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Fri 2nd Oct 2020 - Propel Friday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Greene King permanently closes half of its Loch Fyne estate, announces transatlantic slavery awareness partnership: Brewer and retailer Greene King has permanently closed 11 of its 21 Loch Fyne restaurants, Propel has learned. Greene King acquired the then 36-strong Loch Fyne business for £68m in 2007. Two years ago, the company explored its options for the business, including a possible sale, and has disposed of a number of individual Loch Fyne restaurants during the past 18 months. The closure of the 11 sites leaves the brand with ten restaurants, including sites in Edinburgh, Cambridge, York and in the City. Greene King has, so far, reopened nine of those remaining ten sites. A spokesman for Greene King told Propel: “It’s always a difficult decision to close restaurants, but we have decided to close 11 Loch Fyne restaurants as they are no longer viable. We are working with our teams locally to try to find them a role in another of our sites. Our teams there are continuing to provide our customers with great service and fresh, sustainably sourced seafood dishes.” Meanwhile, Greene King has announced a partnership with the International Slavery Museum to help raise awareness and educate about the historic transatlantic slave trade. As part of the new partnership, Greene King employees will get the opportunity to take part in online workshops on understanding transatlantic slavery and the museum will also work with Greene King on exploring the history of Benjamin Greene, one of the brewer’s founding members, who profited from slavery and argued against its abolition in the 1800s. The partnership begins with financial support by Greene King for the National Museums Liverpool’s Black History Month programme in October and will be followed by initiatives over the coming months as part of Greene King’s wider inclusion and diversity programme. Greene King chief executive Nick Mackenzie said: “We’re working hard to build a more inclusive and diverse workforce with increased opportunities for people from minority ethnic backgrounds but, equally, we don’t want to lose sight of the past. It is inexcusable one of our founders profited from slavery and while that was almost 200 years ago, we can’t pretend it didn’t happen.”

Industry News:

Propel Friday Wrap video series with guest UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls: Propel continues its new Friday Wrap video series on Friday (2 October) at 3pm. The new series, sponsored by leading payment app OrderPay, sees Mark Stretton, former sector journalist and now head of sector PR firm Fleet Street Communications, and Propel’s insights editor Mark Wingett discussing the week’s key issues facing the UK’s hospitality sector, with a leading sector operator or expert. This week they are joined by UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls to discuss where the government’s narrative on the sector is and where it may go, the frustration over sector businesses being called unviable, the impact of the 10pm curfew and chances of a U-turn and what long-term challenges the sector still needs to be aware of.

Mark Wingett examines the opportunities available for Various Eateries and Hugh Osmond’s return: Propel insights editor Mark Wingett looks at Hugh Osmond’s return to the listed arena and the opportunity ahead for his Various Eateries vehicle. There will also be the latest sector rumblings from Premium Diary. 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 columns from Mark Wingett. Subscribers also receive access to our database of multi-site companies, which has grown to 1,600 businesses. An annual premium subscription costs £395 plus VAT for operators and £495 plus VAT for suppliers. Email

Health secretary – 10pm curfew a ‘necessary’ measure to curb rising coronavirus infections: Health secretary Matt Hancock has insisted the 10pm curfew for hospitality businesses is a “necessary” measure to curb rising rates of coronavirus infections. Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday (1 October), Hancock acknowledged the earlier closing time was “yet another sacrifice” for the hospitality sector but said there were “early signs” the measure was working. “By its nature, this virus spreads through social contact, and so it’s had a terrible impact on the hospitality sector which, in good times, exists to encourage that social contact we all enjoy,” he said in a Commons statement. “So we’ve had to take difficult but necessary decisions to suppress the virus. The only alternative to suppressing the virus is to let it rip – and I will not do that. So while I know many of the individual rules are challenging, they are necessary, and there are those early signs that they’re working. In the measures we’ve introduced, including the 10pm restriction, we’re seeking to strike a balance, allowing people to continue to socialise safely where that’s possible, while reducing the social contact that the virus thrives upon. Elsewhere in the world they’ve introduced an evening restriction and then seen their case numbers fall, and we know later at night people are less likely to follow social distancing. Now, of course, we keep all our measures under review and we’ll closely monitor the impact of this policy, as with all the others, while continuing our unprecedented support for hospitality businesses, such as cutting VAT, support for the pay of staff, offering rates relief for businesses, and giving billions of pounds of tax deferrals and loans. Our hospitality industry provides so much colour and life in this country and we will do whatever we can to support it while acting fast to keep this virus under control.” Hancock was challenged by a number of MPs on the curfew. Conservative former cabinet minister Greg Clark said: “It does seem strange to think concentrating trade in a smaller number of hours and making everyone leave a pub or a restaurant at the same time rather than spacing them out over the course of the evening should suppress rather than spread the virus. So would the secretary of state summarise the scientific advice he has had on this point?” Hancock replied: “The scientific advice is the people who are closer together are more likely to spread the virus and, later at night, social distancing becomes harder. We’ve all seen the pictures of people leaving pubs at 10pm but, otherwise, they would have been inside the establishments and we all know that outside is safer, or they’d be leaving later. I think we’ve got to look at both sides of the evidence to try to get this right.”

Like-for-likes down 4.3% in September but food sales up 12.4%: Like-for-like sales were down 4.3% in September compared with last year, according to S4labour, the online labour-scheduling management system from Catton Hospitality. The momentum from Eat Out To Help Out seems to have continued as sites that were trading showed like-for-like growth in food sales of 12.4%, while drinks sales were in decline of 16.3%. However, S4labour said the introduction of the 10pm curfew was already having an impact. Outside of London performed better than the capital, with 2.3% growth in the regions compared with a 28.2% decline In London. On top of this, 15% of London sites were closed compared with 8% of outside the capital. S4labour said this was a reflection of the impact of working from home, and London relies on a steady flow of commuters into the city. S4labour also pointed out the effect of the curfew was not fully realised in the month. Chief product officer Richard Hartley said: “The continuation of sites’ own offers after Eat Out To Help Out has definitely bolstered sales. We are concerned about the ongoing impact of the curfew as initial data shows this has impacted by circa 13%.”
S4labour is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member

Theo Randall – 10pm curfew will lead to trend of consumers eating earlier: Chef Theo Randall has told Propel he believes the 10pm curfew on pubs and restaurants will lead to a trend of people eating out earlier. Randall said despite further restrictions being imposed on the sector there seems to be a “huge desire for consumers to carry on their lives in as much normality as possible” – and could see another “coronavirus trend” emerge. And he also urged the government and local authorities to support consumers’ re-found confidence in going out again by introducing heated outside seating areas where possible to help the hospitality industry survive the colder winter months. He said: “There seems to be a huge desire for consumers to carry on their lives in as much normality as possible despite restrictions such as the 10pm curfew. Because of this, I think you will see people eating out much earlier than normal. Consumers are gaining confidence but for every step forward, there seems to be a couple back each week. It’s going to be very tough 12 months without a doubt but I am always optimistic.” Randall said the “rule of six” was “another hurdle we have to tackle” and because his restaurant at the InterContinental Park Lane hotel had a lot of large tables, he has had to completely change the layout. However, because the space is big and has two private dining rooms that can be opened up, he has been able to adapt successfully. Randall said trade had been “steady” since reopening at the start of September where he has introduced regional menus from different parts of Italy from Tuesday to Saturday – alongside a refined à la carte menu. He added: “The idea was to create a bit of escapism as many of us didn’t get away during the summer. This has already been very successful with some regulars booking every couple of weeks for the next region.”
Ban on plastic straws and stirrers introduced: Delayed legislation to ban plastic straws and stirrers came into force on Thursday (1 October). The law that was supposed to be introduced in April will mean pubs, bars and restaurants will not be able to hand out single-use plastic items to customers, with exemptions in place to protect disabled people and those with medical conditions who require plastic straws. Environment secretary George Eustice said: “Single-use plastics cause real devastation to the environment and this government is firmly committed to tackling this issue head-on. We are already a world leader in this global effort. Our 5p charge on single-use plastic bags has successfully cut sales by 95% in the main supermarkets, we have banned microbeads, and we are building plans for a deposit return scheme to drive up the recycling of single-use drinks containers. The ban on straws, stirrers and cotton buds is just the next step in our battle against plastic pollution and our pledge to protect our ocean and the environment for future generations.”
CAMRA sees membership rise 0.7%: The Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) increased its membership by 0.7% to 192,289 members for the 11 months ending 30 November 2019. The organisation reported income of £11.9m for the 11-month period against £12.6m for the 12 months in the previous year. Total reserves increased to £3.3m from £3.2m the previous year, according to accounts filed at Companies House. Administration expenses stood at £2.9m in the 11-month period against £3.2m the year before. CAMRA stated: “The surplus before taxation for the 11-month period is £167,536, which is an improvement of more than £446,000 on the previous year (2018: deficit of £279,057). Due to tax provisioning, the surplus after taxation for the 11-month period is £76,685 (2018: deficit of £218,611).” Net current assets stood at £958,000 against £1.02m in the previous year. 
Bread used at Subway is ‘not bread’ according to Irish court: The Irish Supreme Court has ruled the bread used by sandwich chain Subway does not meet the definition of bread – or even a staple food – because it has too much sugar in it. The ruling came to pass after an appeal brought before the court by Subway franchisee Bookfinders rested on whether the bread for Subway’s sandwiches counts as a staple food and, therefore, is VAT-exempt. The bread’s sugar content is five times higher than the qualifying amount meaning it falls outside of the legal definition of a staple food. The ruling included white and wholegrain bread. The definition serves to differentiate bread from other baked goods. The court ruled: “The argument depends on the acceptance of the prior contention that the Subway heated sandwich contains ‘bread’ as defined and, therefore, can be said to be food for the purposes of the ‘second schedule’ rather than confectionary. Since that argument has been rejected, this subsidiary argument must fail.” The appeal was dismissed. Subway has courted controversy in the past. In 2014, it removed flour whitening agent azodicarbonamide from its baked goods after a petition circulated online. The ingredient is commonly used in the manufacture of yoga mats and carpet underlay and has been banned by the EU and Australia from use in food products. Subway has branches in more than 100 countries.
NewRiver co-founder David Lockhart passes away: David Lockhart, co-founder of NewRiver and non-executive director of Hawthorn Leisure – the community pub arm of NewRiver – has passed away. A statement from Hawthorn Leisure read: “David was an entrepreneur, family man and inspirational leader. He was highly respected across the industry and, in a long and varied career, set up three successful businesses. David was particularly proud of Hawthorn and NewRiver, which he founded with Allan Lockhart and Mark Davies in 2009. He played a major part in creating the group that is now a leading retail and community pub company with a portfolio valued at £1.2bn, before stepping down as chief executive in 2018. He firmly put people at the core of everything he did and was very generous with his time, developing and shaping so many careers and a legacy culture that the company and its stakeholders will always benefit from.” Davies said: “David was a close personal friend and mentor, and we are deeply saddened by this news. The thoughts of everyone at Hawthorn are with David’s family at this difficult time. As chairman of Hawthorn, David provided invaluable counsel and advice to our board, and we benefited hugely from his long and distinguished career in business. He and I worked tirelessly with our brilliant team to help create a market-leading community pub company. David was a brilliant entrepreneur and will be remembered for his warmth, good humour, wisdom and sharp intellect and we will all miss him dearly.”

Company News:

East Coast Concepts acquired out of administration for £520,000: Manchester-based restaurant and bar group East Coast Concepts was acquired out of administration for £520,000, Propel has learned. The five-strong business, which operates the Victors and Neighbourhood concepts, was acquired last month via a pre-pack administration by an investment group led by Naveen Handa of leisure company The Cairn Group. The deal protected more than 250 jobs. Propel understands the Handa-led group fought off five other offers for the business, which generated turnover of £13.7m in 2019. Management’s plan was to continue to roll out both the Victors and Neighbourhood concepts to more locations and grow the brand in line with increases to central overheads. However, this was put on hold after the Manchester site closed in April 2019 due to the loss of its licence. Manchester was the company’s most profitable site and, combined with operational issues at the newly opened Alderley Edge site and increased central overheads, the closure of Manchester accelerated the company’s losses, resulting in a pre-tax loss of £1.7m in the 12 months to the end of February 2020. Following the closure of Manchester, further support was provided by backer NorthEdge with the intention of giving management time to enact a turnaround. But before measures could have a material impact, the coronavirus pandemic forced all venues to close. While the company was able to access furlough support (£786,000 to end of June) and hospitality grants (£30,000) at two sites, it was not eligible for anything from the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. In addition, rateable values at all sites, other than the Victors in Hale and its head office, were in excess of £51,000 meaning it was ineligible for hospitality grants across the majority of the portfolio. Consequently, management identified a £1.8m hole in its forecast cash flow arising by the end of September. This was partly mitigated by several actions including deferment of landlord rents, however, a £1.3m requirement remained. In consultation with NorthEdge, management concluded an accelerated sales process would be the best way of meeting the identified funding need with the most likely option being a sale via a pre-pack administration given the balance sheet position. The Victors estate reopened on 4 July and the Neighbourhood estate four days later. While the company delivered a better performance than its covid forecast, it required cash of £400,000 to £500,000 by November, and there was uncertainty about demand following the end of the Eat Out To Help Out scheme in September and possible future local or national lock-downs. The Handa-led group said the deal for East Coast Concepts was a “strategic acquisition to enhance their premium restaurant and bar offering”. Propel understands the Handa-led vehicle has committed £1m post-investment in the business to safeguard it against any further “sector shocks” and will look to aid its expansion plans going forward.
MOD Pizza UK goes into liquidation: MOD Pizza UK, the company behind the pizza concept, which is backed by Sir Charles Dunstone, has been placed into liquidation. Insolvency firm Campbell Crossley & Davis is handling the process. It is thought the nine-strong pizza concept was placed into administration last month, with its circa 250 members of staff made redundant. Dunstone’s Freston Ventures vehicle declined to comment. The group’s nine sites have been closed since March, with no indication as yet of when they will reopen. It has already exited its site in Borehamwood, while its site near Leicester Square was placed on the market last year.
MJMK takes former Carluccio’s site in Canary Wharf: Bar operator MJMK – the team behind piri piri brand Casa do Frango – will open Bar Bolivar in the Reuters Plaza space that was home to Carluccio’s in Canary Wharf on Tuesday, 20 October. The concept is a 1950s Cuba-inspired cocktail bar with a bar food menu to match the drinks line-up. The decor includes an indoor fountain and old suitcases cladding the bar, colonial-style ceiling fans and Cuban soundtrack. Customers can expect cocktails such as The Hemingway Highball (£9.75), Havana Old Fashioned (£9.75) and Bolivar Mojito (£9.75). Food will be provided by Venezuelan specialist Pabellón, which won the British Street Food Awards last year. Dishes include arepa filled with Cheddar cheese, Pico de Gallo salad, avocado, sweet fried plantains and slow-cooked brisket; and the Cubano sandwich made with honey-roasted ham, Emmental cheese, roasted shredded pork, pickled cucumber and American mustard. Casa do Frango founders Jake Kasumov and Marco Mendes also run bars at Vinegar Yard and Pop Brixton. Kasumov said: “Having grown up in Havana, I was always mesmerised by Cuban culture – from architecture, to music, to bars, to nightlife, Havana offers a one-of-a-kind experience. Our idea was to transport our guests into a little corner of Havana. A place where we can forget the reality of London, and experience the feeling of being on holiday – with a Mojito or two in hand, and The Buena Vista Social Club playing in the background.” Richard Willcox from ETCH acted on behalf of MJMK while Rupert Bentley Smith from BGP acted for Canary Wharf Group.
Opening of Hard Rock Cafe is key to sale of seafood restaurant: The owners of Nova Seafood & Grill have sold the site to pursue their ambitions of opening the Hard Rock Cafe on Newcastle Quayside. Property advisory firm Christie & Co has completed the sale on behalf of David and Penny Tilly, who opened the restaurant in 2018. The now-closed Nova Seafood & Grill in the city centre’s High Bridge Street, was bought by local businessman Michael Grayson, who plans to turn the site into an American-style sports bar focusing on fast food and on-trend beers, with expansion plans on the horizon for the north east. David Tilly said: “We had lots of early interest in the restaurant with more than one offer at the time, but we decided to go with Michael’s bid. The deal was agreed pre-lock-down and then everything stalled until the announcement that restaurants and bars could reopen.” Grayson added: “High Bridge Street is perfect for what we are looking to do – it’s already home to lots of successful, independent businesses and we want to add to that. We will be starting work immediately on turning the venue into an American-style sports bar called Hen & Hops, with a focus on chicken wings, hot sauces and craft beers and ciders. This is definitely a brand we are looking to roll out elsewhere.” 

Tim Hortons eyes former Chiquito site in Dunfermline for drive-thru: Canadian cafe and bake shop Tim Hortons has submitted plans to open a drive-thru in Dunfermline. The site at Fife Leisure Park would be the second in the city, and the 24th in its UK and Northern Ireland portfolio. If proposals are accepted by Fife Council, SK Group, which is leading the roll out of Tim Hortons in the UK, will convert the former The Restaurant Group (TRG)-owned Chiquito restaurant, with plans showing there will be two lanes and two order points for drivers, as well as one collection window at the site. Iceni Projects, which has submitted the proposals on behalf of Tim Hortons, said: “This application seeks advertising consent to implement a new signage scheme to facilitate the conversion of the former Chiquito unit in Fife Leisure Park into a Tim Hortons drive-thru operation. This application has been submitted alongside an application for full planning consent in respect of the proposed drive-thru and external alterations to the site. Over the past three years, SK Group has rapidly expanded Tim Hortons in the UK and there are now 12 stores in Scotland alone, including one located at Hospital Hill in Dunfermline.” TRG closed its Chiquito site at the leisure park but has kept its Frankie & Benny’s branch open.
Candypants founder to launch first site in Dubai: Entrepreneur Ray Chan will launch Missippi’s – his first venue in partnership with restaurant design company Livit Hospitality Management under his Candypants brand – and the group’s first venue in Dubai. He is also set to forgo a salary until February 2021 to ensure his businesses, which include Mans Market – a site in Leeds that combines a Chinese restaurant with a bar – can make the most of the coronavirus period, reports The Business Desk. Chan launched Candypants in 2008 after recognising night-time venues were a “sweaty environment” but wanted people to have an alternative experience in better conditions in the evening. Candypants is a party events business that also sells clothing but his new Dubai site will be a “pool bar and social hub”. Talking about coronavirus, Chan, who relocated to Dubai two years ago, said: “I didn’t feel it was right. If I’m asking people for redundancies and cuts, I’m going to lead the line as well. I also wanted to make sure I had a core team of people ready so we could relaunch. Operators that were half-hearted, cowboys or not necessarily attuned to the market will fall away. But the good guys who know how to do good hospitality, including food and drink, will connect and there will be more opportunities. The key to business success is just being able to adapt and reinvent and move sideways or even back a step, to reposition yourself. Covid has given us that ability to get off the hamster wheel and realign our goals.” Chan’s plans for 2020 had included hosting 550 events with Candypants and to hit the road with Mans Market via a new food truck, taking the best of the Leeds venue to festivals and food events across the UK in a bid to find its next bricks-and-mortar location. 
Refugee chef to open permanent Syrian food site in central London: Syrian chef Imad Alarnab will open his first permanent restaurant in Kingly Court in London’s Soho, as revealed by Propel last month. Alarnab’s site, Imad’s Syrian Kitchen, is set to take over the space in November, which was home to Darjeeling Express before the Indian restaurant concept relocated to Covent Garden. Alarnab has launched a crowdfunding scheme to raise £50,000 for the restaurant’s final push. The chef, who ran two restaurants plus several juice bars and cafes in Damascus, said: “After four years I am so very excited that I am now finally going to open my own restaurant in the heart of London, the city I, and my family, now call home. Losing my restaurants in Damascus was devastating but I am so happy that I can now bring my Syrian cooking to Kingly Court in Carnaby, to the people of London who have supported me so much over the past few years.” Alarnab came to prominence in the capital four years ago with his charity events, supper clubs and pop-up venues. When his restaurants were destroyed in the war in his homeland of Syria, he and his family escaped and made their way through Europe – passing on his cooking skills on the way to the UK. On the menu, customers can expect to find Syrian mezze, including falafel, as well as main and sharing dishes. Julia Wilkinson, Shaftesbury restaurant director, added: “After working with Imad on several pop-up projects during the past four years, it is fantastic for Shaftesbury to be able to support this next chapter.” 
Irvine-based coffee shop secures former Frankie & Benny’s in Ayr for second site, third planned in Glasgow: Irvine-based coffee shop Gro Coffee is to open a second branch, in Ayr, with a third planned for Glasgow. Owner Gordon Rennie has secured the former premises of The Restaurant Group-owned brand Frankie & Benny’s in Highfield Drive, Ayr. Announcing the news on social media, Rennie said he was still “wondering” how he got there, having been in a derelict apartment just two years ago. He added: “This pic[ture] is me and Joey Gro finding some beer crates for seats in our derelict apartment just over two years ago after another long day. Even in that moment, we had a vision and a plan, and a determination to make it a reality. We just never gave up.” The new Ayr outlet is undergoing renovations ahead of the opening, while the location of the planned Glasgow shop was not revealed. 

Patisserie Valerie launches click and collect: Patisserie Valerie, which is backed by Irish private equity firm Causeway Capital, is launching click and collect across 42 of its UK sites before rolling out to its full estate. The company has partnered with mobile order and pay firm Wi5 to offer the service. Patisserie Valerie group chief executive James Fleming said: “Customers are expecting innovations that make their day-to-day lives easier, so we wanted to make it as convenient as possible for them to order and pay for their food and drink.” Wi5 chief executive Prask Sutton added: “Wi5 is enjoying working with the team at Patisserie Valerie and we’re already discussing new and innovative ways to bring more and more benefits to the business and its customers.”
Wi5 is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
SSP Group appoints independent non-executive director: UK transport hub foodservice company SSP Group has appointed Tim Lodge as an independent non-executive director. Lodge will also serve as a member of the audit committee. The company stated: “Tim has a strong finance and accounting background and brings relevant food and beverage sector and supply chain experience to the board having held various positions with Tate & Lyle from 1988 to 2014, including six years as chief financial officer from 2008. More recently, he was chief financial officer at COFCO International, the international agriculture supply chain company.” SSP chairman Mike Clasper said: “Tim has significant international commercial experience and a track record of advising businesses with complex global operations and supply chains in the food and beverage sector. He is a great addition to the board.”
Elior Group launches staff hardship fund: Contract caterer Elior Group has launched a fund to help support colleagues facing financial hardship as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Group Solidarity Fund, which is being administrated with the help of Hospitality Action, will provide Elior colleagues in need with a £750 grant. The grants will be funded by Elior Group’s most senior directors and executive committee, who have volunteered to reduce their salaries by up to 25% in a show of solidarity with colleagues across the business. Justin Johnston, human resources director for Elior UK, said: “The current pandemic has brought financial challenges for people across the hospitality industry, including many of our colleagues here in the UK. We hope these grants will make a real difference in the lives of any of our people who have been facing financial hardship as a result of the pandemic.” Elior UK is working in partnership with Hospitality Action and where applications are approved grants will be issued on a first come, first served basis, until all funds are exhausted.

Bibendum to launch live webinar WSET training: Drinks distributor Bibendum has launched a live webinar WSET Level 2 training course. Adapted due to the covid-19 restrictions, Bibendum will be offering the course through a series of live webinar sessions, supplemented with a series of Bibendum-created online resources, one-to-one support and self-study. The training will include the same amount of classroom time as Bibendum’s face-to-face courses. This includes ten, two-hour sessions that will take place twice weekly across five weeks. Bibendum’s first WSET Level 2 course will commence on Monday, 12 October, with more course dates to be announced.
Bibendum is a Propel BeatTheVirus campaign member
Budweiser reaches 100% barley sourcing goal in UK: Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I has announced it has reached its goal of sourcing 100% of its barley from British farms. The barley is used in its UK-produced beers and achieving the milestone means there is no need to import the ingredient, therefore, reducing carbon emissions and showcasing British agriculture. Some of its most popular beers include Budweiser, Stella Artois and Corona, which are brewed at Magor, south Wales, and Samlesbury, Lancashire. There are more than 300 farmers growing barley for Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I across 6,000 hectares and producing 40,000 tonnes of barley each year. Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I president Paula Lindenberg said: “We’re so proud to announce we’ve reached this goal. Local communities are the lifeblood of this country, so we’re absolutely committed to supporting them, creating more efficient supply chains, and brewing the UK’s most sustainable beers.” In 2014, 100% of the barley required by Budweiser Brewing Group UK&I was imported. Eric Wright, from Wrights Agriculture, Leicestershire, one of the farmers growing Explorer barley for Budweiser, added: “It’s really important to me that what I produce is used in this country and supports our economy.” More than 20 million bottles and cans of Budweiser are brewed every week in the UK.

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