Industry news round-up: March 24, 2014

popolo newcastleOur weekly round-up of industry news, for March 17 to 24, 2014

Newcastle bar closes after operator fails
One of the north’s leading cocktail bars has closed suddenly after its owners went into administration. The award-winning Popolo (pictured) in Newcastle upon Tyne has been shut, making 21 staff redundant, after joint administrators Lee Pryor and Julie Swan from insolvency firm PCR were appointed to Popolo Leisure. Popolo in Sheffield and the company’s restaurant San Lorenzo in Gosforth, Newcastle, have been saved after they were sold to an unnamed buyer.
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Bartenders win prize of Caribbean trip
Two bartenders are off to St Lucia in the Caribbean after winning the Chairman’s Reserve Cocktail Competition held at Northern Restaurant & Bar show. Adam Binnersley from Salford bar Under New Management, formerly Corridor, came first, followed by Tom Higham from Kosmonaut in Manchester’s Northern Quarter in second place.
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Malibu champions Piña Colada in bars
Pernod Ricard UK is to champion the Piña Colada in bars as part of activities to promote Malibu coconut rum throughout the summer. Working with consultants Soul Shakers, it has developed serves and unique vessels for the on-trade, including pineapple corers and real coconut shell cups. It will also provide the on-trade with more trays, highball glasses and pitchers. It has also created “shot-tails” for the rum and will be working with 300 UK bars to offer a “Spirit of Summer” cocktail menu.
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North’s hospitality top 50 named
The bosses of some of the UK’s leading bar operators have been recognised in the annual NRB Top 50 – the list of the north’s top hospitality professionals. They were announced at the Northern Restaurant & Bar show at Manchester Central. It included a special achievement award for Tim Bacon and Jeremy Roberts, founders and directors of bar operator Living Ventures.
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Corney & Barrow invests in bars
Corney & Barrow Bars has completed a major revamp of its site in Old Broad Street in the City of London as part of an investment programme to establish the bars as all-day and night-time businesses. Managing director Ed Gardner said: “The major refurbishment of Old Broad Street, alongside recent smaller refurbishments at Canary Wharf and Paternoster Square are just the first phase in a series of planned projects across the business.”
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Crabbie’s extends with fruit drinks
Halewood International is to extend its Crabbie’s ginger brand with a new range of alcoholic fruit drinks. Aimed at consumers aged 22 to 26, Crabbie’s Fruits will be available in three flavours: Zesty Lemon, Raspberry & Rhubarb, and Black Cherry. Zesty Lemon will replace Crabbie’s Alcoholic Lemonade, which has performed strongly since its launch last year.
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New campaign and logo for Bacardi
Bacardi has unveiled a major new marketing campaign around the concept of “untameable”. Backed by a multi-million-pound investment, it will include TV, digital, out-of-home and PR activities inspiring consumers to pursue their passions without compromise. With the tagline “Bacardi Untameable Since 1862”, it will pay homage to the brand and family’s heritage. The bat logo has also been refreshed, taking inspiration from hand-drawn bat designs from the early 1900s and the Cuban Art Deco style of the late 1920s and early 1930s.
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London bars launch own beer
The Jam Tree bars in Clapham and Chelsea in London have developed their own craft beer. It has been created exclusively for the bars by The Park Brewery, a new “nano-brewery” set up by food and drinks photographer Josh Kearns in Kingston-upon-Thames in south London. At 5% ABV, The Jam Tree American Pale Ale has rich, full flavours with a crisp, light character.
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Growth plan for Scottish wholesaler
C&C Group has acquired the remaining 50% stake in Wallaces Express, Scotland’s largest wine and spirit wholesaler. It follows C&C Group’s purchase of a 50% stake in the business in March 2013. It will be branded as Wallaces TCB, with plans to brow the business further across Scotland’s independent on-trade.

Brazilian concept set for new site
A new site for Brazilian restaurant and bar concept Cabana is to be opened at the O2 Arena in London’s Docklands this summer in time for the World Cup kick-off in Brazil. As with the other five sites, the bar will specialise in Brazil’s national drink, the Caipirinha, with varieties including Passionfruit and Pinapple & Mint. The site will cover 5,000 square feet over two floors.

Best Bar None seeks new chairman
Robert Humphreys, the vice chairman of Best Bar None, has been appointed interim chairman after the announcement that chairman Philip Kolvin QC is to step down. Over the past two years, Kolvin has helped to develop the profile of the scheme which promotes responsible management in the licensed trade in town and city centres. The search has begun for a permanent replacement for Kolvin.

Duty cuts welcomed by trade
The trade has welcomed the Chancellor’s 2014 Budget statement, including a cut of 1p per pint in beer duty and a freezing of duty on ordinary cider and spirits. Chancellor George Osborne also announced that the alcohol duty escalator, which sees prices rise at a rate of 2% above inflation, has been scrapped. The trade will also benefit from a doubling of the Annual Investment Allowance to £500,000 and extension of Capital Allowances for three years.

New push for Belgian beer
Heineken has announced new activity to promote its premium abbey Belgian beer Affligem in the UK, including premium point-of-sale materials and branded half-pint glassware. It will also be supported by a multi-platform campaign to drive trial and awareness including in-outlet sampling, connoisseur events, digital marketing and PR.

Visitor numbers up at northern show
Northern Restaurant & Bar has announced that visitor numbers rose by 20% year on year at last week’s show. It attracted 6,851 people on March 18 and 19 at Manchester Central. Managing director Thom Hetherington said: “This has, by popular consent, been our best year yet. With more than 250 exhibitors, over 50 demos, a cocktail competition, the launch of the NRB Debate and the announcement of the NRB Top 50 for the third year, we couldn’t have packed much more in.”

New ambassador for Grant’s
William Grant & Sons has appointed whisky expert Rob Allanson as global ambassador for Grant’s blended Scotch whisky. It follows the promotion of Ludo Ducrocq to head the distiller’s 80-strong team of brand ambassadors worldwide. Rob was previously editor of Whisky Magazine for eight years.

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