Industry news round-up: April 8, 2013

Britvic Long Mixed DrinksOur weekly round-up of industry news for April 2 to 8, 2013

Soft drinks return to growth in UK on-trade
Soft drinks are back in growth in Britain’s pubs, bars and clubs, increasing by 1.5 per cent in value last year, according to the latest Britvic Soft Drinks Review. The category-wide report, based on independent Nielsen and CGA market data, revealed that sales in the on-trade rose to £2.7billion in terms of value last year after a value decline in 2011. Growth was attributed to the ongoing popularity of cola and positive performances of glucose stimulant drinks, flavoured carbonates and juice drinks. The annual report also revealed that total market sales were £9.9billion in 2012. Click here for more at

New operations director at Faucet Inn
Faucet Inn, which operates 21 bars and pubs, has appointed Richard Stringer as operations director. He has 20 years’ experience in the industry, including his most recent role of operations director at the Barracuda Group, now The Bramwell Pub Company, where he was responsible for 220 pubs and 3,500 staff. He was also director of retail at JD Wetherspoon in the last four years of a nine-year spell at the company until January 2002.

New look and less sugar for Midori
A sleek new contemporary bottle design has been unveiled for melon liqueur Midori alongside a reduction in its sugar content. The more premium look includes a frosted finish, a new matt-finish cap, a new neck label reading “Melon Liqueur” and an update to the “M” logo. The new look will be available for bars from April and for the off-trade by August. The sugar content has been reduced to appeal to health-conscious consumers but without impacting on its taste or versatility in cocktails. Click here for more at

Industry reports jump in sales over Easter
Like-for-like sales at bars, pubs and restaurants in the UK over the Easter weekend rose by an average of seven per cent compared to the same weekend last year, according to the Coffer Peach Business Tracker. The industry tracker, which collates data from 22 of the UK’s largest chains, also revealed that total sales, including the impact of new openings, were up by 10.4 per cent.

El Dorado issues twisted Swizzle challenge
Bartenders are being challenged to invent a twist on classic Swizzle drinks for a chance to win a trip to Guyana in the Caribbean with rum brand El Dorado. The annual Swizzle Competition, run by Love Drinks, requires them to mix the rum with “something sweet, something bitter, something sour and something non-alcoholic”. With a deadline of May 20, 12 entrants will compete in each of five regional heats over the summer, where they will need to show how they promoted their drink in their own bar. The competition and trip will be hosted by Stef Holt, El Dorado’s international brand ambassador. Click here for more at

Sales uplift for Luminar over Easter
The Luminar Group, which operates 56 nightclubs across the UK, has reported a 14 per cent uplift in like-for-like sales over the Easter weekend. This continued trading momentum builds on a successful Christmas which delivered 15.5 per cent year-on-year growth. Its brands include Oceana, Lava & Ignite and Liquid and it has been investing in major refits such as Cameo in Bournemouth. Click here for more at

Smoked beer wins international bartender challenge
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 will be released as a limited edition in September and October, exclusively for the on-trade in the UK, Canada and Sweden. David, who is beverage manager at Heston Blumenthal’s The Hinds Head in Bray, Berkshire, faced five other bartenders from Scotland, Sweden and Canada in the final of the Bartender’s Choice competition in Edinburgh. Click here for more at

Mint added to Luxardo Sambuca range
The Luxardo Sambuca range is being extended in the UK with the addition of Luxardo Sambuca with Mint in May. With ABV of 38 per cent, it has the intense flavour of a traditional sambuca but with an added burst of mint. It will be promoted by distributor Cellar Trends for drinking neat, as chilled shots and in simple long mixed drinks. Initially launching only in the on-trade, it is coming to the UK before other countries.

Racecourse group secures deal with Heineken
Cider and beer business Heineken has secured a four-year deal with The Arena Racing Company (ARC), the largest racecourse group in Britain. It will see ARC’s 15 courses provided with draught and packaged beers and cider including Heineken, Foster’s, Amstel, John Smith’s Extra Smooth, Strongbow and Bulmers. It will also see continued sponsorship of the John Smith’s Northumberland Plate, the John Smith’s Brighton Mile and the John Smith’s Summer Cup at Uttoxeter.

Club and bar operator appoints new director
Ignite Group, which operates London’s Eclipse bars and Boujis, has appointed Carlo Carello as director for business development. Having spent the past year at the 2 & 8 Club at Morton’s in Mayfair, he was previously one of the key marketing and sales managers for Boujis. His new role will involve growing the Boujis brand both in the UK and internationally and working across the Eclipse and Bumpkin restaurant brands to develop their growth strategies and form new brand partnerships.

WKD promotion celebrates pay day
A new on-trade promotion is being launched for ready-to-drink brand WKD linked to pay day. The activity will help to lift sales at the end of every month as consumers celebrate the arrival of their latest pay cheque. Running until November, WKD owner SHS Drinks is supporting it with witty point-of-sale materials, flashing LED “shutter-shades” to give away with purchases, money-themed cocktail recipes and the WKD Cocktail Recipe Maker App to help consumers create their own drinks.

Californian ales inspire new Meantime brew
Meantime Brewing Company in Greenwich, east London, has created its latest limited-edition beer in time for spring, The Californian Pale Ale. Available on draught at Meantime’s outlets plus a selected range of specialist craft pubs, bars and restaurants, the new brew is inspired by Californian Common Ales and classic American Pale Ales but with more hops. It has an ABV of 5.5 per cent.

Results published in world spirits competition
The results of this year’s San Francisco World Spirits Competition, one of the leading international spirit and liqueur competitions, have been published. More than 1,400 products were submitted from 63 countries into 85 different classifications, judged by a 35-strong panel of spirits experts including leading on-trade figures such as bartender Audrey Saunders. Click here for the full results, including the top award of double-gold medals.

London operator announces new bar
Mothership Group, the team behind The Book Club and Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch, east London, it to launch a new bar called Stories. It opens on Broadway Market in the London Fields area of Hackney on May 9, teaming cocktails and all-day brunching with a programme of special events and contemporary art.

Asbach and Pitú find new UK distributor
Cellar Trends has been appointed to distribute and enhance brand recognition across the UK for a trio of brands in the on- and off-trade. From May 1, it will take responsibility for German brandy Asbach, top-selling cachaça Pitú and strawberry vodka liqueur Xuxu. All three brands are managed by Underberg AG, although Underberg herbal digestif is not part of the new agreement and remains with its existing distributor.

ViewLondon adds free promotional tool for bars
Online city guide ViewLondon has launched View Offers, a free way for businesses such as bars and clubs to promote their latest deals. Unlike other special offer sites, there is no set-up fee or commission taken from the offer. It uses a simple PDF voucher for people to show at the venue to redeem the offer. Visit

Enterprises supports licensees with roadshows and deals
Pub company Enterprise is holding seven roadshows around the UK to provide licensees with expert advice and tools to help them improve their business performance. Taking place from April 16 to May 9, the free Empowerlive! events will feature over 80 suppliers including drinks suppliers such as ABInBev, Diageo, Heineken and Molson Coors, and gaming, food and other companies such as Brakes, Mediatheme, Casio, BII and Drinkaware. They will visit Derby, Leeds, Bristol, Birmingham, London, Bolton and Exeter. Enterprise has also rewarded 18 licensees with a £2,000 drinks order through its “empower deals” promotion which eased the pressure of the quieter trading months of January and February. Other rewards included tickets to sporting events, weekend breaks, the latest gadgets and a brewery tour.

New whisky distillery announced by Diageo
Drinks group Diageo has announced that Teaninich near Alness in the Highlands will be the location for a new malt whisky distillery. It will be next to the existing Teaninich distillery but have its own name and identity. Diageo also plans to invest £12million in expanding the existing Teaninich distillery to almost double its capacity. The single malt whisky produced at the new distillery and at the expanded Teaninich distillery will be used in a range of Diageo’s blended Scotch whiskies.

Scottish operator backs bowel cancer campaign
Belhaven pubs and bars are backing a major bowel cancer campaign to encourage customers to get tested. Posters, leaflets and washroom vinyls will be distributed across 91 outlets, supporting the Scottish Government’s Detect Cancer Early campaign that is raising awareness of Scotland’s third most common cancer and the benefits of screening.

On-trade activity supports new Smirnoff campaign
Diageo is supporting a new burst of its “Nocturnal Awakening” TV campaign for Smirnoff vodka with activity in the on-trade. The TV ad returns this month, bringing to life the brand’s message that if you try something new you will have a better time. The £2.5million integrated campaign also includes digital, PR and point of sale as well as targeted on- and off-trade activity. It includes new drink tins to encourage consumers to drink “inventively”, which will be available in selected on-trade outlets. In May, the brand will run Slumberfest across seven cities where consumers will be invited to a fun and interactive nightlife experience featuring oversized four-poster beds and retro gaming areas.

Industry prepares for week of charity action
Industry charity Hospitality Action is calling on bars, pubs, clubs, hotels and restaurants to run activities in support of the fifth annual Hospitality Action Week. Taking place from May 13 to 19, it raises money to go towards helping some of the most vulnerable members of the hospitality industry. It coincides with the unveiling of a new, modern identity for the charity, including a new logo and website. Visit

Tia Maria calls for Espresso Martini entries
Bartenders are being urged to enter Tia Maria’s international online cocktail competition, Twist Your Espresso Martini. It challenges entrants to create a twist on the classic Tia Espresso Martini and highlight the versatility of the Italian liqueur. It is open to entries from the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Argentina and will be judged by UK Tia Maria brand ambassador Simone Caporale, with Alex Kratena, head bartender at London’s Artesian Bar. Visit

Beefeater celebrates London with limited edition
A limited-edition bottle is being introduced for Beefeater gin in the UK using 1,000 images sourced from Londoners who entered the #MyLondon competition last November. Thousands of people submitted their favourite photographs showing what the capital meant to them, from cityscapes to contemporary figures. The new design will be available in the UK on- and off-trade from late June.

New website for leading hot drinks supplier
Taylors of Harrogate has launched a new website for foodservice operators to showcase its full range of tea, coffee, branded merchandise and point-of-sale solutions. Visit

Highland Spring celebrates as packaged water grows
Highland Spring has become the UK’s number-one bottled water brand, according to the annual UK Bottled Water Report from Zenith International. It is the first time that a British brand is the biggest seller in the category. Highland Spring sold nearly 200million litres in 2012 to take the top spot in the bottled water market by volume, growing by nine per cent year on year. Highland Spring also retained its long-held status as the number-one sparkling brand, with a share by volume nearly double its nearest competitor. The UK packaged water market as a whole is in growth with volume up 4.7 per cent year on year in 2012.

Investment stepped up in Southern Comfort
Southern Comfort is returning to TV screens with its ad encouraging the nation to own “Whatever’s Comfortable”. Launched last year, the global creative is running from this month till June, supported by 46 per cent more investment in the campaign for 2013 and 2014 plus increased digital and social media presence to raise awareness and drive purchase ahead of key summer trading months.

Win Armstrong and Miller for your bar
Licensees are being offered a chance to have comedy duo Alexander Armstrong and Ben Miller in their bar or pub in a trade incentive for Spitfire Ale. The prize of a tailored 1940s-themed comedy night is open to any licensee that orders two nine-gallon firkins of Spitfire Ale between mid-April and July 14. It is part of Spitfire’s Operation Landlord campaign which features Armstrong and Miller in their characters of wartime RAF pilots.

Heineken ready for UEFA Champions League Final
A new TV ad is to air in the UK for Heineken, inviting football fans to use their imagination to get a seat at the UEFA Champions League Final. The latest instalment of the Road to the Final campaign, which airs in the UK on April 22, ties in with Heineken’s seventh consecutive year sponsoring the UEFA Champions League. Throughout the campaign, Heineken is encouraging fans to engage with the brand through activities including in-bar promotions, offering once-in-a-lifetime prizes.

To receive our weekly e-newsletter every Monday in your in-box, sign up for free by filling in the fields in the bottom right-hand corner of this page.

Previous El Dorado issues challenge for twisted Swizzle
Next Belvedere lights up the night with illuminated bottle