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Fri 31st May 2019 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Heartstone Inns has ‘number of acquisition and development opportunities in pipeline’, like-for-likes up 3% in first quarter of 2019: Heartstone Inns has a “number of acquisition and development opportunities in the pipeline”, while like-for-like sales were up 3% in the first quarter of 2019. The announcement comes as the company, which now operates 16 sites, reported sales increased 7.5% to £11.1m for the year ending 31 December 2018. Like-for-like sales were up 1.2% – the tenth consecutive year of growth. Pub Ebitda was in line with last year at £1.9m, representing a margin of 16.7% compared with 18.4% the year before. The reduction was largely attributable to the closure of three pubs for extensive refurbishment – The Anchor Inn in Monmouthshire, the Bathurst Arms in Gloucestershire and The King Alfred in Somerset. Adjusted Ebitda came in at £1.2m, again in line with the previous year, representing a margin of 10.4% of revenues compared with 11.6% the year before. Heartstone Inns had gearing of only 25.9% as of December 2018. A dividend of £274,000 (£0.025 per share) was paid in November. During the year, the company invested £2.6m in developing its estate and expanding through acquisitions. The company acquired The Hunters Inn in Hampshire, while between September and December it operated a pub in Guernsey on a short-term agreement. It also added five bedrooms to The Walhampton Arms in Hampshire. Heartstone said it had a “number of acquisition opportunities and several exciting development opportunities across the estate” it intends to progress during the “next 12 to 36 months”. Managing director James Birch said: “We are delighted to have delivered a strong set of results and year-on-year growth for the tenth year running in 2018. Over the years we have created an estate of high-quality pubs that continue to perform well and still have plenty of potential. The company has a strong balance sheet with plenty of firepower to fund further growth and we are pleased to be in a position to have been able to reward shareholders with dividends over the past three years and create some liquidity via our internal share trading scheme, which took place for the first time in 2018.”

Industry News:

New speaker revealed for Propel Multi Club summer conference, two free places for operators: Antony Hunt, managing consultant in innovation at CACI, has been added to the speaker line-up for the Propel Multi Club summer conference and party. Hunt will provide a review of the food and beverage sector and what it takes to deliver the right proposition, to the right customers, in the right location to make a profit. The event takes place on Thursday, 27 June at the Oxford Belfry, which is just off the M40. Hunt will be joined by The NPD Group insights director Dominic Allport; Ted Kennedy, owner of Pebble Hotels and veteran operator of pub assets; Three Joes co-founder Tim Hall; Las Iguanas chief executive Mos Shamel; Remarkable Pubs managing director Elton Mouna; Think Hospitality founder James Hacon; Mario C Bauer, AmRest brand ambassador, Curtice Brothers co-founder and WhiteSpace partner; The Glee Club founder Mark Tughan; Graffiti Spirits Group founder Matt Farrell and Crepeaffaire founder Daniel Spinath. The conference will be followed by the summer party, with an evening barbecue, the Big Fat Quiz and the legendary sounds of DJ Big Lee. Operators can claim up to two free places by emailing Anne Steele at anne.steele@propelinfo.com. Rooms (bed and breakfast) are also available at £125 plus VAT and can be booked by emailing Anne.

Opportunities for operators as Brits set to spend more than ten hours a week watching sport this summer: There will be opportunities for pub operators as sports fans prepare for a bumper summer of sporting fixtures, according to new research by brewer and retailer Greene King. The study found fans will spend ten hours a week watching sport on television this summer – starting with the Champions League final on Saturday (1 June). The research, which corresponds with the launch of Greene King’s Summer Of Sport campaign, revealed almost three-fifths (57%) of Brits plan to watch the clash between Liverpool and Tottenham on Saturday, with almost one-quarter (24%) of those heading to the pub to enjoy the game. Londoners will make the most of the summer of sport, with three-fifths (60%) preferring to watch sporting events at the pub so they can share the occasion with friends. More than one-third (34%) of British males plan to watch more than ten hours of sport in the summer months, while more than one-quarter (28%) of female respondents plan to watch two to four hours a week. People in the West Midlands will watch the most sport this summer (36%), followed by London (34%), with only 20% of Northern Ireland residents tuning in for more than ten hours a week. When watching sporting events, almost one-third (32%) of respondents choose to drink beer, followed by a tea or coffee (26%) and soft drinks (20%). More than two-fifths (45%) of respondents said their favourite food to eat while watching sport was crisps, followed by pizza (29%), nuts (24%), burgers (20%), and fish and chips (19%). This summer will see Nations League and Women’s World Cup football screened as well as the Cricket World Cup and the Ashes on home soil, The Open and US Open golf, the Epsom Derby and tennis at Wimbledon. Greene King chief commercial officer Phil Thomas said: “The research clearly shows there is a lot of appetite for sport beyond football, which is why we’re committed to showing key sports such as Wimbledon, Women’s World Cup, Cricket World Cup and Ashes live in our pubs this summer.”

More than four-fifths of UK diners find a restaurant’s ambience and service as important as the food: More than four-fifths (88%) of British restaurant diners find elements such as ambience and service as important as the food when it comes to having a good experience in a restaurant, according to a new report. Apart from food and drink, respondents said the other top-ten most important elements to dining out are space between tables, comfortable seats, temperature, ambience, lighting, decor, music, cutlery and concept. Four-fifths (80%) of respondents said they would spend more money in a restaurant if they enjoyed the decor and atmosphere, while 81% have chosen to enter a restaurant because of how “appealing it looked from the outside”. More than two-thirds (71%) said they were more likely to share their restaurant experience on social media if they liked the surroundings, while 45% would avoid returning to a restaurant if they were sat too close to another diner. More than half (55%) would avoid a restaurant if they didn’t like the set-up. In wake of the survey, Deliveroo has launched a competition for its independent partners in the UK, with three winners each receiving a £25,000 restaurant makeover following a public vote on social media. Deliveroo vice-president of restaurants Susana Voces said: “Not only do we eat with our eyes but all our senses need to be treated as well as our taste buds. This competition is the latest move from our restaurant partnerships team to help Deliveroo’s 80,000 global restaurant partners improve margins through reduced in-house operating costs as well as optimising operations and customer experience.”

Independent craft brewers target generation that will ‘drink less, but better’: Independent craft brewers are coming up with new ways to tempt Generation Z (those currently aged below 22), who will “drink less, but better” in the future, according to a report by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA). As part of its Craft Beer Report 2019, SIBA also surveyed its members and found the number of 25 to 34-year-olds drinking beer more regularly than once a week fell from 26% in 2017 to 16% in 2019. However, SIBA pointed to consumer trends research by Mintel that suggests “younger consumers increasingly value and will seek out ‘genuine’ products with heritage and a hand-crafted nature”. The Mintel Global New Products Database also found more than two-fifths (45%) of consumers are willing to pay more for craft beer as it is “worth the extra money”. The UK’s independent craft brewers have been engaging with young drinkers through a number of initiatives. East London-based Signature Brew has brewed beers in collaboration with more than 20 music artists, while Llandow-based Tomos & Lilford has responded to the surge in veganism by switching to vegan-friendly ingredients. Derbyshire-based Draycott Brewing Company has brewed a peanut butter porter, while Swansea-based Boss Brewing has converted the basement of its Copper Bar into a “sports venue” offering free table tennis, foosball, giant Jenga and arcade games. Meanwhile, Norwich-based St Andrews Brewhouse has launched a rewards app and Lancashire company Old School Brewery is hosting open nights featuring local bands and performers. Caroline Nodder, editor of the report, said: “All evidence points to a shift in drinking habits towards quality and away from volume. There is also a need to create an experience around beer. Whether that’s tasting flights, pairing beer with food or running events or games tournaments, we’re seeing brewers be more adventurous in what they offer young beer drinkers in response to the trend for drinking less, but better.”

UKHospitality warns against MUP in Wales: UKHospitality has cautioned against the introduction of minimum unit pricing for alcohol in Wales following the Welsh government’s reiteration it intends to introduce the measure. David Chapman, UKHospitality executive director for Wales, said: “We are, of course, very supportive of efforts to promote healthier attitudes to alcohol, provided they are strictly evidence-based. We believe minimum unit pricing is, however, a very blunt and limited instrument and we are concerned there is little substantive evidence its introduction in Wales would curb harmful drinking. Instead, hospitality businesses, which already face continually increasing costs that threaten their sustainability and positive employment ambitions, will be placed under further erosive pressure.”

Company News:

Chucs eyes five further London sites before it turns attention overseas: Luxury restaurant and cafe collection Chucs is eyeing up to five more sites in London before turning its attention overseas, Propel has learned. The announcement comes as the brand prepares to launch its new casual dining concept, which will be the first of three openings by the company in the next six months. The new cafe concept will make its debut in South Kensington’s Old Brompton Road in June, followed by a second cafe opening in Chelsea later this summer. Chucs is also planning a site in Belgravia as it builds on its portfolio of venues in Mayfair, Westbourne Grove, inside Harrods department store in Knightsbridge, and at The Magazine – Zaha Hadid’s extension to the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens. Chucs chairman Graziano Arricale told Propel the cafe format would be an “upmarket casual dining concept”, adding there was probably room for two more London sites – one in the north of the capital and another in the City – while the company would then look to expand overseas. Arricale, who led the reopening of Richard Caring’s private members’ club, Annabel’s in Mayfair, said: “Our cafe concept is about introducing Chucs to a wider part of west London. Although it’s a casual dining format, it is at the higher end. The price-point is slightly less than that of the restaurants but will have all the hallmarks Chucs is known for – high-quality fit-out, quality food and excellent service. After these three openings we’ll look to break into other parts of London – I think there’s room for another two. Beyond that, I think our model is suited to international expansion – places such as New York, the West Coast of the US and perhaps the Middle East. We’d be very selective when it comes to partners, though, because we want to remain in control of our brand.”

TRG chief marketing officer joins Deliveroo as general manager in Ireland: Deliveroo has appointed The Restaurant Group (TRG) chief marketing officer Michael Healy as its general manager in the Republic of Ireland. Following its recent $575m financing round, Deliveroo is accelerating its expansion in Ireland and outer Dublin in particular. The company plans to reach at least 200,000 more households by the end of 2019, compared with the start of the year. Deliveroo has also extended its delivery hours in Dublin until 3am, while a click-and-collect service will launch later this year. Dan Warne, Deliveroo managing director for UK and Ireland, said: “Michael is a real star hire and we’re happy to have him on board. Deliveroo is highly ambitious in Ireland and I know the team there is dedicated to reaching even more customers to bring them a wider selection of amazing restaurants, whenever and wherever they want.” Healy added: “I can’t wait to work with the Dublin team to bring Deliveroo’s service to an ever-growing number of Irish consumers.” Healy, who joined TRG in November 2017, was previously commercial director at Paddy Power.

Turtle Bay appoints Gregory as director of operations: Caribbean restaurant brand Turtle Bay has appointed Adam Gregory as director of operations. Gregory joins from cocktail bar brand Be At One. Having started his career at TGI Friday’s, he spent a decade at Welcome Break before moving to Wagamama as regional director and later managing director USA, where he led the launch of the operator’s flagship restaurant in New York. He then became director of restaurants at healthy fast food chain Leon before joining Be At One as operations director. Turtle Bay founder Ajith Jayawickrema said: “We are delighted to welcome Adam to the team. His understanding of the market and background in helping to build operators in this space will be extremely valuable as we continue bringing the unique Turtle Bay experience to customers.” Gregory added: “I have watched and admired Turtle Bay since it was founded and I’m excited to be joining Ajith and his team. I look forward to helping this dynamic brand continue its impressive growth.” Jayawickrema founded Turtle Bay in 2011 and it has been backed by private equity firm Piper since 2013. Earlier this year, Jane O’Riordan, group strategy director at Nando’s, joined Turtle Bay’s board as chairman. The group has 43 sites nationwide.

Bourgee unsecured creditors receive 10.46p in the pound: Unsecured creditors of steak-lobster lounge concept Bourgee, which went into administration last year, have been paid a dividend of 10.46p in the pound, a new report has revealed. In their progress report filed at Companies House, joint administrators Mark Upton and David Scrivener, of Ensors, also said preferential creditors in the form of outstanding wages and holiday pay due to staff had also been paid in full. The report stated: “The estimated financial position included estimated unsecured claims of circa £432,400. Claims of circa £242,000 were subsequently agreed. The company granted a floating charge in May 2014. Accordingly, we are required to create a fund out of the company’s net floating charge property for unsecured creditors. The value of the company’s net floating charge property was circa £111,700. Arising from this, the value of the unsecured creditors fund was circa £25,300. A dividend of 10.46p in the pound was declared to the unsecured creditors on 8 April 2019, although this was duly paid on 17 April.” Secured creditor Colchester Zoo Holdings, which held a legal charge in respect of the company’s leasehold property and a fixed and floating charge debenture in respect of the company’s assets, has received an additional payment of £100,000, meaning it has so far been paid £200,000 of the circa £1m it was owed. Bourgee was founded in 2015 by chef Mark Baumann and entrepreneur James Welling. It traded from four sites when it went into administration in April last year. The Bourgee name and brand was excluded from the subsequent pre-pack sale and Welling and Baumann are now operating Bourgee Bites – Bar – Luxe Lounge, which trades from sites in Norwich and London Southend airport.

Downing Crowd to launch £1m bond to support west London gastro-pub refinancing and bedroom fit-out: Crowdfunding platform Downing Crowd is to launch a £1m bond to support Maida Vale Leisure’s fit-out of bedrooms at the Hero of Maida and repay finance on the west London gastro-pub, Propel has learned. The pub is managed by Harcourt Inns, which operates five other sites in central London. Maida Vale Leisure bought the pub for £5m in 2017 and it recently underwent a £1.5m refurbishment, including the creation of an events room and two private dining rooms. The pub has been trading since May last year. Funds raised will be used to fit-out five hotel rooms on the top floor of the pub, which is due to be completed this summer, and the repayment of existing finance. The bond will offer investors a fixed return of 6.5% per annum for a term of up to 24 months with interest compounded and paid on redemption. The bond and interest are secured on a first charge basis against the bricks and mortar of the pub, with an estimated loan-to-value of 37%.

The Good Life Eatery signs partnership for food offering at SoulCycle’s debut UK studio: West London-based health food cafe concept The Good Life Eatery has been chosen as exclusive health food partner for SoulCycle, as the US fitness phenomenon prepares to launch in the UK. The Good Life Eatery will offer healthy grab-and-go options from a branded bar within the main lobby, with the menu featuring exclusive items for SoulCyle’s London studio. SoulCycle, which focuses on candlelit indoor cycling, will open its debut UK studio on Friday, 14 June in Great Marlborough Street, Soho. The company launched in upper Manhattan in 2006 and operates more than 90 studios in 18 markets across the US and Canada. Yasmine Larizadeh and Shirin Kouros launched The Good Life Eatery in 2013 and have expanded the brand to five sites in the capital – in Notting Hill, St John’s Wood, Belgravia, Marylebone and Chelsea. Larizadeh said: “Excited doesn’t cut it. This is a landmark partnership not only in our Good Life story but also in the UK health and wellness scene.” The Soho studio will also offer SoulCycle’s lifestyle clothing collections.

Gainford Group turnover nears £35m as hotel revenue rises ‘significantly’, plans to remodel former Premier Inn site into five-star venue: North east-based operator Gainford Group, which also runs 12 care homes, has reported revenue increased to almost £35m with sales from its hotel business “increasing significantly”. Gainford is behind the Great Victoria Hotel in Bradford as well the Vermont Hotel, the County Hotel, Bar Livello, the Vermont Apartments and the Aveika restaurant, all in Newcastle. It also bought the 180-bedroom Newbridge Street Hotel – formerly a Whitbread-owned Premier Inn – in April last year and plans have now been submitted to transform the site into a “five-star venue with rooftop bars and new restaurants”. The company saw turnover increase to £34,707,312 for the year ending 31 December 2017, compared with £29,822,014 the year before. Of this total, hotel revenue rose to £14,478,845, compared with £12,289,619 the year before. Group pre-tax profit jumped to £6,478,339 compared with £3,078,317 the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. In their report accompanying the accounts, the directors stated: “Turnover from the hotels business has increased significantly on the prior year as a result of the ongoing improvements undertaken at the various venues by management. Aveika, the County Hotel, and the Vermont Hotel showed higher sales and profitability. This pattern was continued at Bar Livello. The Hudson bar restaurant within the main County Hotel also continues to trade well. The group acquired the 180-bedroom Newbridge Street Hotel in April 2018. While the site is currently trading, the company has submitted ambitious plans to Newcastle City Council to transform the site into a five-star location with rooftop bars, new restaurants, totally remodelled bedrooms and function space suitable for 500-plus delegates. It is expected work will start on the project towards the end of 2019 and will likely take 18 months to complete.”

Domino’s uses technology to ensure consistent quality of pizzas: Domino’s Pizza is using technology to tackle another store-level issue – consistency of pizza quality. Domino’s Australia has launched the Dom Pizza Checker in Australia and New Zealand – a smart scanner that checks each pizza against a dataset that shows what a “perfect” pizza should look like. Domino’s said the technology was meant to curtail quality complaints such as pizzas with missing toppings, not having enough cheese or the wrong temperature, reports Nation’s Restaurant News. Domino’s Australia chief executive Nick Knight said: “If the pizza meets our high standards it’s good to go and, if it’s not made right, we’ll make it again because we’re hungry to be better. This means our team members won’t lose focus on quality during busy periods and our customers can have greater confidence in our products.” The pizza checker sits in the kitchen and can scan any pizza that comes out of the ovens, “grading” it based on type, correct toppings, topping distribution and other accuracy factors. The Dom Pizza Checker is being used at all sites in Australia and New Zealand but the company has yet to reveal whether the technology might be rolled out to other markets.

Electric Star to reopen historic south London pub next month following £4m restoration: Pub operator Electric Star, founded by Rob Star, is to reopen a historic south London pub next month following a £4m restoration. The company will relaunch the Fellowship Inn in Bellingham as The Fellowship And Star on Friday, 14 June. The grade II-listed pub had fallen into disrepair before the lottery-funded refurbishment began in 2016. The new-look pub will also feature a cinema, theatre, cafe and rehearsal space. The cinema will begin its programme with a screening of Spider-Man: Far From Home on Tuesday, 2 July, with organisers promising a line-up of “blockbusters and independent films”. Built in the 1920s, the pub was part of a post-First World War “homes for heroes” development aimed at easing inner city overcrowding. Heavyweight boxer Henry Cooper used the pub as a training base before his legendary fight with Muhammad Ali, then Cassius Clay, in 1963, while musicians such as Fleetwood Mac and Eric Clapton have played gigs at the venue’s theatre. Star said: “I went to Goldsmiths College in the mid-1990s and lived in the area for almost ten years so it’s great to come back and open what will be our biggest venue to date.” Electric Star currently operates five pubs in the capital. Earlier this month, the company secured a licence to reopen The Lord Napier in Hackney Wick.

Primark to open Central Perk Cafe in partnership with Warner Bros: Department store Primark is opening a fully branded Central Perk Cafe in partnership with Warner Bros. The cafe, which will open on Wednesday, 12 June at Primark’s Manchester store, corresponds with the 25th anniversary of US comedy show Friends in which the stars regularly appear in a coffee shop named Central Perk. The Primark cafe will feature a New York-inspired menu, exclusive branded products and an opportunity to get a photo on “the” sofa. It will also use compostable cups and ethically sourced coffee beans. Primark director of new business development Tim Kelly said: “We are excited to bring the first branded Central Perk Cafe in fashion retail in the UK to the high street.”

Former Groucho Club managing director opens Chelsea hotel: Matt Hobbs, former managing director of The Groucho Club, the private London venue famed for celebrity hedonism, has opened a restaurant, hotel and bar in Chelsea. Sloane Place has launched in Lower Sloane Street with executive chef Bernhard Mayer, whose 30-year career includes working at The Savoy and Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane, overseeing all aspects of the restaurant. Mayer has created menus featuring modern European dishes with an Asian twist, with the breakfast menu including coconut bircher muesli with mango, blueberries, passion fruit and pomegranate. The all-day dining menu includes tofu red curry with broccoli, black mushrooms, coriander and rice, and a lobster and prawn burger with mango-chilli relish and avocado in a brioche bun. Sloane Place also features a private roof terrace on the first floor with views across Chelsea, while there is a cocktail bar on the lower ground floor. Sloane Place is also dog friendly and encourages guests to bring their pets with them when they dine. Each of the hotel’s 27 en-suite bedrooms offers Hypnos beds, Nespresso machines and a writing desk, while suites have a separate living room. The hotel also offers a spa.

London Distillery Company fails in £350,000 crowdfunding bid: The London Distillery Company has failed in its bid to raise £500,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to expand its sales team and whisky range. The company, led by Killian O’Sullivan, previously of William Grant & Sons, was offering 10.42% equity in return for the investment, giving a pre-money valuation of £4,300,000. However, it failed to secure the funds it was looking for by the closing date. The pitch stated: “We are a small team of eight but one with tremendous reach as you can find our range in some of London’s best bars as well as in Waitrose and Marks & Spencer. Exporting to more than 15 markets including China, our first exports to Canada and six south east Asian markets are in progress and we have plans to launch in the US and India by the end of 2019. Since new management took over in November 2017, sales volumes have increased 44% to £864,000 in March 2019 (net loss £373,000) and we are now looking to expand the sales team to drive growth in the UK and overseas. We also intend to experiment with innovative whisky finishes and to release further limited expressions of London whisky.”

Loungers launches Barnsley site: Loungers, the operator of almost 150 cafe bars across England and Wales under the Lounge and Cosy Club brands, has opened a site in Barnsley. Falco Lounge has launched at The Glass Works development creating 30 jobs and is the first venue to open at the town centre scheme. Its name is a nod to the movie Kes, which is set in Barnsley and based on a boy’s relationship with a bird of prey. Falco is Latin for falcon. Loungers, which is backed by Lion Capital, saw admission of its ordinary shares to trading on the AIM Market of the London Stock Exchange at the end of April. A spokesman said at the time: “Loungers is delighted to have attracted a great book of institutional investors and believes it is starting its life as a plc in a very strong position.” All Loungers sites will be closed on Monday (3 June) so staff can attend the company’s annual Loungefest party.

Birmingham-based Indian Brewery opens second site, in Solihull: Birmingham-based street food bar and restaurant Indian Brewery has opened its second site, in Solihull. The company has opened the venue in Station Road. The 50-cover site features an open kitchen and has more of a “family-friendly feel”, according to co-owner Jaspal Purewal. Indian Brewery’s other site is in Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter.

AB InBev eyes new products as beer consumption falls: Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has set its sights on new products ranging from DIY cocktails to craft beer for women as it looks to create additional revenue streams. Michel Doukeris, who runs the North American arm of AB InBev, outlined how he planned to win back drinkers as new data underlined Americans were switching to spirits and wine. The company’s efforts to deal with the shift in consumer tastes include Drinkworks, a venture with Keurig Dr Pepper, which Doukeris described as “perhaps the single biggest opportunity” for the company outside beer, reports the Financial Times. The coffee machine-like product, available in Missouri and being rolled out to Florida, allows consumers to make cocktails at home. Other products being pushed by AB InBev include Naturdays, a mix of beer and pink lemonade, and canned cocktails produced by San Diego-based Cutwater, which it acquired this year. Doukeris said the business had an opportunity to sell more craft beer to women and Hispanic drinkers via new flavours. Across the industry, beer volumes dropped 1.6% year-on-year in 2018, according to the IWSR drinks market analysis. The decline, which accelerated from a 1% fall in 2017 and a 0.2% dip the year before, contributed to a 1.6% drop in global alcohol consumption. In contrast, global gin volumes rose 8.3% globally – including a jump of one-third in the UK. Other spirits also performed strongly, including whisky up 7% and mixed drinks, including pre-mixed cocktails, climbing 5%.

Ipswich-based cask ale pub operator to launch gin parlour for second site: Ady Smith, who operates cask ale pub The Dove Street Inn in Ipswich, is to launch a gin parlour next week for his second site in the town. Ipswich Gin Parlour will open at Smith’s former home-brewing shop opposite the pub in St Helen’s Street on Wednesday, 5 June offering more than 300 types of gin plus prosecco on draught. The venue will seat 18 people with customers having an option to take their drink to The Dove’s pub garden, while gin measures will be 35ml, not the 25ml found in most pubs and bars. Smith told the Ipswich Star: “It is all about the quality of the drink. We will advise people if they ask for a double that it’s almost a treble compared with anywhere else. We’d rather they had a proper measure so they can taste the spirit but we want them to drink responsibly. The home-brewing shop did well but online and supermarkets jumped on the home-brewing sector and we thought we needed to do something else.”

Brighton-based craft brewer Lost+Found relaunches with Beer52 partnership: Brighton-based brewer Lost+Found has relaunched following a partnership with craft beer discovery club Beer52. Investment from Beer52 will allow Lost+Found to access the club’s brewing capacity at the De Proef Brewery in Belgium. Beer52 will also send Lost+Found’s four core beers to its 60,000-plus members from Saturday, 8 June. Lost+Found was founded in 2015 by Simon Checkley and Chris Angelkov, who then brought in third partner Jon Rutter. Under the new set-up, Angelkov will oversee brewing at De Proef, while Beer52 will share the beer with its community, host tasting events and cover orders and logistics. Rutter will concentrate on UK sales, while Checkley will grow the business internationally. The team will focus on its four core beers before releasing more experimental and seasonal brews as the year progresses. Checkley said: “This is a logical next step for us. It means we can produce large volumes at repeatable quality. We can now confidently talk to big outlets and pub chains and take the beer beyond where it’s been to date.” Beer52 founder James Brown said: “Lost+Found caught my eye because the design of the can was incredible but the thing that impressed me most was the consistently high quality of the beer. I was gutted to hear the guys had hit a run of bad luck – the kind of external stuff that happens to small breweries every day – so I gave Chris a call to see if there was anything we could do to help.” Brown and Fraser Doherty founded Beer52 in Edinburgh in 2013.

Newcastle-based craft brewer and Indian street food trader secure debut site for joint venture: Craft beer micro-brewer Newcastle Brewing and Indian street food trader Thali Tray have secured a site to launch their joint venture, Thali Tap, in the city’s Bigg Market. Newcastle Brewing is run by father and son Mike and Leo Bell and has been operating the Arch2 Brewpub & Kitchen in Ouseburn for two years as an expansion to their brewery, which they launched in 2015. Thali Tray began as a mobile catering unit last summer before also securing a residency at Arch 2. Now the firms have joined forces and are running a Crowdfunder campaign to raise £30,000 to open Thali Tap in August. Leo Bell told Chronicle Live: “Bigg Market is on the up so we’re excited to become part of the regeneration. Thali Tray and the micro-brewery already work well in Ouseburn but this will be an expansion. There will be a much bigger menu and we’ll have 21 taps of craft beer. The project isn’t dependent on the Crowdfunder campaign because we’ve already got the premises and our funds, but we want to build a customer base.”

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