine world from the family’s established West Auckland estate.


Mr Soljan spoke to the Herald Business magazine in 2011 about the Ascension, which at the time employed 28 fulltime-equivalent staff.


Visitors to the vineyard topped 50,000 the same year and Mr Soljan spoke of his responsibility to the micro-economy of the Matakana community.


Up for grabs

* 7.6ha of land on Matakana Rd, Auckland.

* 710sq m air-conditioned function centre to host up to 300 guests.

* VIP dining room.

* Several hundred thousand dollars of wine stock from previous vintages including this year’s harvest.

* Small winemaker’s cottage.




Patrón Spirits Appoints Dave Wilson President, International and Global Chief Operating Officer


Source: Patron Spirits

May 29th


Patrón Spirits, one of the fastest-growing companies in the global beverage alcohol industry, announces that Dave Wilson has joined the company as President of its international operations and Global Chief Operating Officer, effective June 10. Reporting to President and Chief Executive Officer Ed Brown, Dave will be responsible for the day-to-day worldwide operations and management of the company.


Dave joins Patrón Spirits from Brandmuscle (Centiv) where for the past seven years he has served as President of the company’s beverage alcohol group. Dave began his 33-year career in the spirits industry at Joseph E. Seagram & Sons, where he held various positions in production, finance, and sales and marketing management. After Seagram, Dave spent nine years in executive roles at National Wine and Spirits, and at Southern Wine & Spirits.


“Dave’s tremendous experience and leadership will help us grow the future of this company and our brands, and I’m thrilled that he is joining our team,” said Brown.


“On a personal note, I’ve been very fortunate to work with Dave in the past, and I’m excited that our paths cross once again!”


Added Wilson, “I am sincerely honored to be joining Patrón Spirits, and I appreciate the opportunity, challenge, and confidence that Ed Brown has presented. I am excited to get started, and to meet with our employees and partners throughout the world. This is a great company and I am proud to be associated with this management team, and representing these iconic brands.”




Santa Barbara Winery Lures Napa Valley Talent


Winemaker Adam Henkel Leaves Iconic Napa Valley Winery for Crown Point Vineyards.


Source: Gemini Consulting

May 30th


Today Crown Point Vineyards has announced the appointment of Adam Henkel as the winemaker for the newly established winery located in the Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara AVA.  Henkel comes to Crown Point after eight vintages at the venerable Harlan Estate Winery in the Napa Valley. As an integral part of the winemaking team at Harlan Estate, Henkel was responsible for executing the direction set by accomplished industry veterans Cory Empting, Bob Levy and Michel Rolland.  Henkel became known for producing profound, character-driven wines for the esteemed family of brands.


“This is the perfect opportunity for me,” says Henkel of the move to Crown Point. “It’s exciting to be at the helm of a young Cabernet driven winery in the quickly rising Happy Canyon.” The region, a bucolic valley of horse ranches and hillside vineyards, boasts a unique microclimate and serpentine soils rich with minerals. The combination concentrates the flavors of the grapes and enables the vineyards to produce exceptional and unique varietals. “It’s a winemaker’s paradise,” adds Henkel. “The access we have to amazing fruit from both warm and cool climates is truly incredible.”




NBWA’s Rebecca Spicer Recognized as Rising Star by American Society of Association Executives


Source: NBWA

May 29th


National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) Vice President of Communications & Public Affairs Rebecca Spicer received the Rising Star Award from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) today. The Rising Star Award recognizes a young professional in the association sphere who is truly “one to watch” because of her contributions to the association profession and promise of future leadership. Spicer was honored today at the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) In Honor of Women luncheon event in Washington, D.C.


“We at NBWA have known of Rebecca’s leadership and service for several years. It is great to see her recognized by colleagues and the association community as well,” said NBWA President & CEO Craig Purser. “She makes the association industry stronger through her hard work, dedication and promise for the future. She gives back to the community in countless ways, always working to advance her organization’s interest while helping others.”


Before joining NBWA in 2007, Spicer served in the White House as Associate Director of Communications. She also spent 12 years in television news, most recently at WJLA-TV in Washington, D.C., where she received the Outstanding Newscast Award from the Associated Press; the Outstanding Continuing Coverage Award from the Associated Press for coverage of the 2002 sniper shootings in the Washington, D.C., region; and an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding News Program for coverage of the terror attacks on September 11, 2001.


Spicer also worked at KTRK in Houston, Texas; WTNH in New Haven, Connecticut; WVTM in Birmingham, Alabama; and CNN in Atlanta, Georgia. She began her career as a high school intern helping with “Snow Bird” school cancellations at WSMV in her hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.


Spicer is a graduate of the University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, where she has served on the Board of Trustees and as reunion chair. Spicer also holds a degree in Telecommunications from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.


Additionally, she serves on the National Advisory Council for the Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tennessee, and on the Salvation Army Advisory Board of the National Capital Region.




Australia: Coles trials ‘big box’ liquor store format


Source: SMH

Eli Greenblat

May 29th


Coles is trialling a range of new formats for its underperforming liquor businesses unit, comprising the 1st Choice, Liquorland and Vintage Cellars groups, including a warehouse-style model to better compete against big-box market leader Dan Murphy’s.


The supermarket chain, owned by Perth-based conglomerate Wesfarmers, has opened a ”Liquorland Warehouse” in Sydney that is two to three times larger than the usual Liquorland format and offers a wider variety of wines, beers and other alcoholic beverages.


Situated in Sans Souci, south of Sydney, the Liquorland Warehouse will use its larger buying power to offer lower prices to customers.


”Liquorland Warehouse in Sans Souci has been developed as a trial store that will provide us with an active retail space to test new innovation in liquor retailing,” A Coles spokesman told BusinessDay. ”The opening of this store saw hundreds of customers experience the new format and we will continue to test and listen to customers to ensure we continue to evolve this site in line with what our customers want.”



The spokesman said the Liquorland Warehouse concept sat somewhere between a normal Liquorland and a larger 1st Choice store. It had more refrigeration and a bigger range than a traditional Liquorland.


The warehouse format trial, which began last week, is part of a wider strategy by Coles to improve its liquor operation, which has remained stubbornly behind the pace of rival Woolworths and its Dan Murphy’s stores for at least five years.


It is a problem that Wesfarmers boss Richard Goyder has highlighted in a number of sales and profit updates over the past year for acting as a drag on the turnaround of the Coles supermarket group and its sales momentum.




Indiana: Reject heated argument over cold beer



By Doug Ross

May 30, 2013


The convenience store industry, having been thwarted repeatedly in its lobbying efforts, is asking the courts to change state law restricting the sales of cold beer to package liquor stores. This is a restriction that should remain in place.


The Indiana General Assembly has been whittling away at the alcohol laws that favor package liquor stores over supermarkets, convenience stores and other retail establishments that sell alcoholic beverages for carry-out.


One remaining restriction, though, is on sales of cold beer.


Indiana is the only state that gives liquor stores a monopoly on retail cold beer sales. And with liquor stores closed on Sundays, people who want cold beer need to plan ahead or slip across the state line.


In its lawsuit filed earlier this month, the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association claims the restriction on cold beer sales violates the equal protection guarantees of both the U.S. and Indiana constitutions.


If that’s the case, why should Indiana have any alcohol sales restrictions at all? There’s a very good reason, one that risks being forgotten in the march of time since the end of Prohibition.


Homer Simpson’s line, “To alcohol! The cause of … and solution to … all of life’s problems,” is worth remembering because it rings so true. People who drink to drown their sorrows often learn too late that their drinking causes even more sorrows.


Alcohol fuels all sorts of bad behavior, and the ready availability of cold beer could fan those flames.


Indiana, like other states, put laws in place to restrict the sales of alcohol because consumption can be dangerous under certain circumstances. In the case of cold beer, that includes ready availability for motorists to consume as soon as they leave the store.


Making cold beer readily available at convenience stores and supermarkets would greatly increase its availability, and thus the likelihood of the beer getting in to the wrong hands.


This is a restriction that should remain in place. Existing Indiana law should be upheld.




Ohio: Ohio Lawmakers Shield Liquor Deal Money from Audit


Source: The Associated Press

Wednesday, May 29, 2013


House Republicans fast-tracked a measure Wednesday shielding proceeds of JobsOhio’s $1.5 billion liquor deal from public audit, over the objections of the Republican state auditor and legislative Democrats.


The move followed a high-profile faceoff this spring between JobsOhio, which is Gov. John Kasich’s private nonprofit job-creation office, and Ohio Auditor Dave Yost, a fellow Republican.


Yost sent a representative to the Statehouse on Wednesday to ask lawmakers to delay the provision, but he failed to stop it from clearing a midday committee vote and the House floor, by a 61-34 vote, a few hours later.


The amendment explicitly limits Yost’s authority to auditing JobsOhio’s public funds, and clarifies that proceeds from the sale of bonds backed by state liquor proceeds for the next 25 years are not public funds but private ones.


Democrats strenuously contested the move, saying it would allow secret dealings by the job-creation office that’s been the subject of legal and political disagreements since its creation in 2011.


Democratic state Rep. Connie Pillich, of suburban Cincinnati, said Ohioans are “clamoring for transparency and for accountability” in government.


“At a time when public trust in government seems to be at an all-time low, this measure is launched almost in the middle of the night and it shrouds public dollars in secrecy,” she said. “What are you hiding?”


Republican state Rep. Ron Hood said, “The people are clamoring, I agree, but they’re clamoring for jobs.”


He agreed with fellow Republicans who said allowing the state auditor into the private books of JobsOhio and other nonprofit corporations that spend public money – including the Cleveland Clinic or Ohio State University – would compromise Ohio’s economic prospects.


Amid Yost’s state audit of JobsOhio, JobsOhio volunteered its public financial records but declined to produce documentation of his private finances – including income, private donations, and spending.


Yost ultimately subpoenaed the records and JobsOhio turned them over in protest.


Kasich’s office said the House provision clears up confusion.


“The uncertainty that’s been raised about the Legislature’s intent created a lot of unease in the economic development community, as well as in higher education, so it’s helpful across many fronts to get this resolved,” spokesman Rob Nichols said.


JobsOhio spokeswoman Laura Jones said the move “not only helps JobsOhio know how to move forward but it’s also critically important for the job creators who use economic development incentives to grow and expand in Ohio.”


Brian Rothenberg, executive director of the liberal think tank ProgressOhio, said the public has the right to know how JobsOhio is spending its money. ProgressOhio is among parties challenging the constitutionality of its funding mechanism in court.


“Once again Kasich’s chosen the concerns of corporate contributors over the red flags raised by our state auditor,” Rothenberg said in a statement. “This bill is plainly contrary to anyone’s idea of good governance, which is why it is being hurried through without any review or scrutiny.”




United Kingdom: Carling workers vote in favour of strikes


Source: the drinks business

by Andy Young

29th May, 2013


Employees at the Molson Coors brewery in Burton-on-Trent have voted in favour of strike action, in a dispute over pay and conditions.


Carling breweryThe Unite union said its members at the brewery voted by a margin of 97% in favour of strike action, although no dates have yet been set for the strikes, to allow talks to continue.


Unite said that the dispute “centres on the 455-strong workforce at the brewery being sacked after 10 June and reemployed on inferior pay and conditions.”


Unite regional officer Rick Coyle said: “The overwhelming vote in favour of strike action shows the strength of feeling at the way the company has behaved towards its loyal workforce.


“Talks are carrying on today (Wednesday). The management has engaged in a constructive dialogue and Unite is seeking a settlement that is fair to our members – and we are working very hard to achieve that end.


“Until these talks have concluded – and depending on the outcome – the union won’t be announcing any strike dates.”


A Molson Coors spokesman said: “Clearly we are disappointed by today’s announcement. However, this vote does not make strike action a certainty given that negotiations are ongoing.


“We continue our engagement in meaningful consultation with Unite and its members so that we come to a solution that supports a competitive future for Burton brewery and is fair to our employees.


“As a company we have strong contingency plans in place to ensure that we can fulfil our customers’ orders.


“The proposals we put to workers are part of tough decisions that we have taken across the whole business, which are necessary to ensure a sustainable future for Molson Coors in Burton.”


Unite has argued that Molson Coors is a profitable company, which benefited from George Osborne’s recent reduction in beer duty, and that there was no financial imperative for the proposed cuts.


The Burton plant produces Carling, Grolsch, Coors Lite and Cobra lagers, as well as beers including Worthington, White Shield and Stones.


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