Napa, Calif., (September 8, 2021)—Germain-Robin’s newest release, Single Barrel Pinot Noir aged 19 years, marks the brand’s first new single barrel product since joining the E. & J. Gallo (Gallo) spirits family four years ago. Crafted exclusively from Pinot Noir grapes grown in California’s bucolic Anderson Valley in coastal Mendocino County, the brandy pays homage to Germain-Robin’s distinctive heritage of being among the first to ever distill California Pinot Noir grapes in the history of brandy making.

The Pinot Noir Single Barrel is double distilled in Prulho Charentais pot stills in 2001 and aged for 19 years in heirloom Limousin oak barrels. Beautifully capturing the fruit character of the grape on both the nose and the palate, this expression sets a new standard of excellence in brandy. Aromas of stone fruit and barrel spice open up on the bold palate to signature notes of cherry, dried herbs and coffee, complemented by the brandy’s weight and depth. Earthy layers of oak and a touch of leather give way on the bright, lengthy finish to hints of apricot and Bing cherry.

“Hubert Germain-Robin and I shared a simple vision: to make the best brandy possible,” said Gallo’s Vice President of Distilling David Warter. “And I believe we’re delivering on that vision. The lot behind this release stood out among a multitude of barrels because of its true Pinot Noir characteristics of red fruit that can hold oak. We selected Pinot Noir to honor the path blazed by our visionary founders who revolutionized brandy making in the early 1980s when they were among the first to distill California Pinot Noir grapes.”

That decision would change the face of brandy making forever. When acquiring Germain-Robin, Gallo pledged to uphold the legacy established by Hubert Germain-Robin and Co-founder Ansley Coale — and the 19-year Pinot Noir Single Barrel does just that while also showcasing exciting innovations that lie ahead.

On September 8th, the Pinot Noir Single Barrel (SRP: $250) will be released exclusively at California Brandy House in Napa, followed by a limited release to select markets. Gallo opened California Brandy House last year to raise awareness of premium California brandies such as Germain-Robin. This is the first single barrel release in a planned series. 

To learn more about Germain-Robin brandy, visit


Restaurants, hotels, businesses and schools are at risk of losing hard-won gains in fighting COVID-19 as the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads.

With the alarming number of new cases, now is not the time for any organization to lower its guard. Maintaining social distancing is essential as Delta can jump from one person to another in a matter of seconds, making high-quality protective barriers such as Rockford Systems GermBlock shields, more important than ever.

Rockford Systems GermBlock shields provide a transparent barrier between people when they are face-to-face to prevent the spread of respiratory droplets that can carry the virus. Unlike flimsy plastic barriers that easily chip and break, GermBlock shields are constructed of heavy-duty clear 3/16″ polycarbonate and 16-gauge 304 stainless steel ¾” framing with full penetration welds, so they won’t be damaged by everyday usage, accidents or vandalism. In addition, the stainless-steel frame allows the shields to be washed down and sterilized per the CDC’s recommendation for frequent cleaning.

Economical and space-saving, Rockford Systems GermBlock shields are available in three standard designs: floor standing shield, tabletop shield, and tabletop with extended leg shield. All shields are available with optional caster wheels that not only allow for effortless transportation from site to site, but also provide more stability to the shield due to a lower center of gravity. Slots can be cut into the shields to allow easier exchange of money and merchandise in retail outlets.

Rockford Systems brings decades of experience into the design, development, production and fulfillment of its "Made In America" GermBlock Cough and Sneeze Shields.

Learn more at


VANCOUVER, British Columbia, Aug. 27, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Fobi AI Inc. (FOBI:TSXV) (FOBIF:OTCQB) (the "Company" or "Fobi"), a global leader in providing real-time data analytics through artificial intelligence to drive customer activation and engagement is pleased to announce the release of its new Digital Proof of Vaccination service CheckVax™, to help venues and businesses comply and immediately participate in government vaccine mandates. CheckVax™ seamlessly integrates into Fobi’s existing Venue Management and Wallet pass technology in order to improve the speed and ease of vaccine verification at venues, events, schools, movie theaters, hotels, gyms and other mass gathering sites at a high risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

Tamer Shafik, Fobi CTO stated, “This is an exciting product launch for Fobi as it incorporates our existing world leading Wallet pass technology and venue management platform to immediately solve a major problem faced by millions of businesses left scrambling to comply with government vaccination mandates. Quite simply, we believe we have architected and delivered the fastest and easiest to use proof of vaccine solution in the market today.”


Fobi’s CheckVax™ digital proof of vaccination service can act as a stand-alone service that can be implemented by venues or organizations worldwide into existing platforms, as well as bolt onto any other digital proof of vaccination verification program. CheckVax™ can support any government or corporate digital vaccination verification service in the world.

Fobi CEO Rob Anson stated, Our latest product offering drives up the value of Fobi immensely for operators facing continuously evolving public health orders while their guests try to prove their vaccinations. We are excited to be able to support existing businesses with our app-less, digital vaccine solution. CheckVax’s digital activation couples safe vaccine verification with customer engagement, commerce, and sponsorships to give businesses a powerful, end-to-end product. As always, Fobi is ahead of the curve in anticipating the market needs and we’ve shown it again by getting CheckVax™ into the market at the right time.”

Fobi has already successfully registered and trademarked CheckVax™.


With vaccine mandates rapidly being rolled out by governments, small businesses and major corporations around the world, Fobi’s CheckVax™ launch is well-positioned as the need for digital and contactless proof of vaccination becomes a critical component of hosting, launching or participating in a wide range of activities and events determined to be at a high risk of transmission of the coronavirus.

On the government side, countries such as Denmark, Greece, France, Italy, some Canadian provinces and the U.S. cities of New Orleans, New York and San Francisco are among the places that have vaccination requirements to get into places like indoor restaurants or theaters.

On the business side, even without government mandates, more businesses in countries where vaccines are readily available are starting to ask for proof of vaccination. For example, Disney Cruise Line has joined Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Norwegian in planning to require COVID vaccines for passengers 12 and older.


CheckVax™ can speed up queues with instant access to digital vaccine passes. By moving vaccine records to Wallet passes, Fobi enables businesses and venues to shorten lines with customers and fans proving their vaccination status before even arriving at their entry point to exponentially speed up queue times. CheckVax™ geofenced passes pull the vaccination pass right to the front of iPhone lock screens, so they're always ready to check-in.

CheckVax™ enables contactless validation via Fobi’s Smart Scan app, Smart Tap IoT device, a customer’s own barcode scanner, or simply visually validating to suit every business need. Smart Scan enables the use of a smartphone or tablet camera to validate CheckVax™ Wallet passes, while Smart Tap's Near Field Communication (NFC) reader redeems passes with a simple tap.


Restaurants Canada is calling on all parties seeking to form the next federal government to help hard-hit foodservice businesses recover from their pandemic debt so they can continue feeding Canada’s recovery.

According to the latest Restaurants Canada survey conducted in July:

  • 8 out of 10 foodservice business operators said they've taken on new debt over the course of the past 17+ months of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis.
  • More than a quarter (26%) of single-unit restaurant operators who said they took on new debt during the pandemic said their business will not be able to recover unless current conditions change.

“Our member surveys throughout the pandemic have consistently revealed that foodservice businesses will need at least a year to recover from this crisis,” said Restaurants Canada President and CEO Todd Barclay. “Canada’s hard-hit restaurant operators deserve a reopening plan that will ensure they can preserve their livelihoods, continue employing 1.2 million Canadians and keep contributing to vibrant communities across the country.”

Sector-specific support needed to revive hard-hit restaurant industry

Canada’s restaurant operators are innovative and resilient, but many are still at risk of closing down from crushing debt that they are continuing to incur due to the ongoing pandemic.

Eight out of 10 foodservice business operators responding to the latest Restaurants Canada survey said they are continuing to lose money or are barely scraping by:

  • 55% said they are still operating at a loss
  • 20% said they are just breaking even
  • 9% said they are making a pre-tax profit of less than 2%

This reflects the reality that the majority of Canadian foodservice establishments are still operating at reduced capacity due to restrictions still in place within most jurisdictions across the country. In addition to these ongoing limitations, consumer confidence in restaurant dining is still rebounding after a year and a half of “stay at home” messages from political leaders and health officials.

Working together with Restaurants Canada, the next federal government can help foodservice businesses continue playing an integral part of the social and economic fabric of our communities. Below are recommendations for measures in key areas where restaurants continue to require government support to successfully transition from survival to revival and keep feeding Canada’s COVID-19 recovery.

Restaurant Survival Support

As Canada’s hardest-hit industry, restaurants continue to need sector-specific support to survive the ongoing pandemic, including:

  • An exemption from the scheduled phase-out of the rent and wage subsidies for the highly affected foodservice sector, and an extension of these vital programs for restaurants until at least April 2022. This will be necessary, as Restaurants Canada survey data has consistently revealed that restaurant operators expect they’ll need at least a year to return to profitability once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
  • The option for any restaurants eligible for the wage subsidy to be able to apply for added funding through the Canada Recovery Hiring Program, so that they can hire new workers in addition to keeping the ones they already have on payroll.
  • Partial forgiveness for all government-backed loans. Currently loan forgiveness is only available through the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). Restaurants Canada would like to see this as well for the Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) and any other loan program that the government introduces to help businesses recover from the pandemic.
  • Tax credits to defray the exorbitant costs incurred from COVID-19 health and safety expenditures.

Restaurant Relaunch Measures

To rebuild public confidence in dining out and help the hard-hit foodservice sector return to pre-pandemic levels of operations, restaurants need the following forms of support from the federal government:

  • An expansion of the current “meals and expenses” business tax credit from 50% to its original 100%.
  • A national dining rebate program allowing Canadians to save 50% when they eat at restaurants, as well as a culinary tourism incentive encouraging Canadians to support local foodservice businesses while travelling across the country.

Labour Development

To help the restaurant sector overcome pre-existing labour shortages exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, a National Foodservice Labour Development Strategy is needed, including measures such as:

  • Support for the expansion of impactful labour pilot programs, such as the Atlantic Immigration Program and Alberta Foodservice Labour Connections.
  • An increase in federal funding to ensure efficient and effective processing of immigration applications by reducing wait times, administrative burdens, and increasing information-sharing between sponsors.
  • An extension of work visas for a full year and suspension of fees until 2022.
  • The addition of a foodservice stream into the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) to address seasonal and long-term labour shortages, as well as a redesign of the national occupational classification structure to broaden the categories of positions that foodservice employers can use the TFWP to help fill, as well as a lower administrative burden on small businesses who use the TFWP.

A "Do No Harm" Approach to Taxes & Red Tape

To create the best possible conditions for recovery after 17+ months of either losing money or barely breaking even, foodservice operations need government to take a “do no harm” approach with taxes and regulations, including:

  • A whole-of-society approach to single-use items, built on evidence-based policies and consistent standards across jurisdictions.
  • A freeze on any further excise duty increases on beer, wine or spirits.
  • A cap on credit/debit card interchange fees and the removal of merchant fees from the tax portion of restaurant bills.
  • Indexation of the passive investment income threshold to support restaurateurs making investments to safeguard or grow their operations.

In 2018, with a 40 year lease about to expire, Daniel Frankel, a successful local restaurateur, purchased the historic
Bridges Restaurant, making it one of the most storied multi-generational restaurants in the city. As he continued to
run it under the Bridges banner, Daniel planned the restaurant’s next era and this fall, that transformation will

“Bridges is a very special place for me; as such, I’m emotionally invested in transforming this space into something
very important and meaningful,” says Daniel. “I am part of its history, and now I look forward to being part of its

What won’t change - That view, that patio, that yellow building!

What will change - A fresh new space that celebrates a new generation for this iconic location, a commitment to
excellence from one of Vancouver’s most successful restaurateurs, and a fun, lively atmosphere drawing a new era
of diners to Granville Island.

Upstairs, once a formal dining room home to weddings, romantic dinners, and epic Mother’s Day brunches.
Downstairs, once a pub made famous by the infamous Delilah, Vancouver’s first celebrity bartender, who went on
to create her own restaurant legacy. Both will be transformed.

The interior will be taken down to its studs, with the walls and kitchens moved. It will be designed with local
materials, crafted by local artists, and reclaimed industrial materials that celebrate the legacy of Granville Island.
Frankel plans to honour the restaurant’s past, while modernizing all aspects of the business and staying true to his
restaurant philosophy of supporting and celebrating local, environmental stewardship, and investing in its people.

Bridges’ legacy, and Tap & Barrel’s philosophy, will merge into what will be known as Tap & Barrel Bridges. This
will also be the flagship location and Test Kitchen for the company’s culinary development program.

Guests will have until September 26, 2021 to dine at Bridges in its current format, with construction starting in
early October.


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