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Wed 13th Apr 2022 - Propel Wednesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

PizzaExpress sees “massive change” in workforce demographic, 40% now under 20: PizzaExpress has seen a “massive change” in the demographics of its workforce, with 40% now under 20 years old. Speaking at Propel’s recent Multi Club event, PizzaExpress chief people officer Kate Daines said the company started a huge recruitment drive in April 2021, which ramped up numbers well initially before proving tougher towards the end of the year. She said: “What we’ve seen since then is just a massive change in the demographics of our workforce. We’ve now got 40% of our workforce who are under 20, which is a huge shift, and that wasn’t typical before. We’ve almost doubled that population, and it has been challenging. And we’ve seen different pockets geographically, so we can’t apply a one-size-fits-all solution.” Daines said the company is looking at introducing “digital learning and gamification” into its training to adapt to Generation Z preferences. Earlier this year, PizzaExpress struck a deal with student work platform Stint that will see students using the app work in a third of its restaurants across the UK. Daines also said the company had looked at the zoning of its circa 350-strong estate when it comes to pay. She said: “We’ve got to be more competitive than ever. I know we say pay is one thing, but it is really important, and what we’re trying to do is address that. But it’s not a one-size-fits-all across the UK, so we’ve looked at the zoning of our estate. We’ve looked at cost of living across the whole of the UK and profiled every site – and we’ve got about 350 – to really get into the data and understand what the right pay strategy looks like. Pay for progression is also massively important, and I think management stability is also absolutely key, so we’ve done quite a bit of insight looking at management stability versus team stability. There’s a huge positive correlation, so if we can stabilise that core management population, we know it will stabilise the team as well.”
 

Industry News:

Sponsored message – join JW Lees MD William Lees-Jones in backing Hospitality Rising: JW Lees managing director William Lees-Jones is backing Hospitality Rising, but will you? The initiative aims to unite the industry by asking it to invest in and back its plan to change the perception of hospitality for the better in the biggest sector recruitment advertising campaign the UK has seen. Lees said: “Hospitality is in crisis. It's like nothing that we've ever come across before and we're all feeling it. Nicking each other's people isn't the solution – we need to recruit a whole new generation into the sector and we need you to join in. Hospitality Rising is a simple idea – a tenner a head to get people coming into the sector, so JW Lees is good for £10,000 and we think it's a great investment since if we can spread the love and joy and think bigger than filling individual roles then we'll all be better off. We need people like at no time ever and we all know hospitality offers engagement, development and opportunity like no other sector so join the movement and think big – the campaign needs you now. I've heard some great excuses from people who aren't getting involved but not one of them has any credibility – you know who you are!” Invest in Hospitality Rising now from just £10 per employee here. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email paul.charity@propelinfo.com

Host of expanding dessert and sweet treat concepts among franchisors in first UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, released on Friday: A host of dessert and sweet treat concepts expanding in the UK and abroad are among the franchisors featured in the first UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database, which will be sent to Premium subscribers on Friday (15 April), at midday. The first edition will feature 100 companies and 27,000 words of content, providing insight on the offer, locations, cost and other key details. Among them is bubble waffle concept Bubblewrap, a former pop-up which now has two sites in London plus an online store. Also featured is Creams Cafe, which hit the 100 openings mark late last year at the same time as announcing a deal to open 22 new stores in Egypt over the next five years. Heavenly Desserts, which has circa 42 UK sites offering handcrafted artisan desserts and has also expanded to the US, Canada, Denmark and Pakistan, is also featured. So too is Kaspa’s, a chain of dessert houses offering hot and cold desserts, which has grown to more than 100 UK sites and one international location, in Pakistan. In addition, Treatz, which has 15 sites across the UK offering Italian gelato ice cream, sundaes, milkshakes, smoothies, cheesecakes and hot waffles, will be featured. Spain-based Yole, a low-fat and low-sugar ice cream brand using natural ingredients – located in shops, kiosks, supermarkets and airports in nine countries around the world – will also feature. Premium subscribers also receive access to The New Openings Database, the Propel Multi-Site Database and the Turnover & Profits Blue Book. Companies can now have an unlimited number of people receive access to Propel Premium for a year for £895 plus VAT – whether they are an operator or a supplier. The single subscription rate is £445 plus VAT for operators and £545 plus VAT for suppliers. Email jo.charity@propelinfo.com to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of lockdown videos and Friday Wrap interviews and now also have access to a curated video library of the sector’s finest leaders and entrepreneurs, offering their insights on running outstanding businesses in the sector. Premium subscribers also receive their morning newsletter 11 hours early, at 7pm the evening before our 6am send-out; regular video content and regular exclusive columns from Propel group editor Mark Wingett. 

Osmond and Lord call for urgent interim report on impact of lockdowns on sector as they criticise draft covid inquiry plan: Three hospitality veterans have criticised the government’s draft covid inquiry terms of reference and called for an urgent interim report into the impact of lockdowns on the sector. Hugh Osmond, founder of PizzaExpress and Punch Taverns; Sacha Lord, night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester and founder of The Warehouse Project and Parklife festival; and Michael Kill, chief executive of the Night Time Industries Association, have called for sector-specific measures to be included and questioned whether decision-makers had an adequate understanding of the industry. They say wide-reaching damage was caused by omitted measures and suggested the inquiry produces a framework to assess whether future proposed restrictions are justifiable. “To fail to address any of the industry-specific measures will mean the collective impact of the rules, which were being imposed in succession of each other and contemporaneously, will not be properly represented or considered by the inquiry”, the trio wrote. “The inquiry will need to consider the level of understanding of the industry demonstrated by decision-makers during the pandemic, and whether those in power took into account the practical considerations for businesses within the sector, as well as the operating differences between the different business types. It cannot become the standard or expected response of the government to entirely shut down the hospitality sector on each occasion there is a further covid wave, or in the event of future pandemics or civil emergencies, unless it can be said with a high degree of certainty that the benefits of doing so sufficiently outweigh the costs and harms caused as a result, and that is not currently the case. If complete closure of the industry becomes the expected response, the sector will become un-investable. The importance of the timing of such a report is crucial. If the inquiry waits until the end of its process before producing a report, further waves of covid may have hit, and it may already be too late for the sector to recover.”

UKHospitality reveals manifesto ahead of UK local government elections: UKHospitality has published a raft of recommendations for local government ahead of elections in May, stating the sector’s crucial value as an agent for positive post-covid change. Its Manifesto 2022: Revitalising Local Communities document lays out a dozen ways in which local authorities, councillors and council officers can help the sector get communities back on their feet. The trade body has outlined 12 policies, spanning three crucial areas, ahead of polling on Thursday, 5 May. Key among them are ways to promote the sector’s fight to tackle its crippling 400,000 jobs shortage; licensing extensions and faster planning processes; and spotlighting the innovative work the industry is doing to support the government’s 2050 net zero target. It also wants to see tighter regulations on short-term lets; a permanent extension of pavement and takeaway licensing; support for the roll out of electric vehicle charging points at hospitality businesses; and the streamlining and simplification of the food waste collection system. UKHospitality chief executive, Kate Nicholls, said: “Pre-covid, our sector created £130bn in economic activity and generated £39bn of tax for the exchequer to fund vital services. The industry made up 10% of UK employment, 6% of businesses and 5% of GDP. We’re confident that, with the right support measures in place, hospitality businesses will bounce back stronger, and deliver growth and investment across the UK once more.”

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a client to hire a general manager for a pub in Holborn, central London. The role will include complete responsibility over all back of house duties including rotas, P&L and budgets; and ensuring company standards and procedures are delivered across the business, giving attention to detail with a customer focus. This is a wet-led site and the general manager will take ownership and deliver KPIs as well as customer satisfaction. The salary is £40,000. For more information and to apply, email Thea@corecruitment.com
 

Company News:

Elliott – trading at Pizza Pilgrims is ahead of where we wanted to be: Thom Elliott, co-founder of Pizza Pilgrims, the London-based sourdough pizzeria brand, has said the group has traded resiliently since covid restrictions have been lifted. He added that with full VAT back, “we are ahead of where we wanted to be”. Elliott told Propel: “We put a little bit of price in last week. Not a lot, about 40p on the odd dish here and there. And last week, we traded basically flat on the week before, so we’re pretty happy with that. Last week was one where it was like, ‘Oh God, what’s this going to look like’, and it was all right, so we’re pretty happy all in all. Our delivery sales have stayed pretty high, but our eat-in is coming back, so hopefully we’re going to end up with a situation where you have the eat-in, plus the delivery is incremental. The one thing we can absolutely say about our numbers in the last six weeks is they’ve been pretty consistent, and there is reassurance in that consistency.” In the year to 27 June 2021, the group saw turnover stay almost flat at £11.7m (2020: £11.78m), with pre-tax loss standing at £290,000 (2020: £647,000 loss). The company’s Pizza at Home kits provided additional revenue of circa £140,000, and Elliott said the kits would still be part of the business going forward, but in a scaled down version. He said: “We have some between 300 to 400 subscribers now. It’s a great marketing tool, and we will do more for special occasions, such as Valentine’s Day, but will massively reduce the scope of it. We will also bring it into one of the pizzerias rather than the dedicated facility we currently have. I think we just need to scale it down and make it more boutique.” The company is set to open a second regional site, in Brighton’s South Street, later this year, and Propel understands that the company is also in talks to take a site in Cambridge. Pizza Pilgrims currently operates 15 sites under its core brand and will convert its sole Slice by Pizza Pilgrims site in Finsbury Park to this too.

Morris – five of Tortilla's top ten stores by profit are located outside of the M25: Richard Morris, chief executive of Mexican restaurant brand Tortilla, has said that of the company’s top ten stores by profit, ten are located outside of the M25. The company currently operates 29 sites within the M25 area and 22 sites outside of it. Morris told Propel: “It’s a big thing for us to be able to state that half of our profits comes from outside of the M25, which is a big statement in this sector. It is very tough for businesses to have a business that travels outside the south. I think we were just highlighting the strength of the north. I mean, unsurprisingly, the city centre ones do incredibly well, but all the other ones up there make good money, and the north is really growing for us. It’s proving to be a very good area for us to open, and we are looking at a few more sites up there this year and going forward.” The company recently opened in Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet, Ellesmere Port, and Propel understands that an opening in Silver Street, Durham, is also on the cards for this year. Propel revealed last month, that the company is set for further regional expansion, having secured sites in Lincoln, Birmingham, Portsmouth and Bournemouth, and is also set to make its Northern Ireland debut with a restaurant in Belfast. It is also believed to be in talks on a site in Canterbury. Earlier this week, the business outlined its investment case as part of plans to grow to 200 sites in the UK. One new site opened in the first quarter of 2022 and one in April, and at least seven further site openings are planned for the remainder of the year, which the company said underpinned its confidence in delivering on its target of 45 openings by the end of 2026.

Island Poke begins managing director search: Island Poké, the London-based White Rabbit Projects and Hero Brands-backed business, has begun the search for a managing director, Propel has learned. The business, which operates 17 sites in London, including four delivery kitchen units, and nine sites in France, said a new managing director would work alongside founder James Gould-Porter and its existing management team, as it embarks on a “national and international journey”. In February, the business appointed Mark Comer, formerly of Loungers, as its new finance director as it embarked on a “period of huge growth”, with plans to open 100 locations across the UK in the next five years. Those plans include opening four new restaurants in Edinburgh over the next two years, plus a new partnership with dark-kitchen operator Reef. Propel understands that the company has lined up an opening in Bicester Village and is in the design phase on a few other out-of-town sites.
 
Arepa & Co to open third London site: London-based Venezuelan restaurant concept Arepa & Co is to open its third site in the capital, in Stockwell, Propel has learned. The concept is to take on the Stockwell Continental site in South Lambeth Road, which is set to close this month, with an opening planned for later this summer. Husband and wife Gus and Kathe Salguero launched the concept in Haggerston in 2014, offering the flavours of their native country. They opened a second restaurant in Paradise Row, Bethnal Green in 2018, with new dishes rooted in Venezuelan cuisine but influenced by the wider South American region, alongside a selection of cocktails. Stockwell Continental owner Charlie Bousfield also operates the Canton Arms pub in Stockwell. Marc Rogers at MKR Property acted on the Stockwell deal.
 
Chotto Matte signs for rooftop unit in Manchester’s St Michaels’ development: Chotto Matte, founded by Kurt Zdesar, has signed for its first UK restaurant outside London – agreeing a deal for the 20,000 square-foot rooftop at Manchester’s St Michael’s development. Propel revealed last month the Nikkei cuisine concept was close to signing for a site in Manchester, as well as eyeing further expansion in Mexico, Panama, Italy and various US cities. It has now become the first occupier to commit to the £200m St Michael’s scheme, by KKR and Relentless, which is owned by former Manchester United footballer Gary Neville. “This deal aligns perfectly with our vision for St Michael’s and the five-star-quality we are aspiring to with this project,” said Neville. “We are pleased to be bringing this world-class, innovative brand to Manchester.” Zdesar added: “I have been monitoring the city’s growth for years but never found the right opportunity until now. It is only when meeting with Gary and understanding his vision for this first-of-a-kind development that I felt a great synergy with our brand. The city is growing at an exciting pace, and the timing couldn’t be better for Chotto Matte to bring diversity to the local landscape. I see this new opening as an important part of our international expansion plan.” Propel also revealed last month that Chotto Matte plans to expand to 20 sites in the next five years, with openings in Doha, Riyadh and San Francisco slated for later this year, followed by Nashville and Los Angeles next year.
 
Wyldecrest adds Northumberland holiday park to portfolio for tenth site: Holiday park operator Wyldecrest has acquired Felmoor Park, near Felton, Northumberland for an undisclosed sum, for its tenth site. The 39.2-acre park, which has 167-holiday homes, came on to the market confidentially to enable the founding family owners to retire. The site predominately features privately-owned log cabins, static caravans and lodges. Wyldecrest, which is owned by entrepreneur Alfie Best, operate sites across England and Scotland, and Felmoor Park joins its existing Northumberland site, Bockenfield Country Park. Best said: “Felmoor Park is a beautifully maintained site, which I’m thrilled to welcome to the Wyldecrest fold where we will be able to utilise our experience to take the park forward to the next level.” Felmoor Park also includes a wild west-themed bar and restaurant, The Crazy Horse Saloon, which has 280-covers and caters for park customers and the public. It includes a basement arcade and outside children’s play area. Colliers acted on the deal. 
 
Apollo plots £2bn deal for Parkdean Resorts: The US-based private equity giant Apollo Global Management is plotting a £2bn takeover of Parkdean Resorts as it seeks a slice of Britain’s staycations boom. Sky News reports that Apollo is among the bidders picked by Parkdean’s owners to progress to the next phase of a sale process. City sources said on Tuesday that Bourne Leisure Group, the owner of Butlin’s and Haven Holidays, had been eliminated from the auction in recent days. Parkdean is owned by Canada’s Onex Corporation, which bought the company in 2016 for £1.3bn. It was unclear on Tuesday which other parties had been shortlisted to buy Parkdean, although CVC is understood not to have tabled an offer. If Apollo does buy the company, it would unite the New York-based investment giant with Steve Richards, Parkdean’s chief executive. Richards previously ran Casual Dining Group, the owner of Bella Italia and Cafe Rouge, during its ownership by Apollo. Both Apollo and Parkdean declined to comment.
 
Brindisa Kitchens closes Shoreditch site, plans new central London venue: Spanish restaurant group Brindisa Kitchens has closed its Shoreditch site with plans to open a new central London venue. Ratnesh Bagdai, who founded the business with Monika Linton, said: “After ten very happy years, Brindisa will be moving from its Shoreditch restaurant in Curtain Road to pastures new. It’s been a great journey in the Shoreditch area but as always, as a small independent group we need to re-evaluate the estate from time to time. Details to follow in the coming weeks, of our new central London site.” Brindisa Kitchens also operates sites in Battersea, London Bridge, Richmond, Soho and South Kensington.
 
Team behind Park Chinois to open new Ibiza nightspot: Island Hospitality, which is behind Chinese restaurant Park Chinois in London’s Mayfair, is to launch a new nightspot in Ibiza this summer. Club Chinois will be housed in the former Heart Ibiza site and inspired by the “decadent yet iniquitous jazz clubs of 1930s Shanghai”. The 3,000 square metre venue will be a “home for international talent ranging from acclaimed resident DJ’s, superstar headline performers and artists providing an immersive experience for revellers of the highest quality”. Restaurant, Zuma Ibiza, will sit alongside the club and the open-air terrace of the Ibiza Gran Hotel, offering its contemporary Japanese cuisine. Founded in London, Island Hospitality has established itself on the island of Ibiza with a seven-strong collection of restaurants, beach club cafes and nightclubs including Finca La Plaza, Massa Coffee and its exclusive 16-room boutique hotel, Mikasa.
 
FCB Coffee appoints new head of coffee: FCB Coffee, which operates at stations across the south east of England, has appointed David Dempsey as head of coffee across its brand. Dempsey, who started as a barista at FCB’s Blackfriars site before going on to manage it, will reintroduce guest roasts, starting this month with Plot Roasting from Honduras. He also wants to create a culture where anyone can walk in and ask questions without fear of embarrassment, ensuring FCB Coffee is accessible to all. He said: “Being on the go doesn’t mean you’re busy and not paying attention to details, it usually involves long periods of sitting or walking where you can reflect. Specialty coffee is important at this time because you’ll actually notice the quality and substance more.” FCB Coffee started a partnership with Network Rail in 2020 and is one of the first independent coffee offerings in stations. It opened its eighth site, at Paddington station, in May 2021, and also has sites in Brighton (two), Guildford, Denmark Hill, Blackfriars, Woking and Tonbridge.
 
Apex Hotels strengthens senior team as it steps up post-pandemic recovery: Apex Hotels, which operates ten luxury hotels in five UK cities including London and Edinburgh, has strengthened its senior team as it steps up its post-pandemic recovery drive. The Edinburgh-based company has hired Michael Scott – formerly of Hoar Cross Hotel & Spa, Macdonald Hotels and Resorts, Whittlebury Hall & Spa and Center Parcs – as commercial director, while Kerry Draper – who previously held roles with Virgin, British Gas and Carlsberg – has arrived as HR director. Apex said the appointments will support its regeneration from the pandemic, focusing on the guest experience and internal culture of the business. Last week, Apex reported it had returned to profitability since reopening as it saw turnover drop 88% from £68.7m to £8m for the year to 30 April 2021, a period dominated by covid restrictions, but the business said it was “optimistic” about the outlook. Averil Wilson, managing director of Apex Hotels, said: “We are ready and prepared for a resurgence of business in all of our locations. Kerry and Michael bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to Apex and will complement our strategic direction perfectly. I am confident they’ll both be outstanding in their respective roles, and I look forward to seeing what the future holds with them as part of the Apex family.”
 
Bird to open in Port Solent next week for fifth site as part of expansion plans: Fried chicken and waffle brand Bird will open its fifth site, in Port Solent, Hampshire, next week. The opening forms part of Bird’s long-term expansion and development plan, with the group already making improvements to its three London locations in Camden, Islington and Canary Wharf, as well as opening its newest restaurant – in Hempstead Valley, Kent – in November last year. The Port Solent restaurant will seat 60 inside and 40 outside and will take over the former Friendly Phil’s premises. Bird senior partner, Charles Beer, said: “Port Solent is the second opening outside of London in the last six months and we’re pleased after the last couple of years the world has faced, particularly the hospitality industry, we’re still able to continue with our dine-in restaurant expansion plans.” Marketing manager Candice Marnell told Propel there were no further confirmed openings as yet but the brand was continually looking at new sites to grow. Bird opened its first restaurant in London in 2014 and has predominantly been based within the capital. The recent opening of Hempstead Valley in November and Port Solent this month are part of the restaurant group’s long-term plans to expand its location portfolio. The brand is owned by the Crown Partnership. Last year, the business secured more than half of the sites operated by Dining Street – the company behind the Richoux, Friendly Phil’s, Villagio and The Broadwick restaurant brands – which was placed into administration.
 
Joule’s holds craft beer prices: Shropshire-based brewer and retailer Joule’s has decided to hold price on all its craft beer. Cask ale has gone up by 2.5%, but that is less than half the rate of inflation, the company said. Managing director Steve Nuttall said: “We have cost inflation along with everyone else. However, we cannot ignore the differential of pub prices with supermarket prices, people have come back to the pub as we had hoped and we are just too nervous, as our customers have pressure on their disposable income, to materially increase our prices. In addition, our franchisees have increased cost pressure so this allows them to implement modest increases and to recover some of those costs. We have also introduced a £25 per barrel retro payment to help with these extra costs, all focused on our own brands – the cost of which we can control. To do this we are working hard in brewing to manage our cost base, our franchisees can all help us manage costs, and in turn our whole Joule’s community is stronger. Higher costs will of course have an impact, the net effect of our holding price and bringing in a retrospective payment means we are in effect reducing prices to our franchisees. The more we can all absorb can only help us to maintain ‘good prices’ as we come through what will be a tricky time. We are thinking about the longer term and that this is the best, customer first, approach.”
 
Zip World to open underground golf concept as part of new north Wales site: Adventure tourism operator Zip World has begun work on its underground adventure village in north Wales, with a view to opening this summer. The attraction, which will include Underground Golf, Bounce Below, the Caverns adventure course, and the Deep Mine Tour, is being built at Llechwedd quarry in Blaenau Ffestiniog. The Underground Golf course is set to feature 18 holes across four levels in a former mining chamber, with sensory lighting, sound effects and other interactive elements. It will be accessible via Europe’s steepest cable railway. Zip World commercial director, Andrew Hudson, said: “Underground Golf will be the perfect blend of an exciting, competitive adventure and a heritage piece, telling the story of how the mine came to be in a fun, high-octane way.” Zip World operates four other adventure parks across Wales. Its latest opening was Zip World Tower, near the villages of Rhigos and Hirwaun, in south Wales last April. 
 
Lincolnshire-based climbing gym set to double up with second site: A Louth-based climbing gym is expanding into Lincoln city centre for its second site following a £160,000 investment. Darren Thompson, owner of Ascend Climbing Gym in North Holme Road, has received funding from First Enterprise – Enterprise Loans through the Midlands Engine Investment Fund and the Community Investment Enterprise Facility, backed by the Recovery Loan Scheme. He will use the cash injection to kit out the new site and offer a range of new wall layouts. Thompson said: “First Enterprise enabled me to expand my climbing gym business by building a second gym. This has safeguarded our business and the jobs of our staff while creating several new jobs.”
 
Hollywood-inspired rooftop bar and restaurant to open at Mondrian Shoreditch next month: Laurel’s On The Roof, a Hollywood-inspired rooftop bar and restaurant, will open at the Mondrian Shoreditch hotel in east London next month. The all day-dining and drinking hotspot will open on Thursday, 5 May, with live DJ sets every Thursday, Friday and Saturday night. Dishes will include sea bream tacos, malibu shrimp cocktail and Jersey oysters, while the drinks list will include nostalgic 1970s-style cocktails. David Lockhart, general manager of Mondrian Shoreditch, said: “Shoreditch has always been a forward-thinking neighbourhood that challenges the norm while always embracing the past’s retro culture.” Formerly called The Curtain, the five-star hotel was transformed into a Mondrian by the brand’s operator Accor, in partnership with owners Rueben Brothers, in 2020. The following year, Spanish chef Dani Carcia made the UK debut of his Bibo restaurant format on the lower ground floor. The hotel also features all-day dining and drinking concept Christina’s on its ground floor.
 
Stoke-on-Trent drive-thru scheme sells in multimillion-pound deal: A Stoke-on-Trent drive-thru scheme that is home to Costa Coffee and food to go retailer Greggs has been sold in a multimillion-pound deal. Property developer Godwin Developments has sold the former Pizza Hut site, in Baths Road, Longton, to a private investor just 18 months after acquiring it in September 2020. The scheme, next to Phoenix Retail Park, boasts a 1,800 square foot unit that houses Costa and a second, 1,162 square foot, unit that is let to Greggs. It was fully complete in December 2021. Robert Birch, development director at Godwin Developments, said: "We are pleased to have executed the sale of this asset, which illustrates the value created through our land acquisition and development programme, which on this site took just over a year to complete. The sale of the asset supports our strategy of buying very well-located sites across the country and close to key infrastructure and consumer retail demand – a strategy that has delivered value growth and resilience through the cycle. We continue to look for similar opportunities to deploy our capital.”
 
Cheshire hospitality venue adds gin distillery to roster: Cheshire’s Combermere Estate, a privately-owned former country house and grounds that offers holiday cottages, luxury B&B suites, a wedding venue and events facilities, has added a gin distillery to its roster. Three Wrens Gin has taken more than 4,400 square feet of space in former cattle shed at the estate, which is based between Nantwich and Whitchurch. Nick Wadeson, managing director and founder of Three Wrens Gin, said: “Our larger premises can now accommodate up to 36 people in the gin school and an accessible new location for drop-in traffic. Our goal is to create a centre of excellence for both our gin production and a top-class show-round facility for customers and visitors. The expanded venue will also offer distilling experiences and tours at the premises.”
 
York-based brewery moves to larger premises: Brewery company, Another Beer, has moved to a larger brewery space in Elvington, near York. Another Beer is the brainchild of owner and chief brewer, James Fawcett, who launched the business in 2019. Initially launching a range of three beers and working with other breweries to brew them, he moved to the Ice Cream Factory in York’s Skeldergate, where he began brewing the ales himself. Fawcett said: “This move into the new Elvington site is a great step forward for Another Beer. It has always been my plan to expand as quickly as we can into our own brewery, both to increase our capacity and to have more control of our processes, especially sustainability.” The new base, formally The Hop Studio, has a brewing capacity of 6,400 litres and a dedicated space on the mezzanine level, where Fawcett and his team intend to install a new crowdfunding-backed taproom experience. The campaign aims to raise £15,000 for the project.
 
Nottingham-based fish and chip shop owner plans to open basement bar: Nottingham-based operator Bas Alla, who owns the Lace Market Fish Bar at 3-5 Stoney Street, has submitted plans to turn the basement store room of his takeaway into a bar. The grade-II listed building is a former 19th century workhouse. According to documents submitted with the planning application, the development would “help the existing business remain viable and bring more of the building into productive use”. Planners have recommended approval for the change of use.

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