Industry news round-up: February 18, 2013

Our weekly round-up of industry news, February 18, 2013

Disaronno seeks film-themed cocktails
Bartenders are being called on to come up with an original cocktail recipe inspired by their favourite movie for the 2013 annual Mixing Star competition for Disaronno Originale liqueur. Maintaining the brand’s associations with cinema, the prize includes a seven-day trip to the Venice International Film Festival, rubbing shoulders with film stars and showcasing the winning cocktail. They also have to serve up an innovative twist on a Disaronno Sour. To enter, bartenders are initially required to submit their cocktail recipe via The deadline for entries is April 15. Click here for more.

Operations director leaves Novus Leisure
Jason Thorndycraft is to step down as operations director of bar operator Novus Leisure. He will be replaced by Bruce Beattie who has held various roles at the company and is currently head of operations. Jason previously ran Novus Leisure’s Tiger Tiger brand nationally after starting off area manager for Novus venues in London’s West End.

Gordon’s announces cucumber flavoured gin
Diageo has announced plans to introduce a cucumber-flavoured gin as part of new investment in extending the gin category. Due to launch in March in the on- and off-trade, Gordon’s Crisp Cucumber Distilled Gin is original Gordon’s London Dry Gin blended with natural cucumber flavouring, designed to be mixed with tonic. It is also introducing new premix cans: Gordon’s & Tonic with a hint of cucumber and Gordon’s & Tonic with a dash of elderflower. Click here for more.

Citrus-flavoured lager added by Carlsberg
Carlsberg has announced the launch of a citrus-flavoured lager with an ABV of 2.8 per cent. Carlsberg Citrus is blended with natural Persian and Key limes to create a “refreshingly smooth” lager. Available in bottles in the on- and off-trade, it will be supported with a multi-million-pound marketing campaign. Click here for more.

Buffalo Trace’s 159-times-distilled vodka in UK
Hi-Spirits has introduced a limited-edition super-premium vodka from US distillery Buffalo Trace into the UK. Distilled 159 times, HDW CLIX has been created by Harlen Wheatley, master distiller at the whiskey distillery in Kentucky and takes its name from his initials and the Roman numerals for 159. It is made from red winter wheat, rye, distiller’s grade corn and distiller’s malted barley and comes in a custom-made crystal decanter, packaged in a wooden case. Retailing at £299, it has attracted interest from top-end bars for cocktails and for displaying as a talking point.

Staff at TCG win company awards
Staff at bars across the UK have been recognised in annual awards organised by leading operator TCG. Simon Meighan, general manager of Off the Wall in Chester, won the outstanding achievement award while the award for general manager of the year at TCG’s bars for younger people went to Carl Steane of Norwegian Blue in Manchester. An award for use of social media went to Danny Williams of Pit & Pendulum in Nottingham. The awards also recognised staff from Henry’s Café Bars in Leeds, Cardiff and Covent Garden, London. Click here for more.

Weather hits industry’s sales
Bad weather took its toll on the eating and drinking out market in January, with leading bar, pub and restaurant groups collectively seeing a 2.4 per cent drop in like-for-like sales against last year, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker figures. Total sales for the 25 companies in the sample including openings were flat compared with January 2012.

Limited-edition Tanqueray launched for on-trade
Diageo has launched its limited-edition spiced gin, Tanqueray Malacca, internationally, with distribution exclusively in the on-trade in the UK. It was produced by master distiller Tom Nichol after bartenders called for the return of the gin which was first released briefly about 10 years ago. This time, it has released only 100,000 bottles globally.

Beam reverses decision to reduce Maker’s Mark ABV
Beam Global has announced that it has abandoned plans to reduce the volume of alcohol in its Maker’s Mark bourbon from 45 per cent to 42. The US-based group said that it was responding to feedback from whiskey fans around the world after social media was filled with criticism of the decision. Beam announced last week that it was reducing the ABV so that it could cope with increased demand for the bourbon. In a statement on Sunday, the company said: “The unanticipated dramatic growth rate of Maker’s Mark is a good problem to have, and we appreciate some of you telling us you’d even put up with occasional shortages. We promise we’ll deal with them as best we can, as we work to expand capacity at the distillery.” Click there to read the full company statement.

Brewing medallists named in global awards
The winners have been announced in the International Brewing Awards. Ninety-six medals were presented to brewers and cider makers including Shepherd Neame, Oakham Ales, Timothy Taylor, Adnams, Fuller’s, Marston’s, Saltaire, Joseph Holt, Samuel Adams, Sierra Nevada, Randall’s, Harviestoun, Elgood, Thwaites, Highland, Hop Back, Sharp’s, Liberation, St Austell, Tetley’s, Moorehouse’s, Woodforde’s, Kirkstall, Carling, Thatchers, Bulmers and Rekorderlig. Click here for more.

Ad campaign goes live for Captain Morgan’s Spiced
The second wave of a £3million national TV advertising campaign is launching this month for Captain Morgan’s Spiced rum-based spirit drink. The TV creative which first aired in August 2012 is running from now to the end of March, telling the story of friends who go to great lengths to enjoy their favourite serve of Captain Morgan’s Spiced and cola. It is supported with targeted promotional activity in the UK on trade.

Bar and pub operators to discuss work placements
Operators both big and small are to attend a briefing next week on work placements in the pub and bar trade. It is being organised by the Perceptions Group, set up by a group of bosses from leading operators. Companies due to be represented at the event on Tuesday February 26 include Bramwell Pub Company, Charles Wells, Drake & Morgan, Fuller’s, Glendola Leisure, Intertain, Punch, Spirit, Stonegate Pub Company, TGI Friday’s and Young’s. For details, contact or call 020 8605 3544.

Powder Train pubs pub on the market
Five freehold pubs in the south of England are being brought to market by specialist property adviser Christie + Co on behalf of the administrators of pub company Powder Train. They are: the Anchor Hotel and the George Inn, both in Warminster, Wiltshire; The Chilli Pad, formerly the Jolly Miller, in North Warnborough, Hampshire; The Chequers Inn in Maresfield, East Sussex; and the Handsome Pig, formerly the Kings Arms, in Fernhurst, West Sussex.

Matthew Clark adds Spanish wine range
Leading drinks wholesaler Matthew Clark has taken on the UK agency for Bodegas Baigorri, securing exclusive distribution rights for the Spanish wines in the UK on- and off-trade. Located in the Alavesa region of Rioja, Bodegas Baigorri is known for its innovative takes on the classic varietals and winemaking techniques of the region.

Hogan’s Cider wins cider pitch for Stonegate
Stonegate Pub Company has introduced Warwickshire-based Hogan’s Cider into its estate after a successful pitch from the craft cider maker. It is the first product trialled in the estate since the Stonegate Pub Company Challenge initiative was launched, inviting businesses to showcase their products in a 15-minute pitch process. The ciders, made from freshly pressed English cider apples grown in Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Worcestershire, are now in stock in selected Stonegate pubs across the Midlands.

Wax Jambu team to return with pop-up
The team behind the former Wax Jambu bar in Islington, north London, are to return on March 1 with a pop-up rum and whiskey bar. Wax’s Hogo Shake-Up in Shepherdess Walk near Old Street will run until May 1 while the owners plan their next permanent site. The old Wax Jambu site is to reopen as a Be At One cocktail bar in March. Click here for more.

Return of Jägermeister ad campaign
Jägermeister is building on the success of its first-ever above-the-line advertising campaign in the UK with a second burst of activity in February and March. The “It Runs Deep” campaign, originally launched in November 2012, is being rolled out nationally and includes outdoor, print, digital and social media advertising. It celebrates “the deep and meaningful bonds experienced between true friends and brought together through Jägermeister”.

Jamie Oliver teams up with Freedom for lager
Chef Jamie Oliver has teamed up with Freedom Brewery to create an Italian-style artisan lager for his 30 restaurants. With an ABV of five per cent, Libertà has been created with brewer Agostino Arioli from Birrificio Italiano with creative input from beer writer Melissa Cole. It combines Italian acacia honey with English malt and hops to produce a distinct floral, honey aroma balanced with a tart and refreshing blackcurrant flavour, plus a burst of zest at the end. It comes in 330ml bottles

New area manager for Stonegate pubs and bars
Stonegate Pub Company has appointed Jackie White as area manager with responsibility for pubs across the north-east of England. She joins from The Bramwell Pub Company, formerly Barracuda, where she worked mainly on the Varsity brand.

Belvoir Farms launches new products
Cordial producer Belvoir Fruit Farms has launched five new products bursting with the taste of ripe summer fruits and using fresh ingredients and no artificial flavours, sweeteners or preservatives. They are Cherry Pressé, Elderflower & Rose Pressé, Cranberry & Raspberry Pressé, Blueberry & Blackcurrant Cordial and Rhubarb & Strawberry Cordial. They are suitable for serving as soft drinks or as mixers in long drinks and cocktails.

Dorset sommelier to represent UK in global contest
Eric Zwiebel, cellar master at Summer Lodge in Evershot, Dorset, has been chosen to represent the UK in the 14th Best Sommelier of the World competition in Tokyo next month. He was selected by the Academy of Food & Wine Service in a contest with three sommeliers from London restaurants: Matthieu Longuere of La Trompette, Nicolas Clerc of Pont de la Tour and Jan Konetzki of Restaurant Gordon Ramsay.

Sales growth at Purity
Purity Brewing Co has reported a positive year of growth for the year to September 2012, with sales increasing 23 per cent to £3.2million. Managing director Paul Halsey said: “We invested in training all staff on beer quality and consistency. These steps, along with the efforts of every individual, helped to deliver the healthy results.” Building work is due to be completed on a new brew house in March which, from mid-2013, will be able to produce three times the current brewing capacity and different styles of beers.

Rising stars of mixology sought for award
Britain’s most talented young mixologists are being sought as part of this year’s Young British Foodies (YBF) awards. The organisers are calling for entries across a range of categories including The Rising Star of Mixology which will be judged by Tony Conigliaro of London bars 69 Colebrooke Row and Zetter Townhouse. Click here for more.

New show celebrates craft beer
A new event dedicated to craft beer is being held in London this week on February 22 and 23, pairing it with music and street food. Craft Beer Rising will feature more than 150 craft beers from around the world as well as presentations by beer experts such as Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham on US craft beers and Melissa Cole and Alex Barlow on tasting beer. A trade-only session will be held during the daytime on February 22. Visit to register and for details.

Managing director announced for Heineken UK
Heineken has announced the appointment of David Forde as managing director for its UK business and will take up the role in May. It follows the announcement that Stefan Orlowski, current UK managing director, has been appointed president of Heineken’s Americas region. Forde has been managing director of Heineken in Ireland since April 2009.

Gin brand supports efforts to save juniper
Berry Bros & Rudd has formed a partnership between its No 3 London Dry Gin and wild plant charity Plantlife to support efforts to conserve juniper, the key ingredient in gin. British wild juniper is threatened by a fungus-like disease that appears to be spreading nationwide. The brand is offering three £1,000 grants plus funding for a new juniper section on Plantlife’s website and sponsorship of Plantlife events.

Pubs minister to speak at BII lunch
Minister for pubs, Brandon Lewis, is to make his debut at the BII Lunch this May as its keynote speaker. He will address the industry audience to outline his vision for a progressive and sustainable pub business. He was appointed last September and is tasked with supporting and promoting community pubs. To book a place, call 01276 417846 or visit

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