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Thu 23rd Feb 2017 - Propel Thursday News Briefing

Story of the Day: 

Meantime Brewing Company reports turnover and profit rise: Meantime Brewing Company, which was acquired in June 2015 for £120m by SAB Miller, which later sold the business on to Asahi Holdings, has reported turnover rose to £26.5m in the 15 months to 31 March 2016, a rise of £9.8m. Consolidated Ebitda was £4.5m in the 15-month period, an increase of £2.1m on the previous year. Profit before tax was £2,999,581, compared with £1,544,743 the year before. Reports at the time of the sale in May 2015 estimated the price at between £30m and £50m. However, the true figure was revealed in SABMiller’s annual report released last year. The windfall was shared by Meantime Brewery Company founder Alistair Hook, Nick Miller, who was chief executive at the time, and about 60 other shareholders. Meantime was founded by Hook in 1999 in his Greenwich flat with £500,000 borrowed from friends and family. He and Miller owned the two largest stakes. SABMiller sold Meantime to Japan’s Asahi as part of moves to win regulatory approval for its own takeover by AB InBev. Meanwhile, Cobra Beer, the joint venture between Molson Coors and Lord Karan Bilimoria, has reported pre-tax profit rose by 40.4% to £7,678,000 in the year to 31 December 2015. Turnover declined 1.7% to £61,706,000. It stated: “The company saw a reduction in turnover during the year but profit before tax increased mainly as a result of a reduced marketing spend during the year – marketing spend was £3,597,243 compared with £5,162,836 in the year prior. The company saw an increase in sales volumes during the year and maintained market share in the premium beer market.” Molson Coors owns 50.1% of the business, with Lord Bilimoria owning the rest. Dividends of £5,956,64 were paid (2014: £4,926,831).

Industry News:

Advanced Social Media Masterclass schedule revealed: The schedule for the Advanced Social Media Masterclass has been revealed featuring all-new content and insights to allow companies to increase brand exposure and broaden their reach. Propel has partnered with digital marketing company Digital Blonde for the event, which encompasses a full-day programme of tips, insight, case studies and information to help create sector-leading, compelling content. It takes place on Friday, 7 April at One Moorgate Place in London. The day will open with Digital Blonde founder Karen Fewell introducing the latest social media technology and trends and how these will impact food, drink and hospitality marketing. It will detail all the emerging trends to watch out for and how business can benefit from them. Delegates will find out everything they need to know about Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter. The sessions will revisit effective social media campaigns, with a special focus on flops and triumphs. It will delve into what success looks like across each platform and how to avoid the potential pitfalls. The day will explore the psychology of marketing giving delegates the chance to understand human behaviour and decision-making processes. There will be a session on boosting social success with PR and how they should work together for best results that really get audiences engaged and involved. The discussion will be brought to life, with recent and relevant examples to learn from. The day will also look at the sites, blogs and social media accounts with highly engaged audiences that possess the power to make a place or product a hit. Delegates will find out how to create their dream team when it comes to recognising, recruiting and retaining social talent. Getting the job spec right, as well as understanding your audience, play a part in this mission and this session will help businesses to become a magnet for the talent they want. The event will also look at exploring how to use analytics to inform business strategies and how measuring and monitoring key metrics can lead to continuous performance improvement and a sector-leading social media presence. Delegates will also find out how their social media messages and campaigns can benefit from social advertising, all without using big budgets. The session will cover advertising examples, appropriate spend and how to evaluate paid-for activity. The day will also cover making sure your social marketing is engaging for all – and there will be a session providing clarity on marketing to Baby Boomers, Generation X, millennials and Generation Z. Delegates will also find out the best ways of using social media to attract families to their pub or restaurant. The day will be rounded off with an expert panel to answer the burning questions arising throughout the event. Tickets are £295 plus VAT for Propel Premium members and £345 plus VAT for non-members and can be booked by emailing anne.steele@propelinfo.com

Industry bodies unite to call for rates reform: The Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) has joined with other industry bodies to ramp up their business rates campaign by penning a letter to Parliament highlighting flaws in the current system that hit companies in the licensed hospitality sector. The letter targets all members of the House of Commons and underlines crucial drawbacks in the system and the ineffectiveness of previous government reforms. It also calls on ministers to advocate “root and branch change of an inadequate system”. ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “This joint letter includes signatures from all aspects of retail, hospitality, property and commerce, showing what a widespread issue the problem of business rates is. The ALMR has been vocal in its calls for immediate relief to help businesses acclimatise to the new rates but this joint letter focuses more on long-term reform. The Scottish government instigated the Barclay Review of business rates in Scotland last year, yet its effect has been marginal and symptomatic of the government’s inefficiency in dealing with this problem. The future of business rates is a key priority for the ALMR and we have indicated our willingness to work closely with the government to facilitate change that is fair and benefits businesses. In particular, we need to see a move away from the system currently in place that penalises pubs and bars for their success and deters investment. We have also reiterated our call for more frequent revaluations to ensure rateable values are accurate and businesses avoid a repeat of the delay that has led to enormous, unaffordable increases for a number of pubs, bars and restaurants.”

BT Sport promises not to change prices: BT Sport has promised it will not restructure its pricing in April in line with the government’s introduction of new 2017 business rates. Bruce Cuthbert, director commercial customers, said: “We have taken the decision to defer using the new business rates for the time being. Having discussed this with the ALMR, BBPA and BII, it is clear that with additional cost pressure from increases in the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage, combined with growing price inflation, it seemed common sense to wait for the dust to settle before finalising any new pricing structure. It will have been seven years since the business rates were last updated and with a number of changes being introduced, including new transitional arrangements and the overall appeals process, now is not the time to make any changes.”

Higher menu prices ‘hitting’ US eating out figures: A third of US adults are eating out less frequently than three months ago, mostly because of cost, according to a new Reuters/Ipsos survey that illustrates the challenge for US restaurants seeking to revive traffic after zero growth in 2016. One-third of respondents to January’s poll of more than 4,200 US adults said they were eating out less often than three months ago. Of those, 62% gave cost as the primary reason. Recent minimum wage increases have prompted some US operators to raise menu prices, while grocery stores have been able to pass lower food costs on to shoppers. The gap between grocery food prices and restaurant prices in the US is at a record high. The US consumer price index for food away from home was up 2.4% year-on-year at the end of January, compared with a 1.9% drop for food at home. Maxim Group analyst Stephen Anderson told Reuters he expected weak traffic to continue this year. He said the chains most likely to buck the trend were those that offered the most convenience, such as Domino’s Pizza and Panera Bread – companies that excel with technology such as online ordering. His view was backed by the poll, with 55% saying they ate at restaurants “because it was convenient”. Annual traffic to US restaurants has been flat or up only 1% since 2009.

Pinsent Masons and Christie & Co to host free breakfast briefing on pubs and restaurant sector: Law firm Pinsent Masons and agents Christie & Co will hold a free breakfast briefing entitled “Pubs and Restaurant Sector: Challenges of 2017 and Beyond” on Tuesday (28 February). The briefing, at Pinsent Masons’ offices in Earl Street, London, will cover legal and commercial issues affecting licensed businesses and a panel discussion featuring Kate Nicholls, chief executive of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers, Brewhouse & Kitchen executive chairman Kris Gumbrell, and Kings Park Capital co-founder Jason Katz. Topics will include the National Living Wage, the Apprenticeship Levy, recruitment disruption following Brexit, business rates, and rising food and drinks costs. Limited spaces remain. For further details email Alana Bathgate at alana.bathgate@pinsentmasons.com

Company News:

Chipotle rolls out new digital ordering system to halve pick-up times: Chipotle Mexican Grill is promising to halve pick-up times with the roll-out this week of a new digital ordering system in the US. The new “Smarter Pickup Times” technology allows the company to process more digital orders without disrupting service or throughput. In tests, the new system reduced wait times for digital orders by as much as 50% and increased the total number of digital orders to record levels, while keeping restaurants from being overwhelmed during peak times, the company said. The roll-out includes a new, more-responsive web platform and mobile apps through which guests can reserve a pick-up time. In addition, restaurants have added an extra make line in the back of restaurants to allow digital orders to be prepared without disrupting service on the main customer-facing production line, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. The company is also testing digital ordering kiosks in restaurants to help speed throughput. Chief marketing and development officer Mark Crumpacker said: “Smarter Pickup Times enhances this capability by dynamically scheduling orders and generating accurate wait times based on the current volume of orders. This allows us to prepare more digital orders while simultaneously improving the customer experience.” Chipotle is battling to win back customers after a series of foodborne illness outbreaks in late 2015. Average unit volumes fell to $1.9m in 2016, compared with $2.5m in 2014 before the crisis hit.

Timothy Taylor buys Harrogate site: Keighley-based brewer Timothy Taylor has expanded its presence in North Yorkshire with the acquisition of a brasserie in Cheltenham Parade in the centre of Harrogate. The Harrogate Brasserie has been managed and developed by Richard and Amanda Finney for 20 years and attracts locals, tourists, theatre-goers and delegates who are using the nearby conference and exhibition centre. Timothy Taylor chief executive Tim Dewey said: “We were looking for a high-profile venue in Harrogate that would give us a presence in the town and complement the loyal and long-standing traditional pub stockists we have there. We feel The Harrogate Brasserie offers us a quality solution to this challenge and we look forward to working with the Finneys’ team to build on and enhance the excellent tradition they have established in the brasserie.” Timothy Taylor was established in 1858 in Keighley, where the company has remained. The brewery, still owned by the Taylor family, is the last independent brewery of its type in West Yorkshire.

Duck & Waffle to open St James’s Market sister site: Duck & Waffle, the restaurant that offers British cuisine with broad European influences alongside stunning views of the London skyline from the 40th floor of 110 Bishopsgate, is set to open a sister site in the capital, this time at ground level in St James’s Market. The new venue will open in Haymarket Street in May as a “fast-casual, chef-curated restaurant” that also offers a takeaway service, Hot Dinners reports. The site will be led by chef director Dan Doherty, with duck remaining at the centre of the menu. As well as the original duck and waffle dish, other items on the menu will include duck burger with crispy duck leg, a duck jam doughnut, and the Full Elvis (peanut butter and jelly-buttered waffle with vanilla cream, peanut brittle, fresh berries and caramelised banana). Vegetarian options and cocktails will also feature at the sister site, with Duck & Waffle’s Rich Woods putting on a Taps & Tails menu featuring on-tap cocktails as well as beer, including the Holy Duck IPA, and a select list of wines.

Wadworth gives away almost 5,000 pints for Random Acts of Kindness Week: Brewer and retailer Wadworth has given away 5,000 pints as part of Random Acts of Kindness Week. From 13 to 19 February, visitors to Wadworth’s managed houses, along with ten nominated tenanted sites, were randomly gifted with a pint of Wadworth’s 6X beer. Publicans and managers at the participating pubs got behind the mission to “spread happiness across Wadworth’s south of England pubs”. Each site was provided with new 6X glasses to serve the free pints in and, by the end of the week, 4,500 pints of the ale had been given to unsuspecting guests. Prior to 13 February, Wadworth sent suggestions of when to give out a free pint of 6X, including someone struggling to decide what to drink, regular 6X drinkers, diners, anyone celebrating a special occasion, or someone who looked like they needed cheering up. Random gifts of beer were also sent during the week to social media users who happened to mention they needed a beer. Wadworth chief executive Chris Welham said: “It’s been a great week, with some brilliant stories from across our pub estate. I am thrilled so many people walked away with a smile on their faces thanks to our random acts of kindness.”

Sethi family opens third site for Indian food delivery concept Motu Kitchen, in Canary Wharf: The Sethi family, which operates Michelin-starred Indian restaurants Gymkhana and Trishna and award-winning Sri Lankan eatery Hoppers, has opened a third site for its delivery concept Motu Kitchen, this time in Canary Wharf. The debut Motu Kitchen opened in Battersea in October, with a second site launching in Camberwell two months later. The new venue will dispatch Motu’s signature Feast boxes, which are inspired by traditional “tiffins”. The feast boxes are available for delivery to homes and offices in the surrounding area, including Millwall, Limehouse, Poplar and Cubitt Town for lunch and dinner. The boxes feature dishes such as lamb shank rogan josh, Madras prawn masala, and tandoori mixed grill, as well as daily specials and a wide selection of sides. The Canary Wharf kitchen will also offer exclusive dishes such as samosa pao, tandoori paneer naan roll and Indo-Chinese chilli paneer, The Handbook reports. The Motu Kitchen website states: “Motu, a name derived from the affectionate Hindi term for ‘fat man’, serves indulgent, home-style Indian food paying homage to the British love of a classic Indian takeaway, with a nod to the ‘dabbawalas’ of India, who would traditionally deliver a packed meal for workers across Indian cities in what became known as tiffin.”

GC Mallen acquires Tunbridge Wells pub from Greene King: Multi-site pub operator GC Mallen, headed by Garry Mallen, has acquired a pub in Tunbridge Wells, Kent, from brewer and retailer Greene King – The Guinea Butt in Calverley Road. Mallen said the pub would close for a few weeks before reopening as The Guinea. Mallen, whose company owns 12 other sites, told Kent Live: “I’ve known it for some time from various visits to the town so when Greene King decided to sell it, I didn’t hesitate. We will serve great products, some of them craft but mostly real ale from local breweries. We’ll serve freshly-made food using the best-quality ingredients, the more local the better, and we’ll charge what we need to charge to provide these products. It’s unlikely to be cheap, but it will not be prohibitively expensive.”

Hippo Inns to host ‘farm to neighbour’ initiative at Islington Townhouse: Hippo Inns, the joint venture between Geronimo Inns founder Rupert Clevely and Enterprise Inns, will host a weekly “farm to neighbour” event at The Islington Townhouse. Hippo Inns’ north London venue will host a Food Assembly event every Tuesday evening, launching on 7 March, which will provide a space to connect farmers and neighbours to each other – and everyone to their food. The Food Assembly was founded in late 2010 by two friends in France who wanted to create a more efficient food distribution network and support local farmers and producers. Islington Food Assembly members will collect their pre-ordered produce from the pub, giving them a chance to connect with neighbours and meet producers to talk to them about their food. The Islington Townhouse, which opened in September as Hippo Inns’ sixth site, is around the corner from Chapel Market and is set over three floors, including a snug, open bar and upstairs dining room. It offers small plates, craft beer and creative cocktails. Last year, The Food Assembly won the Best British Food Initiative at the BBC Food and Farming Awards.

Northamptonshire-based independent coffee chain Bewiched to open seventh and eighth sites: Northamptonshire-based independent coffee chain Bewiched is set to open its seventh and eighth sites, in Rothwell and Rushden. The Rothwell venue will open in Market Hill at a site formerly housing The Store coffee shop, while the Rushden branch will launch in early March as part of the first phase of the Rushden Lakes development, the brand’s first foray into a retail park. Bewiched will be based in the same building as the Wildlife Trust’s visitor centre at the new multimillion-pound retail and leisure scheme. Bewiched managing director Matt Fountain told the Northamptonshire Telegraph: “My big ambition is to make us an award-winning employer. I want to attract and retain the best talent in the coffee industry.” Bewiched offers a range of coffees, hot chocolate, iced teas, smoothies and milkshakes as well as sweet and savoury snacks. Its other venues are in Northampton, Wellingborough (two sites), Kettering and Corby, all in Northamptonshire, and another in Peterborough.

Restaurant Brands acquires fried chicken chain Popeyes for $1.8bn: Restaurant Brands, which owns Burger King and Tim Hortons, has acquired US fried chicken chain Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen for $1.8bn. The deal will make Restaurant Brands the fifth-largest restaurant company in terms of total global unit count, with 23,000 sites. The $1.8bn deal represents a multiple of 19 times forward cash flow. Restaurant Brands is eyeing a rapid-growth strategy for Popeyes, like it used at Burger King and has started to employ at Tim Hortons. Restaurant Brands chief financial officer Joshua Kobza told Nation’s Restaurant News: “The strategy will be much the same – to grow the size of the brand by working with existing and new franchisees.” Popeyes has also seen several years of like-for-like sales growth, while system-wide sales at Popeyes have grown at least 8% every year since 2008. Popeyes has 2,000 domestic locations, less than half the size of rival KFC – meaning the chain has room for growth, while its focus on a New Orleans-inspired menu of fried chicken and other items with spicier flavour profiles appears to fit in with consumer tastes. Popeyes also has 600 locations in international markets and has recently reached several development agreements.

East Midlands hotel owner slips into administration: The owner of two historic East Midlands hotels has slipped into administration. Abbot Grange, which owns 15-bedroom Bridge Hotel in Thrapston and the grade II-listed Dovecliff Hall in Stretton, near Burton on Trent, has called in administrators from Duff & Phelps to run the pair of hotels. The hotels are owned by a family business headed by Tony Sachdev and Gogi Singh. Dovecliff Hall in particular has an illustrious past. In the 19th century it was owned by Lord Bass, who made many contributions to Burton including the Ferry Bridge. He was a good friend of King Edward VII, who visited the Bass brewery and the family on their estate at Rangemore in 1902, beginning the brewing of the now famous King’s Ale. The Bridge Hotel is a hotel, restaurant and wedding venue in the market town of Thrapston in north west Northamptonshire. In its latest accounts to 31 December 2015, Abbot Grange owed creditors £684,167.

CPL Training Group appoints David Dasher as chief data officer: CPL Training, which provides licensed retail and hospitality training across the UK, has restructured its board. CPL Online managing director David Dasher has been appointed chief data officer of CPL Training Group, with the change set to come into effect in April. Dasher will work internally and alongside clients to manage data insights, data governance, and research and development. The restructure is part of the company’s strategy to create a unified technology structure, identify revenue opportunities and reduce operating costs. Dasher will still oversee operations at CPL Online, with senior management responsible for day-to-day running of the business. Dasher said: “Over the past seven years, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing CPL Online flourish into a leading training and software company. With the promotion of senior management to the board of directors, the business has continued to progress in all areas. After strategically assessing the position of both companies, I made the decision to move into this new role, which marks an important step in the direction of the business. Data analytics have become fundamental to our internal and external operations, and this will continue to grow in the future. I’m excited to embark on this new challenge and build on the strong foundations already in place.” CPL Training Group chief executive Daniel Davies added: “Having started with a team of five in 2010, David called on his experience and knowledge to develop CPL Online into the market-leading company it is today. The business now has over 120 staff and is in a strong position to progress and invest in products and services. As chief data officer, David will play a major role in delivering continual growth and development of both brands. I’m looking forward to seeing the business move on to the next level.”

Grade II-listed Cedar House in Surrey comes to market as bar, restaurant or hotel: Agent Savills has brought grade II-listed Cedar House in Cobham, Surrey, to market on behalf of a private vendor. The National Trust property is available by way of a new free-of-tie lease and has potential for a range of uses including as a bar, restaurant or hotel, subject to planning consent. The former high-end hotel and restaurant dates to the 15th century and was originally a stately home, where well-known guests including Lord Nelson are reported to have stayed. Many original features, including a grand medieval main hall, have been retained at the property, which totals 5,431 square feet. There are proposed extensions to increase its size to 7,206 square feet. Cedar House, which fronts the River Mole, features 12 former hotel rooms arranged over ground, first and second floor levels. Savills licensed leisure director Daniel Mackernan said: “The historic Cedar House combines potential for several future uses, with a picturesque setting in an affluent part of Surrey. We expect the property to have wide operator appeal.”

Liverpool-based multi-siters to open third venue for Japanese restaurant and bar concept Mr Miyagi: A group of Liverpool-based multi-site operators will open a third site in Merseyside for their Japanese restaurant and bar concept Mr Miyagi. The brand already has two sites in Liverpool, its debut venue in Bold Street in the city centre, which launched in May 2015, and a second site in the student area of Allerton Road, which opened in March last year. The new restaurant will launch next month in Derby Street in Ormskirk, near Southport, at a site formerly occupied by Salt & Liquor bar. The brand describes itself as “Japanese soul food that meets ghetto Asian with Asian comfort food served to a Motown soundtrack”. It offers Japanese-style food with buns, skewers, fried chicken, small plates and ramen, alongside bespoke cocktails. It also offers a menu to accompany its late-night music lounge events – “Soul, Beats, Liquor & Eats”. The multi-siters also operate Mexican restaurant Lucha Libre in Wood Street, Liverpool, as well as Berry and Rye, Jenny’s Bar and Aloha in the city.

New World Trading Company to open The Botanist on site of former JD Wetherspoon pub in Didsbury: Graphite Capital-backed pub restaurant group The New World Trading Company is to bring The Botanist brand to Didsbury, Manchester. The company will open the venue on the site of former JD Wetherspoons pub The Milson Rhodes in School Lane, creating 50 jobs. The 4,500 square foot venue, which will be the 12th site for The Botanist, is due to open on Monday, 3 April. General manager Danny Leach told The Business Desk: “We will be open for coffees through to cocktails with live music and our much-loved food menu.” The Botanist is inspired by all things botanical and the space will host live music with “daily evening gigs along with lazy Sunday afternoon sessions with a real home-from-home atmosphere”.

Living Ventures to open colonial-style bar and restaurant Grand Pacific in Manchester next month: Living Ventures will open colonial-style bar and restaurant Grand Pacific in Manchester on Friday, 17 March. The new venue is in a grade II-listed building in King Street that formerly housed the Manchester Reform Club. The new 3,000 square foot, 120-cover bar and restaurant will offer informal dining for lunch and dinner, blending “flavours from exotic places with English classics”. A “classical Sunday lunch” will be available at weekends, with roast beef carved at the table and live music from the Grand Pacific Palm Court Group. High tea will feature specially blended teas and champagne cocktails. The 25-seat Long Bar, inspired by Raffles Hotel in Singapore, will offer bespoke cocktails. Grand Pacific has a late licence and will feature DJ sets in the evenings. The decor, designed by Michelle Derbyshire, will include deep-button upholstery, palm trees, and cut crystal abacus-inspired screens paying homage to the venue’s location in Manchester’s original financial district. Living Ventures chief executive Jeremy Roberts said: “We are delighted to bring this beautiful room back to life and echo its glorious past as the home of the historic Manchester Reform Club. Its heritage as a place to relax, eat and drink and enjoy some of the pleasures of life oozes from the walls and it is our privilege and pleasure to let it continue to be what it was always meant to be.”

The Good Food Society founders to open third site: The Good Food Society founders Levent Büyükuğur and Sanjay Nandi are to open their third London site. The duo are launching Hovarda in Rupert Street in Soho this summer. The 5,670 square foot restaurant, which will be designed by Barcelona-based Lazaro Rosa Violan interior design studio, will offer Greek and Turkish seafood and grilled dishes. It comes hot on the heels of Yosma, a Turkish-style eatery in Marylebone that launched last summer, and Frescobaldi, a high-end Italian restaurant with the famed wine-making family that opened in Mayfair at the end of 2014. Guy Marks, senior surveyor at Restaurant Property, who advised on the deal, said: “The Good Food Society are quality operators and Hovarda will be an excellent contribution to the growing and never-ending colourful mix of restaurants in Soho.”

Father of Joule’s owner puts 200-year-old pub in Stourbridge on market: The father of the owner of Shropshire brewer and retailer Joule’s has put his 200-year-old pub in Stourbridge up for sale. John Nuttall is selling The Queen’s Head in Enville Street, which is managed by trustees on his behalf, for £240,000 through agent Matthew Phillips Surveyors. His son Steve Nuttall, who owns Joule’s, told the Express & Star: “The trustees feel it is a good time to seek some interest and we are looking at either a freehold or leasehold opportunity. We decided to test the market gently to see if there was interest in that area, especially given the road is already popular with a good run of ale and beer houses.” He said he hoped current landlords Mick and Mandy Burton would stay on under the new ownership, with their tenancy part of the deal. The pub will remain open while on the market and Steve Nuttall stressed that while the premises needs modernising, he is determined to ensure it is not converted. He added: “The Queen’s Head is a great pub, over 200 years old with great charm. We are committed to making sure it stays that way.” 

St Austell Brewery unites with MP to back beer duty campaign: Cornwall-based St Austell Brewery has united with its local MP Steve Double in calls to cut the level of duty on British beer. The move is part of a nationwide campaign led by the BBPA, the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) and the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) for a further cut in beer duty following three historic one-penny cuts and last year’s freeze in the past four budgets. However, despite the recent cuts UK beer taxes remain among the highest in Europe. There are more than 1,400 breweries in the UK, while beer and pubs contribute £22bn to UK GDP and generate almost £10bn in tax revenue. St Austell Brewery said the beer and pub sector supported more than 3,000 jobs in the St Austell and Newquay constituency alone. Double said: “I wholeheartedly support calls for the government to do a proper job and drop duty on British beer ahead of this year’s Budget. I was privileged to spend the day as a brewer at St Austell Brewery and have seen first-hand its importance as an employer in mid-Cornwall. On a wider level, as vice-chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, the importance of the brewing industry to those it employs direct and to its wider supply chain cannot be underestimated.” St Austell Brewery chief executive James Staughton added: “Beer and pubs are vital to our local economy and jobs, especially for young people, and beer taxes are still far too high, so it is fantastic to have Steve’s voice on board and we hope it will help to steer things in the right direction.”

Molson Coors expands cask and craft range: Molson Coors’ Choice Trust – the wholesale delivery arm of Molson Coors – has launched the latest edition of its Cask & Craft brochure, expanding its cask and craft offering with a user-friendly guide designed to help the on-trade maximise sales in the cask and craft sectors. The second edition of the brochure includes 16 new products, reflecting the growth in popularity of cask ale and craft beer in recent years as well as catering to the diversity in preference among cask and craft drinkers. In total, the brochure offers more than 200 products including 70 permanent cask ales, 60 craft beers across keg, bottle and can, 30 package ales, and 30 ciders. The brochure also includes advice for the on-trade such as features on training, increasing beer sales, category advice, and expert opinion from across the Molson Coors business, including Sharp’s head brewer Andrew Madden and beer sommelier Ed Hughes.

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