Industry news round-up: April 29, 2013

Fat Cat DerbyOur weekly round-up of industry news, for April 22 to 29, 2013

Fat Cat Café Bars placed in administration
Bar operator The Fat Cat Group has been placed into administration, blaming January’s snow and freezing conditions for causing cashflow problems. The group of companies, which date back to the first Fat Cat Café Bar in Bangor in 1992, was put in the hands of joint administrators Tyrone Courtman and Nicholas Edwards from business advisory firm Cooper Parry. They have closed all the bars except those in Bangor, Derby, Leicester and Bow in east London and a gastro-pub in Frodsham in Cheshire. Click here for more at

Boutique Bar Show heads to Manchester
Cocktail competitions and presentations by leading experts on cocktails and spirits are among the line-up of events at this year’s Boutique Bar Show in Manchester. The trade event at Manchester Town Hall on Wednesday (May 1) will showcase more than 100 spirits, liqueurs and beers from over 30 companies. Click here for more at or register at

Consumer cocktail events kick off in Manchester
Cocktails in the City, the consumer cocktail show, is expanding to Leeds and London in 2013 after its success in Manchester, Bristol and Edinburgh last year. It features top bars from each city along with spirits brands to allow people to learn about cocktail making, drinks and bars in their area. Visitors can upgrade to a “connoisseur’s pass” which includes private tutored tastings. It takes place at Manchester Town Hall on May 2, Leeds Town Hall on May 30, in The Passenger Sheds in Bristol on September 5, in Victoria House in Bloomsbury, London on September 26 and at Edinburgh’s Mansfield Traquair on November 7. Visit

Rekorderlig releases new flavour through Stonegate
Premium Swedish cider Rekorderlig has launched its latest flavour, Peach & Apricot, exclusively to the on-trade through Stonegate Pub Company from April. It builds on the range of flavours including Mango-Raspberry which was also initially launched exclusively through Stonegate’s bars and pubs with Chilli Marketing. Peach & Apricot was introduced exclusively to Tesco in the off-trade in 2012. In the past 12 months Rekorderlig has trebled in size, now holding 12 per cent value share of the packaged cider category.

UK sales of beer continue on-trade decline
Beer sales in the UK continue to decline, falling by 2.9 per cent in the first three months of this year, according to the British Beer & Pub Association’s quarterly Beer Barometer published today. The loss of sales was due to the pub sector, which was down 5.5 per cent, while the off-trade remained stable, rising by 0.1 per cent compared with the first quarter of 2012. BBPA chief executive Brigid Simmonds said: “The figures show the Chancellor was right to cut beer duty and abolish the escalator, given the huge tax rises in recent years. We would hope to see the benefits in second-quarter sales, where brewers, pubs and pub-goers will see beer tax rates at nearly seven per cent lower than they were due to be.”

UK bartenders win places in Sloane’s Gin final
Four bartenders have won places to join Sloane’s Gin on its annual trip to the Netherlands for the final of the “Inspired by Sloane’s” cocktail competition. Leon Dalloway from Cold Bar at City of London Distillery in the City of London and Daniel Cook from Southsider Cocktail Club in Battersea, London, won the London heats. Alex Jones from Almost Famous in Manchester and Michael Cameron from Guy’s Restaurant & Bar in Glasgow won the heats in Manchester and Edinburgh. As well as competing with each other, they will face bartenders from the Netherlands to win the €1,000 grand prize. Click here for more at

New food and drink menus at Missoula
A new food and drink menu has been launched for Missoula, the bars operated by Stonegate Pub Company. Dishes include a new hanging skewer and an enhanced small plate section for sharing. Seven new Margaritas have been added including Peach and Passionfruit, Honey and Lime and Frozen Coconut, served in a choice of vessels: Tommy, a short, stocky jam jar served on the rocks, or Rita, a stylish stemmed Margarita glass. Click here for more at

Talisker adds to core range with port matured whisky
A new whisky finished in port casks has been added to the core range of Talisker single malt Scotch whiskies from the Isle of Skye. It is called Talisker Port Ruighe – named after the principal port and town on Skye and inspired by the Scottish trading houses that distributed port. The new whisky combines the smoky maritime character of Talisker with spicy fruit notes from being finished in casks that previously held port wine. It is bottled at the traditional Talisker strength of 45.8 per cent ABV without an age statement.

Greene King “resilient” as sales grow
Like-for-like sales at Greene King’s managed pubs were up 2.2 per cent in the 51 weeks to April 21 alongside expansion of its retail estate. Food sales were up 3.1 per cent. In a trading update, the brewer and pub operator said the “resilient performance underpins further progress across all businesses”.

Finalists named in BII’s training award
The BII (British Institute of Innkeeping) has unveiled three finalists for the Jeremy Allen Award which recognises excellence in training and staff development in the licensed trade. It was launched last October with licensing law specialists Poppleston Allen in memory of the firm’s founding partner who died in 2011. The finalists are: Cheryl Hickman, owner of the Olde Bull Inn, Barton Mills, Bury St Edmunds; Tom Manville, student union bar manager at the University of Winchester; and Carl Sautereau, head of customer services at club operator Luminar.

Nominations open for operations manager awards
This year’s Operations Manager Awards are now open for nominations, recognising the skills, enthusiasm and professionalism of operations managers at managed and tenanted bar and pub companies. Now in their 17th year, they are run by the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers. Nominations can be made at or using the form available by calling 020 8579 2080.

Pop-up bar for Brooklyn Brewery
Brooklyn Brewery will be creating a pop-up Brooklyn Dive Bar at Grillstock food and drink festivals this summer in Bristol and Manchester. The hipster bar will feature sticky floors, gritty interiors, neon, pinball machines and a vintage photobooth alongside American craft beers such as the brewery’s own Brooklyn Lager and Brooklyn Summer Ale, which is on draft for the first time in the UK. Grillstock is on Bristol’s Harbourside on May 11 and 12 and in Manchester’s Albert Square on June 8 and 9.

Growth for Pernod Ricard
Pernod Ricard’s premium spirits and liqueurs continue to drive growth, according to its results for the nine months to the end of March. Emerging markets and the US remain strong while Western Europe showed a slight improvement despite a “challenging” market. Overall, the group grew organically by four per cent over the period, with consolidated net sales up to €6,650million.

Winners published in International Whisky Competition
Kilchoman Machir Bay was named whisky of the year in the 2013 International Whisky Competition, picking up gold in the category. Penderyn Madeira won gold in the world whisky category while Hakushu 12 Year Old came top for Asian whisky. Top Irish whiskey was Bushmills 16 Year Old, best bourbon was Woodford Reserve Double Oaked and best scotch was Glenfarclas 25 Year Old. Full results at

New syrup range for hot chocolate
Chocolate producer Marimba World Chocolate has unveiled a new range of syrups created to complement its Hot Chocolate Melt range. Previewed at the London Coffee Festival last week, the syrups will be available from the autumn. The flavours are Chilli, Zesty Orange, Natural Mint, Salted Caramel, Hazelnut Praline and Cerisette Cherry, blended specifically for hot chocolate drinks and packaged in 500ml bottles.

Champions named in International Brewing Awards
The overall champions have been named in the International Brewing Awards 2013 for beer and cider. They include Bryggmästarens Premium Gold, Mirror Pond Pale Ale and Obsidian Stout from Deschutes Brewery, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Narwhal Imperial Stout from Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, Hells Lager from Camden Town Brewery, Northern Light from Thwaites, Samuel Adams Black & Brew, Green Devil IPA from Oakham Ales and Thatchers Vintage Cider. Click here for more at

Bar plans Chelsea Flower Show pop-up
The Botanist bar and restaurant in Chelsea, London, will create a pop-up bar in the centre of Sloane Square to tie in with this year’s RHS Chelsea Flower Show from May 22 to 25. The elegant Oyster and Joseph Perrier Champagne Bar in the Square will feature daily performances from a string quartet. It will be open from midday to 8pm every day. The Botanist is part of Ed and Tom Martin’s ETM Group.

The Glenlivet releases rare 17-year-old
A rare and collectible single cask whisky aged for 17 years in American white oak or “quercus alba” has been introduded for The Glenlivet. There are only 250 bottles of The Glenlivet Quercus which will be available in the UK from May 7 for £200 exclusively from The Whisky Shop.

Report names craft ale and chicken as biggest trends
Craft ale and chicken are two of the latest eating out trends, according to a survey of food and drink hospitality business leaders, conducted by Peach Factory on behalf of retail technology provider Omnico. Chicken was cited by 56 per cent as a hot trend, and craft ale by 51 per cent. Barbecue was named by 33 per cent and hot dogs by 25 per cent. The survey also found 32 per cent of respondents expected falling average customer spends compared to last year and 24 per cent anticipating a “slight increase”.

New shandies introduced by Caribbean brewery
One of the Caribbean’s biggest beer companies, the Carib Brewery, is expanding its drinks offering in the UK with the introduction of its popular Shandy Carib range. Made with lager and with an ABV of 1.2 per cent, it is being released in two variants – Ginger and Sorrel. They are distributed in the UK by Wanis.

New marketing investment for Sunmagic
Sunmagic, which produces a range of 100 per cent pure fruit juice, smoothies and juice drinks, is investing more than £1million behind its brand in 2013. The activity aims to further position Sunmagic “as a quality and innovative soft drinks brand which continues to attract a fast-growing consumer and trade following”. It will include a Love Sunmagic breakfast radio campaign with Global Radio’s 95.8 Capital FM.

Very rare whisky released from Karuizawa
Number One Drinks Co has launched Karuizawa 1960, Cask #5627, which is matured in a sherry oak hogshead and is the oldest in the Japanese distillery’s inventory. With an ABV of 53.2 per cent, only 41 bottles have been produced by Karuizawa. It is available from The Whisky Exchange at £12,500.

New look for Three Barrels
The UK’s leading brandy, Three Barrels, is being relaunched with a more modern and premium look across the range, including a new label shape with cleaner statements on both the brand and its French provenance. The refresh will be rolled out across all size variants over 2013. Distributor First Drinks has also gone live with a new microsite,, supported by a national advertising campaign marking a doubling of investment behind the brand this year.

Flavours at heart of new Bulmers campaign
Heineken is launching a new press, outdoor and digital campaign for Bulmers cider in May, showcasing the two new variants, Bulmers Cider Bold Black Cherry and Bulmers Cider Pressed Red Grape. It will be supported by a digital campaign, including social media, around the idea of consumers enjoying their weekend. On Facebook and Twitter, the #beginwithabulmers app and hashtag will allow people to share personal “good times that begin with a bottle of Bulmers”, with the chance to claim prizes.

Cornish brewer releases surf-inspired beer
Skinner’s Brewery is launching a new special-edition ale for the summer, named after a popular Cornish surfing break. Lushingtons will be available during May, June, July and August in pubs throughout Cornwall and Devon as well as nationally through wholesalers and pub companies. With an ABV of 4.2 per cent, the zingy, fruity pale ale uses three hops from the USA, including Belma which has not been used in the UK before.

Search for UK’s favourite cocktails
Glasswasher specialist Classeq has launched a survey to identify the favourite cocktails across the UK. Using a simple questionnaire, it suggests cocktails such as a Mojito, Singapore Sling and Cosmopolitan. Vote at

Campaign for Foster’s Radler stepped up
Heineken is investing in a marketing campaign for Foster’s Radler, its new lager cut with cloudy lemon, including TV, print and outdoor media. The campaign creative focuses on refreshment and will run alongside a product sampling campaign targeted at more than 500,000 consumers. Gayle Harrison, brand director for Foster’s, said: “Within just a few weeks of its launch, sales of Foster’s Radler topped the 3million-bottle mark, and the decision to bring forward plans for TV support recognises the exciting potential of Foster’s Radler to bring new consumers to the mainstream lager category.”


Win tickets to JD Roots Homecoming Gigs
Returning for its second year, JD Roots celebrates the importance of where you’re from, by bringing some of the biggest names in UK indie music back to their hometowns in a series of one-off gigs – and you could be there! On May 16, Miles Kane will headline a show at The Zanzibar, Liverpool, and we have a pair of tickets to give away. Click here for more details and for entry details.

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