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259 DRAM MAGAZINE MARCH 2012 ISSN 1470-241X

DRINKS RETAILING AND MARKETING

INVERARITY MORTON LAUNCHES • AWARDS SPECIAL 1 DRAM MARCH 12


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DRINKS RETAILING AND MARKETING

WELCOME I

am absolutely delighted to reveal that the Scottish Daily Record and Sunday Mail and its regional newspaper group, which all come under the banner Media Scotland, are going to back a campaign to get people back to their local. Pub Month will take place in May and will be covered in all the group’s titles. I’m hoping everyone will back the campaign. See page 15 for more information. This month I interviewed the Mcleans, the people behind the very successful Lock 27. Find out what they had to say on page 20. This is the first of our licensee interviews sponsored by Molson Coors. Jason Caddy visited Steak in Edinburgh and Pourhouse in Glasgow to check out the design, while we also invited key buyers in the trade to give us their low down on what makes a good supplier and what do they look for. See pages 24 – 27. And finally, we have our annual Supplier’s Survey in this magazine. Congrats to Gordon & MacPhail and Belhaven. These two companies have made it four in a row!

Editor susan@mediaworldltd.com

CONTENTS

March

2012

FEATURES

20 16

32

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON

Susan Young talks to Hamish Mclean and son Jamie about their four outlets

SUPPLIERS SURVEY

Jason Caddy gauges customer satisfaction levels of suppliers to the licensed trade

Buyers Q&A

We take a look at some of the people making buying decisions at Scotlands key companies

REGULARS

04 07 08 29

NEWS

All the news on pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels

COMPANY NEWS BRAND NEWS

All the latest brand news

SUE SAYS

Straight talking from our very own Editor

MARCH 12 DRAM 3


NEWS

ALL THE NEWS ON PUBS, BARS,

Cromlix House closes

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£1.1m Coylumbridge investment The £1.1m refurbishment of the Hilton Coylumbridge’s Grant Restaurant has been completed. The re-designed and renamed Inverdruie Restaurant features a redesigned glass frontage which makes the most of the view. The 320-cover restaurant has been fully re-modelled by interior designers Cunningham McLean. This includes the installation of new fixtures and fittings, fresh décor and a brand new look and feel to the space, which is used for breakfast, lunches and dinner. Head chef, Frank Morrissey has also taken the opportunity to refresh the restaurant menu, focusing on family favourites to accommodate the many parents and children who choose to holiday at the popular resort, located at the heart of the Cairngorms National Park. The investment follows the recent installation of a brand new £210k gym. Mitchells & Butlers’ Drum and Monkey on Glasgow’s St. Vincent Street underwent a mini refurbishment this month. A Mitchells & Butlers spokesperson said, “We were only closed for a week, so it has been nothing too radical. The bar is now softer, warmer, and there are more seating areas and the lighting has been improved to make it lighter. All of the paintwork has been refreshed in neutral tones, including the toilets, and the kitchen equipment has also been upgraded, as has our menu.”

Have you heard... The Ellangowan Hotel in Creetown, near Newton Stewart, the fictional Green Man pub in the 1973 horror film The Wicker Man, has been put up for sale. The film which starred Britt Ekland as a barmaid, Edward Woodward and Christopher Lee, put the pub on the map. It is being sold through Colliers International. 4 DRAM MARCH 12

avid O’Connor and Ian Grier have closed Cromlix House. It’s the second time that the businessmen have failed at this particular business. The two, who bought Cromlix in 2005, under the banner of Alliedfreeze Hotels Ltd, originally ceased trading last year owing in excess of £2.5m, before creating a phoenix company, Shelto Ltd, which has been running Cromlix since. Staff and customers were not given any warning that the hotel was about to cease trading last month, instead a notice was posted onto the company’s website which was dated the 29th February. It said, “Regrettably the hotel was forced to cease trading on 16th February 2012 due to unforeseen circumstances.” It continued, “We very much regret the impact the enforced closure has on all our guests. We are working hard to communicate personally with all parties involved.” However, customer comments on TripAdvisor

Aurora to re-open The Cairn Aurora Hotels boss Steven McLeod has lavished a cool £1.5m (excluding the purchase price) on refurbishing The Cairn in Auchterarder. The new 10-bedroom boutique hotel opens next month and will boast a 100-cover steak restaurant, a 40-capacity cocktail bar, plus a brand new glass-fronted elevation at the front with a 60-seater terrace. There is also a separate fivebedroom lodge that can be used in conjunction with the hotel or separately. Steven told DRAM, “The unit had gone into receivership and was in a very dilapidated state, as it had been closed for a couple of years. I started the work

back in October and have made structural as well as design alterations, including a brand new glass reception area and carport to the front of the building. Inside, I worked on the design concept with the Stirling-based Guardian Group, and our objective was high end and luxuriant.” A significant amount of the spend was earmarked for the upgrading of the kitchens, and the inclusion of Josper Grills, which cook the food at 750 degrees. Explains Steven, “Only a handful of UK restaurants use these type of grills, including Gleneagles, and I will be rolling the same steakhouse grill concept across all my units in due course.”


www.dramscotland.co.uk RESTAURANTS AND HOTELS TOO!

HMRC had served a winding up petition on this business too. Alliedfreeze Ltd is currently six months in arrears with its rent at The Lismore and Grier and O’Connor are currently in dispute with landlord Colin Beattie. In fact they tried to transfer the lease of The Lismore, which is currently held by Alliedfreeze Ltd, to a new company Beer Tent Ltd, without the permission of Beattie who owns the building, and who subsequently had to impose a court order on Glasgow Licensing Board to stop them granting the transfer of the licence to Beer Tent Ltd, which has only two directors – Grier and O’Connor. Colin Beattie voiced his concerns to the DRAM about the “abuse of pre-packs and the lack of integrity displayed by solicitors willing to do the bidding of operator’s intent on wilful mismanagement of the landlord’s property.” The situation is ongoing.

First Ardbeg Embassy The WHISKI Rooms in Edinburgh has become the first outlet in the UK to be declared an on-trade Ardbeg Embassy. Ardbeg has given permission for the The WHISKI Rooms, in North Bank Street, to use the brand name commercially. Mickey Heads, Ardbeg Distillery Manager, said, “The Whiski Rooms have proven themselves to be passionate and loyal Ardbeggians, which is why we selected them as the UK’s first ever on-trade Ardbeg Embassy. We’re delighted to welcome the Whiski Rooms as an Embassy.” As well as selling the distillery’s finest malts amongst its selection of hundreds of whiskies the bar, restaurant and tasting rooms will offer an Ardbeg-inspired menu for diners. WHISKI Rooms owner Anne Still comments, ”We are proud to be named the first ever on-trade Ardbeg Embassy in the UK and know this is an initiative that they are keen to expand in the UK. We promise Ardbeg whisky fans a fabulous range of Ardbeg whiskies in our gantry and our adjoining shop. As well as private dining in our Ardbeg room, we have an amazing Ardbeg inspired menu available.”

n.b. bar & restaurant

suggest the contrary Customers who paid a deposit for weddings in February believed that their deposits were taken, despite the owners knowing that they were planning to close. Diane D of Stenhousemuir said, “They could have let wedding customers know they were closed. Only common decency.” The original company, Alliedfreeze Hotels Ltd, was served a winding up order by HMRC in 2010, with the company going into administration. Thereafter the Leasehold interest in Cromlix House and the Contract Bookings were transferred to Shelto Ltd. The Director then was listed as Lesley Grier. However, on 15th February 2012, Lesley Grier was replaced with Ian Grier. Meanwhile Alliedfreeze Ltd, another company run by the Directors Grier and O’Connor, remains listed and has a negative net worth of £423K. It is the company that took the lease on at The Lismore in Glasgow, and as we went to press

Despite posting pre-tax profits of £35.8m, an increase of 11.1% on the same period last year (26 weeks to 22 January), JD Wetherspoon boss Tim Martin has revealed that he is “slightly more cautious about the potential income for the current financial year.” He said, “The outcome for the first half of the financiall year was reasonable, given the pressures on the UK consumer.” He continued, “Sales since our 18 January 2012 pre-close statement have been disappointing, with like-for-like sales in the six weeks to 4 March declining by 0.7% and total sales increasing by 6.1%.” Martin also slammed the government for punitive taxes. He revealed that Wetherspoons paid £250.1m in taxes for the period, which equated to 43.9% of sales, compared to £225.7m for the same period last year, which was 43% of sales. This was due to the result of higher VAT, excise duty and carbon tax. Martin said, “The company is concerned by the absolute level of taxes and by their continuing increases, especially since supermarkets pay virtually no VAT, in respect of food purchases, while pubs pay 20%. He concluded,“The government needs to end the supermarket tax subsidy and aim for excise duties to match the European average.” MARCH 12 DRAM 5


NEWS n.b. company

Chris Bowen and Douglas Cunningham (pictured above l-r) have just launched Indie Brands, a new spirits distribution company, which aims to fill a gap in the luxury brands arena. Chris Bowen, former MD of drinks distributor Babco, and the man credited with the successful marketing of Savanna Cider, is Chairman of the new company while Scot Douglas Cunningham who is well known in the on-trade, having launched brands such as Seriously Vodka, Cariel and Aivy into the Scottish market is Managing Director. Indie Brands portfolio includes Matusalem Rum, Lejay-Lagout crèmes and liqueurs, Arette Tequila, Cariel Vanilla, Batch Blended and AIVY vodkas, XANTE pear liqueur, STROH rum and Jones Concentrado de Agave. A number of new brands set to join the portfolio in the coming months. Chairman, Chris Bowen comments, “We spotted a gap in the market for more exclusive, innovative, prestigious products, with a genuine point of difference. We have the experience, the distribution network and most importantly, the passion required to grow these brands in the UK.”

new name and a new look: Inverarity Morton

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tephen Russell and Hamish Martin have revealed the new look and new name for their company, Inverarity Morton, following their merger last year. Stephen Russell retains the role of MD. He comments, “We wanted to make a positive and deliberate statement with the name change. It is the fusion on an equal footing of two established and successful businesses to make an even stronger force in the licensed trade and we are looking forward to what this new era will bring.” He added, “There is so much intrinsic value in the individual names and what they represented that I did not wish to strip away any of that in the rebrand.” This is the first stage of a £400,000 planned investment in the business, which will see all operations move to the company’s Shawbridge

(Glasgow) headquarters. All back office, stock management and delivery software systems will be upgraded and new vehicles added to the fleet. Savings will be made across other areas of the business with the closure of the Symington depot, which had been home to Inverarity Vaults for over a decade, and the loss of three members of staff in admin support. Said Russell, “It was a tough but essential decision and Hamish is 100% on side. He wants to see Inverarity Morton thrive, not just survive, and supports these measures because they will help us get into the best possible shape to meet future growth plans.” Inverarity Morton is now is one of Scotland’s largest independent drinks distributors with a combined turnover of over £50m and workforce of 150.

Cautious forecast from Punch boss Punch Taverns has revealed that like-for-like income in its core estate of 2,946 pubs fell 2.9% in the second quarter. Its non-core pubs, saw like-for-like net income drop to 10.2%. The company did say it remained on track to meet full-year profit expectations.The decline in net income was apparently driven by pubs which had been returned to Punch after failing and were under temporary management. Pubs in the south of England did better, and average net income across the estate inched up 0.8%. Roger Whiteside, the chief executive, commented, “Profitability in the first 28 weeks of the financial year has been broadly in line with management expectations. While we remain cautious on the near-term consumer environment, we have strong plans in place and expect to benefit from the Queen’s diamond jubilee, the Uefa European football championship and the Olympic Games in the second half of the year. In the current difficult climate we have worked hard to contain costs and as a result we remain on track to meet our full-year profit expectations.”

Online wholesale business launches Ooberstock Limited, a new online wholesale business, launches next month. The Ooberstock system enables drinks owners to upload product information, including images, along with prices and any promotions to a dedicated brand portal. Prices and promotions can be set as standard across all distribution channels or flexed to reflect an outlet type and/or by postcode. Brand owners pay a monthly licence fee for access to the software platform so they can administer their product, price and promotional

offer. A fee for each litre of product that is ordered from the brand owners is then payable which means their costs are directly tied to the volume of products sold through Ooberstock. Meanwhile, licensees will pay the net prices direct from the drinks supplier, which includes a transaction fee for each order they make and a standard delivery cost of £24. The business is the brainchild of founder and managing director Arran Heal, a former Coca Cola Enterprises sales and marketing executive. MARCH 12 DRAM 7


BRAND NEWS

ALL THE L ATEST BRAND NEWS

Rum

Whisky

Red Leg hoping to burn bright

New releases from Glenfiddich

Red Leg Rum is a newcomer to the Scottish rum scene. Distributed by Blavod, this golden spiced rum, takes its name from its Scottish descendants who once worked in the Caribbean and who suffered from sunburn…on their legs! The brand, which is packaged in a dumpy, rustic looking bottle, aims to capture share of the ‘early adopter’ market. The rum, infused with Jamaican ginger and vanilla is available now, and is being seeded into the on-trade.

Glenfiddich has announced the release of the 1974 Glenfiddich Vintage Reserve, its first-ever vatted Vintage Reserve. Malt Master, Brian Kinsman and Global Brand Ambassador, Ian Millar, nosed and tasted three exceptional vatted vintage whiskies dating from 1973, 1974 and 1975, before selecting the 1974 Glenfiddich. Said Brian,“We’re delighted to unveil the 1974 Glenfiddich Vintage Reserve – not only because it’s our first ever vatted Vintage Reserve, but also because it was selected by a panel of Glenfiddich’s passionate Brand Ambassadors. Just 50 limited-edition bottles of the distinctly Glenfiddich whisky, which has rich, spicy oak notes and an amazing vibrancy for whisky of this age, will be available in the UK.” Meanwhile, Glenfiddich has also unveiled new packaging for its 21 Year Old Gran Reserva. Glenfiddich 21 Year Old now features the subbranding, ‘Gran Reserva’.

Gin The search is on for a modern day classic Caorun Scottish Gin has launched a new international cocktail competition called Caorunn Storytellers Global Cocktail Challenge. Caorunn is challenging mixologists to submit a ‘modern classic’ which, like Caorunn, fuses the traditional with the contemporary. The drinks must have a heritage that ties in with a true classic cocktail and make a feature of at least one of Caorunn’s five Celtic botanicals – rowan berry, coul blush apple, bog myrtle, heather and dandelion. Caorunn will also be looking for a great performer – a bartender who can really bring their cocktail and its story to life. The British and Spanish leg of the competition will kickstart this month and run throughout June and July. The National Finals will take place in England, Scotland, Spain, Australia and the US. The winning mixologist from each country will enjoy an all expenses paid trip to Speyside, and Edinburgh where they will compete head-to-head in a grand finale. The winning mixologist will take home a cash prize of £1,500, with his or her winning drink being promoted worldwide as a signature Caorunn cocktail.

8 DRAM MARCH 12

The Scottish Olympics A special whisky called ‘Ardbeg Day’ is being produced to mark The Ardbeg Highland Games with a Difference being held on the island of Islay on the 2nd June 2012. Nicknamed the Islay-limpics, it will showcase events like terrier-racing, sheep-tossing, bog-snorkeling, mud-wrestling and barrel-hurdling, and the whisky being produced in its honour will marry two different styles of the single malt which have been re-racked into a sherry cask for six months. The Islay Festival of Malt and Music on the island happens annually at the end of May and Ardbeg Day is the culmination of the festival. The Islay-limpics form part of the celebrations planned on Islay and around the world at Ardbeg Embassies.

Limited edition anCnoc anCnoc Highland Single Malt Scotch Whisky has announced the release of its limited edition 1998 Vintage. Hand-selected by Master Distiller Stuart Harvey, 850 cases will be available in the UK, Germany, Russia, Japan and France. Meanwhile, Highland Park is adding a 21 year old single malt to its portfolio for the first time, and Glenfiddich has unveiled its first ever vatted vintage reserve called 1974 Glenfiddich Vintage Reserve.


BRAND NEWS

Belhaven’s ‘Scotland’s Best’ campaign has won a gong at the Scottish Business Awards. It walked away with the Marketing Strategy of the Year prize at a ceremony hosted by TV’s Angus Deayton and Sir Bob Geldof at Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The award was presented by Michelle Mone.

ALL THE L ATEST BRAND NEWS

Liqueur Soco goes digital Bacardi Brown-Forman has announced a new digital campaign for Southern Comfort. Following on from the brand’s most recent television ad. The digital campaign continues to encourage consumers to ‘expect the unexpected’ and introduces the new face of the brand, Baron Jazz. The fictional character will host the brand’s UK Facebook page and users can access the “Unplan Your 2012” tab on the page, where they are asked to submit the name of a friend along with his or her resolution for this year. Baron Jazz then takes this information and records them a personal message. Assistant Brand Manager at Southern Comfort, Ffion Jones, says, “We are aware of the importance of social media and hope that our latest activity will keep existing brand fans engaged, as well as help secure new ones.”

Beer Carling Chrome ads go live The first ever TV advert for new Molson Coors’ premium lager Carling Chrome has hit our screens, as part of a £7 million marketing campaign. Mike Read, Brand Director for Carling, said, “This stylish and cool advert epitomises the nature of the brand, with its refreshing taste. Since Carling Chrome was launched in August 2011 we have secured strong distribution across the on-trade, and now we are aiming to build on consumer awareness with an exciting, high profile ad campaign.”

Cobra ready to strike

Halewood International, owner of Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer and Lambrini, will now distribute Tequila Rose Strawberry Cream Liqueur in the UK. Halewood International’s Global Brands Director Graham Oak said, “As a business we are looking to build on our successful distribution model which already has Lamb’s and Tsingtao in the portfolio. We are delighted to have been chosen to represent Tequila Rose in the UK market.”

Cobra Beer this month launches a £4m TV and digital advertising campaign as part of the brand’s strategy to become a top ten UK beer brand. Explains Chris McDonough, Managing Director Brand Co, Molson Coors, “This is going to be a huge year for Cobra. It’s already one of the world’s most celebrated lagers and by increasing our total marketing investment we aim to make Cobra a top 10 UK beer brand. Cobra has long been a unique and iconic brand and, with consumers telling us this new advertising campaign brings to life a fresh take on modern India, we’re confident the campaign will deliver genuine consumer engagement and ultimately drive sales.” Meanwhile, Global Brands and Molson Coors have announced a licensing agreement that will make Global Brands the producer and distributor of the Reef brand from this month onwards.

RTD

Belhaven’s lower ABV promises Golden opportunity

Global Brand Ambition

Sourz Fusionz for UK Sourz has added an RTD (ready to drink) to its brand portfolio for the first time called Sourz Fusionz. The launch will benefit from a £10m brand investment and it has been made by combining Sourz Apple Bite and Purple Twist. Eileen Livingston, Marketing Controller at Maxxium UK, says, “We’re thrilled to be launching our first ever RTD this year. We have big ambitions for Sourz, and launching Sourz Fusionz is an exciting step forward in growing our portfolio.” The launch also marks the beginning of the new ‘Get Sorted For…’ campaign including TV ads, digital media, a sampling campaign, as well as bespoke trade support. 10 DRAM MARCH 12

This month sees the launch of a lower-strength golden ale from Belhaven, called Belhaven Golden Ale. At 2.8% ABV, it has been crafted by Belhaven’s head brewer George Howell and is a response to the Small Beer Duty Law introduced at the end of last year to cover lower-strength beer brands. Belhaven Golden Ale will only be levied with 50% duty, so licensees will be able to choose whether to increase their margins to reinvest in their businesses, or to pass on savings to their customers. Euan Venters, Managing Director of Greene King Brewing and Brands said, “The overwhelming conclusion from our research is that there is a real thirst among pub goers for a quality, mid-strength ale. Belhaven Golden Ale strikes the perfect balance between a midweek treat and moderation, and is a great option for those looking to enjoy great-tasting refreshment, without having to worry about it being too strong.” Belhaven Golden Ale is being introduced in keg format and will be supported in pubs by point of sale materials, including drip mats, bar runners and posters, as well as branded glassware.


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Benromach Award for Success

BII Scotland Customer Service Award 2012 Customer service is paramount when it comes to running a successful business. This year BII Scotland is on the lookout for a pub, restaurant or hotel which fully embraces the customer service ethos. Could this be your business? If so, you could be eligible for this award. Judges will look at the measures that you have in place to ensure your staff are well trained in customer service. Short listing will be done by Mystery Shoppers followed by interviews at a later date by a team of judges. If you want to win the award enter now.

Captain Morgan’s Spiced Award for Best Late Night Venue Can customers discover their party spirit at your bar or venue?  Do you open late, and provide great entertainment in a safe environment?  Is your venue a favourite haunt of customers that like to stay up past the golden hour? A great atmosphere, a good range of spirits, and a good looking venue are all essential if you want to win one of this year’s top awards the Captain Morgan’s Spiced Award for Best Late Night Venue. Bars eligible would have to be open past midnight.

DRAM Dog Friendly Pub of the year The DRAM is on the lookout for a pub that provides a welcome for pet dogs. Do you allow your customers to bring their friendly pooches inside. Do you provide a water bowl, and the occasional treat? If so you could be in the running for this accolade. Judges will be bringing their own dogs on mystery visits (volunteers are queing up!!) If you think your pub or hotel fits the bill enter now.

SCOTTISH LICENSED TRADE AWARDS 2012

Ssshare the secret of your success with this year’s DRAM judges to pick up this accolade. Whether you’ve successfully continued your family business, successfully expanded over the past few years, adopted innovation to develop your business, or have grown your turnover, we would love to know what you think your secret is. This award is open to hoteliers, restaurateurs and licensees... ssshare your secret with us. Enter now with details.

BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA Social Media has become a huge part of the licensed trade. Do you think you use it effectively? If so you could be eligible for the DRUM’s award for Best Use of Social Media. Do you maximise your exposure by utilising online resources and social media. Are you a whizz online and do you have one of the most popular social networking sites out there? Has your drinks brands or venue increased their customer base by launching an interactive Social Media initiative? Do you reckon your website gets more hits than any other bar or product out there? If you think your Social Media Page is something to blog about… enter now.

Foster’s Manager of the Year Foster’s, the brand known as the ‘king of comedy’ is looking for a Manager that has a sense of humour and a big personality. Do you keep your customers entertained, or do you have a manager who does? If so they could be eligible for this award. As well as a sense of humour, the Foster’s Manager of the Year will have to demonstrate that they motivate their staff, have a good business sense, and actively market their premises. They should be well versed in making a ‘good call’. 12 DRAM MARCH 12

DRAM 2012


Kopparberg New Bar of the year Do you think your bar is the best new bar in Scotland? Did you open after June 2011?  If so, you could be eligible for the New Bar of the Year Award 2012, sponsored by Sweden’s Premium Fruit Cider, Kopparberg.  Now in its sixth year in the UK market, Kopparberg Cider is pioneering the development of the UK Cider market and the brand is looking for a new bar that is not only new, but also independently owned with a strong focus on customer service and premium brands, with creative edge. Do you think your bar fits the bill?  If so enter now!

The Kraken Rum Cocktail Bar Of The Year Do you think that you have the best cocktail bar in Scotland? Are your bartenders well trained, imaginative and good with customers? The judges will be looking for expertly made cocktails, a willingness to experiment and a good knowledge of spirits, including rum. Tell us why you think you are the best cocktail bar and include a recipe for a cocktail featuring The Kraken Rum. How would you unleash the beast?

Mixxit Bar Apprentice of the year Maxxium UK’s training and education programme mixxit is now in its 6th year of looking for Scotland’s best new bartender. The Mixxit Bar Apprentice competition will take 10 bartenders with 1 year or less experience on a 2 month intensive training programme which will cover all aspects of professional bartending, including mixology, drinks knowledge and service excellence. In June the Bar Apprentices will face a panel of judges, and the best performing bartender will win the accolade Mixxit Bar Apprentice of the Year, which will be announced at the DRAM Awards.

Molson Coors Champion Beer Pub of Scotland Molson Coors are on the lookout for a pub that really champions good beer. Do you pride yourself on being one of Scotland top beer pubs? Do you actively promote responsible beer consumption in your bar and regularly bring on new beers to tempt your customers? Do you have a wide selection and encourage your customers to try different varieties? Do you make beer recommendations to go with your menu? A good cellar and well trained staff are necessary to be eligible for this award.

Saltire Taverns Sales Rep of the Year Saltire Taverns, one of Scotland’s foremost pub companies, is on the lookout for Scotland’s best sales reps? This company recognises the role that sales reps have to play in the success of the on-trade. Do you have a good knowledge of your own brands and how they can fit with your customers’ offering? Are you innovative, and able to come up with ideas for your customers? Do you go above and beyond the call of duty when looking after your customers? If so you could be eligible for this award. Enter now.

SUNDAY MAIL PUB OF THE YEAR Scotland’s leading Sunday newspaper is looking for the best pub in the country. Do you have a welcoming atmosphere? Do your customers come back, and come back again? Get your customers to fill in the entry form when it appears in the Sunday Mail and tell us why you think you are eligible for ‘Pub of the Year’.

Tennent’s Quality Award A dedication to quality has helped to make Tennent’s Lager the No 1 Scottish brand - and Tennent’s is looking for a pub that is also dedicated to quality. Excellent customer service, great beer, a good range of products behind the bar, fine food and a great ambience would all be part of the quality experience.  If you think you deserve this accolade enter now.

WHISKY BAR OF THE YEAR The judges will be looking for licensees that go to extraordinary lengths to promote Scotch whisky within their own establishment. An excellent range of whisky on the back bar is a necessity and staff should also be well trained and enthusiastic when it comes to recommending whisky to their customers. A good Scottish welcome is also important. Do you think that your bar deserves the accolade? If so enter now. MARCH 12 DRAM 13


ENTRY FORM Please tick your category of choice Benromach Award for Success

The Kraken Rum Cocktail Bar Of The Year

BII Scotland Customer Service Award 2012

Mixxit Bar Apprentice of the year

Captain Morgan’s Spiced Award for Best Late Night Venue

Molson Coors Champion Beer Pub of Scotland

DRAM Dog Friendly Pub of the year

Saltire Taverns Sales Rep of the Year

The DRUM BEST USE OF SOCIAL MEDIA

SUNDAY MAIL PUB OF THE YEAR

Foster’s Manager of the Year

Tennent’s Quality Award

KOPPARBERG new BAR OF THE YEAR

WHISKY BAR OF THE YEAR

YOUR DETAILS Establishment name: Licensee’s name: Address: Postcode: Telephone:

Email:

Relevant info:

RETURN THIS FORM WITH ANY RELEVANT INFORMATION & PHOTOGRAPHS TO: MEDIA WORLD LTD, 1 THE STABLES YARD, 1103 ARGYLE STREET, GLASGOW, G3 8ND ALL ENTRIES MUST BE RECEIVED BY 10th MAY. GOOD LUCK!

DRAM

RETURN THIS FORM AND TELL US WHY YOU DESERVE TO WIN A DRAM AWARD


NEWS Pub Month: Sunday Mail owners Media Scotland backs Scotland’s Pubs

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edia Scotland, our largest newspaper group, and the company behind the Daily Record, Sunday Mail, Glaswegian and regional titles including the Kilmarnock Standard, Paisley Daily Express, Irvine Herald, East Kilbride News and more, is backing ‘Pub Month’ a brand new initiative which aims to get customers back into Scotland’s pubs. Media Scotland’s “Pub Month” aims to increase footfall in pubs, encourage more publicans to promote new or existing events

Licensed Trade Awards, and the Sunday Mail Pub of the year award. Readers across Scotland will be invited to nominate their local pubs to their local title editor and two pubs will go forward as finalists to the Sunday Mail Pub of the year competition. DRAM Editor, Susan Young, comments, “This initiative will rely on the support of the trade and of drinks companies. We’ve been calling out for a positive message about Scotland’s pubs and this is it. And if this works, and I am sure it will, there is no

battered by negative press for far too long. The parliamentary commission on Beer and Brewing is fantastic, but it’s not enough, as we also need a specifically trade focused initiative and Pub Month is exactly that.” While Dave Pearce of the Robert Burns Lounge, Perth comments, “I welcome Pub Month. We need to re-ignite people’s interest in what their locals have to offer.” Media Scotland’s websites and newspapers, including the Record’s other sister title The Glaswegian, are read by two out of three

to attract further trade, and to spread awareness of community pubs throughout the media. The campaign with a four page pull out in the Sunday Mail and a double page spread in each of the regional titles – 18 in total. Says Editor in Chief Allan Rennie, “We’re delighted to be supporting Pub Month. Pubs are a vital part of our local communities across Scotland - without them we would be a poorer place. Pubs ARE our local heroes.” The initiative links into the DRAM Scottish

reason why we couldn’t make this an annual event. It gives licensees an opportunity to put on events and shout about them, and it allows all sorts PR opportunities too.” Frank Murphy of The Pot Still in Glasgow said, “Pub Month is a fantastic idea. Anything that gets more people re-acquainted with their local gets my vote, but, more importantly, is long overdue. I can have a gantry full of whisky and pumps full of beer, but what is the point without customers? This is part of the trade fight back after years of being

Scots. The newspapers backing Pub Month are: Scottish Daily Record & Sunday Mail,Ayrshire Post, Kilmarnock Standard, Irvine Herald, Hamilton Advertiser, East Kilbride News, Rutherglen Reformer, Airdrie & Coatbridge Advertiser, Wishaw Press, West Lothian Courier, Paisley Daily Express, Lennox Herald, Perthshire Advertiser, The Galloway News, Glaswegian, Dumfries & Galloway Standard, Stirling Observer, Strathearn Herald, Blairgowrie Advertiser.

Have you heard... The Scottish Beer and Pub Association (SBPA), members of which operate 1,200 of Scotland’s 5,000 pubs has elected its new office bearers to serve until March 2014. At the Association’s Annual General Meeting at the Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh (on Tuesday 13th March 2012) Ken McGown, Sales and Operations Director with the Scottish & Newcastle Pub Company stood down from office as SBPA President and was replaced by Stephen Crawley, Managing Director of the Caledonian Brewing Company Ltd. Steve Mallon. Managing Director of Maclay Group Plc. took over as Association Vice-President. Ric Fyfe, Retail Business Manager with Mitchells and Butlers took office as

Association Treasurer. After being elected President, Stephen Crawley said ,”The last couple of years have been tough for the trade in Scotland because of a whole series of new legislation. Now it is time for brewers and the wider licensed trade in Scotland to get onto the front foot in reinforcing with all our politicians the massive contribution which responsible retailers and the brewing sector make to the Scottish economy and the to the well-being of the Scottish people. There’s nothing better than a great pint of beer, served with great food in a great pub and we need to get that message across to the key stakeholders that can help the industry in Scotland grow and prosper.” MARCH 12 DRAM 15


4

IN A ROW FOR

SCOTLAND’S TOP

SUPPLIERS SURVEY

2

It’s that time of year again when DRAM gauges customer satisfaction levels of suppliers to the Scottish licensed trade. Jason Caddy reports.

F

rom rural to landlocked, from multi-million pound turnovers to community pubs, 100 independent licensees kindly took part in our annual suppliers’ survey. It’s always interesting to speak to so many licensees about what is happening with their businesses and the majority of the feedback we got was extremely positive. There is a tremendous amount of respect for both the people at the end of the phone and in the field, and many licensees that we spoke to were keen to stress this. We contacted somewhere in the region of 300 licensees, 100 of whom kindly responded. We asked them to rate their beer and wine/spirit suppliers in terms of how satisfied they were, with five being excellent and one being poor. The five areas that we asked the licensees to rate were sales rep, telesales, delivery times, product range and promotions. Belhaven triumphed in the beer category, and there is a lot of love out there for this Scottish stalwart. The brewer tops the beer category for an impressive fourth year in a row with an overall satisfaction rating of 90%, level with

last year’s rating, and with nigh on a clean sweep of top scores across all of the categories, apart from sales rep, where Molson Coors came out top. Said Ailsa Duncan of Johnny Foxes, Inverness, “Belhaven are excellent, right across the board and I have to say that its customer focus always feels very personal.” Euan Venters, Managing Director of Belhaven, said, “For everyone at Belhaven this is a huge tribute from the Scottish trade – one that acknowledges our determination to deliver you the best service, the best beer brands and the best product range across beers, wines, spirits and minerals.  To be voted Scotland’s Best for the fourth year in a row is an amazing accolade for everyone at Belhaven and you can be sure we will be working hard to ensure we continue to provide the best range and the best service in Scotland.” Molson Coors came in at second place with an overall satisfaction rating of 86%, compared to last year’s 82%. Heineken and Tennent’s shared joint third place with an overall rating of 82%, marking a drop of one place and

Beer suppliers results 2012

Sales Rep

90

92

86

78

83

Telesales

92

88

88

89

85

Delivery Times

93

90

87

83

83

Product Range

91

82

81

89

85

Promotions

83

80

66

72

68

Overall 2012

90

86

82

82

81

Overall 2011

90

82

78

83

81

MARCH 12 DRAM 17


SUPPLIERS SURVEY one per cent for Heineken and a move up of two places for Tennent’s, and an increase in overall rating from 78% to 82%. Carlsberg lost ground by one place, coming in at the bottom of the table, but maintained the same overall satisfaction score as 2011, 81%. Gordon and MacPhail have also blazed a trail for a consecutive fourth year, with an overall rating of 88%, compared to 94% in 2011. Said Craig Macleod of Glasgow’s Ubiquitous Chip, “Gordon & MacPhail is consistently focused on the needs of its customers and is very responsive to the needs of the business.” David Urquhart, Joint Managing Director at Gordon & MacPhail, said of the accolade, “Being recognised by our customers as the ‘Top Wine & Spirits Supplier’ for the fourth consecutive year is terrific news. The beginning of 2012 has seen Gordon & MacPhail win a number of awards including the ‘Drinks Wholesaler of the Year’ at the Drinks Retailing Awards. Winning these awards is a testament to all the team at Gordon& MacPhail, and we continually strive to support our customers and deliver the highest quality customer service. On behalf of the Directors at Gordon & MacPhail, I thank our customers, suppliers and staff for their ongoing support.” As far as the rest of the results looked, it was pretty

much a mixed bag, with most of the suppliers down on last year’s overall rating, apart from Wm Morton and Matthew Clark, with Wallace Express achieving exactly the same satisfaction rating. Wm Morton climbed from sixth place to joint second place with 83%, joint with Matthew Clark, which was the most improved supplier, up from last place in 2011. Wallace Express came in at 82%, and retained its third place ranking and the same overall score, while Allson went from 90% to 81% and from second place to fourth, Dunns went from third to joint fifth position, from 82% to 80%, and Forth Wines dropped from 81% to 80%, maintaining fifth place ranking, as in 2011. Waverley fell one place to the bottom of the table, going from 79% to 77% with delivery times letting this company down. As in previous years, the thorn in the side of the suppliers continues to be promotions, with comments ranging from ‘They aren’t tailored to my needs’ to ‘It would be good to know what the promotions actually are’. And there were also some grumblings about absentee sales reps but, overall, most comments were positive and the survey has once again been a triumph for Scottish-owned businesses and the importance of a personalised service.

Wine and spirit suppliers results 2012

Sales Rep

85

87

88

75

78

76

82

75

Telesales

90

89

86

82

90

87

82

76

Delivery Times

88

84

81

91

85

80

86

78

Product Range

95

85

85

92

83

93

82

80

Promotions

83

70

75

71

68

62

68

75

Overall 2012

88

83

83

82

81

80

80

77

Overall 2011

94

80

71

82

90

81

82

79

MARCH 12 DRAM 19


For enquiries contact 01506 602 516 LICENSEE INTERVIEW

LIKE FATHER LIKE SON 20 DRAM MARCH 12


Hamish Mclean and son Jamie have four outlets under their belt. Susan Young caught up with them to find out more.

E

ntrepreneur Hamish McLean and son Jamie are the men behind four successful pubs in Glasgow. The enterprising duo own Rab Ha’s in the Merchant City, The Victoria in Partick, Lock 27 at Anniesland and The Roxy 171 on Great Western Road. When I caught up with them at their latest outlet, The Roxy, which they lease from former owner/operator Colin Clydesdale, the two were both on good form. Hamish studied Pharmacy at Strathclyde University, it was the business his family was involved with, but during the course of his studies he worked in pubs and discovered he really enjoyed it. So in 1986 he saw a site beside the canal at Anniesland, and decided to build a pub that he would enjoy going to. He explains, “Back in 1986 there were a lot of boozers, but I wanted to open a pub that I really wanted to go to.” He continues, “I had looked at the local area plan for the Anniesland/Temple area and I knew there were plans to demolish the seedier parts and re-open the canal.” There was originally a lockkeeper’s cottage on the site, which was demolished, and in its place Lock 27 was built, so named because it is situated right beside the 27th lock on the Forth and Clyde canal. But in 1986, although there was water, there were no boats. Today, it is a different story. Says Hamish, “It took 20 years to replace the lock gates all along the canal, mainly because it took that time to raise the money. Now that is a bonus.” Lock 27 was a success from the day it opened. Says Hamish, “At that time Barr & Stroud was situated along the road, and they had a huge workforce.”

It was a few years later before he bought his second outlet, this time it was in Bearsden. He took over October, and renamed it 55BC and re-opened in 1993. Again it was an instant hit. Hamish comments, “I wasn’t actively looking to expand, but I felt that there was an opportunity there. I thought it would make a better bar than a restaurant, and got a public house licence. It was one of the few public house licences in the area. I eventually sold that to Belhaven.” His next purchase was Rab Ha’s in the Merchant City which he bought from Colin McDougall. Says Hamish, “I knew Rab Ha’s and I thought that the Merchant City was always going to be a good place to be. The area has always been popular but it is really coming into its own now. For the last three years they have been operating the outlet for themselves, but it was for a period, leased out. This was one unit that didn’t require too much of a make-over. Says Hamish, “Rab Ha’s has four bedrooms and we tidied them up. We did the same with the restaurant in the basement, but the bar was a good traditional bar, and we kept it much as it was.” He also bought Air Organic from Colin McDougall, but only had it for a year. Explains Hamish, “We got a very good offer for it, so we decided to sell.” While all this was going on son Jamie was working part-time for the business while studying at Strathclyde University’s Hotel school. He then spent a stint with Brand Ambassadors before being offered the opportunity to work in a pub in Singapore. Says Jamie, “The people behind The Highlander Bar in Singapore wanted a Scot MARCH 12 DRAM 21


to front it. And it was a great opportunity for me to get management experience. I started out as Assistant Manager but I was soon running it. I really went in at the deep end. The funny thing is I learned a lot about whisky…imagine going to Singapore to learn about our own national drink! And although I loved the people I worked with, it was very long hours. I spent six months there and then took off around Australia and Indonesia.” Says Jamie, “It was a great opportunity to see a different way of life. Even if Singapore is a very westernised form of Asia. People go out a lot over there, and they don’t think anything of spending £200 on a good bottle of whisky and sipping it at their table, before getting it locked away for the next time they come.” After Jamie came back from Singapore he spent a short while with Bulmers before joining his dad in the business. The next purchase that Hamish completed was The Victoria in Partick in 2007. Says Hamish, “The Victoria is a boozer. We don’t do any food there at all. When we took it over we tidied it up, inside and out, put in some big screens and brought in a new range of beers. I think the customers appreciate what we have done. It is one of our most profitable pubs, when you take into account its size. We look after our customers and they are incredibly loyal to us.” That brings us to The Roxy 171, which the two took on last year. It was formerly The Liquid Ship and was run and owned by Colin Clydesdale and Carol Wright. The bar has a make-over and the two created a live music venue in the basement. Says Jamie, “It is the first time we have worked with live music, and we are getting to know more people all the time.” He continues, “It’s funny, sometimes we get a great band but it is not well attended, and other times the band is just so and so, and there is a great turnout. We’ve got a capacity of 60 downstairs, so there’s slightly less pressure there for smaller bands, and since February it has really kicked off.” It’s not just live music that the two use to 22 DRAM MARCH 12

attract customers, as they fully embrace social marketing. Says Hamish, ”It is tough out there, and you have got to be on the ball. You can’t just open and expect people to come through the doors. We run Loyalty schemes in all of our pubs, and we give back to our customers value for money. People love things like Groupon. They are always looking for deals. When they sign up to our Loyalty scheme we email them newsletters and offers. It’s all about putting the word out there. Jamie

“We do have good relationships with our suppliers. There are definitely deals to be done, and if you have a good relationship with them it is easier.” HAMISH McLEAN also uses Twitter and Facebook. I don’t!” Says Jamie, “At The Roxy 171 we have got 700 folk who like our site. That’s partly because the bands communicate with their fans and spread the word.” Talking of spreading the word, over the years Hamish has dealt with various

suppliers. And he had praise for Molson Coors. “They are pro-active and are willing to work with us and come up with ideas. I definitely think they have a good sales team. Tom Cullen has been persistent and he has impressed me because he has shown he wants to work with us to help us improve our business.” Hamish continues, “We do have good relationships with our suppliers. There are definitely deals to be done, and if you have a good relationship with them it is easier. I like to see reps, we actively see them. I think it’s important. We’ve got good volumes across our pub estate and with customers becoming ever more discerning, we like to keep our staff informed on the products we sell, and we also utilise our suppliers when it comes to helping with training.” As to the future he says, “We are not planning on any further acquisitions. Instead we will be consolidating. But I really hope that the doom and gloom merchants leave off alcohol for a while. It really doesn’t help. People do drink responsibly in pubs and we should get credit for providing a safe environment.” He continues, “The food side is a big part of what we do, and although it accounts for only 35% of our trade, we would like to grow that. When we started it only accounted for 15% of our turnover. We use locally sourced food, when we can. I think that is important. We are not cheap, but neither are we too expensive.” Jamie adds, “I think when the job market picks up here, less people of my age will head to London.” Hamish agrees, “My two daughters have gone down there to work – one works in logistics with FeverTree, the other works for an event company run by Anton Mossimann. This means I am often down in London. They definitely don’t seem to have had a recession there!” He concludes, “I definitely think that the good times will come back. And that good pubs will get even better. We can see some green shoots, and I am hoping that it will continue.”


DESIGN FOCUS: STEAK

A

s the saying goes, why have a burger when you can have a steak at home? Now the folk of Edinburgh can opt for a late night steak out too, thanks to the vision of Barrie Brown of Brown Taylor Management. His latest venture is a 100-cover restaurant specialising in sirloin, rump and T-bone called Steak, at 14 Picardy Place. It was conceived last year by Brown, materialising in February of this year, following a six-week refurbishment. Brown Taylor worked with Four-by-Two on the ground floor of this Georgian townhouse, formerly Hawke and Hunter, deciding on the look and feel, and together they have served up something fairly unique. The only real structural change is the repositioning of the bar, from a corner on the wall where you enter to the wall on the right as you enter. The reason being the bar was apparently initially overlooked by customers and its new location makes it more of a focal point. Says Adam Storey from Four-by-Two design, “Steak, although challenging, was a fantastic project to work on. We wanted to achieve a finished result that was contemporary, cutting edge, raw, honest and funky using simple, salvaged materials. I was over the moon with the final result.� The sizable space has been utilised quite economically,

24 DRAM MARCH 12


STEAK OUT? BY JASON CADDY

through the use of many reclaimed pieces of furniture and other materials. Explains general manager, Michele Civiera, “A church outside London provided the reclaimed seating, and we went to a number of shipping yards around the UK for hemp rope. It was very labour intensive but well worth all the effort once we saw the end result.” The same can be said for what has to be the main component of the design, the hemp rope. There is over four hundred metres of the stuff hanging from the ceiling and it has achieved the desired result of eliminating the sense of a colossal dead space above. Says Adam Storey , “The biggest challenge was filling such a large open space with eight metres floor to ceiling height. I suggested using a rope design feature which really helped fill the ceiling space and in the end used 400 metres of rope.” At the end of the ropes are black painted wooden plinths housing spotlights and backless shelving has been used in the centre of the space to loosely cordon off a private dining space. The shelves have a few oddments on them like glassware, antique books and a typewriter, and will be filled up in the fullness of time with more. The more objects they add, the greater the privacy of the diners. The rest of the design is pretty low key in a room with

no natural light, and the overall vibe is shady, with muted colours dominating, like pairing gunmetal grey walls with a polished dark wooden floor, a hangover from its previous life. A splash of red is evident on the bar’s corrugated iron clad frontage, which is relatively simplistic with black wooden shelves and eau naturelle wooden bar top. There are also mirrors on the walls, soon-to-be-added art installation and a blackboard detailing all the various cuts of meat from the cow. The lighting is sombre and comes from plain glass wall mounted lighting, as well as the spots. There is certainly a utilitarian feel to the place and this was intentional, says Brown Taylor’s marketing manager, Phil MacHugh, “We are not about fine dining, we want to appeal to the masses. The location is excellent for Broughton Street and the Edinburgh Playhouse and we cater for all comers with a sexy, vibrant, young and trendy crowd, so the design had to be practical and not too fussy.” Steak’s design is a mixture of no frills with the odd enhancement of the listed building’s original features works a treat. The kind lighting and soft colour scheme also create the perfect environment for a late night pit stop. MARCH 12 DRAM 25


G.J. Nimmo

Electrical Contractors Ltd Tel: 01259 721985

“Specialist Licence Trade Electrical Contractors for over 20 Yrs” DESIGN FOCUS: POURHOUSE

T

he Pourhouse is another coup for Glasgow’s Finnieston area, a neighbourhood with a definite buzz about it. Graham Sutherland’s Urban pub Company are the people behind the new bar opening, employing the design knowhow of Glasgow-based Mast Architecture and Design. David Stable is the Design Director at Mast. Commenting on what they hoped to achieve with the design, he said, “We went through a series of different design concepts, but in the end we went for something that wasn’t too serious. We have been told that the design is quite feminine which, in hindsight, I suppose is true, although this wasn’t intentional. What I will say is that the bar and servery are a nod to a French patisserie table, and we were also keen to add some graffiti somewhere, which we did with the chairs, and a touch of the unusual, which I think that we achieved with the scaffold planks on the table tops, for example.” From the outside the pale pastel bluish/grey colour scheme could perhaps be described as feminine. It could also pass for quirky. There is a squirrel statue attached to the front of the building drinking from a beer tap and above the door it says ‘Come Inn’. Inside, this corner bar on the ground floor benefits from lots of natural light, and the oblong space, as you enter, incorporates a bar right in front of you,and, to the right are three leather banquettes. In front of the bar, and under the wall of windows, right into the corner, are a series of tables and chairs. Let’s start with the banquettes. They are made from a reddish snakeskin material, which is mottled to the touch. Like the exterior, the interior is made up from various shades of blue and the walls above the banquettes are populated with lots of different types of original and arresting artworks ,

26 DRAM MARCH 12


BY JASON CADDY mirrors and some interesting wall lights. Like the pendant lighting that hangs from the ceiling, the wall lights have black shades with copper insides, which are clustered in sets of three, and come in various shapes and sizes. And the animal tone, set by the squirrel climbing up the outside of The Pourhouse, is continued inside in both the artwork, with Mere cats, bird boxes fixed to the wall and, of course, the snakeskin banquettes. The floor has been sanded throughout, matched with off white floor tiles around the foot of the bar, and they compliment the bar very well. It has been made from white wood with a corrugated front at the top, below which is blue panelling, all topped off with a white marble bar top. The back bar continues along similar lines with a white wood back bar unit, complete with a corrugated effect along the top, and spaces below for the optics and the fridges, which are fairly tall units. The rest of the furniture also provides an interesting talking point. The scaffold plank table tops have been paired with white legs and white chairs. The reclaimed chairs have a classic design, but this has been made to look a little bit funkier with a splash of black paint in a kind of graffiti style. There are also low tables at the opposite end of the bar to the banquettes that have been made using wood and a couple of old suitcases. Next to these are some regency style chairs, which have also been upholstered in snakeskin. I also have to say that the design has been extremely sympathetic to the buildings original features, like wooden panelling on the walls, and old school cast iron radiators. The colour scheme and its quirkiness certainly give the Pourhouse standout, along a strip where new and refurbished bars are becoming more and more commonplace.

MARCH 12 DRAM 27


SUE SAYS S

cotland’s biggest newspaper group, which includes the Daily Record, Sunday Mail and regional newspapers from Paisley to Dumfries, is backing a Scottish Pub Month. They have recognised how important it is to increase footfall to Scotland’s pubs, and also recognise the value that the pub contributes to the Scottish economy. It took a bit of persuasion, but now that they have agreed to do it, it will be full steam ahead. But it is up to the licensed trade to get behind it. You now have an opportunity to showcase your pub during the month of May. So why not start planning a few events to get new customers and old, down to your pub or bar? This is an initiative that if we get behind it, could become an annual event. Karen Murphy had her 2006 conviction for using Greek channel Nova to show football in her pub, squashed by The High Court last month. Lord Justice Stanley Burnton said: “She was wrongly prosecuted”. She has fought this long and hard and she must be applauded for standing up for her rights. This ruling ought to allow others who were prosecuted to take the same action, and hopefully be exonerated. But the issue of ‘copyright’ is still alive and kicking. So don’t be buying a European decoder card just yet! But it does give licensed trade bodies a bit more leverage to go back to Sky and negotiate fairer deals for pubs.

Gavin in his youth

Gavin McGreish of Campus, probably Scotland’s most famous student haunt, is now 40! I’m sure he finds that hard to believe. Boss Carlo reckons Gavin is the oldest student in town! As well as keeping Campus at the forefront of the student market, Gav has also picked up a Best Bar None award for Most Outstanding Premises Manager. Congrats.

I was at the Women of Influence lunch at Mar Hall recently. I would love to be thinking what a great job the staff at Mar Hall did for this fundraising event which raises cash for NCH. However… it was dismal! They must have known for months how many folk were coming – in the region of 300…successful, wealthy women! Yet there were not enough staff on. I’m not talking about slow service, I’m talking about almost non-existent service! It was more than an hour between courses, and the main when it did arrive was minus some key components. Did they run out carrots? Put it this way we sat down at 1pm, we didn’t get our main until 4pm. By that time the two brave blokes (Brave… it was ladies lunch!) on my table had nearly eaten the floral centre piece! It was running so late that the sweet was served after the main act… Katie Melua, and as for

the tea and coffee, the petit fours arrived but there was no sign of hot refreshments. I sincerely hope the owners of Mar Hall, as a gesture of goodwill, refund the charity totally for this fiasco. And what a wasted opportunity… these ladies do lunch, and can afford fabulous weddings for their offspring… will they be coming back to Mar Hall. I doubt it.

Then it was off to London with Sue Buchanan for the Wa v e r l e y T B S A nnual W i n e Tasting. It was really interesting, especially since they had some of the wine makers there. And Tracy McRorie of Castle Leisure and Sandy Gourlay of OranMor definitely sampled some wines that they will be putting on their wine lists. Me, I sampled some that I will be ordering from their wine lists! Then it was off to dinner at The Gun. It was only a Monday night, but the place was full. We couldn’t get over it. Our Diageo hosts, which included the rep that looked after the area, Laura, said this was the norm. There doesn’t seem to be recession in London. It looked like a traditional pub, and offered excellent food and premium products from wine to beer. It was a perfect example of an excellent gastro pub. If you are around Canary Wharf it is definitely worth checking out.

At the time of the new licensing act coming in some licensing lawyers were warning about a loophole which meant that landlords could find themselves literally locked out of their pubs, if the lessee lost the licence. But what to me is the real loophole is that tenants can transfer a lease to another company without the permission of the landlord, and transfer the licence too! That effectively means that a landlord could end up having no control over their own pub, and be unable to legally evict a tenant for not paying rent! The tenants effectively hold a landlord to ransom. It seems to be the same type of law that allows squatters more rights than the owners! It time to close that loophole. Congratulations to Alistair Don of The Doublet and Lynda Kinnaid the two have just announced their engagement and are planning on getting married later this year.

MARCH 12 DRAM 29


Moretti A great

option to go with

lunch. Recipes on us at

WWW.BIRRAMORETTI .COM


BOILING POINT BY JIM ANDERSON

A

ny experienced cook will undoubtedly have come across recipes that call for alcohol. Some call for Burgundy, others for Claret, others for Sauvignon Blanc or dessert wine. Then there are the ones that call for “beer.” Not a particular type of beer, just “beer.” Beer? Which beer? Dense and rich Sweet Stout, delicate Helles, fruity Weissebier, potent Barleywine? Sometimes it seems the world is run by narrow-minded tyrants who can’t acknowledge any experience outwith their own. (We left-handers know all about that.) Whilst wine is presumed to have an endless spectrum of flavours, beer, on the other hand, is assumed by most people to have a single profile (yellow, fizzy and slightly bitter), and therefore is free from the burden of complimenting or contributing to gastronomy in any way. This is clearly an idea implanted by wine lovers and re-enforced by the sameness of the bland lagers that account for most beer sales and advertising revenue in the UK. The food world’s dirty little secret is, that there is a far wider range of flavours among the family of beer than among the family of wine. As a result, beer is also very versatile in the kitchen. Like fashion, gems and show dogs, wine is a game of nuance. Subtle shifts in terrain, sunshine, rainfall, humidity and harvesting can expose or obscure a tiny facet of flavour that could mean the difference between the winemaker spending six months on his yacht off the Cayman Islands or, say, seven months. It is the perception and subsequent reporting of these microscopic differences between plonk and Petrus that gives wine an aura of sophistication and exclusivity here in the UK, much to the amusement of those in most wine-producing countries. For example, a bottle of wine can sell for £500 at the flick of Robert Parker’s pen (E.Guigal Côte Rôti La Landonne 2003). For a bottle of beer to fetch £500,

however, it needs to come wrapped in a dead squirrel (Brew Dog The End of History). What does that tell you about wine and beer in the UK? Meanwhile, back in the kitchen . . . Despite common thinking on the topic, different-tasting beers will influence recipes in different ways. From bone-dry and tart Berliner Weisse to smooth & sugary Sweetheart Stout, a well-chosen beer can make your food absolutely shine. Let’s start with the basics. The family of beer has nearly an infinite variety of a few basic flavours: sweet malt, bitter hop and roasted grain. In addition, beer comes in different colours, and sometimes contains fruits, ranging from cherry to banana to coconut; or seasonings such as coriander, bog myrtle, roasted chicory and coffee. Here are five hints for cooking with beer: 1) Hops are bitter. Bitterness isn’t always pleasing in cooking. And if you reduce a dish with beer in it, the bitterness will be even sharper. A very hoppy beer like a high-alcohol IPA or a Czech lager is fine at the table but disastrous in the kitchen, unless used in a high-acid dish like sauerkeraut or ceviche. (Acid tends to reduce bitterness.) 2) Dark beer makes your food dark. Bad choice for frying batter -- which appears overcooked even when it’s not – or cream soups, which end up looking like mud (or worse). On the other hand, a dark beer can add a luxurious depth of colour to your dish, and an extra-malty one like sweet stout can help a reduced sauce achieve a silky sheen. 3) Like for like. Aside from the alpha acid rates of hops (which are different to other acids in beer), there is not a great range of acidity among different beers. Not so with wine. If you are looking to substitute beer for wine in a recipe, remember that white wine is more acidic than red wine (both are more acidic than beer), and will take a greater volume of beer as a substitute. However, since more beer

can mean more bitterness, you may have to sneak in a little little vinegar or citrus juice to compensate. 4) Make yeast work for you. Bottleconditioned beers have live yeast in them, which can help make a lighter frying batter if left overnight to ferment. Don’t worry about hop bitterness – it won’t come out in the batter, and will probably be drowned out by waves of vinegar or tartar sauce at the table, anyway. 5) Kill two birds with one stone. Does your recipe call for fruit or fruit syrup? Try a Belgian fruit beer. Avoid British fruit beers, since they generally are not sweet enough and always too bitter (When brewing fruit beers, Belgian brewers use aged hops which have lost their bitterness over time). There’s no threat of pectinisation, as with fresh fruit, but you may need to increase cooking time to get desired thickness. To give a tropical punch to chutney, for example, try some banana beer. Great cooks aren’t afraid to experiment. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t culinary and chemical rules to be considered. Remember that the perfect match between beer and food in the kitchen is not necessarily going to be the perfect match at the table. We’ll get to that another time. Why, when it comes to pairing food with drink, are there suddenly a thousand “rights and wrongs” in the wine world, yet beer is just, well, beer? It would appear from the wine press that the infinitesimal difference between wine produced by the same grapes in the same year but from neighboring parcels of land would be enough to make or break one’s dining experience and possibly cause irreversible emotional trauma; but to make the same claim for different styles of beer is considered ridiculous. Jim Anderson in co-owner of The Anders in Fortrose, and always uses wheat beer to steam mussels.

MARCH 12 DRAM 31


TO BUY OR NOT XXXXX BUYERS Q&A

Very often the success of a pub company depends on how well they buy. This month we take a look at some of the people making buying decisions at Scotland’s key companies. Between them they account for millions of pounds worth of spend every year.

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ow long have you been doing this role with the company, and what were you doing immediately prior to assuming the role? 1) Don Lawson: Johnny Foxes, Inverness: “I have owned the company for 15 years and prior to that I was the Chief Executive for Aviemore Mountain Resort. 2) Tracey McRorie, Castle Leisure, Stirling: “I have been in the buying role for my entire career in the family business. Before this I was at school!” 3) Billy Lowe, Saltire Taverns, Edinburgh: “I’ve had Saltire Taverns for 14 years now, and prior to that I was at Thistle Inns with one year out in between companies.” 4) Peter Ross, Navan Taverns, Motherwell: “I have had Navan Taverns for just over 10 years now.  Prior to that, except from a short spell working for a health board, I have been involved in the pub trade for over 30 years.” 5) Euan Bain, EMB Leisure, Glasgow: “I have been buying for this group for two years and have been involved in operations for many years.” 6) Malcolm Binnie, Townhouse Restaurants, Falkirk: “I have had Townhouse Restaurants for about six years, and before that I was at Whitbreads, for just over 20 years.” 7) Gary Thomson, Fuller Thomson, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow: I’ve been doing this for the last 13 years when I started my own business, but for FullerThomson for the last six years. I do this as one of many other jobs.” 8) Senga Love, CPL, Glasgow: “There was an opening within our company and as I had already been working for the company for a number of years, they thought I was suitable for the role. I enjoy this role as it gives me a good insight into the goings on within the licensed trade, and it is also good to ensure I get the best deals that

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benefit CPL.” 9) Fraser McIlwraith, Buzzworks, Ayrshire: “I have been the liquor purchasing manager for two years now. Prior to this I was (and still am) the company bar manager.” 10) Nic Wood, Signature Pubs, Edinburgh: “I have been doing this since I became a Director of the company, which is nine years now. Prior to that I worked for S&N.”

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11) Martin Luney/Colin Church, Big Red Teapot (Treacle/Hamilton’s, Edinburgh): A BRT was launched in 2008. Previously we were both working as general managers with Montpeliers (Edinburgh) Ltd.” What do you look for when choosing a supplier? Don: “What I look for is  something that  is very important to me, and that is the  people you are working with and establishing a good relationship with them.  I have been involved in the licensed trade for the last 30 years, so I remember the days of the Bell’s reps and these guys were real characters. Sometimes reps become good friends and when that happens, there is a good chance that I would move

with them.”  Tracey: “Price. Recommendation.”  Billy: “For me it is all about the relationship you have with a supplier and the individual you are dealing with. Obviously pricing is important, but loyalty is a big thing for us, which is why we  very rarely change suppliers. Having a good working relationship is vital and it is a fundamental, personable part of the business.” Malcolm: “The most important factor for me is the quality of the product.  We could always cut the price by using other companies but I wouldn’t get the same service, energy or enthusiasm.  I prefer working with a supplier who brings something extra to the table, other than just good price rates. I enjoy working with reps who are happy to discuss ideas, and are willing to support the  restaurants by way of bringing some enthusiasm to the role.” Peter: “Well first and foremost would need to be  reliability! Delivery times, and delivering on promises is also up there.  Price is of course important, and I always shop around to get the best possible deal.” Euan: “Transparency and honesty and of course a level of hands on service that suits the demands of your business. I want to be able to have a frank discussion on difficult issues with a dedicated handler, face to face. I need a company that shows a hunger for my business.” Gary: “Quality, service and good value but not necessarily in that order. Senga: “Pricing and flexibility.” Fraser: “The supplier must provide a good product, top quality service, great staff and be willing to work with us in order to help sell their product.” Nic: “I would say there are three main things that instantly spring to mind Convenience, good delivery times and price are also a major factors. I also favour a good rep who get backs to you quickly, and


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who is willing to work with you on ideas and pricing.” Martin/Colin: “There are different things to consider, depending on the product. As an overview, we choose products that are financially viable with regard to current pricing structure and margins, commercial, when we consider current buying trends, readily available and sustainable. Ultimately, whatever we choose – whether it be food, drinks or disposables – it must fit our customer dynamic and ethos.”   Obviously price is important, but is it the defining reason when making a decision? Don: “No.” Tracey: “No. The quality of the product is paramount, as is a proven track record and being able to meet the commitments that are given.” Billy: “No. It is important but other characteristics like the working relationship you can have with a company are just as important.” Peter: “In all our units we have good quality brands, so I wouldn’t choose a cheaper product just based on price alone.  I would always try and get the best price on premium brands.  So what I would say is the defining factor for me is value for money.” Euan: “In this economic climate cash is king, however, I’m a bit old fashioned. If I can do business with someone I like then that will cement a longer term supply agreement, and often allows you to iron out future price issues.”  Malcolm: “No, not when choosing a supplier.  If something was overpriced then that would be an issue, but for me it’s all about the quality of the product.” Gary: “In my opinion it mainly is, as the other issues you can work with a supplier to improve things, but generally all three points I mentioned in the last question are key.” Senga: “Yes but it’s also good to have a good working relationship.” Fraser: “At the top level, we take it for

granted that the supplier is good at all the above, the relationship is important, but very often the decision will come down to best price.” Nic: “It is important but not the defining reason.  I would say what a supplier has to offer by the way of good products and quality is just as important to me.” Martin/Colin: “It is not the most important thing. It is more important that the product is commercially viable – in terms of buying trends or sustainability.” Have you found that since the recession suppliers are working harder and are more likely to work with you on certain promotions/training?

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Don: “Yes they are. There are more tasting events happening, we have the whole Whisky ambassador concept now and I have definitely noticed that there is more contact from suppliers.” Tracey: “Most definitely. I now enjoy a closer relationship with my suppliers and I find that they go that extra mile to meet the needs of individual businesses instead of a one-size-fits-all approach. Billy: “Yes I think they have been extremely helpful, and as a result the bond we have is even stronger.” Peter: “Yes, absolutely!  Suppliers are definitely working harder, and they have all sharpened their pencils.  There seems to be more available now in terms of what’s

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on offer, and what  they are willing to do for you.  They also seem to be working harder to deliver on their promises too.” Euan: “There is a willingness to develop a more “all encompassing” approach to service. Many are now keen to explore how they can deliver added value to the product. This has given rise to innovative ways of hitting the figures required. It would be fair to say that many reps have been given a little more ‘rope’.” Malcolm: “Yes in general they are, just like everyone else has to. Most of my suppliers will always look to offer me better value for money, but our whole business is based on quality service and products.” Gary: ”Yes. In virtually all cases companies are trying harder and adding value where possible with the likes of product training and sales initiatives.” Senga: “No, I find it harder as most of the suppliers budgets have been cut due to these hard times.” Fraser: “I’ve only been doing this since the recession started, however that would be my perception yes.” Nic: “I think suppliers are certainly bringing more to the table now in terms of encouraging you to go with them, explaining what they can do for you, and why you should choose them. “ Martin/Colin: “We have always had good relations with all our suppliers the recession hasn’t changed that.” How important is it to see a rep? Don:  “Very Important. In fact I had an incident with a past supplier when my sales rep went off sick, and then I didn’t see a rep for months after, despite calling them. I felt a bit neglected so I moved.”  Tracey: “Very important.  Good customer/client relations are essential, and you have to develop a personal relationship so that you feel comfortable calling them up when you have an issue or query without being made to feel it’s bothersome to them.” Billy: “Quite important, yes.  I like to see reps popping round the units and taking MARCH 12 DRAM 33


BUYERS Q&A an interest, and giving support to our senior management.  I have been pleased on the whole with the visability of the reps we see.” Peter: “Although we have been here a while, we will still make time to see our reps on a weeky basis.  It’s important for me to have a strong relationship with a rep as it builds up loyalty, which results in  a better service.  Plus it means I will always be kept up to date on future offers and told in plenty of time if there will be a price increase on any of my products.” Euan: “Essential. When you need to.” Malcolm: “It really depends on what you are buying. I don’t see reps too often, usually on average once every three months. I only contact my reps more often if there is an issue, which usually means that when I call them the first question i get asked is “What’s wrong?” Gary: “Personally I am not one for an overly regular rep visit, I would generally get in touch if I wanted something and I would expect the rep to do the same. Not everyone is the same however, so it’s more what suits the individual.” Senga: “It’s good to catch up with them so we can put our ideas for events within our clubs to them and how best to push their products that benefits us both. Fraser: “Very. A good relationship is key and Forth Wines is a great company. They work hard with us to help train our staff and run interactive wine tastings for our customers.” Nic: “I don’t need to see a rep every month, but I do speak with them regularly. If I was changing things all the time in my units then perhaps I would need more meetings, but I’m not.    On average I will probably see each of my reps four times a year.  It is important to  be able to have a good relationship with your rep, and with most of them I do look forward to meeting for a catch up. I have always used Forth Wines, and I have a very good relationship with John Robertson who has always done a great job for me.  Depite the fact that John doesn’t look after Edinburgh now,  he still takes the time to visit me and  is still my 34 DRAM MARCH 12

main rep, which I really appreciate.” Martin/Colin: “Depending on the situation. If we are launching a new product, it is very important, to discuss the brand, taste notes and service.”   Is there anything generally that you think suppliers could do better? Don: “I think from my experience that maybe reps should be spending more time with the customers they don’t know, in order to build up a better relationship with them.” Tracey: “I think that suppliers are working harder than they have ever worked. They are definitely in the business of providing the best possible service, even dealing with anything negative, like complaints.

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Gone are the days when things would have been brushed under the carpet. Customer expectations are also higher.” Billy: “I might be going back a wee bit here, but keeping in touch more. Letting us know about new products and offers before we see them first. Delivery wise, things could be a bit better when it comes to flexibility on delivery dates and times. Forth Wines are one of my main suppliers! They have been phenomenal to work with and shown us great support by using my units for events.  They have been very supportive and their involvement in the training side of things is second to none. From a visibilty point of

view they are probably as good as anything I’ve witnessed in all my time working in the pub  trade. In fact since moving to Forth Wines, I have noticed a huge increase  in the time that personnel  spend  around the business, and they are always at the end of the phone if you need anything. The flexibility they offer is better than anyone else.” Peter: “Price could always be better for sure, but I’m aware that suppliers will be working on reduced margins, and, with the cost of fuel increasing they need to take that into account when it comes to deliveries.  As long as I maintain a good relationship with my suppliers, and feel that I am getting the best deals the can offer, then I’m happy. Malcolm: Obviously price for sure!  However, one thing that can be tedious is when you get your credits through every month which can be three pages long! This could be an easier process!” Euan: “Two ears one mouth – use in those proportions. Pull a shift behind the bar or on the floor. That would be interesting for those that haven’t.” Gary: Quicker credits for missing/ damaged/returned goods and less out of stock/discontinued wines Fraser: “No.” Nic: “Price is something that could always be better. What I find frustrating is the extra work that is created for me every time prices go up.  When prices increase they don’t give you an up to date price list, just a unit amount on what each brand has increased by. This means I need to sit and work out all the new prices which is time consuming when prices go up more than once a year.” Martin/Colin: “The most important thing for us is to have constantly changing products to keep things current and interesting. As long as suppliers have an evolving portfolio, we will be happy. Adequate training for new products, ensuring that products are sustainable and priced at a level that reflects today’s customers’ changing financial situation are all vital.”


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ROUND UP The first charity event organised by the newly formed Donna Bannatyne Mortimer Trust, a ladies lunch, raised some £40,000 and guests said it was a fabulous day. Pictured just some of the ladies of the trade who attended.

Belhaven Managed Pubs held their annual awards earlier this year at the City Walls in Stirling. The evening saw 90 managers, assistant managers and head office staff getting together for a night of dancing, speeches & presentations on what has become a firm fixture on the Belhaven social calendar. Operations Director, Kenny MacKenzie said “It’s an extremely difficult task to choose winners in all categories as we have so many fantastic managers working for us and, to me, they are all winners, however I am delighted to be able to congratulate those who have come out on top. It was great to see everyone thoroughly enjoying a well earned break, catching up with friends and colleagues. It really was a fabulous night!” The winners were: Manager of the year 2011 – Shaun Donnellan of Molly Malones, Glasgow; Best Newcomer 2011 – Mags Turner of the Carrick, Irvine; Best Beer Quality – Prince of Wales, Aberdeen; Best Business Builder – Stewart Adam of the Merlin, Edinburgh; Health & Safety – Ian Tasker of the Post Office, Broughty Ferry; Training & Development – Aileen Mitchell of the Starbank, Edinburgh; Catering & Food – Diane Valentine of the Maltings, Perth; Exeptional Award – Darren Young, Old Schoolhouse, Aberdeen; Lifetime Achievement – George Den Kaat of Seven Kings, Dunfermline and last but not least Marketing Champion Amanda Gerlach of the Old Brewery, Alloa. Congrats to them all.

The Glasshouse in Edinburgh, has appointed Alison Mathewson as General Manager of the luxury, five-star, city centre hotel. She has previously worked at the Thistle Hotel in Glasgow, Dalhousie Castle & Spa in Midlothian, the Swallow Hotels in Glasgow & Peterborough and the Stakis Normandy  Hotel in Renfrew. In her new role as General Manager of The Glasshouse, Ms Mathewson will oversee the hotel operations, including 65 bedrooms (18 suites), four meeting rooms and luxury wedding venue facilities. She will be supported by new Director of Sales & Marketing, Leigh Craig, above, who has worked at City Inn/Mint Hotel in Glasgow, all three Greens Health & Fitness clubs in Scotland (latterly part of De Vere Hotels)  and Esporta in Scotland. Craig Gardner, General Manager of the Hilton Glasgow, now has a wider role covering six additional properties within the Hilton Worldwide Group. He is now responsible for the management of Hilton hotels in Scotland, the north of England and Northern Ireland.

DRAM DRINKS RETAILING AND MARKETING PUBLISHED BY MEDIA WORLD LIMITED UPPER FLOOR / FINNIESTON HOUSE / 1 THE STABLES YARD / 1103 ARGYLE STREET / GLASGOW / G3 8ND t. 0141 221 6965 e. dram@mail.com web. www.dramscotland.co.uk Editor: Susan Young • Chairman: Noel Young • Production: Gareth Neil Advertising Executives: Martin Cassidy, Emma MacDonald • Editorial: Jason Caddy • Administration: Cheryl Cooke Published by Media World Ltd. Subscriptions: DRAM is available by subscription for all other qualified persons involved in the Scottish Licensed Trade at the rate of £48 per annum including the DRAM Yearbook. The publishers, authors and printers cannot accept liability for errors or omissions. Any transparencies or artwork will be accepted at owner’s risk. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the copyright holder and publisher, application for which should be made to the publisher. Articles published in this magazine do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publishers. © Media World Limited 2012. Printed by Meigle Colour Printers Ltd. 38 DRAM MARCH 12



DRAM March 2012