Industry news round-up: April 22, 2013

Fat Cat DerbyOur weekly round-up of industry news, for April 15 to 22, 2013

Fat Cat Café Bar package put up for sale
The owners of Fat Cat Café Bars have put six of their sites up for sale, including the option to buy the name and continue roll-out. Colliers International has been instructed to dispose of the bars in city and town centre locations in Nottingham, Leicester, Derby (pictured), Bangor, Bow in east London and Frodsham in Cheshire. It includes one freehold and four free-of-tie leasehold properties. Ross Kirton, director of Colliers, said: “The Fat Cat brand has been established since the early 1990s and the sale offers the opportunity for either a roll-out of the brand or possibly conversion to other mid-market food and drink concepts.”

ALMR launches late-night awards
Nominations are being sought for new awards for the UK’s late-night bar and club sector, organised by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR). The “Dusk ‘Til Dawn” awards event will take place at the Café de Paris in London on June 30. It follows the ALMR merging with BEDA, formerly Noctis, the trade body for the late-night sector, last year. Categories include most imaginative drinks list, service standards and staff development, entertainment, marketing and food. The deadline for nominations is May 3. Visit to nominate. For places at the event, email or call 020 8579 2080. Click here for more at

Drake & Morgan sold in management buy-out
London bar chain Drake & Morgan has changed hands in a £30million management buy-out led by founder Jillian Maclean. Private-equity company Imbiba has sold its investment in the group in a deal backed by UK private equity firm Bowmark Capital. Launched in 2008, Drake & Morgan operates five sites with two more under development.

Beefeater to launch new ultra-premium gin
Beefeater is to launch Beefeater Burrough’s Reserve, a hand-crafted, ultra-premium gin combining its heritage with modern innovation. Bottled at 43 per cent ABV, it will be available in selected bars across London and in prestige off-trade retailers in the UK from June. Only a limited amount will be released annually, presented in a distinctive glass bottle embossed with botanical shapes. Produced by master distiller Desmond Payne, it uses the original Beefeater recipe refined by Beefeater’s founder James Burrough in the 1860s. It is made in Burrough’s original 19th-century copper still and then rested in Jean de Lillet oak barrels. Click here for more at

Management buy-out at D&D London
Restaurant and bar operator D&D London has been bought by private equity business LDC, part of Lloyds Bank, to support a management buy-out. In a deal worth £50million, LDC has bought a controlling stake from founder Sir Terence Conran and private equity house Caird Capital. The business, with 32 bars and restaurants and a hotel, will continue to be run by directors Des Gunewardena and David Loewi.

Blackberry and elderflower variant from Pimm’s
The Pimm’s brand is to be extended this summer with a vodka-based variant blended with blackberry and elderflower. The launch of special-edition Pimm’s Blackberry and Elderflower will be supported by a marketing campaign including print advertising, digital, social media and point-of-sale materials. Click here for more at

VK adds larger format for RTD
Changing drinking habits have prompted Global Brands to launch its ready-to-drink (RTD) brand VK in a new 500ml format. Calling it “The Big Blue”, the drinks company has developed the larger version of the 275ml VK Blue for drinking over ice in a pint glass and as an ingredient in sharing serves as well as traditionally straight from the bottle. Click here for more at

Bartenders team up with Midori for new serves
Midori melon liqueur has teamed up with leading London bartenders Amit Sood of Shaker & Co and Marian Beke of Nightjar to create a series of seasonal serves. The collaboration is the first of its kind for Midori and continues the brand’s initiative to promote the versatility of the liqueur to mixologists across Europe. Amit and Marian have designed a selection of serves that use traditional and exotic ingredients to curate a cocktail collection for all seasons and varied levels of expertise. They range from the simple Midori Summer Spritz to the complex and theatrical Japanese Swizzle. Click here for more at

Wells & Young’s unveils new McEwan’s Red
Brewer Wells & Young’s is investing behind its Scottish ale brand McEwan’s with the launch of McEwan’s Red. Brewed in Edinburgh at an ABV of 3.6 per cent, the new beer is naturally red in colour through its malted barley and delivers a lightly hoppy and smooth taste. It is supported by a modern chrome font with illuminated badge, a full range of point-of-sale materials and a TV and print campaign.

Weather contributes to industry-wide sales decline
Snow and freezing temperatures across Britain in March contributed to a three per cent fall in collective like-for-like sales for the country’s pub, bar and restaurant groups, according to the latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker. Total sales, which include the impact of new site openings, were flat, registering a 0.2 per cent decrease.

Stella Artois promotes pouring ritual
A series of activities and incentives are to be run throughout 2013 to promote the Stella Artois pouring ritual in the on-trade. It will highlight the value of using the Stella Artois Chalice, which increases consumers’ willingness to pay more by 67 per cent and increases their perception of high quality by 20 per cent. Selected outlets will be invited to join the Stella Artois Connoisseurs programme, recognising commitment to quality, ranging from drinks selection through to high standards of customer service and bar staff training. Bars will also receive Stella Artois skimmers, cups and drip trays. Click here for more at

Cocktail cone vessels from WKD
WKD is introducing an impactful on-trade serve: traffic cone-shaped cocktail pitchers. Tens of thousands of the bright orange and white 30cm high WKD Cocktail Cones will be provided to bars and pubs this summer. With a two-pint capacity plus plenty of room for ice, the cones have a hinged lid plus a handle for pouring – and they are dishwasher safe. Point-of-sale support will include banners, bar-runners, table-talkers, posters and hanging mobiles plus roadworks-style hazard tape to mark out “Cone Zones”. WKD owner SHS Drinks has also developed a range of cone-themed cocktail recipes. Click here for more at

JW Lees launches Manchester Pale Ale
Manchester brewer JW Lees has launched the latest edition to its portfolio, MPA (Manchester Pale Ale). Aimed at men aged 30 to 50, it is inspired by Manchester, its pioneering spirit and alternative culture. Last week’s launch at JW Lees’ Rain Bar in Manchester had ex-Happy Mondays legend Bez as DJ and BBC presenter Mark Radcliffe hosting a quiz about Manchester. MPA uses a balance of Liberty and Mount Hood hops with British pale ale malt, which results in a beer style that is refreshing with zesty and fruity hop flavours and golden colour. Its ABV is 3.7 per cent ABV on draught and 4.1 per cent in 500ml bottles.

US craft brewer to launch in UK
American craft brewery Founders Brewing Co of Grand Rapids, Michigan, is to expand distribution to the UK, working in partnership with speciality beer importer James Clay. Both year-round and seasonal beers will be available in bottle immediately, with draught expected to follow later in the year. They include Founders Brewing Company’s All Day IPA with an ABV of 4.7 per cent, the Porter (6.5 per cent), Pale Ale (5.4 per cent), a more traditional Centennial IPA (7.2 per cent) and the smooth Scotch Ale, Dirty Bastard (8.5 per cent).

Vestal Vodka pops up with cocktails
A pop-up bar featuring cocktails with Vestal Vodka will be at this year’s Sundance London film festival from April 25 to 28 at the O2. The Polish vodka range will also be featured in the Vestal Voyages, a cocktail tasting for consumers on board a boat on the Regent’s Canal from King’s Cross to Islington. For details of the Vestal Voyages, email or follow @vestalvoyages on Twitter.

Sociability at heart of Magners campaign
Magners GB has launched a new marketing campaign for 2013 called Now Is A Good Time, aimed at bringing to life “the sociability and spontaneity at the heart of the brand” through a series of TV adverts, outdoor advertising, PR and digital activity during 2013. The multimillion-pound campaign starts with a TV ad which can be viewed at YouTube.

Kingfisher switches brewing to Heineken
Kingfisher Beer Europe (KBE) has announced that Heineken will brew Kingfisher Beer in the UK on its behalf. Heineken will also handle sales and distribution to selected national off-trade retail customers but KBE will continue to take responsibility for overall brand strategy and development for the beer, marketing and promotion and support for its own directly supplied trade customers in the UK. Heineken will also make packaged Kingfisher Beer available to its Star Pubs and Bars customers. The new arrangements come into effect in October when KBE’s current UK agreement with Shepherd Neame ends.

Sales boost Jägermeister into top three spirits
German herbal liqueur Jägermeister has leapt from seventh to third best-selling spirit brand in the UK on-trade, according to the latest figures from CGA. Already the number-one speciality spirit in the UK, it has entered the top three best-selling spirits brands for the first time with growth of 16.1 per cent. It follows Jägermeister moving up from eighth to seventh place in Impact’s Top 100 list of global brands.

Britons continue to drink more bottled water
British bottled water has enjoyed another year of growth, with the UK market in 2012 worth £1.6billion, according to trade association British Bottled Water Producers. This compares with £1.5billion the previous year. The data, provided by research experts Zenith International, reveals that average annual per capita consumption of water in the UK is 34 litres compared to 67 litres in the US. Natural mineral waters account for 62 per cent of the UK market and spring water 31 per cent. Still water accounts for 86 per cent of water sold compared to sparkling.

Faucet Inn chooses Warsteiner in new deal
Warsteiner is expanding its distribution in premium on-trade venues after securing a deal with pub and bar operator Faucet Inn to become the exclusive draught German lager in nine key outlets around the south-east. Gordon Dow, area manager for Warsteiner in the UK and Ireland, said: “The company’s eclectic, stylish venues, which range from modern, beautifully designed bars to boutique hotels, are an excellent fit for Warsteiner given our ‘modern class’ positioning.”

UK bartender prepares for Bacardi Legacy final
Chris Moore of the Beaufort Bar at London’s Savoy Hotel will be competing against 18 other bartenders from around the world at the global final of the Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition in Puerto Rico on Thursday (April 25). He won the UK & Ireland final with his cocktail, The Encantador, in February. Judges will include Salvatore Calabrese of Salvatore at Playboy in London, Alex Kratena of the Artesian bar at The Langham Hotel, London, and Joerg Meyer of Le Lion – Bar de Paris and The Boilerman Bar in Hamburg. Click here for our original report on Bacardi Legacy at

Salvatore at Playboy celebrate 007 anniversary
Salvatore Calabrese and his team at the Playboy Club in London have created a cocktail to mark the 60th anniversary of Ian Fleming’s first James Bond thriller, Casino Royale. The Double Agent is a twist on the classic Vesper Martini, the cocktail invented by Bond in the novel. Alongside the classic ingredients of Gordon’s Gin, Russian vodka and Lillet, they have introduced fresh raspberries and a splash of tonic to emphasise the original quinine flavour of Kina Lillet, the aperitif wine that features in Bond’s original Vesper Martini and disappeared in the mid-1980s. Click here for more at

Jason Atherton supports Hospitality Action
Chef Jason Atherton raised £29,000 for industry charity Hospitality Action with an exclusive fundraising dinner at his new London restaurant Social Eating House which is also home to the Blind Pig bar. The event, which was a preview of the Soho restaurant, saw Atherton and head chef Paul Hood prepare a five-course fine dining menu.

Dambusters charity campaign at Thwaites
To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Dambusters raid this May, brewer Thwaites has launched its “Give a Damn” campaign. It will donate 5p from every pint of its Lancaster Bomber bitter sold on the anniversary to charity Leonard Cheshire Disability as part of a 12-month partnership.

Sommeliers made VIPs at LIWF
The London International Wine Fair will be treating 200 top UK sommeliers as VIPs at the show at London ExCel in May. It is aimed at master sommeliers, those working at Michelin-starred restaurants, as well as those identified as rising stars of the future. They will be given a pre-paid Oyster Card to help them travel to ExCeL, an invitation to Gerard Basset’s masterclass on “Sommelier competitions: Why? And how to win them”, an invitation to the exclusive Union des Grand Cru de Bordeaux 2010 tasting, and an invitation to the sommelier drinks reception which will take place in the MyWineFair Hub on May 20. Visit

Epos provider buys bar industry digital specialist
Leading UK epos provider Zonal has strengthened its offering of technology for hospitality outlets by acquiring digital technology marketing company TXD. TXD has a wide customer base from multinational pub companies to late-night bar and club operators, providing services such as mobile and email marketing and app development.

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