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Thu 3rd Jan 2013 - Breaking News
Joule’s to add nine pubs with £1m of funding;
InnBrighton adds iconic Brighton pub;
Walkabout operator Intertain reports like-for-likes up 8.6 per cent in December.

Joule’s to add nine pubs with £1m of funding: Shropshire-based Joule’s Brewery, founded in 2010, has secured £1m in extra funding from The Co-operative bank that will allow it is to open nine more pubs. The funding will help Joule’s to expand its Tap House branded pubs which now have locations in Shropshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Wales. Managing director Steve Nuttall said: “While many pub chains have been hit hard by the downturn, Joule’s shows how we are giving people what they want: really good beer, good food and stripped back and uncomplicated interiors in lovely historical buildings.” Joule’s, which employs ten staff, currently has 18 pubs in its estate, including the Red Lion in Market Drayton, which is the pub attached to the brewery. The fresh investment will help the company add nine more premises, as it targets a total estate of 25 Joule’s pubs. Its strategy is to limit its list of pubs to ensure each is unique. In November, Joule’s was handed a refurbishment award from Camra for the renovation of the Red Lion, in Great Hales Street, Market Drayton. The extra investment comes two years after the Co-operative bank agreed £2 million funding for the construction of the brewery, which produces 10,000 barrels of beer a year. Chrissie Nuttall, of Joule’s, said: “Our vision for our pubs is to create the very best houses we can. It’s not an easy challenge to be at our best for every single experience but it is our absolute goal.”

InnBrighton re-opens iconic latest addition, The Freemason’s, in Brighton: InnBrighton, the 44-strong multiple led by Gavin George and backed private equity firm Graphite Capital, has re-opened an iconic Brighton pub - The Freemason’s Tavern - after a refit during November and December. Chief executive Gavin George said: “We’ve had good success with destination pubs like The Mesmerist in Brighton that are bold and imaginative and which encapsulate the heritage and spirit of the area. The Freemason’s façade is a Hove landmark and we wanted to do it justice by linking the interior with it. We’ve created an area of the pub that we’ve dubbed The Lodge because it contains images of famous, ‘supposed’ freemasons. Our customers are surprised that some of the most public of people from the last century perhaps had a more secretive side. The pub has been very busy for the first two weeks of trade, suggesting that the re-launch has been well received by the city.” George told Morning Briefing: “It’s a free-of-tie commercial lease. The internal areas were completely incongruous with the external, given that it had been fitted out as some kind of late night bar at some time in the past, with an island servery. Our aim was to make it a pub again, so we have moved the bar to one side, and the whole place has opened up marvellously. It is a mid-19 century pub built when the fashionable Brunswick village was developed. It was part of the original Kemp Town Brewery business - a wonderful place.” 

Walkabout operator Intertain reports like-for-likes up 8.6 per cent in December: Walkabout operator Intertain has reported that like-for-like sales grew by 8.6 per cent last month – ten invested sites saw sales up 15 per cent and 25 uninvested sites were up six per cent. Chief executive John Leslie told Morning Briefing that the company had been aided by a “helpful calendar” with Christmas and New Year not falling at weekends, and pre-bookings significantly up – they rose by 50 per cent to 78,000 people for the month. “Pre-booking are increasingly important,” said Leslie. “It’s very useful to be 99 per cent certain people are definitely coming.” Star performer were the Walkabout in Temple, which took £52,000 on New Year’s Eve and Bar Risa in Birmingham, which has a comedy club above and took £55,000 on the night. The Highlights comedy stores saw 80 per cent occupancy for the month with an eight per cent rise on revenue compared to December 2011. “We’re pretty pleased with the result,” added Leslie.

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