Industry news round-up: April 28, 2014

bar pepito sherryOur weekly round-up of industry news, for April 22 to 28, 2014

Bars sign up for Sherry Week
Bars and restaurants in the UK are signing up to take part in International Sherry Week, celebrating the Spanish wine with cocktails, food and flamenco. Organised by a team of sherry educators, it will run from June 2 to 8, featuring events across the UK and the rest of the world. To take part, bars and restaurants need to register for free at Currently, nearly 100 events have been registered in 13 countries, including the UK.
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Britvic revamps soft drinks dispense
Britvic Soft Drinks is revamping its draught offering to enhance sales and the customer experience of soft drinks in the on-trade. It includes a new seven-litre syrup box to maintain product quality, new flow control technology, staff training and promotional materials. New glassware for Pepsi features a design that reveals exclusive content if scanned with a mobile phone using the Blippar “augmented reality” app.
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M&B to add more sites for All Bar One
Mitchells & Butlers is to open two new All Bar One bars in London this summer. A 380 sq m site, with 200 covers, at office and retail development 62 Buckingham Gate in Victoria will include covered terrace seating as well as a tasting and mixology table where customers can book cocktail master classes or enjoy a wine tasting. In July, it will open a 1,283 sq m All Bar One at The O2 in London’s Docklands (pictured), set across three floors with 400 covers and a DJ booth and dance floor.
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Jose Cuervo transforms hotel bar terrace
Jose Cuervo tequila has teamed up with a London hotel bar to transform its rooftop terrace into Cuervo’s Cantina for the summer. The rooftop terrace at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel London at Tower Hill will be transformed from May 2, offering bespoke Jose Cuervo cocktails alongside Mexican food.
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UK launch for premium Chinese spirit
Kweichow Maotaizhen, a premium expression of Chinese spirit baijiu, has been introduced to the UK through spirits specialist Mangrove. Using methods similar to whisky making, it is made by distilling malted sorghum, a gluten-free cereal grain. Ageing takes place in large earthenware pots, which means it remains a clear white spirit. Aimed mainly at Chinese restaurants and consumers, it comes aged as three years, five years and nine years, with ABV of 53%.
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Left Coast adds to Californian beer range
Canned beers from Uncommon Brewers have been added to the growing Californian craft portfolio of UK importer Left Coast Distribution. The brewer’s 473ml cans of Golden State Ale, Baltic Porter and Siamese Twin bring the number of Golden State beers in Left Coast’s range to 22.
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Launch for English grape-based gin
The first-ever gin made in England using a neutral spirit distilled from grapes is being introduced by Christopher Tetley and Dr Celia Beaumont‐Hutchings from Chilgrove in West Sussex. Working with master distiller Charles Maxwell at Thames Distillers, they plan to launch the super-premium Chilgrove Dry Gin on World Gin Day on June 14. With an ABV of 44%, it is made with 11 botanicals.
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Cherry blossom takes over London bar
London bar and restaurant Sake No Hana is celebrating spring and the Japanese cherry blossom season with a pop-up garden. The bar in St James’s Street has been transformed into Sakura at Sake No Hana until May 19, with a spectacular display of pink cherry blossom filling the space from floor to ceiling. It is also offering a limited-edition list of cherry blossom sake cocktails.
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French Riviera inspires rooftop bar
The bar and outdoor terrace at Coq d’Argent in the City of London is being transformed into a luxurious retreat called Yacht d’Argent, evoking the lavish super-yachts moored along the French Riviera. Taking residency from the beginning of May to September, it will focus on champagne, with a champagne cocktail list created by bar manager Pawel Rolka.
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Scots brewer relaunched as Black Wolf
Traditional Scottish Ales (TSA) is being relaunched this week as Black Wolf Brewery alongside a new range of craft beers in bottle, keg and cask. TSA, which has been operating for seven years in Stirlingshire, has been rebranded by owner VC2 Brands after expansion of its management team with the addition of director and investor Andrew Richardson, previously at Courage, McVitie’s and Diageo. New beers include elderflower-flavoured wheat beer Tundra, stout Florida Black, and red beer Big Red as well as Coulls, a premium lager, in bottle and keg.
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Savoy cocktail on sale at Selfridges
A bottled Manhattan cocktail created by Erik Lorincz from the American bar at London’s Savoy is to go on sale exclusively at Selfridges. Originally launched last year for sale only at The Savoy, the final 20 bottles of The Manhattan in The Savoy Collection will be available to buy at the London store on May 22.
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Leading operator adopts WorldHost training
All 32,000 front-line staff at JD Wetherspoon’s pubs and bars are to be trained in customer service using the same programme used at the London Olympic Games. The WorldHost training programmes have been developed with People 1st Training Company.
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Cellar Trends raises funds to fight cancer
The whole team at drinks distributor Cellar Trends has swung into action with a year-long fund-raising campaign after one of its sales managers, Leanne Kidd, was diagnosed with a very rare lymphoma cancer. Through a range of activities, they are raising funds for Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.
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Industry showcase Hotelympia opens
The latest ideas and products in the hospitality industry are being brought together under one roof at this year’s Hotelympia in London which opens today (April 28) and runs to May 1. Taking place at Excel in Docklands, Hotelympia will be less affected by this week’s 48-hour Tube strike as the Docklands Light Railway and London Overground are running as normal.
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Minister to address ALMR event
The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has announced that High Streets Minister Brandon Lewis is to talk at its Spring Business Conference on April 29. ALMR strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls said: “We are delighted that the minister will be joining us at the forthcoming Spring Conference to discuss the health of the high street and the contributions being made by licensed retail. It will be fascinating and informative to hear more about the challenges and opportunities before the industry from a prominent member of Government.”

Positive outlook for English wine maker
English wine and beer producer Chapel Down has reported a 4% rise in sales year on year, reflecting a 10% increase in the selling price for its wines and a 119% increase in sales of its Curious beers. However, a 24% fall in the volume of wine available for sale after low-yielding harvests in 2011 and 2012 meant that pre-tax profit for the year to December 31 dropped from £414,000 to £68,000. Chief executive Frazer Thompson added that “2013 gave us a bumper crop – our highest ever – which will enable us to replenish our stocks and gradually fulfil growing demand for our wines”.

Stonegate refurbishes Huddersfield bar
Stonegate Pub Company has completed a £250,000 refurbishment of The Warehouse in Huddersfield, aimed at students. Features include a wide choice of the latest in craft beers, super-fast broadband connections, interactive digital entertainment and a coffee shop-style grab-and-go counter serving tea, coffee and snacks from 8am to eat in or take away. It reopens on Thursday (May 1).

Brewer and bar operator opens bottle shop
Scottish brewer and bar operator BrewDog has opened BottleDog, its first craft beer bottle shop, in Grays Inn Road, London – the first in a series of bottle shops it plans to open in 2014. Stocking over 250 different beers, it will host four beers on tap for customers to take away in flasks, known as growlers. Similar to BrewDog’s 16 bars, BottleDog will host the brewery’s Beer School, tasting sessions and Meet the Brewer events as well as homebrew classes.

Sales rise globally for Brockmans
Brockmans Gin has increased its sales worldwide by 30% in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same period last year. With Spain and the UK continuing to be strong, the British brand launched into the US earlier this year.

Trade urged to support Hospitality Action Week
Hospitality Action is calling on the entire industry to join together in aid of its annual fundraising event Hospitality Action Week, taking place on May 12 to 18. The money will go towards helping some of the most vulnerable members of the hospitality industry. It has produced a fundraising pack full of ideas for bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs, available by emailing More at

The O2 links with Pernod Ricard
Wine and spirits company Pernod Ricard UK has signed a three-year contract with The O2, the music and entertainment venue in London Docklands – the first time The O2 has joined forces with one exclusive spirits partner. The O2 will offer spirits including Chivas Regal, Jameson, Malibu, Martell, Beefeater and Absolut at all of the bars in the venue. Certain brands will be showcased to coincide with key events to maximise visibility to target consumers.

Record marketing investment for Savanna
South African cider brand Savanna has announced a record investment in marketing support for 2014, including national radio advertising, an experiential campaign and an extensive presence at festivals, events and comedy shows. It kicks off next month, with advertising to coincide with rugby tournament the Marriott London Sevens series in May.

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