Industry news round-up: May 12, 2014


snug wycombeOur weekly round-up of industry news, for May 6 to 12, 2014

Expansion plan under way for Snug
Snug Bars is to launch its sixth venue in Hitchin in Hertfordshire at the start of a new programme to open 15 new sites in the next five years. The Snug will open on May 16, offering a daytime and late-night offering specialising in food and cocktails. Snug Bars owner Giles Fry said: “The Snug has gone from strength to strength in its five other locations since we first launched 10 years ago. We obviously hope to build on that success with plans to open 15 Snugs over the next five years.” Pictured above is The Snug in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.
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British bartender wins global Bacardi Legacy
Tom Walker (pictured) from The American Bar at The Savoy in London won this year’s global Bacardi Legacy cocktail competition in Moscow. After gaining a place to represent the UK in the semi-finals, he made it through to the grand final to beat 26 other bartenders from around the world. He won with his drink Maid in Cuba, made with Bacardi Superior rum, fresh mint and cucumber plus sweet and sour mix, topped with soda and an absinthe spritz.
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DrinkAdvisor launches updated app
A new version of DrinkAdvisor, the app featuring the best bars and clubs in cities across the UK and around the world, has been released for smartphones and tablets. After launching in November last year, the new version is designed to make it even easier to get detailed descriptions of nearby venues, see photos of the interiors, read user reviews and check opening hours.
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Leading London bar sold to Paris team
Rushmore Group has sold leading cocktail bar The Player in Soho, London to the team behind Sherry Butt, one of Paris’s top bars. The new owners plan to extensively refurbish it and relaunch it later this year with a new concept. The Player was originally opened in 1998 by legendary bartender Dick Bradsell and relaunched by Rushmore Group’s owner Jonathan Downey in 2001.
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Gin brand extends with strawberry variant
Bloom Strawberry Cup, a limited-edition of Bloom London Dry Gin, has been launched for the summer, steeping the spirit in fresh English strawberries. It follows the promotion of the gin for serving with a garnish of strawberry quarters because it complements the floral character. The signature serve of Bloom Strawberry Cup is with lemonade.
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New UK ambassador for Jack Daniel’s
Spirits company Brown-Forman has appointed an experienced bartender Cam Dawson as American whiskey ambassador for the Jack Daniel’s range in the UK, helping to build appreciation, advocacy and awareness of the American whiskey category. He will work alongside American whiskey ambassador Tom Vernon and a team of American whiskey specialists, running training sessions, master classes, consumer and trade tastings as well as working with bartenders on bespoke projects.
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New on-trend food menu for Henry’s
Managed pub and bar operator TCG is launching summer menus for its Henry’s Café Bars, with new dishes based on seasonal produce, lighter ingredients and the latest trends. It includes four new salads, including Salmon Niçoise and Quinoa with sweet potato and avocado, and main courses such as cod with feta cheese and sundried tomato and bauletti pasta parcels.
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Coca-Cola reveals World Cup investment
Coca-Cola Enterprises is making a significant investment in Coca-Cola and Coke Zero in the on-trade in the run-up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. It is offering on-trade customers bespoke point-of-sale materials and themed packs of its 330ml bottle to drive visibility and rate of sale around Coca-Cola and Coke Zero.
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Bar wins licence after “cannabis party”
Nottingham bar The Loft is set to reopen after police moved to revoke its licence because of claims it hosted a “cannabis party”. The owners worked with police and licensing specialists Fraser Brown to agree an action plan that would allow them to gain a new licence. The bar closed after police responded to claims that customers were smoking cannabis at the venue.
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Merchant history inspires new London bar
A new bar, Merchant House, is to be opened in the City of London by The London Bar Consultants, specialising in cocktails and premium spirits including gins. Located in Well Court, off Bow Lane, it will be a celebration of London’s mercantile history and the spices, sugar and rum brought to the city over the centuries. It is due to open on June 11.
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Edinburgh bartender heads to Caribbean
Will Cox from The Bon Vivant bar in Edinburgh has won a place in the international final of a cocktail competition in the French West Indies in June. He was named UK winner of the Domaine de Canton Bartender of the Year contest in London after creating The Lady of the Indies that mixes the ginger liqueur with unaged mezcal, Earl Grey tea and grapefruit bitters.
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Sherry monsters launched by Maverick Drinks
Maverick Drinks has launched Darkness! – a range of bold, dark single-malt and single-grain whiskies sourced from leading Scottish distilleries. The whiskies have a deep, dark colour from a three-month finish in specially crafted 50-litre first-fill sherry casks.
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Movies inspire Newcastle bar’s cocktails
A cocktail menu inspired by classic movies has been introduced at Osbornes in Newcastle upon Tyne. They include two drinks paying homage to a classic horror movie: Silence of the Jams, a mix of rum, rhubarb jam, vanilla and lime, and Hannibal’s Nectar which combines honey with cherry-flavoured bourbon, caramel syrup and chocolate honeycomb.
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New owners revamp south London bar
A new cocktail bar and coffee shop, The Imperial Durbar, is to be launched in the former premises of Honey & Venom in Tooting Bec, south London. It was sold through leisure property specialist Davis Coffer Lyons to new independent operator Red Trousers Entertainment – at a premium despite the site being closed.
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Provençal flavours transform hotel bar
The flavours of Provence in the south of France are to transform the terrace of the Churchill Bar at the Hyatt Regency London in Portman Square. From June 1, it will be filled with creeping vines and the aromas of fresh herbs and citrus fruits. A new menu of summer cocktails will stay true to the bar’s British roots but be infused with Provençal regional produce, from olive oil and lavender to citrus fruits and herbs.
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New UK distribution deal for Vestal
Vestal Vodka, the craft Polish vodka, has been added to the portfolio of distributor Maverick Drinks to support its development in the UK. The vodka has grown on the back of a focus on terroir of its potato ingredients and the release of vintages. Founder William Borrell said: “Maverick Drinks has a wide portfolio of hand-crafted spirits and shares many of the same values as we do at Vestal. Their refreshing approach to brand development is creating quite the stir in the drinks industry.”

New UK distributor for Brockmans
Brockmans Gin has appointed premium spirits specialist Indie Brands as its first full-service distributor for the UK. Previously, the brand’s own team handled all UK distribution but were supported by UK sales agency Luscious Liquid for the on-trade – a sister company to Indie Brands.

Matthew Clark celebrates wine growth
Leading on-trade wholesaler Matthew Clark is celebrating a year of continued value growth in the wine sector with an increase of 7% over the 12 months to January 26 – despite the market sector experiencing a decline of 13%. It follows development of the wine list to concentrate on offering high-quality and exciting wines to the UK on-trade, bringing in names such as Chapel Down, Te Karainga, Bai Gorri and Herencia Altés.

Countdown to London Club & Bar Awards
Nominations have started to come in for the London Club & Bar Awards which are due to be held on June 2 at the InterContinental Hotel London Park Lane, hosted by Boy George. Marking its 20th anniversary, it includes awards for the best clubs, bars, promoters, DJs, events, interior design, hosts and cocktail bartenders. The entries and winners for each award are selected by enthusiastic club goers and a panel involving national newspapers and media partners, and expert key “social connoisseurs”.

Sommelier of the Year semi-finalists revealed
The Academy of Food & Wine Service has announced the sommeliers going through to the semi-finals of the Moët UK Sommelier of the Year 2014 on June 12 after regional finals in Bristol, London and Stafford. They are: Loic Avril of The Fat Duck, Bray; Romain Bourger of The Vineyard at Stockcross, Newbury; Lukasz Kolodziejczyk of Pollen Street Social, London; Olivier Marie of Coq d’Argent, City of London; Stefan Neumann of Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London; Adam Pawlowski of Northcote, Blackburn; Emanuel Pesqueira of Summer Lodge, Dorchester; Damien Trinquel of Lucknam Park Hotel & Spa, Chippenham; and Roberto Zanca of Hotel du Vin, Cheltenham. They will be joined by Tobias Brauweiler of The Ritz, London (2013 runner-up), Kathrine Larsen (2013 Young Sommelier of the Year), and Tanguy Martin of Hotel TerraVina, Southampton (winner of 2014 Chaînes des Rôtisseurs Young Sommelier of the Year).


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