Industry news round-up: January 6, 2014

tattershall castle christmasOur weekly round-up of industry news, for December 23, 2013, to January 6, 2014

Strong festive trading at TCG
Bar and pub operator TCG has reported strong trading over Christmas and New Year, with an average 7% uplift in turnover across its estate. The increase followed targeted capital expenditure and promotions linked to occasions such as post-shopping coffees and informal festive dining alongside efforts to make the most of corporate party bookings. TCG saw a 10% increase in food sales across the business.
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Texan corn vodka introduced in UK
A hand-crafted corn-based vodka from Texas is being introduced in the UK by drinks company Hi-Spirits. Tito’s Handmade Vodka will be available in the on- and off-trade from this month. With an ABV of 40%, it is made from 100% corn, giving it a sweeter, rounder flavour than vodkas made from wheat and potatoes. It is distilled six times, giving it a smoother character.
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D&D teams up with Konik’s Tail
Bartenders from across leading bar and restaurant group D&D will come together for a competition run with boutique vodka Konik’s Tail. It is being launched on January 14 at the group’s South Place Hotel in the City of London with a masterclass by the vodka’s founder Pleurat Shabani, followed by the final at The Old Bengal Warehouse on January 20, where entrants will be challenged to create new cocktails using Konik’s Tail. The winner will receive a bespoke Konik’s Tail copper still, a free night’s stay at South Place Hotel and a personalised pair of Konik’s Tail Converse Trainers.
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Top DJ supports Heineken campaign
Heineken has teamed up with one of the world’s top DJs for a new campaign to encourage young adults to drink responsibly when out clubbing. Dutch DJ Armin Van Buuren has created a new track called “Save My Night” which encourages and celebrates moderation during a night-out. It is part of a campaign running in 42 countries including the UK called “Dance More, Drink Slow”, which focuses on making moderate drinking “aspirational” and staying in control.
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Fordham shakes up craft beer range
The range of US craft beers available from Fordham Brewing Company in the UK is expanding with the launch of Route 1 Session IPA. At 4.5% ABV, Route 1 Session IPA targets craft beer drinkers looking for an American IPA at a lower ABV. At the same time, Fordham’s acclaimed Helles lager is being rebranded as Gypsy Lager to give it a clear brand identity, while the full range of beers has a distinctive new look which ensures Fordham beers stand out in the booming craft beer sector.
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BrewDog hits funding target early
Brewer and bar operator BrewDog has closed its latest crowd-funding scheme early after raising its target of £4.25million a month before the deadline. It launched the Equity for Punks scheme in June, aiming to raise £4million by January 22 and increased the target by £250,000 in November because of demand. The money will be used to fund expansion of its brewery, expand its bar division and open a new series of bottle shops across the UK.
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Warning over black-market beers
Pubs and bars are being urged to report anyone trying to sell black-market BrewDog beer after the theft of 16,000 bottles from retailer Ales By Mail in Essex on December 30. It includes BrewDog prototype beers Interstellar, Hobo Top and Brixton Porter and the newly launched Moshi Moshi. The stolen beer has a retail value of around £40,000. A reward is on offer for information leading to the recovery of the beer and arrest of the thieves.
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BII introduces new awards
The BII, the licensed trade training body, is to introduce three new awards as part of its Licensee of the Year awards for 2014. They include Beer Sommelier of the Year, sponsored by the Beer Academy, which rewards qualified Beer Academy sommeliers for developing beer’s profile in the licensed hospitality sector. The other new categories are Fundraiser of the Year, which recognises pubs’ commitment to charity, and Apprentice of the Year for people who are going through or have completed a BII Apprenticeship.
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Speakers announced for BeerX
Leading brewers and pub operators are among a line-up of high-profile speakers unveiled for the BeerX event run by The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA). Taking place in Sheffield on March 13, the speaker programme features JD Wetherspoon founder Tim Martin, UK and US brewing industry guru Dr Charlie Bamforth, Steve Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Nicky Morgan, economic secretary to the Treasury. It will also include presentations by Fuller’s head brewer John Keeling and Roger Ryman of St Austell Brewery.
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Bar uses aloe vera in mocktail list
The bar at The Arch London, near Marble Arch, has added a drink made with mineral-rich aloe vera. The Virgin Vera mixes aloe vera water with muddled fresh limes and raspberries and guava juice over crushed ice. Priced at £6, it is part of a new range of luxury mocktails which include a Blueberry & Raspberry Martini and a Pomegranate Dream.
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Campaign backs pubs for January detox
CAMRA, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today launched a national “Pubs and the Economy” campaign which aims to promote the benefits of pubs to the British economy and encourage more people to use their local during January – traditionally a quiet period for the industry. CAMRA has issued free promotional packs to around 7,000 pubs across Britain to help raise the awareness of the campaign, including posters featuring real pub staff and licensees from around the UK who work tirelessly to keep their pubs open.

Wadworth creates lower-ABV beer
Wiltshire-based brewer Wadworth has introduced a lower-alcohol beer in its pubs during January to appeal to consumers who want to cut down on calories and spending after Christmas. Called Best Intentions, it has ABV of 2.8% and is brewed with fewer sugars which means fewer calories. It is also being sold at a lower price point to Wadworth’s other ales because of beer duty relief on beers of 2.8% ABV and less. The beer retains flavour by using six different malts along with three hops added at various phases of the brew.

New UK ambassador for Taittinger
Wine specialist Hatch Mansfield has announced that Kevin McKee has taken on the new role of UK director for the Taittinger family of champagnes. The job will include consulting with all sectors of the wine industry, with a primary focus in the on-trade, to help both trade and consumers connect with the brand and develop new opportunities for the house. Kevin joins from Moët Hennessy, where as a senior national account manager he was responsible for major national on-trade groups and wholesale routes to market.

Luxury vodka sponsors fashion showcase
Quintessentially Vodka has been announced as official drinks sponsor for London Collections: Men – the three-day showcase of men’s autumn/winter 2014 fashions that starts today (January 6). The luxury brand will have exposure at the events at London venues The Hospital Club, The Old Sorting Office and Victoria House.

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