DRINKS RETAILING AND MARKETING
DRAM MAGAZINE July 2017 ISSN 1470-241X
L-R Steve Graham, Bob Taylor, Nolan Stewart, Steve Buckley, Ben O’Gorman & Michele Pagliocca
CYCLISTS RAISE CASH FOR BEN • MONTPELIERS FOCUS DRAM JULY 2017 1
DRINKS RETAILING AND MARKETING
can’t believe that we are hurtling towards the 2017 Awards. The good news is that all the mystery shoppers are out and about doing their bit. Unfortunately for the bars we have featured in this month’s design feature they are too late for New Bar of the Year... but there is always 2018! This month we have a special feature on Montpeliers followed by a design focus on the newly opened Rabble, and we also have design features on Brodies in Glasgow and the Fox & Willow in Ayr, as well as The Salvation of Leith. It’s been a baptism of fire for our new reporter Scott Fleming, who I hope you get to meet over the coming months. This months drinks feature focusses on low-alcohol and soft drinks, while we have a special photo montage of the recent Donna Mortimer-Bannatyne Trust Ball, which was great fun. This month’s cover features the intrepid cyclists who battled through rain and wind to raise cash for the BEN. See round up for the rest of the pics. Susan Young Editor email@example.com dramscotland.co.uk
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LOW ALCOHOL & SOFT DRINKS Some interesting facts to share with your customers.
FROM GOOD TO GREAT
David Johnston takes Susan Young through the changes at Montpeliers.
Some of the pictures from the recent Donna Mortimer Ballantyne Trust Ball.
Featuring Rabble, Edinburgh; Brodies, Glasgow; The Salvation of Leith and the Fox & Willow, Ayr.
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All the news on pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels.
All the latest brand news.
Straight talking from our very own Editor. DRAM JULY 2017 3
CHARITIES BENEFIT FROM BUZZWORKS PRO-SOCIAL BONUS SCHEME Buzzworks Holdings has revealed the four venues that came out on top with regard to their quarterly pro-social bonus scheme. Elliots in Prestwick took top prize and chose to gift its winning sum of £500 to Alzheimer Scotland. Second place was The Mill House in Stewarton, which presented Ayrshire charity Memories are Better than Dreams with £250 and Scotts Troon gave £150 to leading social care provider, Hansel Village. The final beneficiary of this quarter was Ayrshire Maternity Unit which Treehouse in Ayr awarded its £100 bonus. The scheme, introduced earlier this year, sees each Buzzworks venue compete against each other with regard to customerservice, sales, cleanliness etc with the winning outlets taking a share of £1,000 to gift to charities of their choice. Kenny Blair, Buzzworks Holdings MD, said, “We are delighted to reward winning venues and their chosen charities for the second round of our pro-social scheme. It’s believed to be the first of its kind in the hospitality industry and it’s our way of giving back and rewarding the hard work and dedication of our employees.”
NEW NIGHTCLUB TUXEDO SET TO OPEN Taking inspiration from New York’s neo-speakeasy scene, Tuxedo is a new nightclub that is set to open in the Glasgow’s Merchant City on Albion Street. This is the first Glasgow venture for Javier Gallardo. The underground club will feature luxurious booth seating, dancefloors and two VIP suites. A spokesperson for Tuxedo said, “The vision for Tuxedo was to create a bar and clubbing experience in the city to rival all others.”
Have you Heard? Robert Mullen (Bobsy) has taken over the lease of Glasgow Merchant City bar Rab Ha’s. He told DRAM, “I get the keys in August and we will re-open mid August after giving it a make-over.” He continues, “The funny thing is it is I used to manage this bar and in fact it is where I met my wife Angela in 1991 and now we are going back.” Bobsy, who owned The Universal and The Griffin both of which he has now sold, is also gearing up for the Kelvingrove Bandstand Summer Nights events – he is operating the bars there. His also has plans to open an upmarket hotel on St Vincent Street. 4
DRAM JULY 2017
Leonardo Hotels has opened its first establishment in Scotland after investing more than £6m in the refurbishment of a former Premier Inn site in Edinburgh. The Leonardo Royal Hotel Edinburgh has 282 rooms and is located close to Haymarket railway station in the capital’s city centre. Daniel Roger, Managing Director Leonardo Hotels Europe, said, “We are proud of the fact that the Leonardo Royal Hotel Edinburgh, coupled with our hotel in London, represent a successful market launch in the UK, which we will continue to develop in future with other projects. “Our business model is never to open just one hotel in a new area. Since 2006, we have opened 63 hotels and we are already reviewing our plans for further growth in Scotland. “Although the full renovation of all the rooms, the lobby and the restaurant at the Leonardo Royal Hotel Edinburgh has yet to be completed, we are already able to offer guests the trademark standards of quality, style and design associated with the Leonardo brand.” The design of the new hotel was created by interior designer Andreas Neudahm and continues the Leonardo Hotels’ philosophy of developing hotels that each have their own character with a clear link to their location.
PUNCH INVEST IN TWO MORE SCOTTISH PUBS IN THE WEST More than £330K has being invested transforming the former New Inn on Avenue End Road, in Millerston into the Dug n Duck. The refurbishment was a joint project between Punch and publicans, Ian and Irene Knotts, who took over seven months ago. The pub also has introduced a new menu, and not just for their human customers, there’s now a dog menu too. Meanwhile The Burrell in Glasgow’s Pollokshaws Road will reopen this month as The Boyd Roderick after an investment of £280K. The work currently underway includes extensive redecoration throughout and changes to the layout, including an extension of the kitchen. The Punch-owned pub is now being operated by Campbell Dickson and Calum Gillies of Caledonian Skye Ltd, which already runs a number of successful outlets including the Caledonian Café and the Portree Hotel on the Isle of Skye. Looking forward to welcoming customers when the Boyd Roderick opens is manager, Kevin Murphy. Kevin has more than 25 years in the pub and restaurant trade and has previously worked at Rogano and the Urban Bar and Brasserie in Glasgow. He said: “The Boyd Roderick has always had lots of potential and this investment will allow us to transform it in to a stylish pub, serving a range of freshly prepared Scottish produce alongside a selection of quality beers and wines.”
NEWS TULLIS’ CHICKEN AMBITION REALISED
Italian Wine Café set to open their second site Veeno, The Italian Wine Café is opening its second site in Edinburgh at the Quartermile Development. The cafe which champions Italy’s after-work culture of drinking, nibbling and relaxing, and specialises in family grown Sicilian wine as well as authentic Spuntini including platters of meats, cheese and other appetisers imported from selected Italian producers, now has 12 outlets across the UK. The interiors design and fit-out project is being managed by The Master Key Group. Giada Schioppa architect and director of the company said “We have come a long way with Veeno, from supporting them a t the early stages of the expansion to managing the full fit-out in t he recently opened venues and are looking forward to making the magic happen once again”. The new cafe is at 11 Lister Square.
CLG INVESTS £2M This month sees the opening of Brewhemia in the basement of the Scotsman building which was formerly Sportsters Bar & Diner and City Nightclub. Owners Castle Leisure Group (CLG) have invested £2m in the new food, drink and entertainment venue. Tracey McRorie, Commercial Director of CLG explains, “Brewhemia was born from our vision to create a completely new venue concept. A place where everyone can come together to enjoy great company, delicious food, great drinks and even better entertainment, with a choice of environments
across the venue that evolve throughout the day in line with our customers’ needs. We want to appeal to people of all ages and will strive to accommodate every event, from a family lunch to a night of cocktails. The ethos of Brewhemia is “For the love of adventure” and we have worked very hard to encapsulate this adventurous spirit through each and every aspect of the brand.” The interior will have five separate areas, each with their own identity and story to tell and the building will also house six giant copper beer tanks.
Edinburgh entrepreneur Jim Tullis has realised one of his ambitions – and opened a restaurant called Spatch which has chicken at its core! Tullis, the boss of Merchant Leisure, which also operates the Newsroom and Burgers and Beers Grillhouse, had the idea a number of years ago, and is now wowing locals and tourists alike with his spatchcocked chicken which is cooked over charcoal. The new restaurant is at Hunter Square in Edinburgh, but as well as chicken it also serves wings, fillet steaks and burgers and more.
Monty’s Bar and Restaurant has opened on Radnor Street on the site of the former Montgomery’s Cafe. It has been totally refurbished (more next month) and offers the craft beer, wine and cocktails too as well as a menu which includes Scottish dishes. It is now being run by Ross Beattie and Danielle Dexter. Vapiano will open its first restaurant in Scotland at St Andrew Square in Edinburgh having signed a 25-year lease. The 8,770 sq ft unit will open on South St David Street in October serving up pasta, pizza and salads. The Grassmarket is to get a Tiki bar in the shape of 52 Canoe. The new bar will be along the lines as the former 52 Canoe in Melville Street which closed recently, and is owned by Amanda Caygill.
MOSKITO IS PUT ON THE MARKET One of Glasgow’s best loved late night bars, Moskito, has been put up for sale by owner Neil Connolly, who opened the bar in 2000. A favourite with bartenders, the bar has stood the test of time with its clientele coming from all walks of life. The location on the corner of Douglas Street and Bath Street, one of Glasgow’s main licensed circuits, will ensure a lot of interest in the venue, which is being marketed through Smith & Clough, with offers over £375K invited. It has a capacity of 578 people, and also benefits, an outside terrace to the front and an enclosed garden area to the rear and a 3am licence.
Yo! Glasgow Central is the latest Yo Sushi to open in Glasgow. The state of the art restaurant is situated in the former Pizza Express site at 85 West George Street. Craig Tannock has expanded into Edinburgh with the opening of Harmonium on Henderson Street. Tannock, is credited with championing veganism in Glasgow with his Mono, Stereo and The 78 in Finnieston. The people who brought you burger restaurant BRGR are opening another eatery in Edinburgh. This time its a pizza place called Pizza Posto and is located on Nicolson Street across from the Festival Theatre. It will open shortly. DRAM JULY 2017 5
A NEW WAY TO ENJOY SCOTLAND’S NATIONAL DRINK
The range is fully approved by the Scotch Whisky Association.
Finnieston Fling Scotch whisky, ginger ale, lemon, lime and mint.
Shanghai Sour Scotch whisky, lemon and Lapsang honey.
Old Fashioned Green Tea Scotch whisky and green tea.
Scotch On The Beach Scotch whisky, ginger beer, vanilla and strawberry.
Drink Whisky how you like it, not how you’re told. A Glasgow-based drinks firm has announced the launch of its new range of unique Scotch whisky-blended cocktails and is already reporting strong interest from leading UK supermarkets. The Finnieston Distillery Company will launch its ready-to-drink Scotch whisky cocktails across the UK in June and is currently in negotiations with a number of supermarket retailers and on-trade outlets. The base for the drinks is Finnieston Distillery Company’s own premium blended Scotch whisky, created in partnership with specialist Scotch blenders, Douglas Laing & Co. A market first, the cocktails have been created in line with Scotch whisky’s international reputation and provenance but are also designed to appeal to people who might not see themselves as traditional whisky drinkers. James Doig, founder and CEO, commented: “Since we formed the business, our aim has been to take an innovative approach to Scotch. Obviously, there are certain traditions around Scotch whisky drinking but we take the view that people should drink it how they want, not how they’re told.” James also commented: “This is the ideal time for us– we’re a young Glasgow company, based on the fringes of Finnieston, which is now widely recognised as one of the most up and coming and fashionable areas of the UK.” Please get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.finniestondistillery.co.uk if you’re interested in finding out more information about the Scotch Whisky Cocktails.
DRAM JULY 2017
ALL THE L ATEST BRAND NEWS
FINNIESTON COMPANY TOASTS LAUNCH OF NEW WHISKY COCKTAILS
KOKORO GIN MOVES TO MANGROVE
A Glasgow-based drinks firm has announced the launch of a new range of unique Scotch whisky-blended cocktails. The Finnieston Distillery Company – formerly known as Dram2O – has launched its ready-to-drink Scotch whisky cocktails across the UK and is currently in negotiations with a number of on-trade outlets. The base for the drinks is Finnieston Distillery Company’s own premium blended Scotch whisky, created in partnership with specialist Scotch blenders, Douglas Laing & Co. A market first, the cocktails have been created in line with Scotch whisky’s international reputation and provenance, but are also designed to appeal to people who might not see themselves as traditional whisky drinkers. Finnieston Distillery Company’s entrepreneurial management team is led by founder and CEO James Doig and the firm has already attracted significant funding support from a number of investors. James Doig commented, “Since we formed the business, our aim has been to take an innovative approach to Scotch whisky by creating high quality, convenient, ready to drink cocktails with a strong identity. Obviously, there are certain traditions around Scotch whisky drinking - we take the view that people should drink it how they want, not how they’re told to. We believe we’ve produced a range which combines the best elements of traditional and contemporary flavours.”
Kokoro Gin, a Japanese-inspired London Dry Gin, which launched in 2016, has agreed an exclusive UK distribution deal with Mangrove, the specialist spirits agency. The deal will see the gin being marketed to the on-trade, offtrade, wholesalers, independents, supermarkets and other retailers through Mangrove’s network. Kokoro Gin, which is owned by Forest Spirits, has as its core ingredient, sansho berries, which are handpicked and imported to the UK from the Afan Woodland, a sustainable forest in the Nagano region of Japan. Combined with eight other botanicals, the sansho berries give Kokoro Gin its unique flavour. Nick Gillett, managing director of Mangrove, said, “Kokoro Gin expands our gin selection, offering a point of difference for our customers. The addition of sansho berries produces a gin with oriental nuances, adding unique flavours compared to the traditional style of gin.”
NEW MAHIKI COCONUT COCKTAILS
GLASGOW BROCKMANS WINNER
Three new Mahiki cocktails have been launched by Cellar Trends. The single serve 25cl cocktail cans - Treasure Chest, Pina Colada and Coconut Grenade are now available in the on-trade. All three feature Mahiki Coconut Rum liqueur as the base; this is a blend of Jamaican and Polynesian rums with Western Samoan coconuts. They follow the allnew Mahiki Coconut Rum liqueur which was launched in February 2017. The slim cocktail cans feature vibrant palm tree and exotic fruit designs and are distinctly coloured for each of the three cocktails. They come in cases of 24. The rum and new cocktails will be sampled to trade and consumers at rum festivals including Edinburgh. For UK trade enquiries: email@example.com
The Brockmans World Gin Day competition to find the world’s favourite #Brocktail - a cocktail created using the ‘gin like no other’ - attracted entries from bars in 12 countries and for the second successive year the winner, Sebastian Stanczyk from The Spiritualist, came from Glasgow. Brockmans is described as a gin like no other because of its distinctive taste profile with notes of blueberry, blackberry and bitter-sweet orange peel. Bars love to serve this gin as customers find it deliciously different. There were 118 entries via Instagram from bar-tenders and, after five days of voting by the public - with 9,100 votes cast from across the world through social media Sebastian won.
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BRAND NEWS Whiskey BULLEIT FIRES AHEAD WITH 10-YEAR-OLD EDITION Diageo Reserve has extended its range of Bulleit premium American Whiskeys with the launch of Bulleit Bourbon 10-Year-Old. The 45.6% ABV whiskey, the latest addition to Bulleit’s premium portfolio capitalises on the rising popularity of bourbon amongst UK consumers. The category has grown 4.4% in value. Nick Temperley, Head of Diageo Reserve GB, commented, “Bulleit is making gains in both the on and off-trade and outperforming the category - up 54% in volume. We are confident that Bulleit 10-Year-Old will add to the popularity of the Bourbon category, providing a fantastic base for a number of seasonal serves such as the Smoked Maple Old Fashioned.”
NEW BRANDING TAKES SOUTHERN COMFORT BACK TO ITS ROOTS Southern Comfort has revamped packaging and new positioning, with it being marketed as “The Spirit of New Orleans,” a nod to the brand’s connection to the colourful city for 140+ years. It has a new label, and now includes a robust 100 proof (50% ABV) expression specifically developed for the UK on-trade. The bottles have been made taller and slightly narrower and will retain their longstanding iconic fluted shoulders plus the signature of the creator, M.W. Heron. Kevin Richards, Senior marketing director at Sazerac, the brand owners, comments, “We believe the new packaging reinforces the brand’s authentic whiskey and New Orleans roots. New Orleans was an integral part of Southern Comfort’s positioning for decades. We’re excited to reinforce that critical connection into the future. Like Southern Comfort, New Orleans is adored for its uniqueness and spirited character.”
DRAM JULY 2017
HUDSON LAUNCHES 70CL BOTTLE William Grant & Sons UK brand, Hudson whiskey, has launched a 70cl format across its Baby Bourbon and Manhattan Rye expressions in the UK. After ten years at the forefront of craft distilling, Hudson, the first American whiskey distillery in New York since prohibition, is introducing the bigger bottle size in response to demand for a larger format from the UK on-trade. Ralph Erenzo, one of the two founders at Hudson whiskey comments, “We are changing to a bigger bottle, but we haven’t changed our process. We still make whiskey grain-to-glass at the Tuthilltown Distillery in the Hudson Valley. Everything was, and still is, done by hand. It’s been quite a journey, from regular folks making whiskey to award winning distillers.” Staying true to its craft and entrepreneurial nature, the brand will leverage the existing US 75cl bottle, under filled to 70cl to meet EU standards. The underfill method reflects how the brand previously bottled Hudson Baby Bourbon in a 35cl format using the US 37.5cl bottle when it first launched in the UK four years ago. Due to the exclusivity of the liquid, Hudson is only available in a small selection of top whisky bars, hotels and restaurants, and premium whisky specialists in the UK. Hudson Four Grain will remain in a 35cl format for the foreseeable future.
Cider KOPPARBERG ROLLS OUT ROSÉ Kopparberg is now rolling out Sparkling Rosé Cider across the On-Trade. Kopparberg’s premium 7% Sparkling Rosé Cider is available in two refreshing Strawberry and Raspberry fruit flavours and is the Swedish brand’s newest shareable proposition that aims to extend fruit cider into the traditional ‘sparkling wine’ drinking occasion. The recommended serve is in a champagne flute with a complementary fruit garnish. Rob Salvesen, Senior Marketing Manager at Kopparberg comments, “Kopparberg Sparkling Rosé Cider has been a real success story for us since its launch into the off-trade earlier this year. It’s why from now, we’re taking the steps to introduce the product into on-trade channels as well.”
‘PROVENANCE IS EVERYTHING’
APHI C GR AL
THE ONLY GIN MADE ON THE ISLE OF SKYE. I N AT I
From our dramatic landscape comes our small batch hand crafted gin, infused with the ‘spirit of Skye’. Contact us for distribution details. The Distillery, Viewfield Road, Portree, Isle of Skye, IV519ES firstname.lastname@example.org www.isleofskyedistillers.com
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DRAM AWARDS If you want to attend there are still some tickets available: Table of 10 – £1,200 (inc VAT) Individual ticket – £120 (inc VAT) Contact Cheryl on 0141 221 6965 or email email@example.com
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As recently as June Diageo set up a business development fund for new non-alcoholic brands, its objective being to invest £10,000 each in four non-alcoholic companies.
“I think No/Low alcohol world beers will continue to be an area of growth, especially as more consumers stop or cut down on the amount of alcohol they drink. With the changes to the drink driving laws in Scotland, the country has been a key area where our low alcoholic pils and weizen have flourished. We’re expecting big things over the months as these beers are prime examples of low alcoholic beers which provide plenty of flavour and character.”
“Although soft drinks will always be a popular choice for those not drinking, it won’t always be the preferred option. It’s important to stock non and low ABV alternatives to beer and wines for those still looking for the taste of something alcoholic. Tennent’s Hee-Haw is perfect for catering to the needs of those looking for a great tasting alcohol free beer. Designated drivers should not be forgotten about just because they’re not having a drink.” Alan Hay, Sales Director, Tennent’s
Low alcohol & non alcohol
Stephan Kofler, Sales and Marketing Director, Krombacher UK
CGA Strategy figures show that sales of low and non-alcoholic beer are now worth £28.9m to the UK on-trade, with value sales growing 6.4% year on year. AB InBev, the world’s largest brewers, are aiming for lower and non-alcohol beer to make up a fifth of their sales by 2025.
Ever wondered what the difference between low-alcohol and reduced alcohol drinks is? According to the charity Drinkaware, “ ‘Low alcohol drinks’ refers to drinks which have an ABV of between 0.5 and 1.2%, whereas ‘reduced alcohol’ means a drink has an alcohol content lower than the average strength of a particular type of drink. This means that wine with an ABV strength of 5.5% is a reduced alcohol wine, as opposed to a low-alcohol wine.”
Non-alcoholic beers have a celebrity fan in Glasgow. Comedian and writer Brian Limond, or ‘Limmy’, is often seen posing with bottles of Becks Blue or Erdinger Alkoholfrei in photos shared with his 300,000-plus Twitter following.
New York tends to be well ahead of the game, and Manhattan is now home to a non-alcoholic cocktail bar of all things. Abstainers there can head to misleadingly named The Drug Store for ‘hand-crafted elixirs’. The venue is a haven for hangover sufferers, but beware, it’s not cheap - a cup of Detox, containing freshly squeezed lemon and ‘activated charcoal’, costs $10.
Pl a the in w b ar e e s t p a t e r a in t e r f o r i s d r in m in h k s sale g m eU s zo arke K sof t i n 2 o m i n t o f la est 016 t g up 7 te, i ma o ted a tot .5% al w £22 o 6.1 r th o m. f DRAM JULY 2017 11
Americans surveyed by Detox.net in June quite literally trumped all of us who temporarily go off the sauce by pledging that they would give up alcohol forever if it meant President Donald Trump being impeached! Helpfully, the respondents were divided by political party, with 73% of Democrats and 17% of Republicans saying they would make the sacrifice. Conversely, 30% of Republicans said they would curtail their drinking if it lead to the media stopped writing negative stories about ‘The Donald’.
The UK tonics and mixers market is now said to be worth £305m a year, and one of the sector’s trailblazers is Franklin & Sons, owned by chef/rally driver/ entrepreneur Steve Perez’s Global Brands Ltd. Franklin & Sons’ tonics and mixers range from ginger beer to Scottish artesian water and they have a wide offering of soft drinks.
T he o f U t o t al sale K sof t value s £14 in 201 drink bn, 6w to a Br i t a c c o r d s ing v ic ’ Drin s S ks R of t e v ie w.
Low alcohol & non alcohol
Part of the fun of mocktails is the witty names. For the uninitiated, a Bloody Mary becomes a Virgin Mary in the mocktail world, a Mojito becomes a Nojito, and it’s Cuddles on the Beach - not Sex on the Beach.
Non-alcoholic beer is thought to have first appeared in America during the Prohibition years. It was then that the 0.5% ABV limit was arrived at, and it stands to this day. By the time Prohibition ended in 1933 many drinkers had developed a fondness for the weaker stuff, which partially explains the enduring popularity of light, low-calorie beers such as Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite in the States. 12
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Non-alcoholic versions of the majority of Kopparberg’s famous fruit ciders are now available, including established favourites Pear, Mixed Fruits and Strawberry & Lime.
A survey carried out by AB InBev last year revealed that 31% of UK drinkers have tried nonalcoholic beer, with 19% unable to tell it apart from the alcoholic version.
The traditional process of making nonalcoholic beer is simple – heat regular beer for 15-20 minutes at 175 Fahrenheit, add yeast and sugar. Unfortunately, doing it that way can rob the beer not just of alcohol but of flavour, but thankfully, alternative processes have been developed over the years that create a much more pleasing finish.
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BY SUSAN YOUNG
IT’S ALL CHANGE AT EDINBURGH BASED MONTPELIER’S. SUSAN YOUNG CAUGHT UP WITH DAVID JOHNSTON TO FIND OUT ALL ABOUT THE GROUP’S PLANS FOR THE WAY AHEAD.
dinburgh’s Montpeliers Group is widely regarded in the industry as being one of the most well-run businesses in the country. It has been at the forefront of training, championed cocktails, opened Scotland’s most stylish bars and two boutique hotels, one of which, Tigerlily, is known the world over. Therefore when owners David and Ruth Wither, and Robert and Wendy Elliott, put it on the market last year, it came as a surprise to many. What came as a bigger surprise was the fact that Revolution Bars emerged as the potential new owners. However despite months of negotiations, due diligence and such like, when the UK voted to pull out of Europe, Revolution pulled out of the deal. But as they say, ‘Every cloud has a silver lining’, and for Development Director, David Johnston (or DJ as he is better known), newly appointed MD Innes Bolt, Food Director Helen Robertson and Operations Director, Jamie McComb, it has resulted in them having the opportunity to take on the management of the company with a view to taking the business forward and growing it. The added carrot is that if they do this successfully there is the opportunity for them to be shareholders in any new business set up. This means that David Wither has become Chairman of the Group and has relinquished his day-to-day control. A new operating team has been put in place which has as a key objective the role of expanding the business. When I caught up with DJ he was in a very upbeat mood. He admitted that the last year was probably the most brutal since entering the trade 30 years ago, but the opportunity to drive Montpeliers forward was the outcome that they had all hoped for, even before it had gone up for sale. Says DJ, “David Wither didn’t really want to go down that route. He always believed in rewarding us and wanted to give something back to us. But perhaps the timing wasn’t quite right. Now, although we remain paid employees with bonus structures, we know that if we prove we can take the business forward that we could become shareholders in any new businesses that we do open. David is basically rewarding us by giving the management team the opportunity and infrastructure to do what we think is right with the company, but in a very controlled and measured way.” He continues, “We don’t have to borrow money, and the cash to grow the business will come out of the cash flow. We also have the infrastructure too of the core business and we will still benefit from David Wither’s input as well as Wendy Elliot’s support and expertise when it comes to the food and interior design plus Stuart Ross’ guidance. It is a perfect situation. It allows David, Ruth, Wendy and Rob, to step back a bit with the confidence that we will put our heart and soul into it. We perhaps took our foot off the accelerator when the sale was mooted, but now we are back with a bang.”
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L-R Innes Bolt, David Wither and David Johnston It’s 10 years exactly since DJ became a Director of Montpeliers and he has spent the majority of his career working with the group, rising to the role of Development Director in 2007. During that time he played a pivotal role in the development of all of Montpelier’s ventures including Indigo Yard, Rick’s, Opal Lounge, Candy Kitchen & Bar, its 33 room boutique hotel, bar and restaurant, Tigerlily, and adjoining nightclub, Lulu. He did leave briefly, but he returned after David Wither encouraged him back, and now they have also brought back Innes Bolt to the fold. Explains DJ, “David Wither and I started looking at a new business model for the company last October. It was a model which would allow him to step back from the business. He said to me it would be good to have someone on board who already understood the company intimately, as the model required an MD, and that is not a role suited to me. “ He explains, “I’m creative and I need my
FROM GOOD TO GREAT feet kept on the ground, but the natural person to take on that position was Innes. He had worked for us before and had come up through the ranks. When he left he was Operations Director. We had worked together for a long time – in fact since 1996 when Indigo Yard opened. He became Ops Manager after Karen Calvert left to set up the Papermill. When Innes left he joined Crerar Hotels, then went to Social Bite, and latterly he had been working with the Bon Vivant Group. But Innes, like me, wanted to be an owner and in fact, we had talked some time ago about finding a pub and setting up on our own, we had even spoken to the banks and brewers. But it fell through. There is no one I would rather be in business with, I would trust him with my life, not just the business!” DJ is in charge of development, marketing, conception, projects, PR and all things creative. While as MD, Innes is in charge of finance and operations. Says DJ, “Obviously there is a cross over but always
worked well together. He will be David Wither’s go-to. “Internally we are talking about moving the business from ‘good to great’. We want to put the focus back on the product we are operating. It is all very well doing cute marketing, but we have to be better. The great thing about Innes being back is that he has had new experiences and is making us look at the business with fresh eyes. Perhaps we have been too insular and inward looking. He has certainly been tearing the veils off our eyes. He asks us “Why” we have done things a particular way and he is making us re-look at the way we are doing things. Obviously, we have a few arguments, but that is healthy.” He continues, “Paula Greenan is now in charge of keeping the team ‘on point’ when it comes to ‘Good to great’. We are re-examining everything. We are asking ourselves “If that’s good, what does great look like?’ We’ve realised that despite spending four weeks going DRAM JULY 2017 15
FROM GOOD TO GREAT CONT
through the theory of what we want to execute, we still have to always wanted to do that, but it’s not just chicken we’ll have on offer. ensure that it is being executed correctly. To do this we need the There is pulled pork, salads and such like – a diverse enough menu for right people. Customers expect an experience now, and part of that mums or mates. We have also put in tank beer, we’ve just put it into experience is the quality of the service they receive. It’s not just Indigo too, and at Indigo it has been a real success. I’m not using the about being efficient, it is about having the right attitude. People word ‘craft’ anymore – we are just saying good beer. It doesn’t matter have to smile, they have to have their heads up, and they need the size of the brewery, if the beer is good, it’s good.” to have energy that is tangible. Body language is so important. Once the dust has settled on their latest venture the team will plan People have to be open, friendly their expansion. They are looking and appropriate. When margins at opening five to six new places are squeezed and squeezed, in the next five years. and staff have to work all the DJ is excited to be planning hours, it is difficult to have that new venues, “The amount of demeanour, so we are ensuring development that is going on that we are properly resourced. in Edinburgh is amazing. We We are good, but we get so are the number five city globally serious about it. We have to coming after cities like Dubai learn to enjoy it. If people enjoy and Singapore. It’s unbelievable. their jobs they stay longer, have I also think even the more more confidence and learn the downbeat parts of Edinburgh are job inside out. If people get their coming up. A lot of promises are food on a plate, on time, and coming to fruition. It is exciting to with brilliant service, they can walk around Edinburgh and the afford to relax and have fun. new Waverley is also exciting. This will translate into a much Even the High Street is more greater experience for all our appealing. I would have always customers.” steered away from the tartanDJ adds, “We are taking as esque street full of tourists, but much in-house as we can. This now, I would definitely consider it allows us immediacy. In the as a location. Ideally, we would David Wither and celebrity guest George Clooney past, we spent too much time like to have three or four new analysing things. Now, I hope if it venues in Edinburgh. But they is a good idea, it is a good idea will all be different – although and we can get on with it. And if the core offer will be the same. it is wrong we will do something we just have to be a bit smarter else.” when it comes to developing the WE ARE HUNGRY – WE The changes in the business are brand.” not just on the personnel front, HAVE SOMETHING TO The relaunch of Rabble is, says Rick’s was closed for eight weeks DJ, “‘A real line in the sand.’ PROVE, AND WE AIM and re-opened last month as the He adds, “Recently there has TO BE THE VERY BEST Rabble Tap House. Tony Sarton been a lot of London companies David Johns ton has re-joined the company as moving into Edinburgh. It has Development Chef and has been great that our industry devised a completely fresh has been challenged by national menu Rabble. He had previously operators. They have pushed worked for Montpeliers as Head up our standards and made Chef at Tigerlily – he’s not the only member of the team that has us re-examine our businesses. but they shouldn’t underestimate returned. Says David, “Lately we’ve seen quite a few of our people companies with local knowledge. We are hungry – we have come back on board. I’m delighted.” something to prove, and we aim to be the very best.” Says DJ, “We didn’t want to paint ourselves into a corner with our I look forward to seeing how this dynamic team develop Montpeliers food offering. Our business model in the past has been a menu that even further. It was always good, now they are aiming for great, has kind of been ‘everything to all men,’ and that worked well, but in and I am sure they will succeed. I also hope the opportunity to last five years people have come out and specialised in everything step back from the day-day running of the business will allow from Mexican to Thai. People are going out for specific experiences David Wither an opportunity to improve his golf – it wasn’t great, and you have to have a USP. We’ll be doing rotisserie chicken, I’ve but it could be good! n 16
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BEHIND EVERY GREAT BEER THERE’S A GREAT BEER The Czechs believe that a fine beer can be judged from the very first sip. We do too, and what’s more a great restaurant or bar can be recognised on the first visit. That’s why Pravha, the new draught 4% premium lager from Staropramen is proud to be supporting the launch of Montpellier Group’s latest venue, Rabble in Edinburgh. So head down to Rabble on Frederick Street, raise your glass in celebration and say Na zdravi!
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he Donna Mortimer Bannatyne Trust annual Ball held in memory of James Mortimers daughter Donna, was held last month at the Doubletree by Hilton in Glasgow. The Scottish licensed trade turned in force to help the Mortimer family, and the ball committee, raise more than ÂŁ100K for the charity which helps funds the new Kilbryde Hospice. Guests were entertained by Edward Reid, BoyzLife and Caitlyn Lauren. A great time was had by all as you can see from the pictures. Pics: Dr Mario Federici
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55 Frederick Street, Edinburgh EH2 1LH
RABBLE DESIGN FOCUS:
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BY SCOTT FLEMING
n Edinburgh institution for nearly 20 years, Rick’s was a cocktail bar par excellence with a long list of regulars and a very well-regarded restaurant and hotel to boot. It would take a bold man, then, to consider tinkering with such a winning formula, but that’s precisely what David Johnston Development Director for the bar’s parent group Montpeliers - has done, relaunching the Frederick Street venue last month as Rabble. The thinking behind the name? Well, Montpeliers like to be a little bit subtle, as they were with Rick’s, which was short for Frederick’s. That name and the new one were both inspired by the man the street takes its name from, Frederick Prince of Wales. ‘The rabble’ is the phrase Frederick and his 18th century contemporaries would have used to describe the common drinkers of the day. The son of King George II, Frederick was a noted raconteur and libertine who died young before he could succeed his father. In short, if he were somehow to be transported 260odd years into the future, he’s exactly the sort of chap who would find himself very much at home in Rabble. Head along the right side of the sloping street in the capital’s New Town, step down the stairs and you’re ushered into a space that’s chic, spacious and welcoming all at once. Past visitors will immediately note the huge transformation the venue has undergone, the most notable change being the relocation of the main bar from the left side of the room to the centre, but there’s a lot more to it than that. Rick’s was far from dingy, but Rabble is remarkably bright and well-lit, more than any subterranean space has a right to be. It’s an effect achieved via lighting - obviously - in addition to a colour scheme that blends whites and creams with greens and turquoises. Those colours are also present in the huge floor-toceiling wall of glass bottles that greet you on your left side when
you enter. From the outside terrace to the main bar and the lightwell-illuminated space through the back, there is greenery in abundance, and the combined effect is almost enough to lull you into thinking you’re at a garden party. With leather seating and large umbrellas the terrace provides both comfort and shelter, but it’s the space at the rear, down beyond where the new Staropramen tank beer containers sit, that’s arguably the jewel in the crown, the natural light spilling over long dining tables, mosaic floor tiles and a wide white cabinet filled with more plants and bottles. Montpeliers engaged Jim Hamilton Design. Jim told DRAM, “The main objective was to completely transform the previous layout. The structures had been broken down into distinct areas - a front space, a back space, a middle space - and we wanted it to flow more. We talked early on about the menu and the tank beer and we wanted it to be very much about people watching, and for people to be comfortable dining at the bar. Often the bar is too high or too low, and we wanted to get the height right so that people could sit and eat. The bar has concrete slabs at the top and bottom and brass sandwiched in between. With the brass we went through lots of samples to make sure we got the particular polished finish we were after. As for the booth seating it’s almost like a leather saddle, and it’s deliberately open at the bottom to create space. ‘Rough luxe’ is essentially what we were aiming for, burnished brass in amongst plywood, things like that.” Jim identifies raising the back room, which was previously accessed down some steps, and the creation of an island bar as the key strategic changes. He expanded, “We had to bring the back room screaming and kicking into the entire room, as I always thought it was a bit of a social misnomer. DRAM JULY 2017 21
DESIGN FOCUS: CONT “In the past reception was at the bar, which was revolutionary at the time, but it was negative as well as positive. How people deal with hotels has changed. I always thought it was imposing that when you were up at the bar you stared at the wall and turned your back on the space. People might not notice, but we’ve also moved the doors slightly so they’re nearer the centre of the axis. The overall goal was to give the place new life, and with that in mind we’ve also freshened up the rooms.” The refurbishment is the embodiment of ‘Good to Great’, the corporate strategy adopted by David and Montpeliers last year in the wake of the mooted takeover by Revolution Bars falling through. (See page 14). And the transformation of Ricks into Rabble firmly draws a line under that awkward period, and also signifies a change of direction for the group. Rick’s was known for being a cocktail bar, but the new Rabble is going down a completely different route. Anyone with a passing interest in the bar trade knows that tank beer is the ‘in thing’ of the moment, but the team behind Rabble have put more rather than thought into their installation of the Staropramen tank than that. Research trips to the likes of Chicago and Denver, described by David as being ‘ten years ahead’ of where we’re at in the UK, have demonstrated that the potential of tank beer is best realised when combined with flavoursome food. Accordingly, rotisserie meats - prepared on apparatus specially imported from France plays a big part on Rabble’s menu. Behind the bar the emphasis is more on quality than quantity, with the number of beers on tap having been trimmed down to ten - five permanent and five rotational. David stresses that he wants Rabble to be known as a bar that happens to have rooms first and foremost, rather than a bar/ hotel, his ideal being to recreate the feel of an old-fashioned coach inn where patrons could drop in for a meal and decide quite abruptly to stay the night. But will those patrons mind being referred to as ‘a rabble’? Well, if the food, drink and atmosphere are all as good as they look, they won’t care what you call them. n 22
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BRODIES 777 Pollokshaws Road, Strathbungo G41 2AX
BY SCOTT FLEMING
ith so many new bars springing up across the country, it’s more important than ever to have fascinating design features that set you apart. Luckily for Brodies, the newest addition to the blossoming bar scene on Glasgow’s south side, it has not one, not two, but three. The first is the doors, salvaged from a church that was knocked down in Old Kilpatrick. The second is the bar itself, the front of which has been fashioned out of deconstructed Glenfiddich barrels, creating a ripple effect best appreciated from the side. The third, and most visually arresting of all, is an enormous oil painting hung in the dining area. Named The Spirit of Distilling, it dates back to 1938 and is an amazingly vivid tableau of revelrous drinkers, with a still in the foreground and a figure said to be the Greek goddess of spirit sending a knowing look out to the beholder from the bottom left corner. The painting and lots of others trinkets and furniture inside were supplied by architectural antiques specialist Angus McPherson. Brodies Bar/Restaurant stands in a terrific location right on the corner of Queen’s Park, on the site of what was Shimla Pinks,. Owner Michael Adair was formerly a business manager at Diageo, launching Smirnoff Ice in Australia for the drinks giant. Michael is a first-timer when it comes to running his own place but his knowledge of the drinks industry as a whole is extensive, and he lives on the south side so knows it inside-out. His individualistic approach has led him to make some truly interesting, left-field choices, meaning that Brodies cleverly sidesteps a lot of the more obvious cliches of the archetypal trendy modern bar. The name was chosen as it was simple, memorable and distinctly Scottish. DRAM JULY 2017 25
DESIGN FOCUS: CONT Michael explains, “I didn’t have a designer, I got an architect from Glasgow School of Art, a Swedish guy, to do my plans, and that conversation expanded into other things. I told him what I wanted in my head and he drew it for me. If you give these kids a chance, they’re fantastic. And then I had another team of ex-School of Art guys do the steelwork, then I got my nailgun out to put the staves up, and before I knew it the place was taking shape. Lights 2 and Jamie Ballantine were fantastic. They do really bespoke work. “As for the barrels, Glenfiddich shipped them down from up north and I sanded them down, stained them and put them on. A Melbourne bar I used to work in had something similar, and that’s where I got the idea.” Michael is especially grateful for the support of William Grant & Sons and their contribution is reinforced in the form of the Glenfiddich stag’s head icon bolted onto the wall on the right side of the bar. Wood-panelling is interspersed with purple paint on the walls, the pillars and light fittings in the bar area are brass and the spirits selection mounted on the wall is pleasantly backlit. Light 2’s influence can be seen in the quirky light fittings dotted around, including one where the bulb protrudes from an industrial tap! Michael has noted with interest the way bar customers can arrive 26
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purely with drinks on their mind then decide quite suddenly to eat, and Brodies is designed with that in mind. The left side of the space may be given over primarily to dining, but it’s still casual, comfortable and littered with characterful touches, such as a carved gargoyle’s head, a statuette of a pheasant and a wall-mounted bookcase containing dusty old tomes like ‘The Law of Vesting’ by Candlish Henderson and ‘A Commentary on the Bills of Exchange Act 1882’. There are dining tables with bench seating beneath the floor-toceiling window and long brown leather banquettes running down both walls, all overlooked by an old-style fireplace and an imposing section of exposed brickwork on the far wall. Oblong light shades stretch down from the ceiling above, casting a warm gold glow on those sat below. The right side meanwhile is a perfect spot for people-watching, with sections of high chairs looking directly onto Pollokshaws Road or the main entrance to Queen’s Park depending where you are. Rough stone pillars demarcate these sections and the paint used here is royal blue. There are snug booths, also in blue, either side of the entrance and a selection of small framed sketches which enhance the ‘distinguished drawing room’ feel. Michael describes Strathbungo - the small pocket of southern Glasgow where Brodies is located - as being like a village, and those familiar with the area will know just what he means. He says, “It’s not Shawlands, it’s not town, we’re stuck in the
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middle, and people are really loyal to this area. There’s something happening down in this little bit. I’ve always lived in the south side and it’s always been my priority to do something in this area. I could see a wee pattern developing. As soon as you get that wee buzz, you start getting clusters, and that’s the way forward. We’re not Finnieston here, and I know it sounds naff, but I’m doing my own thing. I’m not saying I don’t want 21-year-olds in, that’s not fair, but I want mature people in too, so I don’t have a DJ in the corner spinning discs.” The doors opened in late June and Michael has been delighted with the response thus far. He adds, “We’ve had lots of locals in, lots of people who drink in all the other great places round here. We’ve been really busy, and it’s been brilliant for lunches. It’s early days, but it’s been a good mix of clientele and a good mix of drinks bought as well. We’ve got cracking gin and rum ranges and 32 different craft beers, all Scottish, sorted geographically by region. There’s been really good feedback on the food - it’s approachable and unpretentious, starting at a fiver and going up to £13.95. My chef is Allan McDonald, who set up Café Andaluz in Cresswell Lane.” The perfect halfway stop for those travelling from Shawlands to Glasgow or vice-versa, the Greek goddess is waiting inside to make all comers welcome. n
Central Scotland’s premier supplier of fresh fish and poultry Proud to supply Brodies. Wishing the team all the best for the future
184 - 200 Howard Street Glasgow G1 4HW T: 0141 552 4368 F: 0141 552 4731 E: email@example.com
www.bernardcorrigan.com DRAM JULY 2017 27
58 The Shore, Edinburgh EH6 6RA
THE SALVATION OF LEITH DESIGN FOCUS:
ased in premises that once upon a time barred Edinburgh citizens from entering, The Salvation of Leith is now an inviting proposition for everyone from craft beer lovers to history buffs, wherever they hail from. The Landmark Pub Company now has a portfolio of seven bars all over the Capital, but it’s perhaps never faced quite as unique a challenge as that posed by The Salvation. Company director Grant MacDonald, business development manager Jane Corrigan and Rough Design were tasked with ensuring that the bar not only stands out in the increasingly hip district that is The Shore, but also honours the 145-year history of a building that’s been a vital charitable institution and a whole host of different pubs in its time. Grant MacDonald informed DRAM, “The property has such a unique history, integral to Leith’s history, and we thought it only fair to recognise that. For around 70 years, from 1872 to 1953, it was the HQ of the Association For The Improvement Of The Condition Of The Poor in Leith. “During their occupation the business was a ‘ragged school’ for destitute children, a nursery for the disadvantaged, a soup kitchen, a clothing exchange and a boarding house.” He continued, “It was also used as a house of call – which is recognised on the logo devised by local artist Will McEvoy – where Leith Dockers and labourers could be paid, away from the allure of alcohol or ‘other temptations’ around the Shore! “The former Association is still operating to this day as the Leith Benevolent Society and their members were very helpful to us. We decided that we will make local charitable donations at the end of the year as there is so many great groups, clubs and associations working on our doorstep who really are integral to the Leith community and beyond.”
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The first thing to catch your eye upon arrival at The Salvation is a beer garden that will surely make the bar destination number one for the local sun-worshippers. This outside area is spacious, kitted out with stylish seating in bright shades of red, green, blue and white and provides an excellent view of the Water of Leith and the swans that often linger there. The exterior features a brass plaque elaborating on the building’s rich history and a sign bearing Will’s logo against a navy blue background. Internally the Salvation is divided into two areas, a front bar and a back bar. The front bar has a mix of high and low tables plus leather banquette seating, beige on one wall and electric blue on the other. Pride of place on the wall above the beige banquette goes to an old-school pub advertising mirror, its message reading, ‘Edinburgh and Leith Breweries’. A vintage fireplace nestles underneath some exposed brickwork and patrons can relive the days of their youth by planting theirselves down on former school chairs, supplied by Peppermill Antiques. The main bar is flanked by a large customer-facing craft beer fridge – a significant addition according to Grant MacDonald. He said, “There’s over 100 cans and bottles from the UK and around the globe, and it works well for us as customers can suss out what they want in their own time.” The back bar is home to even more craft beer and spirit delights and has also been tailored to act as The Salvation’s primary space for functions. Said Grant MacDonald, “One of the first things Grant Rough identified was, instead of the booth seating we used to have here, why don’t we have one long bench so that it opens the room up and makes it ideal for private gatherings?” Cinema seats bought from a local auction house have proved a big hit, whilst the lighting has a definite theme throughout, one very much in tune with the distinct character of Leith.
Interior design: Rough Branding: Cadet
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BY SCOTT FLEMING “We didn’t want to design a place and not have a nod to the past, because it used to be called The Waterline, and it was very nautical, it was all ropes and ship’s wheels,” Grant MacDonald added. “People get it, it’s a subtle nod, because historically this place would have been full of dock workers. Rough Design managed to source a load of nautical lighting and Elan Electrical had the daunting task of sorting it out. I don’t think they have hung former lighthouse lamps and boat lighting in a bar before, so that was a slight challenge for them!” The bar officially opened in April, and with Jane – who’s also ran Landmark outlets Jeremiah’s Taproom and the Empress of Broughton Street but was born and bred in Leith – steering the good ship Salvation, Grant is very satisfied so far. “There’s a good mix of people down here in terms of business and the locals. You’ve got that solid Leith and Shore clientele, who’ve been great, really receptive, and also the business side – this area is media city, it’s where all the media, digital and TV guys are based, and we’re finding they’re using the bar and are delighted with what we’ve done. It was a Belhaven managed house, which probably hasn’t been focused on as much by them. We looked at the model we’ve got for The Empress and Jeremiah’s and thought, ‘Would that slot down into the Shore?’ And yeah, it does. So we’ve went with casual dining in terms of food and backed up with a really good spirits portfolio. We make burgers from our own recipe and we’ve got our own signature sauce, Salvation Sauce. There’s a bit of a Mexican influence too. But predominantly, one of our key focuses as a company is craft beer. We want the best beers on, so whether that’s a Scottish beer from West Lothian or the Borders or it’s a small batch produced by a brewer in Northumberland or Norwich, we’re going to try and have it on.” A venue alive with history, it seems The Salvation of Leith can also look forward to a bright future. n
MAIN CONTRACTORS JOINERS AND BUILDING CONTRACTORS DONALDSON CONSTRUCTION WOULD LIKE TO WISH SALVATION OF LEITH EVERY SUCCESS IN THE FUTURE BLOCK 2, WARD STREET, ALLOA FK10 1ET TEL 01259 219923 EMAIL: firstname.lastname@example.org DRAM JULY 2017 29
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THE FOX & WILLOW 46 Carrick Road, Ayr KA 2RE
BY SCOTT FLEMING
he Fox & Willow is exactly the kind of place you’d like to open up on your doorstep. And for those living on Carrick Road, a short walk from the centre of Ayr, that’s exactly what’s happened. What was once the Carrick Lodge Hotel re-opened last month, having been bought out of administration and given a £100K facelift by long-time friends and industry veterans Allan Low and Alan Watson. Not only have the duo breathed life into what was a well-loved, but slightly dated, local landmark, but they have also exported a little bit of Finnieston-style experimentalism to South Ayrshire, boldly challenging the locals’ drinking habits in the process. Allan told DRAM, “I live locally, and the Carrick Lodge, certainly in the time I’ve known it, has been quite an institution as a business and a building. It’s had many different owners, the most prominent one in recent times being Jim Murdoch, who had it for about 1012 years and was very successful in that period. Latterly it’s fallen away it just maybe hadn’t evolved over time and needed to be brought up to date.” He continues, “The competition is very stiff down here. I would argue the quality is actually better per head than it is up in Glasgow, it’s maybe just not as diverse.” When you walk through the door of the Fox & Willow into the reception area there is a broad staircase which leads to the six bedrooms upstairs and at the rear lies a ‘Secret’ walled beer garden, which is now a real selling point with the tables nicely spaced out on the grass to capture the sun and surrounded by a charming mix of trees, shrubbery and rockery. Inside the public areas are split into four distinct areas. On the DRAM JULY 2017 31
DESIGN FOCUS: CONT right there is a dining area which is is classically designed with a blue tartan carpet and some interesting artwork, but its the restaurant on the left of the building and TheTaproom bar which really gives the building the wow factor. The first thing that is apparent is the gleaming wood floor which melds the restaurant and a further dining area with the bar as it flows all the way through. The restaurant area houses a floor to ceiling wine display encased in and a bar dispense area. These both have been painted gray but the rest of the colour in this area is more vivid with the wood panelling on the right painted a dark blue/green colour with matching upholstery. The wood panelled walls stretch the length of the room with tongue-in-cheek artwork, which depicts animals such as dogs, stags and badgers dressed as generals or royal family members and posing proudly. This area also has a modern tartan carpet, which, although it doesn’t go edge to edge, fills the centre of the room. It matches the colour on the walls. The area is similar however the colour gold has been used to define this area with the upholstery and walls once gain toning together. This area is not quite as luxurious as the restaurant as it doesn’t have the tartan carpet and the designers have introduced dark blue tiling here too. It ‘s more in keeping with The Taproom which is immediately adjacent. The bar area features a statement clock above a fireplace, exposed stone walls, an impressive bar, and back bar, all stainless steel and gray tiling, sitting on spanish-style tiles, and the obligatory flat screen TV. The designers have also opted for leather upholstery in shades of brown. It looks great. But the star of the show is a statue of the eponymous fox, crouched cheekily in an alcove between rooms with, of course, a strand of willow clutched between his teeth. He also can seen on the signage, cider fount, and menus. Alan and Allan felt the Carrick Lodge name was slightly old hat, so spliced the name of their limited company, Urban Fox, with a plant native to Ayrshire, and hey presto, The Fox & Willow was born. Says Alan, who was general manager of The Jefferson in Kilmarnock, until he decided to embark on this business adventure 32
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comments, “The drinks package is what makes us slightly different to everywhere else here. It’s quite adult-orientated; we’ve taken a bit of Finnieston and brought it down here. We’ve got 12 or 13 different gins and over the opening weekend we sold them all.” Allan opined, “The drink offering we now have certainly wouldn’t have worked in the Carrick Lodge. What we’re doing might not set us apart from somewhere in Glasgow or Edinburgh, but locally, it certainly will.” Alan continued, “Inverarity Morton are our drinks supplier and their support has been phenomenal. They also supply a cracking product. Some of the things we were looking for were really bespoke items that they’ve been able to source and get for us.” Not to invoke The League of Gentlemen, but The Fox & Willow is at its core a local project masterminded by local people. The eye-catching signage outside was designed by one local company (Launch) and created by another (Owen Kerr Signs), the builder (JD Thomson) lives only three doors away and Allan Low’s other successful unit, the No. 22 Bar & Grill, is just a short walk up the road. The head chef is yet another local, and he’s a key piece of the puzzle according to Alan. He said, “We’ve hired an absolutely exceptional chef in Gareth Furey, a guy I worked with for ten years previous to this. To be honest, he was the only guy we wanted, and it took a bit of time, but we got him in the end.” As for the future, messrs Watson and Low are ambitious but very much keeping their eye on the ball for now. Commented Allan, “We’re controlling things just now, protecting our standards and quality. It’s always challenging with a new place. Until we get a feel for the place and the level of business, then we’ll unleash and go for it. But I would say the interest levels, enquiries and bookings that are coming in, have far exceeded our expectations. “I was keen to get a second place, but I didn’t want to do that myself, simply because splitting yourself in two is not easy and I had worked with Alan before. We both lead from the front. We’ve come from that kind of environment and that’s not going to change. We make a good team.” They definitely do.
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arketeers keep talking about how people want experiences these days. It’s not enough that the food is good, but the whole experience has to be memorable. Well that was certainly the case when I was invited to dine in the sky hanging above George Square in Glagow. The invite from Murray Thomson the GM at The Blythswood Hotel was much appreciated. Although I have to confess I didn’t really pay any attention to the detail until my colleagues asked me why I was wearing a dress! They then pointed out I would be eating dangling above George Square. Yes, the dinner table was 100ft up, and Chef Zoltan Szabo from The Blythswood cooked at the table... actually it was a great experience, and we were only up for an hour! I’m not sure I would have paid to do it, but certainly I would have bought the experience as a present for someone who wasn’t scared of heights!
over the last year. More so than in any other survey we have done. The biggest complaint is that price lists are given out and then the price changes. Licensees say there has been no continuity. Now this is probably partly due to increased costs being incurred by suppliers, but there is definitely an issue out there that needs addressed. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top this year.
Oh the power of social media. We have picked our doggy judges for Dog Pub of the Year. They are Walter and George, unfortunately Rolo’s owner was so disgusted and unbelieving that her dog came second, that she withdrew! Honestly. This bit of fun turned into a social media debate with around a reach of 7,000 - which added the to the original reach of around 50,000 - makes it one of the most widely talked about award categories ever! It just goes to show folk are passionate about their dogs. Of course my two are in a huff that they weren’t even considered as judges!
Why do so many menus in pubs and restaurants have the expressin ‘home-cooked’. Obviously the food is not homecooked! So why not use another adjective? Perhaps Chefs own Steak Pie? Just a thought!
The great straw dilemna - to put one in or not? Personally I hate straws - I usually take them out, particularly these wee fiddly ones in cocktails that float about the drink. But instead of the suggested 5p levy why not just train bar staff not to automatically put them in drinks. They could a) ask the customer if they want a straw, and b) use a paper one if they do. What is the issue? That seems to me like commonsense. I was invited by Scotland Food and Drink to a Seafood and craft beer evening the other night. The chef, Andrew Cumming, cooked up ‘Street Food’ which was matched to a range of beer - his main challenge was cooking on the Tall Ship...the food was great. I was sitting beside Fyne Ales boss Jamie Delap who has a passion for beer in all its forms - it was most educational - even for a non-beer drinker! My favourite was Drygate’s Mango beer... but all the beers were very tasty, even for my uneducated palate. What a great response to our Wm Grant Bar Apprentice Programme. We now have the full compliment of Apprentices who will not just benefit from training across disciplines including Champagne, rum and whisky but will also get an overnight visit to Glenfiddich Distillery. This year there are apprentices from Gleneagles Hotel, Manorview, Buzzworks, Montpeliers, The Big Red Teapot, The Pot Still, Crieff Hydro and others. We are doing our telephone Supplier Survey at the moment and we have found a lot of licensees have changed supplier 34
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Lastly what a shame for Brockman’s Gin World Cup winner Sebastian Stanczyk of The Spiritualist in Glasgow - he however won’t be able to take up the prize of a 5-day trip to New York as the US wouldn’t grant the Polish born bartender a visa!
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Ingredients • 50ml Jose Cuervo Especial Reposado • 50ml Jose Cuervo Lime Margarita Mix • 25ml Triple Sec • 50ml Fresh Lime Juice Garnish • Lime Wedge and Salt
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ROUND UP Bob Taylor (aka Uncle Bob) organised a Charity cycle recently for the BEN. Unfortunately for the erstwhile cyclists it rained all day. So their stop off at Killin was much appreciated, especially the roaring fire which allowed them to dry off temporarily. Well done to all concerned.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org w: dramscotland.co.uk Editor Susan Young • Chairman Noel Young • Editorial Scott Fleming, Advertising Lucy McGovern, Sylvia Forsyth • New Business Lisa Clifford • Production Dougie Wagstaff • Admin Cheryl Cook 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 2017. Printed by Stephens & George Print Group. 38
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Now recruiting for Deputy, General Managers and Area Managers nationwide for pub, bar and restaurants.
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