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or once it seems ages since I penned my last intro, that could because it was written before Christmas. And it seems that this year, certainly in the central belt, business was better over the festive season than last year. Unfortunately it seems like Inverness took a hit because of the weather. That is the one thing we can’t control. Our cover shows John Gemmell with his new team and the story on page 7, tells you what Heineken UK is focussing on this year... and cask is certainly on the agenda, which is one of the reasons we have an ale feature on pages 13 and 14 of this months magazine. I interviewed Craig Gardner, the boss of the Hilton’s key hotels in Scotland, Northern England and Ireland. He is quite an inspirational figure not to mention being full of energy. See page 16. We also take a look at some of the brands that bartenders around the country love. That’s our nod to Valentine’s Day, while Jason Caddy visited The Huxley in Edinburgh and The Richmond in Glasgow for our design features. There’s plenty more on the agenda for the following months, with our awards launching next issue. Regards Susan Young Editor




13 16 20 22


Susan Young reports on the ever changing beer sector.


Susan Young speaks to Craig Gardner, Area General Manager for Hilton Hotels in Scotland.


Jason Caddy finds out which brands are finding favour with the people behind Scotland’s bars.


DRAM takes a look at the Pravesh brothers new project in Glasgow’s West End.


04 08 29


All the news on pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels.


All the latest brand news.


Straight talking from our very own Editor.





artners Paul McGowan (left) and Paul Nelson (right) of the UR Local Pub Company have taken on their sixth lease, The Ettrick on Glasgow’s Dumbarton Road in Partick. They are leasing from the Iona Pub Partnership, who closed the pub last month for a £30K refurbishment of the interior and exterior. Paul Nelson said, “The feedback so far has been very positive, much of what was here originally has remained, but the black paintwork and wallpaper have been replaced by a white and red colour scheme and all of the furniture is brand new, as is the flooring. The old familiar red exterior paint work is now light grey.” The couple also jointly lease Glasgow bars the Lovat Arms in Yoker, the Elephant and Bugle in Maryhill, the Cathkin Inn, Rutherglen, The Argyll and Sutherland, Greenock, and The Kelburn in Paisley. All the premises are leased from a variety of freeholders and the couple have no immediate plans to take on any more.

Have you heard? Dunoon’s SGE Hotels has bought the 48-bedroom Leapark Hotel in Grangemouth in a deal funded by Santander Corporate Banking. The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, increases SGE’s portfolio of hotels to five including sites in Fort William and Oban. SGE, owned by husband and wife team Jiwan and Jasbir Singh, also owns the Esplanade and Argyll Hotels in Dunoon.


Jurys Inn Glasgow rounds off £3M refurbishment


his month will see the completion of the £3M makeover of Glasgow’s Jurys Inn to coincide with the hotel’s tenth anniversary. All 321 rooms have been redeveloped as part of what was an on-going refurbishment of the Jamaica Street hotel that included the addition of new executive suites on the tenth and 11th floors. Other changes include a new conference facility, restyled lobby and lounge, plus the addition of a Costa Coffee Bar. The creation of two dedicated levels aimed at the corporate market will also act as a blueprint for similar changes across the rest of the Jurys estate.

Big honour for small hotel Edinburgh’s Chester Residence hotel has been voted the UK’s best by TripAdvisor, in its small hotel category. The hotel, run by Graham and Gillian Wood, consists of five apartments in Chester Street and a further 18 in Rothesay Place, and it ranks 11th in the world in TripAdvisor’s Traveller’s Choice awards. Graham Wood told DRAM, “At the risk of sounding cheesy, this award really is all down to the staff and testament to all their hard work. Management is management, and they do a great job, but 95% of our concierge and front of house staff have been with us since day one, and they are all very intelligent young people. If you have problem solvers in your business like we do, then you won’t go far wrong, and all of this contributes to the best customer experience, which I’m confident that we provide.”


turns up the heat

Did you know... An Edinburgh restaurant has become the only one in the UK to earn four rosettes in the latest AA guide. Michelin-starred 21212, in Royal Terrace, was opened by chef Paul Kitching and his partner Katie in 2009. It now joins the ranks of just four other restaurants in Scotland, including those owned by chefs Martin Wishart, Tom Kitchin, and Andrew Fairlie at Gleneagles. Paul told DRAM, “I ran a four rosette restaurant down in Manchester called Juniper, so it’s absolutely fantastic to get it back – and to be the only restaurant to be awarded four rosettes in the entire country is a genuine honour. We’re back in with the big boys now and I’m overjoyed.”

Douglas Douglas’s Halcyon Hotels is leasing The Bruce Flagship Hotel, East Kilbride, from Allied Irish. This sees a return to the hotel for Douglas who began his career at The Bruce, and he’s already set about making some alterations to the interior, investing about £150K in the last two months. Douglas said, “I worked at the hotel as a porter from the age of 16, and then went on to run its function suites. I then left in 1988. I want to try and restore the hotel to its former glory, so we’ve refurbished the foyer so far, including some new indoor fountains. The nightclub that was called Fusion is now named Skye, and it’s been given a brand new interior in purple and silver.” He continued, “The function suite was the last part of the hotel to be overhauled, and next in line are the 64 rooms.”


20-cover organic Scottish cuisine restaurant called Blackwood’s, part of Edinburgh’s Nira Caledonia hotel, has just opened its doors. It forms part of a soft refurbishment of the entire 28room boutique residence on Gloucester Place that began when Nira Hotels and Resorts purchased the former B&B in April 2011. This is the group’s first UK hotel, the others being in St Moritz, Switzerland, and Mauritius. The interior colour-scheme is predominantly gold and black with an opulent feel that reflects the design of the rest of the hotel. Head Chef David Scott’s kitchen is the only one in the chain to boast a Josper grill oven that ensures the moisture and flavour of the food remains intact whilst adding a charcoal flavour. Acting GM Carina Ratzke told DRAM, “We are only the second restaurant in Edinburgh to have the Josper grill oven, I believe, and so far the feedback on our menu has been amazing. Our guests have been equally as complimentary about the interior design, which a lot of people have likened to a living room, as it’s so cosy and warm. In terms of the hotel refurbishment, there are still a few guest rooms to go before completion.” The restaurant name was inspired by Blackwood’s Magazine, a nineteenthcentury publication, as one of its key contributors, John Wilson, once lived at the address that now houses the hotel.

n.b. bar & restaurant


Edinburgh’s The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel, has appointed Dale MacPhee as its new General Manager. MacPhee, originally from Canada, was formerly GM at London Syon Park, a Waldorf Astoria Hotel. As we went to press Andy Murray was on the verge of sealing a deal to buy Cromlix House hotel near his hometown of Dunblane, in a deal reported to be worth £1.8M. His mum Judy and his accountant are the directors of the company set up by Murray to run the venture, called Cromlix House Hotel Limited. The four-star hotel, built in 1874, closed unexpectedly in February last year.

Restaurant Mark Greenaway (pictured above) re-opened last month at a new location – 69 North Castle Street in Edinburgh. Greenaway quit his former premises at 12 Picardy Place last November. The new premises are double the size with some 60 covers. Mark said, “Despite the new location, my menus and cooking style remain the same. I’ll continue with my modern approach to classic dishes. I am also very fortunate to have retained my staff and suppliers during my short break from the kitchen.”


OBITUARY John Waterson 1925 – 2013


ohn Waterson died last month at the age of 87. He was a real character, and when I first met him more than 20 years ago he was heavily involved with the Scottish Licensed Trade Association. In fact the licensed trade conferences of the time were really John’s forte. He loved nothing more than to create a debate, and that he did. Whether speaking out about SkyTV or the licensing of clubs, he certainly liked to create a stir. But he could be fickle. There is a story that one one occasion the SLTA had secured a fantastic band from London to play at the conference, but as soon as they started up he took the men away for a meeting and left the women to enjoy the dancing! Many a time I enjoyed a coffee with John at the Bruce Hotel in East Kilbride when he would regale me with stories of his youth, and talk generally about issues in the trade. He was an East End boy who made good and his work ethic was amazing. The ‘W’ in Waterson should have stood for ‘Work’. He started out at the age of 13 and spent 70 years in the trade. There’s not many people who have done that. He worked his way up from being a bell boy at the Central Hotel. Atlhough I didn’t meet John until he was in his 60’s, you could imagine him running the pubs of the day in his youth. He certainly did. His first pub was the Burns Cottage in Paisley Road. It was Scotland’s first licensed live music venue, and was the venue for probably one of the first TV Talent shows on STV. It was also one of the first places to have closed circuit TV – not for a security angle but so that people good see the band from all the areas. His other pubs included the Market Bar (which became the Wee Houff), The Jean Armour and the Gleniffer. But it was when he moved into Glasgow with the opening of the Burns Howff in 1967 that he really built his reputation. This was arguably Scotland’s most successful live music venue. He moved the bands from the Burns Cottage to the Burns Howff and it was a success from day one. It was said that the bar opened at 11am and by 11.15am all the seats in the 200 capacity place were taken. And no I have not made a mistake... It was the morning. They ran the Burns Howff for more than 15 years, and during that time they opened The Pot Still. This was another first for the Waterson family. It had the biggest whisky selection at the time, of any bar in the country. It also ran tastings, common practice now, but at the time it was only whisky companies that did tastings, not publicans. This was another first. John trained his staff and they did tastings


and charged the customers. When he took on The Maltman – he had Scotland’s first nonsmoking lounge in the pub and then of course there was the 39 Steps, probably the first themed pub to hit Glasgow. Back in the day themed pubs were certainly not the norm. He eventually sold his pub businesses in 1992 to go into the hotel business, and in 1994 he and the family created The Flagship Hotel Group and bought the Bruce Hotel in East Kilbride, followed by the Golden Lion in Stirling and he also had The Gleniffer Hotel in Paisley. John certainly wasn’t a one man business. Son Paul worked with his father – and actually managed to stay the course, apart from one or two years, when even he found it hard to handle his dad. And wife Josephine was a Director too. It was, and is, a family business. But John, in his prime, could be impossibly demanding, as anyone who knows him would tell you. He was mischievous and actually liked putting a spanner in the works. Sometimes he would start an argument – and everyone would get involved then you would look around and he was nowhere to be seen. That was John. He was also superstitious and had a thing about Robert Burns. He bought the Golden Lion in Stirling without seeing it after Paul told him that Burns had stayed at the hotel, and had written a poem on a piece of glass. After hearing this news John said ‘buy it’. That’s the way he was. One place he didn’t buy was The Horseshoe Bar in Drury Lane – the asking price was £50K, and on the way to the meeting John discovered he had a hole in his shoe. So he decided not to go to the meeting. Despite missing out on that opportunity, he was an excellent businessman, and had a routine whereby every evening son Paul would call him with the nights takings. A habit he continued until recently. He looked after the pennies – and even had a hobby which involved collecting coins – both old and new! He also enjoyed antiques, and he had a good eye for a piece of jewellery with wife Josephine the recipient of some lovely gifts over the years. John and Josephine celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary a few years ago. They held a celebration at son-in-law Michele Pagliocca’s The Butterfly and the Pig and it was an opportunity for a family get together. I only wish that I had taken the time to sit down and write his life story, because it was fascinating. He had a million stories to tell. John leaves wife Josephine, children Paul, Jo Jo, Jonathon and Mark. He also had 11 grandchildren, and five great grandchildren.

NEWS n.b. company

Montpeliers has seen pretax profits rise to £1.5M for the year to 29 April, up from £101K the previous year. The increase in profit has been attributed to “excellent margins at all levels and tight control of labour and operating overheads.” The company’s nightclubs and Tigerlily contributed the majority of the profits. Turnover has now reached £15.6M with the group employing 322 people. John Dewar & Sons has recorded a 26% increase in pre-tax profit for the year to March 31 2012. The company made £30.2M compared with almost £24M in 2011. The company’s turnover rose by 6% to nearly £117M. The distiller is owned by the Bacardi group. Macdonald Hotels has enjoyed a 3% rise in like-for-like profits. Figures show that revenues for the 12 months to the end of March were up 2% to £139.5M. Operating profit came in at £13.7M as the firm made savings by careful staff management and cutting its energy usage.

Heineken ramp up team in Scotland


eineken is building on its leadership team in Scotland with the news that Alasdair Moore has been given a new role within the company and Neil Convery has returned to Scotland to take on the role of Regional Sales Director for the West of Scotland. Jason Cockburn remains as Regional Sales Director in the East. Says John Gemmell, Trading Director North, On Trade Sales For Heineken UK, “I am delighted to be building our leadership team in Scotland which shows Heineken’s commitment to the Scottish market. Alasdair will now focus on growing our brand presence in key accounts, while Neil returns to Scotland after a two year stint in the North of England.” He continues, “Our focus this year will be very much on building our presence even further in the Scottish on-trade, and developing our cask credentials particularly since we have Scotland’s best selling cask ale, Deuchar’s IPA in our portfolio. In fact we plan to give the Caledonian Brewery a much higher profile over the next few years, by developing the visitor centre side of the business and promoting our cask offering.”

It’s not just cask that is getting a push. The new product development team at Heineken have also been hard at work. The company aims to have various new products introduced to the on-trade in 2013, and John revealed that the first few to come to market are Bulmers Bold Black Cherry, and Bulmers Pressed Grape, while a new premium packaged lager Foster’s Gold, a 4.8ABV, bottled lager, which has already been a hit in the off-trade, is due to launch in the on-trade in March. Says John, “Heineken are continuing to invest in Scotland and the news that we have just secured The Hydro beer contract, is a real boost to the team here. This new venue, which will open later this year, will attract annually around one million people, with acts including Andrea Bocelli and Jessie J already booked to play. It gives us an opportunity to utilise The Hydro for marketing and PR initiatives.” Meanwhile Alisdair is delighted to have a new role. He said, “I am really looking forward to sitting down with our customers, both old and new, and coming up with some creative ideas to help build their business and ours.”

Molson Coors announces new micro-brewery acquisition


olson Coors UK & Ireland has bought the Franciscan Well craft beer brand and micro-brewery in Cork, Republic of Ireland, where it also plans to develop a new craft brewery. This is the first development from its new Emerging Markets & Craft Beer unit, set up to oversee its interests in craft beer in both countries. The new division is headed by Niall Phelan, and brings together its Scottish and Irish businesses, alongside its growing portfolio of domestically produced and leading international craft beers. Niall Phelan commented, “In 2012 alone, the craft beer market grew 13% in the UK and 100% in Ireland.” He continued, “For us, craft beer is about amazing beers from creative, inspired brewers that capture the imagination of the growing number of craft beer drinkers in Ireland & the UK. Whether it’s through our heritage in great craft beers such as White Shield and Blue Moon - the number one craft beer in the U.S., or Sharp’s

Doom Bar, the Granville Island or Creemore Springs beers, I believe Molson Coors is uniquely placed to play a major part in developing the craft beer sector for our markets.” Molson Coors (UK & Ireland) can confirm that a number of staff within its Scotland office entered a 90 day consultation period, on 20th December 2012, as part of a continuing programme of change required to meet the increasing competitive pressures facing the beer market. Additionally, as a result of Phil Whitehead accepting a new role within Molson Coors, Niall Phelan’s role has expanded to included responsibility for Scotland. Niall’s new job title is Director of Emerging Markets & Craft Beer Division for Molson Coors UK & Ireland. Tracey Ashworth-Davies – Director of Human Resources stated “At this time, our priority is to work with colleagues affected by these proposals and ensure staff affected are fully informed and presented with all the relevant options available to them.”




Cider Magners sponsors Celtic Football Club Last month Magners announced a threeyear sponsorship of Celtic Football Club. The deal will see Magners become the shirt sponsor of Celtic from the start of the 2013/2014 season. Tom McCusker (pictured right), Managing Director of Magners commented, “Magners is a premium brand with huge ambition both at home and abroad, available in over 40 markets worldwide including key cider growth territories like the US, Australia, Canada and Asia. There is, therefore, a great fit with Celtic Football Club who also enjoy great success and popularity domestically and internationally. Everyone at Magners is looking forward to

working with Celtic and its fans over the coming years in what promises to be an exciting time for the club and our brand.” Peter Lawwell, (far left) Chief Executive of Celtic Football Club, added, “On behalf of everyone at Celtic, I am delighted to welcome Magners as the club’s new shirt sponsor. This partnership is magnificent news, not only for Celtic but also for Scottish football. We are proud to be successfully leading Scottish football at home and in Europe. The desire of a brand with Magners stature to support the club is a measure of how much positivity there is around Celtic in our 125th year.”


Glenmorangie introduces Ealanta Glenmorangie has announced the fourth annual release in its Private Edition range called Ealanta, a 19 Year Old Glenmorangie, fully matured in virgin American white oak casks. Glenmorangie’s Distilling and Whisky Creation Director, Dr. Bill Lumsden, said, “It’s no secret in our industry that it’s the ‘wood that makes the whisky’ and for many years my team and I have been carrying out detailed research in this area. Ealanta is in fact one experiment dating way back to just before I joined the company in the early 1990s. “Having discovered these casks and sampled them, I realised then what a jewel we had and immediately had the casks secreted in a safe place. Over the years I have kept a close eye on their progress, and although the final recipe for Glenmorangie Ealanta is from me and my team, it’s a real pleasure to see the original experiment see the light of day at last… and be still here to celebrate it!” Bottled at 46% ABV, and non-chill filtered, Glenmorangie Ealanta is available globally from January 2013 and is the latest addition to the Private Edition range, comprising the highly sought after Sonnalta PX, Finealta and Artein.


Heineken is supporting its Symonds Founder’s Reserve brand with consumer PR and trade advertising that kicked off last month. Around 2,500 licensees will receive branded kits including sampling glasses, point of sale materials and branded merchandise, such as glassware, bar staff T-shirts, drip mats and ‘Reserved‘ signs. Bar staff are being encouraged to recommend Symonds Founder’s Reserve through a mystery visitor programme. Undercover testers reward bar staff who respond to requests for a cider by recommending a sample of Symonds Founder’s Reserve and offering information about the brand with on the spot cash prizes.

Liqueur Bacardi has acquired St. Germain, the super-premium elderflower liqueur - a hand-crafted artisanal French liqueur made from 100% fresh, hand-selected elderflowers that blossom in Europe once a year, during a four-to-six week period in late spring. Barry Kabalkin, Vice Chairman of Bacardi Limited, said, “We are thrilled to add St. Germain to our highly focused portfolio of iconic brands and honoured to be working with Rob Cooper who is one of the industry’s most successful innovators.” Robert Cooper, creator of St. Germain and President of The Cooper Spirits Company, said, “I chose to work with Bacardi as we share many of the same cultural tenets. They are truly committed to quality, integrity and maintaining the energy and aura we have worked so hard to create. As a 150-year-old private and closely-held company that was founded on principles of quality, integrity and innovation, Bacardi is committed to the long-term.”





Plymouth Gin unveils new design

New £5.5M ad campaign from Guinness

Pernod Ricard UK rolled out new packaging for its Plymouth Gin portfolio across the on-trade last month. The new packaging will also appear on both Plymouth Navy Strength and Sloe Gin. The new rounded bottle shape and antique style pay tribute to the unique heritage of Plymouth Gin, while the oval label sees a return to an earlier example of the packaging, enriched with copper. A copper cap also mirrors the single copper pot still that has been used in production since Victorian times.


uinness has launched the second instalment of its ‘Made of More’ advertising campaign, and the new advert, ‘Clock’, will be supported by a £5.5M media spend. Nick Britton, Guinness Marketing Manager at Diageo, said, “Made of More’ is the single biggest Guinness campaign to date, which kicked off in October 2012 with an advert entitled ‘Cloud’. We will continue to invest in Guinness throughout 2013 to drive its point of difference versus other brands in the beer category, and we are confident that this latest instalment will drive even greater affinity with this truly iconic brand.”

The new film celebrates the attitude that you get more out of life by putting more in. ‘Clock’ (pictured above) is set in Bohemia in the 1890s and tells the story of a town’s clock that doesn’t settle for the ordinary. The clock influences time to enhance the townspeoples’ days either by accelerating time for a boring task to go faster, reversing time to avoid an unfortunate event, or pausing time to allow a precious moment to last longer. As the film progresses, the clock engages with the townspeople – before coming to a close and gradually merging the clock’s face into the top of a pint of Guinness. The film finishes with the endline, ‘Guinness. Made of More’.

RTD The bottle honours the brand’s provenance, as it has been distilled on the same site since 1793 at The Black Friar’s Distillery in Plymouth – the oldest working distillery in England. And an image of the Mayflower on the label underlines the brand’s link to Plymouth. Adam Boita, marketing manager at Pernod Ricard UK, says, “Plymouth is recognised by gin aficionados around the world as an aspirational product and is often regarded as the ‘single malt’ of gins. The new packaging confidently reflects this quality with its striking new shape and luxury cues. “The stylish bottles will offer increased on-shelf stand-out in the on-and-offtrade, reflecting Plymouth’s rightful position in the super-premium gin category.”


Global Brands pinpoint RTDs Global Brands has announced the end of its representation of Four Roses bourbon, Sobieski vodka, Ypióca Cachaça and Opal liqueurs, effective as of the end of last month. It now plans to focus its efforts on its RTDs such as Hooch, Reef and VK. Bibendum Wine has already announced its acquisition of Opal liqueurs. Simon Green, marketing director for Global Brands, said, “2012 saw us launch a winning range of NPD as well as delivering impressive growth across the portfolio. Kick Energy, Amigos and Jungfrau herbal liqueur are performing exceptionally well in

on and off trade channels, but as NPD creates category growth we’re taking the decision to increase investment in opportunities which can bring new excitement and interest to the trade to support customers and re-engage consumers.” He continued, “Having surpassed our growth and distribution targets we have reached the right point to conclude our brand work with Sobieski, Four Roses, Ypióca Cachaça and the Opal range. However, the door is not closed to future distribution deals, but we do need to ensure that these deals are balanced with the strength and growth of our own portfolio.”



eer, for years the bastion of Scotland’s pubs, has had its difficulties over the past few years. But it is not all doom and gloom, far from it. Craft beer is the category of the moment, while Scotland’s keg ale sector has livened up considerably following the introduction of Caledonia Best into the market 18 months ago. This launch heralded some innovation in the marketplace and gave licensees a real beer story for the first time in a few years. A new brand on the bar always creates interest, and when that new beer is challenging Scotland’s Champion Belhaven Best, there is even more chat at the bar. Share of voice should translate to beer sales, but unfortunately the keg ale market in Scotland continues to decline. But how much further it would have declined without the advent of Caledonia Best it’s hard to say. Figures suggest that it could be down by as much as 15%. Although it is still almost double the size of the cask ale market at 171,000 barrels compared to 93,000 barrels of cask. If we talk about beer as being all ale the league table for market share is led by Belhaven, followed by Heineken UK, Wells & Young and C&C. Total ale sales in Scotland are now worth more than £200M at the till, and Caledonia Best, the first new launch from Tennent’s in a decade, has certainly taken a slice of the action. Paul Condron, Marketing Director at Tennent Caledonian, comments, “In little over 12 months from launch, the Caledonia Best brand has achieved 14% share of the Scottish Smooth Draught Ale market (CGA, 12 Weeks to 01/12/12) which is fantastic performance for a new brand in a mature and contracting market. Made with 100% Scottish barley, Caledonia Best is the fastest growing brand in the category and is now listed in around 1400 Scottish on-trade outlets. Based on our internal sales numbers we’re confident that, following incredibly strong Christmas period, the next issue of market performance data will show the Caledonia Best brand matching rate of sale of the market leader.” He continued, “Performance like this in just over a year from launch has probably surprised a few people, but we’re not surprised at all – it’s a great pint and a strong brand from a brewer with an ale heritage dating back to 1556, and a commitment to invigorating the ale category in Scotland for years to come. Our focus on the ale category won’t stop with Caledonia Best and we’re already working on a number of new products to expand our offering – exciting times for the business and our customers. We launched our first TV campaign for the Caledonia Best brand in December featuring the classic Dougie MacLean song ‘Caledonia’. Reaction to the new ad has been extremely positive and we’ll continue to invest in TV advertising for the brand in 2013. We have also just announced a major sponsorship initiative which sees Caledonia Best announced as the official beer of Scottish Rugby and we’ll be raising awareness of this around the 6-Nations matches in February and March. This builds on the success of our partnership with Scottish golfing icon, Sam Torrance and our ‘Seed Fund’ initiative where we donated 5 pence from every pint sold in

the first six months to supporting grass roots initiatives in farming and brewing across Scotland. The 2012 ‘Seed Fund’ generated £58,000 and saw donations being made to seven emerging businesses. We’ve got big aspirations for the Caledonia Best brand and anticipate another great year in 2013 as we continue to grow market share.” But Belhaven is fighting back. Belhaven is as keen to hang on to market share as Caledonia Best is to steal it. Dom South, Marketing Director of Greene King says,“ Belhaven will continue to support Belhaven Best with year-round consumer advertising through 2013 including the new topical consumer press adverts that broke recently, commenting on Burns Night and Andy Murray’s Australian Open performance. Along with a consumer campaign building on many years of accumulated brand equity, the year ahead


SOMETHING’S BREWING will also see more emphasis on in-outlet activation, to help Belhaven stockists sell even more. Following last year’s successful launch of Belhaven Black, we are planning further innovation in ale with some great new beers in the pipeline. “The final pillar of our plan is making sure we continue to deliver the unbeatable service that Belhaven can offer our customers day in and day out, making sure that our customers are supported to serve and sell great quality pints. With our own directly employed technical services, dray teams, customer services and of course our sales account managers, everyone involved with our customers understands and cares about the importance of the quality of a pint and is able to offer assistance and support to our customers. With the entry of Caledonia Best into the market, a lot of figures have been being quoted. One figure which is not in dispute is that Belhaven Best retains a very strong number one position in the Scottish ale market, with a 38% share of all keg ale and 24% of total ale in the on-trade. CGA data also show that Belhaven enjoys far and away the highest rate of sale among the top 5 keg ale brands in Scotland, as being able to command a higher average price per pint. That means a winning combination of volume throughput and margin for the publican and to put that into context, latest CGA data shows that each Belhaven Best stockist currently generates £100 more in sales per outlet per week than each Caledonia stockist. Having said that, the total keg ale market volume has been in decline for some time. As the market leader, we are looking at a combination of increased in outlet activation on Belhaven Best and innovation to engage consumers and help the trade generate increased value in draught ale overall, despite the underlying category decline in keg ale.” There’s no doubt its a win win for licensees who are benefitting from extra support from the brands... but Caledonia has a firm objective in mind. It is aiming to knock Belhaven off the top spot next year! Although the Scottish keg ale market is dominated by Caledonia and Belhaven Best in terms of voice, McEwan’s is also a player. It was bought by Wells & Young’s just over a year ago, and it still commands around 20% of the keg ale market, with particular strong holds in the likes of Dundee, and the North East. Heineken’s John Smith’s is also a familiar font on the bar, and its recent ABV drop by 0.2% to 3.6%, will, I doubt, hardly have an impact on its drinkers, and says John Gemmell, Trading Director North, On Trade Sales for Heineken UK, “We have taken the duty savings and shared them with the licensees.” This year Heineken intends to give more support and exposure to its Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh, the home of Deuchars IPA, the most popular cask ale in Scotland.  John Gemmell explains, “We haven’t focussed on cask for a while, but due to a shift in consumer perceptions, and a new era of cask drinkers, we believe that this side of our business offers real potential. Craft brewing is huge in the USA and Australia, and when cask last had its resurgence it was a completely different type of consumer. The old fashioned idea of a cask ale drinker with a woolly jumper and a beard, is gone. New consumers are younger, and have a keen interest in the back story. It’s no coincidence that hoppier beers are becoming more popular. Younger drinkers are 14 DRAM FEBRUARY 2013

looking for more complex flavours and that’s exactly what cask ale offers.” Julian Grocock, Chief Executive of the Society of Independent Brewers, agrees with him and was recently quoted as saying,”There’s more of a sipping culture than supping culture with cask.” and he suggested that one of the reasons for the increased popularity of cask/craft was that it was a “middle class hobby” now, and there were less stereotypes of bellies, beards and sandals.” There are two reasons that cask is enjoying a revival (plus 9%) one is that ex-chancellor, Gordon Brown, gave 50% tax relief to the smallest beer producers in 2002, and the second is that it has a trendy new name ‘craft’. In the US they don’t talk about cask they call it craft and its huge in the US. It accounts for some 6% of the total beer market in the U.S, (2011) compared to around 2% here. In fact there are just under 2,000 craft brewers in the States – but more than half of the beer comes from brew pubs. A trend that started here a few years ago. The most successful of which are undoubtably BrewDog’s pubs and West Brewery at Glasgow Green. In Scotland, there is a wealth of good independent brewers who could quite comfortably fit in the trendy ‘Craft’ beer category. It’s difficult to say which brewery is the most successful, because it depends on how you judge it... Innis and Gunn certainly have the edge when it comes to exports, BrewDog has certainly engaged younger consumers and brought in new consumers to the category better than anyone else, and purely through social media and shock tactics, while West has created some great products, particularly St Mungo’s. Harviestoun is a good, solid business, which doesn’t court publicity like some others, and Sulwath also works away steadily. Obviously there are a wealth of others too – in fact 44 in total! A new brewery which is already making its mark is the Eden Brewery in St Andrews, which is run by former Molson Coors and Glenmorangie man Paul Miller. He told DRAM, “It’s hugely exciting being able to innovate and bring new and fresh beer to the market. Consumers are looking for choice and more innovation rather than the same old. And in the craft category, consumers have a voice, and suppliers who listen to and reflect what consumers want can directly benefit.” He continues, “There is also a great opportunity with cask/craft, especially when it comes to the tourist market – and I’m really looking forward to the likes of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, The Ryder Cup and the 2015 Open which takes place at St Andrews.” In 2011, cask/craft volumes grew for the first time in 20 years. Variety it seems is the spice of life, and certainly cask/craft has had more coverage in the press due to the likes of BrewDog... and its aim to have the World’s strongest beers... although another Scottish brewery Brewmeister took that title in October with ‘Armageddon’, hailed as The World’s Strongest and priciest Scottish beer at 65% ABV and topping BrewDog’s ‘End of History’ brew at 55% ABV – mind you there were only a dozen bottles of the latter. All this adds interest and gets people talking... which is where we came in.





hen Craig Gardner decided to drop Chemistry at University for a career in the hospitality industry, it was definitely a good move. Nearly 25 years on he is Area General Manager for Hilton Hotels in Scotland the north of England and Northern Ireland, including the Hilton Glasgow, The Caledonian, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel and some five other hotels. He is a busy man, but he also manages to have a fairly hectic social life supporting as he does various charities such as the Hospitality Industry Trust (HIT) and the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice. In fact he achieved internet notoriety when he became a You tube sensation as the ‘The Singing Hotel Manager’ in 2011. To promote a charity event at the Hilton Glasgow based on the theme ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ he was videoed practising his moves in various locations throughout Hilton Glasgow including on its reception desk, in a guest’s shower and on a grand piano. You can see it on But that’s Craig for you, he is, say his friends and colleagues, good fun but at the same time very professional. But it all could have been so different. Says Craig, “I kind of fell into the hotel industry after getting a job behind the bar while at university. Stakis invited me to join their management training scheme and I ended up working in Edinburgh and then The Grosvenor in Glasgow before heading down South.” By the age of 26 Craig was general manager of the Stakis at Newbury, and went on to manage a few other hotels before getting the opportunity to go to Stockholm to open the Hilton’s first Swedish Hotel. Craig comments, “Hilton had just bought Scandic Hotels, and they wanted to turn it into their first Scandinavian Hilton. It wasn’t easy because I arrived there on 4th September 2001 and a week later there was the tragedy of 9/11 – not the best time to open a five-star hotel.” During his stay in Sweden Craig decided not to go down the ex-pat route but instead socialised with Swedes, and sent his children to Swedish schools. He says, “I was there for two years, and it was a fantastic experience and really broadened by mind.” He continues, “The hospitality industry in Sweden was very different when it came to culture but the hospitality principles remained the same. For instance Swedes are very inclusive, you could sit round a table for two hours with your managers, and discuss an initiative - you might leave thinking it might happen, but it wouldn’t unless you had everyone’s consensus!” When he came back to the UK he headed to Manchester where he oversaw the pre-build of the Deansgate Hilton, and then the call came in 2004 to see if he would return to Glasgow to Hilton Glasgow, and look after two other hotels as well – The Hilton 16 DRAM FEBRUARY 2013


Glasgow Grosvenor in the West End and Hilton Strathclyde. Subsequently the group split its hotel estate into two divisions – and Craig was tasked with looking after its Metro division which consisted of big city centre hotels. Craig comments, ‘Today my schedule is certainly varied. I do try and visit all the hotels, I think that is important. But with communications being so effective, it is not hard keeping in touch with the various hotels that I look after. Each of them are key businesses for their city’s economies and major employers and are either top or number two in their markets but there are a lot of variances. For instance Liverpool has a very different focus from say Edinburgh. This keeps the job interesting but there is one common theme - to be the best we can in the market place.” “We have a reputation to uphold and we definitely focus on quality and service and try and balance that with conversion to profit. To be successful in the long-term you have to invest in the product and your people. The Hilton has a brand-ownership structure – some are leases, others management contracts, but very few are owned. It’s no longer about real estate, our core business is hospitality. And in all our contracts there is an agreement built in, a percentage of spend, that has to go on investing in the hotel. This helps protect the Hilton brand.” He cites the example of a hotel that fell by the wayside due to a lack of investment... The Albany Hotel in Glasgow. Says Craig, “In the mid-80’s The Albany was the UK Hotel of the year. It was the place to go and be seen, but a lack of investment and various changes of ownership meant that when the latest owners took over it was more profitable to knock it down than run it.” “The Glasgow Hilton on the other hand was built well, and over the last eight years Hilton must have spent £10M on refurbishment to keep the hotel up to a 5 star standard.” The most recent investment included three new dining concepts – Connich Bar, Morblas Restaurant and the Ti Lounge. Craig explains, “If you don’t continually improve your offering, and don’t focus on providing excellent service in a comfortable environment then a hotel is only a big box full of smaller boxes. We need to continuously review the quality, service and experience we are offering to differentiate ourselves from the competition. When you do provide quality and service customers will happily pay the rates you need to continue to reinvest.” The new look was revealed to guests at the recent 20th birthday celebrations, but the celebrations were nearly stymied when drinks supplier Waverley TBS went into administration. Luckily Matthew Clark came to the rescue, and continues to supply the hotel. Craig obviously enjoys the variety that his job brings. He says, “It’s not really comparable to any other business, because no other business has customers that range from Presidents (Bill Clinton) to Mr and Mrs Smith who are staying at a big hotel for the first time to celebrate their 50th anniversary! From pop stars (Cheryl Cole) to Prime Ministers (all of them since the hotel FEBRUARY 2013 DRAM 17


opened with the exception of Margaret Thatcher...) But I also it and put on a show that will last in the memory of the people who like the competitive side of things. We have very sophisticated come or who watch it on TV. We have to promote the great things measures which allow us to measure our performance against that Scotland has to offer and build on what is a key driver of the our competitors – whether we are retaining or gaining business economy – but one that’s not always recognised - the hospitality or outperforming in the market – it’s good fun. But in Scotland we and tourism sector which is vital to Scotland’s economic health. don’t have one clear competitor. We have the biggest reach of “Sometimes there is empty rhetoric with regard to how great any hotel brand in Scotland in what we find is a vibrant economy Scotland is – I don’t think the emphasis on the movie ‘Brave’ particularly in the hospitality and leisure sector. That’s why we are did enough for tourism in this country and we’ve heard little of continuing to expand here. Blackstone, a it’s impact since the launch. We need private equity company who now own the right focus in the right areas when Hilton, want to expand their brands it comes to the Ryder Cup and the outside of Hilton and that’s why we now Commonwealth Games – both events are have Doubletrees and Garden Inn Hotels a springboard for the country to promote in Scotland and in the near future we hope itself and we have to grasp it.” to introduce Hampton Inns which come Because he covers the country Craig is under our focussed service banner.” For aware of the cultural differences between that read budget. the key cities. For example he tells me that Another area of growth that the business there is a lot of money in Manchester and has embraced is Social Media. Says Craig, Liverpool, and he believes that Manchester “We have invested massively in social is fast becoming the UK’s second city, media. The change in people’s lifestyles while Liverpool is the new kid on the block means that people now want to be able and Newcastle is really buzzing. His one to book 24/7 – as a consequence our area of concern is Northern Ireland. internet bookings have seen double-digit He says, “We have had some highs and growth every year for the past 10 years. some lows there. However over the past The increased use of social media also few years confidence has grown. The “2013 WILL BE influences more and more where people economy stabilised and the leisure sector CHALLENGING choose to go – there is absolute visibility was growing rapidly in what is a fantastic EVERYWHERE, of the best deals and what people think location. Last year Belfast was booming AND I’LL BE of it (TripAdvisor). People make far more helped by the ‘Titantic exhibition’ and we CONCENTRATING ON informed decisions than ever before. had a fantastic year. But the issues that MAINTAINING OUR That’s one of the reasons that brands are are there now will affect business if they MARKET SHARE, OUR so big in hospitality, our visibility hasn’t are prolonged.” diminished the popularity of the brand, He has some challenges for this year, one SERVICE AND QUALITY and we do invest in the internet to ensure of which is to make sure the Caledonian OF OUR OFFERING.” that we reach, and are as accessible to, in Edinburgh has the right market CRAIG GARDNER as many people as possible worldwide.” positioning – it’s the only Waldorf Astoria However its not all plain sailing. Says Craig, in the UK and a real jewel in the heart of “You have to take a balanced view. With Edinburgh. TripAdvisor, guests can have exactly the same meal and exactly Says Craig, “Repositioning the hotel in the luxury market and the same room, but can feel different about the experience which getting our message out regarding the refurbishment and the demonstrates why our business is not just about product but introduction of our new bars, restaurants and Guerlain Spa (again, about emotion and how we meet different customer expectations. the only one in the UK) may take a little time. The Pompadour I do think it would be better if there was more transparency with and Galvin Brasserie De-Luxe under the Michelin star rated Galvin regard to TripAdvisor’s ratings as they are not just based on brothers is bringing new guests to the hotel, who have also been the customer scores.” Having said that, the Hilton Glasgow was giving it great reviews.” awarded the 2012 TripAdvisor certificate of excellence. Craig concludes, “2013 will be challenging everywhere, and I’ll be Craig believes that business this year will be tough. But next year concentrating on maintaining our market share, our service and will be significant. He comments, “The Hilton Glasgow will play a quality of our offering. I don’t believe on resting on your laurels, prominent role with regards to The Commonwealth Games and people who do, no matter their business, don’t do well.” The Ryder Cup. It’s great for Scotland but we need to capitalise on There’s no fear of that then! 18 DRAM FEBRUARY 2013

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ALEC TROUSDALE General Manager, The Queens Arms, Edinburgh

GREG BUTCHER Assistant Manager, The Left Bank, Glasgow

“A brand I have always loved and respected is Auchentoshan Three Wood. It’s so versatile as a pre-dinner or afterdinner drink, and it works so well in both mixed, and in stirred drinks. It’s the quality of this product that won me over rather than its cool credentials. I have no interest in what other people think of my drinking preferences.”

“Jeremiah Weed Root Brew is what I’m loving right now. The branding and image are excellent, and this is of course matched by the taste.”

BRIAN FLYNN Licensee, Behind the Wall, Falkirk “Laphroaig 10 year old. It’s the most unusual, delicate and fine taste of Islay that there is.”

JOANNA LEVACK Assistant GM Home, Glasgow “I heart Havana Club 7 year old, either on its own with a squeeze of fresh lime, or with diet coke. I used to be a Sailor Jerry nut, but two years on, I’m still very much a staunch Havana convert. It tastes unlike any other rum – just superb.”


ANGUS WELCH GM, Tickety Boo’s, Dundee “I have to say The Botanist gin. It’s such a cool, square bottle for starters – then there’s the smooth taste that’s unparalleled. I could quite happily drink it straight (not that I do!).”

. . . e v o we l STUART BROWN Duty Manager, The Parkville, Blantyre

“Smirnoff Red is what I’ve been drinking since I turned 18, a decade ago. I know that there are lots of other vodka brands to choose from, but I always go back to Smirnoff, as it’s smooth and I never tire of it.”

IAN SANDERSON GM, Tiki Bar & Kitsch Inn, Glasgow

ANDREW STRANG Licensee, The Roxy, Irvine “A pint of Foster’s wins every time and that’s the way it’s been for the past ten years. There are many lagers to choose from, but it’s the Foster’s taste that I love.”

GREGOR MUNN GM, Brutti Compadres, Glasgow

JIM ANDERSON Licensee, The Anderson, Fortrose

“I used to love Tanqueray, but now I really love Tanqueray 10. It’s such a smooth gin to drink, as well as being the ideal base for a Gin Martini.”

“Seeing as it’s the love issue, I’d have to go for BrewDog Hardcore IPA. For me, it’s everything that a drink should be – delicious, strong and iconoclastic.”

JAMES McEWEN Duty Manager, The Stag, Aberdeen

DAVID HALL GM, Tigerlily Edinburgh

“I’m loyal to Tennent’s and have been now for years. I used to work in Frankenstein in Aberdeen many moons ago and Miller was the house lager so I had a brief fling with that then, but I soon went back to Tennent’s, and I’ve never strayed since!”

“I received a bottle of Bowmore 15 year old as a gift recently, and now I’m a super fan. Apart from anything else, it reminds me of times I spent on Islay – and of course it tastes superb.”

“Angostura rum does it for me, and it’s probably the most awarded rum range in the world. I love it because it is Britishstyled, palatable, and the 3, 5 and 7 year olds are really versatile for cocktails. A notch up, and you get the flagship 1919, and 1824 rums, which are stunning and equally great over ice as well as mixed.”

TOM KING Co-owner, The Drymen Inn “Estrella Damm is my favourite lager because it tastes great.”

PAUL CONNOLLY GM, Amicus Apple Edinburgh “I’m drinking Patrón XO Café tequila like it’s going out of fashion. It’s a fantastic, good time spirit that’s fun to drink on a night out with friends.”


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he zest that brothers Rahul and Pravesh (Bubbles) Randev have for their business has translated once again into another welcome addition to their burgeoning portfolio that includes The Eagle Lodge in Bishopbriggs and Lenzie’s Rasoi. The £1M Richmond, on the site of the former Bar Bola on Glasgow’s Park Road, is nothing short of immaculate. A stunning design by Ian Macleod of Magna Design has been enhanced by a high end outfit by Dimension Shopfitting. It opened last month. For those of you who may not be familiar with the unit, it’s landlocked, but with a view to the back of the Kelvin River. It’s over two floors, ground and basement, although it’s really only the ground floor that’s customer facing, as the basement houses the kitchens and the toilets. In its Bar Bola days the bar was along the far left hand-side wall with a wide and fairly steep staircase down to the toilets. Wrought iron work and light wood dominated. The Randev refurbishment has obliterated any trace of its previous existence. Typically the brothers remained immensely hands-on throughout the entire process and brought to bear their own highly specific ideas, as Bubbles explains, “Firstly, we


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wanted to create an interior with standout. There are lots of great bars in the vicinity like Stravaigin, The Left Bank and DRAM! We wanted to bring something new to the table, and I think that we’ve managed this at The Richmond with its 1920s look, in fact the inspiration for the name came from an old Glasgow cinema of the same name that dates back to that era.” So how does the finished result look? From the black mosaic tiled frontage and the simple white signage, you’re into a vestibule with an ‘R’ embedded into more mosaic tiles, this time on the floor. Once inside, I’m sure that you’d be as struck as I was on the interior which has at its heart the beautiful centrepiece bar. It’s a beautifully constructed glass and wood structure that allows the generous amount of natural light at the front to stream to all corners of the bar, and this is all contrasted by a clean white bar top and slatted bar front. The back of the bar is mainly glass which allows anyone looking at the bar from behind a view of the neatly arranged wine bottles, and saves what could have potentially become a bit of a dead area. The staircase has now been moved to the far right hand-side and walled off. Directly to the front of the bar as you enter are some circular tables, and in parallel with these are square tables and chairs in the niches of the windows. To the far side of the bar is a long high top posing table which leads into the darker back area with views through the tall, slim windows over the River Kelvin. This area is also populated with the circular tables and comfy low slung upholstered seating. Further round again, the nearside of the bar is a corner banquette with its own private long tall window on the river. The exposed brick wall behind it has been enhanced by the use of up-lighting and wooden compartments – and this is perhaps my favourite corner of The Richmond. All the table tops have a mosaic/chessboard finish and the bucket seating is low slug with the accent firmly on style and comfort. Presiding over the lot is an extraordinary full timbre ceiling with a panelled medieval look to it, and strung around its perimeter, a chain of lights that, according to assistant manager Lorna Keenan, are attracting the majority of comments from customers so far. Bubbles is also a big fan. “The lights look great, and the bulbs with the exposed filaments on the old chord is exactly what we envisaged. Lighting is always a big talking point.” The tiled mosaic floor is clean and white, and contrasts fantastically well with the exposed stone walls, wooden panels and the large clusters of sophisticated looking mirrors that give the space, which isn’t the most expansive, an airier feel. And these little touches prevent the old fashioned interior from descending into fustiness – there’s nothing staid about The Richmond at all. The basement houses the toilets and it’s quite a trek down to them, made all the more pleasurable by a gun metal grey colour scheme and lighting with an oblong of exposed brick work halfway down. The toilets themselves are gender-specific individual cubicles, all self-contained, and all stylishly fashioned from exposed brick and grey panelling against the white porcelain. Based on the design alone The Richmond should fit right into and enhance a part of the West End that’s already rich in outlets that are known for excellent quality and operational standards.




here are some refurbishments that go all out to capture that familiar, comfortable vibe that can take years to hone. The Huxley, the ground floor bar at Edinburgh’s Rutland Hotel, has pulled this off after its £200K overhaul by owner Signature Pubs, revealed late last month. Interior design consultancy Tibbatts.Abel was drafted in to reimagine the Rutland Street hotel, which also has its fair share of inventive touches. According to marketing manager, Leanne Rinning, who along with GM Murray Ward kindly showed me round, the current economic climate had a large bearing on what was delivered. She said, “When we last refurbished the Rutland around five or so years ago, it was before the economic downturn, so the interior design reflected this in being a lot more opulent and glitzy. Now, in light of what’s happened in the world since, we’ve gone for more of a down-to-earth, sociable, eclectic look. So far, our customer feedback has focused on the comfort factor and how cosy it is, despite being a sizable space, so what we set out to do hasn’t gone unappreciated.” And it wasn’t just Signature boss Nic Wood who kicked about ideas with the designers, as GM Murray Ward explained, “Nic is very hands-on, but all the staff were invited to contribute, and so they all became involved in some way or other, and this made for a design that’s more operationally friendly for starters.” And this exercise also unearthed some other interesting gems. Murray said, “We found out that one of the bar managers had a friend who was qualified in woodwork, and she went on to make our wooden menu holders. It’s attention to detail and utilising independent Scottish businesses that has contributed greatly to 26 DRAM FEBRUARY 2013

BY JASON CADDY what we’ve done here.” The red and black heaviness of old has been obliterated, and replaced by a colour scheme of light greys and greens, bringing an airiness you’d expect from a corner unit with a wall of windows. To describe the rest of the interior would take an eternity as it’s so busy, so I’ll concentrate on the highlights. Reducing the size of the bar hasn’t chipped away at its impact, in fact it’s more arresting than it used to be. It was constructed from scratch and rebuilt using stainless steel. The bar front is clad in an antique tile that’s bathed in a green LED light. Above the wooden bar top is a black wrought iron shelf that looks like a cage which serves as a gantry, and this frees up the white tiled back bar which, unusually, is lined with wall-mounted beer fonts. The bar overlooks the main body of the kirk which is partitioned with a curved burnt orange banquette facing away from the bar and towards the windows. Tables and an array of contrasting comfy chairs are dotted about elsewhere, and there’s a black metal sculpture bolted on to the ceiling that looks a bit like a map of the London underground. Hanging from this are bell-shaped black pendant lights. The imaginative lighting merits a mention in itself and has been garnering a lot of positive feedback. A circular cluster of black angle-poised lamps resemble a giant spider on the ceiling, although I’m told that this wasn’t intentional. Wall mounted lights made from a few bottles and piping also look great. The Huxley has a few nooks and crannies which have their own individual little quirks. In one corner customers can hide away with a view up Lothian Road, there’s another with a Chesterfield that’s not overlooked by the rest of the bar, but overlooks the bar

itself. Then, right at the back of the bar, in the furthest left hand corner, is a raised area that’s all on its own. There’s another unusual light fitting here made from black netting, like a large hat from Ladies Day at Ascot, with some dog-themed pictures and hot dog signs that reflect part of the bar’s food offering. And quirkiness goes hand in hand with an unhurried service ethos that they hope will resonate with the people of Edinburgh. Says Leanne, “Some might say the design has a vintage quality and it’s also fairly unique in places, with the tiling at the front of the bar and little touches like the table top tea caddies and the old treacle tins, the contents of which have ended up on my icecream! The seating encapsulates a little bit of everything and is fairly eclectic. We want the Huxley to be the home of social entertainment, and it’s arguably one of the best bars for people watching in the capital. We want to encourage an environment where customers can come in and have a coffee and a blether and leisurely graze on food. It’s very much a home from home.” One of the major operational changes was the bar reduction, and this has opened up the space considerably. Said Murray, “We’ve downsized the bar by about 50%, but we have a lot more storage space than before, and there are about 30 extra covers now, plus additional standing space, and this helps the customer flow.” With this re-design Signature has turned the page on a new chapter on the history of The Rutland, which, as a unit, is now a lot more multi-faceted. Murray explains, “We had a lot of brainstorming about the name The Huxley and we looked at the history of the building and such, but we came up with the name arbitrarily, which I think suits what we’re doing here. We launched Kyloe Gourmet Steak Restaurant and Grill a year ago, and with the best of intentions, we wanted to slightly distance ourselves from that so that we could bring operationally independent premises under the one roof.” FEBRUARY 2013 DRAM 27

Donald Macleod, CPL Managing Director




appy, erm! New Year everyone! Hope it’s a belter, and your tills are dementedly ringing, sorry bleeping. Right enough, for many, given the past few years downturn in trade, and the reality of recession, anything that breaks the current cycle of doom and gloom is welcome, though the chances of that happening are as rare as a day without rain. January/February are traditionally quiet months; cold, wet and miserable and that’s just the punters including skint clubbers who waddle around like giant pelicans because of the huge bills stuck in front of them. As for licensees, well many now wear waders as they try to navigate their way through a sea of debt, many sadly fated to drown as the waves become a tsunami that threatens to come crashing down destroying their business, livelihoods and self esteem. Believe me I’m trying to be optimistic and up beat as I write this but it’s hard, set as it is, against the amount of ‘To Let’ signs that have sprung up, decorating our main thoroughfares like oversized sandwich boards. The pub closures, the job losses and redundancies, the inevitable price rises from brewers, the cheap drink promos that are sucking licensees down into a back hole in a vain effort to be competitive, combined with an increasingly sparse and skint public and of course, just for good measure, the insufferable intransigence of the banks to deal don’t make it easy to think positively. However these are desperate and worrying times no matter what industry or profession you are in. Still 2013 may for many be but for many others the future is beginning to look surprisingly bright, maybe not orange, especially down Govan way but bright all the same. Apparently food and bar restaurants did surprisingly well over the Xmas period and that happily looks set to continue, it was a mixed bag with pubs and clubs. CPL did relatively well over the piece, up by around 14%, but it was a hard slog and down to careful event planning, astute management and cautious monitoring of our staff costs. We were also helped massively by the fact that we have three very strong

brands the public trust and enjoy visiting… The Cathouse, Garage and The Tunnel. Others as I have said were not so lucky and, given the massive drop in visits to the city centre by the general public, they suffered greatly, possibly fatally. 2014 may be tagged as Scotland’s Year what with the Commonwealth Games, Ryder Cup and most importantly our day of destiny at the polls and the question of Independence (I hear James M has already ordered 2 tonnes of St Andrews bunting for Royal Exchange Sq... ha ha) but 2013, as far as licensing is concerned, might want to be tagged as the year of change. We will have the yes/no decision from Brussels on the introduction of minimum pricing finally delivered and the Scottish Governments consultation for ‘Further Options For Alcohol Licensing’ to read and reply to... a paper which I urge every licensee, publican and trade body (on and off) to input to, and here in Glasgow a change to the city’s statement of licensing policy. This is another document which we should pay attention to, and carefully scrutinise. We have had change already taking place within the SIA and more will undoubtedly follow and of course the major change come April-April the 1st I might add (No joke!) - to Scotland’s Police Force. A change which see them amalgamated into one national force carrying with it for the first time a national licensing department. And to round it all off a very sobering change to the PPL tariff is threatened which if adopted could be the final nail in the coffin for many a struggling business. So it is as I say a year of change... Some say change is a good thing, that change is for the better, and I generally agree with that sentiment as long as it’s not just the copper variety currently being used by the punters as currency, but real common sense change. Personally I would like to see a change in the act to stop pubs kidding on they are clubs and have their hours peeled back. Pubs with pub hours, clubs with club hours. Seeemples. It’s obvious they don’t meet the same criteria for late night trading as clubs, so why are they given the same hours? But that, along with a debate on over provision, is an argument for another day. Meanwhile if you can accept the reality of the recession and adapt to its challenges, believe in your product, your service, your staff, your customer base, your ideals without compromising on price, then you might just stand a chance to weather this current storm and the challenges to come. Maybe that is all the change that’s needed! Loved the baaa’d news from Kerry in Ireland… Councillors are now allowing lonely depressed farmers to go out, get drunk and then drive home. It’s the sheep I worry about though when the farmer gets home!


he first month back after the festive season always flies in...because it is a great time to catch up with people, and this year has been no different. The good news is that although a bit slow to pick up, it seems that this Christmas was better than last, so hopefully 2013 will be a better year than 2012. As Craig Gardner of The Hilton says in our interview – there’s no point resting on your laurels. And we certainly won’t be. Jason Caddy has already been out and about with his TV head on interviewing some of Scotland’s leading entrepreneurs... check it out at – an area that we are really going to focus on this year. But what has impressed me with the people who I have talked to over the last four weeks is their determination, despite gut feeling that 2013 will be challenging, to deal with the business in hand and grow their businesses and stop harking back to the ‘good old days’. As one said, “It’s time to move forward.” I was very sorry to hear about the death of John Waterson. I think he was probably one of the first people in the licensed trade that I interviewed some 20 years ago... when he told me the story of his decision not to buy ‘The Horseshoe’ in Drury Lane... because he had a hole in his shoe! A decision he always kicked himself for. I remember him at the Scottish Licensed Trade’s Annual Conferences when he would wade into battle with the Bartons... I’m not sure that in some cases he didn’t do it to wake the rest of us up! He was a real character... See page 6 for a full obituary. I headed to Belhaven Brewery a few weeks ago for a Royal Visit – yes, Princess Anne dropped in to officially open its new brewing facilities. But it wasn’t her first visit to the brewery, she recalled her first visit 25 years ago. In fact she was very clued up on the brewery and on Scotland’s brewing history, and Colin Valentine of CAMRA also filled her in on some other pertinent details, while Belhaven Brewery Director George Howell filled her in on the developments over the last 25 years. It was also good to meet new MD Chris Houlton, who tells me he’s looking forward to getting out and about in trade. From a Carlsberg background he certainly knows his beer. It was an interesting visit for Graham Baird too... not least because... but I have promised not to tell! But here’s a photo of him with the Princess (top right.) It drives me mad when you order something at the bar and you don’t get what you asked for. As was the case recently. I was with an Italian friend and ordered a coffee and sambuca – we got the coffee and a dark spirit in a glass, however it didn’t taste like sambuca, and instead of being sticky it was watery. “Can I see the bottle?” I asked. But to no avail, after a lengthy perusal of the back bar the bar tender (despite the fact that there were only half a dozen customers in, and our glasses had just been poured) couldn’t find it! Then the manager appeared – as he flew past I asked what was it that we were drinking?” and the psychic manager replied right away some “xxxx

that xxxx supplies!” He hadn’t even stopped at the table to check what it was! Did he take if off the bill? no – the charge just under £14. Customer service... I don’t think so. On a positive note I’ve been to The Cochrane Inn in Ayrshire for lunch on a few occasions lately... the perfect place to go on a miserable Sunday afternoon. And the service has been impeccable as has the food. A country Inn that looks like a picture postcard, and inside the roaring fires and warm welcome, do just that, make you feel really welcome. The Hospitality Industry’s Annual bash takes place on 18th April at the Hilton Hotel. This theme this year is Circus. HIT raises cash to help people in the hospitality industry (that includes folk in the licensed trade) improve their skills. I do hope that this year there will be support from the licensed trade for HIT, after all it’s time the hospitality industry and the licensed trade worked more closely together.

... and ACTION!!

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Colin Beattie hosted the recent Glasgow Royalty Burns Night at Oran Mor. The Glasgow Royalty Burns Club was formed by a number of Glasgow publicans in a pub in Hope Street in 1882 and for the last two years Colin has been the President of the Club. Next year the honours will go to John Gilligan of Tennent’s. However this year John did the ‘Toast to the Lassies.’ A good night was enjoyed by all.

A £1M investment programme at Belhaven has been given the royal stamp of approval by Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal. The Princess Royal was given a tour around some of the new facilities at Belhaven’s 300-year-old brew house in Dunbar, during an official visit to East Lothian last month. Escorted by Belhaven Brewery Director George Howell, the Princess was shown new equipment including a stateof-the-art mash conversion vessel, which processes malted barley. The investment will also help reduce energy costs.

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. web. Editor: Susan Young • Chairman: Noel Young New Business Manager Lynn Kelly • Advertising Manager: Martin Cassidy • Editorial: Jason Caddy • Administration: Cheryl Cooke • Production: Gareth Neil 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 £52 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 2013. Printed by Meigle Colour Printers Ltd. 30 DRAM FEBRUARY 2013


DRAM February 2013  
DRAM February 2013  

February issue of Scotland's only dedicated licensed trade monthly magazine, DRAM