Industry news round-up: February 3, 2014

Smugglers CoveOur weekly round-up of industry news, for January 27 to February 3, 2014

NWTC steps up roll-out plans
The New World Trading Company (NWTC), sister company to bar operator Living Ventures, has today announced plans to accelerate roll-out. It intends to open five new sites in the current year, including locations in London, Birmingham and Glasgow and two in Manchester. It will more than double its estate which comprises The Botanist in Leeds and Alderley Edge, Cheshire, the Oast House in Manchester’s Spinningfields and the Smugglers Cove in Liverpool’s Albert Dock (pictured). It follows a new bank facility of £2.2million from Lloyds Banking Group.
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G’Vine gin team launch new vermouth
A new vermouth brand from Cognac has been launched by the team behind G’Vine Gin, taking inspiration from a 17th-century botanist at the Palace of Versailles. La Quintinye Vermouth Royal is made from pineau des Charentes fortified wine from south-west France plus 12 different plants and spices. It has been developed by master distiller Jean-Sébastien Robicquet, the founder of EWG Spirits & Wine, which created G’Vine Gin.
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UK brand ambassador for Tanqueray
Diageo has announced the appointment of Tim Homewood as new UK brand ambassador for Tanqueray and Tanqueray No Ten gins. He has worked for leading London bars including The Hospital Club in Covent Garden, the Arts Club in Dover Street and Babylon restaurant at Kensington Roof Gardens. He was also brand ambassador for Jose Cuervo tequila, including the premium Tradicional.
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Bar deal reflects ‘vibrant’ London market
EHM Bars-Clubs-Restaurants is continuing to expand with the acquisition of a bar in the City of London. It has taken on the lease of The Spectator in Little Britain, off an asking price of £150,000, through leisure property specialist DCL. It follows its purchase of another bar The Plum Tree in Farringdon, which DCL sold as a closed site in December. Jonathan Moradoff of DCL said: “This deal once again highlights how vibrant the capital’s market is at the moment.”
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New Glasgow site for Irish bar group
The team behind Malones Irish bars in Aberdeen and Edinburgh have launched a new site in Glasgow, aiming to prove an Irish concept can thrive if actually run by Irish people. It opened in the former premises of The Universal Bar in Glasgow’s Sauchiehall Lane on Saturday to tie in with the start of the Six Nations rugby tournament. With traditional Irish décor, it specialises in sport and live music.
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First UK finalists announced for World Class
Four bartenders have claimed their places at the UK final of the global bartender competition, Diageo World Class, after a series of challenges. The first group are Robin Honhold from Lucky Liquor Co in Edinburgh, Matthew Soares from Cloud 23 in Manchester, Nathan O’Neill from Milk and Honey in London and James Fowler from The Larder House in Bournemouth. A second burst of UK activity in March will take place in Glasgow, Liverpool, London and the south, followed by more regional finals in May.
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£1,000 prize in Coco Lopez and El Dorado challenge

A prize of £1,000 is on offer in this year’s competition run for Coco Lopez cream of coconut and El Dorado rum. Entrants need to submit a twist on a Piña Colada and an original cocktail, both using Coco Lopez and El Dorado and blended ingredients. The Coco Lopez & El Dorado Cocktail Challenge, run in association with blender specialist Hamilton Beach, is to be staged at The Liar’s Club in Manchester on March 18.
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Californian brewer to launch in UK
North Coast, one of California’s most celebrated microbreweries, is introducing a selection of its beers into the UK for the first time. The 10-strong range will be headed by Old Rasputin Imperial Stout alongside Acme’s California Pale Ale and California IPA and Belgian-style beers Brother Thelonious, Le Merle and PranQster. They will be showcased at the Craft Beer Rising show in London this month.
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London Fashion Week inspires cocktails
A range of cocktails has been introduced at the bar at Dukes St James London to tie in with this month’s London Fashion Week. The limited-edition champagne cocktails, available throughout February, are inspired by fashion icons including Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne, Karl Lagerfeld and Coco Chanel.
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Blackwoods revamps vodka with botanicals
The team behind Blackwoods gin have released a new version of their vodka that is infused with some of the same Shetland botanicals as their gins. Blackwoods Botanical Vodka is created using a “bonification” process after distillation which involves infusing the spirit with botanicals to add complexity and create a smooth and rounded taste.
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Chapel-like revamp for Mayfair club
Glamorous London club Whisky Mist is undergoing a refurbishment before being relaunched with the addition of a new sister club called Rusty Nail. Owner Brompton Brands are reinventing the Mayfair venue to resemble a gothic chapel, with a pulpit acting as a DJ booth, stained-glass windows, a reclaimed church organ and pews. It is due to re-open on February 6.
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New UK drive for leading cachaça
Diageo has agreed a deal for Marblehead Brand Development to take over distribution of its leading premium cachaça brand Ypióca in the UK and Ireland. Covering both the on- and off-trade, it will include the two premium variants, Ypióca Prata Empalhada and Ypióca Ouro Empalhada.
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Trainers join forces for new e-learning courses
Charnwood Training Group has secured an exclusive contract with e-learning providers, Flow Hospitality, to offer industry-relevant e-learning products to enhance current qualifications and ensure learners get the most from its programmes. It has introduced 15 new courses for e-learners including customer service, working in a kitchen, table waiting, coffee service, working with cask ale and licensing and social responsibility.

Oakham Ales expands in Glasgow
Peterborough-based brewer Oakham Ales is expanding in Scotland with a deal to supply at least 10 of its beers to eight JD Wetherspoon pubs in central Glasgow. The ales will be available as part of Wetherspoon’s Glasgow Ale Festival from February 10 to 19. It is in addition to five pubs that have signed up to the brewer’s Oakademy of Excellence which means they stock Oakham Ales on a permanent basis.

Golf tournament partners with Stella Artois
Stella Artois has announced its status as official beer and cider of The Open Championship to be held at Royal Liverpool this year. Stella Artois lager and Stella Artois Cidre will be available at the tournament from July 13 to 20. The sponsorship will be supported with a fully integrated campaign including above-the-line advertising, on-pack promotions and digital marketing.

Trade issues warning as beer sales fall
Beer sales in the on-trade dropped by 2.2% in the last three months of 2013, falling for the fourth quarter in a row, according to the latest Beer Barometer from the British Beer and Pub Association. However, total beer sales were up 0.8% over the quarter, boosted by a 3.9% increase in sales in the off-trade. It prompted the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers to call for further support for Britain’s pubs and bars after the Chancellor scrapped the Beer Duty Escalator and the Government last week unveiled plans to remove some regulations in its draft Deregulation Bill. Strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls blamed the “toxic shock of heavy regulation and extra taxation which makes pubs simply uncompetitive compared to the off-trade”.

New UK distribution deal for Rhuby
Leading spirits and liqueur specialist Boutique Brands has added rhubarb liqueur Rhuby to its portfolio, helping to build the brand in the on-trade and premium off-trade accounts in the UK and Ireland. It is part of an international growth strategy for the Swedish liqueur which was launched two years ago by drinks expert Ylva Binder.

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