Industry news round-up: February 17, 2014

Strongbow Dark FruitOur weekly round-up of industry news, for February 10 to 17, 2014

Strongbow adds fruit flavour on draught
Heineken is to extend its range of Strongbow ciders with the launch of Strongbow Dark Fruit on draught. Available to the UK on-trade from mid-March, the new variant has enjoyed “unprecedented” success since its arrival in the off-trade last summer. It is cut through with blackcurrant and blackberry juices. The launch will be supported by point-of-sale materials including posters, bar runners and drip mats and a multi-million-pound advertising spend.
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Adventure Bar partners agency on rum bar
London’s Adventure Bars have teamed up with design agency Mystery to launch a reggae-infused jerk barbecue and rum bar. Due to open on March 1 in London’s Covent Garden, it is a collaboration with leading reggae music label, Trojan Records. The 16-cover Dub Jam Jerk BBQ & Rum Shack will feature a menu of Caribbean barbecue food alongside a list specialising in rums and rum cocktails. Having raised £120,000 in investment, the company plans to expand and has already earmarked its second site.
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TGI Friday’s expands with Liverpool site
TGI Friday’s is set to begin work on developing a new restaurant and bar in Liverpool for launch in late May. The site in the Liverpool One complex will cover nearly 5,500 square feet over two floors, with 150 covers. It is part of a new expansion programme that will see seven new restaurants open across the UK this year. Openings confirmed for this year include Brighton, Glasgow and Milton Keynes as well as a new railway station dining concept.
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Trade welcomes Blackpool EMRO vote
The bar and club industry has welcomed a vote by Blackpool Borough Council’s licensing committee to recommend against the imposition of an Early Morning Restriction Order (EMRO) in parts of the town centre after 3am. The decision is expected to be approved by the full council on February 28. Kate Nicholls, strategic affairs director of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, said: “It wouldn’t do anything to resolve the issues of crime and disorder and anti-social behaviour that the police are concerned about.”
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Destinations for Diageo’s World Class revealed
Diageo has revealed the locations for the international final of its World Class global bartender competition – London and Scotland. After previous global finals took bartenders to Rio de Janeiro, Athens and New Delhi and on a luxury Mediterranean cruise, the destinations for this July’s events were chosen because the UK is the host nation.
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C&C relaunches Squire’s gin and Odessa vodka
Squire’s London Dry Gin, a popular brand from the 1960s, has been revived and relaunched into the on-trade by C&C Group’s International Wine Services. With an ABV of 37.5%, it has been launched with new packaging. IWS has also launched Ukrainian-style triple-filtered vodka Odessa which, like Squire’s, is being positioned as a house pouring brand.
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Interactive beer mats support Jack Daniel’s
Jack Daniel’s is building on its links with the UK’s music scene with “interactive” beer mats that offer free downloads. The “track mats” are being supplied to small music venues as part of the whiskey brand’s ongoing music campaign, JD Roots, which celebrates local musicians and small venues. The mats offer different tracks from emerging artists which can be accessed by scanning a QR code using a smartphone and being directed to the website,
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Morgenrot brings Spanish water to UK
Spanish premium water brand Solán de Cabras is being introduced to the UK on the back of growth in the Spanish food and drink scene. It has been added to the portfolio of drinks importer Morgenrot, a specialist in world beers, which has become its sole UK distributor. Sourced from a single spring in the Cuenca hills near Beteta in central Spain, it is part of the portfolio of brewer Mahou-San Miguel Grupa.
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Bartenders invited to mezcal event
Mexican spirit mezcal will be showcased at the next industry event held for bartenders at London members club Home House. Three leading brands, Del Maguey, Alipus and Los Siete Misterios, will feature at the event at 6pm on Sunday March 9 which will include a presentation, a cocktail masterclass and Mexican-themed canapés.
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Bars among finalists in design awards
Two of the new-look Revolution bars, one of Drake & Morgan’s new venues and other stylish bars and restaurants around the UK have been named finalists in the Casual Dining Design Awards. Projects from 40 finalists will compete in three award categories: Best Designed Independent Restaurant, Best Designed Multiple Restaurant, and Best Designed Casual Dining Pub. It is organised as part of trade show Casual Dining in London on February 26 and 27, where the finalists will be showcased.
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New mixers promise no sugar or calories
A new range of mixers called Skinny V has been launched in the UK that contain no sugar, no calories and no carbohydrates. They come in five flavours, enhanced only by natural and essential vitamins. They include Skinny Tonic, with a twist of lime, and the energy drink-flavoured Skinny Bull. The others contain natural fruit flavours: Skinny Berry, combining raspberry and cranberry, Skinny Apple and Skinny Peach.
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Suffolk and London brewers create new ale
Suffolk brewer Adnams has teamed up with the Camden Town Brewery in London to create a limited-edition cask beer. South Town Red Ale is a 4.9% ABV beer, brewed with a selection of Australian hops including Topaz, Summer, Ella and Galaxy, giving aromas of peaches, lychees and tropical fruits, along with malted rye, for a freshly-baked bread taste, and golden naked oats, adding a nutty flavour and a rich smoothness. It is due to launch in March.
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Pioneering Californian brewer comes to UK
Five beers from Ruhstaller, the pioneer brewer originally founded in California in 1881, will be available in the UK for the first time from March. Based in Sacramento, the brewery is releasing The Sauce, Gilt Edge, Capt, 1881 and Hop Sac through UK distributor Left Coast Distribution. They will be presented at the Craft Beer Rising show in London from February 21 to 23.
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Ex-bartender creates marketing agency
Marketer and former bartender Nick Worthington has launched his own marketing and strategy agency specialising in drinks brands and bars. The agency, called Original, will help businesses to develop bars and brands, whether small or global, from inception through to launch and growth. Nick has 14 years’ expertise in the drinks industry and has worked across a broad spectrum of areas, most recently managing Appleton Estate rums and Bulldog Gin.
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Limited release for 1969 Glenrothes whisky
Berry Bros & Rudd Spirits has released the second in its series of single-cask bottlings of The Glenrothes whisky from the late 1960s and early 1970s. Selected by brands heritage director Ronnie Cox, the latest addition to The Extraordinary Cask Collection is The Glenrothes Single Cask 1969 #11485 – distilled on July 10 1969 and matured in a refill hogshead, cask number 11485, which yielded just 133 bottles at a natural strength of 42.9% ABV.
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Edinburgh bar champions Old Fashioned
A focus on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail has proven a hit at The Bothy Restaurant and Drinkery in Edinburgh. It is offered made with Woodford Reserve or Gentleman Jack whiskeys or with Auchentoshan or Glenkinchie whiskies, served in a hip flask.
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New look for Revolution bars’ website
Inventive Leisure has relaunched the website for its Revolution bars after research revealed that 55% of visitors to its website did so via a mobile phone. The new site is more user-friendly for smartphones and tablets and includes more streamlined booking systems, access to social media channels and occasion-led party pages to allow people to plan and build their party.
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Brewer and bartender launch new beer
Brewer Innis & Gunn has released its first smoked beer, developed in collaboration with David Ashton-Hyde, head bartender of The Hind’s Head in Bray, Berkshire. Smokin’ Gunn, with an ABV of 7.4%, is made in the style of a Bamberg Rauchbier. German Spring variety malts are smoked over beech wood and it is then matured in ex-bourbon casks before being finished with maple syrup. It comes in 330ml bottles.
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Cachaça brand finds new UK distributor
Distribution for Boca Loca Cachaça in the UK has been taken over by Instil Drinks Co which expects increased interest in Brazilian products because of the World Cup and the Olympics. The brand will be promoted for its smoothness and fruity flavour as well as its mixability in “innovative cocktails with an edge”, according to Nick Rodgers, head of Instil Drinks Co.
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Brazilian parties planned for WKD launch
SHS Drinks is to organise 300 Brazilian-themed parties in venues around the country as part of a £1million launch campaign for WKD Brazilian, the ready-to-drink brand’s new limited edition. The events will give around 100,000 consumers the opportunity to sample the new flavour. Over 2,000 washroom panels have been booked in key outlets featuring witty quips such as “Some clubs spend millions on a new Brazilian. But you can get one for a few quid”. Free point-of-sale kits contain posters, bunting, bar runners, mobiles, balloons and banners.

Eating-out report to launch at trade show
Buying specialist Lynx Purchasing is launching a new report at this month’s Casual Dining Show spotlighting the latest trends in the eating-out market. It will be available free from the Lynx Purchasing stand to all visitors to the show at the Business Design Centre in London on February 26 and 27.

New board director for bar operator
Leading bar operator Eclectic has appointed Richard Kleiner to the board as an independent non-executive director. He has significant corporate finance, financial services, accounting and taxation experience and is executive director of AIM-quoted Avanti Capital, which formerly owned a controlling stake in the business. Eclectic operates bar and club concepts including Lola Lo, Po Na Na and Sakura.

January boost for bar and restaurant groups
Pub, bar and restaurant groups enjoyed a strong start to 2014 thanks to last year’s weather, according to the industry’s Coffer Peach Business Tracker. Collective like-for-like sales were up by 7.2% last month compared with January 2013 which was badly affected by snow. Total sales, including new openings, were ahead 10.1%.

Promotion links to Crabbie’s Grand National
Halewood International is running an on-pack promotion for Crabbie’s to tie in with the brand’s sponsorship of the Grand National, giving consumers the chance to win £1 million – matching the prize fund of the race’s winner. Scratch cards will be handed out with the purchase of 500ml and 330ml bottles of Crabbie’s in the on-trade in February and March. Consumers enter an eight-digit code to play an interactive game of Donkey Derby on the Crabbie’s website at Other prizes include cash giveaways and tickets to The Crabbie’s Grand National.

Countdown to Craft Beer Rising show
About 60 breweries and over 200 beers will come together this week at the second outing for trade and consumer event Craft Beer Rising. It runs from February 21 to 23 at the Old Truman Brewery in east London. It will also feature street food, DJ sets by Mr Scruff, Reverend & The Makers, Horse Meat Disco and BBC6 Music broadcaster Pete Paphides. The trade day is on Friday February 21. Visit

Oakham releases keg for popular IPA
Oakham Ales in Peterborough has released its Green Devil IPA in keg format after it was named Champion Cask Ale at the International Brewing Awards and Supreme Champion in SIBA’s national beer awards. The IPA, with ABV of 6%, has also returned in 500ml bottles. It is the brewer’s first move into craft kegs.

London gin grows with new distributor
Spirits and liqueurs company Speciality Brands has added City of London Gin to its portfolio. Bottled at 40% ABV, City Of London Gin is based on a classic combination of only seven botanicals and is made at a microbrewery off Fleet Street in London. It was launched in November 2012 by hotelier Jonathan Clark and distiller Jamie Baxter, formerly of Chase Distillery.

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