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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Fri 28th Jun 2019 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Greene King eyes further brand segmentation: Brewer and retailer Greene King is eyeing further segmentation of its brands as it looks to ensure each one delivers a “bespoke” offer. Responding to a question from Propel following Greene King’s full-year results, new chief executive Nick Mackenzie said he wanted to make sure there were clear differentials across Greene King’s food-focused and wet-led offers. Mackenzie said: “There are a number of ways we can do that. It’s about having clear propositions our customers understand.” While the company didn’t wish to go into specifics at this stage, it pointed to its Greene King Locals division where, if the company had a number of pubs in close proximity, each needed to offer a different proposition. Mackenzie said he felt Hungry Horse had a “very positive future” and the company was trialling an order and pay app for the brand. Meanwhile, the company was “doing a lot of work” in terms of digital across the business and had undertaken delivery trials. While Mackenzie said delivery was “interesting”, he stressed the importance of making sure people were coming into its pubs rather than staying at home. While it was also important for Greene King to keep an eye on trends such as plant-based food and healthy eating and tweak its menu to cater for demand, Mackenzie said it also needed to remember its “core” customer base. He made similar comments when asked by Propel about the potential of making use of space within its Farmhouse Inns estate for experiential use. He said while it was important for Greene King to continue to innovate and improve its play areas, for example, he said it wouldn’t do so at the expense of “alienating our core customer”. The company has improved its net promoter score from 59.0% to 62.5%, which Mackenzie said was a good forward indicator of sales. He added: “It’s about offering amazing customer service alongside good-quality food and drink and getting our teams to understand what’s important to the consumer.” Reflecting on his first two months with the company, Mackenzie said: “What has struck me most is the pride and passion of the teams. Greene King has a rich heritage and we will continue to build on that. It has been a great year and these are results we should be proud of.”

Industry News:

Mark Wingett to look at potential resurrection of Red's True Barbecue in latest Premium column: Propel insights editor Mark Wingett will look at the rise, fall and possible rise again of Red’s True Barbecue as part of the latest opinion piece, which will be sent to Propel Premium subscribers on Friday (28 June) at 5pm. Meanwhile, Fleet Street Communications managing director Mark Stretton asks if it is time to end Wahaca-style dine-and-dash policies while Draft House founder and My Million Pound Menu judge Charlie McVeigh will look at the opportunity for UK operators in France. Subscribers will also receive a 30-minute video on Friday in which Sam Roberts, chief executive of all-day casual dining cafe Boston Tea Party, shares his learnings from the company’s ban on disposable cups and how he is prepared to stand by his principles for the good of the planet. Propel Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out, discounts to attend Propel conferences and events, and regular video recordings of key speakers. They also receive access to our database of multi-site companies, which has now grown to 1,400 businesses. An annual premium subscription costs £345 plus VAT for operators and £445 plus VAT for suppliers – plus £50 each for additional team members. Email

Further casualties forecast in restaurant sector but ‘growth and opportunity for operators at either end of the market’: More restaurant operators could turn to company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) or fall into administration before the end of the year as many continue to report falling or marginal like-for-likes, Christie & Co has forecast in its half-year market review. It said secondary high streets were “beginning to suffer as mid-market casual dining operators retreated to the safety of major cities and towns”. However, the agent said there remained “growth and opportunity for operators at either end of the market” in what was an “exciting time” for the sector. It predicted at least one CVA would fail similar to Jamie’s Italian which, along with other high-profile CVAs such as Patisserie Valerie and Boparan Restaurant Group, had led landlords to seek a greater variety of tenants to tempt customers back to high streets and shopping centres. Christie & Co said landlords had started to soften rents at review and become more accepting of monthly rents or holiday periods. It said a lack of clarity surrounding Brexit meant fluctuations in sterling would remain a concern in the next few months as the price of imported goods increased. However, operators had been inspired to turn towards UK alternatives and better menu creation to mitigate rising costs. Simon Chaplin, senior director – corporate pubs and restaurants at Christie & Co, said: “Secondary high streets are beginning to suffer as mid-market casual dining operators retreat to the safety of major cities and towns following a period of expansion from 2014 to 2017. There is still growth and opportunity for operators at either end of the market. Ivy, Miller & Carter and others are expanding to create quality dining experiences, while local operators and street food vendors are finding good demand with casual, informal food offers. Pubs are also entering the market, increasingly introducing high-quality food offers. It’s an exciting time for the market, despite challenges.”

Premiumisation having dramatic impact on beer category: Premiumisation is having a dramatic impact on the beer category with consumers drinking less but better, according to Marston’s latest On-Trade Beer Report. The survey of more than 2,000 ale drinkers and 2,000 lager drinkers across the UK found beer drinkers in the on-trade consumed 66.5 million fewer pints of beer this year than they did last year but have spent £177.8m more. The report advises operators to capitalise on this by offering a wider beer range alongside additional offers such as food, which contribute towards improved overall value for experience. It also identifies the opportunity for a pricing ladder, allowing operators to deliver fair prices and enabling consumers to take control of when they premiumise their drinks choice. The report also found that as consumers become increasingly concerned about health and wellbeing, the low and no alcohol category has seen growth of 30% since 2016. While the trend towards moderation is being led by 18 to 24-year-olds, it is gaining traction with the mass market and more affluent consumers. The report reveals drinkers prefer lower ABV beers in the afternoon as they find them easier to drink. Ale drinkers are the most experimental (57%) and more likely to buy across multiple sub-categories based on occasion and seasonality, while 41% of lager drinkers prefer to stick to their favourites and 48% are highly influenced by its availability within a venue. For cask ale drinkers, the report showed consistent quality is the most important factor in choosing where to drink, followed by the range of beer and service. Despite this, the report reveals more than two-thirds (70%) of cask ale drinkers have been served off or stale beer, with 40% avoiding the venue following the experience and 39% steering clear of the brand. Marston’s head of consumer marketing Louise Fleming said: “Providing the correct range is key to increasing sales and, with more drinkers wanting to experiment, getting the balance between choice and quality is essential. It’s important to understand how lifestyle trends will affect the future of innovation in beer, bringing the consumer into the heart of everything we do.”

UKHospitality backs independent food review: UKHospitality has backed the government’s announcement of an independent review into England’s food industry. The review, led by Leon founder Henry Dimbleby, will investigate England’s food system from farm to fork. UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The UK’s food industry is one our greatest assets. Across the sector we see huge amounts of variety and ingenuity. With the country’s food and hospitality sectors so intimately linked, it’s vital to the ongoing success of hospitality that the food industry is supported. Henry has fantastic knowledge of the hospitality sector and understands its relationship with food and the need for a dynamic and supportive food industry. We hope it is the beginning of a fully integrated and joined-up strategy that supports businesses every step of the way from farm to fork.” Meanwhile, UKHospitality has reiterated the need for a future immigration policy to fully focus on supporting businesses to deliver economic growth, above political considerations. The trade body also stressed the government needs to refocus on helping hospitality develop its UK workforce through “effective apprenticeships and a further education system that delivers the home-grown talent industry needs”.

Company News:

Rosa’s founders launch Chinese noodles concept at St Katherine Docks: Rosa’s Thai Cafe founders Alex and Saiphin Moore have launched Chinese noodles concept Hoh Sek Noodles in London’s St Katharine Docks. Hoh Sek, which is Cantonese for “delicious”, is housed in a waterside pavilion in the heart of the marina. It offers a grab-and-go concept during the day with a core menu – Saiphin’s Six – consisting of six noodle dishes primarily Chinese but with Asia-wide influences. In the evening, Hoh Sek transforms into a 40-cover sit-down restaurant, including eight seats at the kitchen bar counter and a further 44 on a terrace outside. Saiphin Moore also plans to offer a weekly specials board with some of her own home recipes, and will host supper clubs and menu tastings. She said: “My first noodle shop, which I set up when I was 14 in Thailand, started me on my career as a chef. Years later, Alex and I met in Hong Kong and we fell in love with the street food noodles there. They’re a symbol of the city’s thriving food scene and what we want to bring to London and share with everybody.” Danny Egan, senior portfolio manager at Blackstone Property Management, which oversees food operators at St Katharine Docks, added: “Hoh Sek is a perfect fit for the docks, complementing the diverse leisure offering and helping us to build its reputation as a popular London destination.” Hoh Sek has been launched with the support of private equity group TriSpan, which acquired a majority stake in Rosa’s Thai Cafe last year. The Moores’ roles at Rosa’s Thai Cafe remain unchanged. Rosa’s Thai Cafe operates 15 sites in London and one each in Liverpool and Leeds.

Mourad Mazouz to launch American diner for fourth Mayfair site: Mourad Mazouz, the man behind Mayfair restaurants Sketch and Momo, is to open an American diner next month for his fourth site in the London district. Mo Diner will open next to Momo in Heddon Street as its “playful cousin”, styled like a 1930s American diner but with a “Mediterranean feel”. The venue will feature bright yellow Moroccan tiles, a “glowing palm tree skylight” and a “cacti-filled conservatory”. The all-day menu will include Berber pancakes with fig marmalade and almonds, and grilled octopus with saffron aioli. The drinks list will include wine, beer, smoothies and milkshakes. Mo Diner will also introduce Mo Lotto, a scratch card that gives diners an opportunity to win prizes such as a half-price breakfast or free meal. Moroccan restaurant Momo recently underwent a major refurbishment, while Mazouz partnered with Erik Lorincz, former bartender at The American Bar at The Savoy, to launch cocktail bar and lounge Kwant last month in the space below Momo. Mazouz also operates restaurants Le 404, Derriere and Andy Wahloo in Paris.

Shaw acquires third site for El Gato Negro, at former Jamie’s Italian in Leeds: Simon Shaw, chef patron and creative director of Manchester tapas restaurant El Gato Negro, has secured a third site for his concept, in Leeds. Only a month after announcing he had secured a site in Liverpool to start expansion, Shaw has acquired the Jamie’s Italian site at 35 Park Row, with plans for a winter launch. Shaw said: “I was born and raised in Yorkshire and got my first real footing as a chef in Leeds. It has always been my intention to return and open a restaurant in the city. I’ve spent the last four years looking for the right location and when the Jamie’s site became available, it was too good an opportunity to miss. It’s a beautiful building steeped in history and has the most incredible features. While El Gato Negro restaurants will be consistent in great-quality food and service, it’s essential to me every restaurant has its own identity and story to tell. Finding the right heritage building in the right location is key. I’ve worked hard building a management team that sees us capable of expansion. I’m confident in our position and look forward to opening in Liverpool in August and in Leeds – two of the north’s most exciting cities.” El Gato Negro is a partnership between Simon Shaw and Mills Hill Developments. The Leeds premises were secured by Louise Larking, of Fox Lloyd Jones, acting on behalf of Mills Hill Developments. Richard Shuttleworth, of Pudney Shuttleworth, acted on behalf of Jamie’s Italian administrator KPMG. El Gato Negro also has a Portuguese sister restaurant, Canto, in Ancoats, Manchester.

Lima team to launch Venezuelan concept at Westfield London: The team behind Michelin-starred Peruvian restaurant Lima in Fitzrovia is to launch a Venezuelan concept at the new food court in Westfield London shopping centre in White City. Gabriel and Jose-Luis Gonzalez will open Caracas, named after Venezuela’s capital city, in October showcasing the best of the country’s areperas. These are bustling bars that focus on the arepa – a flat, dish-shaped cornbread with fillings such as shredded chicken with avocado and braised beef with cheese. Side dishes will include tequeños (crispy cheese pastries served with homemade mango chutney and yuca chips with cheese sauce), while the restaurant will offer build-your-own ceviche bowls. Gabriel Gonzalez said: “We are proud to come from a country with such a rich food culture and can’t wait to introduce dishes from our childhood to Westfield London. Venezuelan cuisine is increasing in popularity and we hope to see it embraced by the city we love.” The Gonzalez brothers launched Lima in 2012, which became the world’s first Peruvian restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star under the auspices of head chef Robert Ortiz in 2014. The brothers launched Floral by Lima in Covent Garden that same year, which brought a “contemporary twist” to traditional Peruvian cuisine. Ortiz opened restaurant Chakana in the Birmingham suburb of Moseley in April.

Artist Residence to open fifth site, in Bristol: Artist Residence, the boutique hotel, restaurant and bar operator, is to open its fifth site, in Bristol. The company, founded by Charlie and Justin Salisbury, will launch its largest project yet, in St Pauls in October. The 23-bedroom hotel in Portland Square will also feature a cafe, garden and events space, while restaurant and bar The Boot Factory will offer an all-day menu featuring Bristolian products and ingredients. Part Georgian townhouse, part former boot factory, the grade I-listed building was on the “at risk” register when the Salisburys came across it in 2015. The venue features original beams and brick walls, industrial sliding doors and Georgian cornicing. Justin Salisbury said: “The appeal of this dilapidated building is the opportunity to bring a corner of this historic square back to life for the community to enjoy”. The Salisburys founded Artist Residence in 2006, opening their first site in Brighton inspired by the city’s art scene. Its other sites are in Penzance, London and South Leigh, Oxfordshire.

Ralph Lauren opens London pop-up coffee shop as it tests water for permanent site: Ralph Lauren has opened a pop-up coffee shop in London as it tests the water for a possible permanent site in the capital. Ralph’s Coffee is running on the ground floor of the Ralph Lauren boutique in New Bond Street until Sunday, 21 July. The move comes on the back of newly opened Ralph’s Coffee sites in Tokyo, Hong Kong, Kyoto and New York, including its first free-standing shop in the Flatiron district. The London pop-up serves Ralph’s Coffee along with a selection of tea, lemonade and cold-pressed juice. Ralph’s Coffee special blends include Ralph’s Roast, decaf and espresso, which feature organically grown beans from Central and South America and Africa. Some of Ralph Lauren’s sweet treats are also on offer, including brownies, homemade muffins and cookies. While the offer is predominantly grab and go, some seating is available.

West End kosher restaurant Reubens brought to market: Renowned kosher restaurant Reubens in London’s West End has been brought to market. Agent Davis Coffer Lyons has been instructed to sell the Baker Street restaurant, which closed last month following a family bereavement. The restaurant had operated at 79 Baker Street for 46 years and is being marketed with a new A3 lease. Rental offers are invited in the region of 125,000 per annum exclusive and premium offers are invited. Reubens is within the Portman Estate Conservation Area and close to Baker Street tube station. The restaurant is arranged over the ground floor and basement of a four-storey terraced Victorian brick building. The ground floor is furnished to a high standard and includes a large deli counter. In total the restaurant comprises 3,376 square feet including additional seating and vaults. Jonathan Moradoff, director of agency and leasing at Davis Coffer Lyons, said: “Reubens was a culinary institution in the Jewish community over many generations as well as for tourists. This is a great opportunity for a new operator to capitalise on that excellent reputation.”

PizzaExpress launches Romana-style pizza into at-home range: PizzaExpress, the Hony Capital-backed chain, has launched five Romana-style pizzas into its at-home range. The pizzas feature thinner, larger bases that are popular in Italy’s capital city. The new recipes are Carbonara (prosciutto ham, mushroom and mascarpone), Vegetable & Ricotta (chargrilled vegetables and ricotta cheese) and Ragu (bolognese, ricotta, red onion and fennel seeds), which are available in Waitrose stores; plus Pollo American (chargrilled chicken, pepperoni, grilled red onion and mozzarella) available at Tesco; and Margherita Speciale (semi-dried tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and passata), which are available in both Waitrose and Tesco. PizzaExpress, which was founded by the late Peter Boizot in Soho in 1965, currently operates more than 600 restaurants globally and sells more than 35 million pizzas in UK supermarkets a year. Earlier this week, the company said it had seen an “impressive sales uptick” at the first batch of sites updated to its new format.

Mazi team launches Greek-inspired bistro and cocktail bar in Notting Hill: Adrien Carre and Christina Mouratoglou, the husband-and-wife team behind Greek restaurant Mazi, have opened a bistro and cocktail bar in Notting Hill, north west London. They have launched Greek-inspired Suzi Tros in Hillgate Street. Named after a character from 1960s Greek film I Parisiana, Suzi Tros translates as “Suzi, you eat”. The venue, which is a few doors down from Mazi, serves Greek-inspired small plates such as grilled calamari and whole aubergine accompanied by seasonal salads. The drinks list focuses on Greek wine and beer. The upstairs dining room features a ten-seat kitchen counter and a 30-cover dining space, while the downstairs cocktail bar offers snacks and lesser-known Greek spirits such as mastika and tsipouro. Carre and Mouratoglou opened Mazi in 2012 and published their first cookbook last year. 

BrewDog opens second French bar, in Nice: Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog has opened its second French bar, in Nice. The venue in Avenue Phocéens is close to the city’s beaches and offers 24 kegged beers on tap and BrewDog’s burger, wings and brunch menus. The bar is the brand’s 91st location globally, with its other French bar in the Marais district of Paris. BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: “Nice’s buzzing nightlife and lively streets have set the perfect scene for us to open a bar. We’ve almost reached 100 bars worldwide and aren’t slowing anytime soon. We want to constantly push the boundaries of where craft beer can go and the Nice bar is another step in our mission to save the world from bad beer.” Last week BrewDog opened its second site in Manchester and first to feature a dedicated beer school. The company has passed the £4m milestone in its latest Equity for Punks crowdfunding campaign. The company is looking to raise an initial £7m with a stretch goal of £50m.

Zero-waste restaurant Silo relocating to Crate Brewery’s revamped Hackney Wick home in September: Zero-waste restaurant Silo is set to relocate from Brighton to London-based Crate Brewery’s refurbished home in Hackney Wick in September. Silo, the brainchild of chef Douglas McMaster, will open on the upper floor of The White Building offering dinner from early evening, weekend brunch, wine from small producers and cocktails made in collaboration with award-winning bartender Mr Lyan. The restaurant will offer views of the river Lea and feature the building’s original steel-framed windows and steel trusses. McMaster said the open space would be an “innovative evolution of Silo Brighton”, with furniture made from post-industrial materials, an open kitchen with a burning fire at the centre, and a large counter made from recycled glass bottles. McMaster will also host workshops at Crate Brewery’s revamped home, which features a new pilot brewery, taproom and amphitheatre-style outside seating. McMaster said: “I am thrilled to be opening Silo in London. It will follow the same philosophy, with sustainability at the forefront.” Crate Brewery co-founder Tom Seaton added: “We are so excited to embark on this new chapter with Doug and Silo to ensure sustainability and creativity thrives throughout all areas of the business.” Crate Brewery raised more than £925,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube in the spring to fund the refurbishment. McMaster launched Silo in Brighton in 2014.

Electric Star reopens historic south London pub following £4m restoration: Pub operator Electric Star, founded by Rob Star, has reopened a historic south London pub following a £4m restoration. The company has relaunched the Fellowship Inn in Bellingham as The Fellowship And Star. The grade II-listed pub had fallen into disrepair before the lottery-funded refurbishment began in 2016. The new-look pub features 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. Electric Star currently operates five pubs in the capital. Last month, the company secured a licence to reopen The Lord Napier in Hackney Wick.

Newark-based Stray’s Coffee plans return to Stamford and Oakham: Newark-based Stray’s Coffee plans to return to Stamford and Oakham this year. A planning application submitted to Rutland County Council seeks to convert a former photographer’s shop in High Street, Oakham. Stray’s managing director Mat Short told the Rutland & Stamford Mercury a site was also being sought in Stamford. Stray’s Coffee is also looking to open in Market Harborough in 2020. Short said his family operated coffee shops in Oakham and Stamford years ago but they were sold. Now, after 16 years in Newark, he is keen to return to both towns.

Black and White Hospitality nears 50 sites as it opens Sheffield steakhouse: Black and White Hospitality, which owns the rights to eight restaurant brands belonging to Marco Pierre White, is closing in on 50 sites after opening a steakhouse in Sheffield. The Steakhouse Bar & Grill has opened in the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Sheffield Park following a deal with Vine Hotels, which owns and operates the hotel. Black and White Hospitality chairman and chief executive Nick Taplin said: “The Steakhouse fits perfectly with DoubleTree and we have a number of restaurants trading under this popular Hilton brand. Black and White Hospitality has a strong portfolio and our business model of aligning restaurant brands with hotels is one that’s proved very successful in the UK as we approach our 50th venue.” Vine Hotels chief executive Garin Davies added: ‘”Marco Pierre White is such an iconic British chef and his unique take on traditional dishes is superb.”

Manchester-based vegan restaurant to double up after securing former Kettlebell Kitchen site: Manchester-based vegan restaurant Vertigo is to double up in the city. Michael Jebelli launched the concept at the Royal Exchange building in Cross Street at the beginning of this year. Now he is expanding with a second, larger restaurant by taking over the former Kettlebell Kitchen unit in First Street. The site has stood empty since Kettlebell Kitchen went into liquidation in January this year, closing all but its Ancoats store. Now the Cross Street property will be transformed into an all-day vegan eatery with a natural wine bar, offering 45 covers inside and an additional 20 on a terrace. The venue, set to open in August, will have a larger plant-based menu, including grab-and-go breakfast and lunch as well as a dine-in menu of stew, curry, smoothie bowls and salads. It will also offer natural wine alongside local beer and coffee. Jebelli, who was also behind the former Chez cafe in Whitworth Street, told the Manchester Evening News: “The first site has gone really well. It has got to the point where we have to turn people away. I always wanted it to expand and grow but we didn’t think it would be this quick.”

World’s most ‘ethical pub’ opens in Shoreditch: The Better World Group, founded by Randy Rampersad, has opened the “world’s most ethical pub”, in Shoreditch. The Green Vic has launched in Great Eastern Street as a pop-up with the aim to gain investment to open a permanent site early next year. The bar stocks drinks that support more than 40 non-profit charities, with the menu listing key details of each organisation. On the food side, Rampersad has partnered with vegan and cruelty-free food truck The Green Grill. One-in-four staff at The Green Vic are from a vulnerable or disadvantaged background and Rampersad has partnered with Unity Kitchen, a social enterprise that trains people with disabilities to get the skills and qualifications required to have a career in foodservice, and Change Please, a social enterprise that trains the homeless to become competition-level baristas. Rampersad said: “I want to create a business that makes the world a better place, where people can contribute to charity without changing their normal daily routine.”

North Shields-based Mordue Brewery to see assets sold at auction after going into administration: North Shields-based Mordue Brewery is to have its assets sold at auction after going into administration. The brewery ceased trading this month having been put up for sale in April by founders Garry and Matt Fawson to focus on their new bar venture, Beeronomy, which opened in Newcastle earlier this year. The bar is a separate business and remains open. Jeremy Bleazard, of administrator XL Business Solutions, told Insider Media: “Having been at the forefront of brewing for close to 25 years, during which time a strong, well-respected and lauded brand has been created, the recent boom in craft beer has created a crowded, highly competitive market place. Directors Garry and Matt Fawson have worked hard to sustain the business but, ultimately, in its current guise this hasn’t proved possible.” Howard Eastwood, director of Walker Singleton, which has been appointed as agent, added: “Since knowledge of the closure entered the industry, we have had more than 20 expressions of interest. While it may prove impossible to resurrect the brewery it is hoped the brands and brews, which include many iconic and intellectually protected names, can be saved.” All fixed assets of the business including event bars and a forklift truck are to be sold in addition to the main brew kit. Marketing of the brew kit has begun and the auction, which is available online, closes on Thursday, 4 July.

Southampton-based Unity Brewing Co secures larger home on back of £200,000 crowdfunding campaign: Southampton-based Unity Brewing Co has secured new premises in the city after raising £200,000 on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube. Unity Brewing Co will relocate to a 4,000 square foot warehouse on the corner of Princes Street and Coburg Street. Fit-out work is under way, with the move expected to take place in the coming weeks. Tom Holloway, of Holloway Iliffe & Mitchell, which secured the premises, said: “There has been a significant increase in the micro-brewery sector and finding appropriate space can take time given the lack of supply across the south coast. We look forward to seeing the final fit-out and taproom as the business continues to expand.” Unity Brewing Co is currently based on the Belgrave Industrial Estate in the city. It raised £200,000 on Crowdcube in March to take on larger premises, buy equipment to double capacity and build a taproom.

Business behind Celtic Manor launches hotel brand as it acquires M4 site: The company behind five-star Celtic Manor in Newport has acquired a 129-bedroom hotel close to the M4. The former Hampton by Hilton at Magor will become the first Tŷ Hotel, a new brand owned and managed by The Celtic Collection team. The hotel is five miles from Celtic Manor, one junction east along the M4 at Magor Services. The Tŷ range of hotels will focus on people staying one or two nights. Celtic Manor Resort chief executive Ian Edwards told Insider Media: “It is exciting to launch this brand, which will be a fantastic addition to our portfolio of properties. Tŷ will offer something different.” The Tŷ Hotel at Magor has a bar and offers a free breakfast. On-site restaurant Sawyers, which has also been acquired by the Celtic Collection, serves an all-day menu inspired by American flavours. The Celtic Collection takes over ownership of the hotel on Monday (1 July), with all management and staff retained. The Celtic Collection also includes the Resort Hotel, the Manor House, Coldra Court By Celtic Manor, and the Newbridge On Usk country inn restaurant with rooms.

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