Industry news round-up: May 7, 2013

brugal papa andresOur weekly round-up of industry news, for April 29 to May 7, 2013

New look for Brugal rums
A new design has been unveiled across the Brugal rum range alongside the UK launch of an ultra-premium limited release. The new bottles have a stylish premium look with a modern edge while maintaining links with the rum’s heritage and authenticity. The redesign also sees the blanco renamed Brugal Especial Extra Dry to highlight its dry qualities and Brugal Extra Viejo replaced by Brugal XV with a new ageing process. Distributor Maxxium UK has also introduced Brugal Papá Andrés, an ultra-premium limited-edition rum that was previously only produced for the Brugal family to enjoy. Click here for more at

New food menu for The Living Room
Eclectic Bars is unveiling its first new food menu for The Living Room bars after taking over their management. It has enhanced the existing offering with more local provenance and a new “theatrical” presentation style, including the use of fish bowls, miniature barbecues and traditional clay plant pots. With its “British Fusion” cuisine, the menu is based on an “eat with your eyes” concept appealing to the visual senses. A new grazing menu of light bites and smaller meals has also been introduced for bar areas. Click here for more at

Rate of pub closures rises, Camra reports
Camra, the Campaign for Real Ale, has today published the latest CGA Camra Pub Tracker statistics which show that 26 pubs a week are closing in the UK. The rate of pub closures rose during the last six months up to March this year compared to earlier in 2012, from 18 to 26 per week across the UK. Camra chief executive Mike Benner added: “We believe that the scrapping of the beer duty escalator and the extra 1p off beer duty announced in this year’s budget could mark a turning point for pubs.”

Summer on-trade POS for Southern Comfort
New on-trade support materials for Southern Comfort are being introduced to help bars and pubs to capitalise on longer days and warmer weather. Focusing on the brand’s flavoured variants, the point-of-sale materials promote Southern Comfort Lime for mixing with lemonade and Southern Comfort Bold Black Cherry for serving with cola. Click here for more at

Nikka plans Japanese whisky pop-up
A pop-up bar is to be created for Japanese whisky Nikka within the refurbished cocktail bar at London restaurant Smiths of Smithfield. Running from May 21 to 31, it will offer 17 of Nikka’s premium single malt and blended whiskies for sampling, described as the biggest line-up of good-quality Japanese whiskies ever assembled in a bar in London.

Top bartender backs Iconoclasts of Taste
Leading bartender Tony Conigliaro is helping to find future “iconoclasts of taste” in a new project created for Grey Goose vodka. It aims to seek out and support “emerging iconoclasts” in the world of food and drink, inspired by the creation of Grey Goose as a vodka that, against convention, has taste. Tony, who co-founded London bars 69 Colebrooke Row and the Zetter Townhouse bar, joins three other “Established Iconoclasts”: chef Nuno Mendes, fashion designer Giles Deacon and curator Carrie Scott. Click here for more at

Retro diner for Tiger Tiger
Novus Leisure is rolling out a burger diner concept within its Tiger Tiger venues, bringing the flavour of the 1950s. The latest retro-themed diner opened at Tiger Tiger in Aberdeen this weekend (May 4), offering a range of good-quality burgers. A new cocktail menu, unique to Aberdeen, offers over 30 cocktails including 10 varieties of Mojito, including Orange & Passionfruit and Lemon Drizzle. Click here for more at

World Class takes to the skies
The UK final of this year’s Diageo Reserve World Class competition will be soaring to new heights through a partnership with British Airways. Ten UK finalists will meet in the first-class lounge at Heathrow Airport’s Terminal 5 next Monday (May 13) to battle it out for four spots on a BA flight to New York City. On board, the four finalists will have to create an in-flight cocktail at altitude, and then on the return flight, they will be challenged to make the “ultimate luxury night cap cocktail” for two places in the Western European finals. Click here for more at

Relaunch sees new 10-year-old whisky
The Tamdhu Distillery on Speyside has been relaunched with the introduction of a new 10-year-old single malt. It follows the acquisition of the 116-year-old distillery by Ian Macleod Distillers in 2011. Matured in oak ex-sherry casks, the new 10-year-old has vanilla and sugared almonds on the nose balanced by fresh oak and cinnamon. Bursting with fruit and spice, which gently yields to toffee, there is a richness of sherry oak on the palate with a gentle hint of peat smoke. The packaging communicates the brand’s values and provenance including an elegant glass bottle inspired by the Victorian era.

G&T twist challenge for No 3 Gin
Bartenders from across the UK are being invited to enter a competition for No 3 Gin, challenging them to make a twist on a classic gin and tonic. Five regional events in Brighton, Bristol, Edinburgh, Manchester and London will be followed by a grand final in London on June 17. Click here for more at

New Ardbeg release celebrates peat bogs
Ardbeg has announced that its latest limited-edition whisky will be called Ardbog to focus on the vital part played by Islay’s peat bogs in the whisky-making process. It is matured for 10 years in traditional American oak ex-bourbon barrels and rare ex-Spanish manzanilla sherry butts, leading to a salty texture accentuating the salty, briny flavours already prevalent in the whisky. Bottled at 52.1 per cent ABV, it is non-chill-filtered. Ardbog Day will be celebrated at the distillery on June 1 and at other locations around the world.

Demerger leads to new whisky companies
Two drinks companies have been launched after the demerger of Douglas Laing & Co, formerly headed by brothers Stewart and Fred Laing. Stewart and his sons Andrew and Scott have set up independent bottler and blender Hunter Laing & Co, based in Glasgow, with whisky brands Old Malt Cask, Old & Rare, Douglas Blend, John Player Special and Sovereign. Fred has taken control of Douglas Laing & Co, bringing in his daughter, Cara Laing, formerly at Morrison Bowmore Distillers, as head of brands marketing. They will develop new brands, including a premium single cask range to be unveiled in September, joining existing whiskies such as Big Peat, Provenance, Directors’ Cut and Premier Barrel.

Festival offers South African wine tasting
The South African Wine Festival returns to London for the fourth year running from May 20 to 22. Organised by Vivat Bacchus, it will feature nearly 20 South African producers for tastings and wine dinners including Paul Cluver, Lammershoek, Bouchard Finlayson, Rustenberg, Meerlust, Klein Constantia and Lourensford. Click here for more details.

Heineken turns pubs green for Champions League
Heineken is teaming up with licensees to “Paint London Green” to ensure the capital’s pubs are the place to celebrate the final of the UEFA Champions League. As sponsor of the competition since 2005, Heineken has selected 50 pubs to be “ambassador outlets” in the run-up to the Wembley final. Support will include branded point-of-sale materials, staff training and a focus on consistently pouring the perfect pint using the Pourtal dispense system and branded glassware.

Beer and wine pop-up tastings for LIWF
The organisers of this month’s London International Wine Fair have revealed plans for daily “Pop-Up Tastings” including beer as well as wine. With a different theme each day, they will take place in the MyWineFair central hub. On May 20, the International Beer Challenge (IBC) Pop-Up will feature the best beers from last year’s IBC such as Marston’s, Oakham Ales, Septem Microbrewery, Shepherd Neame and St Austell. May 21 will be the English Sparkling Wine Pop-Up while May 23 will be the Natural Wine Pop-Up. Visit for details and to register.

Door staff pass SIA spot checks
Only one person was suspected of working without a licence in a London-wide inspection of door supervisors last month, the Security Industry Authority (SIA) has announced. More than 50 door staff were checked in the action led by the Metropolitan Police with support from the SIA. It was the latest instalment of the Met’s Operation Condor, which saw officers deployed across London boroughs to crack down on licensing issues such as unlicensed door staff working at bars, pubs and clubs. The inspections took place at 11 venues in Ealing, Lambeth and Westminster, with questions raised over a door supervisor at an Ealing bar.

Exclusive Scottish deal for Tio Pepe sherry
Inverarity Morton has been chosen by Gonzalez Byass as the sole on-trade merchant in Scotland to represent its limited-edition fino sherry Tio Pepe En Rama. Only 10,752 bottles have been released of the fourth annual Tio Pepe in the En Rama style and Inverarity Morton has secured 20 cases.

Brewer teams up with cider maker for new cider
Brewery Oakham Ales in Peterborough is working with Warwickshire-based Hogan’s Cider and Stocks Farm in Worcestershire to create a new all-English apple cider called Oaple – derived from merging the words “Oakham” and “apple”. It has 5.8 per cent ABV and is made from English cider apples with a hint of freshly pressed Bramleys. Oakham is producing 10,000 litres of Oaple, available in 20-litre bag-in-box packs.

New TV campaign for San Miguel
Spanish beer San Miguel is marking the approach of summer with a new burst of TV advertising celebrating “Una Vida Bien Vivida” – Spanish for “a life well lived”. The new ad is being broadcast on channels including ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky in a range of high-profile slots, including Premier League and European football, and popular drama and comedy. Because of the beer’s Latin heritage, the ad will be shown during all Spanish League football fixtures on Sky Sports during May.

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