Industry news round-up: February 25, 2013

Our weekly round-up of industry news for the week to February 25, 2013

Wild Turkey brings honey to UK
Wild Turkey is launching its honey-flavoured bourbon-based liqueur into the UK on-trade this month after its success in the US. With an ABV of 35.5 per cent, American Honey is a smooth liqueur made with Wild Turkey, retaining the taste and kick of straight bourbon but with notes of sweet honey, caramel and orange. It is aimed mainly at people in their 20s and will be promoted in the UK through events featuring a branded photo booth visiting university student unions. Distributed by Catalyst Brands, it will be introduced in the off-trade later this year. Click here for full story.

Scotland’s most powerful bar operators named
Bar operators Stefan King, James Watt, Martin Dickie and David Wither have been placed among the 40 most powerful people in Scotland’s hospitality industry. The Hot Scots Power 40 list has been put together to tie in with ScotHot, the hospitality exhibition at SECC Glasgow from March 4 to 6. Stefan King, at number eight, is the founder and managing director of multiple bar operator G1 Group, while James Watt and Martin Dickie at number nine are the founders of brewer and bar operator BrewDog. At number 11 is David Wither, managing director of bar operator Montpeliers. Number one is Michelin-starred chef Andrew Fairlie, who has a restaurant at Gleneagles Hotel.

Investment continues in Novus Leisure bars
Novus Leisure has completed major refurbishments of two of the bars in the City of London which it acquired as part of its takeover of Balls Brothers. The updated look for The Last in Shoe Street includes ornate mirrors, mannequin lampshades, Chesterfield sofas and candelabras, with an open kitchen giving the venue a bistro feel. Quirky touches also feature in the new interior for The Gable in Moorgate and its basement bar The Cellar. The homely bar has tea plates on the walls and ornate furniture, serving cocktails and bistro-style food. Click here for full story.

New distributor to continue growth for Chase
Chase Distillery in Herefordshire is set to build distribution in the UK after appointing drinks company Cellar Trends as distributor. From April 1, the distributor will handle Chase’s gins, vodkas and liqueurs, alongside its portfolio of leading brands such as Patron, Luxardo, Auchentoshan, Midori, La Fee and Pusser’s Rum. William Chase, founder of Chase Distillery, said: “Cellar Trends has been appointed to enhance service to the brands’ customer base and drive continued growth in the UK to the next level of brand development.”

Bulmers introduces new flavours
Heineken is strengthening its range of Bulmers modern ciders with the launch of two fruit-flavoured ciders, Bulmers Cider Bold Black Cherry and Bulmers Cider Pressed Red Grape. Both at four per cent ABV, they will be available in single 568ml bottles in all trade channels from March. Bulmers Cider Bold Black Cherry is a crisp cider cut with the taste of crushed black cherries while Bulmers Cider Pressed Red Grape is a blend of crisp apple cider and red grapes.

Mintel reveals more people drink cider
More people in the UK are drinking cider, according to research group Mintel, with overall sales continuing to rise, especially for pear and flavoured varieties. The new report shows that 60 per cent of adults now drink cider, significantly up from the previous year’s total of 47 per cent. Over the last five years, sales of cider have increased by 32 per cent to £2.7billion and, over the next five years, Mintel forecasts that the market will reach sales of £3.7billion. Apple cider is drunk by 47 per cent of adults while 37 per cent drink pear ciders and 24 per cent drink flavoured ones.

Budweiser promotion links with FA Cup
AB InBev UK has announced a major on-pack promotion which uses “augmented reality” to celebrate Budweiser’s sponsorship of The FA Cup. It gives consumers a chance to win VIP FA Cup final tickets until April 26, running on 11 packs in the off-trade and on a limited-edition bottle sleeve in the on-trade, supported by branded pint glasses. Consumers download the Budweiser app onto their smartphone and then scan a pack, bottle or branded pint glass to reveal a video which confirms instantly whether they have won VIP FA Cup Final tickets. Other prizes include limited-edition FA Cup Umbro Kit Bags and limited-edition Umbro by Neo II footballs.

Revamp for Healey’s ciders
Cornish cider brand Healey’s Cyder has unveiled a new label for its best-selling Rattler brand, supported by the new strapline “Chill it. Sip it. Love it.” The new livery is rolling out across bottles of Rattler Original, Rattler Pear and Rattler Berry ciders from the end of February. Draught branding has also been updated with the new look, including lenses, bar runners and glassware. The new livery builds on the association with the Cornish apple variety, the Rattler.

Antic pubs bought by new business
The assets of London pub company Antic have been bought by a new business formed by the company’s former operations director, Max Alderman. Called Gregarious, it is backed by investment firm Downing LLP. The 12 pubs were sold by Antic’s administrators from Chantrey Vellacott DFK.

Former M&B boss backs new pub company
John Lovering, the former chairman of Laurel Pub Company and Mitchells & Butlers, has backed a new business running food-led pubs in the south of England. The group, which will trade under the Fireside Pubs & Restaurants brand, is led by industry veterans Leo Murphy and Alan Moore. It is backed by Lovering through his investment vehicle Echelon Partners. Its first site is the former Alma pub in Chelmsford, Essex, which is being relaunched as The Admiral J McHardy.

New release for Talisker whiskies
Diageo has released a new expression in the Talisker range of single malt whiskies from the Isle of Skye. Talisker Storm is more intense and smoky, smoothly balanced with Talisker’s signature hot sweetness. It is a blend of whiskies from rejuvenated and refill casks at different ages, bottled at 45.8 per cent without an age statement. Further new expressions of Talisker are promised for later in 2013.

Maclay launches craft beer pub in Glasgow
Maclay Inns has opened a new craft beer pub in Glasgow’s West End after a £400,000 refurbishment. Munro’s has been launched in the former home of the Captain’s Rest, specialising in craft beer and cask ales from around the world as well as Scotland’s own Harviestoun Schiehallion and Caledonian Deuchars IPA. More at

Management shake-up at Star Pubs & Bars
Heineken has announced changes to strengthen the management team of its pub company Star Pubs & Bars. It follows the £412million purchase of over 900 pubs in 2011 and the rebrand of the business to Star Pubs & Bars in November. Former trading director Chris Moore has been appointed to the new role of property and strategy director while Chris Jowsey, formerly commercial director for the on-trade at Heineken, has been appointed trading director.

Profits warning from dispense specialist
Vianet, the specialist in dispense technology, has issued a profit warning, blaming the impact of increased investment and “pressure in the leisure sector”. It said that trading for the second half of the year to March 31 would be below the expectations of the board, leading to operating profit being as low as £3.2million compared to £3.9million in 2012. But it added that “the outlook for 2014 looks promising”.

Manx brewer rebrands for expansion
Isle of Man brewer Okell’s is planning a major expansion and a rebranding to modernise its image and help double its profits. It has a new brand identity, part of a £130,000 campaign, incorporating the three-legged symbol of the Isle of Man and other Celtic elements. The brewery expects to increase export sales by 400 per cent in the next year and sell its beers in 2,000 outlets, with further plans to add 25 per cent more sales year on year over the next three years.

Uniform specialist gains Royal Warrant
Hospitality specialist Denny’s Uniforms has been awarded a Royal Warrant by The Queen as suppliers of catering clothing to the Royal Household. Managing director Nick Jubert said: “The Royal Warrant publicly acknowledges that Denny’s meets the highest quality standards and consistent levels of service. It’s like being offered a peerage for trade – and we’re all delighted.”

Research reveals wellness of hospitality managers
Over half of managers in the hospitality sector say they do not get a full night’s sleep and nearly a third say they never do any exercise. The findings were part of a wellness survey of hospitality management professionals carried out by The Institute of Hospitality. It found that 71.2 per cent said they exercised at least once a week, with 11 per cent exercising daily, and 87.7 per cent said they did not smoke. Just over three-quarters said they drink 10 or fewer alcoholic drinks a week and 11 per cent do not drink at all. More than a third said they felt stressed at work often or every day.

Deadline extended for sommelier entries
The Academy of Food & Wine Service (AFWS) has extended the deadline for entries to the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2013 to March 1. The competition, now in its 34th year, sets out to find the best wine waiter or sommelier based on their wine and drink knowledge, the ability to deal with customers, and front-of-house service skills. Entry forms can be downloaded at or

Semi-finalists announced for licensee award
The BII has announced the 12 licensees who have made it through to the semi-finals of its Licensee of the Year Award after rigorous early rounds of assessment. They are: Dennis Forsyth of the Cheers Café Bar & Tavern in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire; Richard Bell from The Silent Woman Inn in Wareham, Dorset; Annie Power from The Coal Hole in London’s West End; Jo Eden of Reflex Arcadian in Birmingham; Steve Herbert of The Old Spot Inn in Dursley, Gloucestershire; Simon Bailey of The Bell Inn in Hampton, London; Ashley McCarthy of Ye Old Sun Inn in Colton, North Yorkshire; Tom Helliwell of The Woodman in Highgate, London; Philip Cutter of The Murderers in Norwich; Marc Jones of The Sportsman in Mogador, Surrey; Cheryl Hickman of The Bull Inn in Barton Mills, Suffolk; and Frazer Sutherland of The Thatch in Thame, Oxfordshire. The winner will be announced at the BII Annual Lunch on May 14.

Speakers announced for Sheffield beer event
The organisers of next month’s BeerX event in Sheffield have announced the line-up of speakers. They include: Garrett Oliver, brewer at Brooklyn Brewery in the US; community pubs minister Brandon Lewis; Toby Perkins, shadow minister for small business; chef Simon Rimmer of Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch; and SIBA chief executive Julian Grocock. Detail about BeerX, which runs from March 13 to 16, at

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