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Fri 17th Mar 2017 - Update: Liberation Group buys 100th pub, Fuller's, UK craft brewery revolution, first supermarket takeaway
Liberation Group buys 100th pub: Channel Islands brewer and retailer Liberation Group has bought its 100th pub, the Methuen Arms in Corsham, Wiltshire. The company’s pub estate now comprises 73 in the Channel Islands and 27 in the West Country, most of which are in close proximity to its award-winning and recently rebranded Butcombe Brewing Co. The Methuen Arms is an award-winning pub set immediately beside the stately home of Corsham Court, just eight miles from Butcombe’s heartland of Bath. The Methuen topped the bill as the Best Dining Pub in Wiltshire in the 2016 Good Pub Guide, and Liberation Group said it “plans to continue the high levels of quality and service” having instated chef Leigh Evans and his full team from Combe Grove in Bath. Evans said: “The Methuen Arms and Butcombe have a deserved reputation for high quality food and terrific service standards which is why I have joined. I intend to take the food to a new level using the best local produce, being creative without losing the traditional dishes that our customers love.” The pub also has 14 rooms, all set to a five-AA-Star standard, and designed to be in keeping with the age of the building. Additionally, its Methuen Room and Scullery are regularly used for external events. Liberation Group chief executive Mark Crowther said: “We are delighted that the Methuen Arms is our 100th pub. It is special and is a perfect example of the high-quality estate that we are building in the West Country. We now have 27 pubs in our Butcombe estate and have ambitions to more than double that with a target eventually of 200 across a broad geography.”
 
Number of breweries worldwide surpasses 19,000, UK has most craft breweries per capita: The number of breweries worldwide has surpassed 19,000 with the UK having the most craft breweries per capita, according to new research. The survey, by US brewer and distiller Alltech and The Brewers Journal, showed the craft beer revolution is taking hold in more countries across the globe. Of the total number of breweries worldwide, 17,732, or 94%, can be defined as craft beer producers. For the purpose of the survey, a craft brewery is defined as having fewer than 30 staff or producing less than 5,000 hectolitres per year or more than 50% of the brewery being privately owned. The craft beer movement has created a global surge in the number of new breweries opening, with the US and the UK alone seeing a greater than 10% increase in the number of craft breweries year-on-year. The largest craft beer producer remains the US with 4,750 craft breweries out of a total of 5,025 breweries. However, the UK has the most craft breweries per capita with 25 breweries per million people, compared with 15 in the US and 16 in Germany. The Brewers Journal editor Tim Sheahan said: “The US and the UK fermented their lead in craft beer production as a result of legislation that paved the way for craft brewers. In the US, the pivotal point was in 1978, when president Jimmy Carter allowed home brewing for the first time since prohibition. The UK’s watershed moment came in 2002 with prime minister Gordon Brown’s progressive beer duty legislation, which reduced beer duty to nil for breweries producing less than 5,000 hectolitres.” Although the US is recognised as the originator of the recent craft beer movement and has heavily influenced the modern take on traditional styles, there are more craft breweries in Europe than North America. The top ten craft beer-producing countries are the US, the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Canada, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Australia.
 
Fuller’s reopens Herne Hill pub: London brewer and retailer Fuller’s has reopened The Half Moon in Herne Hill, 15 months after taking on the pub. The pub, opposite Herne Hill station, has been restored to its former glory with the original windows, woodwork and painted mirrors in the snug. To the rear of the pub is an opened up dining area while the landscaped garden has an outside bar, fire pit and barbecue. There is also a separate outbuilding – The Workshop – available for private events. In addition, The Half Moon has also returned to its former role as a hotel, with the addition of 12 boutique and individually designed bedrooms, each one named after one of the 12 men who have walked on the moon. The pub is home to the largest hotel bedroom in the Fuller’s estate, occupying the whole of the former boxing gym on the pub’s first floor. The menu includes a range of traditional pubs classics with a contemporary twist, created with ingredients sourced from mainly UK suppliers. Fuller’s Inns managing director Jonathon Swaine said: “The Half Moon has set a new standard, not just in Fuller’s – but for the wider industry, in how to sympathetically refurbish a historic pub. The Half Moon has a history and heritage that deserves to be recognised and respected – and I truly believe we have succeeded in doing that. Herne Hill has a thriving and vocal community and The Half Moon has, in the past, been at its hub. I hope that by bringing her back to glory, they will once again feel the pub can resume its place at the heart of that. It is, without doubt, one of the most beautiful pubs in the Fuller’s estate.”
 
Morrisons store to become first supermarket to have takeaway restaurant: A Morrisons store at the Victoria Shopping Centre in Bradford is to become the first supermarket to have a takeaway restaurant. A family business will tomorrow (Saturday, 18 March) open an in-store Bombay Bites Express concession serving Indian food for consumption on the premises, collection or delivery via Just Eat, reports The Times. Bombay Stores, owned by the Kadar family, has for 40 years operated a department store in Bradford.
 
Pubs, restaurants and bars poised for St Patrick’s Day sales boost: Britain’s pubs, restaurants and bars are poised for a St Patrick’s Day bonanza today (Friday, 17 March) with sales of beer and stout likely to generate each outlet more than £500 in additional sales, according to new research. CGA Strategy’s Trading Index showed average sales of draught beer through pubs, restaurants and bars increased by 86 pints on St Patrick’s Day last year, while sales of draught stout rose by 56 pints. providing two-thirds of the total 38.8% uplift in alcoholic drink sales on Ireland’s national day. A pint of beer now costs an average of £3.32 and a pint of stout £3.66.

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