Industry news round-up: April 15, 2013

David McHattieOur weekly round-up of industry news, for April 8 to 15, 2013

New CEO announced for ALMR
The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has announced that David McHattie (pictured) will take over as chief executive from Nick Bish, who established the trade body 22 years ago. McHatgtie most recently developed the Hospitality Benchmark brand and was previously chief executive of the National Skills Academy for Hospitality, now People 1st, and chief operating officer of People 1st. He previously held senior operations roles at The Restaurant Group, Fuller’s and Mitchells & Butlers. Bish will continue to work with the ALMR in a senior part-time capacity on its board. Click here for more at

New quality scheme for Guinness
Diageo GB is carrying out a new “Quality Accreditation” programme for Guinness, offering training and support for bars and pubs. “Diageo quality executives” will visit outlets to install the new font which was unveiled late last year and spend time providing training in how to pour a perfect pint of Guinness and running full quality checks on the pour and taste. Outlets will then be presented with a certified accreditation plaque for displaying in the bar and point-of-sale materials. Click here for more at

Best Bar None appoints national director
A national director, Simon Jackson, has been appointed to the board of the Best Bar None (BBN) scheme that promotes responsible management and operation of alcohol licensed premises in the night-time economy. Reporting to chief executive Tim Hulme, he will take up the post on May 1. He will work across BBN helping “to grow wider audiences and revenues by developing new platforms that deepen engagement and provide new opportunities to all partners, schemes, licensed trade and government”. Jackson, who was formerly a publican, a wholesaler and a local authority licensing officer, was most recently chief executive of InSwindon Business Improvement District (BID).

Rocket bars receive “takeover approach”
3Sixty Restaurants, which operates the Rocket bar and restaurant group, has received an “unsolicited takeover approach”, according to the Sunday Times. It reports that advisers have been hired to explore a sale of the company, which is chaired by Luke Johnson and run by chief executive James Horler. The company, which also includes Mediterranean restaurants Ego, is estimated to be worth more than £8million.

Belvedere lights up the night with bottle
A new illuminated design has been launched for magnum bottles of Belvedere Vodka to build on theatre around the brand in the club and late-night bar sector. Available for the on-trade from this month, the 175cl bottle comes with a single-use LED that is encased in waterproof plastic. Powered by a tiny battery, it can be switched on to fully light up the bottle. Click here for more at

National Apéritif Day planned for May
Maison Lillet, the French apéritif producer in Bordeaux, is to hold the UK’s first National Apéritif Day on May 16. Running at the same time in the US, the celebration is being run in the UK through Marblehead Brand Development, distributor of Lillet Rosé, Lillet Blanc and Lillet Rouge. Used in cocktails or served on ice with a slice of orange, it is commonly enjoyed as an apéritif during “l’heure de l’apéro”. Celebrations can be shared by posting photos and anecdotes on Lillet’s Facebook page at

Relaunch for Aspall craft lager
The Chevallier Brewing Company, part of cider maker Aspall, has relaunched its Suffolk Blonde lager as Outlier with plans for more brews in the future. It has devised a new logo, design and font badges for the draught beer, inspired by imagery from steampunk, the combination of science fiction and Victoriana. However, the liquid remains the same as when it was launched two years ago – a full-flavour dry-hopped lager made with Nelson Sauvin and Amarillo hops, with ABV of 5.2 per cent.

Mango joins Sourz core range
Maxxium UK is preparing to launch a summer campaign for its Sourz liqueur brand after adding Mango as a permanent flavour in the range. An investment of over £9million in the brand will include “Unforgettable Summerz with Sourz”, featuring media partnerships, sampling in the on-trade, bespoke trade support and other promotional activity still to be announced. Sourz Mango was introduced as a limited edition last year after the flavour was chosen by fans via Facebook.

Bramwell appoints first food marketing manager
The Bramwell Pub Company has appointed Tessa Crow to the newly created role of food marketing manager, responsible for the delivery of food sales and menu development for Bramwell’s 190 pubs. She joins from Mitchells & Butlers where she worked on brands including Miller & Carter, O’Neills and Sizzling Pubs. Bramwell launches its new spring/summer menu on Tuesday (April 16), which has an emphasis on snacking and sharing, a “Big Eat” section featuring generous poritions, and the introduction of new value-for-money offers.

Kilchoman releases first in new single malt range
Islay’s independent farm distillery Kilchoman has added a new range, Loch Gorm, to its single malt Scotch whisky collection. Named after the peaty loch near the distillery, the range will be the only sherry cask-matured release from Kilchoman. Only 10,000 bottles of the inaugural five-year-old bottling will be available worldwide. As with Kilchoman’s Machir Bay and 100% Islay ranges, a new bottling of Loch Gorm will be periodically released as the whisky matures, with each bottling differentiated by distillation and bottling years printed on the label. Loch Gorm is bottled at 46 per cent ABV.

Newcastle venue named region’s best
House of Smith in Newcastle upon Tyne has been named best late-night venue in the regional Benevolent Awards. The venue, operated by Apartment Group, opened six months ago in Collingwood Street. It beat other finalists Tup Tup Palace, Cosmic Ballroom, Digital, Riverside and Perdu.

Semi-finalists announced for Bols competition
Rusty Cerven of the Connaught Bar at London’s Connaught Hotel has been announced as the UK representative in the final stages of the Bols Around the World competition. He is one of 21 bartenders selected from entrants from 66 countries to take part in the semi-finals in Amsterdam on May 1. Twelve winners will then go on to compete in the grand final on May 7. Click here for more at

Ex Corney & Barrow Bars MD joins SSP
Lucy Knowles, the former managing director of Corney & Barrow Bars, is to join SSP UK which operates bars, restaurants and cafés in stations and airports. She will become chief marketing officer, responsible for developing brands such as Beer House, Grain Store, Upper Crust, Caffè Ritazza and Millie’s Cookies as well as franchised operations for M&S Simply Food, Starbucks and Burger King. She will join on May 20.

Finalists announced in licensee award
Industry body BII has announced the finalists for its 2013 Licensee of the Year award. After undergoing rigorous examination and demonstrating outstanding professionalism and passion for the industry, they will now face a nine-strong panel of judges, including leading figures in the pub industry. The finalists are: Dennis Forsyth from Cheers Café Bar and Tavern in Fraserburgh, Aberdeedshire; Steve Herbert from the The Old Spot Inn in Dursley, Gloucestershire; Cheryl Hickman of The Bull Inn at Barton Mills, Suffolk; Marc Jones from The Sportsman in Lower Kingswood, Surrey; Ashley and Kelly McCarthy from Ye Old Sun Inn at Colton, York and Annie Power from The Coal Hole in London’s West End. Sponsored by Britvic, the award will be announced on May 14 during the BII annual lunch at Grosvenor House, London.

More rums join Mangrove portfolio
Drinks company Mangrove has added the premium Elements 8 Rum range to its portfolio. Created by Carl Stephenson and Andreas Redlefsen, the rums combine craftsmanship with contemporary styling and include the super-premium all-natural-spiced Barrel Infused Spiced Rum. It follows Mangrove’s appointment to distribute Blackwell Fine Jamaican Rum, created by music impressario Chris Blackwell.

Keg and bottled range launched by Adnams
Suffolk brewer Adnams has launched Innovation, the first of its Jack Brand beers that have been developed for 30-litre kegs and 330ml bottles for venues with cellar limitations. Tapping into increased interest in craft beers, the range will include new flavours and limited editions. Adnams sales director Max Bond said: “We know Adnams beers are hugely successful in many pubs and bars throughout the country, but we also know that many venues simply don’t have the space for cask. The second Jack Brand beer will be launched in the summer with two more expected before the end of the year. Innovation uses Boadicea, Columbus and Styrian Goldings hops to create punchy grapefruit flavours and aromas of tropical fruits, backed up by wheat and Pale Ale malted barley which add spicy, biscuit flavours and a slight touch of sweetness.

Innis & Gunn to release bartender’s ale
British bartender David Ashton-Hyde has triumphed in an international competition to create a new beer with craft brewing company Innis & Gunn. His recipe for smoked beer infused with bourbon oak and maple syrup impressed the judges and will be released as a limited edition in September and October, exclusively for the on-trade in the UK, Canada and Sweden. Click here for more at

Taste surprise in Coke Zero ad
A new campaign for Coke Zero showcases the brand’s “Taste The Possibilities” message with an entertaining twist. The ad features a taste test experiment in a cinema where consumers who ordered a Coca-Cola were given their drink in the iconic red cup without knowing that it actually contained Coke Zero. The ad shows their reaction when the cinema’s bartender appears on the cinema screen to reveal the experiment. It is also viewable on YouTube and the Coke Zero website.

Milestone for drinks distributor
UK drinks distribution business Ooberstock has announced it has traded with its 1,000th independent free-trade customer nine months after launching. Supported by logistics giant KNDL, it takes orders via the web and telesales.

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