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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 18th Dec 2015 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

British Pub Confederation established to provide strong voice for pubs and publicans: The British Pub Confederation – a new national confederation of pub organisations – has been established to provide a strong voice for Britain’s pubs and publicans. The confederation will bring together organisations that represent licensees, pub supporters and customers following the successful Fair Deal for Your Local campaign and replaces the previous Independent Pub Confederation, which was established in 2009 to give a stronger voice to non-corporate interests in the pub sector. It aims to ensure pubs, publicans and pub supporters have a powerful unified voice in campaigning and lobbying the government on key pub related issues. 12 organisations are the founding members of the British Pub Confederation: the Fair Pint Campaign, Licensees Supporting Licensees, Justice for Licensees, Punch Tenant Network, Forum of Private Business, Federation of Small Businesses, Pubs Advisory Service, Licensees Unite the Union, GMB, Guild of Master Victuallers, the Scottish Licensed Trade Association and the Parliamentary Save the Pub Group. The British Pub Confederation is co-ordinated and governed by a steering group and each member organisation can appoint two people to it. The steering group can also appoint non-affiliated members. Parliamentary Save the Pub Group chairman Greg Mulholland MP has been appointed as chairman of the confederation while Clive Davenport of the Federation of Small Businesses has been named vice-chairman. It intends to work closely with partner organisations in the sector, such as the Campaign for Real Ale, the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, the Society of Independent Brewers and Hospitality Ulster. Mulholland said: “I am delighted that these leading pub organisations have come together to form a powerful confederation to ensure that pubs and publicans have a strength and unified voice when speaking to government and countering self-interested lobbying of vested corporate interests in the pub sector when needed as well as working with any organisations where there is a shared agenda that is clearly pro-pub.”

Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar:

Win two tickets to a 2016 NFL match at Wembley in Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition: Two tickets to a 2016 NFL match at Wembley are up for grabs (see terms and conditions here) in today’s Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition. To be in with a chance of winning, answer the following question: Which former Liverpool player presents Monday Night Football on Sky Sports alongside Ed Chamberlain? a) Steven Gerrard b) Jamie Carragher c) Robbie Fowler. Once you have chosen your answer, you can enter by clicking here. We will announce the winner in Monday’s newsletter along with providing the next question and the prize on offer. Congratulations to Rachel Slatcher, of the Bell Inn in Rugby, Warwickshire, who was yesterday’s winner of two tickets to the 2016 British Grand Prix. Sky has partnered with Propel to give away a fabulous prize each working day until 22 December. Prizes still up for grabs are two tickets to a Barclays Premier League football match and a 46-inch HD Smart television. Good luck!

Industry News: 

Growing popularity of alcohol-free beer revealed in new research: The growing popularity of alcohol-free beer among Britons has been revealed in new research by brewer Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev). One in ten women (10%) and nearly a quarter (22%) of Londoners – the most inclined to consume alcohol-free beer over any other UK city – drink alcohol-free beer on a weekly basis. Nearly a third of Brits (32%) have now tried alcohol-free beer, with millennials – those aged 18 to 34 – the most inclined to drink it over Christmas and new year (31%). 41% of those aged 18 to 19 said they are actively trying to moderate their drinking habits while over a fifth of millennials (21%) are likely to choose alcohol-free beer in January, an increase of 10% on 2014. Across the UK, almost a fifth of consumers (19%) are unable to taste the difference between alcohol and alcohol-free beer. 34% said they will be looking to consume alcohol-free beer in January, an increase of 16% from 2014. Daytime events and weekday evenings are key occasions for alcohol-free beer consumption, with almost a quarter (23%) of Brits happy to take it to a festive gathering. For those celebrating the festive season, the most common reason to choose alcohol-free beer is being the designated driver (29%), or not wanting to drink too much and feel unwell the next day (20%). The research coincides with the launch of AB InBev’s new set of global smart drinking goals that aim to empower consumers to make smart drinking choices and reduce the harmful use of alcohol by the end of 2025. AB InBev has committed to ensuring that at least 20% of its global beer volume will be alcohol-free or lower-alcohol by 2020.

Operators encouraged to consider meat-free menus in new year to attract health conscious diners: Operators are being encouraged to consider having meat-free menus in the new year to attract health conscious diners. After the indulgences of the festive period, health becomes a major driver each January when it comes to consumer dining decisions said Vegetarian Express. It said caterers that get their January menus right can really reap the rewards in terms of additional sales from customers that would have otherwise stayed home to combat the indulgence that occurred in December. Managing director Will Matier said: “Alongside January resolutions, the recent announcement from the World Health Organisation, which highlighted the carcinogenic properties of processed meat, means there is a huge opportunity available to those operators increasing their meat-free offering in January – or even better, throughout the year. It’s essential to attract customers that are consciously seeking out a more balanced diet. We’re seeing a huge rise in ‘flexitarians’ or ‘meat-reducers’ – in fact, recent figures from Mintel showed 35% of Brits are now identified as ‘semi-vegetarian’ – and with 71% of consumers wanting to see lighter vegetarian options, the start of the new year is a time to re-evaluate menus and ensure they are meeting the demands of the customer.” To support operators, Vegetarian Express has teamed up with Paul Gayler MBE to create a range of innovative recipes for menu options.

Law firm – pubs and restaurants should have clear policy for managing tips: Pubs and restaurants should have a clear policy in place for managing tips and gratuities, especially having recruited additional staff to work over the festive season, a law firm has warned. The policy should also be clearly communicated to both staff and customers said Shakespeare Martineau, with companies that failed to do so running the risk of potential workplace disputes. Michael Hibbs, partner and head of employment at Shakespeare Martineau’s Birmingham office, told The Business Desk: “Consumers quite rightly assume that any tip they leave is passed to workers as a Christmas gift regardless of whether it was paid in cash or by card. If this isn’t the case, they need to be made aware of this and ideally employers should have a policy in place, which is clearly displayed. Restaurants and pubs can get extremely busy at this time of year and the systems they use to bank and distribute tips need to be carefully managed. Businesses may also wish to consider whether to deduct administrative charges for distributing tips and gratuities in the future given the adverse publicity this is attracting at present.” A government investigation into how businesses in the sector treat tips and gratuities closed last month having been initiated following protests by unions and others about the approach being taken by some companies. 

Chefs Monica Galetti, Mark Sargeant and John Campbell to host exclusive dinner for Hospitality Action: Chefs Monica Galetti, Mark Sargeant and John Campbell are joining forces to host an exclusive dinner to raise funds for Hospitality Action, the industry’s benevolent charity. The trio will come together for the event on Thursday, 25 February at Brasserie Joël, Park Plaza, Westminster Bridge in London. Galetti, star of BBC2 programme MasterChef: The Professionals and former senior sous chef at Le Gavroche in London, will begin proceedings with the starter. Sargeant, who was head chef for seven years at Gordon Ramsay at Claridges, will then take over the reins for the main course with Campbell, of the Michelin-star Woodspeen restaurant, bar and cookery school in west Berkshire, preparing dessert. The dinner will be supported by the executive chef of Brasserie Joël Walter Ishizuka, who will also prepare the evening’s canapés. For more information visit

Company News:

Harvester operations director announces retirement after 29 years with Mitchells & Butlers: Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has announced Harvester operations director Richard Cox is to retire after 29 years with the company. Cox joined M&B in 1986 and has worked in a number of senior positions in the company across many of its brands. Chief executive Phil Urban said: “Richard’s passion for the business will be missed by his many colleagues and friends, who I know will join me in wishing him all the best for the future.” M&B said the recruitment process for Cox’s successor has begun and an announcement will be made in due course.

Hall & Woodhouse completes largest investment to date into business partnership estate: Dorset brewer Hall & Woodhouse has completed its largest investment programme into its business partnership (tenanted) estate, including the two largest redevelopment projects undertaken by the company. Hall & Woodhouse has continued to grow its capital investment over the last 12 months, with the highest level of expenditure to date, equalling £3.45m. This sum includes the brewer’s two largest business partnership investments – The Wisborough, a countryside pub in Wisborough Green, West Sussex, and The Dragon, a food-led pub based in Colgate, West Sussex. Hall & Woodhouse also invested the equivalent of £6m into new business partnership houses, including the acquisition of The Boot Inn, Sarratt, as well as the transfer of three sites from the managed house division. The results of the investment have contributed to Hall & Woodhouse achieving a 95% retention rate among its new business partners for 2015, with the average length of tenure now over four years, compared to three in 2010. Average annual net turnover per pub has increased for each of the past five years and currently stands at £414,000. Hall & Woodhouse business partnerships director Matt Kearsey said: “Investment has been a key aspect of our strategy during the past few years, as we look to build our business further and also ensure that our existing public house estate is of the highest standard possible. Growth of the business partner division will remain important for 2016 and we will be looking to acquire additional businesses in the coming years.”

London-based gastro-pub company Distinct Group branches out into hotels: London-based gastro-pub company Distinct Group is branching out into hotels. The company has acquired The Cromwell Hotel in Stevenage town centre – its first site outside the capital. Group manager Gareth Leakey told Propel it would now carry out a substantial refurbishment of the 76-bedroom hotel, which is situated on the High Street. Distinct Group operates the Prince Albert in Camden, the Adam & Eve in Mill Hill Village and the Three Compasses in Hornsey.

Mr Basrai’s World Cuisines makes England debut with £1m Blackpool site: Buffet brand Mr Basrai’s World Cuisines, led by Raghbir Basrai, has made its England debut after opening its new £1m restaurant in Blackpool. The company has launched the 7,800 square foot venue underneath the Talbot Road multi-storey car park, creating 65 jobs. The restaurant has live cooking stations with diners offered 150 dishes from around the world, including Indian, Mexican, Japanese, Italian, Thai and British food. Basrai told the Blackpool Gazette: “We have a proven and successful concept that offers customers traditional, authentic food at affordable prices and we are confident it will appeal to a wide market, including professionals, day trip shoppers, as well as families, groups of friends, visitors to Blackpool and holidaymakers. We were looking to expand our family business south from Scotland and Blackpool was the obvious choice with its high numbers of summer visitors and this wonderful location in the heart of  the town for local residents.” The brand’s other two sites are in Ayr and Edinburgh.

Costa Coffee franchisee sold in multi-million pound deal: Costa Coffee franchisee Purple World, which operates ten stores in Cumbria and North Lancashire, has been sold in a multi-million pound deal. The company has been bought by foodservice operator Red and Racz, owned by private investors with existing businesses in food retail brands such as Domino’s and Nando’s. The deal was initiated and project managed by business advisory firm Smith Cooper. It said: “This transaction adds to a growing number of food and drink related assignments handled by Smith Cooper Corporate Finance, this being the fourth Costa sale. Purple World is a good, profitable business and has been acquired by energetic, highly experienced and effective operators who already run a range of other food retail brands, both in the UK and abroad.”

Acciuga to close High Street Kensington restaurant on Christmas Eve ahead of planned move to new London site: Italian fine dining restaurant Acciuga will close its restaurant in High Street Kensington on Christmas Eve ahead of its planned move to a new London site, which will be revealed in the new year. Acciuga opened in the summer of 2013 and is owned by chef patron Guglielmo Arnulfo. The menu features dishes influenced by the culinary traditions of three different Italian regions: Liguria, Piedmont and Tuscany, inspired by the heritage of Arnulfo’s home country. Arnulfo worked in a number of restaurants in Italy including the Michelin-starred The Cook in Genoa and Da Claudio in Bergeggi, before opening Acciuga, his first own venture. 

SSP brings Boston Grill to Stockholm Central Station: UK-based transport hub foodservice specialist SSP Group has opened casual dining concept Boston Grill at Stockholm Central Station. It is the second outlet of the Stockholm-based brand to open in the city, which offers the elegance of fine dining, combined with the warm and personal touch of a more casual environment. The menu is inspired by the vibe of the Boston food scene and highlights include clam chowder, tomahawk steak and traditional plum compote with homemade vanilla ice cream. Drinks include beers and wines, several of which are organic, as well as an extensive cocktail list. SSP Sweden chief executive Lars Edengréen said: “Our aim is to continuously offer our guests high-quality dining and drinking experiences. In the unique setting of the Central Station, we believe that the Boston Grill will become a favourite venue for visitors to Stockholm as well as those who live and work in the city.”

Chicken Cottage rolling out international expansion by opening first of 50 sites planned in Malaysia: Fast food company Chicken Cottage is rolling out its international expansion after opening the first of 50 planned restaurants in Malaysia. The Croydon-based company, which operates Britain’s largest halal fast food chain, has launched the inaugural branch in Kuala Terengganu. It has also struck a partnership with local university Universiti Sultan Zainal Abidin for research and development of new products, including recipes for grilled chicken and burgers. The move follows its takeover by Malaysia’s TI Global Food Holdings in February last year and a brand overhaul, which was completed earlier this year. Chicken Cottage said it expects to open another 49 sites in Malaysia in the next five years. It also has agreements in place to open restaurants in Nigeria and the United Arab Emirates. A spokeswoman for the company told the Evening Standard those are likely to open in early 2016. The company, established in 1994 with a first location in Wembley, now has 90 branches in the UK and a further 40 overseas, including in Algeria, Iraq, Belgium and Canada.

South Shields-based multi-site operator opens self-service bar: South Shields-based multi-site operator Peter Frail has opened a new self-service bar in the town. Frail, who also owns The Ranch House and Dusk, and The Dolly Peel, has opened Tinker Smiths in Stanhope Street. The bar features self-service taps at booths, iPads to place drink and food orders, and a garden room. People visiting Tinker Smiths can top up a card at the bar, which then fits into a pump on their table and allows them to pour their own drinks until the credit runs out Frail told The Shields Gazette: “We’ve got table service, iPads in the booths so people can order drinks, and we’re going to start serving food on December 29 so people won’t have to go to the bar, they can order everything they want from their seats. It’s a big cocktail-based bar and we really pride ourselves on our cocktails. I think this little part of South Shields around Stanhope Street and Coston Drive is going to be massive, it’s really up-and-coming. The booths are fully booked up until January. People are starting to realise they don’t need to go to Newcastle for a good night out.”

Cote lines up site in Welwyn Garden City: French brasserie Cote is lining up a site in Welwyn Garden City, Hertfordshire. The company has applied for a music and alcohol licence at the vacant Pig and Truffle site in Howardsgate, reports the Welwyn & Hatfield Times. The Pig and Truffle only took over the premises in spring last year after Real China closed suddenly, but by the summer of this year, it too had shut its doors.

Nando’s joins line-up of new restaurants at Yate Riverside: Nando’s has joined the line-up of new restaurants at Yate Riverside, south Gloucestershire. The company has launched the new 132-seat restaurant having signed for a 25-year lease at £25 per square foot and has created 30 jobs. It has joined The Restaurant Group brand Frankie & Benny’s, Prezzo and Dean’s Diner at the £25m development, which will also be home to a six-screen Cineworld cinema. Nando’s regional managing director Benji Hardeker told the Gazette: “We’re all incredibly excited about opening in Yate, and can’t wait bring a little extra peri-peri heat to the area over the cold winter months.”

Punch provides comprehensive Christmas support for publicans: Punch is continuing to provide its publicans with comprehensive support with a Christmas programme aimed at making the most of the festive season. The company is assisting its publicans through the Punch Buying Club, learning and development and marketing expertise. It held The Art of Retailing workshops at 15 locations across the country. These covered everything from advice on manpower planning and setting service standards and sales targets, right through to winter safety and responsible retailing. In addition, Diageo supported each workshop with a practical demonstration of spirit and mixer service and seasonal cocktails. Publicans have also been supported by Punch’s Buying Club, which has shared a series of articles and email updates on vital considerations such as; Christmas marketing, tackling winter conditions and Temporary Event Notices. A series of marketing materials has also been made available for publicans while Punch has also offered a website “makeover” to give a more Christmas feel. Chief executive Duncan Garrood said: “Offering thorough, helpful support to publicans throughout the year is something we pride ourselves on and we have really focused on developing this in 2015. Christmas is the busiest time of the year in the pub sector and we wanted to assist our publicans in making the most out of this with resources across several areas of the business. We’re sure Christmas will be a prosperous period for all our publicans and hope that the support we’re providing leads to increased profits and greater success.”

Michelin-starred Bristol restaurant Casamia to launch new two concepts alongside relocated eatery: Michelin-starred Bristol restaurant Casamia, owned by multi-site operator Peter Sanchez-Iglesais, is to launch two new concepts alongside its relocated eatery. Casamia, which opened in 1997 in Westbury-on-Trym, is moving to the former Bristol General Hospital building in January. But placed alongside the new waterside restaurant will be two different dining concepts, Paco Tapas and Pi Shop, which will sit on the newly pedestrianised Lower Guinea Street. Sanchez-Iglesais told the Bristol Post: “They will offer distinctly different options to guests, but in different ways both have been inspired by Casamia’s past. Whilst Casamia will continue to offer a fine dining experience, Paco Tapas and Pi Shop guests can expect to find a more casual place to eat, where you can grab a simple lunch or dinner made from the best ingredients around.” Pi Shop, which will open in March, has been inspired by Casamia’s roots when the restaurant served Italian pizzas. The 40-seat pizzeria will have an open-plan kitchen and wood-fired oven. Paco Tapas, named after Sanchez-Iglesais father, will serve constantly changing menus developed by Casamia’s chefs celebrating the “very best of Spanish cooking” and is due to open in April.

New Louisiana/Texan-themed restaurant and wine bar concept to open in St Helen’s today: A new Louisiana/Texan-themed restaurant and wine bar concept will open in St Helen’s, Merseyside, today (Friday, 18 December). Chris Howell is launching The Smokehouse in Bridge Street and has recruited 77 people across a variety of roles for the £50,000 restaurant, which has been created within empty space on the site of the former Savoy cinema. The restaurant has an open kitchen and features black-and-white photos on the walls of local places and history. Howell told the Liverpool Echo: “I thought St Helens needed something unique, which attracts new people as well as keeps people. We need people to start believing in the town. We’re aiming to be like the Hickory’s Smokehouse in West Kirby and Chester, or Red’s True Barbecue in Liverpool. There’ll be four types of dish – big burgers, Bratwurst sausages, big hot dogs and big steaks. There’s a bourbon feel running through it too – we’ve got a bourbon and whisky bar, and some bourbon sauces with the food.”

Independent restaurant Bluegrass BBQ Smokehouse starts expanding by opening second site in Reading: Independent restaurant Bluegrass BBQ Smokehouse has started expanding after opening its second site, this time in Reading. Owner Steve Brown, who launched the concept in High Wycombe, has opened the new venue in a grade II-listed property in Gun Street. Bluegrass specialises in a “low and slow” American style of barbecuing serving ribs, burgers and chicken. Samantha Stimpson of Bluegrass BBQ Smokehouse told Get Reading: “A lot of our customers travel from far away to visit us, and we’ve had overwhelming requests to come here. We’ve always been big fans of Reading and love its cool, independent vibe. Our building on Gun Street, which sadly had fallen into disrepair, is ideal for us and our Bluegrass style.” Brown has competed in The Jack Daniels Invitational BBQ Championships in Tennessee, one of only a handful of Brits to do so.

Brixton bar owners to launch healthy cafe and cocktail bar concept in Herne Hill today: Chris Edwards and Dave Treganza, the team behind “drinks consultancy” Salts of the Earth and the cocktail bar-restaurant The Shrub & Shutter in Coldharbour Lane, Brixton, are to launch a new concept in Herne Hill today (Friday, 18 December). The duo is opening cafe and cocktail bar First Aid Box in Dulwich Road, themed on “health, nutrition and doctor’s orders”. The bar will serve Alchemy coffee and fresh juices throughout the day and will be dispensing “health inspired cocktails” with chef Joe Knowlden creating a menu of raw fish and meat and cheese and charcuterie from local suppliers, with ceviche, carpaccios, salads and fresh locally sourced vegetables served alongside daily specials. The cocktails will include Brockwell Park Bramble featuring Whitley Neill gin, fresh lemon and sugar with a Chambord syringe and Rum-pull-milk-skin, which contains Atlantic reserve, oats, calcium, golden syrup and nutmeg.

Scottish hospitality group Manorview gets go-ahead to convert former church into £1.5m bar and restaurant: Scottish hospitality group Manorview has been given the go-ahead to open a new £1.5m bar and restaurant in Hamilton. The company, which owns various pubs, bars and hotels throughout Glasgow and Lanarkshire including The Windsor Bar in Hamilton, has been granted permission by South Lanarkshire Council to convert a former Salvation Army church building in Keith Street into a new venue, which will be called The Citadel. Manorview director Steve Graham told the Hamilton Advertiser the company hoped to start work on the development next spring. He said: “This is a really exciting project for us and we have great plans to bring Hamilton a new upmarket bar and restaurant with function room in the basement. We have plans to introduce a mezzanine floor. The building has a lot of character and we really liked the location. We are delighted to be able to add it to our portfolio.”

Premium French artisan patisserie and boulangerie Orée to launch first UK flagship cafe in London next year, eyes further sites in capital: Premium French artisan patisserie and boulangerie Orée will launch its first UK flagship cafe in London next year and is eyeing further sites in the capital. The company will open a 2,949 square foot venue in Fulham Road, Chelsea, which will include a 38-cover internal seating area and a working bakery. The store will have a traditional French bakery feel, including a large open decorative storefront to display fresh produce. Founder Laurent d’Orey told Property Week: “We selected Fulham Road for our first UK store as it attracts a vibrant community and strong retail footfall. We can’t wait to see the site open, as well as to secure more sites for the serious expansion plans that Orée has for London.” Hannah Grievson, commercial property manager at Sloane Stanley, which owns the estate around the Kings Road and Fulham Road, added: “Orée is a new and exciting premium bakery concept that we are delighted to welcome to the Fulham Road, home to a number of speciality coffee shops. It is great Orée will be alongside other brands in the surrounding area, adding to the appeal for our international visitors and resident shoppers.” Shackleton and Miles Commercial acted for Sloane Stanley while Orme Retail represented Orée.

Palmers Brewery names licensee of the year winners: West Dorset-based brewery and pub company Palmers has named John and Geraldine Baker from the Ropemakers in Bridport as its licensee of the year 2015. The couple, who have been landlords at the Ropemakers for over eight years, were selected from Palmers’ 54 pubs by a team of judges from the company for their ongoing work at the pub and in particular for the many successes they have had in 2015. They were presented with the award by Palmers chairman and managing director John Palmer. Tenanted trade director Jayson Perfect said: “By maximising their customer base and constantly exploring new routes to market, John and Geraldine have developed a fantastic site that enjoys both year-on-year growth and a loyal following of locals and return visitors. Most impressively, despite a growing food offer, the Ropemakers is at heart a wet led business.” The award is the latest the Ropemakers has scooped during 2015 including winning Palmers Master Cellarman of the Year, runners-up in the Palmers Wine Pub of the Year, winners of Garden in Bloom and winning the Taste of Dorset Community Pub the Year. 

Liverpool-based Eastern grill restaurant concept starts expanding by opening second site in city: Liverpool-based Eastern grill restaurant concept KO Grill has started expanding by opening its second site in the city. The concept, whose original site is in Lodge Lane, has launched the new venue in Bold Street. The centrepiece of the latest restaurant is the two-and-a-half metre charcoal pit, which helps to lock in spices and flavours to the meat, which is first cooked in a tandoori oven before being transferred to the pit. Diners at KO Grill can choose a wide array of healthy grilled items, traditional curries and rice dishes, as well as fresh homemade naan, cooked using the same traditional method used in central Asia. Co-owner Wahee Ahmed told the Liverpool Echo: “We saw an opportunity to enter Bold Street which we have always wanted. We grabbed it with both hands. This is the place to be if you want to show the city what you can offer and we are excited to be working on a street with such an impressive variety of cuisines.”

Sky and Molson Coors come together for limited release transfer window beer: Sky and Molson Coors have come together to launch a limited release beer for the January football transfer window. The special edition beer called Done Deal (4% ABV) is the first of its kind from the two companies. It will be brewed with English malt and hops and is golden in colour with hints of caramel and honey. It will be available exclusively through Molson Coors across on-trade outlets throughout the UK from 4 January until 29 February. Molson Coors customer marketing director Alpesh Mistry said: “The launch of Done Deal is yet another extension of our long-term partnership with Sky and a further investment in the UK on-trade. From our offer that gives publicans up to 33% off their Sky TV package, to Uplift Media, a network of digital advertising screens, Molson Coors is committed to being first choice for customers and consumers.”
Itinerary unveiled for second Propel and Thinking Drinkers Craft Beer Retail Study Tour: The itinerary has been unveiled for the second Propel and Thinking Drinkers Craft Beer Retail Study Tour. The event, which this year focuses on south London, takes place on Thursday, 28 January and will visit seven of the capital’s leading craft beer retailers in an eight-hour period. It starts at the Four Thieves brewpub in Battersea, owned by Laine Pub Company. The tour will then visit hybrid craft beer and bottle shop We Brought Beer in Clapham Junction, which was founded by former BrewDog employee James Hickson, followed by the Craft Beer Co site in Clapham Manor Street. The next stop will be the Crown & Anchor in Brixton run by London Village Inns before heading to independently operated Stormbird in Camberwell Church Street, which was runner-up in the Timeout Love London Awards this year. The tour then continues to Late Knights Brewery’s micro-pub Beer Rebellion in Gypsy Hill and ends at Utobeer’s The Rake in Borough Market. The tour will again be led by Thinking Drinkers, award-winning beer writers Ben McFarland and Tom Sandham, who will provide the latest craft beer facts and figures, market segmentation, analysis and spot up-and-coming trends. The day includes lunch and breakfast and travel between venues by coach. Tickets are £345 for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £395 for non-ALMR members. To book, email
Final panel line-up confirmed for Propel and Elliotts Advanced Marketing Masterclass: The final panel line-up for the inaugural Advanced Marketing Masterclass has been confirmed. Elliotts strategy and development director James Hacon will leads a discussion with newly appointed Thai Leisure Group marketing director Iain White-Duncan, ETM Group group marketing manager Zoe Knowles and Greene King partnership director Russell Danks about where they see success, their plans for the future and other topics discussed throughout the day. Propel is partnering leading sector public relations and marketing firm Elliotts for the event, which takes place on Thursday, 14 January at One Moorgate Place in London. The day will provide an insight into all aspects of marketing including contributions from Novus Leisure and Brazilian barbecue restaurant Cabana about some of the marketing initiatives they have used to improve results for their business. It will also include the best ways to recognise and tell a brand’s story to maximise its PR or social media potential and how to develop and deliver effective digital initiatives. There will also be the latest insight into consumers’ behaviour to help companies develop marketing strategies around their customers as well as how to brief and work with an agency effectively. Tickets are priced at £295 for Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) members and £345 for non-ALMR members and are available by emailing Adam Dickinson on 

ALMR National Restaurant Association Study Tour to Chicago opens for bookings: The Propel and Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) 2016 Chicago Study Tour is now open for bookings. The trip, sponsored by CPL Training and Sky, takes place between Thursday, 19 May and Monday, 23 May 2016. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) draws 58,000-plus industry professionals from all 50 states and 100 countries, seeking the newest innovations and up-to-the-minute information about trends and issues. The ALMR trip provides: insights from industry experts on the rise in fast-casual dining, social media, new and emerging brands, menu development, staff management and a host of other issues – with 70 free education sessions at the NRA show. It also involves two tours of Chicago’s hottest concepts and a market overview briefing sessions from US experts. Paul Charity, managing director of Propel Info, said: “The NRA show combined with our tour of Chicago is a fantastic opportunity to find fresh inspiration and understand the emerging trends shaping the fast-changing US market.” To get more information or to book, email

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