Very Important Beverage Professionals Chain Beverage Buzz: February 18, 2014

Restuanrant NewsRestaurant Chain Growth
Denver, CO-based ILLEGAL PETE’S has increased by 1 unit, from 5 to 6 (20% growth). This is a family/casual Mexican restaurant concept, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Per person check average is $6-$15+, with full bar service and seating for about 80. Catering, delivery and online ordering services are available. All locations are in CO. Los Angeles, CA-based KOI has increased by 1 unit, from 4 to 5 (25% growth). This upscale Japanese concept is open for dinner only, with a $15-$50+ per person check average. The restaurants have full bar service and seating for around 225. Banquet rooms are available. Trading areas are CA, NV, NY, and Thailand. MORE>>


2014: The Year of Hybrid Adult Beverages
As 2014 gets under way, it’s increasingly clear that the delineations among adult beverage categories are no longer, well, clear. Indeed, the blurring of the lines among spirits, wine and beer products is becoming more pronounced as more category-blending products hit back bar and retail shelves. But the core of suppliers’ “hybrid” strategy is to expand in a slow-growth environment by gaining new occasions and consumers, often by poaching one or both from other categories. MORE>>

Cheesecake FactoryThe Cheesecake Factory Opens at Destiny USA
A crowd of about 60 people were waiting in line when The Cheesecake Factory at Destiny USA opened its doors to the public for the first time. That's a small showing by Cheesecake standards. The locations draw an average of about 300 guests on opening day. A restaurant in suburban Detroit had about 600 people waiting on day one. MORE>>

BevnetAmerican Beverage Association Launches Offensive on Caffeine
Hounded by consumer safety groups and lawmakers, energy drink companies have faced a firestorm of criticism and negative press over the last two years, with much of the vitriol incited by claims that product marketing is inappropriately targeted to reach children and adolescents. Yet while public wrath appears to have had little effect on sales of the leading energy drink brands, the prospect of class action lawsuits and increased regulation of highly-caffeinated beverages has certainly caused some unease among the top brands, including Monster, Rockstar and 5-hour Energy. MORE>>

Nation's Restaurant NewsHow Latest Change in Health Care Bill Impacts Restaurants
The Obama administration for the second time in a year is giving some employers more time before they must offer health insurance to most of their full-time workers. On Monday the Treasury Department announced new rules that give employers with 50 to 99 full-time workers until 2016 — two years more than originally outlined under the 2010 Affordable Care Act — before they risk a federal penalty for not complying. The White House had already postponed employer requirements from this year until 2015. MORE>>

TechnomicTrends, Customer Preferences for Soups and Salads
Soup, a classic comfort food, and salad, quintessential healthy fare, are favorites of the American diet. Ongoing emphasis on healthful eating, along with the rise of the fast-casual segment and retail prepared foods—both strong channels for soup and salad—continue to keep these offerings in the limelight. Across the foodservice spectrum, operators are capitalizing on the popularity of soup and salad. MORE>>

2 gingersBeam's Surging 2 Gingers Officially Launches Nationwide
Beam Inc.’s 2 Gingers Irish whiskey brand is officially expanding nationwide. The fast-growing label—which a year ago was still limited to select Midwest markets—will be available across all 50 states starting this month. The rollout will be supported by a launch tour led by brand founder and CEO Kieran Folliard, who plans to meet with bartenders, distributors and consumers in key U.S. markets, including Milwaukee, Chicago, Hoboken, New Orleans, Dallas, San Diego, Denver, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Indianapolis, Columbus, Ohio and Austin, Texas. MORE>>

Fast CasualRevel Systems POS Platform Adds Bitcoin Integration
Revel Systems, an iPad POS provider, has added Bitcoin integration to its platform. Now, users of the Revel POS can accept bitcoins as payment, giving their customers even more ways to pay. According to a news release, Revel is currently the only major POS platform that has added Bitcoin as a payment option for enterprise and small businesses. MORE>>


Overall Beer Production Down, But Craft Beers Thrive
Consumer demand for craft beers continued to rise in 2013, but not enough to keep overall beer demand from going flat. As a result, total U.S. beer volume sold in the U.S. fell slightly (1.4%) to 2.8 billion 2.25-gallon cases, compared to 2.84 billion in 2012, according to market tracking firm Technomic. Craft beer production grew 9.6% to capture 7% of the total beer market, according to Technomic's 2014 Special Trends in Adult Beverage Report: State of the Industryreport, due out soon. MORE>>


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