Industry news round-up: September 25, 2014


merchant hotel belfast

Our regular round-up of industry news, for September 22 to 25, 2014

Belfast hotel bar wins AA Spirit Award
The Merchant Hotel in Belfast has won an award from The AA for its cocktail bar (pictured). The AA Spirit Award, sponsored by The Balvenie whisky, was given to the hotel in recognition of the skills of its bar staff, their service standards and the quality of recruitment and training. The award, introduced this year, was one of 24 announced at the AA Hospitality Awards ceremony in London.
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Glenfiddich seeks Malt Mastermind
Scotch single malt whisky brand Glenfiddich has launched its Malt Mastermind competition for the fifth year, calling on bartenders to demonstrate their flair and creativity with a signature serve. They can use Glenfiddich 14 Year Old Rich Oak, 15 Year Old or 15 Year Old Distillery Edition. The final will see 12 finalists compete for a prize of £1,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the distillery to sample rare expressions and gain access to parts of the distillery not open to the public.
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Relaunch for rose petal liqueur
Lanique, the unique liqueur made with the oil from rose petals, is set for a revival in the UK after being added to the portfolio of leading distributor Love Drinks. It is being launched in the UK on behalf of entrepreneur Lawrence Huggler who owns hotels and Bohemia Bar & Restaurant in Jersey. He has redesigned the bottle and label to reflect the history and quality of the drink that dates back over 200 years.
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Tweets rewarded as part of loyalty scheme
Stonegate Pub Company has launched a new loyalty scheme that rewards people with points for tweeting about its bars and pubs. The “MORE” scheme, which is being rolled out across over 50 of Stonegate’s businesses, offers 10 points for every £1 spent on food or drink and can be redeemed at the bar when 200 points have been reached, equating to £2 to spend. Customers who sign up are rewarded with 100 points for registering, a further 50 points for providing their Twitter handle and five points for each tweet.
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Revolution bars rebranded as Rift & Co
Bars formerly operated as Revolution and Revoluciòn de Cuba have been converted to a new brand called Rift & Co. The New Inventive Bar Company has placed the 12 sites into a subsidiary called Nightjar Bars, formed to manage bars that do not commercially benefit or fit with the two brands. Rift & Co is to “enable the implementation of tailor-made local operating formats and solutions in order to achieve the best commercial results for these locations”.
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Cellar Trends adds new premium spirits
The Jefferson’s Presidential Selection range of bourbons is to be further developed in the UK after becoming part of the portfolio of leading drinks company Cellar Trends. It will distribute the premium and super-premium whiskeys to top-end bars, restaurants and hotels throughout the UK. It follows Cellar Trends’ appointment to distribute the spirits brands of Spain’s Gonzalez Byass, including The London No 1 gin and the new Nomad Outland Whisky.
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New look for cava brand
Leading Spanish sparkling wine brand Freixenet is revamping the pack design of its Cordon range to reflect the cavas’ quality, heritage and style. Starting with the flagship Cordon Negro bottle this month, it features a fresh, sleek look, with a sharper brand logo and bold neck design. The new design will be supported by a global campaign under the banner of “Be Freixenet”, including a £1million marketing activation plan in the UK.
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Pistonhead lager extended to draught
Pistonhead Kustom Lager is to be available on draught in the UK after the successful launch of its 330ml cans and bottles. Through distributor Proof Drinks, it will be sold on draught exclusively in only 50 venues in the UK which will each receive a limited-edition “Hot Rod & Skull” font.
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Manchester bar hosts spirits showcase
A showcase of spirits and liqueurs is to take over Manchester bar Elixir Tonics & Treats as part of the Manchester Food & Drink Festival this weekend. The Liquor Market will feature stalls of leading and boutique brands such as City of London Dry Gin, the Italian range of Cocchi vermouths, Colorado newcomer Tincup whiskey and the Mexican styles of El Ron Prohibido rum.
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Days of disco inspire bar’s new cocktails
Novikov Lounge Bar in London’s Mayfair is taking a trip back to the days of disco with its new cocktail menu. The showpiece is the funky Don’t Stop ‘til You Get Enough which is served in a large glittering disco ball punch bowl, designed to share with six to eight people.
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Absolut celebrates Andy Warhol with bottle

A new limited-edition bottle is to be introduced for Absolut vodka as part of a celebration of pop artist Andy Warhol. It takes one of Warhol’s pictures of an Absolut bottle from the 1980s and places it over the shape of the bottle itself. It is at the heart of a multimedia campaign for the premium vodka inspired by the artist which will be a platform for the brand over the next 12 months.
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Pringles targets on-trade via digital posters
Kellogg’s is turning its focus to growing distribution and sales for Pringles snacks in the on-trade by launching a point-of-sale campaign using digital posters. It is partnering digital poster specialist D-Media to run advertising in bars and pubs until the end of the year, tapping into the technology’s real-time 3G capabilities to run timely promotional offers. It will feature Pringles’ 40g core flavours: Original, Sour Cream & Chive, and Salt & Vinegar.
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Nottingham celebrates Purple Flag status
A week of activities is planned in Nottingham to celebrate its retention of Purple Flag City status for having a vibrant and successful night-time environment. To tie in with the nationwide Purple Flag Week from September 27 to October 5, the whole of the city’s Council House will be lit up in purple throughout the eight days.
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New outpost for London cocktail bar
The Looking Glass Cocktail Club in east London has announced that it is to branch out to a new site in the capital. It will have its own bar in Ted’s Grooming Room, the new men’s salon opening in Berwick Street, Soho, on Friday (September 26). It follows the success of a cocktail bar in Ted’s Grooming Room in Great Queen Street, Covent Garden.

New sales director for family brewer
Lincolnshire family brewer Batemans has appointed Andy Edwards as its new sales director. He brings over 18 years of experience in the beer industry having previously worked for businesses including SABMiller, Molson Coors and Heineken across sales marketing and purchasing roles. He will focus on maximising sales of Batemans’ own beers in the national and free-trade areas.

Pubco offers tenants unique beers
Tenanted pub company Admiral Taverns is to roll out an exclusive scheme to provide each of its licensees with a cask beer unique to their pub. It has teamed up with national brewer Marston’s for the “Brewed for You” scheme which offers a uniquely-presented beer, with a personalised bespoke pump-clip that relates to the pub.

Supplier appoints to wine buying team
On-trade drinks supplier Matthew Clark has appointed Judith Nicholson as its new assistant wine buyer. She will help expand and develop the on-trade wine portfolio which represents over 1,300 wines including over 200 new lines. She was previously a buyer at Averys in Bristol.

New burst for Keith Lemon Hooch ads
Global Brands has launched a new phase of TV ads for its “OOOCH” campaign for Hooch with comedy character Keith Lemon. Airing this week, it will build on the success of the first wave of advertising which reached an estimated 17.5million consumers. The TV ads have also driven engagement on social media by over 2,000%, reaching 7.7million people across channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.


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