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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 25th Mar 2014 - Breaking News - Loungers plans up to 20 sites in 2015
Loungers plans up to 20 sites in 2015: Loungers, the café bar concept led by Alex Reilley and Jake Bishop and backed by Piper Private Equity, is to increase its opening rate next year with as many as 20 sites planned. The company is on track to open 15 sites in 2013 with seven more sites scheduled to open before August. Lounge sites are due to open in Chippenham, Rugby, Birmingham, Torquay, Witney, and Kettering with a seventh Cosy Club site set for Corn Street in Bristol. It is understood that further potential sites for 2014 include a Cosy Club in Leicester and Lounge sites in Letchworth Garden City, Falmouth, and Amersham. Tomorrow, the company opens its 44th site, Verano Lounge, on Western Road in Brighton. The opening of Verano Lounge is the group’s second opening in Brighton in as many weeks following the opening of Alcampo Lounge on London Road in the city earlier this month. Loungers has spent £450,000 on the Western Road site, which has previously traded as a Loch Fyne and more recently Pinxtos People. The refurbishment has involved significant re-modeling of the ground floor trading area and basement level kitchen. Reilley said: “It’s great to have opened two sites in Brighton to add to Modelo Lounge, which we opened in Hove almost two years ago. Alcampo Lounge has, so far, had a nice, brisk opening achieving gross sales of £30,000 for its first full week and we are quietly optimistic that Verano will trade very nicely given how busy Western Road is and being opposite a Waitrose. Whilst less than two miles away from each other, the two new Brighton sites are in diverse areas and are in very different buildings with distinctly different design schemes, which further goes to prove the Lounge model can trade in very different locations within the same city.”

Meantime launches hops in a box scheme to engage public with beer-making: London craft brewer Meantime Brewing is giving away over 20,000 hop growing kits in a bid to educate beer drinkers about the art of British brewing. The Hops in a Box will be distributed in over 160 on-trade outlets from today (25 March). The quirky campaign has been designed to encourage drinkers to interact with the ingredients that go into beer-making and appreciate how beer is made. Each of the pubs, bars and restaurants involved in the project will encourage customers to give hop growing a go. Initially introduced last year, the project proved a great success. In 2013 Meantime handed out 12,000 kits, which generated 1.3 million page impressions across Twitter and Facebook and sales of Meantime beer in the Hops in a Box outlets rose by up to 27%. Each of the Hops in a Box kits contain a packet of hop seeds, a mini terracotta pot, dehydrated compost and full growing instructions. Growers will be encouraged to register their hops at to receive stage-by-stage growing information and to be in with the chance to win a selection of prizes. Meantime’s team of brewers will also be on hand to post advice on Twitter using the hashtag #hopsinabox. Richard Myers, marketing director at Meantime Brewing Company, said: “We believe in helping people understand where hops come from, how they grow and the flavour they give to beer, it will mean they will appreciate beer all the more. At the heart of modern craft brewing lies quality beer that’s full of flavour; this is achieved by using the best brewing techniques available, longer maturation times, passion of our brewers and of course the finest ingredients.”

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