Chain Beverage Buzz: September 2, 2014

Cardinal InternationalCardinal International Names Frank Biller as Director Key Accounts
Cardinal International, a leader in high quality dinnerware, glassware and flatware to the North American hospitality markets, has named Frank Biller Director Key Accounts. In his new role, Biller will manage some of the division’s customers and accounts, while assisting in strategic planning and business development opportunities. He will report directly to Alexandre Bollengier, VP Sales & Marketing for Cardinal International. MORE>>

Bar LouieBar Louie Opening New Location in Hunt Valley, MD
Bar Louie announced today the opening of their newest location in Hunt Valley, Md.  When Bar Louie opens its doors on August 29th, it will be the second Maryland location for the Addison, TX-based brand. Bar Louie Hunt Valley is conveniently located in the Hunt Valley Towne Centre. To celebrate their grand opening, Bar Louie will be hosting a 4-day blowout bash from September 4th – 7th. MORE>>

Tanduay Asian RumTanduay Asian Rum Expands Distribution to Additional Retail Outlets in California
Tanduay Distillers, Inc., makers of the second-largest-selling rum brand in the world, announces its partnership with California National Trading Inc. (CNT, Inc.), which will increase distribution in California and bring the award-winning rum to several Asian supermarkets throughout the state. This follows the decorated spirit’s first foray into CA with Seafood City, the popular food retailer specializing in Filipino products. With expanded distribution, the beloved Filipino rum will now be accessible in all major cities throughout California. MORE>>

Restaurant Performance IndexRPI Slips for Second Month in a Row
Due in part to a dampened outlook among restaurant operators, the National Restaurant Association’s Restaurant Performance Index (RPI) registered a modest decline in July. The RPI stood at 101.0 in July, down from a level of 101.3 in June and the second consecutive monthly decline.  Despite the recent downticks, the RPI remained above 100 for the 17th consecutive month, which signifies expansion in the index of key industry indicators. MORE>>

Constellation BrandsConstellation Brands to Purchase Casa Noble Tequila
Constellation Brands, a leading beverage alcohol company, announced that it will acquire the Casa Noble tequila brand. The transaction includes the Casa Noble trademark and related assets. It is expected to close in September 2014 and is subject to customary closing conditions. Terms of the purchase were not disclosed. MORE>>

DiageoDiageo To Bottle Whiskey At Stitzel-Weller For First Time In Decades
With the whisk(e)y boom in full swing, Diageo is undertaking another significant investment in the category, this one at its Stitzel-Weller Distillery in the Louisville suburb of Shively. The drinks giant is set to begin construction on a new bottling line at Stitzel-Weller—expected to be operational by late this year—which will mark the first bottling at the distillery in more than two decades. MORE>>

Bourbon Marketers Hiking Prices Amid Category RenaissanceBourbon Hiking Prices
While Bourbon enjoyed solid volume growth in 2013—the category was up by 3% to 17.2 million cases in the U.S., according to Impact Databank—progress appears to have been even more significant on the value side of the equation. A combination of widespread trading-up trends being met with a flurry of upscale new products and price hikes among some of the category’s biggest players are bringing a sharply rising influx of cash into Bourbon marketers’ coffers. MORE>>

WineThe Pleasant Surprise of Chain-Restaurant Wines
Why is "chain restaurant" considered such a pejorative term? Not only among oenophiles (some visibly recoiled when I mentioned the words) but even among chain restaurateurs. Roger Berkowitz, CEO of Legal Sea Foods restaurants, stars in a new TV ad campaign in which he decries the "c" word and even says, "Call me stupid, an egomaniac or even an [bleep]. Just don't call me a chain." MORE>>

Trvia Nights at restaurantsRestaurants Are the Real Winners on Trivia Night
What’s a fun, yet academic, way for restaurants to triple their food and beverages sales on a slow weeknight? Think Alex Trebek. Trivia nights are becoming weekly icons at restaurants, as patrons move from shouting answers at “Jeopardy!” to competing at neighborhood eateries. Restaurants that host trivia nights, often with the help of a third-party company that prepares the questions and sends out a snazzy host, become habitual destinations for the Q&A-loving crowd. MORE>>

QSRChains Outperforming Independent Restaurants
The strength and marketing clout of major and small restaurant chains kept total restaurant industry traffic flat instead of declining in the April/May/June quarter, while visits to independent restaurants declined by 2 percent, reports The NPD Group, a global information company. Visits to major restaurant chains (500-plus units) remained flat in the second calendar quarter compared with the same quarter a year ago, and small restaurant chain (three to 49 units) traffic increased by 2 percent, according to NPD foodservice market research. MORE>>