Chain Beverage Buzz: October 15, 2012

Outback Steakhouse Moves to Weekend Lunchtime Opening
Outback Steakhouse announced that all locations nationwide will open for lunchtime on weekends, with new menu items including 10 entrees for less than $10, and a $7.99 combo deal that includes a soup or salad and an entrée. Restaurants will open at 11 a.m., a departure from the Outback’s typical opening much later in the day and a sole focus on dinner. In August 2011, about 50 Outback locations, fewer than 10 percent of the brand’s current 775 locations were open for lunch as part of market tests. MORE>>

Brown Distributing Company Named 2012 Craft Beer Distributor of the Year
The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) and the Brewers Association (BA) are pleased to announce that Brown Distributing Company, based in West Palm Beach, Florida, has been selected as the 2012 Craft Beer Distributor of the Year.  The Craft Beer Distributor of the Year Award, now in its sixth year, recognizes the beer distributor who does the most to market, promote and sell craft beer.  NBWA and BA presented the award jointly today at the Great American Beer Festival® in Denver, Colorado. Brown Distributing Company, a family-run Florida company for more than 90 years, has evolved into a craft beer powerhouse, distributing beer from 64 craft breweries to nearly 4,000 retail accounts throughout the state.  Over the past 12 months, the company has achieved a 76% increase in craft beer sales volume. MORE>>

Restaurant Trends - Growing and Emerging Concepts - Change and Activity Oct 9, 2012
List of concepts that have grown by at least 5% (if less than 50 units). Calabasas Hills, CA-based Cheesecake Factory (NASDAQ: CAKE; founded 1972) has increased by 7 units for the Cheesecake Factory concept, from 151 to 158 (5% concept growth) and by 1 unit for the Grand Lux Café, from 13 to 14 (8% concept growth).  The company also operates a 1 unit concept called Rocksugar Pan Asian Kitchen.  Overall company increase was from 165 to 173 (5% company growth). MORE>>

Dinner and a movie: Studio Movie Grill expands
The movie-and-dinner landscape expanded on a large scale this week with the opening of a new 12-screen, 1,500-seat Studio Movie Grill in Dallas, the company’s 10th location. Movie-and-dinner theaters continue to be a growing foodservice segment. AMC Theatres, which is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has nearly 350 theaters and more than 5,000 screens, has been expanding with its Marketplace concessions and MacGuffins bar options along with its Dine-In Theatres, which offer burgers, flatbreads, quesadillas and wraps. Other growing brands include Alamo Drafthouse Cinema of Austin, Texas; Cobb Theatres/CineBistro of Birmingham, Ala.; iPic Theaters of Los Angeles; and the 16-unit Movie Tavern, also of Dallas. MORE>>

Olive Garden Unveils Transformational Changes to Reach New Guest, Including First New Ad Campaign in Nearly a Decade and More Variety and Value on Menu
Unveiling several transformational changes to reach new guests, Olive Garden announced its first new national advertising campaign in nearly 10 years and the initial phase of significant menu innovations that include lighter Italian entrées, new Porta Vita signature wines and a unique “Dinner Today & Dinner Tomorrow” limited-time offer. Debuting Oct. 7, the new television ads from America’s leading Italian restaurant introduce a “Go Olive Garden” tagline and illustrate how the restaurant provides a place – and many reasons – for families and friends and others to connect. MORE>>

Liquor Giant Beam Inc. Probes India Unit
Liquor maker Beam Inc. has begun an internal review into “certain individuals and practices” in its India business, a company spokesman said. “Based on a routine internal audit of operations in India, we are taking a closer look at the actions of certain individuals and practices in the India business,” the spokesman said in a statement. “India is an attractive market for Beam and we’ll continue investing in our future growth there.” MORE>>

George Dickel Rolls Out A New Rye
Diageo is extending its George Dickel Tennessee whisky with a new rye variant. Shipping nationwide the end of November, George Dickel Rye will sell for $24.99 a 750-ml. The newcomer is a straight rye whisky matured in new charred oak barrels for at least five years. It’s 90-proof and consists of a mash bill of 95% rye and 5% malted barley. MORE>>

Industry Sues Over Sugary-Drinks Crackdown
Soft-drink makers, restaurateurs and other businesses are suing to block the city's move to end the sale of super-sized, sugary drinks in many eateries. The American Beverage Association and others sued the city Friday. City officials had no immediate response. The city Board of Health approved the unprecedented regulation last month. It would stop restaurants, cafeterias and concession stands from selling soda and other high-calorie drinks in containers larger than 16 ounces. MORE>>

Chinese Liquor Giant Expects Profit Surge
Wuliangye Yibin Co., one of China's top liquor makers, on Sunday forecast a nearly 90% surge in net profit for the third quarter, thanks to strong sales and price rises, state-run news agency Xinhua reported. Net profit is expected to reach between 2.74 billion yuan and 2.76 billion yuan ($437.2 million and $440.4 million), up 88.3% to 89.6% from the same period in 2011, the company said in a statement to the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, where it is listed. MORE>>

Gordon Ramsay Tries Casual Dining
Fresh from opening a Las Vegas steakhouse, Gordon Ramsay last week opened The Fat Cow in Los Angeles, a “neighborhood gathering place” that marks a more casual shift for the television chef known for his high-end restaurants around the world. Ramsay is known in the U.S. for his television shows, such as “Kitchen Nightmares,” “Hell’s Kitchen” and “Master Chef,” and he splits his time between Los Angeles and London. But most of the 25 restaurants operated by his Gordon Ramsay Holdings are in the United Kingdom. MORE>>

Maggiano's Sees Success with Take-home Pasta Promotion
One of the restaurant industry’s most effective value promotions, which started during the throes of the recent recession, has become a mainstay menu offer at Maggiano’s Little Italy. As restaurants continue to wrestle with ways to offer value to their guests, the division of Dallas-based Brinker International Inc. is celebrating the success of its twist on the two-for-one offer. Since starting as a promotion in May 2009, about six million Classic Pastas have gone home with guests who order the $12.95 menu item to eat in the restaurant and receive a version wrapped to go at the end of their meal. MORE>>


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