The VOICE of Northern Irelandâ€™s catering, licensing and tourism industry
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The VOICE of Northern Ireland’s Catering, Licensing and Tourism Industry
NI TRADE REELING AFTER YET ANOTHER UNPROFITABLE EASTER
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ust as ROI announced that it will introduce reformed licensing laws to allow its trade to sell alcohol on Good Friday, Northern Ireland hospitality businesses were left feeling the strain of yet another year of archaic laws around Easter trading. Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill said the move in the Republic left NI ‘lagging behind’ and encourages NI consumers to travel south over one of the busiest holiday seasons. “Once again we are left lagging behind our second largest tourism market and nearest competitor, the Republic of Ireland. With their progressive licensing laws that offer customers what they want and a Tourism VAT rate of 9% it’s Northern Ireland that will lose out, and that’s a fact. You only need to visit Carlingford
over Easter and watch the buses arriving from the North to see just how much we lose every Easter,” he said. Colin emphasised that Easter licensing laws by no means take into account the religious nature of the holiday given supermarkets are still permitted to sell liquor from 8am on Good Friday while the trade is only permitted to sell alcohol after 5pm. “We totally respect that Easter is an important period for many in Northern Ireland. But having a glass of wine with your lunch or a social pint of beer with your friends and family in a bar or restaurant is not disrespectful, nor does it take away from the importance of Easter,” continued Colin. “Allowing pubs and restaurants to sell
SETTING THE BAR: Michael Stewart rolls back the years pg8 www.hospitalityreviewni.com Crabbies Strip Hospitality Review Apr '17 1
twitter.com: @Hosp_ReviewNI 13/04/2017 13:22
TEQUILA RISING: The new star of the spirit world pg18
GUNNING FOR GROWTH: Conall Wolsey on expanding the Bullitt brand pg40 MAY HRNI • 3
alcohol over Easter is not about religion, if it were they would ban supermarkets selling alcohol at 8am on Good Friday morning. And does anyone really think less alcohol will be consumed? People just bulk buy in advance and drink at home, consuming more alcohol than they would over a normal weekend.” Permitted hours for the sale of intoxicating liquor over the entire Easter weekend has always been a contentious topic for the industry, however the introduction of revised laws in the south could add further damage. Stephen Magorrian, Managing Director of the Horatio Group said: “Easter Friday and Easter Saturday are two of our quietest days of the year and these are days when we hope to make our profits. The rest of the week that we open covers our costs and no more. “This particular Easter we were fairly quiet. It’s not just because we don’t open until 5pm on Good Friday but because we close early and people just don’t bother coming out at all.” Stephen added: “We need a change, particularly if it’s changing in the South. Around the border our colleagues suffer because people head into the South and it’s going to get worse next year.” Tony O’Neill of Thornyhill Restaurant Group spoke of the contradictory regulations that mean diners cannot drink in his establishment on Good Friday but visit a supermarket, purchase wine and drink and eat in a BYO establishment. He said: “The laws are very outdated
especially when you are seeing the gross tourism we have, which is brilliant for the economy, but this holds us back especially when it comes to visitors from the likes of Spain and Italy who are used to eating out later. “It does kill us and the majority of the general public doesn’t have a clue why they’re not allowed to be served alcohol. They almost blame us and the most ludicrous thing is I could buy a bottle of wine in a supermarket and sit drinking it at a BYO restaurant.” Good Friday isn’t the only day harming the trade. The early closure on the Saturday and Sunday over Easter also presented hospitality establishments with unrecoverable losses which collectively amount to £16m believes Colin. “The hospitality industry will lose out on over £16M of income- money that pays the rates and wages, and sustains many small businesses across the province,” he explained. “We are a responsible industry and we have worked hard to find a compromise, but we simply cannot be ignored. The NI Assembly had made some progress to amend our licensing legislation, but that Bill fell when the Assembly fell.” “We don’t do politics, but this is another clear example of how no devolved Government is impacting our economy and I would appeal to our elected representatives to find a way to re-establish the NI Assembly and implement a Bill that will make real changes to our licensing laws.”
WARNING TO MINISTERS TO RESTORE DEVOLVED GOVERNMENT OR FACE JOB CUTS
AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY AT
usiness groups, universities and the voluntary sector joined forces in a final appeal to Stormont to restore a working government - or face job cuts. The deadlock at Stormont was also branded “beyond a joke” by one of the leading business groups in Northern Ireland as a letter was delivered to MLAs warning them that it is “only through local government that we can guarantee peace, attract investment and deliver job creation and social progress.” It was one of 19 organisations representing large industry, small businesses and the voluntary sector, Colin Neill of Hospitality Ulster and Glyn calling on MLAs to find a way forward to form a Roberts, Retail NI deliver an open letter stable power-sharing government - 19 years after the to Parliament Buildings. signing of the Good Friday Agreement. They included the NI Chamber of Commerce, CBI, Hospitality Ulster, the Construction Employers’ Federation, IoD, the Freight Transport Association, Retail NI, as well as Queen’s and Ulster Universities, and voluntary sector groups such as NICVA. The letter says “devolved government is the only option for maintaining our precious peace and allowing the people of Northern Ireland to shape their own destiny.” The CBI’s regional director Angela McGowan said:”It’s really important to demonstrate that there is a big voice out there, that we want to shape our own future in Northern Ireland. “People voted for a shared government and a shared way forward in Northern Ireland, and that’s what has to happen - find a compromise or find a way forward, or everyone loses.” Glyn Roberts, chief executive of Retail NI, said the situation is now “beyond a joke” while Colin Neill, of Hospitality Ulster said jobs are at risk and he is beginning to see “tangible” effects from a lack of government. “People are trying to run businesses and our members are trying to make a living. The lack of a devolved government is going to stop that. “We are at the point now where we have no tourism strategy and people are lining up to build hotels. They will be nervous, and that ripples throughout (the industry).”
forward THE TEAM & CONTACTS Editor: Emma Deighan Manager: Mark Glover Art Editor: Helen Wright Production Manager: Irene Fitzsimmons Subscriptions: 028 9078 3200 (Price £27.50 UK, £37.50 outside UK) Published by Independent News & Media Ltd: Hospitality Review NI, Independent News & Media, Belfast Telegraph House, 33 Clarendon Road, Clarendon Dock, Belfast BT1 3BG. Contact: Editorial: email@example.com. Tel: 028 9026 4268 Sales: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: 028 9026 4266
t’s with a little sadness that I will be handing the HRNI reins back to Alyson Magee as she returns to her rightful role as editor in time for our June edition. I hope that you’ve enjoyed the little tweaks I’ve introduced to the magazine as well as the stories I’ve brought over the past few months as much as I have putting them together. As I bow out as acting editor I sought to introduce a little bit of sunshine throughout the HRNI May edition to counteract the staleness left after yet another fallout at Stormont. There are few beverages that can brighten up dark skies more so than the most theatrical of the spirit world - Tequila - which is enjoying its rise to fame this year and the big suppliers couldn’t agree more (pgs18-23). We filter the Mexican touch throughout by visiting La Taqueria for our Restaurant Profile (pg16), calling on Patron’s Karine Tillard (pg21) for our Raising the Bar feature and visiting Bullitt for their take on the classic Paloma cocktail in our Cocktail of the Month piece (pg30). Perhaps our biggest beacon in this issue, however, is our interview with, arguably, one of the best-known pioneers of the Belfast pub and club scene, Michael Stewart (pg8), who looks at the trade then and now but all with the banter and craic that the trade know and love him for. And from old school to the new generation of industry leaders we catch up with Conall Wolsey (p40) and chat about spreading the Beannchor love beyond NI. Enjoy the read. ¡Hasta luego!
The Review is the official publication for: Hospitality Ulster: 91 University Street, Belfast, BT7 1HP. Tel: 028 9032 7578. Chief Executive: Colin Neill Chairperson: Olga Patterson The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation: The McCune Building, 1 Shore Road, Belfast, BT15 3PJ. Tel: 028 9077 6635 Chief Executive: Janice Gault President: Ciaran O’Neill Design & Production by: Independent News & Media Ltd Printed by: W. & G. Baird Ltd. The opinions expressed in Hospitality Review are not necessarily those of Hospitality Ulster or the NIHF.
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HOSPITALITY TRADE SURVEY LAUNCHED H
ospitality Ulster, in conjunction with the Ulster University Business School, BDO Northern Ireland and Tourism NI has launched the Hospitality Trade Survey to gather data to secure the future success of the industry. Ulster University Business School will collate the confidential data covering three key sectors; food, beverage and accommodation, across a wide range of business types. The information, analysed professionally by BDO Northern Ireland, will give real time information on the performance of the hospitality industry for hoteliers, publicans, restaurateurs as well as wider business and professional networks. Colin Neill, CEO of Hospitality Ulster said: “We all know knowledge is power, and in today’s competitive marketplace it is essential to know what’s happening in your catchment area.” Professor Una McMahon-Beattie of Ulster University emphasised the importance of the survey for local industry: “For hospitality
businesses, participation in the survey will allow them to understand their operation in the context of our rapidly developing industry. The potential to benchmark with competitors enables them to better understand their position in the marketplace and gain an independent perspective about how well they are performing in relation to others.” Brian Murphy, Partner at BDO Northern Ireland added: “The hospitality market is one of the most important to our economy with one in 20 people within Northern Ireland employed within the sector. We are envisaging that a large number of businesses will participate in the survey, which will allow us to present relevant and real time information across the food, beverage and accommodation trade”. Participation is confidential, easy, and free and takes just a few short minutes to complete. To take part in the survey visit surveymonkey. co.uk/r/hospindustrysurvey For assistance call Joel at Hospitality Ulster on 02890327578. MAY HRNI • 5
HOSPITALITY ULSTER’S EAT DRINK SLEEP APP IS THE MARKET INTELLIGENCE CHOICE FOR THE TRADE
aunched recently at Rita’s, Belfast and then in Derry, Eat Drink Sleep by Hospitality Ulster (HU) is an innovative new app that allows the trade to grasp all the intelligence they need to link in with their customers and ultimately boost profits. It will provide those in hospitality with the tools to better understand trends among their clientele but also act as a communication device to interact with their target footfall. Engineered by Velocity Worldwide, the customer experience agency that develops interactive shopper marketing and customer experience strategies to improve top-line and bottom-line business performance, the app is slowly being snapped up by some of the biggest players in hospitality here. Those signing up to the app will benefit from Velocity/Darius technology that will allow them to identify customers and create targeted and personalised offers the minute they walk through the door and, even, when they’re not at the venue. Signing up to the app, if you are a member of HU, entitles you to have your premises featured on Eat Sleep Drink, an iBeacon – the smart technology that captures data – installation in
your premises, integration of Eat Drink Sleep with your social media channels, two offers per month distributed through the iBeacon, promo material to promote the app and offers as well as the option to participate in supplier marketing and footfall driving campaigns. Case studies from similar technical setups within the retail trade here have seen sales growth, footfall increase and the generation of referral business. Client Services Account Director at Velocity, Claire Rutherford, explained: “Eat, Drink, Sleep is a fab way to promote your venue’s offers, promotions and deals to your customers throughout Northern Ireland. “With this easy-to-use app, you can direct personalised promotions for your drinks brands based on your customers preferences, and do things like quickly and easily push out real time offers while they are in your venue. “Some of the smart features include the ability for customers to find nearby pubs, restaurants and hotels for your current location, or browse all places in Northern Ireland if they are planning something further afield. Customers can also use the map view to get directions to any venue while business owners can send
on-premises notifications about special offers, events or promotions. “The app also allows you to gain valuable insights into your customers and the option to integrate with your WiFi, Digital Screens and POS systems and it can be used in conjunction with your existing social media.” Colin Neill Chief Execuitve of Hospitality Ulster added: “This is a very pro-active facility that will benefit all our members and allow them to reach out to their preferred audience through deals, social media interaction and smart technology. “We are a smartphone society and mobile app usage is increasing and keeping up with technological trends is integral to boosting sales.”
INCOMING HOSPITALITY ULSTER CHAIR WELCOMED
ospitality Ulster’s National AGM was held at the Dunsilly Hotel in Antrim last month, with Magherafelt publican and long-time Hospitality Ulster member Mark Stewart being welcomed as incoming Chair. He takes over from Castlederg native Olga Walls who was warmly thanked by members for her contribution over the past two years in the role. Hospitality Ulster CEO Colin Neill said, “Carrying out the role of Hospitality Ulster’s Chair requires a great deal of commitment and dedication, usually whilst also running your own business day to day. We’re tremendously grateful to Olga for her dedication to the organisation and our members. Mark Stewart is a worthy successor, and having already held the post of Chair previously, I know he is ready to hit the ground running during a critical time for our industry.”
Hospitality Ulster launched the Eat Drink Sleep App in Derry recently following its Belfast event.
6 • HRNI MAY
he Jackal’ Frampton was back in his hometown recently to unveil a brand new work of art on Hill Street. Created by Dean Kane from Visual Waste - AKA ‘The Banksy of Belfast’, as part of HARP’s ‘Pure Here’ campaign, the mural showcases some of the best-loved bits of Belfast including The Balls on the Falls, Titanic Building, The Big Fish, The Albert Clock, the H&W cranes, and some of the city’s legendary characters and local celebrities. With the mural featuring a nod to The Jackal’s impact on Belfast, the man himself was only too happy to get behind the campaign. Carl said: “Everybody knows I love Belfast so to be involved with something that’s really positive in the heart of the town, it was a no-brainer for me. HARP’s ‘Pure Here’ is a lot of fun, a really upbeat campaign that’s celebrating lots of great things that are unique to Northern Ireland.” The Cathedral Quarter mural is the first of its kind by HARP and Brand Manager Jeanette Levis said: “HARP is one of NI’s most-loved lagers and this is our way of celebrating all that is magical about Belfast – the unique sense of humour and the quirks that make it so special.” The mural was created by Dean Kane from Visual Waste. He said: “Belfast has been famous for murals for a long time. This one is a bit different because it’s very tongue in cheek. I hope it cheers people up when they’re dandering along Hill Street and take a look up at it.” The ongoing ‘Pure Here’ campaign will see HARP continuing to work with local talent and consumers to champion the best bits of Northern Ireland.
‘THE JACKAL’ CHAMPIONS NEW MURAL FROM HARP
Pictured at Harp’s ‘Pure Here’ mural launch in Hill Street are artist Dean Kane from Visual Waste, local boxing legend, Carl Frampton and TV presenter Julian Simmons who have teamed up with Harp lager to unveil an iconic new piece of street art in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, celebrating the people, sights and humour unique to the city.
FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT IS THE BIGGEST CONCERN FOR HOSPITALITY AND LEISURE INDUSTRIES
FOODIES TELL FIBS ABOUT TASTE EXPERIENCES REVEALS NEW RESEARCH
quarter of hospitality and leisure SMEs admit that day to day financial management is one of their biggest concerns according to Reckon, the software developer that commissioned a recent study. From the research, it was discovered that more than 1,000 small business leaders in the sector stated that financial management is keeping them up at night. Over a fifth (22%) admit they struggle to keep on top of the business’ finances, highlighting a cause for concern. In fact, the concerns aren’t only expressed by younger businesses. While a third (30%) of those in the first year of trading agree that it is one of their biggest worries, surprisingly, a similar proportion (29%) of those with a turnover of more than £10 million have the same worry. With the fiscal year coming to end, the research has highlighted the need for more financial education and support for the UK’s small businesses, including those in the hospitality and leisure industry. One in 10 of those surveyed agree that there is not enough financial planning and advice available for
small businesses and startups. Given the option, money being no object, the same proportion would outsource their day-to-day financial management, Mark Woolley, commercial director at Reckon, said: “It is worrying that so many businesses are concerned about financial management, as it is an issue that can impact their suppliers, partners and our economy. With the potential threat of increased business rates and late payments, SMEs need as much support as possible to understand how to keep on top of changes and keep business moving. “Financial management is one of the keys to success for any business, regardless of size, affecting all areas of the company. History has shown that companies with high sales revenue but poor financial management can still fail. “Whilst there are some resources out there already, there is clearly still a gap to be filled and it needs to be filled quickly. We’d urge any new business to seek good advice on the easiest and quickest ways to take control and stay on top of day-to-day finances.”
ore than one in ten people here (14 percent) have eaten food they secretly can’t stand, in a bid to appear more “cultured” according to a new study.* MSC Cruises UK commissioned researchers to carry out the study which reveals the exaggerations people tell to appear more interesting, better-travelled and more worldly wise. More than 1500 people across the UK were also surveyed in the online poll about their food experiences. It seems millions exaggerate their knowledge of food and taste familiarity to impress their friends, family and colleagues with a further 29 percent of people will go as far as making out that they are ‘foodies’ - suggesting they regularly dine on oysters, quinoa and sushi - when in fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Among the top 20 foods Brits claim to like but secretly don’t include sushi, dark chocolate, rare steak, oysters, kale and avocado. According to the data the average person in the UK will enjoy a fine dining experience on nine occasions in a year. Interestingly, 16-29 year olds are more likely to have 11 fine dining experiences in a year compared to just six culinary experiences among the 45+ age group during the same period. Findings from the research also reveals 21 percent have even fibbed about where they have been in the world - with New Zealand, New York, Australia and Rome emerging as popular places people wish they had visited, but haven’t. Meanwhile four in ten Brits claimed to have watched a film they’ve never seen, while around one in five (19 percent) have overplayed their interest in politics in a bid to impress their peers. Other ‘popular-pretends’ from the research include joining in discussions about famous pieces of literature we’ve never actually read (17 percent), while a similar number given the impression to their family and friends that they are more into ‘cool’ music than they actually are. MAY HRNI • 7
SETTING THE BAR BY EMMA DEIGHAN
MICHAEL STEWART IS, ARGUABLY, ONE OF THE MOST RENOWNED PIONEERS OF THE BELFAST CLUB AND BAR SCENE AND 30 YEARS ON FROM ENTERING THE INDUSTRY HE HAS PLANS TO REVOLUTIONISE ONE OF THE CITY’S BIGGEST LICENSED INSTITUTIONS WITH HIS NEW BUSINESS PARTNER...
eeting in George’s of the Market at St George’s Market seemed an appropriate venue for an interview with the veteran of the licensed trade here. Steeped in local history and culture, St George’s defines local retailing in a similar way that Michael represents the timeline of our local licensing trade. His history is vast. The many venues that he helped launch and spearhead set the benchmark for the industry that we know and love today. However, he could’ve been destined for a career in travel, teaching and even the Hong Kong police force he told HRNI! Born and bred on the Shankill Road, Michael, 56, studied Geography and History at university with the goal of becoming a PE teacher. A few pivotal plot twists in his life made it obvious that the powers beyond us had him earmarked for a role in hospitality here and aren’t we glad? He can recount those significant developments with precision, naming days and dates with incredible accuracy. “That’s just something I’m good at, remembering dates,” he admitted before moving us from the balcony of George’s to the interior for clearer acoustics for our recording. “Good afternoon folks, my name is Michael Stewart,” he said jokingly when he’s asked to take us through the This is Your Life version of his career, using a humour that those who know him well are all too familiar with. “I was accepted to go to Loughborough University,” he divulged when referencing that initial interest in teaching PE. “I was also accepted to be an inspector in the Hong Kong 8 • HRNI MAY
police. I was flown to London for the interview and the job would see me look after a battalion of men and women. I’m glad I didn’t take it. It would’ve taken me on a totally different trajectory,” continued Michael who returned to Belfast post interview to work in M&S. His other unexpected job roles included selling advertising for a packaging magazine in London where his next door neighbour offered him shifts in a pub in Norwood Green, near Hounslow. And so it began. With Bob Cratchit’s. “It was the day of the Poppy Day Bombing in Enniskillen on the 8th of November, 1987 when Pim Dalm called me about Bob Cratchit’s in Belfast for which he was asked to source a manager by Guinness Northern Ireland who owned Croft Inns. “I said to him ‘why would I want to come back given what had happened at home that day?’” recalled Michael. He did come home for the interview and the late John Lavery offered him the job on the spot. “I asked if I could think about it and he looked at his watch and said ‘okay do you want it or not?’ - I said yes.” The rest is history. On December 1, 1987 Michael began his role as manager of Bob’s in what he says was a ‘baptism of fire’. Referencing his decade at Bob’s Michael has mixed emotions; “There were good times, bad times and some horrible times. The murder of our doorman, Jackie Smith, tested our resolve. That was an experience that makes you think how do I come back from this. How does his family come back from this?” Jackie was just 21 when he was shot dead, in what was a sectarian murder, while covering the door of Bob Cratchit’s. Michael held his hand while he passed away. In 1998 Michael left Bob’s and joined forces with Jas Mooney, owner of Madison’s, McHugh’s, The Fly and The Botanic Inn. He was instrumental in the opening of The Fly, The Apartment and The Northern Whig as well as the Lisburn Road’s Ryan’s Bar and a refit of the Globe on University Road. The Rotterdam and the Parador were also members of Jas Mooney’s empire of which Jas once said ‘Michael manages the sexy ones and I look after the six that make money’! “Jas then had the opportunity to buy the King’s Head but to buy it he had to take on Bob Cratchit’s as well. I went down and looked after Bob Cratchit’s and that was challenging times,” said Michael whose career went full circle at the turn of the new Millennium.
A role in Ultimate Leisure followed which involved running the, then, lucrative Bamboo Beach Club, Irene and Nan’s, Bar Bacca, La Lea, Pot House and The Advocate. “That was all very profitable,” continued Michael who was, in another fateful twist, made redundant in 2007 by the company only to be called on board on a consultancy basis days later. Michael launched Bar Czar in 2007 - a consultancy and training business for the trade offering everything from security training to drugs awareness and responsible alcohol trading. “I finished with Ultimate Leisure on a Friday and began working for them on the Monday on a consultancy level,” revealed Michael who believes his career path has been pretty much mapped out for him with the best intentions. “Things happen for a reason. There’s a karma and a fate out there. UL went into administration and I was asked to look after their properties by License Solutions.” While still running Bar Czar, which he still operates today, Michael was also one of the directors who opened the Hudson in 2011 with three other business partners, leaving the establishment last year on his birthday, April 1. That brings us to the current day when he is in the midst of transforming Madison’s on Botanic Avenue with his new business partner, Alan Clancy - dubbed as a new breed of investors in the Republic and the man behind Dublin’s House and 37 Dawson Street. Together Michael and Alan have created Botanic Way Ltd which has major plans for Madison’s - a bold scheme that Michael is not quite ready to expand on. “That’s the vision for the future. We will be closing it soon and rethinking the whole place. It was an iconic venue in its day but we will have more to come on that later,” he suggested. Some 45 minutes and a fish and chip later we’ve only slightly glossed over the career of an industry legend and we’re left with 15 minutes to discuss his views on the trade today with a compare and contrast mindset. It’s hard because the man has so much to say for himself and the industry which he is so obviously passionate about. “Frankie, is there baked Alaska on the menu? Can you bring it to the table and burn it for me,” he asks our waitress before moving on to industry topics. “I love the banter with staff. You’re really interviewing them when you do this. I don’t care if she has skills from university but if you can
thebiginterview When something happened they seemed to rally round. Yes they were bombing the city centre and it expanded to the peripheries like the Golden Mile but there was a comaraderie. “Back then it was fun, fun fun. And there is still fun or you wouldn’t do it. But now you’ve gotta run it like a business. I remember we had a street party with the Fly and we had a full carnival. They were the days. There is so much bloody red tape now these days with everything.” Aside from running Bar Czar and delving into revolutionary plans for Madison’s, Michael continues to travel as part of his role. The day after our interview he flew to Belgium with Heverlee - one of many work-related trips he takes annually. He’s also Junior Vice President and Executive Committee Member of the Belfast Chamber of Trade and Commerce. He’s Chair and Board Member for Hospitality Ulster and Executive Committee Member of the Institute of Hospitality - voluntary and time consuming roles that illustrate the dedication he has in supporting the industry. “Time is the new currency. We don’t have enough of it, the bank doesn’t lend it, we don’t get interest on it and people want more of it,” he announced without the slightest resentment for giving his so freely to the industry. Beyond the scene Michael is married with one son and lives a ‘very happy life’ and he expects to continue making his mark on the industry for the next decade, at least he added: “I’ve probably got 10 to 12 more years left doing what I’m doing and then hopefully I can relax after that. “I was 26 when I took over Bob Cratchit’s. We were all kids and it was good fun. I see those kids and they are nearly my age now and they have their own kids. Some of them have remained in the industry and that’s where there is hope is for the future. Praise be to the Lord!” he concluded!
“Back then we were busier, I don’t know why. There was a resolve in people. When something happened they seemed to rally round. Yes they were bombing the city centre and it expanded to the peripheries like the Golden Mile but there was a comaraderie..” have that banter with her and she knows when to come and go, that’s enough,” continued Michael. And on the subject of skills in the trade... “There are 25 hotels due to open here. Some very soon. That requires, by 2024, 30,000 new employees. 2,000 of those jobs are for chefs and the Government needs to wake up to that and help with training. “When you’re the biggest employer in NI to be treated the way we are by various bodies is nothing less than atrocious. “The hospitality industry provides one in 20 jobs in Northern Ireland, we pay £75 million in corporation tax and 18 million in business rates. We need a minister for tourism and hospitality,” said Michael who went on to add that any immigration restrictions brought about by Brexit would be ‘nothing short of a nightmare’. And while Michael has seen his fair share of nightmares having played a key role in moulding the bar scene here throughout the troubles, he still reflects fondly on the past referencing it as more positive times. “Back then we were busier, I don’t know why. There was a resolve in people. www.hospitalityreviewni.com
Below: Michael with Heverlee’s Joris Brams
■ FAVOURITE BAR: The Garrick
■ FAVOURITE RESTAURANT: ‘There are so many but I’ll plump for Coppi.’
■ FAVOURITE DRINK: ‘Rum. I like to collect it but ironically at Christmas just past, I got into gin.’ ■ INDUSTRY CHAMPIONS: Bill Wolsey - ‘You have to admire him for what he has done and the employment that he brings. It’s also nice to look at the smaller, single operators who have come through the hard times. I have to mention my business partner, Alan Clancy. He has nine or 10 venues in the the Republic of Ireland and has taken the leap of faith to come into Northern Ireland.’ ■ FAVOURITE BAR IN THE WORLD: The Hotel Nacional, Havana, Cuba.
MAY HRNI • 9
RESTAURANTEURS BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO SHAFTESBURY SQUARE VENUE
he owners of one of Belfast’s longest standing Italian restaurants have closed the doors making way for a new business venture. Shaftesbury Square has said goodbye Speranza after over thirty years in business in response to the changing face of area. The proprietors are now giving the location a new lease of life with the opening of an
KETTYLE IRISH FOODS PARTNERS WITH GUINNESS WITH PREMIUM BEEF BURGER
ettyle Irish Foods in Northern Ireland has partnered with Guinness to launch a premium beef burger for selected retailers and hospitality outlets across Ireland and other parts of Europe. The burger marries the very best and most flavourful cuts of beef from Kettyle Irish Foods in Lisnaskea, county Fermanagh, laced with the taste of Guinness. The Kettyle Guinness premium beef burger is available in two, four, eight and 20 packs, both fresh and frozen. Kettyle Irish Foods, part of Fane Valley Group, Northern Ireland’s biggest farmers’ co-operative, is a specialist in dry-aged beef and other premium meat products. The company was established in 2004 by Mr. Kettyle, an experienced meat processor and marketer. The new premium burger is the first in a series of many combined products planned in Kettyle and Guinness. 10 • HRNI MAY
American Italian styled eatery, Brooklyn SQ. A £150,000 renovation of the three-storey building that housed Speranza Restaurant has transformed into a casual dining AmericanItalian warehouse style restaurant Brooklyn SQ. The restaurant currently employs 25 staff with numbers increasing to 40 following the extensive renovation project.The 150-seater restaurant will be illuminated by a 2.4m metre neon sign adding to the ‘Times Square look of the area’ say the owners. Italian restaurant Speranza opened in 1983 and welcomed a host of famous faces through its doors including Lady Gaga, Brad Pitt and Justin Bieber. The restaurant once famed for serving its signature dish chicken speranza, a chicken Kiev stuffed with pate, will make way for a new concept in dining by the Fanning Family who bought the Shaftesbury Square location over a decade ago. Darren Fanning said, “The dynamics of the
area have greatly changed with the rise of the Cathedral Quarter but we’re at the beginning of the shift to see Shaftesbury Square restored to its former glory. There’s a host of new residential and student apartments being built on Dublin Road and the area will soon benefit from the urban villages renewable scheme and the rapid transport system. “We’re excited to be part of the change to the area too. Popularity for casual dining has soared and we’re excited to unveil our new concept Brooklyn SQ in the coming weeks. Brooklyn SQ will offer beautifully fresh authentic food in a relaxed environment. It will be a place where you can hang out with friends, family or for large parties fusing the best of America and Italy”. Brooklyn SQ will serve a range of pasta dishes, sizzling plates, a range of steak cuts, pizza and ribs and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.
NORTHERN IRISH SMOKED SALMON NOW ON-LINE
NEW BELFAST WINE BAR FROM GALGORM OWNERS
ast Coast Seafoods in Northern Ireland has launched its award-winning smoked salmon for retail sale through a new e-commerce site. The company, based at Ballyhornan, a small fishing harbour in county Down, is a longstanding and successful supplier of premium smoked salmon, other fish and shellfish to top restaurants and hotels in Northern Ireland, Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland. The salmon, hot and cold smoked, is available in 2x200g packs at £10, 3x300g at £21 and 4x200g at £27. “We decided to brand our award-winning product as Ballyhornan Smoked Salmon as we are proud to showcase this beautiful part of the world in which we live and work and the quality of our salmon,” says owner Marty Johnston. “The introduction of our new e-commerce platform is to facilitate the great many requests we have had from customers to purchase smoked salmon from us online,” he adds. The salmon is smoked over oak and beech wood. East Coast, the largest independent seafood supplier in Northern Ireland, has won UK Great Taste Awards for its premium smoked salmon and recently introduced 100g and 200g Ballyhornan branded retail packs of smoked and sliced salmon. Visit http://www.eastcoastseafoods. com/
elfast’s Fratelli restaurant has revealed a six-figure expansion upstairs, creating ten new jobs. The top floor of Fratelli on Great Victoria Street has been redeveloped into La Taverna @ Fratelli, a brand-new Italian-style wine bar offering sharing plates in a rustic-themed space complete with a bespoke free standing bar table. The project, which has created more than 140 seats at the venue, is part of a £350,000 investment by Tullymore House Ltd. La Taverna will stock more than 100 varieties of Italian wine, and a dedicated kitchen, with signature double pizza oven, will be located in the first-floor space which is accessed from Fratelli Belfast. The balcony of the historic building has also undergone a transformation, boasting 52 seats as well as a unique outdoor fireplace, full awning, box hedging and cast iron railings. This latest development brings the total spend on the city centre restaurant to more than £750,000 in just under two years, and is part of a programme of expansion that will also be rolled out at the Galgorm Fratelli, with the creation of another ten new jobs as part of an additional £250,000 expansion.
Chef Giorgio Sechi, Colin Johnston, Fratelli Director and La Taverna Manager Rebecca Robb pictured at the new La Taverna restaurant in Great Victoria Street which is part of a £1.5 million investment programme by Tullymore House Ltd
Andrew Provan, Head Chef at Meat Locker.
ANDREW PROVAN, HEAD CHEF AT MEAT LOCKER, DISCUSSES HIS CULINARY CV AND INSPIRATIONS WITH HRNI.
WHERE WERE YOU BORN AND WHERE DID YOU GROW UP? Born in Paisley, Scotland and grew up in Magherafelt moving to Belfast at 18. WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET INTO COOKING AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU? I got into cooking from a young age at home but professionally at 18. I was inspired by TV Chefs who fuelled in me a determination to be as good as I could be.
I really started to learn how to organise, work, cook and taste there. Then I went off to England to test my ambition doing a week’s trial in Mid Summer House before starting a two and a half year stint in the 2 Michelin Starred The Hand & Flowers as a Chef de Partie. This was where I learned the refinement of cooking and the determination needed to succeed. I was exposed to ingredients and techniques which have shaped the way I cook now. I came home from England again to work in Harry’s Shack as Head Chef, which at the time was an exciting opportunity, before returning to Deanes in 2016 to work with Danni Barry in Deanes Eipic. I am now Head Chef in Deanes Meatlocker. My style of cooking is heavily influenced by my time at The Hand & Flowers and Deanes but I draw on recipes and dishes from my entire career for inspiration. WERE THERE ANY PEOPLE WHO PARTICULARLY INSPIRED YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER? I was always overawed by Michelin Star Chefs and in particular Michael Deane at the start of my career. I’m inspired by my family who grafted and worked for everything we had.
WHAT SIZE OF STAFF DO YOU HAVE? I have around six/seven chefs working in Deanes Meatlocker alongside three kitchen porters. I also collaborate with the Head Chef in Deanes Love Fish which is next door to The Meatlocker. DO YOU EVER TRAIN IN OTHER VENUES/KITCHENS AND, IF SO, WHAT HAVE YOU LEARNT AND BROUGHT BACK FROM THEM? Previously I staged in Midsummer House and Le Manoir learning in both places new cooking techniques
DID YOU STUDY HOSPITALITY AT COLLEGE? I started college in Belfast before gaining a job in WHAT STYLE OF COOKING DO YOU DEANES, then the only Michelin Star restaurant DO THERE? in NI. Modern British cooking.
ARE THERE ANY FAMOUS FIGURES IN THE CHEFING WORLD WHO INSPIRE YOU? Mainly the two chefs I owe my career to are Michael Deane and Tom Kerridge, both are amazing chefs, business men and people. Also Raymond Blanc who taught me the importance of having a happy and healthy working environment.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT YOUR BACKGROUND. The Terrace Hotel in my hometown was where I was given my first opportunity. I fell in love with the kitchen environment and adopted the drive I would need later in my career. I moved onto Deanes Restaurant in Belfast working with the, then, Head Chef Derek Creagh.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO OUTSIDE OF WORK? I like to travel and see live music where possible and spend time with my girlfriend which isn’t easy in this job. I’m currently living in Belfast and would like to say thanks to my family, friends and girlfriend for putting up with the hours and strange days off!
WHEN DID YOU JOIN DEANES MEAT LOCKER? August 2016.
WHERE DO YOU SOURCE YOUR FOOD FROM? I use a variety of suppliers using local where produce is better; Hannan Meats being outstanding local produce but I’m not ashamed to say that not everything local is best and providing the customer with the best possible produce is my priority.
is a beautiful new tableware range that combines shape, texture and colour in a way that is designed to elevate and enhance the entire dining experience. Inspired by the hand-thrown style of pottery design studios, Artisan offers something truly unique. It combines the look of a hand-crafted product with the strength, consistency and durability. Artisan is designed and distrubuted exclusively by Bunzl.
COLOURS Ember Collection
For more information call our sales team on: (NI) 028 3751 1999 (ROI) 048 3751 1999 Chefs Profile Banner April 2017.indd 1
MAY HRNI • 11
ADDING HEINEKEN TO THE WINE LIST MARTIN McAULEY, MD OF UNITED WINE MERCHANTS CHATS WITH HRNI ABOUT THE COMPANY’S INTEGRATION OF HEINEKEN NORTHERN IRELAND INTO THEIR BUSINESS AND ANNOUNCES THE LAUNCH OF ORCHARD THIEVES APPLE CIDER INTO THE NI MARKET…
t was a massive announcement from the licensed wholesale company and a ‘positive step’, Martin told HRNI when it was announced that UWM were integrating HEINEKEN Northern Ireland into their business - a move that gives UWM responsibility for developing the HEINEKEN portfolio across Northern Ireland. “Taking on the HEINEKEN brands is a real positive move for UWM., It means that HEINEKEN has the belief in UWM wholesale and that we can develop their brands in this market. The beer and cider brands complement our wine portfolio and allow us to provide a premium offering to customers across all three sectors. This is great for our business and will enhance our reputation with the trade”. As well as the familiar brands in HEINEKEN’s portfolio (Heineken®, Desperados, Tiger and Sol), Martin and his team will work with the new apple cider brand, Orchard Thieves, which is launching mid-May into the NI market both in the on and off trade. Having launched into the ROI two years ago, Orchard Thieves cider reinvigorated the cider category at a time when the market had 12 • HRNI MAY
shown a slight decline year on year. “The success of Orchard Thieves in the ROI market has been fantastic over the last two years,” Martin continued. “We are just coming to the end of Year 2 and the brand has already achieved great success.” he added. “It will be a soft launch at this stage but we know already that there is a big interest in the product, especially in border towns as people who head across to the south on a regular basis to socialise have become familiar with it.” “Our plan is to seed it into the on and off trade initially, supporting the brand with a sampling campaign and quality POS to give the brand real standout on shelf.” Orchard Thieves is a refreshingly crisp cider that delivers an instant apple hit. The new cider offering will go head-to-head with other premium brands such as Magners, Kopparberg and Rekorderlig. Orchard Thieves will come in 4 SKUs – 30 litre keg and 568ml pint bottle for the on trade and a 660ml bottle and 500ml can for the off trade. And Martin believes the future of the NI
market is looking good, despite the political uncertainty both locally and in Europe: “I’ve just started my tenth year in UWM as the Managing Director and finish my 32nd year in the business at the end of this month. In general, there is a great buzz about the place and on the whole people are confident about how the market is going. It is tough though, it’s a very competitive market and we have worked hard to ensure we have strong brands and loyal customers who have given us support over the last 30 years. We aim always to repay that loyalty by adding new products with supportive marketing.” Despite the apprehension surrounding Brexit, Martin anticipates a bright future for UWM thanks to the hard work and dedication of his 49 strong team; “I believe we have the best team of people who know the trade and have a passion for it. I feel today that we are in a very strong position - we have talented and bright staff who are all committed to UWM.” For more information on Orchard Thieves or any other queries please contact your local United Wine Merchants sales representative or on 02838316555.
Growing business together
T: 028 3831 6555 E: email@example.com
TASTE THE GREATNESS STRATEGY TO BOOST FOOD AND DRINK BY MICHELE SHIRLOW, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, FOOD NI
aste the Greatness’, our new strategy for the next five years, was launched last month as a key initiative to build on the resounding success of Year of Food and Drink during 2016. The new strategy, presented to processors, retailers, government representatives, especially our colleagues in Invest NI, and other supporters of local food and drink, will drive our most important industry forward here in Northern Ireland as well as in Britain and international markets. It will continue our work to support the hospitality sector here and our burgeoning craft beers and spirits category. The vision underpinning Taste the Greatness is “a thriving local market that is the seedbed for the food and drink stories of tomorrow”. Food NI’s aim is to showcase them on “a world-class platform to create standout and credibility within and far beyond our borders”. We will tell these stories and create a more significant name for food and drink nationally and internationally that underpins and supports all the excellence that is emerging here. Food NI looks forward to continuing to support Invest NI on measures to boost export sales especially in Britain and to backing Tourism NI in promoting food and drink as probably the most important element in our tourism message. Research shows that upwards of a third of visitors are drawn here by the quality of our food and drink and also by the ‘craic’ to be experienced in our bars. Interestingly this re-iteration of our strategic focus on promoting our food and drink professionally here and abroad coincides with a recent report by GSI, a supply chain body
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in Britain, which highlighted a growing trend towards authentic local food and drink among consumers concerned about provenance and local heritage, two of the strongest features underpinning our produce. It found what we all knew that: “Heritage, provenance, and traceability are no longer nice-to-haves but increasingly important factors that can make the difference between where consumers choose to spend their money.” Smaller companies were benefiting most from the trend towards local food and drink. Craft beers and gins had become among the most important developments in the drink category. This is replicated, of course, in Northern Ireland where we have a thriving craft beer, cider, and gin sector. We now have no fewer than five gin producers in Northern Ireland, like Shortcross and Echlinville. Our cider sector is also growing steadily and winning international acclaim. Two of our smaller cider producers, MacIvor’s In Portadown and Tempted in Lisburn recently won medals in the International Brewing and Cider Awards in Britain. MacIvors is also now on sale in France. I’ve written many times in the past that Britain is a market of huge significance for our food and drink producers. There are some 65 million mouths to feed there in a marketplace which
is still only around 64 per cent self-sufficient in food products. Currently, Britain imports around £40 billion in food and drink and exports less than £20 million. As a result, the food deficit is huge. A slice of this would be tremendously beneficial for the Northern Ireland economy. A key element in our new strategy is to take the message about just how great our food and drink really is to Britain… and then beyond. Our work will be focused on helping to preserve family farming, on celebrating our world-class ingredients and promoting the explosion of authentic and innovative producers. As Taste the Greatness says “it’s putting greatness on plates and in glasses”. We aim “to campaign for and champion Northern Ireland produce and to increase national standout for Northern Ireland food and drink by 2020”. And it’s an objective we are confident can - and will - be achieved. I believe that Food NI is perfectly positioned in terms of knowledge and experience in the industry here and has the expertise especially in digital technology to take Northern Ireland food and drink to the next level as a driver of marketing and communications activity, a networking resource hub and a source of expert food knowledge.
IFEX 2018 IS BACK WITH EXTRA SQUARE FOOTAGE, CHEFSKILLS THEATRE AND THE HIGH PROILE WORLD BUTCHERS’ CHALLENGE AS WELL AS A HOST OF EXHIBITIONS TO INSPIRE AND INFORM THOSE WORKING IN THE FOOD AND DRINK TRADE.
Pictured left to right: Sean Owens, IFEX Salon Culinaire Director; Glenn McDowell, Team Ireland Butcher; Rhonda Montgomery, Founder and CEO of Butchery Excellence Ireland and Caroline McCusker, IFEX Sales Manager.
ext year, there’s set to be a meaty, new addition to IFEX as Northern Ireland’s largest food, drink and hospitality expo plays host to the World Butchers’ Challenge (WBC) – a first for Northern Ireland. Returning to the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast from the 20th to 22nd March next year, the biennial event, that’s amongst the longest running trade events in Europe – and named the ‘UK’s Best Tradeshow Exhibition 2016’*will almost double in size to over 8,000 sq. metres. Introducing a new sister show – MEAT@ IFEX – this innovative new event will be focused on showcasing the meat sector and it will also house over 250 butchers from around the globe, who will be taking part at the World Butchers’ Challenge. The WBC (World Butchers’ Challenge) was created as a platform where butchers from across the world can compete and showcase the butchery skills and creative uses of meat from their respective countries. Having previously taken place in New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain, the winning bid to secure the event for 2018 came from Team Ireland and was submitted by Rhonda Montgomery, CEO of Butchery Excellence Ireland and Chef Sean Owens in conjunction with IFEX’s Organisers, Fresh Montgomery. A further £150,000 will be invested into IFEX 2018 by Fresh Montgomery, as the show’s footprint grows to over 8,000 sq. metres. Commenting on the company’s plans for IFEX 2018, Toby Wand, Event Director of IFEX explains: “We have set the bar high for IFEX 2018, as THE trade event that really galvanises all of those in the food, drink, retail and hospitality sectors. IFEX 2016 was a phenomenal success, growing visitor numbers www.hospitalityreviewni.com
by 24%, and we’re determined to deliver another exceptional show in 2018. “We have partnered with NI company, Butchery Excellence Ireland, to add an international dimension to IFEX with the addition of a sister show – MEAT@IFEX – and the arrival of the World Butchers’ Challenge. To deliver these innovations, Fresh Montgomery and Butchery Excellence Ireland are investing over £150,000 into IFEX 2018, which includes adding a new pavilion dedicated to MEAT@
Pictured left to right: Caroline McCusker, IFEX Sales Manager; Glenn McDowell, Team Ireland Butcher and Sean Owens, IFEX Salon Culinaire Director.
IFEX, growing the show floorplan to over 8,000 sq. metres.” As part of the World Butchers’ Challenge, 12 international teams will travel to Northern Ireland to compete, with a delegation of approximately 1,000 international visitors expected. This level of global interest will ensure that IFEX, Meat@IFEX and the World Butchers’ Challenge help to further Northern Ireland’s reputation for the quality of its produce,
including the world-class Northern Irish meat industry. Speaking about the importance of winning the bid for the World Butchers’ Challenge, IFEX’s Salon Culinaire Director, Chef Sean Owens said: “We are thrilled to have the bid accepted and to be making history in delivering the first-ever World Butchers’ Challenge to Northern Ireland and Ireland. “IFEX is one of the most-respected trade shows within the UK and there’s no better home for the World Butchers’ Challenge than IFEX. The food, drink and hospitality sectors are incredibly important to the Northern Ireland economy and IFEX will play a starring role in promoting the industries, both here and further afield in 2018. We’ve already received tremendous support from some of Northern Ireland and Ireland’s largest foodservice businesses and we’re hoping to galvanise all-industry support in the months ahead.” Rhonda Montgomery, Founder of Butchery Excellence Ireland adds: “Meat@IFEX and the World Butchers’ Challenge are expected to increase IFEX visitor footfall significantly, and we’ll be working hard in the months ahead to bring both Irish and International businesses from the meat and poultry sectors to Meat@ IFEX. “We’re hoping that Meat@IFEX and the World Butchers’ Challenge will not only be a great success, but will leave a lasting legacy for our meat and butchery industries in Northern Ireland.” IFEX has a history of providing a vibrant platform for exhibitors to present a wide range of foods and beverages, promote the latest trends in interiors and technical equipment for the catering business and offers excellent opportunities to meet potential business partners; and next year’s event will be no exception. In 2016, over 120 companies exhibited at the show with visitor numbers surpassing 6,500. IFEX 2018 is set to house all of the ingredients that have made the show a success for many years. Confirmed show attractions includes the Salon Culinaire – which includes the ChefSkills Theatre, La Parade des Chefs and a display of Edible Art – and the Great Taste Market for award-winning producers. Taking place from the 20th – 22rd March 2018 at the Titanic Exhibition Centre, Belfast, IFEX is THE expo to showcase business, products and innovations. By booking early, exhibitors can take advantage of securing prime positioning and being included in the promotional campaign in the run up to the show. To secure your space, please contact Fresh Montgomery on +44 (0)28 9043 1000 or visit www.ifexexhibition.co.uk @ IFEX_NI. MAY HRNI • 15
Head chef and proprietor of La Taqueria Belfast, Adam Lynas, talks about bringing authentic Mexican street food to Northern Ireland and keeping up with the demands of the restaurant’s fast rate of success... 40-45-seater restaurant and we fill that room three or four times a night. WHAT FEEL ARE YOU AIMING FOR? Proper authentic Mexican street food in a professional setting. Joe Goudie (front of house) has a lot of experience working in bars and restaurants in Belfast so we have a wide range of tequila and mezcal cocktails on offer. There are around 15-16 types. We also offer Mexican lagers and professionally-led cocktails. What we’re trying to do is provide authentic Mexican food as well as we can and see how Belfast takes it and build on our menu as we go. WHEN DID YOUR RESTAURANT OPEN? September 2016 WHAT CAREER PATH DID YOU TAKE TO GET TO THIS STAGE? I met Andy Rea in Roscoffs in 98/99 and then went on to work in Dublin. I came back and worked at Shu for four years before moving to Montreal where I lived for eight years and where I met my girlfriend, Eliza Vignolle from Monterrey, Mexico. I think we went back and forward 17 times to Mexico and I tried as many foods as I could and fell in love with it. We came home and set up what was originally a pop-up above Andy’s Mourne Seafood Bar and we are making a killing! TELL US ABOUT THE SPACE YOU HAVE Because it opened as a pop-up we tried to do it as cost-effectively as we could. It’s not extravagant. We repainted to make it brighter but there’s nothing cheesily Mexican there. You won’t find any plastic cactus. We put up classic Mexican movie posters so it’s quite tasteful. It’s situated off Castle Street and is a
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tortillas from Blanco Nino in Tipperary. They have a similar story to ours in that they travelled to Mexico. They couldn’t find soft tortillas here so became an artisan tortilla producer. I don’t know what we would’ve done without them. WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS? We have a fairly good age range. Most of our customers are young professionals; late 20s to mid 30s, families and it’s good to see the older ones come in and eat their tacos with knives and forks. Anyone can enjoy it. It’s not stuffy and it’s not fine dining. It’s just easy to enjoy. You can stay for a couple of hours or for 20 minutes.
WITH THIS THEME, IS THERE MUCH COMPETITION LOCALLY? Not really. When people think of Mexican food the first thing they say is burritos but they are more Tex Mex, I don’t know really anywhere in Ireland that does what we do.
HAVE YOU FACED ANY PARTICULAR CHALLENGES TO DATE? Keeping up with demand has been our biggest challenge. We’ve really good support with Andy and Stevie (Haller) behind us. It’s been pretty easy.
DOES YOUR MENU CHANGE OFTEN? We have a core menu that hasn’t changed much since we opened. It has classic tacos, carnitas, homemade chorizo, made from scratch here, and we’ll have a couple of specials on there too. We try a few different things here and there and see what takes off. Most of our Mexican tacos are soft corn tortillas and very different to what people expect. We are all about the meat fillings too with 180-200grams meat in each taco.
HOW HAS TRADE BEEN SINCE OPENING? Busier and busier and we’ve been fortunate to get kind words from the press so it seems to be that everyone’s enjoying it.
WHAT IS YOUR FOOD SOURCING POLICY? We try and get meat and dairy here. We use Hannan Meats and get our Mexican supplies from a wholesaler in London. We source our
HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR RESTAURANT DEVELOPING? There are plans. We are always looking for bigger and better things. Right now we are happy to have a full restaurant and once it’s full regularly we will look at bigger plans to expand. Mon/Tues: Closed Wed/Thurs: 17:00-21:30 Fri: 17:00-22:30 Sat: 13:00-22:30 Sun: 13:00-21:00 Address: 53 Castle Street, Belfast, BT1 1GH Phone: 07748 786654
VEUVE CLICQUOT LAUNCHES EXTRA BRUT EXTRA OLD
he new Champagne – which was launched in London recently – comes with a dosage of 3 g/l, placing the blend in the Extra Brut category, which is used for Champagne with 6g/l of sugar or lower. It is made entirely with reserve wines from six different vintages, spanning harvests from 1988 to 2010, meaning that all the wines in the cuvée have been aged for a minimum of three years on their lees in stainless steel tanks. The reserve wines have then been blended and matured for a further three years in bottle, followed by nearly another year in Veuve Clicquot’s cellars after disgorgement. Extra Brut Extra Old’s sleek black bottle ‘embodies the purity of the wine and is minimally adorned with gold inscriptions, a Yellow Label ruff paying tribute to the inspiration behind Extra Brut Extra Old’. Extra Brut Extra Old is available in 75cl bottles as well as magnums in limited supply. Distribution will be selective owing to it’s ultra premium status, with bottles retailing at fine wine specialists and restaurants.
WORLD WHISKIES AWARD FOR NORTHERN IRELAND’S DUNVILLE SINGLE MALT
chlinville Distillery in Northern Ireland has won its third consecutive World Whiskies Award for its Dunville’s PX 10-Year-Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey. The win is the latest in a string of successes for Dunville PX, which also won the 2016 Irish Whiskey Award in the same category. Echlinville Distillery is based at Kircubbin in county Down and was the first to receive a licence to distil whiskey in Northern Ireland in over a century. The World Whiskies Awards select, reward and promote the highest quality whiskies to consumers and trade across the globe and are judged by an international panel of whiskey experts. Best Irish Single Malt 12 Years and Under is among the competition’s most hotly contested categories. Dunville was among the world’s best known Irish whiskeys until the demise of the Royal Belfast Distillery in 1936. The iconic brand was revived by the Echlinville Distillery owner Shane Braniff, who made it one of Echlinville’s founding goals to bring ‘The Spirit of Belfast’ back to the world. Mr Braniff said: “Until recently, the only place you could buy a bottle of Dunville whiskey was at auction, but we are proud to have restored The Spirit of Belfast to its rightful place among the premier whiskeys of the world. To win three consecutive World Whiskies Awards in such a competitive category is almost unheard of, and we are incredibly proud of that achievement.”
JACK DANIEL’S LAUNCHES CIDER J ack Daniel’s, from Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands, has boldly expanded upon its core range with the launch of Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Cider. Honouring Mr Jack’s legacy and innovative spirit, this unique recipe combines a crisp apple cider blended with Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, ensuring every bottle contains a cider which is truly Jack to the core. The premium cider will be available to consumers in the UK first ahead of a global launch. This innovation is reflective of the growing popularity of cider in the on-trade (+2.4%)¹, development across the entire category and the independent spirit of Mr Jasper Newton ‘Jack’ Daniel, who registered his distillery over 150 years ago. Best enjoyed chilled, straight from the bottle, Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Cider will be served in the on-trade from 1st May creating new occasions for consumers to enjoy Jack Daniel’s. www.hospitalityreviewni.com
Charlotte Ashburner, Head of Marketing at Brown Forman said: “We’re excited to launch Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Cider here in the UK. There is a great appetite for cider amongst UK consumers, and the launch gives people a new way to enjoy Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Whiskey, that has all the bold attitude of Jack, but with the ease and refreshment of a premium cider. “We are increasingly seeing drink brands outside of the cider category experiment with the traditional boundaries of cider, triggering consumers to think differently about how they drink it. With Summer on the way, it’s the perfect time to go stock up the fridge with this bold new innovation from Jack Daniel’s.” Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Cider (5.5%) will be stocked at bars and restaurants in select UK cities from 1st May, coming to the NI market later in the summer.
Want to taste the quality? T: 028 9267 3316 MAY HRNI • 17
TEQUILA RISING C
onsumption is increasing and palates are evolving allowing the premium names in this category to reap the rewards according to new research. The growth of the 100 per cent agave offering is advancing premium Tequila volumes and according to Impact Databank the luxury brands saw their segment rise by 7.6 per cent in 2015. Despite a rising demand for spirits overall, vodka and brandy sales dropped and the growth in whisky and gin was outdone by
tequila according to the International Wine and Spirit Research (IWSR) and across the pond US sales surged by 65 per cent between 2005 and 2015 and it ‘shows no signs of slowing down’ continued the (IWSR). So what’s the deal? The shift is consumer led, not influenced by marketing campaigns. It’s a direct result of a more informed and discerning palate among drinkers. There’s an artisanal emphasis say some reports as consumers actively seek out brands
ON THE UPSWING AND TAKING A SHOT AT ITS SPIRITED CONTEMPORARIES TEQUILA IS THE CATEGORY TO WATCH AS SALES OF THE MEXICAN STUFF INCREASED BY A MASSIVE 26 PER CENT LAST YEAR – MAKING IT THE FASTEST GROWING SPIRIT IN THE UK.
with personality, heritage and complexity and higher price points are not a deterrent. Silver Tequila represents, to many millennials, Tequila in its purest form for the true agave flavour. Resposados are more versatile for sipping or composing simple cocktails while Anejos appeal to the more knowledgeable consumer. In this special feature we ask some of the experts to elaborate on the brands that are taking a bite from the fastest growing spirit category…
TEQUILA – THE STORY A
rguably the most theatrical spirit there is, Tequila can be traced back to the Aztecs (1000BC to 200AD). The milky liquid from the agave plant was so important to Aztec culture that they worshipped two gods known for their relationship to booze. The first was Mayahuel, the goddess of the maguey, and the second was her husband Patecatl, the god of pulque – the original Tequila. Though the first documentation of pulque—on stone walls, appeared around 200 A.D., the drink really caught on centuries later when the Aztecs received a surprise visit from the Spanish who essentially created the mezcal. It wasn’t until the 1700s that Tequila, as we know it, was born. The Cuervo family began distilling commercially in 1758. WHAT IS TEQUILA?
equila is made by fermenting and distilling the juice of the blue agave plant (which takes between eight and 11 years to mature). To earn the name, Tequila must be made in one of five specific regions of Mexico (the most widely known is the state of Jalisco, which is where the town of Tequila is located and where 90 percent of Tequilas come from) according to very specific standards regulated by the Mexican government.
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WHAT IS PREMIUM TEQUILA? Premium tequila is made from 100-percent blue agave. Anything less is considered a mixto, a mix of agave and sugar (it must be at least 51-percent agave to be called Tequila). The high-end spirit might be high-priced, but the difference in taste is significant. THE MARGARITA IS BORN (FROM AN IRISHMAN? According to Liquor.com the Margarita was discovered by a ‘newspaper’ man named James Graham and his wife who stumbled across a bar in Tijuana in 1936, which was run by an Irishman called Madden who was known for his ‘Tequila Daisy’. Though Madden admitted that the creation of the drink was a lucky mistake, it’s become one of the most celebrated in the US. For those not familiar with the lingo, margarita is Spanish for daisy! THE WORM IN TEQUILA. Mexican-bottled Tequila contains no worm. Some American-bottled brands put one in their bottle to boost sales, but this is only a marketing ploy and not a Mexican tradition. There is a worm - called a gusano, or a butterfly caterpillar - in some types of mezcal.
UK REIGNS AS A TOP GROWTH MARKET FOR ULTRA-PREMIUM TEQUILA BY GREG COHEN, VICE PRESIDENT, CORPORATE COMMUNICATIONS AT THE PATRÓN SPIRITS COMPANY
nce perceived as a spirit suitable only for shots and hard partying, tequila has quickly evolved to become one of the fastestgrowing spirits in the world. Increasingly, bartenders, restaurateurs, retailers, and consumers have come to recognize that an ultra-premium 100 percent agave tequila like Patrón is every bit as sophisticated, flavorful and versatile as any top-shelf spirit. According to statistics from Mexico’s Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT), the UK ranks among
the top five markets in the world in terms of exports of 100 percent agave tequila. And industry watchers predict that number will only continue to grow. Research from the IWSR shows the UK fourth on the list for fastestgrowing tequila markets through the year 2019, behind the U.S., Russia and Brazil. What’s accelerating the growing popularity of this spirit? For one, people are much more educated today about this category. By regulation, tequila must contain at least
51 percent Weber Blue Agave (those 51 percent agave tequilas a commonly referred to as “mixto” tequilas). However, high-quality tequilas – the segment of the category that are growing the most – are produced from 100 percent agave. Patrón tequila is widely credited with creating this 100 percent agave tequila category, as it was one of the first brands to export and market ultra-premium tequila, more than two decades ago. Patrón only harvests top quality agave, and only produces 100
MAY HRNI • 19
percent agave tequilas. At the Hacienda Patrón distillery in the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico, Patrón tequila is crafted using a very time honoured and traditional process called the “tahona” method, where agave fibers are slowly crushed by a large volcanic stone wheel, and then the agave juice is fermented and distilled with the agave fiber. This resulting “tahona” tequila is then combined with tequila produced through the more modern roller mill process, to create the signature Patrón tequila blend. Also at the Patrón distillery in Mexico, the leftover agave fibers from tequila production are turned into a rich compost that is given to agave farmers to fertilize their fields. The Patrón portfolio includes Patrón Silver (and unaged, crisp and clean blanco tequila), Patrón Reposado (oak aged for at least two months in a combination of new and used American, French and Hungarian oak barrels), and Patrón Añejo (a tequila aged for more than a year in that same combination of new
20 • HRNI MAY
and used barrels.) Also in the Patrón portfolio is Gran Patrón Platinum tequila, a “super ultra-premium” spirit created from only the finest agave from the harvest, triple-distilled for extraordinary smoothness, and then packaged in an etched crystal bottle inside an elegant black display case. Joining Gran Patrón Platinum is Gran Patrón Burdeos, a beautifully packaged limited-production añejo
that is aged for a minimum of 12 months in used American oak barrels, distilled again and aged in new French oak before it’s then finished in vintage French Bordeaux barrels. And the newest addition to the Gran Patrón line is Gran Patrón Piedra, an extra añejo tequila produced entirely from the “tahona” method, and aged for about four years in American and French oak. Patrón also produces two lines of liqueurs, Patrón XO Cafe coffee liqueur and Patrón Citrónge liqueurs. With such a wide range of styles and oak aging, ultra-premium tequilas like Patrón have become a favorite of bartenders for their versatility and mixability. Just about any cocktail that typically calls for vodka, rum or gin can also be created using Patrón instead. And even classics such an old fashioned or a Manhattan can be uniquely reimagined using an aged tequila, such as Patrón Reposado or Patrón Añejo, in place of bourbon.
RAISING THE BAR KARINE TILLARD, UK BRAND AMBASSADOR FOR PATRÓN TEQUILA CHATS ABOUT HER CAREER TO DATE, HER INSPIRATIONS AND PLANS…
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE A BAR PERSON WITH ASPIRATIONS? Travel, see what other cultures have to offer, gain inspiration. And never give up. It does get hard sometimes, but this is an amazing industry. There’s so many work opportunities from bartender to brand representative. I’m lucky to have my dream job but I did work to get it. WHERE DO YOU HOPE TO GO FROM HERE? I’m quite happy right now and I still have plenty of work to do in the UK, so not going anywhere anytime soon. We are launching, for the third year running, the Patrón Perfectionist competition (which is now a global competition in 17 countries) and I can’t tell you how excited I am to travel all around the UK to see what the bartenders have got for me. Last year was fantastic, this year is really showing some strong potentials. I hope to see all of you entering in Northern Ireland, we have decided to hold one heat here in Belfast.
The tequila category is growing and I could not be happier to see the agave love being spread by myself and other brands.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU? I’m very lucky to work for a spirit and a brand I absolutely adore. I could not work for a brand I do not respect. What inspires me the most is holding training events and watching people become fascinated by the complexities of tequila and how handmade an ultra premium spirit like Patrón can be. Tequila is still quite new in a few cities and most of the time, people have no idea what it is.
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED IN YOUR CAREER? Going from 60mls serves in Australia to 50mls in the UK! But seriously, I believe you are your own challenge, no matter how difficult it is, if you work hard and aim for the best, it will show and you’ll be rewarded. I went from bar back to GM within few months, nothing is impossible.
WHO DO YOU ADMIRE IN THE BAR TRADE? In all fairness (and not because she’s my boss!), I do admire Shervene Shahbazkhani. I’ve never seen anyone working so hard and being so dedicated to her job. She really is an inspiration. She’s a lady of steel and if I can be anything like her, well, I will happily say I made it.
PALOMA 50mls Patrón Silver 200mls Three Cents Pink Grapefruit soda
METHOD Rim a tall glass (Collins glass) with salt, pour the Patrón Silver over cubed ice and top up with Three Cents Pink Grapefruit soda. Garnish with a pink grapefruit or lime wedge.
HOW DID YOU START OUT IN THE BAR TRADE? I started a few years ago in Australia as a bar back/waitress. I ended up running bars in Melbourne but when I moved back a couple of years ago to the UK, I didn’t mention that I was a GM and started straight back as a waitress and bar back: best way to learn how a venue works and get yourself familiar with your new surroundings. I worked in plenty of fields (from teaching to being a tourist guide) but I always come back to hospitality, my first love.
MAY HRNI • 21
JOSE CUERVO TEQUILA
roximo has the world’s leading portfolio of tequila brands comprising more than 25 different variants. Some of its most well-known brands include Jose Cuervo Especial and Jose Cuervo Tradicional with the 1800 premium tequila range recently gaining greater presence on the back bars of the best on premise accounts. Jose Cuervo is the No1 tequila brand in the world, as well as the oldest, most recognised tequila brand. Jose Cuervo makes many different types of tequila, including Especial and Tradicional. Jose Cuervo Especial is the world’s most recognised tequila brand, and has two products – Silver and Reposado. These products are created by the master distillers at La Rojena who used the finest lowland agave to produce this smooth balanced tequila.
FOR THE PERFECT MARGARITA THIS SUMMER JOSE CUERVO’S TOP PICKS ARE; JOSE CUERVO® CLASSIC MARGARITA 50ml Jose Cuervo Especial® Silver 35ml fresh lime juice 25ml triple sec Ice Lime for garnish salt to rim In a cocktail shaker add Ice Jose Cuervo Especial® Silver tequila, triple sec and fresh lime juice and agave syrup. Sake well. Run lime wedge around glass rim then dip the glass into salt. Add ice and strain content of the shaker. Garnish with a lime wedge.
RUBY RED GRAPEFRUIT AND JALAPEÑO MARGARITA
Jose Cuervo Especial Tequila Silver has a strong agave flavour with subtle green herb notes and a full rounded finish. Cut and bottled straight off the still, this is a full flavoured tequila.
Jose Cuervo Especial Tequila Reposado is rested in American oak for up to 6 months to add caramel notes and soften the full finish, creating a smoother spirit with oak notes and a golden colour.
Jose Cuervo Tradicional is made from 100% agave Tequila, produced exclusively from lowland agave at the historic La Rojena distillery in Tequila town, Jalisco, Mexico. It comes in two product styles – Silver and Reposado.
50ml Jose Cuervo Traditional Reposado 60ml freshly squeezed red grapefruit juice 1 teaspoon agave nectar 60ml freshly squeezed lime juice 50ml triple sec Three slices of fresh jalapeño Add all ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Salt your rim, shake, pour over ice. Either add the jalapeño into the mixer and mix for a stronger kick, or add to the drink after and let sit for a minute before drinking JOSE CUERVO GINGER BEER MARGARITA 50ml Jose Cuervo Especial® Silver 20ml simple syrup 150ml ginger beer 20ml fresh lime juice Coarse salt for lining rim
Jose Cuervo Tradicional Tequila Silver comes straight off the still to be cut and bottled. The strong agave flavours make way for green herbaceous notes and a sweet, smooth finish. 22 • HRNI MAY
Jose Cuervo Tradicional Tequila Reposado is rested in virgin white oak barrels for a minimum of 2 months, giving it a smooth and subtle complexity.
Line a serving glass with fresh lime juice and dip rim in coarse salt. Add Jose Cuervo Especial Silver, simple syrup, ginger beer and lime juice to a large glass with ½ cup ice; stir vigorously. Pour liquid into serving glass with a few ice cubes. Garnish with a lime wedge.
1800 PREMIUM TEQUILA N
amed after the year it was created 1800 Tequila is made from 100% Blue Weber Agave, from the family-owned ranches in Jalisco, Mexico. It is aged for eight-12 years and harvested at its peak. The liquid is double distilled, and a special selection of white tequilas is blended together for added complexity and character. The result is a premium tequila with a smoother, more interesting flavour than most on the market. The clean, balanced taste with hints of sweet fruit and pepper is perfect sipped neat, on the rocks, as a shot or in a cocktail. Each bottle of 1800 Tequila is double distilled for superior drinkability. The 1800 Tequila portfolio includes Silver, Reposado, Añejo and Coconut.
1800 Silver Tequila is made from 100% Blue Agave, and is double-distilled, with a clean and balanced taste, with hints of sweet fruit and pepper.
1800 Reposado Tequila is crated using 8-year old 100% Blue Agave and rested in French and American oak. This rich liquid has notes of buttery caramel, mild spices and a touch of smokiness, which is imparted in the finishing process.
1800 Anejo Tequila is made from 100% Blue Agave, and is aged in French Oak barrels for up to 3 years, with a well rounded finish with flavours of toasted oak, vanilla and butterscotch.
Proximo continues to support its tequila brands with strong activation and support of key partner bars in Northern Ireland. Tequila is one of the fastest-growing spirit categories, which is reflected in strong growth in tequila-based long drinks and cocktails. Proximo is dedicated to supporting the local licensed trade with increased training through its dedicated UK Tequila Brand Specialist who regularly visits NI. Recent events of this nature include a series of trade tastings and training with key managers and bar staff from The Merchant, Bert’s Bar, Aether & Echo, Filthy McNasty’s and Rita’s. These events were also used to showcase Proximo’s extensive tequila range, and to highlight the growing versatility and opportunity for the agave-based spirit as an increasingly popular modern drink. Proximo further supports its tequila brands with bartender competitions (such as the recent 1800 Visionaries competition), point of sale, and guidance on suggested serves on drinks and cocktail lists.
For further details please contact Patrick Morgan, Proximo’s NI Sales Manager on 07734 128048 24 • HRNI MAY
EXPERIENCE THE DELIGHT OF THE HIGHEST QUALITY COCKTAILS Made from 100% blue agave, our Tequila is double distilled, and a special selection of white tequilas is blended together for added complexity and character. Serious, yet superbly smooth, this drink combines the highest quality ingredients with the round and subtle aroma of the world’s first 100% agave luxury tequila.
1800 BLUSH Pour 2 parts 1800 Silver Tequila into a glass over ice cubes and top up with Fentimans Rose Lemonade. Finish by garnishing with a grapefruit slice and mint sprig. Available from all good wholesalers. Patrick Morgan T: 07734 128048 1800® and other trademarks are owned by Agavera Camichines, S.A.de C.V. ©2017 Proximo Spirits UK. Drink 1800 Tequila responsibly.
444821 PX 1800 HOSP REVIEW A4 ADVERT-AW.indd 1
A DAY IN THE LIFE Q&A “I love the creative part; crafting the consumer insight, thinking up the strategy, working on positioning and cracking the campaigns. As a creative person, I probably like the numbers part least, but I work with my finance gurus to help me through the pain!”
Jeannette Levis left alongside Carl Framption, NI Boxer
JEANETTE LEVIS • BRAND MANAGER FOR HARP LARGER
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE, WHEN DID YOU TAKE IT UP AND WHAT DOES IT INVOLVE? I am the Brand Manager for Harp Lager, since July 2016. I work on everything for the brand from the marketing and advertising strategy to working with the commercial teams - essentially I am the guardian of the brand. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND IN HOSPITALITY/TOURISM? My mother runs a guesthouse so hospitality/ tourism is in my blood. My first job, I worked as a brand ambassador for an Irish whiskey company in Finland, and then went on to work for three years in the US, so when you are selling Irish whiskey abroad – you’re also selling Ireland and act as an ambassador for the country. WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB? 26 • HRNI MAY
I love the creative part; crafting the consumer insight, thinking up the strategy, working on positioning and cracking the campaigns. As a creative person, I probably like the numbers part least, but I work with my finance gurus to help me through the pain! WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT THE HOSPITALITY/TOURISM SECTOR? Trying to predict the future of unpredictable consumers is the most challenging but also the most exciting. Furthermore, the pace at which technology is progressing – things like Airbnb and Uber did not exist 10 years ago, so who knows what the future holds. OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY There is no such thing as a typical day – yesterday I was working in the brewery, today I am unveiling the Harp Pure Here mural in Belfast and tomorrow I am briefing an agency on an exciting new campaign. The fact that no two days are the same, is probably one of my favourite things about my job.
PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE Launching Harp’s Pure Here campaign, which has been an iconic campaign for Harp. It aims to celebrate distinctive people, places, sense of humour and idiosyncrasies that make up Northern Ireland. This week we launched a new mural on Hill Street in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter with Carl Frampton, which showcases some of the best-loved bits of the city including The Balls on the Falls, Titanic Building, The Big Fish, The Albert Clock, the H&W cranes, and some of the city’s legendary characters and local celebrities. But the most exciting part of the campaign (which unfortunately I cannot talk about) is yet to come! All will be revealed at the end of the summer – so watch this space. BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED IN THE LOCAL HOSPITALITY/TOURISM SECTOR Simple – the people. Getting to work with some of the most talented people like Dean Kane from Visual Waste or characters such as Willie Jack, who owns some of Belfast’s best bars like the Duke of York and the Harp Bar. WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK? I love to catch up with my friends. I also love to travel (near and far). There is nothing better than escaping for the weekend, even if it’s just to Wicklow climbing Glendalough or the Cuilcagh mountain trail – also known as Fermanagh’s stairways to heaven. TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW I am a closet country music fan.
The Five Points Michael Borland, General Manager of The Five Points discusses his favourite whiskey and what gives his bar a whiskey focus...
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BAR The Five Points is our take on a traditional bar tailored towards both locals and tourists. We provide traditional and folk music seven nights a week as well as a large whiskey selection and cocktail menu. When we were at the drawing board for this bar, creating a warm atmosphere for our customers was a main focus of ours and continues to be. WHAT ARE THE LATEST DEVELOPMENTS/INITIATIVES TO DRIVE SALES IN YOUR BAR Each month we have a Whiskey of the Month, a whiskey-based Cocktail of the Month and other offerings to entice people who wouldnâ€™t necessarily drink whiskey, to try it. We will be holding different pairing events which include whiskey and beer pairing so please keep an eye out for tickets. We also have a Tayto Crisp and Craft Beer pairing menu in the bar so please call in and give it a try! WHAT MAKES IT AN IRISH WHISKEY BAR? We have a large selection of Irish whiskeys in the bar, too many to mention but I think what makes The Five Points a whiskey bar is that we will never be finished collecting whiskeys, it is a never ending category, from the obvious to the unheard of. WHAT ARE YOUR BEST-SELLING BRANDS, AND PERSONAL FAVOURITES, IN THE IRISH WHISKEY CATEGORY? We sell a lot of Jameson Whiskey, it is smooth and easy to drink, so its a great starting whiskey. I have a personal favourite in the bar at the moment and it is brand new on the back bar. Method and Madness Single Pot Still which is matured in sherry and American barrels and finished French chestnut. HAVE YOU ANY FUTURE PLANS TO DEVELOP THE BAR? We have big plans for the future so keep watching. Just to mention that on the 22nd April we held an event to raise money and awareness for mental health - we had cycling machines for everyone to do a mile for mental health. We gave out free bowls of stew to everyone and all proceeds went to Aware NI.
MAY HRNI â€˘ 27
CoCKtail oF tHE moNtH
Bullitt’s Paloma 35mls 1800 Silver 150mls Grapefruit soda Squeeze of fresh lime Garnished with dehydrated grapefruit
COCKTAIL MONTH OF THE
with 1800 Silver
Conor Smith, bartender at Bullitt Hotel, showcases the versatility of 1800 Silver Tequila in a long serve…
about the bartender
35mls 1800 Silver
Conor Smith, 20, admits that he ‘fell into’ the bar trade when he was offered
150mls Grapefruit soda
a job at Café Vaudeville, at the age of 16, where he began on the floor as glass
Squeeze of fresh lime
collector. His current Belfast Met course in hospitality would say that he is now
Garnished with dehydrated grapefruit
taking his role in the trade a little more seriously with visions of one day opening
his very own venue. He joined the team at The Perch in March 2016 where he learned the craft of cocktail-making and began to look at hospitality as a viable
Made from 100% Blue Weber Agave — aged
career choice. “When I joined The Perch I realised just how good the bartenders
for 8-12 years and harvested at their peak. The
were. I was there for seven months when I expanded my product knowledge and
liquid is double distilled, and a special selection
understood the high standards among customers.” Conor then joined Bullitt
of white tequilas is blended together for added
when it opened last November. “There is a lot of freedom with the cocktail
complexity and character. The result is a premium
menus here and we are asked for our input. I feel that we, as bartenders, lead
tequila with a smoother, more interesting flavour
the trends and then it filters down to the consumer.” Discussing his tequila-
than most on the market. The clean, balanced
based Paloma, Conor added: “I think Tequila can make the best cocktails and
taste with hints of sweet fruit and pepper is
it’s a great way to get the customer to experiment. The Paloma can act as a soft
perfect sipped neat, on the rocks, as a shot or in
introduction to tequila for those who may not have tried it before. It’s accessible
and easily made.”
Available from all good wholesalers. Patrick Morgan T: 07734 128048 1800® and other trademarks are owned by agavera CamiChines, s.a.deC.v. ©2017 Proximo sPirits. enjoy 1800 tequila resPonsibly.
ENJOY MARTINI RESPONSIBLY © 2016. MARTINI, ITS TRADE DRESS AND THE “BALL AND BAR” LOGO ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS.
Wine Blog from #WineBloggerNI
BULK OF RESTAURANT DINERS WILL SHARE PERSONAL DATA FOR DISCOUNTS
DON’T CRY FOR ME ARGENTINA
by Ciaran Meyler
ot a lot of people know the name Julie Covington, however it was Julie and not Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice who first recorded this famous song. You will thank me for that someday when it comes up in a pub quiz. Why did I lead with that title I hear you ask? Well it’s probably something that’s be synonymous with Argentina for years, however the country is now more synonymous with the French grape Malbec. The vine growers and wine makers of Argentina have made this grape their own. It cultivates so well in the Mendoza region at the foot of The Andes. Vineyards 1300 mts above sea level are producing some of the finest young wines I’ve ever tasted. Wines which are great now, but destine to become world class. They have all the qualities to produce wines of great depth and complexity which could evolve and age gracefully for many years to come. I was very fortunate to been there just last month during harvest time and I spend a full day in the vineyard with Chief Viticulturist Martin Kiesier and in the winery with Head Winemaker Marcos Fernandez. For an anorak like me this was a weeklong orgy of Viticultural, Vinification and Gastronomic delights. The passion these guys have for the wines they produce is second to none. They are investing in state of the art equipment and
studying the science of wine making to produce amazing wines. The single vineyard Malbec’s from Alluvia, Los Indios and El Alto will someday be classified the way the first growths of Bordeaux are today. Buy up these wines before it’s too late. At only £50 per bottle retail they are incredible value for money. However if £50 is beyond your budget have no fear the entry point Malbec’s delivery great bang for your buck. Try Dona Paula “Los Cardos” Malbec, ripe juicy fruits with a medium bodied finish, the Dona Paula Estate Malbec is a very elegant yet concentrated wines, or try the new On Trade exclusive Cigar Box “Old Vine” Malbec, slightly smokey touch on the nose coming from the charred oak barrels the wine is aged in, with an abundance of mulberries and blackberries. It’s a superb wine to match with food. Given dramatic change in our eating habits over the past few decades Malbec works well with full on spicy Asian foods crispy beef and duck dishes and red meats with very concentrated rich sauces. It has spiceaffinity to handle a stunning array of food combinations and ethnic cuisines.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH:
“EITHER GIVE ME MORE WINE OR LEAVE ME ALONE” RUMI
32 • HRNI MAY
new survey has shown that 74% of restaurant diners and hotel guests are ready to share basic personal data over Wi-Fi if it means they will receive discounts on food, drinks and hotel facilities they are interested in, new research from Hughes Europe reveals. Eighty four per cent said they were most likely to share details on how often they eat out, while 80% would share details on how often they stay in hotels. 51% said they would be willing to share details on their favourite holiday destinations and 44% on their favourite pastimes, hobbies, sports pursuits etc. However, the survey of guest attitudes to data-sharing also found that nearly nine out of ten (89%) said they fear being bombarded by unwanted messages when they log on to a business’ Wi-Fi networks. A further 63% were concerned about their personal details being stolen when they share data in exchange for network access. “Guests, especially millennials, are now very savvy about data and personalisation and are willing to share their data with businesses if there are rewards on top of free Wi-Fi access, such as targeted offers and discounts based on their preferences,” said Dan Thornton, Head of Solution Development at Hughes Europe. “To capitalise on this growing trend and get closer to guests, hospitality enterprises must be transparent about data-security and user policies, as well as ensuring messages are relevant to each individual. If guests are bombarded with spam, they will log off for good.” The survey found that the details respondents are most willing to share with hotels and restaurants are their name (89%), email address (74%) and date of birth (47%) but few are prepared to share more specific details such as their marital status (27%), address (10%) or salary band (9%).
PUBS AND RESTAURANTS TO BENEFIT FROM ‘JOURNEY OF DOORS’ PASSPORT
VISIT BELFAST GENERATES £122M FOR LOCAL ECONOMY
Belfast City Councillor Aileen Graham, Chair of the council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee and Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive of Visit Belfast, are joined by Visit Belfast partners (l-r) Eimear Lewis, Titanic Belfast, Chris Conway, Translink, Bronagh Lawlor, Belfast One and Paul McCausland, Value Cabs.
Judith Webb, Tourism NI gives international visitors Stephen Feeney and Melly Corzo from Chicago, Illinois the first stamp on their Journey of Doors souvenir passport alongside Clair Balmer, Tourism Ireland at the Dark Hedges. Tourism NI has launched a Journey of Doors passport that allows Game of Thrones® fans to visit the 10 Game of Thrones Doors across Northern Ireland and collect a unique stamp at each of the locations.
ourism NI has launched a Journey of Doors passport that allows Game of Thrones® fans to visit the 10 Game of Thrones Doors across Northern Ireland and collect a unique stamp at each of the locations. The Doors, created by Tourism Ireland and Tourism NI, were carved from trees blown down in Storm Gertrude in January 2016 at the Dark Hedges in Co Antrim – perhaps the most iconic Game of Thrones® filming location in Northern Ireland. The intricately carved doors hang in 10 pubs and restaurants that are close to filming locations giving visitors a brand new Game of Thrones® territory experience. Judith Webb, Tourism NI Experience Development Officer commented; “The Journey of Doors souvenir passport is an interactive way for visitors and Game of Thrones® fans to travel to each of the doors and collect a unique stamp at each location. To navigate their way around Northern Ireland to the ten doors and the accessible filming locations visitors can download the Game of Thrones® Filming Locations Northern Ireland app.“ Among the pubs featured in the programme include The Cuan, Strangford, Owens, Limavady, Fullerton Arms, Ballintoy and The Dark Horse, Belfast among others. www.hospitalityreviewni.com
isit Belfast has revealed that in the 2016-17 financial year its activities generated an impressive £122 million for the local economy. The results were achieved across Visit Belfast’s three work areas - business tourism, leisure tourism and visitor servicing, and represented an increase of £25m on the previous year. Visit Belfast confirmed that in 2016-17 it had successfully bid for and won 77 conferences, delivered 12 city break campaigns across key markets in Northern Ireland, the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and Europe, welcomed 83 cruise ships carrying 143,000 passengers and crew, and handled over 750,000 visitor enquiries at the Visit Belfast Welcome Centre and at the two airport information points. Councillor Aileen Graham, chair of Belfast City Council’s City Growth and Regeneration Committee said the growth was expected to continue: “Belfast City Council’s Belfast Agenda sets out an ambitious vision for Belfast’s tourism industry, aiming to double the value of out-of-state tourism by 2021.” The reopening of the Belfast Waterfront in May proved to be a game-changer for conference tourism, allowing the city to bid for and host larger conferences in its state-of-the-art events spaces. In 2016-17, Visit Belfast won conferences that will take place from 2017 up to 2020, including the IDF World Dairy Summit, the World Health Organisation’s Healthy Cities conference and the College of Occupational Therapists conference.
BELFAST SAILING HIGH IN 2017 A
lmost 90 cruise ships are expected to visit Belfast this summer, bringing with them 150,000 passengers and crew to mark a new tourism high for the city. Belfast’s record cruise schedule for 2017 marks an unprecedented period of growth for city tourism and investment which has underlined the city’s soaring appeal among cruise tourists from around the world, but particularly the UK, Europe and North American markets.
£9M BOOST TO THE ECONOMY BY SURGE IN ROI VISITORS
ourism NI has welcomed a 36% surge in the number of tourists visiting Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland in 2016. Some £192,000 was spent each day by visitors from the Republic of Ireland on overnight trips to Northern Ireland resulting in a £70m boost to the local economy, an additional £9m on the same period in 2015. Commenting on the Central Statistics Office (CSO) findings John McGrillen, Tourism NI Chief Executive said; “Growing Republic of Ireland visitor numbers and spend is a key objective for Tourism NI. The 19% increase in holiday trips is particularly welcome and shows that the Republic of Ireland visitor market is vital to the local tourism sector. MAY HRNI • 33
HAPPY WI-FI MAKES HAPPY GUESTS
PATRICK DEROY, DIRECTOR, EMEA HOSPITALITY SOLUTIONS, RUCKUS WIRELESS DISCUSSES WITH HRNI THE IMPORTANCE OF GETTING HOTEL WIFI RIGHT TO CONNECT AND INTERACT WITH THOSE WHO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS PROFITABLE...
ver the past few years, we’ve seen a new trend in the hospitality industry – the rise of the connected traveller. Whether old or young, away for work or leisure, the demand for constant connectivity is increasingly present across all demographics – and meeting this demand is key to making them happy. For the hospitality industry, high quality, free Wi-Fi is now a must. Guests expect the same quality of Wi-Fi in their rooms as they have in their office or home. Of course, if you think about tech trends you may be thinking of the Internet of Things (IoT), virtual reality or even robotics – but essential to hoteliers being able to capitalise on these new innovations is a fundamentally strong network; you wouldn’t try to install a pool or spa without getting the basic plumbing right. So, if you’re meeting the needs of tomorrow’s guest or today’s you need to get your Wi-Fi into shape, now! WHY NO WI-FI? So, what’s stopping hotels getting to the stage of good quality Wi-Fi? To begin with, hotels can be surprisingly hostile environments for Wi-Fi: you’ve got a lot of customers trying to connect to the network at once across multiple phones, tablets and laptops. Add on top of this the large area that hotels typically cover, with multiple floors, indoor and outdoor areas and you’ve got a physically complex environment 34 • HRNI MAY
with a plethora of devices and technologies all interfering with the RF (radio frequency) signal, which is detrimental to connectivity. If you don’t have good access your guests will let you know about it. Whether that’s on the reception desk, in their online reviews and ultimately in your profit margins. Wi-Fi isn’t just a tech issue anymore – it’s a business issue. Treat Wi-Fi like you treat hot water and good food. It’s a basic necessity for your guests, and should be a basic investment for you. BUILD ON THE BASICS Wi-Fi is more than just a necessity though. It’s also a terrific business opportunity. It can become a core part of the services you offer to your guests. From allowing them to order food on the golf course, to booking spa services from their rooms, to easing the entire check-in process. Wi-Fi can become a fundamental and valuable part of your hotel’s infrastructure. Your customers want their experience to be easy, and Wi-Fi can be the key to unlocking this. With customers spread out over the building, their phones and tablets can be the easiest way for you to talk to them, get feedback from them and ultimately keep them happy. EXPAND INTO THE FUTURE There’s a myriad of new technology developing at rapid rates, all with different purposes,
requirements and opportunities. However, fundamental to their implementation is connectivity. From IoT to robotics, devices must be able to talk to one another. Wi-Fi is the perfect gateway to facilitate this – and with it already widely installed across the industry it is an accessible technology which doesn’t require expensive commitment. When hotels invest in good Wi-Fi they’re also futureproofing their business – this potential for future returns is a convincing argument for investing now in the technology that will let you meet the needs of future customers. HAPPY WI-FI MAKES HAPPY CUSTOMERS Without a robust network infrastructure in place, hotels will struggle to keep their guests happy. Today’s consumers want to be offered carrier-class connectivity and performance wherever they are. Addressing the issues that impact connectivity by installing a network that can easily mitigate interference problems means customers can access new technologies and services hotels offer, enhancing the hospitality experience and creating loyal and happy customers. You wouldn’t skimp on plumbing and expect to get away with it and Wi-Fi is the same - the hospitality industry must take now to have happy customers today, tomorrow and well into the future.”
Photo: Emma Kenny
PARSON’S NOSE REOPENS
he Parson’s Nose in Hillsborough has reopened following a significant £500,000 redevelopment that includes an internationally sourced wood-fired oven. Infusing traditional artisan tastes of Northern Ireland with a flavour of internationally renowned ingredients, the new menu additions include slow fermented sour dough pizzas and delicious wood-fired fish. The authentic pizzas include carefully chosen locally sourced ingredients from Peter Hannan’s guanciale to Toons Bridge mozzarella. The dining pub’s team has spent nearly 18 months planning the refurbishment. Managing Director Ronan Sweeney and his team of chefs
led by Chef Danny Millar have painstakingly researched culinary methods, equipment and the perfect ingredients to honour the exacting and classic traditions of wood-fired cooking. Complementing the extensive new menu is a new interior and a substantial bright extension at Parsons, serving up for the first time al fresco dinning overlooking the stunning Hillsborough Castle Lake. The considerable redesign has built on The Parson’s Nose distinctive character and rich local heritage, led by commercial interior architect, Paul Haffey, well-known for providing stand-out design solutions in the hospitality industry.
Since opening in 2009, the Hillsborough dining pub has won multiple awards for its take on popular classics which remain at the core of the menu alongside delicious new arrivals that are proving particularly popular with families. Ronan Sweeney, Balloo Inns Managing Director and owner of The Parson’s Nose, said: “We are thrilled to open the doors to the redeveloped Parson’s Nose and share our new chapter with customers. The restaurant still has its relaxed, cosy, Georgian pub atmosphere but we have built on this and also added a lighter, more open feel towards the back of the premises accentuating the beautiful Hillsborough surroundings. We are also excited about the diverse new menu which still includes the traditional classic dishes we are well known for alongside new additions that we hope will offer a more rounded experience for diners and families. “The feedback from customers so far has been excellent, with the new menu proving popular across the generations. We would like to thank our talented and motivated strongteam for all their hard work and contribution, but also a warm welcome to the new team members.” The Parson’s Nose has gone from strength to strength, enabling the significant investment this year. All three establishments in the Balloo Inns group, which includes Balloo House in Killinchy and Poacher’s Pocket, Lisbane, continue to grow steadily and endure critical acclaim, with all three retaining their spot in the prestigious Michelin ‘Eating Out In Pubs’ Guide 2017.
TOURISM IRELAND UNVEILS NEW FOODIE FILM T ourism Ireland’s latest video invites foodies everywhere to discover our culinary delights as it was unveiled online showcasing the range of food and fresh produce available right across the island of Ireland. It features various locations in Northern Ireland – including Titanic Belfast, St George’s Market in Belfast, the Lough Erne Resort and OX Belfast. Called “Flavours from the Island of Ireland”, the short film provides a glimpse of the superb food scene here. From farm to fork, and from port to place, the message for ‘foodies’ and potential visitors around the world is that we’ve got incredible produce that inspires creative and delicious dishes in the restaurants and cafés right around the island. And, from creamy butter and freshly caught seafood, to gourmet creations and finger-licking street food – visitors can prepare for a delicious trip to Northern Ireland!
BELFAST RESTAURANT IN DANGER OF £20K FINE OVER ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT EMPLOYEE A restaurant in Belfast is facing a potential fine of up to £20,000 after an illegal immigrant was found working in it. In an intelligence led operation, Immigration Enforcement officers visited Havana Bank Square in Berry Street just before the time of print. The business was served a referral notice in relation to a 22-year-old Albanian man who had www.hospitalityreviewni.com
entered the UK illegally. He is now in detention while steps are taken to remove him from the UK. The notice warns that a financial penalty of up to £20,000 will be imposed unless the employers can demonstrate that appropriate right-to-work document checks were carried out, such as seeing a passport or Home Office
document confirming permission to work. Mike Golden from Immigration Enforcement said: “Those who use and exploit illegal workers face severe financial penalties. We are happy to work with businesses to ensure the right preemployment checks are carried out, but those intent on operating outside the law will be found and will be punished.” MAY HRNI • 35
THE DUDDY GROUP TO
DEAR CUSTOMER, INVEST £7M IN NEW DERRY PLEASE BOOK YOUR HOTEL DIRECT! HOLIDAY INN EXPRESS HOTEL DON’T BE FOOLED BY EXPENSIVE AD CAMPAIGNS THAT PROMISE ‘BEST RATES’ he project is being ON TRAVEL BOOKING SITES, IT IS ALWAYS Tsupported by Invest Northern Ireland and BETTER TO BOOK YOUR HOTEL DIRECT the Department for Communities. AND HERE ARE THE REASONS WHY… Announcing the BY ADRIENNE HANNA, FOUNDER & CEO, RIGHT REVENUE
usually use this column to pass on advice or industry news to hotels, but I also know that this magazine is distributed and read by many people other than hoteliers, so this month I thought I would do my very best to encourage you to change how you book hotels online. Please do not be fooled by those expensive TV Ad campaigns that spout on and on about how Booking.com; Expedia; Trivago or Secret Escapes (to name but a few) always have the best rates because the fact of the matter is, they don’t!
FACT – Hotels in most cases only ever give Online Travel Agents (OTA’s) such as Booking.com & Expedia their B&B rates and this B&B rate will be the same rate as you find on every other booking site online. Therefore this is NOT the best rate but the SAME rate. FACT – Hotels in most cases will also offer a rate that is LOWER than this B&B rate if you book direct on their own site. These rates come in many guises such as Book Direct and Save or Advance Purchase or perhaps Exclusively Yours… but no matter what they are called, these rates will always sit lower than what you see on other OTA sites FACT – Hotels will always have a better rate choice if you book direct. That includes dinner packages, complimentary upgrades, complimentary drinks or discounts in the restaurant to name but a few, but you will always get much better packages and offers if you book direct FACT – A hotel will always offer the very best availability on their own site, so you always get the best opportunity for all room types and you might even find they offer exclusive room types on their own site that you won’t find anywhere else THEN THERE IS THE COST AND PLEASE LET ME EXPLAIN… It costs a hotel between 15%-25% commission, every time you make a booking. So on a hotel room costing £80.00, an OTA such as Expedia will take £20.00 before you even step inside the hotel! When you consider that a hotel makes around £6.00 on an £80.00 room sale (when you deduct 20% VAT, staffing costs, lighting, heating, laundry, breakfast etc) and that £6.00 needs to be invested back into the hotel to keep employing staff and investing in upgrades and maintenance, surely you can see that an OTA earning such high commission just isn’t fair… Also that £20.00 does not stay in this country. They pay no tax and that money goes straight to their European or American Headquarters. They often employ no staff here, they don’t invest in bricks and mortar or provide a service (as a hotel does) and yet they earn 3 times more. So next time you see www.booking.com/mydesiredhotel on Google - please browse right past and go straight to the hotel’s own website. I urge you to keep it local and keep it direct! And you will get the Best rate if you Book Direct! Visit www.rightrevenue.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
36 • HRNI MAY
investment, Invest Northern Ireland’s Chief Executive Alastair Hamilton said: “This new hotel will address a gap in provision of budget hotel accommodation in Londonderry by offering a three-star quality option for visitors. “The hotel will have 116 bedrooms, a Marco Pierre New York Italian Restaurant, two meeting rooms and three retail units and will provide accommodation for up to 40,000 visitors a year bringing significant additional revenue to the city. “The economic benefit also includes the creation of 47 jobs as well as employment generated during the construction phase and the ongoing benefit to the local supply chain through the purchasing of consumables for use in the hotel. “The addition of this internationally acknowledged brand will underline the city’s position as a quality destination and will contribute to achieving government’s targets to grow tourism revenues to £1 billion and visitor numbers to 4.5 million by 2020.” The new hotel will be located on the corner of Strand Road and Great James Street, not far from the Peace Bridge and close to other key tourist sites such as the Guildhall and the City Walls. Invest NI has offered £724,000 of support and the Department for Communities has offered £475,000 from its Urban Development Grant. The project has also secured £1million of mezzanine funding from Whiterock Capital through Invest NI’s Access to Finance strategy. Pauline Campbell, Director at Department for Communities stated: “The £475,000 investment from the Department will unlock significant private and public investment into this project. This new 116 bedroom 3 star hotel will give a much needed boost to the economy as well as regenerating a key site within Londonderry.” Commenting on the development, Brendan Duddy said: “This is an exciting development that will support the wider tourist and hospitality industry in Northern Ireland and provide a new base for visitors to explore the city and surrounding areas. “We wanted to grow tourism in the North West and create employment and business opportunities for service providers in the region. The support from Invest NI and the Department for Communities will enable us to progress our investment plans and we are aiming to have the hotel open for business by early 2018.”
THE SLIEVE DONARD RESORT UNVEILS LATEST ARTWORK Howard Hastings, Managing Director of Hastings Hotels was joined by local artist, Hamish Moyle at the unveiling of his painting which has been installed in the recently enhanced Lighthouse Lounge in the Slieve Donard Resort & Spa. The painting, which was in last year’s RUA Autumn exhibition, is entitled St John’s Point across Dundrum Bay and the scene is painted from the beach just below Murlough House in Dundrum. Hamish said he deliberately chose to represent the stormy sea in sunshine rather than gloom, injecting translucency in the painting which is dominated by the rolling waves. St John’s Point is solidly visible behind the mist of sea spray in the centre and Moyle kept the lighthouse central in order to build a dynamic triangular composition.
IMAGE AND OPPORTUNITIES – THE KEY TO SUCCESS By GAVIN CARROLL - NI HOTELS FEDERATION VICE PRESIDENT and GENERAL MANAGER OF THE MERCHANT HOTEL
was recently asked to comment on the issues around staffing and Brexit. As Article 50 has now been implemented and our exit from the EU has begun, I have concerns about the repercussions in our multinational workforce. The hospitality sector in Northern Ireland relies heavily on outof-state workers to supplement our workforce. Indeed, with some 23% of those employed in hospitality falling into this category, we are the sector that depends most on and has the greatest reliance upon the non-national workforce. The Merchant Hotel, where I am general manager, is no exception. In our kitchen brigade, we currently have seven different nationalities employed and this diversity is reflected throughout the hotel operation. Since the announcement that Britain was to leave the EU, we have seen many foreign employees leave us and seek employment outside the UK. Our ability to replace these skilled staff from abroad has also been hampered. Uncertainty about a long-term future in the UK makes coming to work in Northern Ireland a less attractive option. One of the reasons we have struggled to get homegrown staff, and a primary reason that we have become so reliant on out-of-state workers, is our inability to improve the image of the industry on a local level. As a sector, we have great opportunities on offer and a diverse range of career paths available but we are failing to get this message across. In countries like Italy, a career in hospitality and tourism is respected and recognised as a vocation, backed by a strong service culture and craft training. We are not managing to create the same impression locally or able to leverage the same type of training support. The hotel sector is currently undergoing a period of unprecedented growth. There are over 1,000 hotel bedrooms under construction in Belfast alone and their completion will create 1,000 new jobs. The pressures of attracting staff have increased over the last year and the addition of new hotels will only add to this pressure. The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation has been working with other stakeholders to press for more recognition of the sector. A streamlined range of qualifications and new apprenticeship models are being created but the issue of image still remains a priority. Government is keen to see tourism become a bigger economic driver. In order for us to reach their proposed £1billion target, we need to ensure the needs of our industry are recognised, its value acknowledged, and the options that it can offer promoted to young people at an earlier stage. I’ve had a great career to date moving through the ranks of the industry to become a hotel manager at a young age. I know that we can offer similar opportunities to others and feel that addressing our image is an integral part to ensuring a successful future.” www.hospitalityreviewni.com
RECORD NUMBERS CHECK IN FOR HOTEL RECEPTIONIST OF THE YEAR 2017 T here was a record number of entries for this year’s Hotel Receptionist of the Year competition, organised by the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, with 85 entries over three categories. The Hotel Receptionist of the Year ‘team competition’ will be decided by a mystery shop process. The individual categories: ‘Hotel Receptionist of the Year’ and ‘Most Promising Hotel Receptionist of the Year’ (for those with under one year’s experience) were judged at an assessment day in the Wellington Park Hotel, Belfast last month. Competitors underwent a series of challenges set by Life Adventure company. The tasks assessed their interpersonal skills, ability to cope under pressure and personal presentation. Nerves were quickly settled with balloons, blindfolds and tennis balls culminating in a shortlist of fourteen lucky competitors securing a place at the final interview stage. The National Trust also gave an insight into their many attractions in Northern Ireland. Commenting on this year’s competition, Janice Gault, Chief Executive of the NIHF said: “This is one of the highlights of the NIHF calendar and the competition has grown in popularity year-on-year. The judges were impressed with the exceptionally high standard of participants and found it very difficult to shortlist. They commented on the professionalism, passion and knowledge displayed by the competitors, noting they were a real asset to the hospitality industry in Northern Ireland.” The competition is in its fourteenth year and has grown in popularity since it was relaunched over a decade ago. This year’s event is supported by Tourism Northern Ireland, Net Affinity and Right Revenue. Additional support has come from Fermanagh and Omagh District Council. The winners of the 2017 competition will be announced at a gala evening on 10th May in the Killyhevlin Hotel, Enniskillen
TASTE OF TOURISM SUMMIT IS A FOODIE SUCCESS S
ome of the hospitality industry’s most esteemed personalities turned out in force to the annual Taste of Tourism Summit at The Culloden Estate and Spa recently for the one-day affair that showcased all that is good about NI food and drink. The event also informed guests about upcoming trends and challenges in the sector as well as entertaining with a Q&A with Michelin starred London chef Jun Tanaka. Eoghan Corry from Travel Extra addressed guests on the value of capitalizing on food tourism stating that offerings are more about the ‘sizzle and less about the steak’; “It is a performance industry. Tourists relate the maître d’ and the presentation as much as what happens in the kitchen,” said the travel writer. Meanwhile Catherine Fulvio - TV Chef, Author, Columnist and Country House Proprietor made the trip from Wicklow to discuss the important issues of skill shortages while sharing her story about growing up on a farm to becoming one of Ireland’s favourite TV chefs. Local food and drink producers set up shop to showcase their offering while the highlight, for many, was the delectable tapas style lunch that incorporated innovative small dishes from local producers and succulent, self-serve pork ribs followed by Chocolate Avocado Red Quinoa Egg! Having a Quail of a Time at Taste of Tourism Summit. Michelin star chef Jun Tanaka (second from right) shares his top tips with (L-R) Fergal Mulligan, Bunzl McLaughlin; Ciaran Meyler, United Wine Merchants Ltd and Paul McKnight, Culloden Estate and Spa. Organised by NI Hotels Federation (NIHF), Taste of Tourism provided businesses with an opportunity to listen to the experiences of a range of speakers, who have used food and drink to attract new customers, improve profits and enhance their reputations.
MAY HRNI • 37
DINING WITH A DIFFERENCE T
he Taste of Northern Ireland Gourmet Dinner, which took place in the Mitre Restaurant at the Culloden Estate and Spa on Monday 4th April, featured a thought provoking menu created by Michelin star chef Jun Tanaka. This was Jun’s first visit to Northern Ireland and he used the opportunity to showcase his contemporary sharing ethos of dining. Sharing has become the trademark style of The Ninth, his first solo venture in London. To complement the menu and facilitate
the sharing option, the dinner was served on a selection of tableware from the Artisan range by Bunzl McLaughlin. Available exclusively from this company, Artisan is a beautiful tableware range that combines shape, texture and colour in a way that is designed to elevate and enhance the entire dining experience. Fergal Mulligan from the company explained why this range was the perfect fit: “Bunzl McLaughlin was delighted to support the Taste of Northern Ireland Gourmet Dinner.
When we saw the menu, we knew that the Artisan range would work very well with Jun’s dishes. The range is a quality, crafted product with a contemporary twist. We have responded to the diversity of modern dining with new product ranges. Fergal continued: “Artisan gives businesses the flexibility they require along with the style they desire. The availability of platters, plates and bowls in the complementary modern colour palette allows us to offer a new dimension in dining.”
Richard Cassells, Winterhalter; Stephen Kinkead, Winterhalter; Ciara Murray, Compass Group ; Martin Darling, Bunzl McLaughlin; Christine Magee, Compass Group and Gordon Änderten, Bunzl CDS.
Paul Lavery; Fergal Mulligan, Bunzl McLaughlin; Heather Gibson and James McGinn, Europa Hotel.
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Michelin star chef, Jun Tanaka; Eoin O’Sullivan, General Manager, Culloden Estate & Spa and Paul McKnight, Executive Head Chef, Culloden Estate & Spa.
*NEW ocean collection
*NEW ember collection
COLOURS As used at the 2017 NIHf
â€˜Taste of Tourismâ€™ by Chef Jun Tanaka. is a beautiful new tableware range that combines shape, texture and colour in a way that is designed to elevate and enhance the entire dining experience. Inspired by the hand-thrown style of pottery design studios, Artisan offers something truly unique. It combines the look of a hand-crafted product with the strength, consistency and durability. Artisan is designed and distrubuted exclusively by Bunzl.
BULLITT GUNNING FOR GROWTH BY EMMA DEIGHAN
WHEN CONALL WOLSEY UNVEILED BULLITT HOTEL TO BELFAST LAST NOVEMBER THERE WAS NO DOUBT IT WOULD SUCCEED THANKS THE BEANNCHOR MIDAS TOUCH, AND SO FAR IT’S EXCEEDED HIS EXPECTATIONS. HERE HE TALKS TO EMMA DEIGHAN ABOUT EXPANDING INTO DUBLIN AND BULLITT BELFAST’S PLANS FOR 2018. adding some stardust to what was an otherwise ghost town so when news broke that the same team would be behind Bullitt on Church Lane, expectations were high. “It’s been going really well and we are still fine-tuning everything. There are a lot of different areas to this business; breakfast, lunch and dinner service and we’re working to get it all right,” explained Conall. The Northern Ireland public would seem to agree that Bullitt is the right fit for the city as would its overnight guests which are made up of local and ROI stays at the weekend and UK and ROI corporate guests midweek. “There are a lot of complexities but we are ahead of budget and 85 per cent ahead of where we expected to be,” added Conall. With the aim of attracting the 25-45-yearold demographic, Bullitt has expanded into events to ‘set a precedent’ said Conall. A Belfast Design Week event, genre-specific music nights in Baltic as well as soon-to-be-launched monthly talks that focus on politics, finance and property aim to engage the customer base that
Conall Wolsey, Right page; Exterior and interior shots of Bullitt Hotel and bottom right; The Wolsey family (Luke, Bill, Petra and Conall)
“We need to be proactive. I would guess that around 95 per cent of parents discourage their children from going into hospitality and that needs to change..”
or his 33 years, Conall Wolsey has one hell of a CV in hospitality. It’s no surprise really when you consider he is part of the Beannchor empire run by his father Bill - the man behind the transformation of Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter. He entered the family business when he was just 14 working on the floor at the chain’s Cafe Ceol establishment in Bangor. At the age of 17 he was bar supervisor moving up to the GM role a short while later. A ‘crash course in cheffing’ followed after which he left the group to open two of his own venues in the Titanic Quarter. He then returned to Beannchor just as it was about to take over 40 • HRNI MAY
one of Belfast’s more neglected districts. “People thought we were mad when we were planning for the Merchant,” he said of the five star hotel which celebrated its ten year anniversary last year. “At the time the PSNI told us the area had a footfall of around 200 at the weekend and now it’s 10 to 15,000. The Merchant was a catalyst to that. I think it brought it all together and it’s performing brilliantly. All food and beverage sales are through the roof and overachieving and we’re really happy,” revealed Conall. The company’s other enterprises in the same vicinity, The Dirty Onion, The National and its leased premises were also responsible for
Conall set out to attract when drafting up the blueprints for Bullitt. The ground floor, Conall believes, is this joint’s USP - something that makes it stand out from the competition and indeed the imminent newcomers to the hotel scene in Belfast, of which there are some 26 in progress. “I think there were demands for the industry to become what it is today. And I do believe there is room for growth. The conference market is growing which will fill rooms. Could we get to a stage where there are too many rooms? I don’t know but we don’t see that being a problem,” he responded. “We serve a niche. We are a four-star hotel and while we don’t shout about the rating, we
are different. We don’t see the newcomers as competition because we are appealing to a type of person who realises the relevance of our ground floor and for them that’s different. They will come here, maybe eat and stay here rather than leaving their bag in and going out.” So confident in the complex that Bullitt presents, Conall divulged that he will be taking the brand to Dublin’s Capel Street in 2019. “Bullitt Dublin will be located at the North side of the river and will have the exact same style and theme. It will be a collection of buildings - a redevelopment that will give way to 100 rooms and have that feel with the ground floor connection that we have here,” he disclosed. Despite Bullitt Belfast’s recent launch, it too is set for bigger plans due to be revealed in 2018. The second phase will comprise a further 42-45 rooms (inclusive of three to four apartment-style spaces) and a roof top terrace capable of hosting 300 people. “We went through planning for a floor of rooms and then saw the space there was and how it got the light and realised that it would work really well as a terrace,” said Conall when asked if the roof top element was part of the original plans. The extra rooms will take up space in neighbouring buildings; the floors above Bootleggers (which Beannchor also leases out), a solicitor’s premises and Paddy Powers. Ambition and innovation have been two of Beannchor Group’s most dominant qualities. It has introduced international concepts to the industry that few others have failed to emanate. Conall derives his inspiration from travelling and says that Bullitt is loosely modelled on the aesthetics and offerings of the Yotel Chain in NYC and Ace Hotel London. “We keep our eyes open and our ears to the ground,” he said. The company must also be praised for its investment in staff of which there are some 800 in the fold. Training is a priority for team Beannchor to ensure low staff retention and as a means to safeguard the future of the industry, Conall explained. “We need to be proactive. I would guess that www.hospitalityreviewni.com
around 95 per cent of parents discourage their children from going into hospitality and that needs to change. I think a lot of people have fallen into it or they’ve used it as a stopping gap and with that comes a degree of blaseness. “Our GM of the Dirty Onion was once a glass collector and our GM of The National was once a supervisor. We look after staff and we don’t hide figures from our management teams. We make sure that they are aware of everything that’s going on and that helps. “We also go out of our way to attend career advisory events. We send some of our staff to train in the Savoy and when Geraldine McKenna was the Chief Executive of The Savoy Group they sent staff here to train,” he said. That 800 employee figure is soon to grow as Beannchor sets its sights further afield to Liverpool and Manchester - where it plans to make its mark with, perhaps, another Bullitt and the Little Wing chain Conall suggested.
“I’m very confident that it will work and we will be looking at expanding. We have yet to find any suitable places in Liverpool or Manchester but we’re always looking. “We are comfortable of where we need to be to make money and we’re in a good place. Right now, we’re just working at getting the Bullitt formula right.”
MAY HRNI • 41
LA TAVERNA @ FRATELLI LAUNCH Kiera Lee, Helen McGurk and Gabriele Lo Dico
WHO: Invited media guests and staff at Fratelli. WHAT: Fratelli Belfast launched its ‘La Taverna’, a new Italian-style bar offering sharing plates with a free standing bar table. The venue stocks more than 100 wine varieties. Diners can enjoy luxury booth and banquette seating, as well as the new balcony of the historic building, which boasts 52 seats as well as an outdoor fireplace, full awning, box hedging and cast iron railings. WHERE: Fratelli Great Victoria Street, Belfast.
Louise Graham, Paul Bell and Pauline Kerr Lynsey Gordon and Leigh Heggarty
Laura Payne and Oran Kane
Avril Robson, John Robson and Georgia Briota
Bill Kennedy and Sandra Kennedy
TASTE OF TOURISM SUMMIT DINNER WHO: Members of the hospitality trade, including some of NI’s bestknown chefs, suppliers and special guests. WHAT: The annual Taste of Tourism Summit dinner hosted by the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation brought out the top personalities in the local hospitality industry ahead of its day-long Taste of Tourism Summit event. WHERE: Culloden Estate and Spa.
Richard Cassells, Winterhalter; Stephen Kinkead, Winterhalter; Ciara Murray, Compass Group ; Martin Darling, Bunzl McLaughlin; Christine Magee, Compass Group and Gordon Änderten, Bunzl CDS
Andrew Horne, Invest NI; Anne Trainor, Invest NI; Michael Deane and Danni Barry, Deanes Eipic
Brian Towny, Get Fresh ; Brenda Horisk; Marilyn Crawford and Harry Crawford, Get Fresh
Mairead Catterson and Matthew Fitzpatrick, United Wines; Gerty McCaugherty, Maguire Hotel Group; Ciaran Meyler, United Wines and Gemma McKerron, Millbrook Lodge
Jason Hamilton and Jacqueline Hamilton, Carnbrooke Meats with Philippa & Howard Hastings, Hastings Hotels
President of NI Hotels Federation, Ciaran O’Neill; Michael McQuillan, Tourism NI; Louise Milksop (DAERA) and Ian Orr, Browns
Stephen Davidson, Granny Annies; Gareth Devlin, Coca-Cola HBC NI; Andy Rea, Mourne Seafood and Derek Patterson, The Plough
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HOSPITALITY SERVICES DO YOU REQUIRE EXPERT HELP WITH YOUR BUSINESS? With over 25 years as an owner/operator of some of Belfast’s best known bars & hotels we assist the hospitality industry in the following areas: · New Business Start Up Guidance · Operational Support and Reviews · HR Issues · Mystery Shopper Visits · Interim Management · Distressed Business Support · Licensing & Legislation · Marketing & Outreach If your business is underperforming in any area, please give Andrew a call for more information.
CALL TODAY: +44(0)77969 57009
NEXT ISSUE SUMMER 2017 DEADLINE: Editorial: Friday 19th May 2017 Contact: Alyson Magee T: 028 9026 4268 e: firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising: Friday 26th May 2017 Contact: Mark Glover T: 028 9026 4266 e: email@example.com www.hospitalityreviewni.com
MAY HRNI • 47
ADVERTISE HERE FOR AS LITTLE AS £40 PER MONTH Contact: Mark Glover T: 028 9026 4266 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
INTERIOR DESIGN & ARCHITECTURAL CONSULTANTS
SUMMER 2017 Fift
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DEADLINE: Editorial: Friday 19th May 2017 Contact: Alyson Magee T: 028 9026 4268 e: email@example.com Advertising: Friday 26th May 2017 Contact: Mark Glover T: 028 9026 4266 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
48 • HRNI MAY
“Hospitality Review NI is the business-to-business trade magazine for NI.”
NEXT ISSUE... SUMMER 2017
DEADLINE: Editorial: Friday 19th May 2017 Contact: Alyson Magee T: 028 9026 4268 e: email@example.com Advertising: Friday 26th May 2017 Contact: Mark Glover T: 028 9026 4266 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
“Hospitality Review NI is the only Hospitality Industry magazine within Northern Ireland with a controlled circulation.” www.hospitalityreviewni.com
MAY HRNI • 49
THE LAST WORD AODHAN McCULLOUGH, KEY ACCOUNTS AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER FOR UNITED WINE MERCHANTS, DISCLOSES HIS FAVOURITE THINGS IN LIFE WITH HRNI... Currently listening to podcasts at the minute, mostly about Sports and Business. FAVOURITE BAND: Alterbridge LAST BOOK READ: The White Heat, Tomás Ó Sé FAVOURITE CELEBRITY: Completely sports related: Tiger Woods
FAVOURITE FOOD: Pizza FAVOURITE RESTAURANT: The Tailors House Ballygawley LAST HOTEL YOU STAYED AT: Lough Rynn Castle County Leitrim for my brothers wedding. LAST BAR/NIGHTCLUB YOU VISITED: Tiffys Nightclub. FAVOURITE PLACE IN WORLD: There’s no place like home. INDOOR CONCERT OR FESTIVAL: Indoor Concert. LAST HOLIDAY: Sonoma, Vegas, LA and New York on honeymoon.
FAVOURITE HOT DRINK: Cappuccino FAVOURITE SOFT DRINK: Lemonade If its mixed with gin. BEER OR CIDER: Heineken. WHITE OR RED WINE: Red. WHISKEY OR BRANDY: Both. GIN OR VODKA: Whitley Neill Gin. COCKTAILS OR BUBBLY: Bubbly. WHAT FOUR PEOPLE WOULD YOU INVITE TO A DINNER PARTY (DEAD OR ALIVE)? Peter Kay, Tiger Woods, Conor Mc Gregor and Mark Tremonti (Alterbridge Guitarist).
L-R: Aodhan, Tiger Woods, TV series Suits and Tom Hardy
NAME AODHAN McCULLOUGH COMPANY UNITED WINE MERCHANTS JOB TITLE KEY ACCOUNTS & BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT MANAGER HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THIS ROLE? 6 years DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY? Every Day is different but a typical day centres around being out visiting new and existing customers, this is the part of my job I enjoy the most. 50 • HRNI MAY
“The harder I practice, the luckier I seem to get”
ONE ITEM YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT? Phone.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE OF YOUR LIFE? Tom Hardy. WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL JOB? Professional golfer.
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB? First ever job was a glass collector in the local pub at home in Ballygawley.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: “The harder I practice, the luckier I seem to get.” Arnold Palmer INSPIRATION IN YOUR LIFE? My Mother and father.
FAVOURITE TV SHOW: Suits FAVOURITE FILM: Love films couldn’t pick one. ALBUM CURRENTLY LISTENING TO:
THE MOST IMPORTANT LIFE LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT? My Wife is always right!
United Wine Merchants Unit 5, Silverwood Business Pk, Craigavon, BT66 6SY Tel: 028 3831 6555 email@example.com www.unitedwines.co.uk
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Hospitality Review NI May 2017