Page 1

364 DRAM MAGAZINE March 2021 ISSN 1470-241X





Where versatility, usability and individuality count

The new X10

Coffee pleasure – freshly ground, not capsuled ƒ Customised coffee via 4.3" colour display thanks to One-Touch function for 31 programmable specialities ƒ Professional Aroma Grinder for ideal grinding results over the entire service life ƒ One-Touch Lungo function for delicious, aromatic barista specialities

Ideal areas of use: pubs, bars, hotels, restaurants, private clubs, coffee lounges, private function areas Recommended maximum daily output: 80 cups

JURA – If you love coffee

JURA Products Ltd., Vivary Mill, Vivary Way, Colne, Lancashire, BB8 9NW, Tel: 01282 868266, Fax: 01282 863411,,


The Old Forge, Inverie, Knoydart by Mallaig, PH4 Offers over £425,000



irst of all let me wish Petra Wetzel and her team at WEST Happy Birthday. It’s nice to see her smiling face - even if it is only on our cover. One person I managed to catch up with this month (on zoom) was an old buddie David Davidson. He has been around the blocks and talk about being resilient... he is your man. Read what he has to say on Page 16. The Budget this week has generally been well received. Find out what some members of the trade think and what David Logan of Oaktree Associates has to say and you might find his comments on furlough interesting. We also take a look at what the proposed new tier system looks like, and here’s hoping the Scottish Government changes its mind. As with all things there will be opportunities we take a look at just a few of the businesses on the market. This month Alastair Roy of Aro Procurement also highlights the importance of looking at your contracts. Until next month.

Susan Young, Publisher

Cover Picture Elaine Livingstone




15 16 20



A summary of what it means to the trade in Scotland.


by Alastair Roy of Aro Procurement


David Davidson of the Yes to All Group is one of the trade’s most resilient operators.


We take a look at what’s on the market


4 8





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


The latest brand news.


Straight talking from our very own Publisher. DRAM MARCH 2021 3

HAPPY BIRTHDAY WEST WEST threw open its doors to Glasgow on the 10th of March 2006 and now the Glasgow Green venue is celebrating its 15th birthday with a special Beerhall Birthday Box which will benefit a local foodbank too. WEST Brewery founder Petra Wetzel says, ““In all my years, I never envisaged celebrating a milestone birthday in a pandemic and I know that we will bounce back once the lockdown restrictions allow us to. I cannot tell you how much I am looking forward to welcoming our customers back.” In the meantime Petra and her team came up with a novel way of celebrating. Says Petra, ““The WEST team racked their brains on how to safely celebrate a big milestone birthday with an appropriate celebration during a pandemic lockdown so executive chef Joanne Munro and head brewer, Simon Roberts put their heads together and came up with The WEST Beerhall Birthday Box Experience for two! “The Beerhall Birthday Box is an authentic Bavarian beerhall dining experience with four classic German dishes - all accompanied with six of WEST’s top vegan beers. And what makes it special is that £5 from every box go to our local food bank. “1 in 4 children in Glasgow go to bed hungry and 1 in 5 households are living below the poverty line. Our beloved Hospitality industry has been decimated during the lockdown which has put many businesses at the brink of collapse, however we are well aware that many families do not even qualify for the government’s furlough scheme and are struggling on Universal Credit. We therefore wanted to make sure that our Birthday Box celebrations also provide food for many in our immediate neighbourhood. That is why £5 from the price of every Birthday Box will go to the Glasgow North East Food Bank in the Calton.”

Great effort from Edinburgh’s Torfin Bar The Torfin bar owner Linsey Lindley is one of the Edinburgh business owners that took part in Window Wanderland late last month. Window Wanderland, founded in 2015, is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to reducing social isolation and fostering a sense of community by creating displays in windows. The Torfin transformed its windows with an uplifting display. The and also gave away hot drinks on the nightand an alcohol-free punch at their Wee Bar hatch while also collecting donations for Corstorphine Primary.

EDINBURGH BAR NOW A SPA…FOR NOW Paradise Palms co-owners and brothers Trystan O’Brien and Andrew Rennie have pivoted their Edinburgh bar business into a spa in an attempt to survive Covid-19. They have released their very own range of homemade spa essentials made by the staff at the Bristo Square bar which are all natural and vegan – including lockdown luxury kits like Tropical Bath Salts, Bountiful Bubble Bath and their patented Piña Colada Massage Oil. The brothers obviously haven’t

lost their sense of humour according to an online post that read, “Don’t worry, Palms will remain unchanged when we are finally allowed to re-open (except for the installation of a spa pool and massage parlour upstairs on the first floor) but our location scouts are currently searching the country (via Google Earth) to find the perfect site for a spa and creative leisure retreat which we hope to open in 2072 or sooner if we win the lottery.”

Swapping the rate race for an island Brendan Tyreman and Mark Elliott have swapped Edinburgh city and have bought The Boathouse restaurant on the community-owned Isle of Ulva in the Inner Hebrides - which has a population of just eight. They hope to be re-opening in April. The coupe fell in love with the island, which is only 12 km long by 4km wide, following a trip there as holidaymakers in 2019.

Licensee Les Ross of The Douglas Arms in Dumfries and business partner Lewis Boddy have released a new craft beer called Attacked by Gulls after coming up with the idea of producing their own real ale for home deliveries during lockdown. They devised the recipe themselves and with the help of Lowland Brewing in Lockerbie they produced 500 litres of Attacked by Gulls - a total of 700 bottles. Several casks were produced ready to sell in the pub when lockdown regulations are finally lifted. 4



Knoydart residents seek community buyout of The Old Forge Local residents are planning a community buyout of The Old Forge in the village of Inverie on the Knoydart peninsula (Lochaber) after learning of owner JohnPierre Robinet’s plans to sell up. Residents got wind of it in mid-January and a community consultation was held to gauge local opinion on seeking a community buyout – and the response was overwhelmingly supportive. Said Jacqui Wallace, co-chair of the steering group, “The Old Forge plays a vital role in our continued sustainability and we have a great opportunity here to secure its future and bring added benefit to the community that wouldn’t be possible under private ownership. “Under a community ownership model, profits would be reinvested back into the community which will improve our circular economy and enable us to work on projects that benefit locals and visitors alike.” The Knoydart community has a track record of successful community ownership, having secured 17,500 acres of the Knoydart Estate in 1999 as one of the first community buyouts in Scotland. The steering group is now working to establish a Community Benefit Society with the aim to purchase and manage the pub for community benefit. Of 110 residents, over 30 have offered to volunteer their time to the cause, and the group plan to fundraise through a community share offer and are looking at other options including public funding and local fundraising events. It is being marketed by Baird Lumsden, the rural property arm of DM Hall, one of Scotland’s leading independent firms of chartered surveyors. Offers over £425,000 are invited for the property which is set in an atmospheric and remote rural location.

Glasgow restaurant Citation is set to relaunch next Summer as a luxury wedding and events venue. The former Sheriff Court building has been closed since March and over the Winter months has been undergoing refurbishment as it prepares to open its doors as a new, exclusive use space for hire. Wedding manager Louize Hollywood has been making couples dreams a reality for over 15 years and is excited to introduce a new wedding venue to the Glasgow market. “I am so excited about Citation, it is an absolutely stunning Venue inside and out and I feel very privileged to be part of this new addition to the Wedding Industry, Citation really does have it all, a sleek and stylish Venue situated perfectly in the beautiful Merchant City. I can see Citation fast coming one of the most sought-after Wedding Venues with the enquires already flooding in. With over 50 weddings in our diary for 2021, we are off to flying start and cannot wait to get going in Summer 2021.”

KOXEDO POP-UPS UP WITH FRIED CHICKEN Sister restaurants Ox and Finch and Ka Pao are creating a temporary fried chicken popup at Ox and Finch called Koxedo due to the prolonged closure of hospitality and with no opening in sight. The pop-up will take inspiration from the restaurants most popular dishes which are being given a plucky make-over. The menu will include their own recipe fried chicken, signature chicken sandwiches, sides and sauces. Aurelien Mourez, Head Chef of Ox and Finch said, “Fried chicken done well is great, simple comfort food, but there are a few tricks to getting it right. We must have tried more than twenty variants with different cuts, dredges and marinades.” Lily Maclean, General Manager of Ox and Finch said, “We decided that we wanted to offer something tasty, fun, straightforward and more accessibly priced; the menu the chefs have come up with for Koxedo certainly ticks all of those boxes.”


n AJ Capital unveiled a refurbished Marine Hotel in Troon in November. The hotel’s 130-year-old history informed the design brief that was executed by ICA’s specialist hotel design studio that reflects the hotel’s golfing connections, and west coast setting overlooking the Isle of Arran. The rooms, reception area and bar were all refurbished. xxx n Glasgow licensee Paul Shevlane will operate a mobile bar called the Horse N Pint in a restored vintage horsebox once lockdown is over. Paul already operates Wintersgills, Shevlanes Bar, and The Woodside Inn and his mobile bar will be available for hire for weddings, private parties, festivals or corporate events throughout the central belt. n TGI Fridays is taking over Glasgow’s Gusto on Bothwell Street which the chain is reportedly turning into a 63rd & 1st set to open in spring. It’s a New York-inspired bar and restaurant concept named after the address of the original TGIs in Manhattan, on the corner of 63rd Street and 1st Avenue in New York City. It’s set to have a 1960s Manhattan loft vibe with exposed brickwork, polished concrete, reclaimed timber flooring and bespoke fittings.





Master Distiller, Jim McEwan guided the renaissance of the iconic Islay distillery, Bruichladdich, playing an integral role in inspiring the direction of the single malt category as a whole and this month in celebration of more than half a century of service to the whisky industry, the final casks from his personal reserves have been released. Bottled as Jim’s very own collection of his finest creations, the Jim McEwan Signature Collection is the ultimate tribute to a career-long quest to produce the perfect dram. Containing iconic Islay malts drawn from casks distilled under McEwan’s watch at Bruichladdich and bottled by Scottish independent bottlers, Dramfool, the collection will be made available this month, with part of the inaugural release to be auctioned by Whisky Auctioneer from 11-15 March 2021. A true Islay whisky lover’s dream, the collection is made up of nine releases - each containing a single cask Bruichladdich, Port Charlotte and Octomore expression. The auction will feature exclusive opportunities such as the chance to acquire the second editions before they have even launched.  Jim McEwan commented. “It’s wonderful to see this collection of my final casks bottled and ready to be enjoyed. From starting in the whisky industry aged 15, I can see no better way to mark the ending of a career than to release my own personal collection. “As my last casks come to market and I look back on 58 years of making whisky, it still excites me to see what is happening.  My journey has always been about education as well as passion, and it’s been a pleasure to share this with the world. Single Malt whisky is the blood of Scotland and it’s our job to look after it, cherish it and do a good job with it. It’s so important to our country as a whole, but particularly to the island of Islay that I call home.”



BENRIACH TAKES ON SMOKE Smoky whiskies are not traditionally associated with Speyside, but now Speyside distillery, Benriach, has released a brand new expression, Smoke Season, to add to its recently revamped portfolio. Celebrating the time of year where peated spirit runs through its stills, a tradition revived by the distillery over 50 years ago, Smoke Season is a small batch release.Both intensely smoked and exquisitely sweet, the special edition has been two-cask matured in both American virgin oak and bourbon barrels - wood types intentionally selected to amplify the toasted sweet notes in Benriach’s smoky spirit. With a new recipe finely tuned by Master Blender Dr. Rachel Barrie, this expression is the most intensely smoked whisky to be released by the distillery. Dr. Rachel Barrie, Master Blender at Benriach Distillery commented, “At Benriach we’re always looking to push the boundaries of what is possible in Speyside single malt. With intensely peated spirit batch distilled every year, we never stop exploring how the fruit and smoke aromatics intertwine and mature in a range of eclectic oak casks, either amplifying or transforming the perception of peat.” Smoke Season has an RRP of £53. Look out for the Knock Tales Whisky Podcast with Gordon Bruce, the Knockdhu Distillery Manager. He will enjoy a dram and a bit of ‘craic’ with fellow makers and craft obsessives from around the world from his distillery desk in Knock, Aberdeenshire on the first #WhiskyWednesday of every month. Gordon says, ‘I find it fascinating to talk to people who, like me, are obsessed with the detail of how things are made and what makes a great product that stands the test of time. I’ll be telling my own tales from Knockdhu, and chatting to people who put their heart and soul into making crafted products, whatever they may be.” Compass Box Scotch Whiskymaker now has a limited edition Menagerie – a Blended Malt that they suggest “explores Scotch whisky’s wilder side”. The whisky is a blend of single malts from four distilleries: Mortlach Distillery, Deanston Distillery, Laphroaig Distillery and Glen Elgin Distillery, combined with Compass Box’s Highland Malt Blend. The lead Whiskymaker is James Saxon.


Welcome Daddy Rack to Scotland Daddy Rack, a Tennessee Straight Small Batch Whiskey, is now available in Scotland. Made from an original recipe, Daddy Rack was created by J. Arthur Rackham, AKA “Daddy Rack. who has created, say the company, “one of the smoothest Tennessee Whiskies around”. The brand, which launched in its home state of Tennessee last year, was one of the US’s most successful whiskey launches gaining 129% liquor store distribution in the first 8 weeks, and A product of Mayfield Distilling Company, Daddy Rack is a Tennessee Straight Small Batch Whiskey made from locally farmed corn, a 72-hour Sour Mash and lightly rectified copper double distillation. Rackham then selects Master Batch Blend by Rackham himself. Prior to being blended these whiskies go through a light second Maple Charcoal filtration to add a final smoothness. The 20 selected barrels are then batch blended using an original recipe, with no colouring, caramel or additional flavours added. Daddy Rack is distributed by Emporia Brands and is available to purchase from Royal Mile Whiskies now.

BUDWEISER BUDVAR LAUNCHES NEW LOOK BUDVAR RESERVE Budweiser Budvar UK has updated its range with the relaunch of Budvar Reserve, the historic brewery's premium 7.5% ABV premium Czech Lager, which has been matured for 200 days, with a completely new bottle design and branding. Budvar Reserve will initially be available through specialist beer retailers, including online at Flavourly and Beerhunter. The bottled version, along with a limited supply of Fresh Hopped Budvar Reserve in kegs, will be available to pubs and bars when the on-trade is able to reopen.

Bambu adds Cream

The Bumbu Rum Company, part of Sovereign Brands, has a new release in the shape of Bumbu Cream. This new release joins Bumbu Original and Bumbu XO. Bumbu Cream is a perfect blend of Bumbu rum, select spices, and decadent, real dairy cream. It’s a rich, but not heavy, rum cream with a deep, complex array of aromas, including chai, coconut, and cinnamon. It can be served chilled straight, on the rocks, or in a cocktail. Distinguished by its painted white bottle with gold and black metal “X,” Bumbu Cream is 15% ABV.

LUXARDO CELEBRATE ITS 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF LUXARDO Luxardo is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year. The company, best known for its Maraschino, Maraschino cocktail cherries, Limoncello and market leading Luxardo Original Sambuca and sambuca flavours, is still as relevant today as it was in 1821 when the company was founded by Girolamo Luxardo in Zara, a small town on the Dalmatian coast, which had been part of the Venetian Republic for centuries, but which is now in Croatia. World War II ravaged the city and brought devastation and tragedy to the Luxardo business and family.   Although destined to disappear, the distillery was re-built by the remaining Luxardo brother Giorgio in the Torreglia (Veneto area) and has since flourished.  It is still in the hands-on management of the Luxardo family. Luxardo liqueurs and spirits are sold in 83 countries and distributed internationally via 80 importers.  Production is around 6 million bottles per year (2019/20) and it is distributed in Scotland by Cellar Trends. Hopefully we will all be able to take part in their celebrations when hospitality re-opens. Franco Luxardo, a senior partner, comments, “Being here to tell the story of our 200th anniversary is very moving. Not always can such anniversaries be celebrated in person, but I can today and I’m proud of it: with my thoughts on the past and hope in the new generations.”

BJÖRKSAV CHALLENGES WHISKY NORMS Björksav is a new Swedish limited-edition single malt from Mackmyra with an innovative Birch Sap Wine finish. Mackmyra continues to challenge the whisky traditional norms while at the same time highlighting Swedish nature, flavours and craftsmanship. Mackmyra’s seasonal whisky Björksav will be available from the selected retailers around the world from this month and is available at mackmyra. RRP £59.90



The view from the (empty) bar by David Logan of Oak Tree Associates


o, Rishi Sunak has delivered his Budget, carefully worded to indicate ongoing protection for jobs and businesses, with the sting in the tail of tax rises in years to come to pay for the unparalleled cost of dealing with the pandemic. “Honest Rishi” is the strapline. But was he? And how does today’s announcement impact on the beleaguered hospitality sector? As a kickoff, it wasn’t a “bad” Budget. I’ve seen far worse, and feared worse. It hit some of the critical points but sidestepped a fair few others. It’s the closest thing we’ll ever see to the Marshall Plan from the late 1940s. But it’s an even higher borrowing level in real terms than that was. The fact is, debt needs to be repaid and we have to have a starting point or it will sit like an interest-only mortgage, waiting in hope for a rich relative to die and pass on an unexpected inheritance. We’ll start with the good points. VAT is being kept at 5% for the hospitality sector until September It had to be, but there were concerns that the reduced rate would fizzle out in June. There will be a 12.5% rate from October through to March 2021. That reduction represents a higher margin of around 10% to the average restaurant. Another year would have been better though. Business Rates relief is being extended until June in England Again, an essential concession, although it will run right through to March next year in Scotland. One thing (not a Budget comment, but an excerpt from a recent Scottish Government release) is that there is a suggestion that the relief will not be automatic (as was the case this year) but will be on application. I can’t understand why that complication would be needed, given the multiple failings among councils in processing the Strategic Framework Fund grants. Reopening grants worth up to £18,000 per premises This is specifically for England, but there have already been statements made that Scottish businesses will benefit to the same extent. These are one-off grants once the lockdown comes to an end, and will replace the current monthly payments. Basically, once you are trading again, you’re back on your own two feet, so let’s hope there are enough willing customers to fill the tills. Alcohol duty frozen A no brainer, but there were calls for it to be cut, which have been ignored. A lost opportunity, but public perception would have probably been against a cut. There was also no sign of the hinted-at proposal to cut duty in licensed premises and add duty on off-sales from supermarkets, designed to increase the drive of punters back to pubs. Recovery Loan Scheme to replace bounce back and CBILS loans The new scheme, which launches on 6 April, provides lending (and

asset finance) of between £25,000 and £10 million. Full details have not yet been released, but several major banks have thrown their hats into the ring and others will follow. From experience of the bounce back loans, I’d expect a higher chance of success for customers of traditional banks than with the challenger banks. The loans can be used for working capital, growth or investment, and can’t be used for personal spending. This time there is a government guarantee of 80%, the same as for CBILS but less than the full cover of the bounce back loans. Personal guarantees cannot be requested on loans of less than £250,000. Business that have received support under the existing Covid-19 guaranteed loan schemes will still be eligible to access finance under this scheme, if they meet all other eligibility criteria. Then there are the not-so-good, but inevitable points: Tax allowances and thresholds will be frozen for the next 5 years That is effectively a tax increase, as it removes the match between the tax allowance and pay inflation. More on that shortly. Scotland has its own rates, but expect a similar result, with a possible reduction of the higher rate threshold. VAT registration threshold held at £85,000 Again, with price inflation, this will move more smaller enterprises into the VAT system. Another slight stealth tax move. Corporation Tax to rise to 25% Now, this is delayed for two years and the highest rate only hits the bigger companies. There is an air of resignation around this, but the increase could have been targeted at those businesses that have actively benefitted from the pandemic, or whose model does not involve a substantial High Street footprint. Larger hospitality businesses (or chains of smaller businesses) should have been excluded from this. Most smaller enterprises will stay at the current rates, but the failure to target this increase is a bit of a kick in the teeth. Small consolation is that losses in the past year can be carried forward and could in theory reduce those tax bills once the higher rate kicks in. Finally, there are moves that some might see as positive, but I see as problems in the making: The furlough scheme is being extended to September Okay, I know the drill. Furlough protects jobs, protects livelihoods. I get that and agree with it. But it has a negative impact on many businesses, and that’s before the stepped contributions come into play after July. What flexible furlough does is prevent businesses properly planning their staffing needs. They feel the need to balance the hours across their part time staff, instead of focussing on the core hours needed and the best people to work them. Most employers claim back the DRAM MARCH 2021 9

WHAT THE TRADE THINK OF THE BUDGET CONT grant at the end of the month, so for the many that pay staff weekly there is a cashflow burden to be carried through each month. It also makes analysis of the wages margin a hassle. This is a key driver for hospitality businesses and, instead of just looking at the gross cost each week, a calculation has to be made of the furlough recovery. Might sound like an easy enough job, but it takes time away from concentrating on recovering lost custom.


Minimum wage increases taking effect in April Yes, again, I understand that there has to be a living wage, but there has been no price inflation at all in the hospitality sector for a year now, and unlikely to be any this year either as businesses compete to grab back trade, while still dealing with the absence of foreign tourists. The lack of overseas visitors will be a disaster for Edinburgh and the Highlands especially. The wage rates are going up by around 2%. There will be a hidden need for employers to increase all rates by the same level, so that a level playing field remains across the workforce. Not much, but that’s 2% straight back off the bottom line, countering some of the benefit of the VAT reduction. The industry needs every penny it can get just now. The increase could have waited until October.

Hopefully the grant up to £18k is going to be passed on and honoured by Kate Forbes. This is an incredibly important one for everyone’s cash flow.

Summary All in all, it was as fair as could have been expected. Could have gone further in the concessions to the trade, but every sector has its needs just now, and some of the key messages that have been pushed were listened to. Others may claim that it needed to go harder and faster on the tax increases, but all that does is reduce disposable income and would cause a ripple effect that could turn into a tidal wave for the hospitality sector. Most of the trade has just about kept its head above water for the last 12 months (if you can pardon the liquid analogies). I constantly wonder how they have managed it, and applaud the business owners for that every day. Like many, I’m part of the direct supply chain, and those Herculean efforts by the industry have protected many on the fringes as well. Side note Unrelated to the Budget, the limit on contactless payments is increasing to £100. The rise of card payments is an inevitability, but in my experience leads to a marked reduction in tips. An unintended shame, but a shame nevertheless. Good staff deserve that wee bit extra. David Logan Oak Team Associates Limited



“On the whole, I felt it was a reasonably supportive budget. In an ideal world, we’d have got a 12 month extension to the 5% VAT, but what the Chancellor has done makes sense. And it looks like the Scottish Government is going to honour the additional 12 month rates holiday which is great Beer duty hike suspension is a small benefit.

Corporation tax hike in 2023 is going to be substantial but understandable, and I feel Rishi has been really sensible with protecting small businesses. Overall, I’m feeling quite relieved, and I think there is an opportunity to claw back some of the 12 months of losses once we get rid of all restrictions.”

DAYALAN NAYAGER, MD, DIAGEO GREAT BRITAIN “We thank the Chancellor for providing much-needed stability by freezing alcohol duty. The last year has been incredibly tough and today’s decision, along with other measures to help the trade, gives the industry confidence to meet the ongoing challenges in these critical last months before reopening. Commitments such as Diageo’s £30m, to help pubs and bars operate safely through our Raising the Bar, will give even further assurance. We now look ahead to the Alcohol Duty Review and welcome the opportunity to work with Government to bring greater fairness to the duty system and spirits producers across the UK.”

STEPHEN MONTGOMERY SCOTTISH HOSPITALITY GROUP There are significant measures in this budget, many of which are helpful, but for Scottish hospitality businesses the devil will firmly be in the detail. Given what our national hospitality sector has endured over the last year, it needs every possible pound of support and more, as it works to rebuild and recover. “We welcome the extension of the furlough scheme but would again highlight that this is not free for businesses, particularly as the Chancellor has announced that employer contributions will rise in July and August.   “Worryingly, there was no mention during the statement of the Job Retention Bonus previously announced by the Chancellor. We need immediate confirmation on whether this will still be paid.   The Chancellor cannot simply take this vital payment away from businesses who have been subsidising the furlough scheme and fought so hard to stay viable and protect jobs during the last year. “The Chancellors’ announcement that VAT specific to hospitality will be held at 5% until the end of September is a positive one but we would urge that the 5% be extended until April 2022, as this is only a benefit to us when we are able to trade. “On the restart grants and recovery loans announced, the scale of the Chancellor’s commitment is encouraging but what we need to hear now is Scottish Government matching these grants from Barnett Formula Consequential money.  We are now calling on Scottish Ministers to provide urgent clarity.   “This is not about which government ultimately does what, it is about giving Scotland’s hospitality sector every chance to recover and rebuild. If we get commitment from both governments, our hope is that by 2022, the hospitality sector will not only be re-open but growing and investing in their future. The super-deduction announced by the Chancellor will provide strong incentives for businesses to invest, but we need to make sure they get through the next year first.”  


“As a small, family-run business we naturally welcome today’s announcement that  planned increases in duties for spirits will be cancelled and we are reassured to see support being provided for our customers and industry partners in the on-trade and non-essential retail, who are very much in need of support and recognition. It has been a tremendously difficult time and we’re hopeful that a year on we will soon see some much needed relief on the hospitality industry.’  “As a progressive growing business we also welcome the support for capital projects. Covid meant we hit pause on development plans for our carbon-neutral distillery and visitor attraction near St Andrews, but news such as this allows us to truly reignite the project, which will play an essential role in bringing tourism back to Fife and will create jobs.’    “Covid has given us the opportunity to stop and to consider what is important; the future of our industry needs to prioritise reducing our carbon footprint. Any support that can accelerate the move towards a more sustainable economy is welcomed and we look forward to hearing further details on how these factors Sunak announced this afternoon will have impact, showing support for a cleaner future and projects with purpose.”

DAVID LITTLEWOOD, CHEF OWNER OF THE TOR NA COILLE IN BANCHORY AND THE KILDRUMMY INN “It’s reassuring that furlough is being extended, and that the extension is for a longer period than initially predicted. The VAT reduction period extension is also welcome as is the news that there will be a phased increase back to the 20% level. “However, the VAT reduction is only supportive for business when they are actually generating revenue; no hospitality business will benefit immediately from this whilst we remain closed. “Furlough will definitely be of benefit as hospitality businesses reopen, giving us the opportunity to assess how we will be trading in the coming months. “We should also remember that we still have no idea what re opening will ‘look like’; whether there will be new restrictions, new regulations, different opening hours, with alcohol, without alcohol.  “’Pivoting’ a business is exhausting and we need to know now how and when we can open so we can fully appreciate the Chancellor’s measures.”

DRAM MARCH 2021 11






ur experience over the last few months and the changed landscape brought about by the new, more transmissible variant in particular has shown that we cannot assume that the protective measures applied within the original levels approach will have the same effectiveness as when first implemented. However, it is also likely that the roll-out of the vaccine programme will reduce the transmissibility of the virus for any given level of restriction. To address this issue, we have decided to adjust our levels approach primarily by rebasing the indicators that we use to guide judgements about levels allocations decision on those recommended by the WHO in their most up-to-date interim guidance on considerations for implementing and adjusting public health and social measures in the context of COVID-19 (November 2020). We will also continue to keep the contents of the restrictions within each of the levels under review for continued effectiveness and plan to publish updated tables with any changes to the contents of the levels in mid-March, some time ahead of the likely return to variable geographical levels across Scotland. Indicators The key means by which we intend to respond to the increased transmissibility of the new B.1.1.7 variant is through tightening the indicators that inform the allocation of areas to levels. This will have the effect of keeping some areas in higher levels than they would previously have been for the same level of incidence, which we see as a necessary response to increased transmission of the new variant. While we will continue to give careful consideration to WHO advice as it continues to develop, we will seek to tailor such advice to Scotland’s particular circumstances where appropriate. Key elements of WHO interim guidance The World Health Organisation (WHO) published interim guidance on considerations for implementing and adjusting public health and social measures in the context of COVID-19 (November 2020). We have carefully considered this advice in reviewing our approach within the Strategic Framework. The WHO advises that it is necessary to understand the available health system response capacity depending on whether there is adequate, moderate, or limited capacity. The same level of transmission can result in a very different situation and require a different degree of Public Health and Social Measures (PHSM) implementation. Applying this analysis, PHSM should be tailored to the lowest administrative level for which situational assessment is possible and, for which, measures can be enacted practically. A Situational Level should be assigned to a geographic area that will inform whether and how to adjust PHSM. The indicators should be monitored regularly (e.g. biweekly) and the Situational Level

assessed accordingly to inform the appropriateness and impact of the PHSM measures taken and to anticipate future changes. The WHO recommend 5 levels (0-4): WHO Situational Level 0: corresponds to a situation with no known transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in the preceding 28 days WHO Situational Level 1: is a situation where basic measures are in place to prevent transmission; or if cases are already present, the epidemic is being controlled through effective measures WHO Situational Level 2: represents a situation with low community incidence or a risk of community transmission beyond clusters WHO Situational Level 3: is a situation of community transmission with limited additional capacity to respond and a risk of health services becoming overwhelmed WHO Situational Level 4: corresponds to an uncontrolled epidemic with limited or no additional health system response capacity available, thus requiring extensive measures to avoid overwhelming of health services and substantial excess morbidity and mortality The WHO also advises on the use of indicators in allocating areas to levels, and we have carefully considered this advice, as set out in this section. The World Health Organisation (WHO) published their ‘Considerations for implementing and adjusting public health and social measures (PHSM) in the context of COVID-19 interim’ guidance on 4 November 2020. We will publish a separate analytical paper about indicators and data, and how we propose to make use of them ahead of the point at which we believe it is appropriate to begin varying levels geographically again in mainland Scotland. For the purposes of comparison, Table 1 (p14) shows the WHO’s suggested ranges in relation to prevalence and test positivity alongside the indicative ranges associated with our levels approach to date. As can be seen, the WHO ranges (thresholds) are generally set at a lower (tighter) level. In summary, our current intention in relation to the use of indicators to inform judgements about levels allocations is as follows: we will continue to use cases per 100,000 people and percentage of positive tests as core indicators of our progress towards suppressing the virus: along with forecasts of case numbers we will present more trend data in our analysis of indicators at local level. We will pay close attention to different patterns of infection for older people. We will continue to look at forecasts of hospital admissions and ICU occupancy, incorporating in our modelling what we know about increased transmissibility of the new variant and changing patterns of hospital and ICU stays it causes: but we will also incorporate in our forecasts data on wider non-COVID pressures on hospital and ICU numbers, to take better account of DRAM MARCH 2021 13

ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE PROPOSED NEW TIERS Table 1: WHO advised indicators compared to current Levels indicators

Weekly cases/100k Current range

WHO range

Test positivity

WHO range

Level 0

< 20

Close to 0

Current range

Close to 0

Level 1





Level 2





Level 3





Level 4





10%+ the overall pressures the NHS is facing we will also consider the ability of the NHS to begin to resume services that are currently paused and where waiting lists are lengthening with many patients waiting well over a year to be seen and then treated. The ability to resume services needs to also take into account that many patients are not presenting or are presenting later - these patients are now beginning to appear in the primary care and hospital system with additional complex treatment requirements. This underlines the urgent need to reduce substantially the numbers of patients hospitalised or in ICU by continuing to suppress the virus. We will align the ranges for the cases and test positivity associated with each protection level with the ranges proposed in the WHO guidance. The ranges for case rates are lower than the ranges we published in the original Strategic Framework, and allow us to take into account the increased transmissibility of the new variant. This means that areas will stay at higher levels until case numbers have fallen further than would have been the case under the approach we took between October and December, when the new variant emerged As noted we will set out clear data and indicators in a supporting indicators paper ahead of reapplying geographically variable levels. Governance We will continue to publish regular updates of the indicators to accompany our decisions, and to outline our reasons. But it is important to emphasise that those decisions will continue to be informed not only by the indicators, but also by detailed intelligence from Directors of Public Health about the situation at a local level and by evolving epidemiological evidence. They will draw in consideration of local, regional and national non-COVID health, economic and societal factors. Decisions on the allocation of areas to levels will ultimately continue to be a matter of judgement, taking various relevant factors into account. We will continue to take decisions informed by: the key indicators, by local intelligence and evolving epidemiology the public health advice of Directors of Public Health and the National Incident Management Team chaired by Public Health Scotland assessment of that advice and the recommendations of our senior advisors and policy officials, considering the wider health, social and economic harms alongside the harm caused directly by the virus 14


Our local authority partners will continue to have an important part to play in our decision-making, through their involvement as observers in the National Incident Management Team and the ‘Four Harms’ consideration by advisors and officials; and we will continue to engage with local authorities both in our plans to implement our updated Strategic Framework and, once we move back to a more geographically variable Levels approach. In the light of our experience of using the levels approach, of the effect of the protective measures and of the evolution of the new variant, we intend to monitor the data carefully after every change to assure ourselves that the virus is on course to be suppressed. This means we will conduct formal reviews of the levels every three weeks, rather than weekly – although we will continue to be prepared to take action swiftly to escalate an area if a rapid and dramatic increase in cases should justify our doing so. And to give people, businesses, local authorities and delivery partners greater clarity and certainty to plan, we intend that areas should remain in a level for at least three weeks, and show a sustained declining trend in cases, before moving down a level. To support business planning, we will aim to give five days’ notice of any reduction in levels. However, particularly given the increased transmissibility of the virus, it will not always be possible to provide advance notice if an area needs to move up a level. The approach set out here assumes that there will be a need for protective measures for some months ahead. This approach can be revisited as our understanding of the impact of the vaccination programme increases and in response to wider epidemiological developments. We will, however, keep the position in all areas of the country under close review on an ongoing basis, mindful of the need to ensure that protective measures should remain in place for only as long as they remain proportionate, necessary and justifiable in suppressing the virus and protecting public health. We will publish updated Levels tables in March 2021, well in advance of the return to geographically differentiated levels. This will enable us to ensure that we are using up-to-date evidence on the impact of the vaccine programme in determining any required changes to the contents of the levels.



he Auto Renewing Contract, sometimes referred to as a Rolling or Evergreen Contract, is a supplier contract which automatically renews after the initial term. The small print in the contract would typically stipulate that notice has to be served in a specific timeframe and often in a very prescriptive form, otherwise it will automatically renew. Although the contract’s terms and conditions section usually includes all the necessary wording explaining the ramifications of not serving notice at the appropriate interval, it is probably not explicit enough to act as a red flag for those signing the contracts on behalf of their companies. The auto renewal term is sometimes for an additional 12 months but it is not unusual for the renewal to apply to the same time period as the Initial Term. This means a 36 month Initial Term contract could quite feasibly rollover for another 36 month period if notice is not served on a timeous basis. If a supplier is performing well and you are satisfied with their service and quality, it is perhaps not a huge issue. However, with an auto renewing contract, the balance of power rests with the supplier and they are able to increase costs for the new term without much regard to you as the customer. Although this is probably not a good long-term strategy on behalf of the supplier in the spirit of good customer relations, as the contract is binding, it can quickly become a rather unattractive proposition. This is particularly true if you know that there are alternative suppliers offering the same or improved service and quality levels at a lower cost. The scenario whereby you still require the product or service and the contract auto renews is frustrating to say the least. However, it is a whole lot worse if you decide that you no longer wish to use the product or service in your business. You then find that not only does your agreement not allow you to cancel at will, you get the double whammy that your contract has auto renewed because you have missed the deadline to serve notice. The opposite of a warm, fuzzy feeling will soon descend upon that discovery. These clauses may be present in various contracts but are notable in relation to the provision of services such as IT systems and Facilities Management related service contracts. It would be great to say that the clauses are unenforceable but that it not the case. Wrongful termination of a contract during a renewed term could give rise to a claim for damages for breach of contract and there may be already be a provision in the terms and conditions which dictates how much will become due in the event of an early termination by the customer. It is best

to avoid this course of action. If a supplier is not performing, there will be remedies available to the customer contained within the contract. However, these should not be relied on to extricate your hotel, bar, pub or restaurant from an auto renewing contract simply because you do not want to renew. The best way to avoid an automatic renewal clause is not to enter a contract that contains such a clause in the first place. Read the terms and conditions and if an automatic renewal clause is included as part of the standard terms and conditions, seek to have the clause removed. Most reasonable suppliers will be willing to do this. Failing that, ask the supplier to write into the contract that they are obligated to remind you in advance of the contract end date to serve notice at the appropriate timescale. It is worth setting up diary reminders for all contracts to ensure notice is served and also check the form the notice should take – if it states that it should be served on blue paper and you serve it on pink paper, the supplier can reasonably reject your termination notice.

If you require any guidance on auto renewing contracts, please contact

DRAM MARCH 2021 15





We talk about this trade being resilient and one person, in my view, who epitomises this is David Davidson. I would give him the title ‘the bounce back king’. He is a perfect example of how you can come back from adversity and thrive.


have propped quite a few bars up over the years with David, to buy the freehold. At the time I thought it was huge, it had a but our interview this time is over zoom, but it was great to 1,000 capacity. But I remember James Mortimer coming to see catch up, and talk about how his business the ‘Yes to All Group’, it and saying, ‘nice wee place.’ My life savings were in it!” established in 2019, is adapting to the current situation, and his In 1995 he cashed in and sold to Daso Nicholas. Then he bought plans for the future. Brunswick Cellars, which he had for seven years. Even if you are not familiar with David, no doubt you will be familiar From 1999 David embarked on an expansion plan and over the with some of the pubs he has owned in the past, from Brunswick next few years grew his business to a point where it had 28 units. Cellars to the Budda Group; The Institute in Paisley to Rab Ha’s At the heart of his business were his Budda Bars. In fact, I first and the Velvet Rooms in Glasgow. It has certainly been a journey. met David as he opened his Glasgow Budda in St Vincent Street He tells me, “I’ve always been a glass-half-full kind of guy. The but he admits the Group grew too quickly. Says David, “I made challenges over the years have made me look a bit more inward, so many mistakes, and got too big – the brewers were throwing but both of my parents taught me not to give up. Certainly, this money around and the valuations were very high. and I got carried has given us all time to reflect on how we deliver hospitality and away. I loved the journey and I loved what we did, and I don’t have I think we will come back out of it a better industry. There will be bad memories I just wish we had done things differently.” casualties, people that don’t make it The Budda Group ended up through. If you were struggling before being sold to Dark Star, out of the pandemic, it certainly won’t be any administration. Says David, “It It was one of the most stressful easier post-pandemic.” was one of the stressful times However, he continues, “The people in my life. I had worked so hard, times in my life. I had worked so I am talking to are trying to stay but I now realise that if I had let hard, but I now realise that if I positive, although I have to admit go a little, and hadn’t been so Nicola Sturgeon’s announcement in the middle of things, that it had let go a little, and hadn’t been regarding her roadmap didn’t help.” might have worked out a little so in the middle of things, that When hospitality does open David will differently. But RBS pulled in our be introducing a couple of new places overdraft and gave us 72 hours it might have worked out a little The Urbanist in Kilmarnock and a still to repay it. Many folk were having differently. to be named Dumbarton venue on the similar problems with their banks site of the former Clipper. They join at the time.” DAVID DAVIDSON Barga in Paisley (which did open just The next few years were very before lockdown but which has since challenging. He says, “Things got had a revamp) and The Cardross Inn, with got very involved with very difficult. I still had a couple of restaurants, including one in the local community over lockdown with Operation Steak Pie– Paisley, I lost my dad to cancer in 2007 then in the years after which was crowd funded and which provided food to vulnerable the recession of 2008 and 2009 I lost my house, my relationship people in community. broke up and I certainly got very disillusioned. However, I realised To give you an idea of the sort of man he is, you only have to that the biggest loser out of the whole thing was my family - I have look at just some of the guys that have worked for him over the six kids – five girls and a boy. On a positive side, the crisis meant years – Fergus McVicar, Mark Lappin, Mal Spence and James I spent a lot of time with them and a lot of time thinking about Rusk, all of whom have gone to become very successful licensed what I wanted to do. One thing I absolutely knew was that I wasn’t trade movers and shakers. I hesitated there – if I had used the about to give up.” word entrepreneur no doubt Fergus would have thought that very He then went to work for Colin Beattie. “I worked for Colin for a ‘bourgeois!’ year and a half, and I really respect what he has done. He has David admits he has lots of Fergus stories, but they are mainly some beautiful units and it was a unique place to work. It also unprintable! He says, “Fergus worked for me for about 7 years. made me realise I still had something to offer and still loved the He worked at The Institute in Paisley before managing Brunswick trade. Cellars for several years. He then opened Budda in Helensburgh for “My core values were always the same: looking after people and me. Even back then he was fantastic.” He is just as complimentary building a good team. That is what hospitality is all about so I about the others. worked like hell to get some money behind me. I also vowed I David, a Paisley Buddie, opened a nightclub in the town in 1993 would never be beholden to a brewer or bank again.” called The Institute. He says, “I was quite lucky because I managed Today, David heads up the ‘Yes to All Group’, with some DRAM MARCH 2021 17

It really does all start with your team, if you keep them close and look after them, it translates into good customer service, which in turn keeps your customers happy and ultimately your investors too”


LICENSEE INTERVIEW “understanding” investors who he says know the industry well, and he has also built a good team. He says, “Yes to All is a positive message. We don’t say no, we try to say ‘Yes’, to people. I don’t think standing still is the right thing to do but you have to be careful and selective about what you do.” One of the first venues to open under the banner of ‘Yes to All’ was Barga in Paisley on the site of the former Cafe Borgia. Says David, “We refurbished Barga spending some £300K out of our own resources. We stripped it back, everyone in Paisley knows the site so I felt we had to do it right. The people of Paisley have great links to the Italian town. In fact the last time I was there my wee girl was having ice cream and the girl serving was talking to her in Italian and the she turned to me and said in a broad Paisley accent, “How are you doing Davie, you still got pubs in Paisley?” We opened it at the start of 2020 and had a brilliant first six weeks, then we had to close, and since then I have tweaked the design so that we are ready to reopen. I have to say the landlord has been great. We also rent from Iona and they have been great too.” David has some advice for anyone having difficulties with their landlord. He says, “Go and sit down with them – and explain what your issues are. The last thing a landlord wants is an exodus and a whole pile of empty units. But you have to explain where you are and be well prepared with all your figures. And for those looking for new opportunities be sure you get a good rent-free period and get some protections written into the lease in case this happens again. Landlords are a bit more realistic about things now than before the pandemic and you can cut yourself a good deal. Be bold as they need the money as much as you do and they want long term tenants.” He has a lot of sympathy for suppliers to the industry. “I really feel for them,” he says. “They have had so little support. We made a decision 18 months ago to buy as locally as we can, so we are buying a lot from the wee guys and they have been amazing. The majority of suppliers have been brilliant – we all just want to get through this together.” Although most of his staff are currently furloughed, “Thank god for furlough”, he says. “There would have been carnage without it.” He has got a good team all ready to go to. The group has appointed Mark Wilson as Creative Director, long time ally Paul Bonomi as Executive Chef and Nigel Lister will be heading up training. David also has his lifelong friend and successful businessman Danny McIntyre on hand for strategic advice. “We 18


see this as a great opportunity to bring good people on board the only issue is keeping everyone motivated until we open. The first time around we painted and redecorated, but now it just feels like a waiting game,” he says. Adding, “I can’t help feeling this is not going to go away this year and that we may have little snaps of lockdown in the winter. I hope I am wrong but I have factored this into our business planning” As to the future of the trade, “I still think there are great opportunities for people but have to go into this industry with experience. People expect a certain standard and you need experience to be able to deliver that. Funding a business through turnover won’t happen – you need funds of your own your own or investors with a bit of money, as you will probably lose money the first year so you need to be prepared for the pain, and the long hours. You need to be 100% committed. The trade needs new operators but they need to go in with their eyes open.” “The failure rate is huge and take it from me there is a fine margin between success and failure. Having said that I have learned more from failures than success! As to future trends, He says, “I think people will stay local and support their local pub and especially if they supported the community over the pandemic. People will remember that stuff. Outside areas are also much more important, and most people are investing in them.” He also has no plans to retire but plans instead to keep surrounding himself with the right people. Although, for now, not his daughter Lisa, who has been working for Michael Bergson for the last 5 years. “I am so proud of what Lisa has already achieved in our industry. She started working for me when she was 15 and did so for many years but as she shares my stubborn nature it led to the odd falling out! Who knows, maybe one day we will get the band back together again however Lisa may have her own thoughts on that! Michael has been incredible over the last year. He has really looked after Lisa and his team as well as being an excellent spokesman for our industry. It really does all start with your team, if you keep them close and look after them, it translates into good customer service, which in turn keeps your customers happy and ultimately your investors too” He concludes, “My dad used to say when I went greeting to him, “Life is not a dress rehearsal. This is the real thing – get on with it. Take the hit, get back on it, learn from it, and move on.” That bit of advice has certainly stood David in good stead and it is a lesson to us all.






Mayfield Bar Hawick

Trading as a fully licensed 80 cover restaurant premises with a separate 60-cover bar, this freehold sale includes an on-site car park and well-equipped kitchen in this wellknown Scottish Borders premises. It is on sale for offers in the region of £110,00 and is well-positioned in the town for local as well as passing trade, being a stand-out corner property that’s been in business for many years.

Kerymor Tavern Angus

This wet-led has been a licensed premises since 1840 and in the same hands for the past 23 years and there’s a lot of warmth and affection for The Kerymor among local people who see it as a pub that beats at the heart of the community. There’s a four-bed flat included in the sale which we believe has been used as a guest house in the past and it’s actually listed as a bar and hotel, with the asking price for the freehold being £200,00.

The Empress of Broughton St Edinburgh

It’s the leasehold of this attractive 50-cover bar and restaurants that’s up for grabs. It’s got a fully fitted kitchen, G energy rating, premises licence and a great location too of course – it’s directly opposite the new St James development which will include a 250-bed boutique hotel, this development is on schedule to complete in 2022. The beer is partially tied to Greene King. They are looking for £70,000 for the long leasehold.

Pelligrini, Glasgow

Pellegrini is a 60-cover ground floor/mezzanine restaurant leasehold for sale in Glasgow’s Finnieston with full class 3 consent and a pavement license for 10 covers. Pellegrini is a family-run Italian restaurant that’s been trading for about five years and it’s a turn-key deal with all equipment, fixtures and fittings included. Rent £35,000 per annum. The leasehold guide price is £80,000. 20


Arisaig Hotel, Inverness-shire

The Arisaig is thought to date back to 1702 and is on a coastal setting overlooking Loch nan Ceall. It has13 en-suite bedrooms and service areas like a covered decking outside for up to 50 guests. The rooms are traded from mid-March to mid-November with income streams split between the 13 letting bedrooms and the wet and dry sales. Includes ‘ample’ staff accommodation including an area that could be developed into a one-bed self-contained flat. They are accepting offers over £860,000 for the freehold.

Clachan Cottage Boutique Hotel, Lochearnhead

This 19-bedroom hotel is a terrace of original traditional cottages overlooking Loch Earn in beautiful Perthshire and even has its own private jetty and moorings. The majority of the rooms have a loch view and there are three separate dining areas - bistro, lounge, restaurant. The accommodation is over three levels plus there’s a bar, garden, and terrace. This freehold will cost you £795,000 (13,713.20 ft²).

Craigard House Hotel Campbeltown

With views over Campbeltown Loch, this grade B listed 13-bedroom hotel was built by a former distillery owner in 1882 and includes original features like wood panelling, ornate cornicing, and painted glass windows. It’s got a 34-cover licensed restaurant and gardens and a commercial kitchen. The listing suggests that the new owner could increase revenues by adding an extension. It’s on the market for £800,000

Eglinton Bar, North Ayrshire

The Eglinton Bar is a traditional wet-led community local in the coastal village of Skelmorlie that’s been in the current owners’ hands for the past 25 years and they are now retiring. It’s a detached property with the pub n the ground floor and the two-bedroom flat upstairs. There are two entrances at the front with access to the bar and lounge via the front porch. It’s also got a beer garden. They are looking for offers in the region of £225,000 for the freehold.

The Ship, Dumfries

The Ship has changed hands quite a few times in recent years but is a firm favourite among Dumfries folk because it used to be one of the best-run pubs in town and they’d love nothing more than see it return to its former glory. It’s on the same strip as other Dumfries pubs The Waterftont and Greens Sports Bar. It has a slim front area with a bar and a wider back lounge with an original fireplace and cornicing. It’s on the market for £185,000 and the sale includes an upstairs three-bedroom flat.

DRAM MARCH 2021 21

THE URBANIS 14 London Road, Kilmarnock



he Urbanist is a new bar, restaurant and venue which aims to bring a city centre vibe to Kilmarnock when it opens after lockdown. Creative Director of the Yes to All Group, Mark Wilson told DRAM, “What we have tried to do with The Urbanist is make a variety of spaces which cater for all experiences. You could bring your dog and have a pint or a whisky and read a paper, you could also come with a group of friends for some drinks or with the family for a special occasion and we also have function suites and are planning on hosting small weddings.” The space incudes elements of traditional, old school pubs, such as old oak benches, tweed and tan upholstery all mixed with touches of modernity - large over-sized modern art, mid-century furniture and in the slightly plusher areas there are chandeliers, velvety upholstery and oversized curtains.” Says Mark, “We wanted a well-designed space that created a nice kind of mix throughout - a premium-style experience for customers without costing them an arm and a leg. The idea was to create an urban, modern and chic look with a traditional twist to persuade people that they don’t need to go into Glasgow or Edinburgh for an ‘urban’ experience, hence the name.” Mark also revealed that they are putting a Scottish Gin garden at the front of the venue and something quite different in the large area at the rear. He even went as far as suggesting it may contain an apple orchard. DRAM MARCH 2021 23



arga in Paisley, from the same stable as The Urbanist, couldn’t be more different. This venue opened just before lockdown and it has much more of an industrial feel. Creative Director Mark Wilson explains “We knew we wanted to do something that was completely different to what was already in Paisley. We wanted something quite raw, with an industrial look and an element of kitch to it too. In fact there are still bits and pieces to go in like a giant tropical fish tank above the bar.” He continues, “We also have references to movies, and neon too. We wanted a venue that had a bit of an attitude and that reflected the culture of Paisley. It is quite a separatist culture - although it is linked to Glasgow, Paisley likes to see itself as something quite different.” Barga was stripped right back to its concrete shell, and Mark has kept a lot of the industrial feel when building back up. “We made very careful movements and touches to bring stuff in, including the meshwork and neon and tried not to make it too polished. We kept as much of the original 24


shell as possible, including the concrete floors, breeze block on the walls and when we built back with any new breeze block we tried to render as little as possible. But have also left raw plaster,” he says. Although Barga has a quite bare and industrial look there is warmth too with lots of warm orange and red neon. Says Mark, “When you come in at night you may be surprised how cosy it feels. We have also broken up the spaces - it is quite a big open plan space, but it has cosy corners too. “We wanted to expose the processes of hospitality and to this end we have put in a big open kitchen, with a big pizza oven - we call it the Volcano. We also have a big catwalk bar with a lot of bar seating. “In New York bar seating is massive and I think there is a big gap in Glasgow and Paisley and in the West of Scotland generally for customer engagement with the fun and process of what goes on behind the bar and in the ktichen and we wanted to bring this to the forefront in Barga.”

DRAM MARCH 2021 25





here was good news this week not least the fact that the Chancellor has extended furlough, although David Logan makes an interesting point - flexible furlough doesn’t differentiate between a full-time long serving employee, who depends completely on the 80% to keep food on the table, and a 20 year old part-timer who was (for example) is just supplementing their studies with bar work, and who would have moved on if it had not been for the pandemic. The other positive news is that a further £1.2 billion is coming to Scotland. However, it remains to be seen if the Finance Secretary will give the trade the same start back grants of £18K that the UK Government has pledged. The third bit of news that was really positive is the fact that the US has suspended for four months (at least) the punitive tariffs on Scotch whisky. Hallelujah. That is good news for the industry and ultimatley good news for Scotland.

hospitality was responsible for Covid19 transmission. After delaying responding for months it finally responded and admitted that it has no specific evidence to support their restrictions on Scotland’s hospitality sector. They initially claimed they had 3,000 documents supporting the decision, took that back to 2,000 and now have released only one document which SHG say has “no significance to the request” and it is putting pressure on the Government to listen to hospitality businesses and allow us to get the show back on the road. Everything of course hinges on getting the transmission rate down and Covid-19 continuing to fall. So we all do need to keep doing what we are doing, for the time being, and here’s hoping everyone else does too.

It was lovely to have chat this month with David Davidson. I have said in the feature, but I will say it again, he is one of the most resilient characters I have come across in the trade. And as we went to press he told me that his group Yes to All was to take over Gandolfi Fish in Glasgow’s Merchant City. He plans to turn it into a Mexican venue complete with Taco’s, Margarita’s and more. I remember fondly Cactus Charlie’s in Glasgow’s West End which I frequented in my youth - every Friday night! I think we kept the bar in business and I have very fond memories of the Mexican cantina. Roll on David’s new venture I will certainly be venturing down for a tequila or two. I was very sad to hear about the death of Graeme Gibson, the General Manager of Yotel in Glasgow. He died suddently of a heart attack last month. I hope to do an obituary in the next issue and in Hotel Scotland. I understand the streets of Paisley were lined as people paid their respects to this much-loved hospitality veteran and the beautiful words that so many of his friends and colleagues have shared on Facebook just emphasise how much a part of this industry he was. He will be sorely missed. Our thoughts go to out to his children and wife Samantha. The Scottish Hospitality Group did a Freedom of Information request seeking evidence from the Scottish Government that they had evidence proving that 26



For more information contact us on: 0141 946 0444


BDP Contract Furniture


Cawley Hotels River House Restaurant, Stirling

Manufactured in our Glasgow Workshop Recovery and Polishing Service 0141 883 0400 37 Hepburn Road, Hillington, Glasgow G52 4PT

Tablet Solutions / Back Office Software PMS Integration/ Cashless Kitchen Video Systems/ Cloud Loyalty Systems / Booking Manager GLASGOW - 0141 424 0558 EDINBURGH – 0131 447 1800 AYRSHIRE - 01292 285404

ROUNDUP @dramscotland


Roll back to 2014 - our Awards at the Grand Central Hotel. The theme was the Queen’s Coronation and the winner of Contribution to the Licensed trade was Colin Barr.

DRAM DRINKS RETAILING AND MARKETING PUBLISHED BY MEDIA WORLD LIMITED t: 0141 01560 600585 e: w: Publisher Susan Young • Editor Jason Caddy • Advertising Nikki Oji • Admin Rebecca Or 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 2021. Printed by Stephens & George Print Group.




Profile for DRAM Scotland

DRAM March 264 2021  

The magazine for Scotland's bar owners, restaurateurs and hoteliers. This month we interview David Davidson of the Yes to All Group and high...

DRAM March 264 2021  

The magazine for Scotland's bar owners, restaurateurs and hoteliers. This month we interview David Davidson of the Yes to All Group and high...


Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded

Recommendations could not be loaded