Fortune Brands buys Skinnygirl spirits brand

CHICAGO Mon Mar 21, 2011 3:25pm EDT

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CHICAGO (Reuters) - Fortune Brands Inc said on Monday that it bought the Skinnygirl spirits brand created by reality TV star Bethenny Frankel and plans to expand its distribution as it sees demand for low-calorie cocktails.

Fortune's Beam Global Spirits & Wine unit bought the brand for undisclosed terms. Skinnygirl spirits is best known for the Skinnygirl Margarita, a ready-to-drink product with 100 calories per serving, lower than typical margarita-style drinks.

Skinnygirl, launched in 2009 by Bethenny Frankel and David Kanbar, is currently distributed mainly in New York, New Jersey and Florida. Annual shipments exceed 100,000 nine-liter cases.

Frankel will stay on as a collaborator, developer and marketer. She is a natural foods chef who appeared on "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart" and "The Real Housewives of New York City" before getting her own series, currently called "Bethenny Ever After," on Bravo.

Demeter Group acted as exclusive financial adviser to Skinny Girl Cocktails.

(Reporting by Jessica Wohl, editing by Dave Zimmerman)

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