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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Mon 1st Jun 2015 - Propel Monday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

Hummus Bros hits crowdfunding target: Hummus Bros, the London-based hummus restaurant chain, has hit its crowdfunding target of £250,000 in return for 4.35% of its equity through the Seedrs crowdfunding platform, with 36 days of the campaign still to go. It currently has £260,790 pledged from 189 investors. The company, founded by Christian Mouysset and Ronen Givon in 2005, intends to use the money to open two new high street outlets and continue the expansion of its network of pop-ups, which it has introduced in corporate restaurants in London, including at the offices of Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan and Goldman Sachs. Among details released to investors, the company said that on average its stores take £485,000 a year, and it takes nine to 12 months to get to that level. It makes close to 20% restaurant Ebitda before central costs. Hummus Bros now serves close to 10,000 meals a week. In March 2014, Jon Hassall, previously UK operations director of Patisserie Valerie, joined the business and has helped rebrand all the current units, pushing sales up 33% year-on-year and restaurant Ebitda up 413%. Mouysset said: “We have achieved some important milestones in the past few months. It is now a perfect time to open more stores and expand our network of corporate pop-ups. We chose Seedrs as our partner for this fundraising because it is clearly the firm trusted by investors as equity crowdfunding done properly.” Seedrs claims to be the most successful equity crowdfunder in Europe, having funded 110 deals in 2014. In April Hummus Bros, beat a £150,000 target to raise through an 8% interest-paying mini-bond on the crowdfunding platform Crowd2Fund. A total of 53 investors pledged £174,102. The bond term is 60 months.

Industry News:

Center Parcs set to be sold to Canadian investment firm: Center Parcs could be sold to a Canadians investment firm Brookfield as early as today, The Daily Telegraph reports. Blackstone, the US private equity giant which owns Center Parcs, is understood to be finalising a deal with Brookfield following its offer of around £2.4bn for the company. Private equity firms CVC and KSL Capital Partners had been among the parties circling Centre Parcs. CVC put in a joint offer with Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, while Canadian pension fund CPP tabled a bid with KSL. However, sources said Blackstone is now in sole talks with Brookfield. Dalian Wanda and Fosun, two Chinese conglomerates that had previously indicated plans to bid, walked away earlier this year. Center Parcs runs five holiday villages in the UK, including sites in Wiltshire, Nottinghamshire and Cumbria. The company reported pre-tax earnings of £147m last year, up from £140m in the previous year. Brookfield, which recently took joint control of Canary Wharf in a £2.6bn deal, specialises on property, renewable power and private equity.

Google to trial hands-free payment app at McDonald’s and Papa John’s in San Francisco: Google is to begin testing a hands-free payment app later this year at McDonald’s and Papa John’s stores in the San Francisco Bay area of America. The company’s head of payments Sridhar Ramaswamy announced at Google’s I/O conference on Thursday it will test a new stand-alone app called Hands Free that allows people to make purchases without even touching their phones or a sales terminal. Unlike “tap to pay” apps such as Android Pay and Apple Pay, Hands Free will let customers complete their transaction by saying: “I want to pay with Google.” McDonald’s chief digital officer Atif Rafiq said: “What you’re going to be able to do is no longer forage through your pocket or your bag to pay at McDonald’s. You simply arrive, convey your order to the crew person, let them know you want to pay with Google and the Hands Free takes care of the rest. The app helps us verify that it’s you and we’ve integrated our systems so once Hands Free securely charges your account, we give you your food and you’re on your way.” Google says the app is still in an experimental phase but businesses interested in being part of the preview can sign up on its website.

Caffe Nero bows to animal right activists and stops serving milk from badger cull areas: Caffe Nero has stopped serving milk from farms in badger cull areas following intimidation from animal-rights activists, according to The Mail on Sunday. The company is believed to have implemented the ban after learning that activists planned to stage protests at Caffe Nero outlets on an anti-austerity march in London on 20 June. The company’s new milk policy follows the government’s decision to proceed this autumn with pilot culls of badgers in Gloucestershire and Somerset to control the spread of TB in cattle. Activists, who say they target firms with large milk orders, subsequently contacted Caffe Nero to ask where it sourced its milk. When they discovered the firm was buying milk from inside the cull zone, they set up a Facebook page called ‘Stop the Cull’ with a map showing the locations of Caffe Nero shops in London. More than 200 people have shared the post. They also printed leaflets with the message ‘Caffe Nero thinks it’s OK to buy milk tainted with badger blood, we don’t and intend to make sure the rest of the UK (sic) knows about it’, which they planned to distribute. Caffe Nero was being targeted by the activists when two of them, known only as Steve and Rose, sent an email last week to Gerry Ford, Caffe Nero’s chairman, asking where the firm sourced its milk. On Friday the company replied with this message: “Caffe Nero has instructed its partners supplying to stores which are situated around the cull zone areas to supply milk from farms outside of the zone. We appreciate that this is an issue of concern for some members of the public.”

Try Tag rugby adopts drink gifting app to reward player and refs: Try Tag rugby, a touch rugby league with more than 8,000 players, is now using drinks app One From Me to reward players and referees by sending them a drink. After every game, the “best player on the pitch” and the referee will be sent a drink which they can redeem in a participating on-trade venue. For pubs and bars who have joined One From Me, this partnership will guide the players into their venues post game. Try Tag Rugby chief executive Phillip Browne said: “One From Me is a fantastic idea! It definitely suits people who get double-booked or travel a lot for work, as they will still be able to buy a drink for their friends when can’t make it, or are missing a celebration.” One from Me spokesman Jack Warner added: “The most exciting moment for the on-trade will happen when we hit scale on participating sites. Quite a few social sports groups have shown an interest in rewarding their teams and players, but they want to know there are enough pubs to host the group bookings. There are 159,000 people on any given weekday who win “player of the match” in their chosen social sport, imagine them each receiving a drink that they can only pick up from a participating licensed venue.”

Company News:

Faucet Inn plans second Neighbourhood opening for Southampton: Faucet Inn is lining up a second opening of its Neighbourhood brand for Southampton’s new £40m arts complex – the first Neighbourhood site, featuring internationally sourced craft beers, opened in Stratford last November. Faucet founder Steve Cox said: “I know from experience that Southampton has a thriving restaurant scene and the Cultural Quarter is a great location to introduce our unique Neighbourhood concept. We’re thrilled to be a part of it.” Nando’s and artisan pizza and cider brand The Stable, 51% owned by Fuller’s, will also open in the new city centre development next year. When work is finished it will feature a 447-seat theatre, studio, rehearsal spaces and education spaces occupied by local organisations such as the Nuffield Theatre, City Eye and the John Hansard Gallery. There will be a mixture of seven bars and restaurants. Tapas Barcelona became the first eating venue to sign up at the beginning of the year. Grosvenor Britain and Ireland’s project director, Simon Armstrong, said the remaining three units are under offer. He added: “We’re pleased to have secured a varied mix of operators that complement each other really well. They’re a perfect fit for our vision of delivering a varied and compelling restaurant offering in a location where people will want to live, work and visit.”

BrewHouse & Kitchen hires Elton Mouna as marketing director: BrewHouse & Kitchen, the rapidly expanding EIS backed micro-brewer and pub operator, has hired Elton Mouna as its marketing director. Chairman Kris Gumbrell said: “After a very successful period advising us on our marketing and the creation of some brilliant campaigns we are delighted to announce that Elton has accepted our offer to join the team.” Elton Mouna, who has held several board level roles in the industry and was group PR manager for Fuller’s, will continue to operate his consultancy business Innovation Hunter. BrewHouse & Kitchen managing director Simon Bunn said: “Elton has a proven track record in both the pub and brewing world and will be an asset to us as we continue to expand.”

3Sixty in talks on second pub site for Ego brand: 3Sixty Restaurants, led by James Horler, is in talks with an unnamed pub company for a second pub outlet for its Ego restaurant brand, with a target of five or six openings for the brand in the next two years. The first Ego outlet in a pub opened in Stockton Brook, Stoke on Trent in September 2014, a site leased from Mitchells & Butlers (M&B), is trading “very well, with a 50% return on investment,” Horler told Propel. 3Sixty is currently negotiating for a second pub in the Doncaster area. “It’s not M&B, it’s a different pub company. We’d love to do more with M&B, but we’re quite flexible – we can work with many different pub companies. We’ve networked out with many different pub companies, now we’re confident we can get (the required) returns (from pubs),” Horler said. Ego is a Mediterranean restaurant and bar brand with the menu covering Moroccan tajines, Greek meze, pizzas, tapas, steaks, pasta and risotto. The company is food-led community pub sites in suburban locations with car parking for 40 to 50 spaces and 100 covers. For the 52 weeks to 29 March 2015, group sales were up 15% to £15.03m with group like-for-like sales up 6.5%, broken down into 7% for Ego Restaurants, which now has nine sites and 5% for Rocket, which now has five sites. Average spend at Ego is “top teens across the board – it varies, from mid teens in the early part of the week to early 20s on a Saturday night, 72% food and 28% non-food. The pub is much the same, except we obviously sell a fair bit of beer, and a lot more glasses of wine than bottles,” Horler said. Rocket, he said, was “trading well, we’re getting considerable growth in Canary Wharf, where we’re now getting the benefit of the last tower. It was a bit painful when it was being built, during 2012-13, then it was 30% occupied by the European Medical Association last summer, and EY are moving in and taking the next 60% of that this summer. Bishopsgate is growing, we opened Holborn in the period, which is doing okay, and Nottingham last year was awarded the sixth best roof terrace in the UK. That does very well for us – and we’re putting a retractable roof over part of it as we speak.”

JD Wetherspoon boosts offer: JD Wetherspoon is boosting its offer with a bigger cider festival, larger selection of cakes and the introduction of iced coffee. The company will be featuring up to 30 ciders and a selection of perries from across the UK such as Marmalade Cider, Welsh Gold Champion Perry and Cloudy Cornish Scrumpy, during the festival that runs from Friday, 10 July to Sunday, 26 July. Customers are also now able to choose from a larger range of cakes and tiffins with four new varieties on top of the current offering of carrot cake and Victoria sandwich. The new options are coconut and raspberry cake, coffee and walnut cake, chocolate tiffin with Rich Tea biscuit and lemon drizzle cake. Eli’s salted caramel cheesecake is also available at selected pubs. Wetherspoon has also introduced iced coffee in the shape of a caramel or vanilla frappe that includes a double shot of Lavazza coffee, topped with whipped cream, and costs £1.49.

Five Guys signs to Gateshead Metrocentre: Better burger brand Five Guys has signed a deal to take space in the Intu Metrocentre in Gateshead. Five Guys has signed a new lease at the shopping centre for about 4,000 sq ft of space on a 15-year deal. The announcement comes shortly after Restaurant Group’s American-style restaurant and bar Coast to Coast signed a 25 year lease for a restaurant at the Metrocentre that covers 7,100 sq ft. Mike Butterworth, chief operating officer of Intu, said: “Both established operators and new brands are recognising that only Intu can provide truly national access to millions of customers at prime and super-regional prime shopping centres. Two thirds of the UK population visit Intu-owned shopping centres each year to socialise, spend time with friends and family, and relax. Having the best restaurants and bars is an important part of that customer experience.”

The Chinese Buffet lines up 11th outlet in Huddersfield: The Chinese Buffet, the fast-expanding chain founded by Peter Wu in Bolton in 2006, has lined up its 11th outlet, in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire. The restaurant will incorporate an open theatre-style kitchen as well as its all-you-can-eat buffet. The chain currently operates in Blackpool, Bolton, Bury, Preston, St Helens, Wigan, Bradford, Wakefield, Halifax and Wrexham. Last year it announced plans for more than 18 new restaurants across the north west of England within the next five years, and an eventual national franchise.

New Korean to-go concept opening in Leadenhall Market: A new Korean to-go concept restaurant is opening in London’s historic Leadenhall Market. Bibimbap ToGo, which serves healthy and fresh dishes, will take over from a jacket potato cafe as the showpiece City venue enjoys a wave of new high profile food outlets. Bibimbap, which is Korean for the national dish of mixed rice and vegetables, started in Greek Street, Soho, in 2010 and then expanded to Charlotte Street in late 2013. The Leadenhall Market venue will serve a four-section menu comprising bibimbap, rice, wraps with an array of fillings and sides. “It will bring a fresh Korean flavour to the market and will go down well with the nearby City workers and tourists who flock to the market,” said Salvatore Di Natale, of specialist restaurant agents CDG Leisure, which handled the sale. “There has been huge interest from restaurants which want a presence in such an iconic venue.” Gino D’Acampo recently opened a pasta bar in the covered market.

Arran Brewery wins consent to open gastro-pub with nano-brewery: Arran Brewery has won planning consent to convert a bar into a gastro pub with nano-brewery. Arran Brewery will transform the Bower Bar in Kilbirnie into a family-oriented venue which will sell specialty beers. The building and beer garden will be called The Weavers in honour of the town’s historic weaving tradition. Managing director Gerald Michaluk said: “The pub will have a nano-brewery inside that will make speciality beers to be served exclusively in The Weavers along with a menu reflecting the region’s best produce and those of Arran, of course.” This will be Arran Brewery’s second pub – the first being opened in St Fillans as part of a hotel. The brewery also received a license for a proposed bottling facility and mail order business in Dreghorn, not far from Kilbirnie. The Dreghorn brewery will, subject to a grant application, produce Scotland’s first sake. The brewery also recently purchased another brewery in Cambridgeshire and hopes to use this as a staging post for its move into the London Market later in the year.

Top Dog opens in Soho: Better hot dog brand Top Dog, owned by Marissa Hermer and her husband Boujis founder Matt Hermer, has opened in Soho’s Frith Street. Marissa Hermer told The London Evening Standard: “I’m not ever going to say a hot dog is healthy. I’m not putting chia seeds on top of it or wrapping it in kale. But it is natural – there are no additives. It’s all meat and no mystery – which is new for hot dogs. That for me is healthy. Fast-casual is a grab-and-go mentality. It’s not take-away, and it’s not a sit-down restaurant. If you are staying more than 30 minutes you are staying too long.” The venue has a pork, a beef, and a vegan tofu dog option, with toppings including chilli and cheddar cheese, pulled pork and coleslaw, and kimchi.

Iconic Jacaranda to add coffee shop and vinyl record emporium: Iconic Liverpool venue The Jacaranda is to go back to its roots with a new coffee shop and vinyl record emporium on its first floor. The historic Liverpool bar, where the Beatles played at the start of their career, reopened its doors back in November. Now the team are planning a vinyl store and cafe above the famous bar. It will feature self-contained booths with a vinyl deck set in the table where music fans can listen to their favourite discs whilst they have a coffee. Managing director Graham Stanley said: “We’re so excited to be taking the Jacaranda back to where it started. It’s such an iconic venue. Everyone has a memory of it, whether it’s the 1950s coffee shop era or the days where The Beatles played downstairs or the 90s scene where it was packed with a completely different generation of musicians. It has a special place in Liverpool’s music history and we want to celebrate that.” It will function as a coffee shop and record store during the day, becoming a bar and events space at night, with opening planned for late June or early July.

Publican who ran only British-style pub in southern Africa takes over Wiltshire pub: A publican who ran the only British-style pub in southern Africa for 21 years is back on UK soil to take on Enterprise Inns’ Talbot Inn in Calne, Wiltshire. Chris Underwood moved back to the UK in February, following a 23-year stint in Swaziland, where he ran Malandela’s, the only pub and restaurant in the country offering British draught beer, pub games and sport, and traditional British food. He is now running The Talbot Inn, which has reopened after a full internal refurbishment following a joint investment with Enterprise. It was the result of a long holiday to visit family and friends in Swaziland in 1992, which convinced Underwood and his family to make the move. He said: “We fell in love with Swaziland, which is why we spent so many years there, but it was the right time for us to move back to the UK. We’re excited to be reopening The Talbot Inn, which is in a spectacular part of the West Country, and has lots of character. Much of what we practised at Malandela’s will be translated here, such as first-class customer service.” The country pub, which has a large beer garden and parking for 40 cars, will be open from 10am and also serve freshly-brewed coffee and homemade cakes.

Cineworld to open fourth Glasgow site complete with first Superscreen in Scotland: Cineworld is to open its fourth Glasgow site – which includes the first Superscreen in Scotland – at the Silverburn Shopping Centre on Friday, 26 June. The 14-screen multiplex on the south side of the city, known as Cineworld Glasgow Silverburn, also features an in-house Starbucks and Baskin Robbins counter. The Superscreen will give viewers a wall-to-wall screen reaching the ceiling, dual projectors for a brighter 3D experience and multi-dimensional sound with Dolby Atmos speakers, powered by 32 amplifiers. As well as the big releases, there will be a programme of events, with recorded and live performances from the likes of the National Theatre, Bolshoi Ballet, Royal Opera House and the MET Opera.

‘Medicinal drinking’ bar coming to London for the summer: A bar offering ‘medicinal drinking’ alongside seasonal barbecue food is opening in Bethnal Green, east London today (1 June) for the summer. Behind This Wall, created by the wandering bar, club night and record exchange Plastic People, opens on the terrace at Oval Space and will run from noon to midnight Mondays to Fridays. The company has developed a concept of ‘medicinal drinking’, rethinking classic cocktails with seasonal, botanical or herbaceous enhancements, with no artificial additives, colours, flavours, high fructose corn syrup or unnecessary sugar. Supper club start-up Parish, led by chef Charlotte McKibbin, will provide a seasonal barbecue menu made with wild, foraged and British ingredients, using a wood-chip smoker. There is also a packed events programme while the bar will open on selected weekends for special events such as open-deck jams, Balearic brunches and Plastic People’s vinyl exchanges.

Marston’s adds to Milestone Carvery chain: Marston’s is adding to its Milestone Carvery chain with the opening of a new-build pub restaurant, The Six Medals, at the Gateway, Moor Road, Middlehaven, Middlesborough in September. It will be part of a new £35m 16-acre retail and leisure development, between the A66 and the Riverside Stadium, which will include a Sainsbury’s supermarket, a petrol filling station, a drive-through KFC and a Costa Coffee outlet. The Six Medals is named after Wing Commander Adrian Warburton, who was born in Middlesbrough and was one of the most decorated pilots of the Second World War, with much of his service spent in the Mediterranean. Milestone Carvery is due to open two more pubs this month (June), The Knot & Plough at the Beacon Business Park in Weston Road, Stafford and The Pipe Major in Dagenham, Essex.

Chiquito takes Wacky Warehouse site in Chesterfield: The Restaurant Group is opening a branch of its Chiquito Tex-Mex chain on the site of a former Hobby Horse pub on the Alma Leisure Park in Chesterfield, Derbyshire. The new restaurant is expected to open in October. The chain’s current nearest outlet to Chesterfield is Sheffield. It is the first new branch to be announced since Chiquito closed its outlet at Kingston Retail Park in Hull in May, and will take the chain to around 83 outlets, after openings in Northampton and Exeter in July, with other openings planned later this year at the Intu Potteries shopping centre in Hanley, Stoke on Trent and Friars Walk in Newport, Monmouthshire. Jody Millward, regional marketing coordinator at Chiquito said: “We’re thrilled to announce that Chiquito is to join Chesterfield’s growing food and drink offering and hope to be open to the public in October.”

Bistrot Pierre delays Bath opening to mid-June: Bistrot Pierre has pushed back the opening of its new Bath restaurant to later this month, having already postponed it from March to mid-April. The chain’s co-founder, Robert Beacham, said: “It is been important to get the design of the building right. The bistrot will be housed in one of the city’s traditional Georgian townhouses, which originally had a shop front before it was extended early in the 19th century. A lot of thought has gone into it. We have been able to let the building itself lead much of the design and have worked to keep all the period features surrounded by traditional decor, which has made it a slow process, but well worth it.” The new restaurant will have an open kitchen at the back of the building, with a curved ceiling and lantern roof light. The outlet, on the site of the old Jika Jika coffee house and canteen on George Street, Bath, will open on 12 June. It will be Bistrot Pierre’s 13th venue.

Kentish sparkling wine maker seeks to raise £3.75m through open offer: The AIM-listed company that owns the Gusbourne Estate vineyard in Kent is looking to raise £3.57m through an open offer. Gurbourne, which launched its first sparkling wines in 2010, said the proceeds would be used for the ongoing investment in new vineyards planted in 2015, an expansion of the winery capacity and for working capital. It said that it would also continue to invest in the further development of the Gusbourne brand. The proceeds will be raised through an open offer of 7.1 million shares at 50p each, with an entitlement of two new shares for every five existing shares. The group confirmed that its controlling shareholder, Lord Ashcroft, will participate in the open offer to “maintain his beneficial interest at 64.4% of the enlarged share capital”. Gusbourne, which joined AIM in 2013 as the first and so far only UK wine producer quoted on AIM, said that current trading is in line with expectations and development plans remain on course.

Carlsberg adds to craft beer portfolio: Carlsberg UK has grown its portfolio of craft and speciality beers for 2015, with the range increasing to 39 beers with seven new additions to help the UK on-trade capitalise on the growing demand for craft and speciality beers. The portfolio has been sourced through Carlsberg UK’s third party partners and the Carlsberg Group global portfolio and includes lagers, bitters, pilsners, pale ales, porters and wheat beers – with a mix of draught, bottled and canned products available. The range is brought to life by a bespoke ‘Crafted Handbook’ with an introduction by leading beer writer Pete Brown. Kathryn Purchase, director of customer marketing, Carlsberg UK said: “With year-on-year growth for craft beer in the UK up 34% and the average pint of craft beer commanding an additional 75-90p per pint, there has never been a better time for operators to explore and exploit the potential of craft and speciality beers.”

Bloomberg – Australia has one of the world’s most advanced coffee drinking cultures: The news service Bloomberg has reported that Australia has developed a £2bn coffee-drinking market that devours more fresh beans per person than any other country. It said: “Starbucks last month credited the introduction of the flat white, a velvety variant of a latte first made in Australia or New Zealand in the 1980s, for helping to drive its fastest growth in quarterly sales in eight years. McDonald’s, which opened the world’s first McCafe in Melbourne 22 years ago, sought a US trademark on the beverage in 2004. Then last month, to reiterate Australia’s knack for a perfect crema, the Canberra cafe-chain owner Sasa Sestic won the World Barista Championship in Seattle. Before Starbucks added the flat white to its US range in January, Whitbread had been offering the hot drink in its Costa Coffee chain for four years. It’s on the menu in Bridgepoint Capital’s Pret A Manger restaurants, and JD Wetherspoon is thinking about introducing it in its pubs, The Financial Times quoted founder Tim Martin as saying in March. The flat white’s growing popularity is an endorsement of Australia’s evolving cafe scene, kick-started by visiting US servicemen in the 1940s and influenced by European immigrants whose small, family-owned businesses represent tough competition for multinational chains.”

City centre bar owners buy suburban outlet close to universities: The owners of the Bossa Bar in Granby Street, Leicester, have bought the Looking Glass in the suburb of Braunstone Gate, close to Leicester University and De Montfort University, with the intention of turning it into a “relaxed study place” for students and locals in the day and a cocktail bar in the evening. Gareth Hazard, who runs GS Bars with business partner Sam Lockwood, told The Leicester Mercury: “Bossa is doing really well but I was looking to venture outside of the city for a new bar. I was browsing on the internet to see if there was anywhere in Leicester I could buy and The Looking Glass was up for sale. There were a couple of buyers who were interested but we were the only buyers who had backgrounds in the industry. It’s a beautiful venue with a great location and it is really big, about three times the size of Bossa. We’ve got a really good relationship with some local brewers and universities, which is why we want to create the study space and cocktail bar.” Hazard, whose company was set up in 2013 with the help of the Sir Thomas White charity and the Prince’s Trust, is planning a £40,000 refit at The Looking Glass. He said: “We continually work with the charity as they really helped us open our business. We’re looking at approaching the Prince’s Trust again for a grant to help us with the refit of The Looking Glass.”

Craft brewer recalls bottles over fears of shattering: The Bristol-based craft brewer Wiper & True is recalling bottles of its Mount Hood Porter beer because a manufacturing fault means the bottles might shatter. The product being recalled is in 500ml bottles, batch 01, barcode 5060408200445, with a “best before” date of 5 March 2016. Wiper & True, which shares the premises of the Ashley Down brewery in Bristol, has contacted its retail customers and collected remaining stock from local retail customers. The company has also updated its website and social media channels with the product recall notice. They have halted production until they feel confident that the issue has been resolved. According to the Food Safety Authority, if you have any unopened bottles, do not attempt to transport or return them but dispose of the product immediately. Wear protective eye wear and gloves, and place remaining unopened bottles in a box which should then be securely closed, immediately placing the box in a bin liner inside a rubbish bin that should then be closed.

Acorn Brewery looking to increase capacity after sales grow 12%: The Acorn Brewery in Barnsley, South Yorkshire is looking to invest in a bigger coldstore and new fermenters and conditioning tanks after a sales increase of 12% in the past 12 months. Acorn delivers to around 400 pubs and bars in the north of England and secured a contract to supply 75 Morrisons stores, as well as other major supermarkets Asda, Tesco, Waitrose and Sainsbury’s. Its best-selling Barnsley Bitter sells almost 3,000 hectolitres a year in the UK and Europe out of a total output of around 9,000 hectolitres a year. Owner Dave Hughes said: “Our aim is to increase trade again by at least 20% this year. We’ve grown successfully since we set up in 2003 and have doubled production over the last seven years from 50 brewers’ barrels to 100 a week to meet demand. In the last 12 months, we have seen some really great additions to our customer list including our first exports.” The acquisition of The Old Number 7 pub in Barnsley town centre in 2011 has given the firm a boost, with between 8% and 10% of all its beer now being sold there. It currently has a turnover of £1.2m and employs 12 people.

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