Industry news round-up: October 14, 2013


dusse cognacOur weekly round-up of industry news, for October 7 to October 14, 2013


Bacardi to launch stylish cognac in UK
Bacardi is preparing to introduce new cognac brand D’Ussé (pictured) into the UK next year after its successful launch in the US, backed by rapper Jay-Z. Created at Bacardi’s 218-year-old Château de Cognac in France, it is a smooth, complex VSOP cognac, suitable for sipping neat or on the rocks or in cocktails. It was launched in the US last year and is a blend of eaux-de-vie aged for at least four-and-a-half years.
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Rebranding and new flavours for RTD
Global Brands has rebranded its ready-to-drink (RTD) brand VK, including the launch of five new fruit flavours. Describing the rebranding as “revolutionary”, it is introducing the new packaging and flavours to stay ahead of the “declining” RTD category and match trends in soft drinks and flavoured ciders. The new flavours are Apple and Mango, Orange and Passion Fruit, Strawberry and Lime, Tropical Fruits and Black Cherry. VK Blue remains the same but VK Ice is being relaunched as Ice Storm, now infused with edible glitter.
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Competition challenges bartenders to be creative
Bartenders have been challenged to get creative with gin, rum and vodka for a chance to win the prize of a trip for two to Madrid. It calls on entrants to come up with a cocktail that has a name and personality inspired by a book and also includes a chance for the winner to have a written piece published in Bar magazine and on Barmagazine.co.uk covering their trip and experience at the competition. Their cocktail must use two products out of The Poshmakers’ portfolio of Ish Gin, Ish Limed, AKA Vodka and Virgin Gorda, which won best rum at this weekend’s Boutique Rum Fest in London.
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UK bar tops list of world’s best bars
The Artesian Bar at London’s Langham hotel heads the list of the world’s 50 Best Bars for the second year running, with another London bar, Nightjar, in second place. The UK was represented in the top 50 by several other London bars including London’s Connaught Bar in fourth place, Happiness Forgets, Callooh Callay, the American Bar at the Savoy, 69 Colebrooke Row and Zetter Townhouse plus Edinburgh bar Bramble. The annual list is compiled by Drinks International with a global “academy” of judges.
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Angostura names UK cocktail challenge winner
Máté Csatlós from The Edgbaston, a new hotel near Birmingham, has won the UK final of the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge, held inside a pod on the London Eye. He will attend the global final in Trinidad, the home of Angostura rum and Angostura Bitters, during its carnival and compete against the world’s top bartenders for the prize of a trophy, $10,000 in cash and a two-year contract to be the global brand ambassador for Angostura aromatic bitters and rums.
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Absolut helps bars turn drinks blue
Bars are being given chemistry sets so they can serve up Absolut vodka cocktails with pipettes for adding a drop of cobalt blue liqueur to match the latest limited-edition bottle. About 250,000 pipettes are being distributed to the trade along with the specially produced liqueur along with kits that include chemistry apparatus such as measuring beakers. Launched this month, it ties in with the new Absolut Originality bottle where each of the 4,000 bottles has an individual design created by adding a drop of cobalt blue matching the Absolut brand colour.
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Leading bar operator joins ALMR
Bar and restaurant operator Living Ventures, based in the north-west, has joined the bar industry’s leading body, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers. The company operates 31 sites, mainly in the north of England, including the new Manchester House restaurant and bar in Manchester, The Alchemist bars in Manchester and Leeds and other Manchester venues such as the Oast House, Australasia and Artisan.
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Ritz bartender wins maraschino cocktail contest
Damiano Madeddu from the Rivoli Bar at The Ritz hotel in London has won the annual cocktail competition for Luxardo’s maraschino liqueurs. He beat 11 other leading bartenders from around the UK at the final of the 2013 Luxardo Masters of Maraschino competition held at Boutique Bar Show this month in association with the UK Bartenders Guild. His cocktail was a punch made with Zacapa 23 Year Old rum, Luxardo Maraschino and Luxardo Sangue Morlacco.
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Bulldog appoints bartender as brand champion
Bartender Tom Finnon has been appointed to the role of brand champion for London dry gin Bulldog to represent the brand at trade shows, deliver training to bar staff and develop showcase drinks, including its new higher-ABV expression Bulldog Gin Bold. Tom began his career in Oracle bar, Leeds, and later joined Smokestack in Leeds, becoming general site manager.
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Distiller partners top London hotel with gin palace
Hayman Distillers is collaborating with The Langham in London’s West End to launch a Gin Palace within the hotel’s opulent Palm Court. Running from now until the end of November, the Gin Palace offers a new menu of cocktails made with Hayman’s gins, created by Alex Kratena, head mixologist at the hotel’s Artesian Bar. It is open each Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 7pm until midnight and features a live jazz trio.
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Sazerac accolade awarded to first UK bar
London bar NOLA is to become the first bar outside of North America to receive the Seal of the Sazerac in recognition of its promotion of the Sazerac cocktail and the culture of New Orleans. The accolade has been awarded by the New Orleans Cultural Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society (NOCCPS), which organises the annual Tales of the Cocktail festival in New Orleans. Only a handful of bars in North America, mostly in New Orleans, have been given the seal which recognises commitment to serving the perfect Sazerac, the official cocktail of the Louisiana city.
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Liverpool deli revamped into bar
A new bar has been created in Liverpool city centre through the refurbishment of the ground floor of deli and restaurant Delifonseca. The deli in Stanley Street has been revamped into a 60-capacity bar offering an extensive wine list by the glass plus a large variety of premium spirits and beers. The venue was originally opened by Candice Fonseca in 2006, followed by a second Delifonseca in Liverpool’s Brunswick Quay in 2010.
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James Clay to bring Californian lager to UK
Anchor Brewing in San Francisco is launching Anchor California Lager in the UK through a partnership with speciality beer importer James Clay. The beer, described as “California’s first genuine lager reborn”, was first bottled in February this year for distribution in California only but its success has prompted the brewer to start exporting it. The beer is based on the first lager produced in the state in 1876 at a small brewery named Boca.
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Social media tool added to View listings
Bars, pubs, restaurants and clubs will be able to incorporate their Twitter feeds into their listings profiles on the nationwide View going-out websites. Led by the flagship ViewLondon, it has been introduced to help operators enhance their venues’ exposure and encourage more interaction with existing and potential customers. After London, 2View Group will roll out the social media package across all 21 city guides that come under the View umbrella this month.
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Ketel One partners London club for bartender events
London private members’ club Home House is to run social and educational events for bartenders in association with Diageo’s Ketel One vodka. With the first event scheduled for Sunday October 20, it aims to promote the West End venue as a place for bartenders and mixologists. The evening event will be one of the first outings for David Beatty since taking over as UK brand ambassador for Ketel One after 18 months as ambassador for the brand in Australia.
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Gin Guild welcomes new bar trade members
Bartenders, brand ambassadors and distillers from the UK are among the latest new members admitted to the Gin Guild. They include Alessandro Palazzi, head bartender at Dukes Bar at Dukes Hotel in London, Bombay Sapphire’s UK brand ambassador Sam Carter, and Tanqueray’s global brand ambassador Barrie Wilson. Others include Jonathan Clark of City of London Distillery, Sam Galsworthy of Sipsmith in London, John McCarthy of Adnams, Jean-Sébastien Robicquet of G’vine Gin and Ian Harris of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust.
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Oceana in Kingston to become Pryzm
Work is under way to transform The Luminar Group’s Oceana nightclub in Kingston-upon-Thames in south London into the company’s new Pryzm concept. The venue is undergoing a £1million investment to completely revamp it for a relaunch in November that will create 40 new jobs. It follows the debut of Pryzm at the former Oceana in Bristol which was relaunched last month after a £1million investment. More Oceana sites are also set to be converted to Pryzm.
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New club to be opened at London venue
Part of London bar and restaurant Paramount in the landmark Centre Point tower is to be relaunched as a new late-night club by owner Pierre Condou. Zinc on the 31st floor – downstairs from Paramount’s restaurant – will offer cocktails, dancing and DJs on Friday and Saturday evenings through to dawn thanks to its 24-hour licence. A new look is being designed by Studio Wick.
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Ex-Novus man launches procurement service
Phil Pothecary, the former head of procurement at bar and club operator Novus Leisure, has joined Prestige Purchasing to help launch a new beverage procurement service. He has been recruited along with Chris Donaldson, a Master of Wine, to head the new practice aimed specifically at operators in the hospitality sector.
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Leeds bartenders triumph in Punch Pong
A pair of bartenders from Leeds were crowned champions of the Underground Punch Pong League (UPPL) Monin Bartenders’ Challenge Cup. Olly Pluck from Roadhouse and Ross Millar from Shears Yard won a day trip to Paris for themselves and two colleagues. They were among 12 teams of two bartenders from across the UK and Ireland who competed at the final at the Arts Theatre in London’s West End last week.
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Bar celebrates Chocolate Week with drinks
North London bar The Four Sisters has teamed up with Divine Chocolate to create cocktails to celebrate Chocolate Week, which runs from today to October 20. The drinks, created by head bartender Andrei Marian, are inspired by the chocolate maker’s two new flavours, Chilli and Orange and Toffee and Sea Salt, as well as its popular 85% Dark Chocolate. The drinks are available throughout October.
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UK bartenders in top three in global tequila competition
Mexican bartender Jose Luis Leon has won the Tahona Society’s global competition to find the best tequila bartender. He was one of 15 bartenders from 11 countries around the world in the grand final in Guadalajara, Mexico. Luis, from Licoreria Limantour in Mexico City, will go on a trip to work with bartending legend Charles Joly at The Aviary in Chicago. Emma Tanner of Wahaca in Charlotte Street, London, and Chris Mosey of Hula in Manchester took second and third places respectively.
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Diplomático brings vintage rum to UK
A limited-edition single-vintage rum from 2000 is to be introduced by Venezuelan rum producer Diplomático in the UK. Master blender Tito Cordero chose it from a selection of reserves laid down to age at Destilerias Unidas 13 years ago where contrasting weather patterns created one of the best sugar cane harvests in Venezuelan history. The Single Vintage 2000 was launched at Rumfest in London this weekend by UK distributor Speciality Brands and will be available to trade customers at £57 from the end of October.
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Manx beers gain distribution on mainland
Okell’s beers from the Isle of Man are to gain greater UK distribution after they were added to the portfolio of specialist beer supplier Morgenrot. The agreement covers the full Okell’s range including five core ales in nine-gallon cask: Okell’s Bitter, Manx Pale Ale, IPA, dark beer Olaf and red beer Jiarg. It also covers four beers in 33cl bottles: wheat beer Maclir, IPA, Aile porter and 1907 strong pale ale. A selection of seasonal ales will also be available throughout the year. It is Morgenrot’s first venture into cask ale.
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Historic Nottingham beer returns on draught
The historic Shipstone’s Bitter has returned on draught to bars and pubs across the East Midlands after a 20-year hiatus. The first cask barrels of the Nottingham brand were delivered across the city this month after the brewer was relaunched in July with the release of Shipstone’s beer in bottles.
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BBPA announces winners in annual awards
The winners of the British Beer & Pub Association industry annual awards have been announced at the trade body’s annual dinner at the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge. The title of Beer Champion went to Cheshire brewer Frederic Robinson, with Marston’s highly commended. The award for Pub Champion went to Leicestershire-based Everards, with Heineken’s Star Pubs & Bars highly commended. Carlsberg UK won the Heart of the Community award while the Chairman’s Award was given to financial secretary to the Treasury Sajid Javid for his support for the pub industry.

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