Industry news round-up: July 22, 2013

hendricks tea cup serveOur weekly round-up of industry news, for July 15 to 22, 2013

Premium spirits and bars lead industry growth
Bars and premium brands are two key areas of growth in the on-trade as consumers seek out quality and nostalgia when going out, according to the latest Market Report from First Drinks. It highlights how value sales of premium spirit and liqueur brands are up 18 per cent overall in the UK, outperforming the total alcohol market. It suggests that a prolonged recession has led to people placing more importance on experiences including higher-quality brands while seeking them at affordable prices. Key trends include nostalgia for past drinking culture and high-quality serves, such as The Balvenie dipping dogs, as well as “café-bars” which account for 53 per cent of new openings in the UK.Click here for the full story at

New York dominates Tales of the Cocktail awards
New York City dominated this year’s global Spirited Awards at Tales of the Cocktail, with The Dead Rabbit Grocery and Grog (pictured) winning the titles of world’s best new cocktail bar and world’s best cocktail menu while its co-founder Jack McGarry was named international bartender of the year. The Helen David Award for Lifetime Achievement went to Salvatore Calabrese of Salvatore’s Bar at Playboy Club in London. Tony Conigliaro of London’s 69 Colebrooke Row, Zetter Townhouse and Grain Store won the award for best new book with Drinks. Click here for the full story at

Wild Turkey seeks best whiskey bartenders
Gruppo Campari is looking for the best whiskey bartender in the UK through a new competition for its bourbon Wild Turkey. Taking place in August, it will be preceded by masterclasses in Edinburgh, Manchester, Nottingham, Birmingham, Bristol and London with Wild Turkey’s associate master distiller Eddie Russell. The deadline for entries is July 31. After regional heats and a national final in Manchester, the winning bartender plus two runners-up will visit the Wild Turkey distillery in Kentucky during the annual bourbon festival. Click here for the full story at

Like-for-like sales up for UK’s licensed trade
Britain’s bar, pub and restaurant groups saw collective like-for-like sales increase 1.9 per cent in June against the same month last year, according to the latest Coffer Peach Business Tracker. Total sales, including the impact of new openings, were ahead 4.8 per cent. “The figures follow a 1.2 per cent like-for-like increase in May and suggest a real if modest recovery for the eating and drinking out market after a terrible weather-affected winter and spring,” said Peter Martin of Peach Factory, the business intelligence specialist that produces the monthly report.

Martini marks 150 years with new vermouth
A new limited-edition Martini vermouth has been introduced to celebrate the brand’s 150th anniversary. Martini Gran Lusso has been in the making for more than eight years and is limited to 150,000 bottles worldwide. It used Barbera red wine from the Piedmont region of northern Italy and Trebbiano white wine from neighboring Emilia-Romagna plus two unique extracts including one made from Moscato must from Canelli previously aged in wood barrels. Click here for the full story at

New Woodford Reserve release arrives in UK
Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands has brought Woodford Reserve Four Wood to the UK, the latest addition to its Master’s Collection range. It is aged in American oak and then finished in barrels made from maple wood as well as casks that formerly held oloroso sherry and ruby port. Each whiskey is placed into one of these casks, which are then blended together. Bottled at 47.2 per cent ABV, only 500 cases are available. Click here for the full story at

Hawksmoor group plans new site
A fifth site is planned by the team behind London’s four-strong restaurant and bar group Hawksmoor. It will be a new restaurant and bar called Foxlow on St John Street in Clerkenwell, London, with 100 covers, due to open in November. Hawksmoor, which was founded by Huw Gott and Will Beckett, has sites in Seven Dials, Air Street, Spitalfields and near Guildhall in the City of London.

“Stubby” Red Stripe launched in on-trade
Jamaican lager Red Stripe has become the first lager in the UK to be launched in the on-trade in a 300ml “stubby” bottle normally found in the off-trade. Available now, the new bottle is being introduced by brand owner Diageo to drive awareness and maximise incremental sales in bars, pubs and clubs.Click here for the full story at

Mixers added to Bottlegreen range
Bottlegreen Drinks is stepping up its position as a premium cocktail mixer with the launch of two flavoured tonic waters: Pink Tonic Water and Elderflower Tonic Water. They are packaged in 175ml glass bottles with the same elegant design as other Bottlegreen products. Made with quinine, the Pink Tonic Water features sweet pomegranate and elderflower while the Elderflower Tonic Water draws on the brand’s signature elderflower flavour. Click here for the full story at

Bar group offers Goodwood tickets with magnums
The 10-strong group of Corney & Barrow bars in London has teamed up with the Goodwood Estate to offer customers a free ticket to the annual Glorious Goodwood festival. Valid for Friday August 2, the tickets will be given to the first 200 customers to buy magnums of Veuve Clicquot Rosé, Veuve Clicquot Vintage Brut 2004 or Veuve Clicquot Yellow Label champagnes.

Prices frozen by Sky for third year running
Sky is freezing subscription prices of its Sky Ultimate package for the third successive year. Prices will be held until at least June 2014, meaning that licensees will not have had a price increase since September 2010. During this time, Sky has broadened its range of sports rights and invested in additional features to help licensees such as free Sky wifi, HD, 3D, Sky Sports Preview magazine, a new free third viewing card, an app exclusively available to Sky venues and free training through CPL Training Group.

Top spirits and liqueurs announced by ISC
Winners of trophies and medals in the annual International Spirits Challenge have been announced. Trophy winners include No 3 London Dry Gin, Skyy Vodka, Knob Creek bourbon, Gabriel Boudier Crème de Cassis de Dijon, Chairman’s Reserve rum, Ardbeg Galileo whisky, El Tesoro Platinum and Reposado tequilas, Professor Cornelius Ampleforth Bathtub Gin, Belvedere Vodka and Belvedere Black Raspberry, Chivas Regal 18 Year Old, Stolichnaya Vodka and Stoli Salted Karamel, Suntory’s whisky Hibiki 21 Year Old, The Famous Grouse 40 Year Old whisky and Glenmorangie Signet whisky. The award for best distiller went to Suntory. All results at

Kopparberg sales soar thanks to hot weather
This summer’s hot weather has helped sales to soar for Swedish cider brand Kopparberg. In the first half of July, sales are up a record 131 per cent versus the same period last year. The brand is also benefiting from sampling at festivals after the development of a new bar installation. Called the Kopparberg “happenings”, in line with its social media campaign, the activity has focused on promoting the Cloudberry and Elderflower & Lime variants.Click here for the full story at

Technology boosts prebooked sales for TCG
Managed pub and bar group TCG has already achieved a major uplift in festive booking for Christmas 2013 compared to the same point last year. The company has introduced a new party planning tool at sites with high levels of functions trade such as the Henry’s Café Bars in London. It is also rolling out its online reservation system through online booking and customer marketing specialist LiveRes across the entire estate.Click here for the full story at

New absinthe recipe sets new standards
A change in the recipe for La Fée Absinthe Parisienne sets a new standard for premium absinthes, according to the brand’s founder George Rowley. The level of grand wormwood in the distillation has been increased by 60 per cent and the green and star anise have been slightly softened. Importantly, the natural colour of the Absinthe Verte is now obtained solely through the maceration of herbs in spirit, naturally releasing chlorophyll, rather than using colouring, because of a new bottle with a UV-inhibitor. Click here for the full story at

Bar sale “reflects London property upturn”
The free-of-tie leasehold interest in Cos Bar in Queen Victoria Street, Blackfriars, has been sold for £395,000 to Philip Ashby-Rudd who owns and runs hotels in Lulworth Cove, Dorset. It was sold on behalf of pub entrepreneur Terry O’Sullivan and his daughter Charlotte Labbett by specialist property adviser Christie + Co which pointed to it as the latest evidence of a recovery in the pub property sector in the capital.Click here for the full story at

New look for BBPA beer website
The British Beer & Pub Association has revamped its website celebrating beer, including a new version for mobile phones, at It includes facts about beer, food matching, and beers for special occasions.

Edinburgh festival time for Buffalo Trace
Buffalo Trace will be one of the stars of this August’s Edinburgh festivals. Selected bars will be adding barrel-aged cocktails to their menus after distributor Hi-Spirits provided barrels for ageing Buffalo Trace bourbon and unaged White Dog. It will culminate in a competition on August 12 to decide the best. Ten taxis will be branded with Buffalo Trace livery during the festivals and the brand is also supporting Edinburgh Festival Fringe show, The Thinking Drinker’s Guide to Alcohol, an irreverent history of drink by writers Tom Sandham and Ben McFarland at the Assembly Rooms.

Aberdeenshire hotel on market
Huntly Hotel in Huntly, Aberdeenshire, is on the market for offers around £275,000 through the Edinburgh office of Colliers International. It features a main bar area and lounge, dining room, lounge bar, function room and 10 guest rooms as well as a four-bedroom flat for owners and two-bedroom staff accommodation.

Home Secretary praises Best Bar None schemes
Home Secretary Theresa May has praised the substantial impact of Best Bar None, the national award scheme promoting responsible management and operation of alcohol licensed premises. In the Home Office’s Next Steps for Alcohol Strategy document, released last week, she says “the effects of Best Bar None on reducing drunkenness, and in particular on reducing drunken violence, can be spectacular” and praises the “targeted action by the pubs and clubs themselves” as “by far the most effective in curbing irresponsible drinking”.

Manchester bar aims for beer world record
The Oast House in Spinningfields, Manchester, hopes to enter the Guinness Book of World Records by hosting the largest ale tasting event ever. To break the previous world record of 267 tasters, beer fans are required to sample three measures of the finest ales from local brewers. It takes place on Wednesday 7 August from 5pm, with live music. The current record is held by Biergilde BNB in Arcen in the Netherlands.

Bar careers scheme extends to East Midlands
Perceptions, the nationwide pub and bar careers programme, spread the word to operators in the East Midlands at an event attended by over 25 operators. Anthony Pender, vice-chairman of the group, explained how the scheme is taking off in the south and how more businesses can get involved. Visit for details about the scheme.

Carlsberg to launch Premier League promotion
Carlsberg UK is celebrating the new Premier League season by offering customers in pubs, clubs and bars the chance to win prizes including tickets to matches. The promotion, called “Time To Take Your Seats”, marks Carlsberg’s new status as official beer partner of the Barclays Premier League. Participating on-trade outlets will offer a “peel and reveal” sticker to customers buying a pint of Carlsberg or Carlsberg Export from August. Each sticker contains a unique code which can be entered at Prizes include two tickets for a Premier League game of the winner’s choice as well as Carlsberg and Premier League branded merchandise.

Diageo highlights shame of drunkenness
Diageo, the producer of Smirnoff, Captain Morgan and Guinness, has launched a new pan-European online campaign “Think How You Drink” to remind young people that drinking to excess can lead to shame and embarrassment. The first strand of the campaign is a video that shows some of the after-effects of drinking too much on a night out. Click here to view the video on YouTube.

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