News Column

John Wayne Limited-edition Brandy Hits Shelves

May 31, 2013

Newport Beach resident Ethan Wayne has introduced the Duke Special Reserve Brandy, a limited-edition drink inspired by his father, the late actor John Wayne.

Ethan Wayne partnered with winemakers Jayson Woodbridge and Chris Radomski, another Newport Beach resident, to launch Monument Valley Distillers. The brandy is the company's first spirit, and it was released this month to commemorate the Duke's May 26 birthday. The Duke died in 1979 at age 72.

The brandy was aged in two barrels for at least 24 years, and costs $350 a bottle. Monument Valley does not plan on producing any more after orders have been fulfilled. Information can be found at DukeSpirits.com.

Although many fan websites claim John Wayne's liquor of choice was Sauza Conmemorativo tequila, Ethan Wayne said his father's favorite drink changed, depending on where he was and who he was with. "I, like my father, choose my drinks based on the setting," Wayne said. "On a cool summer night in Orange County, I'll often reach for a glass of brandy or wine."

On the move

Eugene Kim has been promoted to chief executive officer of KOG Games, an Irvine-based U.S. subsidiary of South Korean game developer KOG. Kim was previously the company's chief marketing officer.

Toshiba America Medical Systems, a Tustin-based distributor of high-end medical imaging equipment, named Beverly Plost director of its magnetic resonance business unit. She will be responsible for expanding the product line and communicating with Toshiba's parent company in Japan. Plost was previously a director at Philips Healthcare in Bothell, Wash.

Don Nourse has joined the Newport Beach office of the Lee and Associates commercial real estate company. He has also been named a principal of Lee and Associates Newport Beach. Additionally, Nourse's son Jim has joined the office as an associate.

Tyler Banks has been appointed national practice leader and CEO of Willis Personal Lines, a personal insurance broker and subsidiary of the New York-based Willis North America. Banks, who previously led Willis' western region, will work out of an office in Irvine.

Freedom Innovations, an Irvine-based maker of prosthetic legs and feet, has named Claudia Gehrmann as general manager for Europe. She has worked in the European health care industry for more than 20 years.

New ventures

San Clemente-based Mexican fast food chain Chronic Tacos opens its newest location today in Las Vegas at the Palms Casino Resort. The company will donate 20 percent of the day's sales to Street Teens, a Vegas-based nonprofit that helps homeless and at-risk teens.

An It'sugar candy store opens at Fashion Island in Newport Beach today. The chain is the exclusive retailer of giant treats such as "The World's Largest Box of Nerds" and "The World's Largest Box of Pop Rocks." It was founded by Jeff Rubin, who also created the "FAO Schweetz" candy departments found inside FAO Schwarz toy stores.

Green Automotive Company, a firm in Newport Beach that makes and sells low-emission vehicles, acquired 30 percent of Powabyke EV, an electric-bike business in England, from Metroelectric PLC, for an undisclosed amount.

U.S. CAD moved from Costa Mesa to a bigger space to accommodate visits from its growing staff in California, Nevada and Utah. The corporate office of the architecture, engineering, construction and manufacturing consultancy is now in a 10,549-square-foot location in Newport Beach.

GateTel Inc. opened a facility in Newport Beach to manufacture, assemble and market certified wireless devices in Orange County. The company makes what are essentially smart modems used in machines, such as cars and vending machines, to communicate with other machines.

A local mobile hardware company has decided to enter the software business. Olloclip, based in Huntington Beach, makes advanced camera lenses for the iPhone and iPod Touch. The company's new photo and video app includes tools to increases zoom levels, curve pictures and adjust focus and exposure independently. The free software, which works even without the physical Olloclip lens, debuted in the Apple app store last week.

Eaton Industrial Corp. won a government contract to provide oil nozzles and other parts for all four major branches of the military. The deal is worth a maximum of $12 million. Work will be done by May 2015 by Eaton Aerospace Group in Irvine, a division of Eaton Industrial that makes various aircraft fueling products.

Yogurtland, an Irvine-based self-serve frozen yogurt chain, opened its first Massachusetts location in the Boston suburb of Brookline. The company plans on opening three more shops in the state next month in Cambridge, Boston and Newton.

A Play N Trade store recently opened in Panama City, Panama. Play N Trade is a video game and consumer electronics retail franchise based in San Clemente.

Coming up

The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology is hosting a discussion among five startup experts who will talk about launching successful new businesses. The panelists are Dev Bhatia of UCI spinoff SRCH2, Thomas Gephart of Ventana Global Venture Capital Group, Jeff Greenberg of Hiperwall, Inc., Luis Vasquez of OCTANe and Dr. Brian Wong of Praxis BioSciences. Admission for the event is $20. It takes place at the Calit2 building at UC Irvine at 5 p.m. June 6. Visit calit2.uci.edu for details and to buy tickets.

Overheard

"Most certainly, this was my Erin Brockovich moment," Mitch Goldstone in an interview with Bloomberg.com about a $7.25 billion antitrust settlement with credit card firms over fees. Goldstone, a lead plaintiff, owns ScanMyPhotos.com in Irvine.

Cameron Moore of the Register contributed to this report.

Contact the writer: 714-796-3589 or ksablan@ocregister.com

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(c)2013 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)

Visit The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.) at www.ocregister.com

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Source: Copyright Orange County Register (CA) 2013


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