Industry news round-up: February 4, 2013

Amanda HumphreyOur weekly round-up of industry news from February 4, 2013

Mixologists join Maxxium training team
Drinks company Maxxium UK has announced the appointment of two highly regarded mixologists to its line-up of trainers at its training arm Mixxit. Amanda Humphrey (pictured) has worked for over 12 years at cocktail bars, most recently as bar manager at Paramount at London’s Centre Point and at private members club 5 Hertford Street in Mayfair. David Miles spent six years working at bars such as 57 Jermyn Street and has worked as a brands development manager at Maxxium UK since 2006. Click here for more.

Number of licensed trade failures falls
The overall number of businesses appointing administrators in the hotel and licensed sector fell by 35 per cent year on year in 2012, according to official statistics published by The Insolvency Service. Tony Wright, partner at Baker Tilly Restructuring and Recovery, commented: “Whilst we experienced the usual seasonal increase in administrations in the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to the third quarter of 2012, the decrease in administration numbers over the course of the full year indicates a recovery in the sector and resilience to the wider economic woes, with appointments at five-year lows.”

Cold snap hits M&B sales
Trading has slowed since the start of the new year as “consumers tighten their belts”, according to pub and bar operator Mitchells & Butlers. Like-for-like sales for the 17 weeks to January 26 were down 0.3 per cent although they had been up by one per cent in the first 14 weeks of the period. Food sales over the 17 weeks were up one per cent on a like-for-like basis, but drink sales were down 1.3 per cent.

New drive for Marie Brizard syrups
A new growth strategy for drinks company Marie Brizard in the UK is being supported by the appointment of Catalyst Brands to distribute its syrups in the on- and off-trade from this month. The range includes 12 flavours from the current French range plus new flavours such as White Chocolate, Dark Chocolate, Cinnamon and Gingerbread launching later in 2013. Click here for more.

New bar dedicated to Japanese whisky
A bar dedicated to Japanese whiskies and whisky cocktails has been opened in London by the team behind traditional Japanese grill restaurants Bincho. Called Mizuwari, which means “mixed with water”, it has been created in the basement of Bincho Soho. It was developed with support from whisky producer Suntory and mixologist Zoran Peric, brand ambassador for Suntory whiskies Hibiki, Hakushu and Yamazaki, but it features other brands such as Nikka, Ichiro, Hanyu and Karuizawa. Click here for more.

Call to nominate leaders in north’s hospitality
Nominations are being sought for the second annual NRB Top 50 awards, which are announced live at the Northern Restaurant & Bar (NRB) show every year. An online entry form is available at, with a deadline of this Thursday (February 7). The awards recognise 50 individuals from influential hospitality operators based in the north of England and are chosen by a panel of experts.

Bars at London hotel celebrate Bafta awards
The bars at Grosvenor House in London are serving up specially created cocktails to celebrate the hotel’s hosting of the Bafta Film Awards in February. Its bartenders have developed drinks inspired by the films nominated for awards. Grosvenor House is also hosting the after-party which will be run in association with liqueur brand Disaronno. The Disaronno team have created their own cocktail for the event, the Disaronno Bafta Originale. Click here for more.

Investment continues in Walkabout chain
Intertain is continuing a programme of major investment in its Walkabout bars with the relaunch of its Birmingham site after a £1million refurbishment. The Broad Street venue reopened last month after a full revamp of its main ground-floor bar, an upgraded sound and light system and the creation of three new bars on the ground floor to help speed of service and to support a new VIP area. Click here for more.

Year of events planned for Monkey Shoulder
A programme of events are planned for 2013 to promote Monkey Shoulder whisky and its mixability in cocktails. They include the return of the For One Night Only events which, in 2012, were held in locations around London and focused on different classic cocktails. This year’s schedule starts on March 21 with a ticketed event in a secret London venue for the Malt Jockey, a twist on a Manhattan created by Monkey Shoulder’s global brand ambassador Dean Callan, themed as “an evening at the races with a difference”. Click here for more.

New Czech-style dark lager from Meantime
Meantime Brewing Company in Greenwich has created its first limited-edition beer of 2013, the Bohemian Dark, inspired by the classic Czech “Cerne Lezak” black lagers. Available on draught at Meantime’s own bars, it will also be on tap at a select range of specialist craft pubs, bars and restaurants. With an ABV of 4.9 per cent, it is brewed with three roasted malts and Czech yeast, producing a mix of toasted and smoky aromas married with flavour profiles including bitter chocolate, coffee and dark raisins.

New event celebrates craft beer
A new consumer event dedicated to craft beer is being held in London on February 22 and 23, pairing it with music and street food. Craft Beer Rising will feature more than 150 craft beers from around the world as well as presentations by beer experts such as Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham on US craft beers and Melissa Cole and Alex Barlow on tasting beer. A trade-only session will be held during the daytime on February 22: visit to register and for more details.

Book reveals legendary bartender’s true story
New revelations were made about legendary bartender Harry Craddock as part of an industry celebration of the man who wrote The Savoy Cocktail Book. Normally believed to have been born in the US, he was actually born in Stroud in the Cotswolds in 1876, according to cocktail historians Jared Brown and Anistatia Miller. Researching their book The Deans of Drink, they discovered that Craddock was buried in west London rather than being cremated. His life was celebrated aT an event for leading UK-based bartenders organised by Chivas Brothers for Plymouth Gin. Click here for more.

Weak start to the year at Enterprise
Pub group Enterprise Inns has reported that like-for-like net income across its estate was down 4.4 per cent in the 17 weeks to January 26. It blamed “exceptional trading conditions” including the snow and the impact of the collapse of wholesaler Waverley. However, the company added that “like-for-like performance is expected to improve during the remainder of the year”.

Diageo reports global sales growth
Drinks giant Diageo has reported organic revenue growth of five per cent for the half year to the end of December alongside a one per cent increase in volume globally. Sales were up five per cent to £6.039billion while operating profit rose by nine per cent to £2.029billion. In the UK, net sales were flat but the GB business reports growth for brands such as Captain Morgan rum and Red Stripe beer.

Military charity supported by whisky maker
Glengoyne Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has presented £15,000 to military charity Help for Heroes. It was raised through two events staged in partnership with 1879 Events last year: the inaugural Glengoyne Auld Enemy Dinner at The Balmoral for the Calcutta Cup in February and the Glengoyne Auld Enemy Golf Day at Fairmont St Andrews in August. Ian Macleod Distillers, owners of the Glengoyne brand, also launched the Glengoyne Auld Enemy Dram, a limited-edition 1990 single cask last year, with proceeds from sales also supporting the charity.

Hotelympia plans new look and format
A new look and rebranding is to be unveiled for Hotelympia, the hospitality exhibition that is held every two years. It will run in a new four-day format from April 28 to May 1 in 2014 – later in the year than previously – at London’s ExCel centre. Details at

Prize draw for £30,000 worth of chips
Aviko Group is offering catering businesses a chance to win £30,000 worth of chips to celebrate National Chip Week from February 18 to 24. The promotion is for its “proper chips” brand Lord Chips. Visit to enter the free prize draw.

New ad launches for Kronenbourg 1664
Heineken has unveiled a new tongue-in-cheek TV campaign for its premium lager Kronenbourg 1664, which shows French football legend Eric Cantona revealing his boundless admiration for the “hero hop farmers of Alsace”. The opening ad in a multi-million-pound campaign breaks nationally today (February 4) and was filmed on location in the Alsace region of France where the beers’ Strisselspalt hops are produced.

Pubs ‘n’ Bars sites put on market
Twenty sites from the estate of bar and pub operator Pubs ‘n’ Bars are being brought to market by specialist property adviser Christie + Co on behalf of administrators at Grant Thornton UK. They comprise a mix of freeholds with vacant possession, long leaseholds, tenanted investment opportunities and managed houses. They are predominantly in south-east England, including four in London, but some are located in areas such as Loughborough and the Rhondda. They have a combined asking price of around £6.25million and are available as a portfolio, in clusters or as individual asset purchases. Pubs ‘n’ Bars went into administration in December 2009. Click here for a list of sites

New management at cider maker prepares for growth
Aston Manor Cider has appointed Gordon Johncox as managing director as part of a management restructuring that reflects recent growth and future investment plans. He was previously managing director at Magners GB before joining Aston Manor in 2011 as sales and marketing director. Former managing director Peter Ellis takes up the role of executive chairman, leaving the day-to-day operations to Gordon and his son James Ellis, who is financial director. Glen Friel has been promoted to sales and marketing director.

Later Tube trains welcomed by trade
Plans to run London Underground services later on Friday and Saturday nights from 2015 have been welcomed by the bar and club industry. Kate Nicholls, strategic affairs director of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, said: “This proposed change would provide a welcome boost for the night-time economy in London, providing safe and affordable transport home for our customers and staff later into the night.”

To receive our weekly e-newsletter every Monday in your in-box, sign up for free by filling in the fields in the bottom right-hand corner of this page.

Previous Monkey Shoulder reveals plans for 2013
Next Bodo's Schloss, London