Industry news round-up: March 25, 2013

funkin brazilian packOur weekly round-up of industry news for the week to March 25, 2013

Funkin launches Brazilian cocktail mixer
Drinks specialist Funkin has invented an exotic fruity cocktail called the Brazilian to add to its range of cocktail mixers. It is a tropical blend of mango, passion fruit and orange juice with Brazilian guarana seeds which contain twice the caffeine of coffee beans. Funkin Brazilian can be served with vodka, white rum, gin, cachaça or tequila. Available in one-litre packs, it is being introduced into the on-trade this month. Funkin chief executive Andrew King said it would capitalise on growing interest in upcoming sports events in Brazil including the World Cup and the Olympics. Click here for full story

Eclectic reports continuing growth
Sales and earnings continue to grow for Eclectic Clubs & Bars, which operates bars such as Lola Lo, Sakura and The Living Room. For the six months to the end of December, sales rose two per cent to £10.2million and EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation) was up 14 per cent to £1.7million. According to private-equity majority owner Avanti Capital, management are optimistic that the second six months will continue the trend seen in the first half.

Italian vodka liqueur to be launched in UK
Distributor Pinnacle Drinks is preparing to launch Italian vodka-based liqueur Keglevich into the UK on-trade for shots, long drinks and cocktails. Drinks company Stock Spirits Group has commissioned marketing agency Liquid to work on the UK launch of the brand, including on-trade promotional point-of-sale materials to support the launch. According to The Drum magazine, the creative is targeted at people aged 18 to 28 and aims to reflect the fun and vibrancy of the brand personality, including the strapline “Shake it, Shoot it, Mix it, Love it”.

Limited edition to be introduced for J2O
Britvic Soft Drinks has unveiled its latest limited-edition J2O, with flavours of pear and guava. J2O Pear Gold is available in the on- and the off-trade and has been created to broaden the appeal of the brand to a wider audience. It will benefit from an overall multimedia marketing campaign for the brand which includes TV advertising, radio support, on-pack promotion and interactive content on the J2O Facebook page. It will also be supported by bespoke outlet activity later in the year in the leisure and wholesale channels.

Trade attacks rising duty on spirits and cider
The Government’s plans to scrap the duty escalator for beer but not for wines and spirits is “misplaced” and could be illegal, according to the Wine & Spirits Trade Association. Cider also remains on the escalator and saw duty rise by 2p a pint in last week’s Budget, leading to criticism from the National Association of Cider Makers. Wine duty will have increased by 50 per cent and spirits duty by 44 per cent since the escalator was introduced five years ago. Last week, the Chancellor pleased trade bodies such as the British Beer and Pub Association and Camra by scrapping the escalator on beer and cutting beer duty by 1p.

Monin adds new syrup flavour
Cocktail syrup specialist Monin has launched a new flavour with the taste of rosemary. The bright emerald-green syrup has a strong flavour, redolent of eucalyptus and with a slight bitter aftertaste. It combines well with fruit flavours, such as apricot, orange and tomato, to produce light aromatic cocktails.

Crabbies Strawberry Halewood expands Crabbie’s flavours
Two new flavours have been added to the Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer range by drinks manufacturer Halewood International. The new flavours are Raspberry and, in a fruity combination, Strawberry and Lime, joining existing flavours Original and Spiced Orange. Both will be launched in April across a wide range of on- and off-trade outlets, available in the traditional 500ml format.

Gold beer added to permanent Tetley’s range
A new permanent cask beer from Tetley’s is to be launched: Tetley’s Gold Cask. With an ABV of 4.1 per cent, it is a refreshing gold beer with a citrus character. It is brewed with 100 per cent English barley, gently kilned to produce a full-flavour malt, and two hop varieties, Cascade and Marynka. It will be delivered through Tapsters, the cask beer business of supplier Carlsberg UK. It is the first permanent addition to the Tetley’s range for some years.

Pilsner Urquell invests in training and font
A new bar staff training programme will be launched in April for Czech beer Pilsner Urquell. Taste Akademie is designed to educate and excite bartenders around the unique taste profile of the beer. A premium font and branded glassware will also be available to outlets to heighten brand visibility at the bar and give consumers a “more authentic drinking experience”. Click here for full story

US cocktail mixers brought to UK
Florida puree and cocktail premix company Tropics Beverages is launching its range of premium frozen fruit purees and mixers in the UK on-trade. The 100 per cent natural range is designed for bars for cocktails, mocktails, smoothies and milkshakes. The 14-strong range includes Piña Colada, Mojito and Margarita and just need alcohol added. They are flash pasteurised and frozen in 946ml tetra packs with a frozen shelf life of two years.

Bourbon-infused beer to be launched nationally
Buffalo Black IPA, a new cask beer infused with the flavour of Buffalo Trace bourbon, is to be launched nationally after being previewed at selected Brighton pubs. The beer, with an ABV of five per cent, is a collaboration between Kissingate Brewery in Horsham, West Sussex, and Buffalo Trace’s UK distributor, Hi-Spirits. Since last week, it has been previewed at pubs operated by Brighton-based Indigo Pub Company, including the Wick Inn, Hove, which will be followed by a national launch. Click here for full story

Japan continues winning streak in whisky awards
Japanese whisky Hibiki 21 Years Old has beaten spirits from Scotland and other countries to win the title of world’s best blended whisky in the World Whiskies Awards. Other winners included George T Stagg, Speyside Whisky Liqueur 40 Years Old and Ardbeg Galileo. Click here for full story

Baa Bar wins Merseyside business award
Multiple operator Baa Bar was named business of the year at the inaugural Women in Business awards organised by Downtown in Business to celebrate female entrepreneurs and business owners from across Merseyside. Headed by chief executive Elaine Clarke, Baa Bar was recognised for its phenomenal growth over the last 12 months, including the launch of several new sites as part of the group’s plans to double in size over the next five years.

Hop-growing kits help consumers understand beer
London craft brewer Meantime Brewing is giving away over 12,000 hop-growing kits in a bid to educate the public about the art of British brewing. The Hops in a Box will be distributed in over 80 on-trade outlets, encouraging customers to try growing the hops that are used in beer. Each of the kits contain a packet of hop seeds, a mini terracotta pot, dehydrated compost and full growing instructions. Meantime will have a “Hop Doctor” available to give advice via Twitter and Facebook and will encourage people to share progress through social media.

TCG donates beer duty saving to charity
Managed pub and bar group TCG is donating the 1pm cut in beer duty in last week’s Budget to Cancer Research UK from today (March 25) up to the Easter weekend. TCG chief operating officer Nigel Wright said: “It’s great timing because we were planning a Cancer Research UK Easter Bucket Shake and we will now be combining this cash from customers with the penny for every pint sold over this period, and then presenting a cheque to the charity.”

Food support package developed by lessees
Star Pubs & Bars has joined forces with foodservice specialist 3663 to offer its lessees a comprehensive food support package to help them capitalise on the growing pub food market. Called The Good Food Partnership, the programme supplies not only menus and food but also assesses the capabilities of individual bars and pubs, including their equipment and potential customer base. It runs lessee workshops, offers e-learning training for staff, provides specifications for kitchen equipment and food preparation, and undertakes mystery visits to provide feedback. It is free and being rolled out after trials in 13 pubs.

Tullamore Dew sampling alongside banner exhibition
An exhibition showcasing thought-provoking and humorous banners displayed by sports supporters across the world will be visiting city centres throughout the UK in March and April. The Tullamore Dew Art of Banner Banter exhibition will tour on a bus that will also house a bespoke bar and sample the Irish whiskey to an anticipated audience of more than 30,000 people. It will visit Birmingham, London, Liverpool, Newcastle, Melrose, Manchester, Brighton, Bath, Cardiff and Bristol.

New packaging and varietal for Campo Viejo
Major plans have been unveiled for premium Spanish wine Campo Viejo including a major consumer experiential campaign, advertising and customer support throughout 2013. It also includes stylish new packaging from July, with gold embossing and individual batch numbers on the labels, and a new varietal, Campo Viejo Garnacha 2012, an expression of rioja sourced from old vines in the Rioja Baja region.

New on-premise director at Red Bull
Red Bull has appointed Alex Minett as on-premise director, responsible for leading and driving the energy brand in bars, pubs and clubs. He has been with Red Bull UK since 2000, heading up teams across on-premise and off-premise.

Tequila-flavoured beer links with new comedy
Global Brands has announced its biggest-ever advertising campaign for Amigos Tequila Flavoured Beer. It includes sponsorship of ITV2’s new comedy series Plebs which starts today (March 25), with ident bumpers on all six episodes. It will be further supported with a national digital media campaign.

First UK TV ad campaign for Jim Beam
Spirits company Maxxium UK has launched its first national TV ad for Jim Beam bourbon as part of a £9million investment this spring. Running across major TV channels for four weeks from March 22, it focuses on cherry-flavoured Red Stag by Jim Beam alongside Jim Beam Honey and Jim Beam White to drive broader awareness among the core target audience of adults aged 21 to 35.

Lavazza boosts on-trade presence
Premium Italian coffee company Lavazza has increased its presence in JD Wetherspoon pubs this month with the addition of freshly-ground filter coffee. More than 860 of the pubs now serve Lavazza’s premium filter coffee using the Italian brand’s Tierra Rainforest Alliance beans which JD Wetherspoon staff, in a UK-industry first of this scale, will grind fresh immediately prior to brewing.

On-trade to increase workforce and use of social media
New research shows that increasing customer expectations and the rising use of social media will continue to be important for bars, pubs and clubs. The survey for People 1st’s 2013 State of the Nation report found that, while the number of pubs, bars and nightclubs decreased by two per cent between 2011 and 2012, 40 per cent of businesses have increased sales, particularly those that have diversified into serving food. Two-thirds of employers said they expected their workforce to increase in the next three to five years. It showed that customer service skills and effective use of social media for marketing would grow in importance in the next three to five years. Click here for the full report.

Poet inspires new beer range
Sonnet 43 Brew House at Coxhoe, County Durham, is creating a new range of cask ales based on the life and works of Victorian poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, who was born nearby. The limited-edition ales will be released intermittently throughout the year, using new ingredients and brewing techniques, based on aspects of her prose and life. The first, available from April, will be Hope End, a rum-infused ginger pale ale inspired by the Barrett family’s history of owning sugar plantations in Jamaica and named after the estate that they bought with the resulting fortune.

Lion ale is mane attraction
Cotswold Hills brewery Hook Norton has launched a new ale, Lion. With an ABV of four per cent, the bronze beer is brewed with a blend of four malts and four hops. It is already available across Hook Norton’s estate of 40 pubs in Oxfordshire, Warwickshire, Northamptonshire and Gloucestershire and will also be available via free trade, Punch, Enterprise and several national brewers. The launch is supported with point-of-sale materials including glassware, drip mats and clothing, with phrases such as “What’s new pussycat?” and “Here kitty kitty”.

Finalist Russ Ward from Sheffield.Sheffield bartender comes fourth in global competition
Russell Ward (pictured), aged 31, from Sheffield has been crowned one of the best bartenders in the world at the TGI Friday’s World Bartender Championship 2013 in Dallas, Texas. He finished fourth overall in the competition which was entered by over 8,000 bartenders from 60 countries. Russ won the TGI Friday’s UK Bartender Champion in September. The world bartender title went to Hiroyuki Yamada from Tokyo.

Edinburgh bar beats Guinness drinking record
The Three Sisters in Edinburgh’s Cowgate broke the record for pints of Guinness drunk on St Patrick’s Day this year. Part of EH1 Group, the venue sold over 11,000 pints of Guinness alongside performances by Boyzone’s Shane Lynch and comedy duo The Rubber Bandits.

Boost for bookings on Slug and Lettuce website
The 71-strong Slug and Lettuce bar group, part of Stonegate Pub Company, has relaunched its website,, with a fresh new look and added features. The site, designed by digital agency Clock, has an improved booking system and better navigation.

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