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Morning Briefing for pub, restaurant and food wervice operators

Tue 6th Dec 2022 - Propel Tuesday News Briefing

Story of the Day:

US burger, shake and craft beer concept Black Tap set for second attempt at UK launch, eyes up to 20 sites: US burger, shake and craft beer concept Black Tap is set to make a second attempt to launch in the UK, Propel has learned. Gillingham Bell International and Highland Global have been jointly appointed by Black Tap to manage its expansion into London in the next phase of an ambitious global roll out. Propel understands Black Tap is looking to open up to 20 sites in the UK. It is thought Black Tap sees London as an important market in its expansion plans, believing the cost-of-living crisis and labour shortages to be “short-term” issues, and that the city will remain a global leader in the eating-out market. The business, which has sites in New York, Las Vegas, Dubai, Singapore and Geneva, was founded by New York entrepreneur Chris Barish – a long-time promoter, nightclub owner and former business partner of Gordon Ramsay – in 2015 in Soho (New York City), and he has now teamed up with Old Northampton Group founder, Sunny Kooner, to bring the Black Tap venture to London. The company is looking initially for three prime sites in central London of between 3,000 and 4,000 square-foot and hopes to open the first location by the summer of 2023. Kooner is founder and managing director of the Old Northampton Group, which owns several restaurants and properties in the UK. For 16 years before that, he was director for an US investment bank. Kooner opened his first cocktail bar in 2009 and subsequently founded Old Northampton Group. The team he has put together for the UK includes Marcel Khan, formerly of Five Guys, Nando’s and Thunderbird Fried Chicken. Propel reported in 2019 that Black Tap was eyeing a launch in the UK with Sunset Hospitality Group, which acts as a franchisee for the concept in the Middle East. Sunset Hospitality Group was believed to be in talks to take space in the former The Sussex pub site in Upper St Martin’s Lane, Covent Garden, to launch Black Tap in the UK, but the deal never occurred. Black Tap operates five sites in the US and 11 internationally.

Industry News:

Sponsored message – Everleaf leads charge in non-alcoholic sales at Matthew Clark, the UK’s largest on-trade wholesaler: Everleaf, the award-winning range of non-alcoholic aperitifs, is leading the charge in the category for the on-trade, with volumes up by more than 600% in the UK’s largest on-trade wholesaler, Matthew Clark. In the last year, total sales of non-alcoholic spirits have grown by 196% at Matthew Clark. In the last three months alone, one in every five bottles sold in their non-alcoholic spirits category has been Everleaf Forest, Mountain or Marine, and the brand is growing at six times the speed of the category. Everleaf has also just launched its range of winter cocktail suggestions, “perfect for festive drinks and the winter season”. Matthew Clark customers can now take advantage of an offer to make the Everleaf Forest Winter Spritz by buying two bottles of Everleaf Forest and receiving a case of 24 bottles of Fever Tree Blood Orange Soda, “making it even easier to enjoy Everleaf at home”. For more details, click here. If you have a sponsored story you would like to see featured in this newsletter position, email

Coming in January 2023 for Premium subscribers – the Who’s Who of UK Food & Beverage: Propel is to add a fifth major database to its Premium service in January 2023. The Who’s Who of UK Food & Beverage will be the first time full profiles of the UK’s top 700 food and beverage operators will be available in one place. The companies, listed in alphabetical order, will have their most recent results reported as well as broader information around Ebitda, plans and trading style available. The database has taken 16 months to pull together, merging Companies House information, interviews and other public information to provide an easy to reference and exhaustive guide to the sector. Propel managing director Paul Charity said: “This invaluable guide simply hasn’t existed in the UK before. It’s a reference guide to the 700 largest operators in the UK. It will also be updated every month because, on average, 50 or so companies update each month of the year. So, if you want to find out the most up-to-date information on a company, this is the database you will need on your desk at all times. It is also a wonderful complement to our Blue Book of Turnover and Profitability, which is produced in association with Mapal Group, and is also updated each month and ranks these companies by turnover, profit and profit conversion. Together, they provide the UK’s most detailed and insightful profile of absolute and relative performance.” Premium subscribers also receive access to three other databases: the Propel Multi-Site Database, produced in association with Virgate; the New Openings Database and the UK Food and Beverage Franchisor Database. Premium subscribers are also to be given exclusive access to the recording and slides to Propel Multi-Club Conferences. 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 to upgrade your subscription. Subscribers also receive access to Propel’s library of 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.

Peggy Porschen to speak at Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit 2023, open for bookings: Peggy Porschen, creative director and founder of Peggy Porschen Cakes, will speak at the Restaurant Marketer & Innovator European Summit 2023. The event is a partnership between Propel and Think Hospitality, aiming to build a community, promote the sharing of ideas, recognise talent and define the future of eating out. Bookings are now open for the two-day conference as the centrepiece of the January event series, taking place on 24 and 25 January at One Moorgate Place in London. Porschen will talk about international ambitions, dealing with copycat brands and how it approaches seasonal campaigns like a fashion brand. More than 50 industry and agency leaders will take to the stage over two days, representing brands including Cornish Bakery, Hawksmoor, Burger King UK, The Alchemist, Gail’s Bakery, Searcy’s, Press Up Hospitality Group, Vapiano, Popeyes UK, Inception Group, Oakman Group, New World Trading Company, MJMK, Krispy Kreme, KellyDeli, Tattu Restaurants, Red Engine, East Coast Concepts, Coco di Mama, The Cocktail Club, Hilton, Elior, Flat Earth Pizzas, Lollipop, Chotto Matte, Ping Pong, Nobu, Gusto Italian, BrewDog, Kaleido, Darjeeling Express and Six by Nico. Day one themes will be consumer and sector trends, start-ups, concepts and creativity and digital evolution, while day two focuses on purpose and responsible business, strategies for growth and communication and culture. Tickets for operators for the two days are £600 plus VAT and £350 plus VAT for one day. Tickets for suppliers are £950 plus VAT for the two days and £525 plus VAT for one day. Tickets can be purchased by contacting Jo Charity at Propel on

Propel study tour to showcase the best of what’s hot in Las Vegas: Propel is heading to Las Vegas in 2023 for a study tour, which has opened for bookings. The study tour will showcase the best of what is hot in Las Vegas right now, from the latest indoor and outdoor sports bars to the best food courts and dining hubs in the US, the most highly regarded day and nightclubs in the US, as well as speakeasies and resort casinos, to provide fresh ideas and inspiration for delegates looking to evolve and elevate their operational and guest experience, or expand their operational footprint in the UK and overseas. The visit takes place between Saturday, 25 March and Tuesday, 28 March and will be overseen by Myles Doran, managing director of Hospitality Inc, and former commercial director of Revolution Bars Group. Doran said: “Las Vegas is the undisputed entertainment capital of the world and has bounced back strong post pandemic with many new investments and developments both on the strip and downtown, including Area 15, which is an experiential must-see, home to Illuminarium, Particle Ink, Meow Wolf, and Omega Mart. The group will be staying at Resorts World, the first new addition to the Las Vegas Strip in ten years, with a food court that some critics argue is the best in the US. The trip will also provide two casino study tours and two hosted dinners. The cost is £3,295. For more information or to book, email or call 07710 783485.

Job of the day: COREcruitment is working with a hospitality concept that is looking for a chief financial officer. A COREcruitment spokesman said: “The business has multiple concepts it is looking to roll out both in the UK and globally – and is seeking a chief financial officer with ‘founder mentality’ who can come in and help. As well as the normal finance functions, a lot of this role is about deals/M&A activity that will happen over the next few years. Global experience is a ‘nice to have’ but not essential for this role. It is more about drive, determination, and industry knowledge to do the best deals with the best partners and make the company a success.” The salary is up to £220,000 and the position is based in London. For more information, email

Company News:

Ferrier – recent trade hugely encouraging: Richard Ferrier, managing director of the Alchemy Partners-backed Brasserie Bar Co, the White Brasserie operator, has said the group’s recent trade has been “hugely encouraging”. This, he said, gives the business the “added confidence that we have the right offer as we build an outstanding premium business for the long term”. He was speaking after the company outlined ‘Operation Thrive’, its strategy to build a UK pub business of scale that will see it look to build a portfolio of 50 freehold premium pubs over the next five years. Since being acquired by Alchemy in February, the company has acquired six of the freeholds of its currently leased 19-pub estate. It said it had also prioritised acquisitions of “additional distinctive freehold pubs” and is currently under offer on seven further sites that will open in 2023. As previously reported, it also expects to grow to over 200 rooms across the UK within 18 months. Ferrier said: “While near-term consumer headwinds are plain to see, this is an industry that has shown incredible resilience throughout the pandemic and come through the other side. As a Group, our recent trade has been hugely encouraging, and it gives us added confidence that we have the right offer as we build an outstanding premium business for the long term.” Mark Derry, executive chairman of Brasserie Bar Co, said: “Post pandemic, we’ve taken everything we have learnt, re-focused our strategy, and are now setting about thriving rather than surviving. ‘Operation Thrive’ is all about building a UK pub business of scale – we are looking to grow in an attractive sector where we see a real long-term opportunity.” The search for freeholds will be aided by Patrick Dardis, the former chief executive of Young’s, who, as previously revealed by Propel, joined the business as a non-executive director. Dardis said: “Brasserie Bar Co is a business which I have long admired, and which is absolutely tailor made to rollout pubs and rooms across the UK. I look forward to supporting the management team as it focuses on acquiring freehold pubs in the years ahead.”

Junkyard Golf Club secures second London site and biggest venue yet: Crazy golf brand Junkyard Golf Club has secured its second site in London, and its biggest venue yet, in Camden, Propel has learned. The Sam Jones-led, six-strong business has secured the Shaka Zulu site in Camden Market. Shaka Zulu will continue to trade through December, with Junkyard beginning to build in the new year, with a July 2023 opening date scheduled. The new venue will become the biggest Junkyard site yet at more than 20,000 square feet, with bars and courses split over two floors. Jones told Propel: “London has always been a great city for Junkyard, from our early days as a pop up in the Truman Brewery to our permanent home on Worship Street in Shoreditch. We believe Camden is a perfect fit for us, and with 100,000 visitors to the area each weekend and a thriving food and drink scene, we couldn’t be happier with our new home. We have invested heavily in our teams and current estate over the last 12 months with a rebrand, new drinks offering, training and development and improvements to both our bar areas and golf courses, and we are looking forward to implementing all of these improvements in Camden. This begins a phase of expansion for the business as we pursue further sites in London alongside opportunities in Birmingham and international expansion into the US.” In April, the business unveiled its new branding, the group’s first rebrand since launching as a pop-up venue in 2015.

Six By Nico to open new flagship site in Glasgow: Scottish-Italian chef Nico Simeone is to launch a new site under his Six by Nico concept next February in Glasgow, Propel understands. The business will open a new restaurant on the former Fopp music store site in Glasgow’s Byres Road. The restaurant will have a capacity of 192 people, with the roof garden able to host 60. Earlier this year, the business opened a site in Aberdeen, on the former Topolabamba restaurant at 367 Union Street, the first Six by Nico in Scotland outside of the central belt. The first Six by Nico restaurant opened in Glasgow in 2017 and it has since added sites including in Edinburgh, Belfast, London, Dublin and Manchester. In January, Propel revealed Simeone’s restaurant group secured a £5.5m debt facility last year through ThinCats to aid its continuing growth and development.

Blank Street Coffee seeks new funding to underpin continued growth: US coffee chain Blank Street Coffee, which made its debut in Britain in July, is in talks to raise a new funding round. According to Bloomberg, the company is in talks with investors to be valued at around $200m, which is about the same valuation it fetched in its last round. A source said that the round could raise tens of millions of dollars and has attracted participation from existing investors.  Co-founded in 2020 by Issam Freiha and Vinay Menda, the company previously said it aimed to have 100 locations in New York and two-dozen shops in London by the end of this year. It opened its 11th site here last month, in Gloucester Road station in Gloucester Road, South Kensington. In 2021, it raised $60m, including a $25m Series A funding from venture capital firms General Catalyst Partners and Tiger Global Management. In October, Blank Street acquired Over Under, the coffee brand founded by Ed Barry in 2017, in a deal that saw it take on Over Under’s eight sites across the capital.

Mitchells & Butlers appoints Jo Crump as operations director, opens second Browns conversion site: Mitchells & Butlers (M&B) has appointed Jo Crump, formerly of Prezzo and Punch Taverns, as its new operations director. Crump joins M&B after more than five years as a regional operations director at the Cain International-backed Prezzo. Previous to that, she spent a similar amount of time at Punch, including a year as a regional operations director. She also had stints at Hook Norton Brewery and Scottish & Newcastle. Crump’s appointment comes as M&B opens a second Browns conversion site in a suburban area. It has reopened the George, a former Harvester, in Ruislip under the Browns Brasserie & Bar brand. In September, Phil Urban, chief executive of M&B, told Propel the brand had the potential to be the company’s next growth vehicle, with the possibility for up to 70 sites. This after the company opened its 25th site under the Browns brand, but first in a suburban area, in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire, after converting its Vintage Inns site, The White Hart.

Bancone launches crowdfunding campaign with pre-money valuation of circa £15.5m:  Bancone, the all-day fresh pasta concept led by Will Ellner and backed by David Ramsey and Jason Myers, has launched a crowdfunding campaign with a target of £700,000 as it looks to expand further across London. Bancone launched in Covent Garden’s William IV Street in 2018 and opened its second site, in Soho’s Lower James Street, the following year. It is offering 4.32% of equity with a pre-money valuation of £15,508,020. The business has so far raised £251,091 from 106 investors, with 15 days left of the campaign. The company said: “We have honed our business model and are now set to expand in London, with sites potentially lined up in Borough, Battersea, Notting Hill and Shoreditch/City (dependent on amount raised). We’ve successfully survived covid and are now serving circa 4,500 customers per week at our popular Soho and Covent Garden restaurants, which now regularly turnover £110,000-£120,000 per week and have generated year-to-date sales (nine months) of £3.8m, which are ramping up (Ebitda £53,000). We’re extremely proud of our credentials as a Michelin endorsed restaurant group, and we believe we have created a scalable business and disruptive model, offering Michelin quality food at casual dining prices.”

Doner Shack signs up Starbucks franchisee for West Midlands region: Döner Shack, the fast casual kebab concept, has signed up Bobby Sidhu, a Starbucks franchisee, to be its franchise partner in the West Midlands, Propel understands. Previously a Pizza Hut franchise, Sidhu owns 1 OAK, which operates a number of Starbucks sites across the Midlands. Doner Shack co-founder and managing director Sanjeev Sanghera: “I’m delighted to announce that Bobby Sidhu has joined Döner Shack as our new franchise partner in the West Midlands. Bobby is a highly respected member of the franchise community and brings years of operational excellence and a wealth of business experience to the team. I couldn’t be happier to go on this journey with him and embark on our second phase of growth in 2023 and beyond.” Döner Shack currently has four restaurants in the UK and is gearing up to open its first site in London, on the ex-GBK site in Baker Street. In August, the business appointed ex-Chaiiwala UK international franchise director Nil Naik as its new global franchise director, as it looks to grow to 150 UK sites over the next five years and also expand abroad.

Wild Beer Co in administration and on the market: Somerset-based brewer and bar operator Wild Beer Co has been placed on the market after falling into administration. Sam Talby and Rob Coad of Undebt have been appointed joint administrators of the company, which was founded in 2012 by Andrew Cooper and Brett Ellis. In 2017, Wild Beer raised £1.76m on Crowdcube from more than 1,900 investors at a £25m valuation. Wild Beer has a bar on Gaol Ferry Steps in Wapping Wharf, while a second bar, in Cheltenham, closed in 2019. The business said: “It is with heavy hearts that we regret to inform you that, as of today, we have entered into a period of administration. The administrators are attempting to seek out potential buyers to acquire the business. However, at this time, we have made the decision to halt any trading. It has been a wild ten years and we are heartbroken to be in this position. We could see the potential for Wild Beer, and we had ambitions to increase sales and brand exposure. The company has been facing a number of adverse trading conditions, including covid, the loss of export sales, spiralling production costs, damaging inflation and an increase in interest rates that have all affected sales. These factors, along with the recent cost-of-living crisis, have impacted the company’s ability to succeed.”

Healthy fast-food concept Leafy launches crowdfunding campaign as it plans further expansion: Hertfordshire-based, healthy fast-food concept Leafy has launched a crowdfunding campaign, with plans to open 11 new sites in the next three years. The company, which was founded by entrepreneur Oliver Zissman, currently operates two sites in the county, in St Albans and Hitchin. It has launched a crowdfunding campaign on Seedrs to raise £100,003, offering 10.53% of equity, with a pre-money valuation of £850,000. It has so far raised £60,401 from six investors. The company said that its plans to open 11 new sites in the next three years and its longer-term goal is “that several more will follow over the next few years in the south of England and beyond”. It said: “As we couldn’t find a valid option in the existing market, we set about creating leafy as a hospitality brand. Compared to other food-to-go providers, there does not seem to be a market leader for salad bars in the UK. We got the idea in 2020 and launched in 2022, with absolutely no doubts about the direction of our journey that we wanted to take. We spent 2020 putting our systems in place, and since the beginning of 2022, we have served over 35,000 customers. Based on our experience, we believe it will cost about £25,000 to launch a new site, and so we expect to be able to open up to three new shops with the minimum target from this campaign, subject to finding eligible sites.”

Former The Wolseley Hospitality Group MD joins villa rental company as CEO: Former The Wolseley Hospitality Group managing director Zuleika Fennell has joined London-based villa rental company The Thinking Traveller as chief executive. Fennell joined the restaurant group as group HR director in 2004 and also held the role of chief operating officer for three years. She departed in the summer after five years as managing director. The Thinking Traveller founder and joint chief executive, Huw Beaugié, said “We are delighted to welcome Zuleika into The Thinking Traveller family. She has significant experience not only in operating businesses that deliver exemplary high-end service, but also in working closely with founders, and we’re thrilled that her ambitions for the brand are so closely aligned to ours.”

Red Oak Taverns acquires Hampshire pub from Red Mist Leisure, eyes further growth: Red Oak Taverns, the national pub operator founded by Aaron Brown and Mark Grunnell in 2011, has acquired the Temple Inn in Liss Forest, Hampshire, from Rest Mist Leisure. The deal takes Red Oak’s estate to 206 freehold leased and tenanted pubs. Property and acquisitions director for Red Oak Taverns, Graeme Bunn, said: “We are delighted to have added this quality asset to our estate, which complements the pubs we have acquired in Hampshire, Surrey and West Sussex over the last 18 months. We have partnered with an exceptional local operator to take over the running of the pub tenancy and who will be introducing an exciting new food menu within the coming days.” Following four acquisitions this year, Red Oak is exploring new sites and has other opportunities currently under contract. Grunnell said: “We are mindful of the challenges that our sector is facing and will continue to face over the coming months and year, but we are well capitalised, and we will remain on the look-out for well-located quality community pubs.” Christie & Co acted on the deal.

Whitbread confirms start date for new chief executive: Whitbread has confirmed its new chief executive, Dominic Paul, will join the business on 10 January 2023. Paul, who held the same role at Domino’s Pizza Group, was announced as Alison Brittain’s replacement at the Premier Inn owners in June. Paul will now officially join Whitbread on 10 January before formally joining the board on 17 January. He has previously been a member of the Whitbread executive committee when managing director of Costa Coffee, ahead of the sale of the business to Coca-Cola. Before that, he was senior vice-president of international with Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and has also held senior roles at EasyJet, British Midland and British Airways. Whitbread said Brittain will remain on the board as a director until 2 March to ensure a smooth transition and orderly handover. Having been appointed as an independent non-executive director and chair designate of retailer Dunelm, Brittain will also become chairwoman of the Premier League, England’s top football league, from early next year. In September, Domino’s appointed Elias Diaz Sese, a non-executive director of the company, as interim chief executive.

Hotel company owned by late Peter de Savary increases profits following site sale: Havana West, the hotel company that was owned by the late Peter de Savary that includes the Beachcroft Arms in Bognor Regis and the Cary Arms and Spa in Torquay, has reported turnover fell to £9,911,557 for the year ending 31 December 2021 compared with £10,682,149 the year before as the business continued to be impacted by the covid pandemic. Pre-tax profit increased to £815,113 from £545,920 the previous year after the business sold The Bradley in Cheltenham. The business received government grants of £1,045,148 (2020: £1,150,941). No dividend was paid (2020: nil). The company also operates The Eastbury Hotel in Sherborne, Dorset; the Merry Harriers in Hambledon, Surrey; and the Parkway Hotel in Cwmbran in Wales. De Savary passed away last month at the age of 78.

Just Eat for Business adds Tortilla, Pasta Evangelists and Chicken Shop to lunchtime offering: Just Eat for Business has added Tortilla, Pasta Evangelists and Chicken Shop to its lunchtime offering. The additions come at a time of increased demand for communal lunches in London’s offices, with Just Eat for Business seeing pop-up orders increasing more than 200% from 2021. Matt Ephgrave, managing director at Just Eat for Business, said: “Creating a company culture where employees are happy and excited to go to the office is vital for work productivity, and what better way to reward teams than through food? That’s why we’re thrilled to announce the arrival of Tortilla, Pasta Evangelists and Chicken Shop to add our platform and hope it unites more workers over lunches.”

Starbucks and Burger King sign for sites at Scottish designer outlet village: Starbucks and Burger King have signed for sites at Scottish designer outlet village, Caledonia Park. Starbucks will open a 2,000 square-foot unit adjacent to PizzaExpress and Next, while Burger King will occupy a 1,900 square-foot unit in the same vicinity after agreeing deals with owner Railpen. Johnstone Property Consultants and Time Retail Partners acted for Caledonia Park. EYCO acted for Starbucks, while Savills acted for Burger King.

Woky Ko founder to open new noodle concept following triple restaurant closure: Woky Ko founder Larkin Cen is set to open a new noodle concept following his triple restaurant closure earlier this year. The former MasterChef finalist announced in October that he was closing three sites for his Asian fusion concept Woky Ko. His two restaurants in Bristol’s Wapping Wharf both shut, along with a site on Clifton’s Queen’s Road, although he kept a stall in St Nicks Market open. Cen is now set to return to Wapping Wharf by opening Daily Noodles, serving a simple menu of Noodles and baos, reports B24/7. It will be opening in the former Woky Ko site in Cargo 1 in Gaol Ferry Steps.

Interactive burger bar offering games and rude waiters set for Welsh debut and fifth UK site: Interactive burger bar Karen’s Diner, which offer guests games and rude waiters, is set to make its Welsh debut for its fifth UK site. The brand, which has ten sites in Australia and recently made its US debut in St Louis, also has locations in Indonesia and New Zealand. It already has UK sites in Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield and on the Isle of Man, and is set to open in Sptty Road, Newport, south Wales, on 15 February 2023. A Karen’s Diner spokeswoman told Nation Cymru: “Customers can expect plenty of sass, great food and a sprinkle of bad attitude. As Karen’s Diner goes, the food is great, the service ungrateful but your experience will be unforgettable. Don’t expect special treatment at this diner because it’s all about Karen, and she won’t be taking any of your nonsense!”

Nottinghamshire operators close Italian restaurant just eight months after opening: Nottinghamshire operators Ross Considine and Nick Parker have closed their Italian restaurant Ottimo, in Beeston, just eight months after opening. The restaurant was opened in the flagship £50m Beeston Square development in April by the duo, who also operate restaurant Sans Patrie and Bar San Patrie in Nottingham. The 3,000 square-foot, 150-seater venue offered a menu created by former Masterchef: The Professionals contestant Keelan Burton, reports Nottinghamshire Live.

Japanese concept Oita to double up with opening in London’s Chinatown: Japanese concept Oita is to double up with a second opening in London. Chinese chef Fan Yi has been operating out of the Green Rooms hotel in Wood Green. Now Yi is expanding, with a second site in the heart of Chinatown in Gerrard Street. The restaurant is set to open at the end of December or the start of January. As well as sushi, sashimi and udon, Oita offers a range of Japanese tapas dishes such as deep-fried soft-shell crab with sweet chilli and terikyi scallops. The Soho site will also offer “some new exciting dishes”, reports Hot Dinners.

Birmingham brewery set to launch crowdfund for new bar and beer ageing facility: Birmingham brewery Attic Brew Co is set to launch a crowdfunding campaign for a new bar and beer ageing facility in the city’s Jewellery Quarter. It plans to open The Barrel Store in the spring of 2023, showcasing a method of making beer that is “both very traditional and also modern”. There will also be a food offering. “Ageing beer in barrels would have been common practice a century ago but fell from favour when more efficient brewing techniques were developed,” said co-founder Oli Hurlow. “In recent times, the technique has been popularised again by breweries looking to work with the unique set of flavours that aged beer can provide, and this dedicated site would allow us to bring these exciting beers back to Birmingham.” Co-founder Sam Back added: “We think The Barrel Store will help create a unique drinking experience for the Jewellery Quarter. We need some help to get it over the line though, which is why we’ve created some amazing rewards for supporters.” Attic Brew Co currently operates a taproom at its brewery in Mary Vale Road, Stirchley.

Popeyes to open Brighton site this weekend: Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, the US fried chicken quick-service brand, will open its new site in Brighton this weekend. Propel revealed in June the brand, which made its UK debut in November 2021, had secured the former Tui site at 131-132 North Street for an opening. It will now open on Saturday, 10 December, ahead of a second opening in Leicester before the end of 2022, and a planned pipeline of 20 new locations in 2023 – including its first UK drive-thru. Tom Crowley, chief executive of Popeyes UK, said: “We’re delighted to be expanding further south this year, opening in the very heart of Brighton. It’s such a friendly, vibrant town and we’re sure residents and visitors will welcome Popeyes with open arms. We can’t wait to bring customers a taste of our Famous Louisiana Chicken to Brighton and beyond very soon.”

Merlin Entertainments lodges plans for new £12.5m indoor attraction at Alton Towers: Merlin Entertainments has lodged plans for a new £12.5m attraction at Alton Towers. The company has applied to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council to build the indoor attraction, which has been referred to as “Project Horizon”. It would be housed within a large 20m-high building in the south west corner of the park on a site previously occupied by The Mouse ride. A spokesman for Alton Towers told Stoke on Trent Live: “Alton Towers is committed to refreshing and diversifying its offer to ensure it attracts the next generation of visitors in an increasingly competitive market. This will help secure existing jobs and create new employment opportunities.”

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