Private Equity Firm Ares Management Acquires Cooper’s Hawk

Cooper’s Hawk has been acquired by Ares Management for over $700 million. Some estimates suggest the purchase price approached $800 million—an unthinkable number for many burgeoning restaurant chains.

Cooper’s Hawk offers consumers a unique restaurant-winery experience. The Chicago-based restaurant crafts its own premium wine with 50 unique blends. The wine is made in the chain’s suburban Woodridge production facility.

According to data from Restaurant Business, the deal is likely worth about 23 to 26 times that of the restaurant’s 2018 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA). Chicago Business estimated lower, calculating the deal to be worth 17.5 times that of the restaurant’s income last year. Cooper’s Hawk reported $31 million in earnings in 2018.

Experts compare the move to Fidelity investing $200 million in Sweetgreen in late 2018. The investment implied a billion dollar valuation for Sweetgreen, surprising some in the industry.

Current owners and operators Tim and Dana McEnery founded the first Cooper’s Hawk restaurant in 2005. The chain is understood to be the first restaurant-winery hybrid of its kind in the state. It remains unclear what the McEnerys’ role will be after the deal is completed.

Cooper’s Hawk currently operates more than 35 restaurants in ten states. The chain just opened a new location in Rockville, Maryland. Cooper’s Hawk also features a wine club that is now comprised of over 400,000 members. Club members pay $19.99 a month for a total of twelve company branded wines each year.

Cooper’s Hawk Partners with the SAG Awards To Increase Brand Awareness

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On this episode of The Barron Report, Paul Barron speaks with Emily Wines, master sommelier & vice president of wine and beverage experiences at Cooper’s Hawk Winery & Restaurants. In this Skype interview, the two discuss the latest feat for the winery, partnering with the Screen Actors Guild Awards®, and how to utilize partnerships to increase brand awareness.

In November, Cooper’s Hawk announced that they are the Official Wine of the Screen Actors Guild Awards® 25th Annual SAG Awards. To salute the silver anniversary, the winery has created a special wine named the “Artist’s Red Blend.” The wine is a limited-edition, with a commemorative label, and will be served during the Awards ceremony on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2019. Furthering this special partnership, Cooper’s Hawk will be hosting an exclusive event for it’s Wine Club Members.

When discussing methods of how to increase a wine brand’s awareness, Wines details how previous partnerships with celebrity chefs, like Tyler Florence, and other wineries for Cooper’s Hawk have proven to be successful.

Watch this video above for more marketing tips like virtual wine tastings, and how to educate your clients.


SHOW NOTES

  • 7:33 - Wine Marketing Tips for 2019

  • 9:52 - Wine List Tips

  • 12:41 - Virtual Wine Tastings

  • 14:31 - What’s New for Cooper’s Hawk


  • 0:11 - Cooper’s Hawk Partners with SAG Awards

  • 2:32 - Artist’s Red Blend and How Brands Align

  • 6:03 - Breaking Down the Blend

 
 

Produced by:

Rachel Brill

Rachel Brill

Social Producer


VIEW BIO

How Pinot Wines Can Be Paired with Your Food Menu

How to build and pair your wine selection with a food menu. The featured wines, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir, are from Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant.

On this episode of Foodable’s Smart Kitchen and Bar, our master mixologist, Oscar Castaneda, explores flavor profiles with co-host, Adrianne Calvo—Author, Celebrity Chef, and Owner of Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar in Miami, Fla. The experts discuss strategy and explore conversations a beverage director and a chef might have when deciding which wine pairs best with a food menu. The featured wines in this episode are Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir from Cooper Hawk’s Winery and Restaurant.

Pairing a dish with your wine really depends on the flavor profile of the ingredients in a dish and not always just the protein at the center of the plate. In the spread that Chef Calvo prepared for Castaneda, flavor profiles are broken down and paired with each wine.

For example, the white wine, Pinot Gris, pairs well with a light first course such as a summer salad. In this example, Castaneda tries a fresh crisp pear with the wine.

“Why pair a pear with this wine instead of something else like an apple?” asks Castaneda.

“An apple has higher acidity than the pear which will overpower the flavor. A pear is lightly sweet, has a little bit of a crunch, delicate fruit flavor,” says Chef Calvo.

The acidity of the wine overpowers the pear flavor but still retains it in its backbone.

Another alternative with fruit is a freeze-dried version. In this state, the flavor is concentrated and pairs well with the Pinot Gris. It’s an excellent wine that can go with many different dessert varieties as it can bring down the sweetness.

PinotGris_db31747c63d5089df7d6766f483c1cb1.png

Pinot Gris

Paired with:

  • Pear

  • Crunchies Freeze Dried Fruit

  • DiGiorno Crispy Pan Pepperoni Pizza

PinotNoir_db31747c63d5089df7d6766f483c1cb1.png

Pinot Noir

Paired with:

  • Crudité platter (baby carrots, baby onions, and baby radishes with Publix Sour Cream Dip, French Onion)

  • Vigo Mushrooms, Marinated, in Vinegar Marinade

  • Lindt Milk Chocolate Bar


In this two-episode series, Chef Calvo’s approach to the pairing was definitely out of the box and not something we have seen before.

Want to see how day-old pizza paired with the Pinot Noir?

Watch the full episode above to find out!

Chef Adrianne Calvo and Mixologist Oscar Castaneda Dish On Wine Tasting

On this episode of Foodable’s Smart Kitchen and Bar, our master mixologist, Oscar Castaneda, discusses with his co-host, Adrianne CalvoAuthor, Celebrity Chef, and Chef/Owner of Chef Adrianne's Vineyard Restaurant and Wine Bar in Miami, FL—how to build and pair your wine selection with a food menu. The featured wines, Super Tuscan and Cabernet Sauvignon, are from Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant.

When building a wine selection based on your food menu, it’s important to match a flavor profile with a dish that will complement each other. You never want to offer a glass of wine that could be overbearing with its flavor.

“In conversations with my beverage director, I would say, ‘I have a 24-hr braised short rib that has a lot of fat and robust flavors, and I want a glass of wine that is strong enough to hold a candle to the short-rib but is not overwhelming,’” says Chef Adrianne.

As she breaks down the flavor highlights of her samplers (which Oscar tastes eagerly), we learn what reaction it has to the wine. Chef Adrianne guides Oscar’s pairing experience with a slow exercise where he takes a bite, inhales, waits 3 seconds and then takes a sip of wine. Oscar and the consumer can heighten the flavor of any dish by breathing in before tasting.

One of Chef Adrianne’s examples is a jalapeño popper paired with the Super Tuscan. The spice of the jalapeño is toned down with cream cheese, and the flavor of the wine cuts through the fat of the bacon. Similarly, Oscar tries out a couple of corn chips with the Cabernet which may seem odd but pairs fantastically.

“Some places start with tortillas or other flour-based appetizers. This is a great way to show someone that they can start with a glass of wine and pair it with this type of appetizer,” says Oscar.

Cabernet Sauvignon

Paired with:

  • Fritos Corn Chips

  • Lay's® Kettle Cooked Salt & Pepper Flavored Potato Chips

Super Tuscan

Paired with:

  • Braised short-rib

  • Jalapeño Popper

  • Ghirardelli Dark Chocolate Bar

  • Bark Thins Snacking Chocolate Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt

  • Aged Gouda Cheese

  • Parmesan

Artisan Wine And Beverage Trends

Artisan Wine And Beverage Trends

Your beverage program can make or break your business. A well-run program can grow profits, as well as subsidize other initiatives within your operation that may be more costly. And yet, many bar programs are still underdeveloped. What does it take to elevate your program to the next level? Foodable gathered top beverage minds to discuss what makes a bar program great.

Success in this business comes down to the value you provide for your customers. Defined by the quality you provide for the price you charge, there are many ways to provide and build upon value.

The first thing Dan Pilkey of Paul Hobbs Winery reminds operators is that a beverage program can’t be contained in a rigid box. The lines between beverage and culinary can, and should, blur. At the very base, you need to provide the basics your customers can fall back on, but you should really strive to go beyond that.

Read More