Industry news round-up: November 18, 2013

Varsity Bar and restaurant opening in Cardiff, south WalesOur weekly round-up of industry news, for November 11 to 18, 2013

Stonegate buys 78 ex-Bramwell sites
Bar and pub operator Stonegate Pub Company has acquired 78 sites from Bramwell Pub Company’s estate, including many town and city centre locations. The package includes seven student-oriented Varsity bars and three operating under South African concept Cape. They were part of the 185-strong Bramwell Pub Company which was put into administration through restructuring specialist Zolfo Cooper on October 31. Another 35 sites are on the market through Christie & Co.
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Paddington Bear inspires winning cocktail
Mixologist David Hamilton Boyd has won the first Putting Pen To Shaker competition with a rum and marmalade cocktail inspired by classic children’s book character, Paddington Bear. He was one of eight bartenders who took part in the UK final where they were challenged to present an original cocktail based on a book using at least two spirits from the portfolio of The Poshmakers: Ish Gin, Ish Limed, AKA Vodka and Virgin Gorda rum.
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TCG drives hot drink sales
Managed pub and bar group TCG has unveiled a range of initiatives to drive hot drinks sales in its pubs and bars. Working with ethical beverage company Cafeology, it has created three new drinks – two flavoured coffees and one hot chocolate – which will be available in 40 TCG sites. It is also rolling out a barista training programme for its pub and bar teams.
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Nottingham club wins later licence
Bar BZR in Nottingham’s Lace Market has won a later licence despite objections from local residents and being in a saturation zone. It has been given permission to extend its licenseable activities by half an hour so alcohol may now be served from 10pm to 2.30am Sundays to Thursdays and from 10pm to 3.30am on Fridays and Saturdays. The operator was helped by licensing solicitors Fraser Brown.
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Grey Goose to open pop-up bakery
A pop-up is to open in London for Grey Goose vodka – but serving breads and jams rather than vodka and cocktails. The Boulangerie François will sell freshly baked bread made from the same soft winter wheat that is used to create Grey Goose vodka in France. It will also offer “Grey Goose Confitures” created from flavoured Grey Goose vodkas.
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Nick House replaces Rose with Inca-themed club
Bar and club entrepreneur Nick House is to open Latin-Pacific late-night lounge bar and dance club Chakana in late November. With a name meaning “tree of life”, it promises “theatrical” drinks and an ornate interior inspired by Latin American and Incan myth. With a team from the club world, Chakana will be in the premises of Rose club, which was opened by Nick with Piers Adam two years ago in Marylebone.
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Magners branding returns to Irish heritage
A new branding design is to be launched by Irish cider brand Magners across all its products to reinforce its Irish heritage and give greater stand-out at the bar. It reintroduces the traditional green associated with the brand when it launched in the UK in 2005 and brings back classic cider vat imagery inspired by Magners’ cider mill in Clonmel, Ireland. The new design will roll out across all formats from mid-November and include new branded glassware in the on-trade.
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Leeds bar to open pop-up restaurant
The team behind Jake’s Bar in Leeds are to open a pop-up restaurant, Tongue ‘n Cheek, with chef Greg Lewis this week. It will open on Thursday (November 21) within Jake’s Bar and Still Room (pictured) in Call Lane, Leeds, serving up “inspirational bar food”.
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Bloom gin goes sloe for first time
A sloe gin has been released for the first time for Bloom London Dry Gin, made using traditional ingredients and techniques. Sloe Bloom Gin has been created by master distiller Joanne Moore and is suitable for drinking neat, on the rocks or in cocktails.
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Evans & Peel team to open new bar
The team behind cocktail bar Evans & Peel Detective Agency in Earl’s Court, London are to open a new bar and restaurant in Farringdon on the edge of the City. With the main restaurant and bar on the ground floor, Kench & Bibesy will build on the Prohibition-inspired style of Evans & Peel by having “theatre and fun” with another bar area in the basement.
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Meantime releases smoked porter
Meantime Brewing Company in London has created a smoked porter inspired by the beer style that came out of the capital in the 18th century. The limited-edition London Smoked Porter is available on draught at Meantime’s bars and pubs plus a select range of specialist craft pubs, bars and restaurants.
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New look for Kozel in on-trade
A fresh new look including fonts, glassware and T-bar badges is being rolled out in the UK on-trade for Czech beer Kozel. A new stylised logo, showing Kozel’s signature goat and the year the beer was launched, has been created to heighten visibility at the bar and give it a more premium appearance.
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World Class competition comes to TV
The final of this year’s Diageo’s World Class Bartender of the Year competition, featuring British finalist Gareth Evans, is to be broadcast in a four-part series on UK television. The 30-minute episodes are scheduled to air from November across more than 110 countries on channels including Food Network in the UK where it will be shown at 10pm daily from November 18 to 21.
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Ilkley beer inspired by US and Germany
The classic American drink Rye and Dry, made with rye whiskey and ginger, and a style of Bavarian beer have inspired a new cask ale from Ilkley Brewery in West Yorkshire. “Rye n’ Dry” is a combination of rye, barley grains and three American hops: Centennial, Liberty and Chinook. Ginger and orange have been added to give a dry and spicy finish. The 5% ABV red ale is a take on the classic beer style, Roggenbier, a high-rye beer traditionally found in Bavaria in Germany.
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Bath Ales launches whisky cask-aged beers
A range of limited-edition premium beers matured in whisky casks are part of a new collection released by independent brewer Bath Ales. Four are imperial stouts that have matured in Scottish whisky casks for eight months. They are Speyside (ABV 10.8%), Islay No 1 (11%), Islay No 2 (11.1%) and Highland (11.4%). The fifth in the collection is a barley wine with ABV of 9.1%.
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Top score for TGI Friday’s hygiene
Bar and restaurant group TGI Friday’s is celebrating after gaining a perfect rating of five points in the National Food Hygiene Ratings Scheme across all 60 of its UK sites. Announcing the achievement, the operator pointed out the ratings placed all of Friday’s venues “significantly higher” than several renowned London restaurants.
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Glenfiddich supports South Pole challenge
A limited-edition bottling of 29-year-old Glenfiddich has been released to celebrate the brand’s sponsorship of the UK team in the Walking with the Wounded South Pole Allied Challenge. First Drinks secured a cask of the whisky to produce 250 bottles of the special limited-edition Spirit of a Nation.
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Bath Ales takes on Bristol concert hall bar
Brewer Bath Ales is growing its portfolio of bars, pubs and restaurants by taking over the bar and restaurant at Colston Hall concert venue in Bristol. After moving into the 300-capacity Café Bar in the hall’s foyer area last week, it will carry out a refurbishment at the start of 2014. It is due to reopen the venue’s 40-seater Bistrot in the new year with plans for a refurbishment.
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£5,000 prize in vodka brand incentive
A bartender incentive is to be run for Quintessentially Vodka that gives bar staff the chance to be rewarded with £5,000 on the spot. From December 1, a mystery customer will visit bars and restaurants throughout London and ask for a vodka recommendation. The 100th bartender to recommend Quintessentially Vodka will immediately be rewarded with £5,000 in cash.
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Trophy winners announced in IWSC
William Grant & Sons has been named both distiller and international spirits producer of the year in the International Wine & Spirits Competition (IWSC). The trophy for best UK spirits producer went to Diageo while Demerara Distillers, the makers of El Dorado rums, was named best American and Caribbean producer. The English Wine Producer of the Year Trophy went to Gusbourne Estate in Kent. The Vinitaly Communicator of the Year Trophy went to spirits expert Dave Broom.
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Australian bartender wins Beefeater 24 competition
Jason Williams of The Rook bar in Sydney won the third annual Beefeater 24 Global Bartender Competition. At the Grand Finale in London, he beat 25 other finalists after creating the Werewolves of London cocktail, which combined Beefeater 24 with orange and peach liqueur, lemon juice and frankincense bitters, finished off with a green tea mist.
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ALMR welcomes new supplier members
The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has expanded its membership with two suppliers to the bar, pub and club trade. They are Freedrinks, the distributor of the Zeo soft drinks range, and British Loose Leaf, a supplier of presentation products such as menu covers.

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