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Mon 5th Jan 2015 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Nick Collins becomes Loungers managing director, Alex Reilley takes executive vice-chairman role: Loungers, the Bristol based all-day cafe/bar operator, has appointed Nick Collins as managing director. The appointment will see current managing director Alex Reilley become the group’s executive vice chairman and coincides with Justin Carter joining as chief operating officer, a position that Collins had held until now. Collins joined Loungers in January 2012 as finance director before stepping up to become the groups’ first chief operating officer in January 2014. Previous to joining Loungers, Collins had been the finance director at Capital Pub Company, up to the point it was sold to Greene King in 2011, and prior to that he had been co-founder and managing director of gourmet sandwich chain Fuzzy’s Grub. Commenting on his appointment Collins said: “I am delighted to be taking over from Alex and very much look forward to leading Loungers, and our two great brands, as the business continues to grow. It is an exciting time for the Loungers with this year’s 20 targeted openings largely secured, the pipeline beyond 2015 looking very encouraging, and with the overall potential for in excess of 350 Lounges and 70 Cosy Clubs in the UK. Working with Justin, alongside Alex and Jake, I look forward to continuing to drive the underlying Loungers principles of great hospitality, value for money, fantastic interiors and the strong Loungers people culture that has served the business so well to date.” Alex Reilley added: “I’m really thrilled for Nick and firmly believe he will make an excellent managing director. His appointment has been part of a succession plan we’ve been working on for over a year now and with Nick’s ascension, coupled with Justin joining the business, we believe we now have a seriously strong management team that is capable of running a very large business indeed. The future, and the potential of what we can achieve, is very exciting.”
 

Industry News:

Crowdcube passes £50m raised mark: Crowd-funding website Crowdcube has passed the £50m mark for money raised since it was launched in 2011. A total of 175 businesses have been funded by the platform – and it is aiming to fund more than 200 businesses in 2015. Co-founder Luke Lang credited the Financial Conduct Authority’s (FCA) changes in regulating crowdfunding in April 2014 for the traction the market has gained. He said: “We were operating under regulations that were brought in 30 years ago, which weren’t really suitable for what we are doing. To make that transition and for the FCA to do a public consultation, they can obviously see that this market is growing. The process helped inspire a lot of trust and confidence in the wider industry, not just Crowdcube. It positions the UK as the innovators and market leaders.” He added that Crowdcube is aiming to double its achievements each year and revealed that building a brand would be a “big focus” in 2015. “Expansion in the UK is going very well. We dominate the market in the UK, but we don’t rest on our laurels and that’s why we’re continuing to invest in marketing and our team,” he said. Crowdcube has 122,707 registered investors and has raised a total of £50,012,680. It is currently offering 13 investments in the food and drink sector, including the Taylor St Baristas coffee mini-bond, which has so far raised £1,104,000 from 346 investors who will be paid an 8% return on their money.

Buy-one-get-one-free law leads to drop in Scottish alcohol consumption: New alcohol laws in Scotland prompted a massive drop in the volume of wine bought at supermarkets and off-licences, it has been revealed. Scots are drinking one million litres less booze a year after a ban on multi-buy and buy-one-get-one-free deals. A study shows consumption dropped from 34.04 million litres of pure alcohol in 2011, the year of the ban, to 33.08 million litres in 2012 – almost 3%. Researchers also found that the new law triggered a huge drop in wine bought at supermarkets and off-licences, equivalent to almost 4.5 million bottles. Mark Robinson, of NHS Health Scotland, said: “These findings show the Alcohol Act had the intended impact of reducing alcohol consumption in Scotland by placing restrictions on how alcohol is displayed and promoted. Some retailers responded to the multi-buy discount ban by selling bottles of wine for £3.33 instead of three for £10 but the incentive for people to buy more than they may otherwise have bought was removed and sales decreased. Although these effects are welcome, alcohol consumption in Scotland remains high and a large proportion is still sold at relatively low prices. There is evidence that the positive effects of the act would be enhanced by minimum unit pricing to prevent the sale of cheap, high-strength alcohol.”
 
Raindrop Drinks launches £150,000 Crowdcube campaign: Raindrop Drinks, a London-based drinks producer, has launched a crowd-funding campaign on Crowdcube to raise £150,000 for its ‘high impact drinks’. The company effectively keeps its drinks fresh by storing its active ingredients in an airtight cavity within the cap. To activate the drink, consumers remove the anti-tamper cap and press, to release the ingredients, shake and the drink is ready. Those who help fund Raindrop Drinks’ project will receive 25% in equity. The campaign is set to close on 29 January.

Starbucks launches flat white in the US: Starbucks is to introduce the flat white on Tuesday (6 January) in its US sites. Visitors to the US and Australia often complain about the lack of flat whites, according to baristas, and the coffee is also catching on among pickier American coffee drinkers. The Starbucks flat white will feature two “ristretto” shots, a smaller and more concentrated version of an espresso shot, plus a thick milk called microfoam. The flat white will join Starbucks’ menu as a permanent drink, rather than a limited edition part of the menu, from 6 January. It will be available at all Starbucks stores in the US.

The Times – C&C Group to drop Spirit bid: The Times has forecast that C&C Group is expected to withdraw its interest in bidding for Spirit Pub Company this week, leaving the way clear for Greene King’s recommended £1.35bn takeover. The drinks producer has until the close of play tomorrow (Tuesday) to “put up or shut up” on a Spirit bid and is widely expected by analysts to withdraw from the bidding process.

JD Wetherspoon Irish expansion to continue despite minimum pricing plans: JD Wetherspoon has vowed to press ahead with plans to open 30 venues in the Republic of Ireland, despite the government’s plan to introduce minimum alcohol pricing this year. But Wetherspoon spokesman Eddie Gershon said Health Minister Leo Varadkar’s promise in the Dail last month to publish a draft form of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill in January, which would set strict limits on the lowest price at which alcohol can be sold, will not thwart its expansion plans. “We are completely against it,” he said of the bill. “But if minimum pricing came in, it wouldn’t stop us from expanding here,” he told The Sunday Independent. “However, we would remain vociferous in our opposition to it.” Wetherspoon is selling pints of beer for an average of €2 less than its competitors in south Dublin, with prices for wine and spirits considerably below those of its competitors. At the Forty Foot in Dun Laoghaire, the company’s second opening in Eire, a pint of Bath Ales Dark Side Stout costs €2.50, while a 175ml glass of Coldwater Creek California Chardonnay costs €3.95. A shot of Bacardi Superior rum and Absolut and Huzzar vodka costs €3.95 for a 35.5ml serving, including a free mixer, with a double shot for an extra €2.
 

Company News:

Gondola reveals performance in last full-year of PizzaExpress, Ask, Zizzi ownership: Gondola Holdings has published its annual report revealing the performance of its PizzaExpress, Ask Italian and Zizzi businesses prior to their sales. The company saw £613m of total sales in the year to 29 June 2014, which means the company has achieved 6.4% compound annual growth over the last eight years. Ebitda was £119m, which means Gondola achieved 4% annual growth in Ebitda over the last eight years. Ebitda margin increased by 0.8% to 19.4% in the most recent fully year after cost control initiatives ensured improved profit conversion from a higher level of sales. Comparable like-for-like growth was 5.5% although “retail and other sales” increased by 10% to £15.4m “reflecting continued growth of retail sales of pizza and other products in supermarkets together with growth in franchise revenues”. The company paid net tax of £200,000. It repaid £80.4m of mezzanine bank debt taking total repayments from cumulative surplus cash to £162m since its financing structure was set up in 2006. There was also a £67.3m repayment of shareholder debt. The company invested £46.1m in new restaurants and estate maintenance. The annual report also shows that Byron had annual sales of £41m in the last year before its sale and that a profit of £72.1m was made on its £101.3m sale to Hutton Collins. Gondola Holdings sold PizzaExpress, Zizzi, Ask Italian and Byron for a total of £1.25bn.

JD Wetherspoon launches January sale on Monday: JD Wetherspoon will launch its January sale today (Monday 5 January), three days later than last year – the sale lasts until Thursday 22 January. The company will be serving seven of regular drinks for between £1.99 and £2.20. It will also be offering a choice of four meals at £2.99 each and a cup of fresh filtered coffee for 79p. The drinks on offer are: a pint of Carlsberg for £1.99, a glass of Coldwater Creek wine for £2.20, and Gordon’s Gin and Jameson’s Whiskey will both be £2.20 for a single measure with mixer. Real ales will cost £2.10 and a pint of Stowford Press or Thatchers Gold cider costs £2.09. The four meals on sale at £2.99 throughout January will be Wiltshire cured ham, eggs and chips, chicken wrap, smoked salmon, cream cheese and rocket bagel, as well as a jacket potato. Soup of the day with bloomer bread will also be available for £1.99.

Cinnamon Indian restaurant operator reports turnover boost: Indian Restaurants, the operator of three Cinnamon restaurants led by Vivek Singh, has reported turnover of £8,312,857 in the year to 31 March 2014, up from £5,455,195 the year before. Sales growth was 5% with higher turnover reflecting the inclusion of the results of the Cinnamon site in the City after the acquisition of Indian Restaurants (City) Limited. Pre-tax profit dipped to £200,994 from £295,614 the year prior. The company added: “A sales, marketing and operational focus on the fledgling Cinnamon Soho brand is showing encouraging results, demonstrated by increasing sales, building awareness of the concept through targeted public relations and creating a loyal target base.” Shareholder funds stand at £3,908,745 and an interim dividend of £177,633 was paid.

Luminar to relocate nightclub as part of Basildon leisure park redevelopment: Nightclub company Luminar is to open a smaller nightclub in Basildon’s Festival Leisure Park in the wake of plans to convert its nightclub complex into three restaurants and a play centre being given the go ahead. As part of the revamp, which will increase the number of restaurants at the Festival Leisure Park to 16, there will be more CCTV, a new taxi rank and an area near the cinema for small-scale performances. The Restaurant Group’s Coast to Coast brand, which has 12 branches across Britain, is one of three restaurants already signed up for the revamp, with the others expected to be named shortly. Under the plans, Luminar’s Liquid, Envy, JJs and New York New York nightclubs will close, with the company opening a smaller club in the neighbouring former Sky Bar. Martin Winter, regional director for Luminar, said: “We are delighted the Festival Leisure Park redevelopment has been given the green light. We plan to start work on the new venue within the first three months of 2015. In the meantime, it is business as usual and our key focus is on continuing to provide a great night out for our customers at Liquid, Envy, New York, New York and JJs plus our newly acquired Chicago Rock Cafe venue.”

Fay Machler – Alan Yau’s Duck & Rice to open end of this month: London Evening Standard food critic Fay Maschler has forecast than Alan Yau’s long-awaited Duck & Rice site in Soho will open at the end of this month. She said: “Alan Yau, of Hakkasan and Yauatcha fame, is a perfectionist which means that the launch of his “Chinese gastropub” Duck & Rice (formerly The Endurance) was announced in 2013. Quite reliable sources now mention end of January 2015 as the probable launch time. Meanwhile Yau’s Babaji Pide serving casual Turkish food has opened in Shaftesbury Avenue and Park Chinois in what was previously Automat in Dover Street is scheduled for spring. Inspiration is 1940s Shanghai and I have heard that there will be dancing.”

East Midlands bar operators open charcuterie and craft beer hybrid: East Midlands bar operators Dean and Daniel Brown have opened a cafe in West Bridgford, Nottingham, Cured, that serves charcuterie and craft beer. Daniel Brown said: “Curing basically covers a whole range of ways to preserve meats and vegetables. It used to be reserved for the affluent because of the costs involved in and it was usually so finer goods could be transported from their foreign or long distance origins. We have amazing examples of smoked, pickled, salted and air dried curing, some of which we do ourselves when possible.” Customers can choose meat, cheese and vegetables from the cured selection – or ask the chef to select a six dish or nine dish gourmet range on their behalf. The opening occupies the former Belle and Jerome shop on Central Avenue. Daniel Brown added: “The menu is a fusion of the best of British, French and Italian. That reflects in the decor – English industrial and French Parisian colours, greys, golds, and duck egg blue. There is nothing like this around here. It’s a continental style approach. We want people to come in for a glass of wine or beer and something light to eat.” Cured is five minutes walk from another of their ventures – The Parlour, a quirky eatery and cocktail bar. The duo also run Brown’s cafe bars and bistros in Mansfield and Newark and, in May, they plan to open a flagship Brown’s in Nottingham city centre. Daniel Brown said: “The last six years have all been pointing to the big flagship one in the city centre. It’s going to be an amalgamation of everything.”

Second Wondertree will offer view of Gatwick runway: A second Wondertree, the restaurant concept that is a partnership between The Restaurant Group and the Giraffe team, will allow diners to watch planes landing and taking off as they eat when it opens in the South Terminal at Gatwick in the summer of 2015. The 5,250 square foot venue will have “globe lights”, telescopes and “map tables” so customers can explore the world before setting foot on a plane. Meals will be cooked to order in an open kitchen with a pledge that all dishes will be served within 15 minutes. It will provide both a cafe area for passengers in a rush and a restaurant for those with time to relax and take in the view. Charlotte Christiansen, business development manager for catering at Gatwick Airport, said: “It’s crucial we offer people high-quality restaurants. Wondertree’s offer of freshly prepared food from around the world is a perfect addition.” The first Wondertree restaurant was opened at Heathrow Airport.

Spearmint Rhino in Bournemouth given six month probationary licence to “get it right”: Spearmint Rhino in Bournemouth has been granted a new six-month venue licence, a probationary period, after claims it “exploited” customers.The business received 15 objections to its application for a renewal. Coun David Smith, ward councillor for the town centre, produced three witnesses he claimed had been “exploited”. The first, Mrs A, told the board her brother had spent more than £6,000 at the venue in just one evening in 2011. “He wears a hearing aid, has trouble with literacy and relies on the goodwill of others not to take advantage,” she told the meeting. The man himself proceeded to tell the board that dancers on the night in question had “kept tempting” him and he had no idea he was mounting up such high costs. Philip Kolvin QC, representing Spearmint Rhino, said the club “hotly contested” allegations of exploitation and that as the man had not wanted to reveal his identity, there was a “real problem” answering them. Two other witnesses, also unnamed, told similar stories alleging high value transactions on their debit cards which they had not authorised. Vice president of Spearmint Rhino UK John Specht said each transaction was watched by a CCTV camera and required a thumb print, signature and PIN number. “The bank will call for evidence such as CCTV. We always fully co-operate,” added Specht. “Banks have made no findings against us.” The board’s chair, Coun Andrew Morgan, granted a six-month licence on a probationary period subject to conditions agreed with police. He criticised the club for being “woeful” in losing some CCTV footage, adding: “If you do not get it right next time, you will not get the result you want.”

McDonald’s brings back the McRib sandwich after 12-year absence: McDonald’s has brought back its McRib sandwich after a 12-year absence from its menu – it is available until 3 February. The company made the announcement using a tongue-in-cheek “mockumentary”, where obsessed McRib fans talk about their love for the iconic meal. Speaking about the BBQ topped pork bun, one dedicated fan says: “Everything you ever heard about a McRib – it was better.” The McRib sandwich was also subject a concerted social media campaign, which saw tens of thousands calling for its return.

Creative studio to launch new coffee shop concept: Manchester-based creative studio NoChintz is to launch a new coffee shop concept The Foundation Coffee House. Sevendale House, a Grade II listed building in Manchester’s vibrant Northern Quarter, has been chosen as the location of the first Foundation Coffee House opening. The 120,000 sq ft Sevendale House, has undergone a £6 million refurbishment creating 15,000 square foot of retail space. NoChintz, which is headquartered on the same street, is working in a joint venture with regional entrepreneur Adam Chapman, the founder of the Heald Green based QDos Fitness. The coffee shop will double up as a meeting space and an event space allowing local businesses and hot-deskers to use the facilities to work from. NoChintz and Foundation Coffee House founder Dominic Beardwell said: “As creatives, design plays an integral part of everything we do. Our vision is to pioneer a new coffee house concept, which has cutting edge design at its core in terms of product, service design and aesthetic. With this in mind, we felt that Sevendale House, with its architecturally stunning features, married well with our own ethos making it a fitting backdrop for our first ‘House’.” Co founder Adam Chapman said: “With planning now granted, we will commence the fit out with a view to launching the coffee house in March 2015. This will coincide with the building’s official launch. Once established, we will then look to roll out this concept to further locations across Greater Manchester and the north west.”

Seafood wholesaler Manchester Seafood open Birmingham restaurant: Fish wholesaler Manchester Seafood has opened a restaurant of the same name in Birmingham’s Chinatown. It has tanks of live eels, lobsters and crabs lining its entrance in Wrottesley Street where diners can select their own dinner before the chefs kill, cook and serve it. The restaurant is believed to be the only one of its kind in Chinatown, and the first for an import/export company, which also has a shop selling live seafood to restaurants and home cooks in Manchester. Lika Liao, restaurant purchaser, said: “This is a concept seen in Hong Kong and throughout China. The Chinese community like food that’s alive and killed straight before it’s cooked because it’s so fresh. You can taste the difference.”

Multi-siter adds fifth Enterprise Inns pub: Multi-site Yorkshire pub operator Matt Parkinson has added a fifth Enterprise Inns site – The Hare and Hounds at Hipperholme. He also operates The George in Brighouse, The Crown at Lane Head, Brighouse, The Halfway House in Pellon, and The Victoria in Saltaire. “We spent a week giving the pub a deep clean and now it’s open and ready for business. We just need to build up the trade and give the locals some stability so they can see that their local is open for them,” said Parkinson.

Councillors to decide Ossett Brewery plan today: Plans for a new Ossett Brewery site to be opened in a Leeds landmark building are set to go before councillors today. The company has asked Leeds City Council to grant an alcohol licence for a unit in the ground floor of Candle House on Granary Wharf. Candle House, one of the tallest buildings in Leeds, was built five years ago as part of the regeneration of the Granary Wharf area which is an increasingly popular night time destination in the city. If granted, the licence for the ground floor unit at Candle House would come into effect in March. West Yorkshire Police raised a number of concerns about the original application but Ossett Brewery Taverns has subsequently agreed to adopt the force’s suggested improvements. These include the installation of a CCTV system as well as rules governing the behaviour of door staff and the storage of glasses and bottles. Ossett Brewery already operates The Hop bar in the railway arches at Granary Wharf. The area was once at the heart of industrial Leeds but in the last decade has been turned into the home of restaurants, bars and a 300-room hotel in a redevelopment that has won several awards.

Award-winning coffee shop chain returns to town where it was founded: Rhode Island Coffee, the north west five-strong chain that was voted UK Coffee Shop Chain of the Year twice by the Café Society, has opened a site in Altrincham three years after it left the Cheshire town where it was founded. The brand was originally located within the precinct centre and has returned to George Street, at the heart of Altrincham’s shopping hub. Raj Ruia, the firm’s managing director who also runs the Ruia Group, which specialises in textiles, said: “The investment in Altrincham shows our confidence in the economic recovery of the town.” Rhode Island Coffee also won the award for Best Latte in the UK at the Beverage Standard Association Awards in November.
 
Gloucester entrepreneur opens Saraha Lounge at Enterprise Inns site: Gloucester entrepreneur Yusuf Rahman has opened a new restaurant concept, Sarah Lounge at an Enterprise Inns site in Gloucester’s Brunswick Road. The site has been home to several bars, including Voltage and Sloanes. Rahman said: “There are a lot of places to eat but some of them are expensive and if you have good quality food at the right prices, you know you are going to make some money. I am doing something completely different here. It has been a pub but there is no point doing something that has not worked before.” He is confident the Sarah Lounge will be popular having made a success of two other businesses. He has run Y2 Launderette in Barton Street for three years and took over Gloucester Beds in London Road 15 months ago. Enterprise Inns, which owns the venue, hopes the community will enjoy the “new dining experience”.

Council provides £130,000 loan to buy Admiral Taverns pub: A community group is to get a £130,000 loan from South Somerset District Council in order to buy a village pub under threat of closure. Drayton Community Pub has already raised £145,000 to secure the freehold of The Drayton Arms, which has been registered as a community asset. Tim Carroll, deputy leader of the Liberal Democrat-controlled council said: “It’s a very sound investment and we’re very pleased. It was a unanimous vote to support Drayton and we think they’re going to make a success of it.” The pub is on sale and under the terms of its community asset status, residents have until 24 January to purchase the building or it will return to the open market. A fund-raising target of £290,000 has been set by the group and it is in negotiations with owners Admiral Taverns over the purchase.

“Gordon Ransay” restaurant still trading despite four-year legal battle: A restaurant in Tenerife that trades as “Gordon Ransay’s” is still open despite a four-year battle by Gordon Ramsay to enforce trademark rights, it has been revealed. “We are taking immediate steps to ensure it does not continue to infringe our intellectual property rights,” Ramsay said in 2010. But Ramsay’s attempts to force the Puerto Colon restaurant to use a different name, or shut down altogether, have so far proved fruitless. Giving evidence at the High Court in a seperate civil action over whether he knowingly signed a £600,000 a year pub lease, Ramsay told the judge: “We get thousands of complaints about this restaurant called Gordon Ransay in Tenerife.” A Ramsay spokesman added: “Through our London based lawyers we have instructed local lawyers who are pursuing the legal options available to us to protect our rights. As this is an ongoing legal matter I cannot comment further at this time.”

Greene King sells pub to Co-op after community offer deadline expires: Greene King has sold The New White Bull on Nottingham Road, Giltbrook to the Co-op after a deadline for a community offer expired – it will close on 7 January. The pub has been on the market since early last year but has been sold to Central England Co-operative who will covert it into a supermarket to serve the Giltbrook area. A spokesperson for Greene King said: “The deadline for an offer from the community expired with no offers forthcoming and our attempts to find a strong tenant to run the pub for the long-term were unsuccessful. As a result, after carefully considering all our options we have sold the pub to the Co-op, which will provide new local, sustainable jobs and a much needed community service.”

Dip & Flip eyes five sites after £750,000 investment: Dip & Flip, the Clapham-based French Dip Concept, is eyeing five sites after securing a £750,000 investment. Director Tim Lees said: “We have now exchanged on our second site at 62 The Broadway, Wimbledon. Following excellent trading in 2014 and particularly a very strong second half of the year, our first restaurant at Battersea Rise has shown impressive sales and significant profit growth. Following the company securing private investment of £750,000 in December, we are in negotiation on the purchases of up to three further sites in south and south west London over the coming year.”

Costa shuts in Wolverhampton, plans opening in Bournemouth: Costa Coffee has shut its store in Queen Square, Wolverhampton after 15 years. The branch, which closed on Friday (2 January), was one of three in Wolverhampton city centre, with the others in Victoria Street and the Queens Building, Pipers Row. The corner site opened in 1999, in a former Lipton’s supermarket. While a notice on the cafe door told customers that the store would be back with “same great coffee, same great team, just a different location”, staff told The Wolverhampton Express and Star they did not know where the new location was, or when it would be opening. The site is listed online for lease with an annual rent of £25,000. Meanwhile in Bournemouth a planning application has been submitted to build a standalone Costa Coffee pod in the car park at the Mallard Road retail park. The cafe would create up to ten full-time and ten part-time jobs.

New £30m hotel and spa planned for Falmouth, Cornwall: A new four star luxury hotel complex for Falmouth in Cornwall, to be called St Michaels Hotel & Spa, is to be built at a cost of £30 million and will create around 90 jobs for the area. The Falmouth hotel will feature 90 rooms, spa and health facilities, gyms, a large swimming pool and a function suite. It is hoped that work will start on the new St Michaels Hotel & Spa Resort before the end of next year. Commenting on the seafront development of St Michaels, Malcolm Bell, the head of Tourism Services for Visit Cornwall, said: “This proposed development would deliver a much-needed investment in the quality of the offer to our visitors and it will be a boost not only for Falmouth, but also for Cornwall.” Owner of the Cornish resort, Nigel Carpenter, praised the local community of Falmouth for throwing their weight behind the development and said he was very grateful to have their support for the scheme.

High profile London nightclub closes: Iconic London nightclub Plastic People is closing, it has been announced. The club, in Shoreditch, hosted a ‘Last Dance’ on Saturday night after its manager revealed the surprise closure. It was originally based in Oxford Street, and has continued to build a reputation as one of London’s most popular venues since relocating to Curtain Road in 2000. But manager Charlotte Kepel revealed that Plastic People will not open again in 2015 after this weekend’s party. She told the Resident Advisor website: “We will not open again in 2015. Plastic People had great runs both on Oxford Street and Curtain Road. A fabulous time was had and it felt right to move on.” The venue was best known for dance music and playing host to burgeoning dubstep and grime artists. The announcement that Plastic People would close comes weeks after Fabric was given a reprieve by Islington Council on condition that it steps up drug patrols.

Didsbury restaurant duo to open second site: Didsbury businessmen Chris Longmate and Dominic Gottelier, the former general manager of long-standing Alderley Edge gastro-pub The Wizard, are to open their second restaurant. Quill Restaurant is set to open in the former Duo unit at 20-22 King Street Manchester if approved by the licensing committee. The pair opened Chalk Bar and Grill on Wilmslow Road in Summer 2014 to good reviews.

Camerons celebrates 150 years of brewing with new beer collection launch: This year will see north east brewer and retailer Camerons celebrate 150 years of brewing with a collection of new beers to celebrate this milestone. Martin Dutoy, head brewer at Camerons for over 25 years, said: “Camerons will have two permanent beers for 2015. These are the brewery’s flagship Strongarm ‘Ruby Red’ and also the newly developed Gold Bullion. Following the creation of this brand last year a new improved version of Gold Bullion has been introduced. Now brewed at 3.9% this beer, brewed using both Columbus and Cascade hops, has a clean refreshing citrus taste. We have created a collection of 12 guest beers aimed at showcasing the brewery’s skill and versatility with styles as varied as red rye beer, milk stout and American Pale Ale – all aimed at giving the modern drinker great choice and quality. There really is something for every discerning beer drinker.” During 2015 the brewery will offer an anniversary special 5% ‘Camerons 150’ red ale available on limited release during selected months of the year and the range also includes Camerons first collaboration brew with London based brewer Portobello. Yousef Doubooni, marketing manager at Camerons Brewery, said: “To support the great cask beers Martin and his team have developed, a range of tactile pump clips has also been created for a number of these brands to give extra appeal to the consumer at the point of purchase. Our team worked on a range of ideas using different textures and finishes to create some unique and very innovative pump clips”. 

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