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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Wed 23rd Dec 2015 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Today is the last Propel newsletter of 2015. We would like to take the opportunity to wish our readers a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year

Story of the Day:

Greene King Leisure Tracker – pre-Christmas belt tightening contributes to fall in leisure spend: Many Britons have tightened their belts in the run up to Christmas, with the average British household spending 8% less on leisure in November than in the previous month, the Greene King Leisure Spend Tracker has revealed. The average British household spent £188 on out of home leisure – £17 less than October. Overall leisure spending was also down 2%, or £5, compared to this time last year. The month-on-month decrease was largely the result of a 15% decline in the amount spent drinking out in November compared to October, although expenditure on eating out and other leisure fell by 7% and 6% respectively, when the Rugby World Cup was in full swing. Year-on-year figures were also down for drinking out (8%) and eating out (7%) while other leisure, which includes cinema, bowling and the gym, was unchanged, highlighting the relative resilience of household spending on this category in 2015. In addition to consumers exercising some caution ahead of the festive period, industry figures have indicated online sales represented their largest ever share of retail sales during November, helped by a concentration of online activity around Black Friday. Reflecting this, high street footfall fell in the month, something that reduced the number of spontaneous lunches, dinners and drinks out during the month. Households with kids saw just a 1%, or £3, month-on-month decline in spending, likely due to some early Christmas shopping, while households without kids saw a decline of 10%, or £18, as they prepared for a busy social period. On a year-on-year basis, households in London and the south east reduced their spending on out of home leisure by 3% versus a 2% fall among households in the rest of Britain. Family households continue to buck a largely consistent trend in leisure spending, with other leisure up £18 (19%) year-on-year – an increase that offsets a £7 fall in spending among households without kids. Greene King group marketing director Fiona Gunn said: “With the Christmas festivities fast approaching, Brits tightened their belts in November, reducing their spending on drinking and eating out compared to last month. This was exacerbated further by a particularly busy October, when households up and down the country were going out to enjoy the closing stages of the Rugby World Cup and celebrate Halloween.”

Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar:

Final Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition winner revealed: The final winner in the Sky and Propel Christmas Advent Calendar competition is Paul Wigham, of the Crown Hotel in St Albans, Hertfordshire. His prize is a 46-inch HD Smart television. Sky partnered with Propel to give away a fabulous prize each working day during December until yesterday (Tuesday, 22 December). These included 12 months’ free Sky subscriptions for a licensed venue, M&S Christmas hampers worth £100, 46-inch HD Smart televisions and tickets to Barclays Premier League football matches, the 2016 British Grand Prix, a NFL game at Wembley and a rugby league match. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “It’s been great to partner with Sky on this wonderful competition and give some of our readers an early Christmas present.” 

Industry News:

Leon founders receive ‘Responsible Capitalism’ award: John Vincent and Henry Dimbleby, founders of Leon, have received the ‘First Responsible Capitalism SME Dahrendorf Award’ from business secretary Sajid Javid. In addition to Leon’s emphasis on the importance of fresh, healthy food, the First judging panel was impressed by the success of the Leon Foundation with the School Food Plan, its contribution to Food Flagship Boroughs and the Cook Five initiative, which aims to inspire young people to cook and eat healthily. Vincent said: “Capitalism needs human agency, leadership from all who sail in her, and moral decision-making. The ‘results are all that matter’ mantra both too narrowly defines the results and also gives no weight to the impact of how those results are achieved. To create responsible capitalism, we must do what it teaches in the Hindu script the Bagvad Ghita – to give up the fruits. To not chase nor be defined by money or fame. We started Leon to make it easier for people to eat well. We will continue to do this but also be on the look-out for other ways of achieving our mission – to do more things like the School Food Plan.”

CAMRA – more than 1,200 pubs are now listed as Assets of Community Value: More than 1,200 pubs are now listed as an Asset of Community Value (ACV), the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) has reported. The number of pubs nominated as ACVs has doubled in the past six months, following the launch of a joint CAMRA-government initiative to protect England’s most valued pubs, which was announced by pubs minister Marcus Jones at this year’s Great British Beer Festival. ACV nominations give local communities the power to safeguard valued local pubs from developers. CAMRA branches and community groups across the country are now working hard to get 3,000 pubs listed as ACVs by the end of 2016 to help stem the number of pub closures, which currently stands at a rate of 29 a week. Tim Page, CAMRA chief executive, said: “It is fantastic to see community groups across England coming together to protect 1,200 pubs across the country from redevelopment or demolition. This figure is a testament to the effectiveness of putting power back into the hands of local communities and giving them a chance to have a say in shaping their town centres. We hope to more than double that figure by this time next year. ACV status also generates vital support for local pubs and highlights the wide variety of community-orientated events and activities that contribute significantly to local civic life. With 29 pubs closing every week we want to secure greater support for ACV listed pubs to ensure they continue to be at the heart of our communities. With Christmas just around the corner – this is the perfect opportunity to share your support for your local by nominating it as an ACV.” Jones added: “Our pubs remain at the heart of local life and CAMRA members have done their communities proud. We brought in community rights to allow people to list the local landmarks most important to their communities – allowing them a fair chance to bid for them should they be put up for sale. Now listing might not be appropriate for all establishments but where communities have wanted them they have done a great job, with 2,600 much-loved assets – from pubs to libraries and community centres – being listed across the country.”
McDonald’s plans sale of stake in Japanese business: McDonald’s is reported to be selling a stake in its Japanese business, McDonald’s Holdings, the joint venture that operates the company’s restaurants there. McDonald’s owns about half of McDonald’s Holdings Japan and is talking with potential buyers to unload 15% to 33% of the Japan company’s shares for as much as $817m, according to reports. In the first quarter of this year, like-for-like sales in Japan alone fell by more than 30%, following a food safety scare in China and other issues specific to Japan. In the first three quarters of the year, same-store sales there have fallen by more than 20%. McDonald’s Japan expects to record a loss for the full year.
Chelsea restaurateur – aiming fake shotgun at passers-by was ‘biggest mistake of my life’: The co-owner of Chelsea “wild food” restaurant Rabbit Richard Gladwin who aimed a fake shotgun at passers-by outside the King’s Road venue after drinking champagne said it was the “biggest mistake of my life”. Gladwin was arrested along with his manager Fred Samengo-Turner in August after the pair terrified pedestrians by brandishing the shotgun outside the venue, Isleworth Crown Court heard. They admitted charges of carrying a firearm in a public place and affray. Gladwin told the Evening Standard: “I accept that this is the biggest mistake of my life and I am already paying the price for it.” Both Gladwin and Samengo-Turner were released on unconditional bail ahead of sentencing on 28 January. Rabbit opened last year and boasts that its “sustainable ingredients and wines from the family farm in West Sussex are served in a bucolic space”. The restaurant is run by Gladwin, who is front-of-house, and his younger brothers Oliver, a chef, and Gregory, who grows produce on the farm. 
Camden Town Brewery’s takeover by AB InBev to be Crowdcube’s second successful exit: Camden Town Brewery’s £85m takeover by Anheuser-Busch InBev will be Crowdcube’s second successful crowdfunding exit. A total of 2,173 investors backed Camden Town Brewery as it raised more than £2.75m on the crowdfunding platform earlier this year. Shareholders have been offered an upfront payment of 108p per share in the takeover deal – a 68% uplift on the 65p from the crowdfunding round. Camden Town Brewery founder and chief executive Jasper Cuppaidge said: “The board considers that the offer represents a very successful exit for all of the company’s shareholders particularly relative to the size of the shareholders’ investment and the period of time for which each shareholder has held shares in the company.” Crowdcube’s first successful exit was back in July when E-Car Club, the UK’s first entirely electric car sharing club, was bought by car rental company Europcar. 

Company News:

BrewDog to change articles of association to entrench independence: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog is to change its Articles Of Association to entrench its independence. Reflecting on the move by Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) to buy Camden Town Brewery, the company stated: “The first thing that will change at Camden is their cost of goods. Just by being owned by AB-InBev, the beer duty Camden will pay on a 50L keg of Hells will instantly increase by around £20. On their current production numbers (quoted at 65,000HL this year) the difference between full duty and half beer duty is approximately an extra £2.7m of beer duty annually. To put this into perspective, in their last financial year they Camden made £319,000 of profit. So all of a sudden Camden have much, much higher beer duty costs and they also need to generate significantly more profit to give AB InBev a return. So something will have to give. No prizes for guessing what it will be.” The company added: “We are going to entrench our independence. We are going to call a meeting of our Equity Punk investors and propose an amendment to our articles of association. We intend to make 37.5 of the BrewDog articles read as follows: 37.5 ‘The board will exercise its discretion granted in article 37.1 to refuse to register any transfer of any certificated share to a transferee who is a monolithic purveyor of bland industrial beer’. The wording is our lawyers. But we kinda like it.”

Artisan reports surge in revenue and Ebitda, Living Ventures looking to expand brand: Artisan, the casual dining bar restaurant located in Manchester’s Spinningfields operated by Living Ventures, has reported a surge in revenue and Ebitda. The 250-capacity restaurant increased revenue by 37% to £3.7m in the year ended 31 March 2015 (2014: £2.6m) with Ebitda increasing by 152% to £452,429 (2014: £178,947). Following the year end, the company extended its Artisan concept opening a ground floor extension available for private hire in May 2015 and a second private dining room for 30 people in November, adding to the private facilities already on offer in the city centre venue. Living Ventures managing director Paul Moran, said: “Artisan continues to go from strength to strength and remains one of the most popular restaurants in our Manchester portfolio. The extensions to our private dining capability in response to huge demand for our existing facilities show how flexible the business is across the corporate and leisure markets and we are actively looking for other city centre opportunities to expand the brand.”

Shake Shack opens first UK site outside London in Cardiff, restaurant features ‘selfie’ booth: Shake Shack has opened its first UK site outside London after launching in Cardiff. The company has opened the restaurant in the food quarter at the St David’s shopping centre. The restaurant boasts a wood-finish interior, complete with park-style wooden tables and benches, which act as a timely reminder of the chain’s al-fresco roots in New York’s Madison Square Park. It features an open kitchen and grill and even a “selfie” booth for visitors to record their visit. The restaurant has also paired up with local breweries Celt Experience and Tiny Rebel to give diners the choice of two local draught beers. Global culinary director Mark Rosati told Wales Online: “Our restaurants are somewhere for people to relax, we’ve built all of our Shack’s with that in mind. What made our burgers famous was that we stuck to making a simple, good classic American hamburger, the type you look at and think ‘I could cook that up on the barbecue’. We use whole ground steak, which really adds to the flavour – and we smash the burgers when we seal them. That’s the heart of a great hamburger. In every restaurant we create something unique to that area, and we thought that the Welsh Cake was a perfect combination with our custard concretes (dense frozen ice cream with a topping of choice).”
Red Dog Saloon gets go-ahead to open new site in Nottingham: Red Dog Saloon has been given the go-ahead to open a new restaurant in Nottingham. The company has received permission from Nottingham City Council to convert the site formerly occupied by fashion retailer Ark in Victoria Street, creating up to 50 jobs. As part of the plans, the building’s ground floor and part of its basement and first floor will be converted into a bar and restaurant. Under the terms of its lease, Red Dog Saloon could also utilise the property’s rooftop plant deck. Red Dog Saloon founder Tom Brooke told the Nottingham Post: “I am thrilled to be expanding our brand out of London and I look forward to offering a unique and fun concept to customers in Nottingham. With delicious food, a fantastic drink selection and vibrant atmosphere there is something for everyone at Red Dog Saloon.” Red Dog Saloon, which serves a range of barbecued meats, burgers and sandwiches, currently has venues in Soho, Hoxton and Clapham North in London with a site also planned to open at the WestQuay Watermark development in Southampton.
Pret A Manger to open first site in New York’s Tribeca area, almost doubles city estate in four years: Pret A Manger is to open its first site in the Tribeca area of New York, which means it will have almost doubled its presence in the city in four years. It has signed a lease for a 3,500 square foot venue at the 184-room Cosmopolitan Hotel – Tribeca at 125 Chambers Street. The new location, which is expected to open early next year and will be the 42nd Manhattan Pret A Manger, will occupy 2,300 square feet on the ground floor and 1,200 square feet in the basement of the property between Church Street and West Broadway. The asking rent in the ten-year deal was $200 per square foot. “With its strategic expansion throughout New York City’s key neighborhoods, Pret A Manger has now become a go-to staple in Manhattan,” said RKF’s Ariel Schuster, who represented Pret A Manger. “The brand’s ability to identify and cater to high-traffic office markets with discerning lunchtime crowds helps ensure Pret’s continued success in New York.” Pret has been on an expansion drive in the city and specifically in Manhattan over the past couple of years. In 2011, there were 24 Pret sites in the city. “In an effort to revitalise the hotel, ownership focused on identifying retailers that would service both the hotel guests, as well as local residents,” RKF’s David Abrams, who represented landlord Triumph Hotels in the deal, said. “We expect that Pret will nicely complement Starbucks and Serafina in providing a variety of dining options for guests.”
Yorkshire-based American restaurant concept starts expanding with second site in Leeds: Yorkshire-based American restaurant Huckleberry’s Diner has started expanding by launching a second site, this time in Leeds. The company has opened the venue in the High Street in Yeadon with owners Jon and Sarah Rowlands investing over £100,000 in the restaurant, which has capacity for up to 80 diners, and created ten jobs. Huckleberry’s opened its first site near Flaxton in York in 2012. Its food challenges such as Burger-Pockalypse, Slidergeddon and Man versus Dog have attracted challenge eaters and television programmes to the diner. Sarah Rowlands told The Business Desk: “We’re very excited to be opening up our second restaurant in three years and hope the people of Leeds have the appetite for the fantastic menu and authentic American experience we have in store for them.”
M&B’s Harvester brand donates 5,000 meals: Mitchells & Butlers’ Harvester brand, with 230 sites, has donated 20 meals per site to a nominated local charity, adding up to a total of 5,000 meals across all of its restaurants, worth over £75,000. The deserving charities were treated to a complimentary three-course lunch from the brand’s festive menu. The good causes benefitting ranged from cancer support to helping older people in the community, but the most popular by far to share the Christmas feasts were local children’s charities. Harvester marketing manager Anneli Fereday said: “Christmas is definitely the season for giving back, so we were delighted to offer this nationwide initiative to charities and say a small thank you for the hard work that they do by inviting them into our restaurants for a festive meal.”
Starbucks predicts record sales of Starbucks Cards on Christmas Eve: Starbucks has predicted record purchases of Starbucks Cards on Christmas Eve, citing the trend for customers to make their gift card purchases at the last minute. Last year, nearly 2.5 million Starbucks Cards were purchased in the US and Canada on 24 December – representing approximately 1,700 cards purchased per minute. One in seven American adults received a Starbucks Card last holiday season, and the company is on track for another record performance in Starbucks Card sales. The National Retail Federation reports that 58.8% of shoppers said they would like to receive a gift card, making it the most requested gift item nine years in a row. Since Starbucks Card launched 15 years ago, more than $25bn has been loaded on Starbucks Cards in the US and Canada alone, with $5.1bn loaded onto Starbucks Cards in the past fiscal year (October 2014-September 2015), and of that total, a record $1.6bn loaded onto Starbucks Cards in three months (October-December 2014). Starbucks sees the benefits of this increased activity in stores as gift cards received over the holiday season are redeemed. More than one-third of all transactions in the US and Canada are paid for with a Starbucks Card, and Starbucks Cards are available in more than 31 countries worldwide, with planned expansion in 2016.
Scotland-based hospitality training company to turn part of school into temporary hotel, restaurant and bar to give pupils a taste of working in sector: Scotland-based hospitality training company Tennent’s Training Academy (TTA) is to turn part of a school into a temporary hotel, bar and restaurant next month as part of a programme to teach children about working in the industry. The company will be running the pilot Taste the Industry project at Grove Academy in the Dundee suburb of Broughty Ferry. Working in conjunction with companies including The Restaurant Group and the G1 Group, the TTA will give pupils the chance to learn about the hospitality sector and what careers it can offer. They can try working in the kitchen, while the school gym will be turned into a hotel fitness suite. Other rooms will be used as a restaurant, mocktail bar and hotel bedrooms. More than 5,000 people have been trained by the TTA in Glasgow but the Grove project will be the first time training has been given in schools. Headteacher Graham Hutton told The Courier: “Taste the Industry is an excellent and exciting opportunity for our young people to look into the world of work and see first hand the skills for life and work they are developing here at Grove.” TTA director Stephanie Wade said the hospitality industry requires an influx of fresh employees if the tourism industry is to continue growing in Scotland. Tourism brought in about £6bn to the Scottish economy last year and more than 185,000 people are expected to be employed in the industry by 2020. 
Family acquires Cheshire site for £5.35m: The family behind the grade I-listed Peckforton Castle in Tarporley has bought another historic hotel and wedding venue in Cheshire for more than £5m following the administration of its previous owner. Family-run Highwater Estates has completed the £5.35m acquisition of Nunsmere Hall Hotel from the administrators of Prima Hotels, which entered administration in May 2015. Prima Hotels’ three other properties in England, the Stanneylands Hotel in Wilmslow, Hellaby Hall Hotel in Rotherham and the Quorn Country Hotel in Leicestershire have also been sold. The new owners of Nunsmere Hall Hotel have promised to make a “significant investment” into the manor house. Highwater’s Chris Naylor, managing director of Peckforton Castle, said he is planning a revamp of the Edwardian, lake-fringed estate on the outskirts of Northwich. He added: “We’re very proud to take over such an historic building. Nunsmere Hall has huge potential and we’re all extremely excited. Having spent ten years building a very successful hotel with Peckforton Castle, we’re confident we can transform Nunsmere Hall too.”
New American-inspired diner concept opens in Newton-Le-Willows: A new American-inspired diner concept has opened in Newton-Le-Willows, Merseyside. The All State Diners in Wargrave Road is a joint venture by friends Bablu Ahmed and Jaf Bhattle and has created 30 jobs. The pair had wanted to launch something together for a while when a large space became vacant in the same building as the Simply Local convenience store run by Bhattle. The menu includes burgers, cereal, waffles, bagels, hot dogs and milkshakes. Ahmed, who previously worked in shopper marketing in Manchester, told the Liverpool Echo: “We liked the concept of a diner, as everything in the US is about bigger and better. We wanted to bring in premium food on the go. We’ve got a musical focus, with classic albums along the walls and the artists played on our sound system – everything from Prince to AC/DC, Michael Jackson to Jay Z. There’s a jukebox on display, with diner seating, classic black-and-white tiles and a rustic feel from the open brick walls.”
Antic reopens Walthamstow cinema as pub: Antic London, backed by investment firm Downing, has reopened Walthamstow’s historic EMD Granada cinema as a pub called Mirth Marvel & Maud. The grade II-listed picture house, once frequented by Alfred Hitchcock, dates back to 1930, while the site itself saw films screened there right back to 1896, the year that cinema was officially born. Antic boss Anthony Thomas said: “We wanted to bring Mirth back to the foyer, which is in itself a Walthamstow marvel. My great-aunt Maud took me to a similar space as a child, hence our chosen name.” It now offers three storeys and two bars. The first is an octagonal booth just inside the doors serving cocktails while the second is a basement bar offering beer from Walthamstow’s own Wild Card Brewery. The three screens of the cinema are still being restored with plans to turn these into performance spaces with an emphasis on projects by the local community. Antic is in discussions with Soho Theatre over using the space. A spokesman for Soho Theatre said: “We have been working closely with Waltham Forest Cinema Trust, the council and others to secure use of the auditorium. [We have] developed a robust business plan built around comedy and an annual Christmas panto – but extending far beyond that and including a range of ways in which the whole community can access the venue and our creative participation programmes.”
KFC becomes first foodservice brand to partner with Snapchat in the UK: KFC UK has partnered with Snapchat on a series of sponsored geofilters, which will be available in 900 of the chain’s restaurants, The Drum has reported. The advert is the first time a brand has used the function in the UK, and the first UK-specific campaign on the messaging app. Geofilters are special overlays for images that can only be accessed in certain locations and KFC has chosen a seasonal theme designed to “bring the joy of Christmas together with the joy of KFC”. The drive allows Snapchatters to decorate their photo with taglines such as “It’s the most wonderful bite of the year”, before sending to family and friends. Devised by ZenithOptimedia Group’s Blue 449 with creative guidance from BBH, the push will feature a range of different executions over the coming months. Snapchat has claimed 60% of 13 to 34 year-old smartphone owners in the UK use the service, and Jenny Packwood, head of digital, PR and brand communications at KFC described the app as “a great way for KFC to communicate directly with its younger fanbase who spend a huge amount of their media time on their mobile devices”. “Snapchat is one of the most popular platforms and chain geofilters offer a fun and engaging way for our customers to share unique content whilst in and around our UK stores,” she added. 
Hummus Bros takes its pop-up to over 350 locations in London in 2015: Hummus Bros, the London-based hummus restaurant company, has operated its pop-up at over 350 locations across the capital this year. The company, which was founded in August 2005 by Christian Moutsset and Ronen Givon, has taken its concept, menu, products, marketing and staff to high profile London locations such as Google, HSBC, JP Morgan, ITV studios and Goldman Sachs on either a weekly or monthly basis. Earlier in the year it also took the concept to Berkshire and has locations in Surrey and Sussex on the cards for 2016. Hummus Bros has also invited people to get in touch if they want the pop-up to visit their place of work. Earlier this year, the company raised £250,000 on Crowdcube to continue its expansion of pop-up sites as well as funding the opening of two new high street venues, one of which has since opened in Grays Inn Road in London.
Perth-based hospitality company hands over operation of award-winning nightclub to concentrate on other sites: Perth-based hospitality company Centreglobal is handing over operation of the award-winning Ice Factory nightclub after 21 years to concentrate on its other sites in the city. Managing director John Bryden is passing on the running of the 1,300 capacity venue in Shore Road to experienced operator Mike Jordan, who previously ran Zoo in Canal Street. While the original club, created in 1994, will continue in a new guise, the ground floor of the property is the subject of a planning application designed to create eight individual workshop, storage and office units for lease. Bryden told The Courier: “None of us are getting any younger and I felt the time was right to move on and focus on our other business interests in the city centre, such as That Bar, The Loft, Roca Blu and the Tavern.” The change of direction for Centreglobal coincides with a £250,000 refurbishment of That Bar, in the city’s South Street, with a greater emphasis on the food operation. The Ice Factory has previously won Scottish and UK nightclub of the year awards.
Northumberland-based pub operators take on second site: Northumberland-based pub operators Chris Robinson and Geoff Dade have taken on the running of a second site. Robinson and Dade, who operate The Anchor Inn in Wooler, have now acquired the lease of the Oddfellows Arms in Alnwick. They are known in the town having previously run The Alnwick Arms for nearly two years where they made a name for themselves by serving good, traditional food and a large drinks selection. Robinson, who is a professional chef, hopes to bring his British food menu back to Alnwick. Dade told the Northumberland Gazette: “My main aim is to make the Oddfellows a great place to go, whether for a night out, a meal or a quiet afternoon drink. We’ll be stocking the bar up with a wide range of drinks, including well-kept real ale – and we’ll be bringing back the cocktails that were so popular at the Arms.”
Stephen Billingham appointed chairman of nuclear fuel giant Urenco: Punch chairman Stephen Billingham has been appointed chairman of nuclear fuel giant Urenco. Billingham, who is also chairman of Anglian Water Group, will succeed Sir John Hood on 1 January 2016, reports Insider Media. Billingham has been a non-executive director of Urenco since 2009. He said: “I am honoured to be able to lead the board of a first class uranium enrichment services company. Urenco plays a key role in the nuclear fuel supply chain and as such makes an important contribution in the generation of low carbon energy.” Urenco said Billingham would be chairman of the board during 2016 while the company continues the search process for a long-term successor to Sir John. The group has its UK head office in Stoke Poges, Buckinghamshire, and an enrichment facility in Chester. 

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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