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Wed 9th Jul 2014 - Breaking News - Revolution founders raise £4m to roll-out two brands
Revolution founders raise £4m to roll-out two brands: Roy Ellis and Neil Macleod, founders of Revolution vodka bar operator Inventive Leisure, and their business partner, the chef Simon Rimmer, have raised £4m from seven investors in an EIS-qualifying business, Flying Pig and Lobster, to roll-out two new brands. Ellis told Propel that the cash will allow the company to open its first six sites. The two brands will launch this summer in two adjacent sites at the same location – a Star Pubs & Bars venue in Liverpool’s Woolton Village neighbourhood, The Elephant. Takings at the site were “not far off” £2m when it was acquired and Ellis estimates turnover will rise to between £2.5m and £3m when both brands are launched. The company has developed a modern British pub concept and an American comfort food brand, the Liberty Tavern. Refurbishment work costing around £600,000 is currently underway converting an old stable behind The Elephant into a modern American tavern and dining room to create the first Liberty Tavern. The brand will “bring a slice of America to the UK”. Inspiration comes from the founder’s “long love affair with and respect for all aspects of the American hospitality industry”. The trio have also undertaken a series of recent culinary, cocktail and design-dedicated road trips to the US over the last year to fine tune their ideas. Food in Liberty Tavern is a melting pot of recipes from colonial dining rooms of the 1890s, contemporary taverns and brasseries of the great metropolitan cities, BBQ pits of the deep south, crab-shacks, food trucks and diners the length and breadth of the USA. The menu includes belly ribs, thick-cut steaks, meatballs, Texas chilli and fried chicken Miami-style. The bar in Liberty Tavern is described as “a neighbourhood place for local people to gather and for visitors to seek”. The drinks offer includes classic Prohibition cocktails, frozen margaritas, American craft beers, bumps, boilermakers and house-bottled cocktails. Ellis said: “Service will be our biggest differentiator. We aim to hit the heights of the best and friendliest American eateries. We want visitors to Liberty Tavern to feel as though they are in America not an American-themed restaurant.” Liberty Tavern is expected to open in early September. The company is investing a further £500,000 in its modern British pub concept, which will open at The Elephant in early August. The concept aims to give “local people a real reason to get out and be entertained or socialise with friends and family”. There will be garden parties, food and drink festivals, cheese nights, a house band, quiz nights and open mic nights. Rimmer has developed a new menu of modern takes on pub classics as well as a range of artisan pizzas. “We will be baking our own bread and cakes as well as making fresh slow-proved pizza dough every day,” he said. Local cask ale will be supported by Cheshire craft beers from a 30-mile radius and specially imported German beers, some unusual ciders and an eclectic wine list developed by Boutinot Wines. Macleod is describing himself as ‘head of drinks and excitement’. He said: “We will be championing different spirits for each season kicking off with gin. Our customers can look forward to gin cocktails, master classes and general “Gin-ification” of all sorts throughout the summer until we turn our attention to bourbon for the winter season. We will be seeking out the best local partners to support us in achieving our goals. Currently have more than 30 local suppliers and aim to grow this as we grow.” Ellis added: “We believe there is a huge opportunity to develop a great local pub business. The major pub companies are stuffed full of great retail assets that benefit from being partnered by quality operators and ideas. We have a well-funded company and aim to be part of the solution to this opportunity.” Ellis told Propel that the company had “quite a few sites lined up and ready to go” but would bed down the first to opening before looking to open further sites in Spring 2015. He said Star Pubs & Bars had already proven “great as partners” and that Enterprise Inns had also put forward a couple of potential site opportunities.
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