The VOICE of Northern Irelandâ€™s catering, licensing and tourism industry
The official publication for
The VOICE of Northern Ireland’s catering, licensing and tourism industry
The official publication for
GAME OF THRONES: THE TOURING EXHIBITION OPENS IN BELFAST BY ALYSON MAGEE
TASTE OF TOURISM: FROM MICROINFLUENCERS & SOCIAL MEDIA TIPS TO THE GROWING MARKET FOR IRISH WHISKEY TOURISM, NIHF’S EVENT WAS PACKED FULL OF INSPIRING STORIES PS12-13
BEER BOSS: RYAN MCFARLAND HAS BEEN APPOINTED GENERAL MANAGER OF MOLSON COORS FOR THE ISLAND OF IRELAND; ALSO JOINING THE ALCOHOL BEVERAGE FEDERATION BOARD P17
BEER & CIDER: PREMIUMISATION & THE CRAFT SECTOR ARE DRIVING CATEGORY GROWTH, WITH HEANEY FARMHOUSE BREWERY THE LATEST ADDITION TO NI’S CRAFT STABLE PS20-21
NOT YOUR TYPICAL GIN DISTILLERY: FOUNDED BY HARVARD-EDUCATED CHEMIST DR ULRICH DYER, THE WOODLAB DISTILLERY IN CO TYRONE IS BRINGING INNOVATION TO THE CATEGORY PS30-31 www.hospitalityreviewni.com
xpectations are high as Game of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition arrived in Belfast for a four-month residency on April 11, coinciding with the screening of the popular HBO show’s final series and Tourism NI’s latest marketing push capitalising on its appeal to attract tourists. While the exhibition has already been staged in Barcelona and Paris, two new sets have been created exclusively for the Titanic Exhibition Centre (TEC), which will host it until September 1. The new sets, the Winterfell Crypt and Dragon Skull Pit, will not leave Northern Ireland when the exhibition moves to its next destination. Attending a launch event for the Belfast exhibition were actors Isaac Hempstead Wright (Bran Stark), Ian Beattie (Ser Mervyn Trant) and Liam Cunningham (Davos Seaworth), award-winning costume designer Michele Clapton, exhibition curator Robin Stapley from GES Events and Jeff Peters from HBO Licensing and Retail. With much of GoT filmed at various locations around the province, its actors were resident here for extended periods over the past decade and offered high praise to Northern Ireland. Hempstead Knight said he would miss “the people of Belfast and the city of Belfast, especially watching how Belfast has changed over the last 10 years in terms of the cultural scene that has emerged, the restaurants and bars.” And Clapton, creator of many of the fantastic costumes on display in the exhibition, said she had found the people of Northern Ireland to be always friendly, pleasant and hardworking, even during early starts and long days of filming. The exhibition features costumes,
From left, Robin Stapley, GES; Michele Clapton, GoT costume designer; Isaac Hempstead Wright, Bran Stark in GoT; Jeff Peters, HBO; Ian Beattie, Ser Mervyn Trant in GoT; and Liam Cunningham, Davos Seaworth in GoT.
authentic props and majestic settings from all seven seasons to date and was designed by GES Events in collaboration with HBO Licensing and Retail. John McGrillen, chief executive of Tourism NI, said: “The interesting thing about this exhibition is it’s a partnership between our two most successful tourism brands in Northern Ireland over the last decade, Game of Thrones and Titanic Belfast. We have a world-class visitor attraction and a world-class team delivering Game of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition and it’s undoubtedly going to lead to success.” Judith Owens, chief executive of Titanic Belfast, echoed McGrillen’s words, highlighting the exhibition as an ideal fit for TEC, which sits beside the Titanic Studios where GoT is made, as well as filling the quiet summer months in terms of consumer shows at the space. “We think fans are going to love it and not just fans, but people who will respect and understand the amount of work that goes into filming a show like GoT,” she said. MAY HRNI • 3
editorialcomment THE TEAM & CONTACTS Editor: Alyson Magee Manager: Mark Glover Art Editor: Helen Wright Production Manager: Irene Fitzsimmons Subscriptions: 028 9055 4598 (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 4175 Sales: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: 028 9026 4266 The Review is the official publication for: Hospitality Ulster: 91 University Street, Belfast, BT7 1HP. Tel: 028 9032 7578. Chief Executive: Colin Neill Chairperson: Mark Stewart The Institute of Hospitality Northern Ireland Branch Email: email@example.com Web: www.instituteofhospitality.org Chair: Marianne Hood FIH Vice Chair: Siobhan O’Sullivan MIH Northern Ireland Hotels Federation: The McCune Building, 1 Shore Road, Belfast, BT15 3PJ. Tel: 028 9077 6635 Chief Executive: Janice Gault President: Gavin Carroll 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.
Hospitality Review is a copyright of © Independent News & Media Ltd 2019
Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HospitalityReviewNI Look at our Website: www.hospitalityreviewni.com 4 • HRNI MAY
LICENSING LAW REFORMS SITS ON THE SHELF AS ANOTHER EASTER COMES & GOES
elcome to the May edition of Hospitality Review, going to print the week before another licensing hours-hampered Easter weekend. And, while we welcome the special dispensation given to opening hours around The Open in July, come on guys, how long are we going to have to wait for movement on wider licensing law reform. As Hospitality Ulster’s Colin Neill says in his opinion piece on p7, “what about the rest of the industry?” Featured this month are profiles of the dynamic categories of Beer & Cider and Gin & Vodka, both of which are being driven by an ongoing trend of premiumisation and craft production and our coverage of both categories pleasingly focuses on local innovators. Instead of talking about Brexit, which seems set to continue interminably, let’s turn to more positive content in the magazine – our coverage of Taste of Tourism, which returned for a third summit last month. Kudos to organiser the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation, which once again pulled a diverse and high-profile roster of speakers out of the bag to inspire and motivate the trade. See ps1213 for our coverage of the event. And one of the most exciting moments of the past month was the unveiling of Game of Thrones: The Touring Exhibition at TEC Belfast, with a star-studded launch event attended by actors and creatives from the TV show and journalists from around the world. The exhibition is extensive and impressively showcases the amazing costumery, and the craft and scale going into the film sets. It is also a lot of fun, with multiple opportunities for selfies in various
GoT scenarios. As well as our p3 news story about the exhibition launch, on p8 Tourism NI’s John McGrillen and Titanic Belfast’s Judith Owens talk about their ambitions for the exhibition, which may well become a major tourism draw on par (ahem) with The Open, Titanic Belfast and the Giant’s Causeway in 2019. News also features on p6 of the welcome announcement Northern Ireland’s first permanent GoT attraction, at Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, is to open in spring 2020. Finally, to end on a sombre note, it would be remiss not to mention the terrible and shocking tragedy at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown on St Patrick’s Day, in which three young people lost their lives in a crush while waiting to get into the venue. As you will see from the news story opposite, we have made a conscious decision to keep coverage of the event minimal, factual and free from any sensationalism or finger pointing pending the outcome of police and other investigations. As Hospitality Ulster highlights in the p5 story, clearly all venues should review their procedures around ID and queuing, seek advice if necessary (which Hospitality Ulster is also offering) and implement any lacking safety measures with immediate effect. Above all, we offer our deepest sympathy to the families and friends who have suffered losses, and all those who were there in the queue as the distressing tragedy unfolded.
Hospitality Review NI is a part of the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO). If you believe you have been unfairly treated, you can contact IPSO in writing via its website for guidance on what to do. The service is free. IPSO can then advise on whether it’s likely you have grounds for a complaint and what to do about it. The normal procedure is for the complainant to then contact the publication’s editor directly. If no agreement is reached, the complainant can go back to IPSO to look for an adjudication, or for it to take over the complaint. Full details are available at www.ipso.co.uk. Alternatively, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com, or telephone 0300 123 2220, or the out-of-hours emergency number: 07659 152 656. Or write to: IPSO, c/o Halton House, 20-23 Holborn, London EC1N 2JD. twitter.com: @Hosp_ReviewNI
HU SEEKS SAFETY MEASURES REVIEW FOLLOWING GREENVALE TRAGEDY
ospitality Ulster has written to its members and the wider hospitality industry urging a review of safety measures and ID checking policies following the Greenvale Hotel tragedy on St Patrick’s night. Three teens lost their lives, and a number of others were injured, in a crush outside the Cookstown venue on March 17. An investigation into the incident is currently underway, with PSNI said to have identified over 600 people
who were in the queue when the tragedy unfolded. “As an industry, we were devastated by the shocking and tragic events at the Greenvale Hotel in Cookstown and the entire country was heartbroken watching the funerals of those young people,” said Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster. “Whilst not prejudging the outcome of the investigation, we are asking our members and the wider industry in
the interim period to revisit their risk assessments, emergency action plans and to ensure their ID checking policy is robust, particularly for events that might attract those under 18 years old. “We really have to do all we can to make sure we have even safer venues and do everything we can to create the safest possible environments. Hospitality Ulster can support premises owners with who may need help and guidance on, for example, risk assessments.”
NORTHERN IRELAND TOURISM ALLIANCE APPOINTS NEW CHIEF EXECUTIVE D r Joanne Stuart OBE, formerly chairman of the IoD NI and director of development at Catalyst Inc, has been appointed as chief executive officer of the Northern Ireland Tourism Alliance (NITA). A highly experienced and wellregarded business leader, Dr Stuart was also Northern Ireland Champion for STEM from 2011 to 2016 and, since 2010, has been the NI Chair of the USNI Mentorship Programme, established by former Economic US envoy to NI Declan Kelly. “Joanne’s appointment comes at a critical time as NITA embarks on a number of major campaigns, in particular seeking positive change on the key issues of APD (Air Passenger Duty) and the NI VAT rate which are currently putting a brake on the growth of the hospitality and tourism sector,” said Brenda Morgan, MBE, chairman of NITA.
From left, Brenda Morgan, MBE, chairman and Dr Joanne Stuart, OBE, chief executive officer, NI Tourism Alliance.
“Joanne’s considerable experience and her extensive network of highly influential contacts in government and business circles across these islands mean that she is ideally placed to lead us and to champion
TOURISM NI HOSTS BIGGEST EVER MEET THE BUYER EVENT
total of 187 buyers from 22 markets took part in over 5,000 pre-scheduled one-to-one appointments with 153 local tourism businesses at the 2019 Tourism NI Meet the Buyer event last month. Representing the biggest event to date for Tourism NI, one of its highlights was a preview of the newly-refurbished Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, hosting buyers from the Republic of Ireland, Great Britain and international tour operators from markets as far away as China and New Zealand. Organised in association with Tourism Ireland, the annual event is a highlight of the tourism calendar and consists of a two-day agenda encompassing one-toone appointments, networking with local tourism businesses and visits to some of Northern Ireland’s leading visitor attractions. “Feedback from our tourism industry continues to highlight the high quality of buyers and excellent opportunities that Meet the Buyer represents, with many seeing an increase in business as a direct result of appointments during the event,” said John McGrillen, chief executive of Tourism NI. www.hospitalityreviewni.com
Northern Ireland tourism, working closely with our members and ensuring tourism is higher up the government agenda, and creating a more favourable climate for growth and success.”
WAGE HIKE GUIDANCE ON OFFER
ospitality Ulster is advising employers to pay attention to increases in the National Minimum and Living Wage applying from April 1 as the the levels of pay and approved deductions may not be straightforward. Further, failing to comply with the National Minimum/Living Wage is a criminal offence and can lead to businesses being forced to pay large fines. Hospitality Ulster has compiled an in-depth guide to both, which can be found in the Support section of www. hospitalityulster.org under HU Human Resources. MAY HRNI • 5
FIRST GOT LEGACY PROJECT TO OPEN IN SPRING 2020 A
Spring 2020 opening date has been announced for the Game of Thrones Studio Tour at Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, the first of a series of legacy projects in Northern Ireland created in collaboration with HBO Licensing & Retail. Showcasing authentic sets, costumes and props from all seasons of the hit series, including the upcoming eighth and final season, the 110,000-squarefoot interactive experience will allow fans to step into the Seven Kingdoms. Linen Mill Studios is an original filming location used for many iconic scenes throughout the run of the series and is working with HBO and a world-class creative team to bring the dynamic environments of both Westeros and Essos to life in a new format. The immersive and sensory experience will evoke the show’s magnificence from King’s Landing, Winterfell, Dragonstone, The Wall and the lands beyond, to kingdoms across the Narrow Sea such as Mereen and Braavos. It will allow fans from around the world to experience the craftsmanship and artistry of the Game of Thrones production team as part of the largest authentic public display of Game of
Thrones artefacts in the world. The Studio Tour will also feature a first-of-its-kind collection of informative displays highlighting the production spaces and the craftsmanship and artistry of the creative teams who brought the epic series to life. Information about production design and the art department workshops will enhance the visitor experience along with an interactive costume department station, displays about the make-up and prosthetics shop, the armoury, and others. “We are committed to giving fans the opportunity to experience first-hand the most comprehensive selection of iconic elements from the show available anywhere in the world,” said Andrew Webb, managing director, Linen Mill Studios.
IOH AWARDS FINALISTS UNVEILED
said Marianne Hood, inalists have been chairman, Institute of announced for Hospitality (NI Branch). this year’s Institute of “Tourism and the Hospitality Awards for hospitality industry Professionalism, to be held are thriving and we at Titanic Belfast on May undoubtedly have some 17. world-class people After two gruelling days working in world-class of judging at the Crowne hotels, restaurants, bars Plaza Hotel, all finalists and venues in Northern have been notified and Ireland. are preparing for the “The Institute of gala awards, which will Marianne Hood, chairman, Institute Hospitality NI is delighted be hosted by broadcaster of Hospitality (NI Branch). to be able to recognise Pamela Ballantine. and reward talented, dedicated The Institute of Hospitality Awards professionals and the prestigious gala for Professionalism are the longest awards are always the highlight of the established hospitality awards in hospitality calendar.” Northern Ireland and pay tribute to and The full list of finalists can be found recognise the achievements of many at https://www.instituteofhospitality.org/ committed, passionate professionals institute-of-hospitality-northern-irelandin the hospitality industry throughout awards-for-professionalism-finalists/. Northern Ireland. Tickets can be booked at https://www. “We had a record number of instituteofhospitality.org/event/thehigh calibre industry professionals institute-of-hospitality-northern-irelandentering the awards this year, which awards-for-professionalism-gala-dinnermade judging even more difficult for awards-presentation/. our independent panel of judges,”
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CHANGE TO LICENSING LAWS MUST WORK FOR ALL, NOT JUST THE BRITISH OPEN BY COLIN NEILL, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, HOSPITALITY ULSTER
ospitality Ulster has long campaigned for changes to Northern Ireland’s licensing laws on behalf of the hospitality industry. The evidence of the benefits that reforming our licensing laws would bring are obvious and multiple and we have consistently made the case of the economic benefits for Northern Ireland. That’s why the narrow and shortsighted Department for Communities consultation to allow the Department the power to designate an event taking place in Northern Ireland as a Special Event is so disappointing. The Department, having designated an event as a Special Event, would
then have the power to vary permitted hours for the sale of alcoholic drinks at that event and allow off-sales. Let’s be clear - this is a knee jerk consultation to hastily amend liquor licensing legislation to create a Special Licence to address issues at the British Open this July. It doesn’t even limit the off-sales of products from our local brewers and distillers. What about the rest of the industry? These changes might benefit the big companies that come here for a short time to run these big events, but it completely ignores the challenges faced by the hospitality industry here, who have lobbied for modernisation of
OPINION liquor licensing for years. To compound matters, we know there is a Bill sitting ready to go that would deal with most of the issues facing the hospitality industry that has been stalled by the collapse of the Assembly over two years ago. Hospitality Ulster is seeking an urgent meeting with the Head of the Civil Service, David Sterling and the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Karen Bradley MP, calling on them to intervene and get the wider liquor licensing laws sorted as part of this process once and for all. It was at least reassuring to hear the Secretary of State say she will not prejudge the consultation currently taking place on licensing laws at special events in Northern Ireland and refusing to commit to passing legislation through Westminster. If Westminster can legislate on this issue, then the wider liquor licensing laws should be sorted as part of this process once and for all, instead of just giving special status to big event promoters who will be gone as soon as they arrive. Everybody in Northern Ireland, whether they’re interested in golf or not, wants The Open to be a success. It’s a wonderful opportunity to showcase Northern Ireland as a fantastic tourism destination and the home of the greatest hospitality businesses in the world. But our civil servants should not be bending over backwards to rush through legislation for The Open, whilst ignoring the businesses that are the backbone of our tourism industry. This consultation isn’t going to support those businesses. The Open may be worth £80m to the Northern Ireland economy as a one off, but our members contribute £1.2bn to the Northern Ireland economy every year. It’s time that an ounce of sense was brought to the debate with proper wide-ranging changes to the legislation to sort out our licensing laws.
LATEST NI WATER PRICE HIKE JUST WON’T WASH
I Water’s latest price increase has forced an additional financial burden on the hospitality industry that it will find difficult to meet, according to Hospitality Ulster Chief Executive Colin Neill. Since the beginning of April, the hospitality sector has been forced to pay an extra 2.7% for water and sewerage charges, on top of a 3%-plus increase this time last year, making the hospitality sector one of the most heavily taxed. www.hospitalityreviewni.com
“Many don’t realise that this seemly small percentage water price increase has a huge impact on the hospitality sector as we are not only charged for water coming in, but also for sewerage going out,” said Neill. “To pay for the extra charge of around £100 on top of the already high water charges, a typical business in the hospitality sector needs to make £500 more to cover that cost. Decreasing margins means that this will take a longer time to offset the newly
inflated bill and is simply unsustainable.” “This comes on top of a recent jump in business rates here which have increased in some areas as much 4%.” “As a comparison, many businesses in GB with a NAV of £51,000 get 30% business rate relief, so, for example a pub in Sheffield with a rateable value of £37,750 will save £6,178 in business rates next year, whilst the same pub here gets nothing – this doesn’t stack up and shows how far behind we are here.” MAY HRNI • 7
BRINGING GAME OF THRONES: THE TOURING EXHIBITION TO BELFAST TEC’S FOUR-MONTH EXHIBITION WILL EXTEND GLOBAL APPEAL, JOHN MCGRILLEN, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF TOURISM NI, AND JUDITH OWENS, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF TITANIC BELFAST, TELL ALYSON MAGEE
From left, John McGrillen, Tourism NI; Jeff Peters, HBO; Judith Owens, TBL; and Robin Stapley, GES.
HOW HAS GAME OF THRONES BENEFITTED LOCAL TOURISM? John McGrillen (JMcG): We are a beneficiary of Game of Thrones in many senses. It has such global reach and, working with Tourism Ireland and HBO, we’ve been able to use the various series to build campaigns around; for example, Doors of Thrones and our ability to build a passport around that and then we’ve had 130,000 people come to the Ulster Museum to see the tapestry which supported the launch of the last campaign. It’s given us a global reach that we could never have imagined when this all kicked off 10 years ago, so it’s been fantastic for tourism. HOW MANY MORE TOURISTS IS GOT ATTRACTING? JMcG: We know, based on some research we did last year, that one in six visitors who come here are visiting Game of Thrones sites, and the sites are right across the province so it has done wonders in driving tourism into other parts of Northern Ireland. WHAT WILL THE NEW EXHIBITION ADD TO THE OFFER? JMcG: Visitors have never had the opportunity to go to an exhibition such as this or a permanent attraction. I think the customer experience here will be beyond what they will ever experience anywhere else where this exhibition goes. We have a new campaign launching and we think that will be pretty impactful as well. It will be focused on the latest series but will have its own quirk to it, and will give people further reasons to come here. WILL DERRY GIRLS BE THE NEW GOT? JMcG: The success of Derry Girls is a little bit like Game of Thrones; it was completely unpredictable. What I really like about that series is it really gets under the skin of people who live here and portrays a very different perception of a really fun, witty place. I think it will be transformational for the city, and it’s already proven to be that. You would think people wouldn’t get it, wouldn’t get the accent and the backstory, but they absolutely do. 8 • HRNI MAY
HOW DID YOU SECURE THE TOURING EXHIBITION FOR THE TITANIC EXHIBITION CENTRE (TEC)? Judith Owens (JO): We went out and bid for it and secured it. We just felt there’s no way it can come to Europe and not come to the home of Game of Thrones filming. The TEC sits in the footprint of the Titanic Studios, which is now an iconic destination for Game of Thrones filming. It was about two years ago that we approached GES and HBO, and then the last year has been the planning for it and, in particular, making it different for Belfast. We wanted to give a nod to the fact that it is the home of filming, and that’s why we’ve been able to introduce the two new pieces, the Winterfell Crypts and the Dragon Skull Pit, and they won’t ever go anywhere else on the tour. TELL US ABOUT THE EXHIBITION SPACE JO: It’s just shy of 5,000 square metres of space and it’s really interactive, very immersive and we try to do the sights, sounds and smells of the Game of Thrones filming experience. I’m blown away by the detail that goes into the filming; some of the best costume makers in the world, artists and armourers have worked on the Game of Thrones show, and many of them come from Northern Ireland. In terms of adapting the space, we have blacked it all out to begin with and, along with GES, we had to bespoke the exhibition into the space. Because we have such a large space here, we were able to make it much more impressive and add the two new sets. WHAT ARE YOUR EXPECTATIONS? JO: In terms of visitor numbers, we hope they will be very impressive. Titanic Belfast will do over 300,000 visitors during the period, and I would see a lot of its those customers converting. We have a lot of cruise ships coming into Belfast over that period, and tens of thousands of visitors are already coming in for Game of Thrones so we’re going to try and get them through the doors here as well. twitter.com: @Hosp_ReviewNI
MATTHEW McKINLEY, GROUP EXECUTIVE DEVELOPMENT CHEF, MOUNT CHARLES
WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET INTO COOKING? As soon as I could stand up on a chair to reach the kitchen counter, I was helping my mum, who was a fantastic baker. Of course, by helping I mean licking spoons and spatulas. I loved everything to do with baking and adored raw cake mix straight from the bowl. I was an absolute mummy’s boy with a sweet tooth; she inspired me from day one. HAVE YOU ANY CULINARY QUALIFICATIONS? NVQ Level 2 in Professional Cookery. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND IN THE TRADE? My first ever job was at the Causeway Coast Hotel by the famous Giant’s Causeway. I then spent a short summer in Ballycastle seaside staple, the Central Wine Bar. It was a busy and hectic summer that reinforced that the kitchen was exactly where I needed to be. Deep down I wanted more than a busy seaside restaurant though. After a few phone calls and a short interview in Belfast, I arranged a trial at Paul Rankin’s second iteration of Roscoff Brasserie on Linenhall Street. My first day was spent shucking and cleaning 150 hand-dived Irish king scallops. Despite my hands being completely shredded at the end of the day, I absolutely knew I was in the right place. Absolutely spoiled with the best local produce we could find and every plate of food I ever saw leave the pass, I wished I was eating myself. Following a fateful meeting with chef proprietor of the Mourne Seafood Bar Andy Rea, I was soon plying my trade in Bank Street. It was there I developed the confidence and approach to running a kitchen that still influences me heavily today. A year short of my 30th birthday, the opportunity to run an Irish-themed restaurant in Thailand was too much to pass up on. But I struggled to adjust to the culture and before long I was on a plane to Australia and landed in tropical Cairns. There, I was lucky enough to work with a local award-winning chef, www.hospitalityreviewni.com
James Wort at Dundee’s waterfront restaurant. After two and a half years with Dundee’s, I took the reins at Cairns’ hotspot, Salt House. A dream venue, set in the yacht club of Cairns Harbour, I was awarded best restaurant in North Queensland by the Australian Restaurant Federation. I returned home to Ireland to run the Old Inn Crawfordsburn, in turn winning the AA Hotel of the Year award while running the two-AA rosette Lewis restaurant. More recently, I began my new role with Mount Charles as the Group executive development chef. HAS ANYONE INSPIRED YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER? I have been inspired by virtually every chef I have been lucky to work with across three continents, and many others along the way. Special mentions go to Paul and Jeanne Rankin, Andy Rea and my oldest mentor Ryan Adams. There are literally too may chefs to mention, everyone from Anthony Bourdain, to Georgio Locatelli, to Joel Robuchon. I could go on forever.
WHAT IS YOUR FOOD SOURCING POLICY? I once drove for two hours to meet a farmer who kept stunning hand-reared pigeons. Where possible, I’m a strong advocate for Alice Waters’ farm-toplate policy. Having worked across three continents, I am lucky enough to truly understand how amazing the local produce is in Northern Ireland. Across the spectrum, we have some of the best livestock in the world, some of the best seafood in the world and a vast array of award-winning artisan produce. WHAT SIZE IS YOUR STAFF? I look after the culinary teams in over 130 units within the catering estate at Mount Charles. HAVE YOU ANY INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF WORK? I love training, have competed at the British Masters Olympic weightlifting championships. I love eating out as much as possible, spending time with my beautiful girlfriend and hanging out with my two cats, Frank and Buddy. MAY HRNI • 9
Hara Hillsborough ROZ ALLEN, CO-OWNER OF HARA HILLSBOROUGH, TALKS TO HRNI WHEN DID YOUR RESTAURANT OPEN? We opened in June 2018. We are a husband and wife chef team. We met in 2012 at Chapter One in Dublin where Andy (Turne) was the head chef, and have worked in lots of great kitchens around the world, but always for other people. We came back to Northern Ireland in 2016 with our new baby and went to work at Meet & Thyme in Hillsborough. We were the chefs there for a year and when the owner decided to sell up, it felt like the right time for us to buy the lease and open up our own place. WHAT FEEL ARE YOU AIMING FOR? Hillsborough is a very beautiful heritage village and it was important to respect that feeling, but also that the restaurant was welcoming and friendly; hopefully it feels modern and relaxed. WHAT’S ON YOUR MENU? It changes all the time. We start with what our suppliers are offering locally and go from there. At the moment, the spring lamb is starting, mackerel is perfect right now, we have beautiful greens and brassicas coming from Ballynahinch and we’re foraging wild garlic on our (rare) days off, so that’s our starting point this month. We change some things every week and aim for the whole menu to change every three months or so. WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO TO IMPROVE AND DRIVE YOUR MENU? Suppliers are the backbone of our menu.
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We are always looking for producers in Northern Ireland with the same food values as us, people like Karl at Grain Bakehouse in Dollingstown with his amazing sourdough and Alistair Crown at Corndale farm who makes great artisan charcuterie. We are proud to serve Hannan’s beef and their Shorthorn Sirloin is the one dish we can’t take off the menu. The food landscape has changed beyond all recognition here in recent years and I think the north of Ireland has something really unique to offer in terms of food and hospitality. WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS? Locals. We’re very grateful to be well supported by a great crowd from Hillsborough and the surroundings but we are increasingly seeing people travelling from further afield which is really wonderful. HAVE YOU FACED ANY PARTICULAR CHALLENGES TO DATE? Like a lot of restaurants, it can be a challenge to find the right people for the team but we’ve been pretty lucky so far. Working 16-hour days in a kitchen with your spouse can be a little sticky too… HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR RESTAURANT STAND OUT FROM COMPETITORS? We don’t think too much about it. It’s just about cooking food that we’re proud of, and providing a great front-of-house experience.
HOW WAS TRADE OVER THE PAST YEAR?
It’s been fantastic. Many guests have stuck with us from the Meet & Thyme days and it’s been growing since we opened. HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR RESTAURANT DEVELOPING THIS YEAR? Our focus now is on fine tuning our product both front of house and in the kitchen. We also have some exciting renovations scheduled for July during our break. 16 Lisburn Street, Hillsborough Tel: 028 71161467 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org OPENING HOURS Wed-Thur: 5-9.30pm Fri-Sat: 12-2.30 & 5-9.30pm Sun: 12.30-6.30pm
HOSPITALITY SECTOR WILL BENEFIT FROM OUR SUCCESSFUL PROMOTION AT LONDON’S ICONIC BOROUGH MARKET BY MICHELE SHIRLOW, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, FOOD NI
Pictured at a two-week pop-up showcase of Northern Ireland food and drink in London’s Borough Market are, from left, back row: Stuart Best, White’s Oats; Christine Cousins, Food NI; Julie Wakley, Tourism Ireland; Andrew Rooney, Rooney Fish; Laurie Davies and Steve Lawson, Lacada Brewery; Rhonda Houston, Granny Shaws; and Jane Harnett, Harnett’s Oils; and front row: Mark Henry, Tourism Ireland; Gemma Wright, Shortcross Gin; Paula McIntyre, chef; Noel Allen, Noisy Snacks; and Eileen Hall, Cavanagh Eggs.
e were delighted to have several of our craft distilleries and breweries as an integral part of our recent and highly successful Taste the Greatness showcase at Borough Market, among the most important and popular markets of its type in London. With 250,000 visitors a week, Borough Market is a unique showcase for quality food and drink. In addition to having huge footfall, it also is where all the key retailers go to look for inspiring new food and drink flavours. We were working with both Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland to promote Northern Ireland as the World’s Best Food Destination, the title Food NI gained at last November’s World Travel Trade Awards. The showcase increased awareness of Northern Ireland as a location among Londoners and visitors from abroad. It was another opportunity to promote Northern Ireland as a tourism location with great food and superb hospitality in fine hotels and excellent restaurants; a sharp focus which will offer tangible benefits to the buoyant hospitality sector here. In addition to the representatives from our dynamic distilling and brewing sectors, our showcase featured a very broad range of premium food products www.hospitalityreviewni.com
from local producers over a two-week stint at this important opportunity to promote our fabulous food and drink to shoppers and visitors from many parts of the world. What the venture – our second at Borough following a very successful first appearance last year – achieved was to provide an opportunity for participating companies to explore opportunities in what continues to be our single most important external market. Our work in Britain benefits immensely from support from the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, Invest NI and several local councils. It’s this collaborative approach which continues to raise Northern Ireland penetration into the GB market through working closely on initiatives such as the creation of networks for smaller food and drink processors. Easily the best way to make a significant impact in this and other markets is through such enthusiastic collaboration between all the relevant bodies keen to promote the very best of Northern Ireland as the world-class food destination it is fast becoming. We’d certainly be keen to provide such an enhanced promotional role. We have an experienced team of
marketers which has already been involved in other successful shows in Dublin, Glasgow and Harrogate and we’ll be showing the best of Northern Ireland at other forthcoming shows including Farm Shop and Deli in Birmingham with backing from Invest NI. Northern Ireland will endeavour to make the biggest impact possible at these and other promotional events for the food and drink industry. Our global competitors are pooling resources to ensure greater success, especially in terms of leads generated for companies and business secured from key buyers. Northern Ireland food and drink must continue to raise its game, especially in Britain. It’s sound business sense to maximise scarce financial resources in particular, to achieve the best possible business impact for our biggest and highly innovative food and drink processors. It’s also clear to me that the participation of smaller companies at events we’ve organised since last December demonstrates that more producers are keen to explore and seize business opportunities in Britain… and many of them are now confidently going about developing a worthwhile presence there. MAY HRNI • 11
TASTE OF TOURISM OFFERS INSPIRATION ON TAP BY ALYSON MAGEE
Food Futurologist, Dr Morgaine Gaye, presented her expert vision of food in the future.
rom the passion and hard work going into a Michelin-starred kitchen to simple tips on how to make the most of cost-free social media marketing opportunities, delegates heard from an array of inspiring speakers at the Taste of Tourism Summit. The third summit to be organised by Northern Ireland Hotels Federation (NIHF), it was held in the Culloden Estate and Spa on April 9. Lessons learnt from the success of London’s Borough Market, Belfast’s popular food tours and the burgeoning market for Irish whiskey tourism were also the focus of presentations, while returning speaker Food Futurologist Dr Morgaine Gaye kept the audience in turn intrigued and appalled with her trend predictions. Among the most entertaining presentations of the event was food critic William Sitwell’s, in which he offered unrestrained opinions on everything from his vegan bashing-related departure from editorship of the Waitrose maga-
Inspirational Michelin chef, Galton Blackiston, meets the chefs from Culloden Estate and Spa.
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The Telegraph’s acclaimed food critic, William Sitwell, speaks about the changing face of food with Taste of Tourism compere Jo Scott.
zine last year to his friendly competition with Jay Rayner for airtime on Masterchef. As for his comments on a visit to a local restaurant the night before, we’ll not go there…
One meal everyone was raving about was the gourmet dinner at the Culloden’s new Vespers Restaurant on the evening before the summit. Created by Michelin-starred chef Galton Blackiston, in association with Bunzl McLaughlin, the food and wine matching was described by Michael Stewart of House Belfast as among the best he has ever had. Blackiston himself offered complimentary words about the quality of Northern Ireland’s seafood the next morning during his presentation. “The lobster was beautiful and the turbot was amazing,” he said. “I haven’t seen as good a turbot as that in a long, long time.” He also offered words of wisdom for up and coming chefs. “As long as you’ve got a good working attitude and a little bit of common sense and a smile, then you’ll be all right,” he said. “You’ve got to have that passion, you’ve got to have that will to succeed and not clock watch or anything like that. It’s a real dedication to the art of cooking.” A chef panel discussion also covered the joys and challenges of the trade,
From left, Eileen Hall, Cavanagh Free Range Eggs and Jen Guiney, Invest NI. From left, Garrett Power, Neil Devlin, Stephen Meldrum, James McGinn, Dan Binchy and Joseph O’Byrne, pictured with the Taste of Northern Ireland Gourmet Dinner Compere Pamela Ballantine.
featuring Danni Barry of Balloo House, Paul Catterson of Tribal Burger and Mark Abbott of Midsummer House, who suggested employers aiming to retain staff should adapt to their needs. Futurologist Dr Gaye covered trends, consumer behaviour and sustainability in food, drink and hospitality in a wide-reaching talk spanning themes from back to nature and digital detoxing to edible packaging and rejecting uniformity in favour of imperfection. “It’s all about the micro-influencers, the real people on the street because we don’t believe the government, we don’t believe anyone anymore,” she said, with the audience collectively hoping her forecast of a downturn this year akin to The Great Depression of the 1930s will not come to fruition. Food blogger and author Ciara Attwell offered many useful tips to smaller businesses on harnessing cost-free digital opportunities, such as tapping into location-tagged photographs posted on social media to engage with, and attract, potential customers while they are in the locality. Greg Hughes, meanwhile, talked
about the Jameson Distillery Bow St whiskey tourism attraction in Dublin, as well as the success of the Irish whiskey category. He said the Irish whiskey sector has grown from four distilleries in 2013 to a current 18-plus sites, with a further 26 planned, and investment of €1bn going
From left, Andrea and Graham Gannon from Peninsula Kelp Co with Jillian Thompson, NI Science Festival.
into the sector between 2010 and 2025. Jameson is leading the sector, posting 29 years of consecutive growth, with over 70 of its markets in double or triple-digit growth. In addition to its focus on quality, Hughes said Jameson focused on building advocacy and very actively listening to what its consumers are saying. Irish whiskey tourism attracted 900,000 visitors in 2018, he said, up 13%, with 88% of visitors from overseas including 40% from the US and Canada. The Irish whiskey sector has set an ambitious target of attracting 1.9 million visitors by 2025. David Matchett of Borough Market offered inspiration in the growth of the London site from near dereliction to the thriving food hub it is today, which he attributed to a focus on provenance and supporting its traders, the “core bread and butter”. Food NI collaborated with Borough Market to host a successful showcase of Northern Ireland food and drink for a fortnight around St Patrick’s Day (see p11). And Taste & Tour Co-Founder Caroline Wilson talked about food tourism opportunities, and the growth of her venture from a few people turning up to being booked out for months on end. “For any business in the tourism spectrum, food and drink have a central role,” said Janice Gault, chief executive, NIHF. “It’s important to understand emerging trends, changing consumer needs and what’s in vogue for the traveller seeking an authentic culinary experience. Given that the number of international tourists to Northern Ireland are on the increase, it’s really important that we understand how to make our culinary offering both authentic and attractive.” The event was sponsored by Tourism Northern Ireland, Invest NI and Tourism Ireland, while an artisan market held throughout the day was supported by DEARA and local suppliers. MAY HRNI • 13
COPELAND DISTILLERY OPENS THE 125 SINGLE CASK RESERVE TO INVESTORS C
o Down-based spirits company, The Copeland Distillery, is offering private investors the opportunity to own one of 125 casks of its first release whiskey, The 125 Single Cask Reserve, ahead of the Distillery opening this summer. The whiskey will be distilled at The Copeland Distillery later this year with head distiller William Stafford and company founder Gareth Irvine overseeing all elements from grain selection to maturation. Known as The 125, each investor who becomes a cask owner will also become an important part of The Copeland Distillery. Each of the titles will be displayed on The 125 wall, signalling their investment and immortalising their important
commitment to the Distillery’s journey. Each cask owner will receive an official certificate of ownership and The 125 members card unlocking exclusive access to future events at the Distillery and
private tours. Members will also have the opportunity to visit their cask and request samples as it matures. Anyone can purchase a cask of The 125, with the option of sharing an ownership with colleagues, family members and close friends available too. The distillery will also have a number of syndicate casks available for any individuals who wish to share ownership of a cask with similarly passionate whiskey drinkers. Following distillation later this year, each cask will be filled and ‘put to sleep’ to mature for the next five years minimum in hand-selected casks. For more information, visit www. copelanddistillery.com.
FEBVRE GAINS NEW AGENCY FOR AKAL CHAI RUM F
ebvre Wines has been appointed all-Ireland distributor for AKAL Chai Rum, which is owned by the SMAK’S Luxury Group of Trinidad and Tobago. Laying claim as the only West Indian, Botanical Rum in the world, the ultra-premium spirit is also said to be one of the last family-owned West Indian rums. “The combination of rum from the West Indies infused with two types of high-altitude tea leaves from India’s Darjeeling area with the addition of exotic spices and herbs, aged in bourbon barrels results in a truly unique flavour,” said Brendan Doyle, commercial director, Febvre. “Chai Rum is transforming the world of West Indian rum and we in Febvre look forward to introducing it to the Irish market.” AKAL Chai Rum has won three awards of recognition including the i2i Award from the Government of Trinidad and Tobago recognising the innovative nature of the production process; the gold medal for best cocktail at the Taste of St Croix 2016, the largest open rum competition in the West Indies; and a rare 95 point rating from the Wines and Spirits Wholesalers of America. The creators of Chai Rum have a strong connection with Ireland. Kiran Akal has a medical degree from Ireland while John Fleming’s family is from Galway. European Brand Ambassador Eoin MacHale is from Leitrim.
EC GRANTS GI STATUS TO IRISH WHISKEY, CREAM & POITÍN
rish whiskey, Irish cream and Irish poitín were granted GI status by the European Commission last month, following a successful application by the Irish whiskey sector and Irish Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Malt Irish whiskey, pot still Irish whiskey, grain Irish whiskey and blended Irish whiskey are all encompassed under the GI status, in a move welcomed by the Irish Whiskey Association as protecting Irish whiskey quality and traditions in global markets. The number of Irish whiskey distilleries continues to grow, with Killowen Distillery in Co Down and Clonakilty in Co Cork becoming the latest additions to the expanding sector. 14 • HRNI MAY
From left, Liam LaHart and Elliot Hughes of Dingle Original Gin.
DINGLE WINS WORLD’S BEST GIN
ndependent, family-owned Dingle Original Gin has been awarded Overall Best in World at the World Gin Awards Ceremony 2019, which took place in London earlier this year. The awards saw over 400 entries from all over the globe blind tasted by industry experts to shortlist the best gins from 20 countries. “This is an incredibly proud moment,” said Elliot Hughes, partner, Dingle Original Gin. “We launched the distillery in 2012 with the vision to create the best artisan spirits in the world. It’s also fantastic to be representing Ireland as a world leader in producers of gin, as well as shining a light on our gin’s heritage and hometown of Dingle, Co Kerry.”
IS IT SUMMER YET?! NINA DOYLE, UNITED WINES CIDER BRAND MANAGER
DRINKS BLOG FROM #DRINKSBLOGGERNI
magine yourself sitting in your local beer garden, sun splitting the trees, laughing with friends and sipping a cold refreshing glass of cider. How amazing does that sound, especially in this dull weather? Well that dream isn’t too far away as, believe it or not, summer is only around the corner. Whether you love the sweet taste of apples or a flavoured cider, we’ve got all bases covered. Towards the end of 2016, we were getting requests from customers who had visited RoI and tasted Orchard Thieves Cider. They (of course) absolutely loved it but couldn’t get it in the North. So, in 2017, we gave the public what they wanted and officially brought Orchard Thieves to the NI market. Since launch, it has been a huge success and, if you’ve ever tasted it, you’ll know why. The crisp apple taste of Orchard Thieves is undoubtedly its unique selling point. It delivers a refreshingly smooth drinking experience that can be enjoyed from the first sip. With Orchard Thieves, we also like to have a bit of fun, from Thieving the Apple, Tortured Thieves (at Halloween), Mulled Cider (at Christmas) and Thieving back the Hour in the on trade, to Thieve a Glass and fun samplings within the off trade. The brand just strikes a cord with our 18-25-yearold drinkers who can’t seem to get enough of it. For those of us who are over 25 (myself
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included) try using Orchard Thieves to marinate your pork fillet on the BBQ this summer. Sip a wee Orchard Thieves with the pork and see how the flavour intensifies. Then for the flavoured cider lovers, we have Old Mout, which began over 65 years ago and comes from the other cider the world (see what we did there, it comes from New Zealand). You may not have heard too much about Old Mout but within the next few months you certainly will. In the UK, it is the fastest growing premium flavoured cider already overtaking its leading competitors in convenience. We Northern Irish love sweet things and flavour trends show that exotic fruits are growing phenomenally fast. This has been driven by Old Mout with a delicious line up of flavours: Passionfruit & Apple, Kiwi & Lime, Strawberry & Pomegranate and Berries & Cherries. We all know the growth in health consciousness, particularly among Millennials is increasing by the day, so it’s great news that Old Mout have reduced the sugar
levels in their recipe but still maintain those award-winning flavours. There is also a Berries & Cherries alcohol-free varietal ticking the box for the ever growing low and no sector. I feel very excited about this brand and for one cannot wait to be sipping it over ice this weekend; of course I’ll just have to imagine I’m sitting in a sun filled beer garden for the moment. If you would like to stock Orchard Thieves and/or Old Mout, please speak with your United Wines Account Manager or call 02838316555. Follow us also at our below social platforms. All new likes over the next two weeks will go into a draw to win lots of Orchard Thieves and Old Mout products.
“WITH ORCHARD THIEVES WE ALSO LIKE TO HAVE A BIT OF FUN, FROM THIEVING THE APPLE, TORTURED THIEVES (AT HALLOWEEN), MULLED CIDER (AT CHRISTMAS) AND THIEVING BACK THE HOUR IN THE ON TRADE, TO THIEVE A GLASS AND FUN SAMPLINGS WITHIN THE OFF TRADE.” Facebook: @unitedwines Instagram: United_Wines_ Twitter: @unitedwines LinkedIn: United Wines Website: www.unitedwines.co.uk
MOLSON COORS BREWING COMPANY APPOINTS NEW GENERAL MANAGER FOR REPUBLIC OF IRELAND AND NORTHERN IRELAND NEW GENERAL MANAGER AT MOLSON COORS IS ALSO APPOINTED TO THE BOARD OF THE ALCOHOL BEVERAGE FEDERATION OF IRELAND
olson Coors Brewing Company is pleased to announce the appointment of Ryan McFarland as general manager for the island of Ireland. Ryan has been with the company for three years and was previously director of Northern Ireland. Prior to joining Molson Coors, Ryan spent 12 years working in the luxury and premium spirits sector holding senior UK and Irish roles within Bacardi Brown Forman and Remy Cointreau. Ryan will bring his extensive industry experience to this role as the business continues to grow both its on-trade and off-trade channels across the Republic of Ireland (RoI) and Northern Ireland (NI). “I AM THRILLED TO TAKE ON THE ROLE OF GENERAL MANAGER FOR THE ISLAND OF IRELAND AS WE LOOK TO DELIVER A MORE ALIGNED APPROACH FOR MOLSON COORS. WE’VE MADE FANTASTIC PROGRESS IN BUILDING OUR BUSINESS OVER THE PAST FEW YEARS, BUT WITH OUR BROADER PORTFOLIO OF EXCITING BRANDS WE BELIEVE THERE IS PLENTY OF OPPORTUNITY TO ACCELERATE THAT GROWTH.”
As well as his new position within Molson Coors, Ryan will also be joining the board of the Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI). Speaking about his new position, Ryan said: “I am thrilled to take on the role of general manager for the island of Ireland as we look to deliver a more aligned approach for Molson Coors.
We’ve made fantastic progress in building our business over the past few years but, with our broader portfolio of exciting brands, we believe there is plenty of opportunity to accelerate that growth.” Keith Fagan, country manager for RoI, is leaving the business after 10 years’ great service. Keith joined Molson Coors in 2009 and has played an integral role in building the business in RoI and NI. Due to his departure from Molson Coors, Keith will be vacating his position on the ABFI board and this will be taken up by Ryan. Keith will also be stepping down from the position of chairman of the Irish Brewers Association (IBA). A decision
on the new chairman of the IBA has not yet been reached; however, a new person will be elected to fill this role in the coming weeks. Welcoming Ryan to the ABFI, Patricia Callan, director of ABFI said: “The beer sector and wider drinks industry is undergoing a period of exciting growth and development, with a huge amount of innovation. I’d like to congratulate Ryan on his appointment and look forward to working closely with him on the ABFI Board as we navigate through the challenges and opportunities ahead. I’d also like to thank Keith Fagan for his valuable contribution to the ABFI Board and as chair of the Irish Brewers Association.”
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PREMIUMISATION & CRAFT SECTOR DRIVES BEER & CIDER GROWTH
remiumisation continues to drive the market, with craft drinks the key contributor, according to Mintel’s latest report, Beer & Cider - Ireland - June 2018. Sales of beer are expected to increase by 2.3% on an all-Ireland basis between 2017 and 2018, from €2.62bn in 2017 to €2.68bn in 2018. The on-trade sector will account for 73% (€1.96bn) of total beer sales while the off-trade will account for the remaining 27% (€715m). Lager remains the most valuable segment of Irish beer, accounting for 60% (€1.6bn) of total beer sales in 2018. Sales of stout will account for 31%
(€840m) of the category and ale will account for the remaining 9% (€233m) of total beer sales. Sales of cider are expected to grow by 1% on an all-Ireland basis between 2017 and 2018, from €511m in 2017 to €516m in 2018, dominated by €346m in on-trade sales. Growth in cider sales is forecast to be strongest in RoI in 2018, but flat in NI. Mintel says on-trade sales in RoI are driving growth in the beer and cider categories as increased consumer confidence and improved personal finances see consumers in RoI visit pubs and bars more often compared to NI
BIRRA MORETTI SPONSORS BELFAST FILM FESTIVAL
Pictured at a launch event for the festival are, from left, Maura Bradshaw, business development manager and William Simpson, storyboard artist for Game of Thrones, with Emma Haughian, brand manager and Saoirse Pearse, marketing and sales executive at United Wines.
irra Moretti has supported the Belfast Film Festival for a second year as the official drink of the festival. Held over April 1120, this year’s festival included films from 34 countries around the world including 90 features, 80 short films and a range of special events and virtual reality works. “The Belfast Film Festival audience is a really good match for the brand, sitting in the 25-50 years demographic,” said Emma Haughian, brand manager, United Wines. “Still brewed to the authentic recipe that was created by Luigi Moretti in 1859, Birra Moretti’s special blend of high-quality hops creates a smooth, full-bodied beer with wholemeal bread top notes which are cut by a delicate citrus note.”
consumers, who continue to struggle financially and turn to the cheaper offtrade as they look to better manage their household budgets. With foodservice revenue increasingly important in pubs, Mintel highlights opportunities for food matching with beer and cider products.
UNITED WINES EXTENDS THEIR PORTFOLIO WITH EXOTIC REFRESHMENT U
nited Wines are stepping into spring with an exciting announcement, adding the UK’s fastest-growing premium flavoured cider, Old Mout Cider, to its growing portfolio. With the ever-increasing demand for premium flavoured cider and summer on the horizon, refreshing cider brand Old Mout Cider is the perfect addition to the United Wines collection. Offering five refreshing and exotic flavours: Kiwi & Lime, Strawberry & Pomegranate, Berries & Cherries, Passionfruit & Apple and including an alcohol-free Berries & Cherries, the products are available to on and off trade. This cider from ‘downunder’ is vegan friendly and with natural flavours and reduced sugar, the brand is right on trend. Working with the World Wildlife Foundation, Old Mout Cider’s producers are dedicated to protecting global habitats. Nina Doyle, from United Wines, commented: “Old Mout was dreamed up in New Zealand’s Moutere Valley over 65 years ago and was inspired by the great outdoors. With fruit ciders set to make up almost half of all cider sales by 20231, Old Mout Cider is the perfect addition this summer, fitting perfectly into our cider portfolio alongside the ever popular Orchard Thieves Cider.” 2018 Westons Cider Report
For more information, please contact your United Wines sales representative or call 02838 316555. MAY HRNI • 19
HEANEY FARMHOUSE BREWERY. TRADITION REFRESHED
n the heartland of rural mid-Ulster, nestled on a gentle slope beside the Heaney farm, the new Heaney Brewery is out to convert beer drinkers to the unique flavours of its premium craft beers. The farm where Nobel prizewinning poet Seamus Heaney grew up and which inspired much of his writing, is also now the location of the Heaney Farmhouse Brewery. Four years in the making, Heaney Brewery has just begun production and sales from its purposebuilt facility which makes use of the highest-quality water which rises from its own farm spring. In an environment where beer sales across the globe are flatlining but sales of craft beer and speciality drinks are rising, consumers are seeking a new taste experience. Heaney Brewery, with its no compromise approach to premium standard craft beers is beginning a new chapter just in time to help the Northern Ireland hospitality industry capitalise on the growing demand for choice, flavour, quality and a unique story. The husband and wife team behind Heaney Brewery is Mal McCay and 20 â€˘ HRNI MAY
Suzanne (Heaney), niece of the late poet. Their inspiration for Heaney brewery came from a love of great beer and a desire to diversify the once productive family farm. In common with so many brewers who leave our shores and return home frustrated at the lack of choice in the Northern Ireland beer market, Mal decided that it was time to make the break from a career in retail and seek a new challenge in the brewing industry. The original plans to refit the old milking parlour at the former dairy farm and install a small pilot size kit quickly evolved into something much bigger, requiring substantial planning and investment. The strong story behind the brand and success of the beers produced during a test-themarket phase at a shared brewery premises in Belfast, helped to secure the necessary funding and a planning application was submitted in late 2017. Final planning permission was granted in June 2018 and the focus moved to building a bespoke facility, which would allow Mal and Suzanne to scale up production to meet the growing demand from discerning customers looking for interesting and well-made
Irish beers. The brewery building and installation of the custom-designed, 10-hectolitre brewhouse, powered by 100% renewable biogas, was completed in January 2019. To complement the significant investment in the brewery building and equipment, the design and branding agency, Thought Collective, was given the task of translating the unique and special story of Heaney Brewery into an accessible and professional premium craft brand. Using the distinctive shape of the brewery building as the template and filling the space with rustic, earthy colours allows the brand to retain its distinct rural character and farmhouse feel while also appearing smart, modern and relevant to consumers seeking a premium beer experience. RURAL THIRST QUENCHERS Presented in elegant 500ml bottles and also available in keg, the Farmhouse Favourites are beers which will appeal to the wider beer-drinking community and dedicated fans of craft alike. With many special and seasonal beers planned and canned beer coming soon, Heaney Brewery is sure to become the go-to craft beer brand for any bar, restaurant, hotel or off sales that is serious about good taste and quality. Our range of rural thirst quenchers are available now. For sales and more information, contact â€“ email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
PERONI NASTRO AZZURRO LAUNCHES PERONI LIBERA 0.0% A NEW ALCOHOL-FREE BEER
eroni Nastro Azzurro is pleased to announce the launch of its first alcohol-free beer Peroni Libera 0.0% into Ireland bars and retail, bringing the first super-premium alcohol-free beer to the market. Building on the trend for mindful alcohol consumption as part of a balanced lifestyle, the authentic taste of Peroni Libera 0.0% is now available to order across the country. Following the exclusive launch listing in Tesco in March, Peroni Libera 0.0% is now rolling out across the on and off trade. In the on-trade, Peroni Nastro Azzurro has driven value growth ahead of the category with an even stronger performance in the off trade. As it strives to offer more choice to consumers within the beer category, Peroni has proven a successful track record of successful innovations. In 2016, the portfolio expanded to include Peroni Nastro Azzurro Gluten-Free, which also continues to lead the market as the free-from favourite. Now entering the ever-growing no- and low-alcohol beer category, Peroni Libera 0.0% is set to generate additional value by bringing style to the world of alcohol-free beer without compromise on the taste. With the sub-sector expected to see further growth, a recent study showed that nearly 30% of 16-24 year olds do not drink at all, whilst 45% of 25-34 year olds are more regularly opting for no- or low-alcohol drinks than a few years ago. Peroni Nastro Azzurro recognise that, whilst many will opt for abstinence from alcohol as they partake in Dry January, there is a wider trend, year-round, for light to moderate drinking as part of a balanced lifestyle. Peroni Libera, meaning ‘free’ in Italian, empowers loyal Peroni Nastro Azzurro consumers and beyond, to live a life fulfilled, with the freedom and choice within their busy lifestyles, to opt for a 0%. Using years of expertise and skill, Peroni Libera 0.0% has been brewed with specifically-cultivated ingredients and the extraordinary Peroni craftsmanship, passion and flair. A ‘special decoction’ process has been used as well as a customised fermentation process allowing the liquid to attain a fast-ending
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0.0% alcohol beer. Peroni Libera 0.0% is triple hopped and has been brewed with the same signature Nostrano dell’Isola Maize that makes Peroni Nastro Azzurro so unique. A dedicated yeast strain has also been used to produce rich and intense citrusy aromas and hoppy notes, which are then followed by delicate fruity aromas, offering a similar crisp and fresh taste experience as Peroni Nastro Azzurro. Simone Caporale, Peroni Nastro Azzurro’s world-renowned resident Master of Mixology said, ’We’ve seen a change in consumers’ drinking habits in the industry; with the rise of mindfulness and wellbeing, people are more regularly considering low- and noalcohol drinks alternatives and currently there isn’t a premium, great tasting beer out there for them to enjoy. Peroni Libera 0.0% is the perfect alcohol-free beer option for the lower-tempo occasions - a mid-week night out with friends, or during those working lunch occasions. Peroni Libera 0.0% delivers a crisp taste, a fine bitterness and a fast and clean finish, with a well-defined taste of beer, meaning those looking for an alternative to alcohol no longer have to compromise on quality or taste. Salute!”
“WE’VE SEEN A CHANGE IN CONSUMERS’ DRINKING HABITS IN THE INDUSTRY; WITH THE RISE OF MINDFULNESS AND WELLBEING, PEOPLE ARE MORE REGULARLY CONSIDERING LOWAND NO-ALCOHOL DRINKS ALTERNATIVES AND CURRENTLY THERE ISN’T A PREMIUM, GREAT TASTING BEER OUT THERE FOR THEM TO ENJOY. PERONI LIBERA 0.0% IS THE PERFECT ALCOHOLFREE BEER OPTION FOR THE LOWER-TEMPO OCCASIONS - A MID-WEEK NIGHT OUT WITH FRIENDS, OR DURING THOSE WORKING LUNCH OCCASIONS.” SIMONE CAPORALE, PERONI NASTRO AZZURRO’S WORLD-RENOWNED RESIDENT MASTER OF MIXOLOGY
MARTINI SHAKES UP VERMOUTH CATEGORY WITH MARTINI FIERO, THE NEW DRINK FOR SUMMER FACTS THE BRAND’S LATEST INNOVATION MODERNISES VERMOUTH FOR A NEW GENERATION WITH MARTINI FIERO & TONIC
acardi-owned MARTINI has announced the UK launch of MARTINI Fiero, a bold new entry to the summer drinks market designed to attract a younger adult audience. With a significant investment of £2m behind the brand in its first year alone, MARTINI Fiero represents the biggest new product launch MARTINI has undertaken in recent years. As the trend for bold flavoured, brightly-coloured drinks continues to thrive, MARTINI Fiero distinguishes itself by delivering 100% natural flavour and colour through a blend of white wines and carefully sourced botanicals including Murcia orange peel and botanicals Artemisia absinthium and Artemisia pontica. The new drink’s zesty, bitter-sweet orange flavour has been crafted to pair specifically with tonic water. The simple 50/50 serve answers the growing consumer appetite for longer, more refreshing
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About MARTINI Fiero
ways to enjoy vermouth as part of the aperitivo occasion – an Italian way of life that is steadily establishing a home away from home in the UK. Ivano Tonutti, MARTINI Mater Herbalist, commented: “Creating MARTINI Fiero was an exercise in balance. From a botanical point of view, it was essential to harmonise the vibrant citrus notes of the Murcia orange peel with the bitterness and herbal aromatics of the Artemisia alongside the many other botanicals, which in turn had to sit happily alongside the quinine in tonic.” Beppe Musso, MARTINI Master Blender, added: “We also worked hard to ensure the intense flavours of our white wine and citrus core would come through when the tonic is added. We are proud of the result – a modern vermouth with a distinctive bittersweet orange flavour that comes to life when paired with tonic. MARTINI Fiero is the ideal drink for the modern aperitivo.” MARTINI Fiero & Tonic is a refreshingly simple serve, combining 50% MARTINI Fiero and 50% tonic over a generous serving of ice in a balloon glass with an orange garnish. It is made to enjoy with friends as a delicious aperitivo drink, bringing a taste of sunny Italy to the UK with its bright red colour and summery citrus notes. ‘Fiero’ means ‘proud’, ‘intense’ and ‘bold’ in Italian, reflecting MARTINI’s heritage and history as well as the flavourful, innovative character of the vermouth itself. The brand will continue to embody ‘Fiero’ values as it pursues its strong launch strategy. MARTINI Fiero is available at all good NI wholesalers. For more information, contact your local Bacardi BrownForman representative.
MARTINI Fiero (14.9% ABV) is made with a blend of white wines and carefully-sourced botanicals including sweet Spanish oranges grown in Murcia, which are hand peeled and dried under the sun in a traditional and time-consuming method to protect the essential oils in the peel. While the orange peel provides the vermouth’s vibrant citrus notes, botanicals Artemisia absinthium and Artemisia pontica – which are both harvested in the village of Pancallieri in Turin – contribute the signature bitterness and herbal aromatics that are the distinguishing characteristic of Italian aperitivo drinks. The result is the distinctive bittersweet orange flavour of MARTINI Fiero.
One of the most iconic brands in the world, MARTINI is the leading name in Italian winemaking and a purveyor of the highest quality aromatised and sparkling wines. The award-winning, vibrant and bittersweet taste of the MARTINI range is the result of secret blends of more than 40 botanicals sourced from the finest locations across the globe. The MARTINI portfolio includes: MARTINI Fiero, MARTINI Riserva Speciale Rubino, MARTINI Riserva Speciale Ambrato, MARTINI Riserva Speciale Bitter, MARTINI Bianco, MARTINI Rosato, MARTINI Rosso, MARTINI Extra Dry, MARTINI Asti, MARTINI Prosecco and MARTINI Rosé Extra Dry. Created in 1863 in Turin, Italy, the MARTINI brand is part of the portfolio of Bacardi Limited, headquartered in Hamilton, Bermuda, and continues to be the market leader of the category. Bacardi Limited refers to the Bacardi group of companies, including Bacardi International Limited. ENJOY MARTINI RESPONSIBLY. MARTINI AND THE BALL AND BAR LOGO ARE TRADEMARKS. FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE VISIT www.martini.com
PUTTING THE CART BEFORE THE HORSE SELLING BEFORE THE PRODUCT IS READY FOR MARKET IS A RISKY STRATEGY BUT ONE PAYING DIVIDENDS FOR BOTH DRUMSHANBO GUNPOWDER IRISH GIN & THE WILD ATLANTIC WAY. BY ALYSON MAGEE From left, Miriam Kennedy, head of the Wild Atlantic Way, Failte Ireland; PJ Rigney, founder of The Shed Distillery; and Brian O’Driscoll, Irish rugby national.
hat do an oriental botanical gin and 2,500km of coastal road have in common? In the case of Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin and the Wild Atlantic Way, both were brought to market before the product was ready but the gamble paid off and created two world-class brands. Offering their inspirational stories at a recent Leadership & Excellence in Irish Business event in the Sligo Park Hotel were PJ Rigney, founder of The Shed Distillery/Drumshanbo Gunpowder Irish Gin and Miriam Kennedy, head of the Wild Atlantic Way at Failte Ireland. Gunpowder Gin, taking its name from the Chinese tea used alongside oriental botanicals in its distillation, is undoubtedly one of the success stories of an increasingly crowded gin market. Its distinctive blue apothecary-style bottle ensures back bar-standout, while it has 26 • HRNI MAY
even transcended its category appeal by appearing in a range of Butlers chocolate products. The brand, which is produced at The Shed Distillery in Drumshanbo, can today be found everywhere from Tesco and Whole Foods to Disney World and Sydney Airport. “We started off in 2014 with zero employees, no sales and no funding,” said Rigney, “but our aim was to create remarkable brands and compete with the best in the world. That was our starting point. “I put a remarkable team together, the best I could find on the production side and the brand creation side and the marketing side and then, to use something I call ‘extreme resourcefulness’, went about building the distillery and building our brands. You build, you make, you sell but you have to start with selling and work backwards.”
Experts were brought in to train 30 local staff members, a number of whom were long-term unemployed, says Rigney, while an on-going focus on innovation has extended to the launch of Sausage Tree Pure Irish Vodka, whiskey in production and a new visitor experience expected to add 10 further employees this year. “In the beginning, we were chased by what I would call the ankle biters who would try to copy us and now we’re chased by the gorillas, the big guys,” he said. “I’m somewhere in the middle.” A youthful team brings innovation and vitality to the mix. “I hire for character, courage, attitude and training and we build on that,” he said. “We work so hard to make sure the brand continues to sell. “I’m big into good karma and, with the people we work with, that it’s a good relationship and the feeling that there’s a good energy.”
thebiggerpicture Rigney also highlighted the importance of making the most of resources, and not becoming careless with money. “You can have too much sloshing around and make bad decisions so we’re very careful about how we go about the next wave of innovation and how we do it resourcefully,” he said. Further, “authenticity is really critical and every precious drop of our gin or whiskey, everything we do, is distilled at the distillery.” Having The Shed Distillery open to the public allows people to connect to the brand, and see the real people making it in a real community. “I’m not afraid of competition but I’m very aware that we have to work hard every day to keep it there,” said Rigney. WILD ATLANTIC WAY Kennedy from Failte Ireland, meanwhile, offered a similar story to guests at The Green Suite event, outlining how the Wild Atlantic Way was sold as a destination at its biggest event for overseas operators before as much as a sign had gone up. Conceived as a lifeline and “economic engine for the west coast” which was suffering as a result of the recession and failing to attract longer-stay tourists, it was officially launched in 2014. “We knew whatever we came up with had to be a real positive disruptor because the marketplace is so crowded,” said Kennedy and a draft concept of the Wild Atlantic Drive was discarded as insufficiently catchy and potentially deterring walkers and cyclists. The scale of the Wild Atlantic Way, stretching from Malin Head in Co Donegal to Kinsale in Co Cork, offered an immediate point of difference from other famous coastal routes around the world. Kennedy rebuffed the popular opinion that the Wild Atlantic Way just popped up overnight, stressing the planning behind creating the route, and liaising with local authorities to mark out its 960 junctions and 4,000 road signs. And central to its success was community support. “There are 188 discovery points on the Wild Atlantic Way and a story on each of them,” she said. “Every single one of those stories came from a community. Before we knew it, it had just taken off domestically and everyone was just talking about it.” By 2018, the Wild Atlantic Way had attracted 3.8 million international visitors, 1 million more than 2013 before the initiative started, supporting 83,000 jobs. “We work really closely with all the industry and it’s been amazing how much they’ve come on board with it,” www.hospitalityreviewni.com
PJ Rigney and Miriam Kennedy in conversation at The Green Suite.
said Kennedy. “I think what it gave to them was confidence at a time when there really was nothing and they needed to see investment.” Failte Ireland has a further €1m earmarked for investment in the Wild Atlantic Way over the next few years. SLIGO PARK HOTEL Both Rigney and Kennedy were speaking at The Green Suite, a special event featuring Irish rugby national Brian O’Driscoll as guest speaker with Eileen Magnier as compere. Shed Distillery and the Wild Atlantic Way were showcased at the event as
world-class brands with local links to host of the evening, the four-star Sligo Park Hotel, which was also unveiling a recent €4m investment in its redesign and refurbishment by owner Lee Hotels. Set to mark its 50th anniversary next year, the Sligo Park Hotel is a sister hotel of the Mespil Hotel in Dublin, and has over 100 employees. Located on the edge of Sligo Town, it features a contemporary style across 136 bedrooms, including 46 Superior bedrooms and the Innisfree Suite in the private Lough Gill Wing. Its Hazelwood restaurant has an AA Rosette award, with other facilities including Jack B’s Bar, Hazelwood and Mespil conference suites, a Health & Leisure Club and the Sligo Park Suite, in which The Green Suite event was held. “The theme of The Green Suite is leadership and excellence,” said Gerard Moore, general manager of Sligo Park Hotel. “These same principles were applied when we undertook a significant investment in the hotel over the last couple of years to strongly position the Sligo Park Hotel to take full advantage of the increased interest in visiting Sligo for business and leisure. “The increased interest in Sligo is due in part to the highly successful marketing of the Wild Atlantic Way as well as significant recent job announcements for the region, and new infrastructure investment to the N4 and the western distributor roads. “Having successfully pulled through the recent recession, the Sligo Park Hotel recognised the changing needs and expectations of our customers and we believe our investment has delivered a contemporary hotel rooted in excellence and quality. The modern dynamic Sligo Park is the perfect venue for business, corporate and leisure guests.” MAY HRNI • 27
GIN & ON-TRADE DRINKING DRIVE WHITE SPIRITS CATEGORY
rish consumers taking domestic trips or holidays are most likely to drink vodka and gin, says James Wilson, research analyst for Mintel, and they are most likely to drink the spirits in a pub or bar. Further, growing numbers of domestic and overseas visitors to the island of Ireland are increasing, providing significant growth opportunities for vodka and gin brands in the on-trade, according to the Mintel report, Vodka and Gin - Ireland - February 2018. Sales of vodka and gin are expected to increase by 3.1% on an all-Ireland basis between 2017 and 2018, from €401.8m in 2017 to €414.1m in 2018. Growth of vodka and gin sales will be strongest in RoI at 3.3% between 2017 and 2018 compared to 2.6% in NI, says Mintel, with NI accounting for 35%
(€144.8m) of total all-Ireland vodka and gin sales in 2018. Increased demand for more premium and craft vodkas and gins, strong promotion and greater availability of these products across retail channels in both the on- and off-trade are driving growth in vodka and gin sales across the island of Ireland. Mintel forecasts 5% growth in the total market between 2019 and 2023, including a 3.8% increase in NI sales of gin and vodka to €154.6m. The Irish Spirits Association (RoI – October 2017) noted that gin is the fastest-growing category among consumers in RoI at 31.6% between 2015 and 2016, while in the UK (including NI) there was an 8-percentage point increase in gin usage during the same period according to the UK
Wine and Spirit Trade Association. This reflects consumers’ heightened interest and increased usage of gin, following the craft producers’ move into the gin category, says Mintel. In terms of innovation, despite vodka being the largest segment of the white spirits category, the gin category dominated NPD launches in the UK and Ireland in 2017, accounting for two thirds of new vodka and gin products launched during the year.
DIAGEO INTRODUCES SMIRNOFF INFUSIONS S
mirnoff has just created the next go-to summer drink. Say hello to new Smirnoff Infusions, a spirit made with real fruit and blended with Smirnoff No.21 Vodka. Oranges, grapefruits, raspberries and rhubarb are infused and distilled individually to allow the natural and delicious fruit flavours to be extracted. The resulting spirit drink is crafted at 23% ABV to ensure a perfect balance of natural flavours with good spirit cut-through at 84 Calories KCAL per 50ml serve. Smirnoff maker Diageo plans to back the brand with a comprehensive £420,000 advertising campaign in Ireland across TV, out of home, digital and social media. Smirnoff Infusions Spirit Drink comes in two different flavours - Orange, Grapefruit & Bitters and Raspberry, Rhubarb & Vanilla - now available to order through a number of retailers and wholesalers. Smirnoff Infusions is made to be served in a large wine glass over plenty of ice, simply mixed with soda, and perfect for those long summer evenings with friends.
28 • HRNI MAY
INNOVATION, CHOICE AND SHOWCASING LOCAL INGREDIENTS IS DRIVING SALES OF GIN - DR ULRICH DYER OUR LOVE AFFAIR WITH GIN CONTINUES TO FLOURISH WITH A PREDICTED £3BN GIN EMPIRE IN THE UK BY THE END OF 2020. DR ULRICH DYER, FOUNDER OF THE WOODLAB DISTILLERY, EXAMINES HOW INNOVATION, CHOICE AND BUYING LOCAL IS KEEPING OUR GLASSES WELL AND TRULY TOPPED UP. ELEANOR McGILLIE REPORTS
ccording to a Wine and Spirit Trade Association report British consumers purchased more than 60 million bottles of gin in the 12 months leading up to June 2018. The Association has also revealed that £2.1bn worth of gin was sold in the UK in 2018. The figures are staggering and our love for gin is definitely not waning. On the other hand, sales of Prosecco and other sparkling wines have reportedly dropped by three million bottles as consumers are turning to artisan gins as their drink of choice. And, according to HM Revenue & Customs, tax revenues from sales of spirits have overtaken those from beer for the first time amid record sales of gin with British drinkers downing 12% more gin last year. Dr Ulrich Dyer, a Harvard postdoctoral fellow and chemist from Yorkshire, is a distiller, strategist and scientist based in Benburb, Co Tyrone. He credits innovation, more choice and consumers choosing to buy local, for the success of the booming gin industry. Ulrich is the owner of The Woodlab Distillery where the Symphonia gin 30 • HRNI MAY
range is distilled. It’s a range which was launched in June 2018 and was recently recommended by the food and wine writer for The Guardian, Fiona Beckett, who highlighted Symphonia as one of the standout Irish gins. Symphonia No 1, a dry gin, is a beautiful harmony of flavours including basil, rose and dandelion flowers. Symphonia No 2 is an Armagh Bramley Apple Gin and is truly unique, while Symphonia No 3, the Fruit Cup, is
a summer fruit drink inspired by the raspberries and strawberries grown in his garden. Ulrich’s story is one of innovation and sense of place and it is this story which is attracting consumers. He spent 30 years working as a chemist in laboratories discovering treatments for asthma, HIV, influenza and cancer. But he always had a desire to break away and do something creative within the food and drink sector but was unsure as to how to become involved. Like many, he was watching with great interest, the rise of craft gin. He researched how he could get involved and make gin in a way which would combine his passion for the Irish countryside with his background and passion for science. “I spent months studying the industry,” said Ulrich. “I was reading stories, sampling gins, reading profiles on gin distillers and studying how they were making an impact in craft gin. One thing which stood out was how consumers are looking for more locally-produced gins - gins which represent the location where they are made and the passion they are made with. This very much mirrors the trend in craft beers which has
advertorial undergone a transformation away from the anonymous beers of the past. “I wanted to do something innovative. I started thinking about provenance, the locality and how I could produce gins in the most environmentally friendly way possible. I was looking around me, in my own garden and in the hedgerows, to see what I could use. “I wanted, where possible, to use ingredients grown in the area to give my spirits a real authenticity so I came up with the idea to use my scientific knowledge to analyse the flavour molecules in commonly-used gin botanicals and then identify suitable replacements which grow locally. “One example is in the recipe for Symphonia no 1. I wanted to find a replacement for cubeb pepper, a characteristic flavour you will find in gins, which is grown in Indonesia. I discovered that dandelion has the same flavour molecules so I replaced cubeb pepper with something we have growing in abundance in the hedgerows around where we live. “Another example of innovation is my approach to distillation. I use two distillation techniques to preserve flavours which are lost during traditional distillation. “The first technique, vacuum distillation, allows me to distil botanicals at room temperature which preserves the delicate molecules in basil and rose for example. How they are distilled can dramatically alter the flavour. For example, when it is distilled cold, ginger brings fresh citrus notes, but, when it is distilled hot, the heat transforms the taste into spicy, ginger biscuit elements. That is just one example and it was by distilling each of these botanicals separately, under optimum conditions, that I was able to tease out the desired flavours.” The second technique Ulrich uses is microwave extraction which is a highly efficient distillation process which was recently introduced in the perfumery industry. Ulrich adopted this to produce his gins, which, for him, seemed an obvious extension of the technique. He added: “To my knowledge, no other gin maker has adopted this technique yet. It utilises the fact that many botanicals have water molecules within their cell structure and the microwaves very efficiently heat up these water molecules exactly in the same way we use a domestic microwave and allows me to produce ultra concentrated distillates. “Using these techniques gives us a wider palette of flavours we can use in the spirits compared to those gins produced from traditional methods and we use significantly less energy to www.hospitalityreviewni.com
Dr Ulrich Dyer distils the Symphonia No 1, No 2 and No 3 range from The Woodlab Distillery in Co Tyrone 0015.
produce our gins.” The Woodlab Distillery is not your typical gin distillery. It’s not what you imagine, yet, when you are in there, you can feel the creativity, the ambition to succeed and there’s an air of invention. The Symphonia range was launched in June 2018 at World Gin Day at Junipalooza in London and Ulrich’s unique story captured the attention of the Gin Guild in London where he was invited last year to speak to an audience of all Master Distillers of gin. In March this year, he took the Symphonia range to London Borough Market as part of the Food NI Taste The Greatness of Northern Ireland initiative. He said: “The reaction to the Symphonia range in London was outstanding. We poured approximately 5,000 samples to gin enthusiasts who were keen to try something new and also were very interested in our story of innovation. We had a wall of people, Dr Ulrich Dyer picking dandelions at The Woodlab Distillery in Co Tyrone where he distils the Symphonia gin range.
four or five deep, waiting to taste the Dry Gin, our Apple Gin and our Fruit Cup. It was incredible and the feedback on all three was brilliant. “It’s really phenomenal to watch how the gin market is growing. Consumers now have more choice than ever before and there is a gin out there for everyone, even those who have never previously considered gin. They want something more interesting than just a simple glass of beer or wine. They want the more sophisticated experience which they will find in gin and cocktail bars. People now seek that cosmopolitan experience. “It is also truly remarkable how this age old spirit boosts job creation and the economy through the establishment of gin distilleries, gin bars, gin tours and gin experiences. It’s people like Ulrich who captivate the attention of the sophisticated gin drinker. “It’s not rocket science,” he says. “I simply extract the essence of the Irish countryside and bottle it. Admittedly it’s a different approach and the end result is some gins which people seem to love. It’s not just me. There are other people in the industry doing remarkable things and it is down to their creations which are shaping the route of the overall gin experience.” To buy Symphonia online, visit www. symphoniagin.com MAY HRNI • 31
NEW ENTREPRENEURS’ GROUP CLOVER LAUNCHES FIRST VENTURE F
our Belfast-based hospitality and leisure entrepreneurs have formed a new group with their first project, Margot, regenerating a vacant bar in Belfast City Centre and creating 25 new jobs. Mark Beirne and Paul Langsford, who have been behind the regeneration of many popular Belfast bars, have joined forces with hospitality and leisure entrepreneur Jim Conlon and Andrew Maxwell, former US bar chain owner and Board member of Boojum. The new group, Clover, will target a broad range of investments, beginning with Margot, an underground venue on the site of the former Basement bar in Donegal Square East.
From left, Andrew Maxwell, Jim Conlon, Paul Langsford and Mark Beirne, the Clover Group.
Designed by Belfast-based branding studio Sort, Margo is set to open midApril and will feature a raw industrial vibe together with elegant furniture and art deco-inspired fittings. It will serve up
small plates, flat breads and drinks every day of the week, with cocktails and DJ sets in the evenings. Beirne and Langsford originally combined forces to open Milk Bar on Tomb Street in 2000, and have since worked together on venues such as Filthy McNasty’s, Rita’s and Pug Uglys. Conlon has operated a range of businesses, including Fitzpatrick’s bar and restaurant and GymCo, and worked with Beirne to develop Henry’s and the Jailhouse in Joy’s Entry. Margot represents the first joint venture between Maxwell, who boasts trade experience in the US and in private equity with Boojum, and the other three partners.
BACHUS GROUP WOLF INNS COMPLETES PURCHASE ROLLING OUT OF BELLEVUE ARMS SISTER VENUE W TO THE POINTS
opular Belfast bar The Points is adding a sister venue, An Síbin and whiskey tasting room, to further enhance its Irish music and drinks offer. The new addition to the complex will complement the existing offering, now a hub for live quality traditional music seven nights a week, and The Points’ Irish Dancers. “An Síbín further develops our focus on preserving Belfast’s rich tradition of music, culture and hospitality,” said Michael Moreland, operations director, Bachus Group. “We are proud to once again be investing in the iconic Dublin Road. “The Points has been a great success over the past two and a half years, due to its approachable atmosphere and offering. An Síbín aims to continue along that same ethos; a warm Irish welcome for locals and tourists alike. Catherine McCrory, general manager, The Points and An Síbín, said: “The new space, including a whiskey tasting room, allows us to showcase the bar team’s knowledge of our native spirit, as well as allowing space for community events; establishing the venue as a cultural hub.” Bachus Group operates the Albany on the Lisburn Road, the Linen House complex, which includes The Perch Rooftop Bar, Rita’s, Sweet Afton and recent addition, Tutti Frutti, as well as existing sites on the Dublin Road including Filthy McNastys, Latin American speakeasy Liquor XXX, The Points and Cow Bay venues.
32 • HRNI MAY
olf Inns has purchased the Bellevue Arms in North Belfast for an undisclosed sum and announced plans to invest £250,000 in the refurbishment of its restaurant and beer garden. From left, Andrew Gedge, managing director of Wolf and Andy Tew, associate director, Corporate Established in 1937, Inns, Banking, Ulster Bank. the Bellevue Arms employs 48 staff across its restaurant and deli, two bars and beer garden, offering customers panoramic views of Belfast from its location at the top of the Antrim Road. The purchase brings the total number of pubs in the Wolf Inns portfolio to eight, including Hop House, Goats Toe, Betty Blacks, The Ava Winebar & Bistro and The Pit in Bangor; Romas in Newtownards; and Stokers Halt in Ballyhackamore. “The Bellevue Arms is one of the best-known pubs in Ulster,” said Andrew Gedge, managing director of Wolf Inns. “For generations, the Diamond family and its dedicated team have welcomed locals and tourists alike, with outstanding food, drink and entertainment with a welcome second to none. “We plan to build on the strong foundations already in place at the Bellevue Arms, and begin a refurbishment programme to further enhance the hospitality offering to the people of North Belfast and beyond. “Wolf Inns now employs 172 staff across a strong portfolio of premium bars and restaurants. “2019 will witness further growth for the group as we continue to invest in our team and acquire new premises to further advance our leasing strategy.” twitter.com: @Hosp_ReviewNI
NI TO HOST BT SPORT PUB CUP QUALIFIER FOR FIRST TIME
T Sport, in partnership with Hospitality Ulster, has announced that the BT Sport Pub Cup will return for its third year, with a regional qualifier in Northern Ireland for the first time. Following the success of last year’s competition, which was won by East London pub, The Gun, the 2019 BT Sport Pub Cup will be open to more teams than ever before, with over 190 places up for grabs across men’s and women’s tournaments. The free-to-enter competition, which aims to celebrate pubs and
their football teams, begins on May 8 with 12 regional qualifiers at stadiums across the UK, including the National Stadium at Windsor Park Belfast. The winning teams will then face off in the semi-finals at the stateJoel Neill, operations of-the-art City Academy, director, home of Manchester Hospitality Ulster. City with the final at Newcastle’s St. James’ Park on June 4. “This year the BT Sport Pub Cup is back and bigger than ever before, and yes we are coming to Northern Ireland
for the first time which we’re so excited about,” said Ed Cracknell, head of marketing at BT Sport, speaking during the Hospitality Ulster TradeTalk podcast. “The key thing for us this year is we’ve booked out Windsor Park for it, the national stadium, and it’s a chance for amateur teams to come and play there. We’re going to play there on Monday 13 May.” Joel Neill, operations director, Hospitality Ulster said: “We’re really excited to be working with BT Sport to bring the BT Sport Pub Cup to Northern Ireland for the first time. This is a brilliant opportunity to give local, amateur teams the chance to play at Northern Ireland’s national stadium.”
HOSPITALITY ULSTER SLAMS £49M MUSIC FEE HIKE AS DEVASTATING
new tariff for businesses hosting music events could be potentially devastating, Hospitality Ulster has warned. Phonographic Performance, a music licensing company and performance rights organisation, has decided to introduce a new tariff on the Specially Featured Entertainment (SFE) license from July 1. The new tariff will increase the cost of the SFE by 130% on average for music-playing hospitality venues. This could cost businesses across the UK up to £49m. The SFE tariff applies to any event where recorded music
is played at a nightclub, pub, bar, restaurant, café or hotel, played by a DJ and where there is dancing or provision for dancing at a venue. “The decision by the PPL to raise the cost of this licence is extremely disappointing,” said Colin Neill, chief executive, Hospitality Ulster. “Our members are already facing serious challenges in the form of rising costs and extra fees such as this have the potential to suck the atmosphere out of venues. Many small businesses are going to be caught up in this price hike. “PPL now needs to urgently rethink this decision for the benefit of our whole hospitality sector.”
BEER MATS PROMOTE ANTIDISCRIMINATION PLEDGE
atrons of bars and pubs across the Derry City & Strabane District Council area have been offered the chance to join a pledge to tackle discrimination, WE ALL BELONG. The pledge, which was launched in December 2018, and has been signed by public representatives and community groups across the council area, appeared on beermats distributed across pubs and bars from the St Patrick’s Day weekend. The beermat initiative was launched at the GuildHall Taphouse in Derry, with a number of other local bars owners lending their support including Sandinos and Blackbird. The pledge commits to tackling prejudice, racism, discrimination and all forms of hatred, and has already been signed by local politicians from all main www.hospitalityreviewni.com
A DOUBLE WIN FOR OCHO TAPAS AT THE TOP 100 Sean Brolly, co-owner of Ocho Tapas in Portrush, was the lucky winner of a car for a year courtesy of Donnelly Fleet and Towergate Insurance Brokers, at The Top 100 Hospitality Business in Northern Ireland Gala Ball on February 27. As one of the Top 100 for 2019, Ocho Tapas was selected from a draw for the car.
From left, Rachael Eastwood owner of The Guildhall Taphouse; Sarah Simpson, owner of Blackbird; Ann Harley, manager of Sandinos; Robin Young, Foyle Racial Equality Forum; and Mayor John Boyle.
parties, community groups, as well disability-rights groups, LGBT groups and the PSNI. The campaign is funded through the SEUPB PEACE IV initiative campaign.
MAY HRNI • 33
HOUSEKEEPING AWARDS CELEBRATE 10TH ANNIVERSARY HOUSEKEEPING TEAM OF THE YEAR 2019 HOTEL & GUEST HOUSES (UNDER 50 BEDROOMS) Tara Lodge - winner Shipquay Boutique Hotel - runner up HOTEL & GUEST HOUSES (50-99 BEDROOMS) Belmore Court & Motel - winner Da Vincis Hotel - runner up HOTEL & GUEST HOUSES (100-149 BEDROOMS) Ibis Belfast City Centre - winner Radisson Blu Belfast - runner up HOTELS & GUEST HOUSES (150 BEDROOMS AND OVER) Holiday Inn Belfast City - winner Jury’s Inn Belfast - runner up
inners of the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation’s Housekeeping Team of the Year were announced at a glamorous awards evening hosted by
the BBC’s Jo Scott in the Clayton Hotel Belfast on March 28. Marking the 10th anniversary of the competition, and to take account of the recent hotel expansion and influx of larger properties within the hospitality sector, there were four categories in this year’s competition. Four premises scoring 10 out of 10 for housekeeping were: Tara Lodge, which won the under-50 rooms category; Belmore Court & Motel, which scooped the 50-99 room category; Ibis Belfast City Centre which claimed the 100-149 room category; and Holiday Inn, Belfast, which won the over-150 rooms category. “2019 marks the 10th Housekeeping Team of the Year competition and the awards have come a long way since 2010 when we had under 20 entrants,” said Gavin Carroll, president of the NIHF. “One of the main reasons the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation created this competition was to recognise the important role housekeepers play and to highlight how housekeeping can be a defining factor in a successful
‘CHECK IN’ COMPLETE FOR HOTEL RECEPTIONIST OF THE YEAR 2019
eceptionists from across Northern Ireland have ‘checked in’ in record numbers for Hotel Receptionist of the Year 2019, with 88 entries received for the Northern Ireland Hotels Federationorganised competition in its 15th year. The competition has From left, back row, Matthew Casement, Slieve Donard Resort & Spa; and Aleksandra Bazan, three award categories: Radisson Blu Hotel, Belfast; front row, Craig Hotel Receptionist of the Ballentine, Holiday Inn Express Belfast City; Farouk Adeugboboh, Holiday Inn Express Belfast Year, Most Promising Hotel City; and Rebecca Steele, Grand Central Belfast. Receptionist of the Year (for those with under one year’s experience) and a team category, Hotel Reception of the Year. The winner of the team category is determined by a mystery shopping process, while individuals competing for the receptionist of the year titles have to participate in a series of challenges set by Life Adventure company. “The standard of entrants has been exceedingly high with many receptionists displaying exceptional people skills, a great understanding of their hotel property and a real passion for tourism,” said Janice Gault, chief executive, NIHF. Winners will be announced at a gala evening on May 2. 34 • HRNI MAY
Winners and the runner ups are pictured with sponsors, NIHF President Gavin Carroll and compere Jo Scott.
hotel. We were delighted to receive an exceptional number of entries this year. This reflects the realisation of the importance of housekeeping in the hotel industry. “The judges commented on the exceptionally high levels of professionalism, adding that standards seem to rise year on year. They also noted the real pride that the housekeepers take in their role and the passion that they have for the industry.”
EUROPA HOTEL COMPLETES £500,000 RENOVATION
astings’ Europa Hotel has completed a £500,000 renovation programme, transforming its Lobby Bar in the Europa Hotel while the Piano Restaurant has been fitted with From left, Taylor Kirk, bars new banquette manager; James McGinn, general manager; and Kyle Greer, seating for private executive head chef. dining and can now open to the Piano Lounge to serve Afternoon Tea for up to 120. The investment has also included modernisation of the Grand Ballroom, adding mirrored panelling. “It’s now the perfect space for people to enjoy a leisurely bite to eat, drinks on a Friday evening after work or a relaxing Saturday afternoon listening to the live jazz,” said James McGinn, general manager, Europa Hotel. “Our new Executive Head Chef Kyle Greer has created seasonal menus which for the first time in the Europa Hotel includes a sumptuous tapas offering in the evening.” twitter.com: @Hosp_ReviewNI
STORMONT HOTEL, BELFAST
maintain its highhe Stormont Hotel quality standards. has had a great “We are also year and I’m building upon the delighted to report growth of our events that our occupancy business and I’m and events business delighted to report is continuing to grow that in 2019, and steadily,” says Andy indeed the next two McNeill, general years, we have an manager. “Last year we Andy McNeill, Stormont Hotel GM increase in bookings completed a £1m renovation for weddings, corporate programme and, as part of this, events, tribute shows and the lounge was extended to twice Christmas events. the size with a new bar and coffee “We’ve also been attracting larger station, the capacity of the Grand conferences, gala dinners and Ballroom was increased from 340 business functions which we didn’t to 400, the restaurant received an in the past, so I think the Stormont extensive redevelopment and 20 is now being given the recognition bedrooms were upgraded.” it deserves as being one of Belfast’s And, following on from its recent leading hotels for all types of investment, the Stormont is currently events.” renovating another 30 bedrooms to
HOTEL OPENED: 1966 OWNERSHIP/REFURBISHMENT HISTORY: When the hotel was purchased by the late Sir William Hastings, it was originally a large period house and home to the McMaster family. The 10-bedroom home was quickly converted into a hotel, in order to secure a liquor licence and, at that time, it was the only place to get a drink in the area for several miles. The move proved hugely successful. After several major renovations and extensions, the hotel now boasts 105 luxurious bedrooms, private conference and banqueting suites and a choice of dining options. EMPLOYEES: 53 full & part time and 67 casual ROOM NUMBERS: 106 STAR RATING: 4 STYLE: Overlooking the beautiful grounds of Stormont Estate, the hotel has an excellent reputation for professionalism and exceptional hospitality. The hotel boasts superb facilities ensuring that guests enjoy the ultimate in comfort and style. It is tastefully decorated and furnished to the highest standards. MARKET POSITIONING: Mid-market GUEST PROFILE: The Stormont Hotel is the perfect base for business and leisure guests and attracts visitors from around the world. USPs: The hotel boasts a contemporary restaurant, bustling cocktail lounge and offers a versatile choice of event space that can cater for everything from small meetings to large conferences and gala dinners. FOOD & BEVERAGE La Scala: Bistro A La Carte menu Assembly Chamber: Breakfast and private dining Cocktail Lounge: Light lunches, afternoon tea and a range of beverages Sunday Buffet Lunch in the Grand Ballroom 15 function rooms with Grand Ballroom hosting up to 400 people All food in the hotel is locally sourced where possible, and chefs create a wide array of dishes using the finest seasonal produce.
GLOBAL PMS LEADER GUESTLINE CEMENTS COMMITTED NORTHERN IRELAND PRESENCE WITH DEDICATED EXPERT TEAM AND PROVEN ROI It’s been 18 months since Guestline entered the Irish market and they are now delivering the brand’s marketleading Rezlynx PMS (property management system) to over 80 properties across the country - that’s 5,920 rooms and 190,743 online bookings generated. Lead by Country “OUR OLD SYSTEM WAS EXTREMELY SLOW AND WAS HOLDING US BACK WITH LIMITED FUNCTIONALITY - WE NEEDED A MORE COMPLEX, QUICKER SYSTEM THAT WOULD SAVE US TIME AND MONEY AND ENABLE US TO OPERATE MORE EFFICIENTLY ACROSS OUR THREE SITES. GUESTLINE’S SYSTEM FULFILLED ALL OUR REQUIREMENTS. CLIO AND THE DEDICATED SUPPORT AND TRAINING TEAM FROM GUESTLINE DID A BRILLIANT JOB IN PREPARING US FOR THE NEW SYSTEM AND IMPLEMENTED EXACTLY WHAT WE REQUIRED TO IMPROVE BUSINESS PROCESSES AND ENHANCE THE GUEST JOURNEY. WE ARE NOW SAVING HOURS PER DAY AND CAN ANALYSE AND FORECAST FIGURES FAR MORE EFFECTIVELY WITH THE RANGE OF REPORTS AVAILABLE TO US.”
uestline, the global leader in hotel cloud property management systems, distribution and digital marketing technologies, has officially entered Northern Ireland, rolling out the brand’s products and services and educating hoteliers on recognising the benefits
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CHRIS KEARNEY, GROUP FINANCIAL DIRECTOR, LOUGHVIEW LEISURE GROUP
of cloud PMS technology. In a bid to grow the brand’s position as industry leader, 2019 sees the appointment of a dedicated management team to Northern Ireland, plus a host of new client wins, cementing the brand’s committed presence and domination of the Irish hospitality industry.
Manager, Clio O’Gara, Guestline is celebrating the implementation of their award-winning Rezlynx PMS to wellknown Northern Ireland properties including Loughview Leisure Group, Belfast’s Tara Lodge, Silverbirch Hotel and Marine Court Hotel in Bangor. By
“I WOULD 100% RECOMMEND USING GUESTLINE SOLUTIONS. THE REZLYNX PMS WAS A HUGE ADVANCEMENT IN TECHNOLOGY FOR US AND THEY ARE CONTINUALLY INTEGRATING EVEN MORE SOFTWARE INTO THE SYSTEM TO KEEP THE PMS UP TO DATE. I BELIEVE IT’S THE RIGHT CHOICE FOR ANYONE WHO WANTS TO STREAMLINE THEIR BUSINESS OPERATIONS AND ALLOW MORE TIME TO FOCUS ON PROVIDING QUALITY SERVICE. THE DECISION TO GO WITH GUESTLINE SOLUTIONS WAS AN EASY ONE, AS IT’S A FULLY INTEGRATED SYSTEM, IT HAS SAVED US FROM DEALING WITH MULTIPLE PROVIDERS. GUESTLINE WERE UNFAMILIAR TO US AT THE BEGINNING, WHICH WAS A LITTLE DAUNTING, BUT FROM OUR INITIAL MEETING WITH COUNTRY MANAGER CLIO, IT BECAME CLEAR THAT THEY WERE THE BEST COMPANY TO HELP MOVE US FORWARD IN TERMS OF BOTH CUSTOMER SERVICE AND REVENUE GROWTH.” SINÉAD TIERNEY, MANAGER, TARA LODGE.
introducing Guestline to their properties, these hoteliers are using technology to deliver a distinctive customer proposition that is special and relevant for today’s guests and allows them to stand out in an increasingly crowded marketplace. Guestline have a global reputation for offering award-winning solutions to hotels. As the preferred global PMS system, if you were to look behind the IT curtain at many leading hotels, you will see a technology stack integrated under a single software provider. That means a property management system, alongside a central reservation system, revenue management tools, a customer
relationship system, business intelligence, F&B, sales, marketing and point of sale (and other functionality) all integrated with the same system, a new kind of PMS called Guestline Rezlynx PMS. Guestline’s Rezlynx PMS is a best-of-breed for inhouse operations but is built on an open structure so that it can easily integrate with other best-of-breed third party software via Application Programming Interfaces, helping hoteliers to make viable future technology investments and thus enables Guestline to add value to the system’s primary offerings. A huge win for hoteliers, with software functionality that complements the
CONTACT US: www.hospitalityreviewni.com
property’s specific needs, is fully integrated and provides more value for money. As an increasing number of hoteliers now recognise the long-term benefits of introducing cloud-based technology and with demand on the rise, Clio and her team will be the driving force behind meeting this growing demand for a recognised, best-in-breed, technology solution. Clio says: “In light of the uncertainty around Brexit and a hard dip in sentiment within the industry, Guestline are performing well above projected expectations since our entry into Northern Ireland and the investment in our team and new opportunities to support our clients has been extensive. With the success of our proven return on investment calculator, we are delighted with the overwhelming response from hoteliers who are rapidly adapting to our integrated systems and are already expressing a positive boost in operations, staff efficiencies, time-saving techniques and the overall guest experience. 2019 is set to be a big year for us as we grow our client base, take advantage of the rise in occupancy and room rates and work harder together with our partners to ensure we are bringing the best possible solutions to our clients.”
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LOCAL AMBASSADORS READY TO ROLL OUT RED CARPET WELCOME FOR THE OPEN T ourism NI recently recognised over 200 people in the Causeway Coast and Glens region as WorldHost Ambassadors for Golf at a ceremony held at the Marine Hotel in Ballycastle. The WorldHost training programme, facilitated by People 1st International, is aimed at the retail, tourism, accommodation and hospitality sectors. “With over 190,000 spectators and visitors from across the world expected to be in attendance at The 148th Open at Royal Portrush, it is crucial that we equip those working in the tourism and hospitality industry with the necessary skills and resources to create a warm and friendly welcome for our visitors,” said Carolyn Boyd, industry development manager, Tourism NI. “This programme has helped participants working on the frontline of tourism in the Causeway Coast
From left, Councillor Brenda Chivers, Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council; Roisin McKee, director, People 1st International; and Carolyn Boyd, Tourism NI.
and Glens region not only build existing skills as experts in their own tourism product but develop detailed knowledge of the area as a tourism destination.” Roisin McKee, director, People 1st International, said: “This training means that staff across the region have
the skills and knowledge necessary to deliver first-class customer service, and to go the extra mile for their customers. I have no doubt WorldHost will have a positive impact, giving the region the excellent reputation it deserves. Congratulations to all involved.” With Tourism NI forecasting an £80m economic benefit from The Open, the aim of the programme is to prepare participants from the Causeway Coast and Glens region and consider how to make their businesses more golf friendly. As part of the lead up to The 148th Open in July, Tourism NI is facilitating a number of events across Northern Ireland to help businesses in the tourism and hospitality industry prepare for the potential that such a large scale event can bring. To find out more and to register your interest, visit www.tourismni.com.
TOURISM AGENCIES SHARE INSIGHTS ON SELLING NORTHERN IRELAND TO VISITORS
From left, back row: Alison Metcalfe, Finola O’Mahony, Monica MacLaverty, Tourism Ireland with Naomi Waite, Tourism NI, and front row, Kristina Gauges, Tourism Ireland, Aine Kearney, Tourism NI and Severine Lecart, Tourism Ireland.
ourism NI has hosted a masterclass aimed at sharing valuable insights on the top markets for visitors to Northern Ireland. Part of Tourism NI’s Tourism Enterprise Development Programme, the Understanding Your Market masterclass brought Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland together to share the experiences and advice of their market managers from the Republic of Ireland, France, Germany and the United States with 150 local tourism
and hospitality providers. The markets contribute in excess of £200m in visitor spend to the Northern Ireland economy. As part of the event, Tourism NI has launched a series of new toolkits to help the tourism industry maximise opportunities for growth through selling to the Republic of Ireland market and using sales and marketing techniques. The toolkits can be downloaded from www.tourismni.com.
GREAT LIGHT AND TITANIC WALKWAY WELCOME OVER 170,000 VISITORS
GOLFERS TEE UP FOR WALLED CITY OF DERRY & STRABANE PRO AM
Professional and amateur golfers are teeing up for the Walled City of Derry & Strabane Pro Am Tournament, which will take place on August 24-25. One of the largest events in this year’s PGA calendar, the tournament hosts 52 teams and a total of 208 golfers. Sponsored by Bishop’s Gate Hotel and Frylite and supported by Derry City and Strabane District Council, the tournament has attracted Ireland’s top professionals, including Irish PGA Order of Merit Winner Simon Thornton and defending Champion Michael McGeady.
wo iconic experiences in Belfast’s Titanic Quarter – The Great Light and Titanic Walkway - have attracted more than 170,000 visitors in their first year, giving the city’s offering as a maritime heritage destination a major boost and opening up a previously unseen part of the waterfront. In March 2018, the 500-metre Titanic Walkway
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ARC resident Jennifer Rydqvist and pug Weenie.
on Victoria Wharf, which connects the Titanic Slipways to HMS Caroline and the Thompson Dock, opened allowing visitors to learn about the maritime and industrial heritage of the area; delivered by Titanic Quarter and open to the public 24 hours a day.
HEINEKEN OFFERS A BRIGHT WELCOME AT BELFAST INTERNATIONAL H
eineken is giving a bright and warm welcome to travellers arriving into Belfast International Airport. The brand, which is distributed by United Wines in Northern Ireland, has erected an 8m x 5m backlit sign, which is the largest bespoke advertising site in Northern Ireland. The Heineken portfolio, including Orchard Thieves Cider, is served in the Lagan Bar, Sip & From left, Nina Doyle, brand manager, and Saoirse Stone and Gate 22 at the airport. Pearse, marketing and sales executive, United Wines, and With such a diverse range of David Bownes, advertising director, Belfast International Airport. consumers passing through the doors every day, the extensive offering from Heineken will ensure all tastes are satisfied. “The illuminated signage is another step forward in the great working relationship we have with the Belfast International Airport,” said Nina Doyle, brand manager at United Wines. “Heineken is a globally recognised brand and the messaging on the current execution Born in Amsterdam, raised by the world is a great fit for those global jetsetters arriving home or visiting Northern Ireland for the first time. “We like to have fun with our brands and deliver a truly memorable experience to our consumers. As such there are lots of engaging brand activations and samplings planned within the airport in the coming months, so be sure to keep an eye out when boarding your next flight.”
NI BUSINESS TOURISM TAKES A BITE OUT OF THE BIG APPLE
usiness tourism operators from Northern Ireland were recently in New York meeting with key American business tourism buyers, through a programme of sales calls and networking events. The visit was coordinated by Tourism Ireland in New York, in conjunction with Tourism NI. The delegation attended this year’s SMU (Successful Meetings University) International, a three-day event attended by more than 100 top American MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and events) professionals, all on the lookout for exciting and unique business tourism destinations. Tourism Ireland also arranged a special Northern Ireland evening in The Dead Rabbit, the well-known bar owned by Belfast duo Seán Muldoon and Jack McGarry. “Business tourism is an important, high-yield sector and Tourism Ireland is undertaking a busy programme of promotions throughout 2019, highlighting our world-class venues and facilities, ease of access from North America and the unique experiences on offer in Northern Ireland,” said Alison Metcalfe, head of North America, Tourism Ireland. Business tourism is the most lucrative form of tourism, with visitors travelling to Northern Ireland for business purposes spending almost three times more than the average visitor. www.hospitalityreviewni.com
From left, Jonathan Campbell, Titanic Belfast; Joanne Taylor, Tourism NI; and Billy Condon, Tourism Ireland; and, back row, Paula Stephens, The Merchant Hotel; Catriona Lavery, Hastings Hotels; Cynthia Lavery, Hosts Global; Leigh Heggarty, Galgorm Resort and Spa; Caoimhe Rice, Moloney & Kelly; Melita Williams, Bespoke Belfast; and Paul McDonagh, Tourism Ireland.
NORTHERN IRELAND HIGHLIGHTED TO MILLIONS OF COMMUTERS AROUND GB
ourism Ireland recently kicked off a major new campaign in Great Britain, promoting Belfast and Londonderry as ‘must visit’ city break destinations. The campaign includes high impact outdoor ads in 287 locations across London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Edinburgh; all cities with direct flights to Belfast and Londonderry. The ads feature images of Belfast and the walled city of Derry and are highlighting ease of access to Northern Ireland. Tourism Ireland estimates that the ads will be seen by around 73% of all adults living in the six GB cities. The promotion also includes two short videos of Belfast and Londonderry, running on popular digital and social platforms. Short breaks to both cities will also be promoted on Tourism Ireland’s own social channels. The recent increase in bedroom capacity in both Belfast and Londonderry presents Tourism Ireland with a significant opportunity in GB this year. “As our nearest neighbour and Northern Ireland’s number one source of overseas visitors, GB remains a priority for Tourism Ireland,” said Julie Wakley, head of Britain, Tourism Ireland. “Our new Northern Ireland city breaks campaign is highlighting ease of access and the great things to see and do in Belfast and Londonderry, encouraging GB holidaymakers to come and visit over the coming months.” Tourism Ireland’s Northern Ireland city break campaign is being supported by other GB promotions in GB in partnership with airlines, ferry companies and online travel agents, including easyJet, Ryanair, Aer Lingus, British Airways, Loganair and Expedia. MAY HRNI • 39
BEANNCHOR INVESTS IN LISBURN CO-WORKING SPACE
eannchor is investing £350,000 in the launch of a new co-working office venture, Cubic CoWork offering 8,000 square feet of flexible, innovative, technologically-advanced workspace, at Lisburn Square. Further investment in other locations across Northern Ireland is also being explored, with the Lisburn Square initiative opening last month. Beannchor
Over 30 businesses recently gathered at Harbinson Mulholland’s NI Family Business Forum to hear a keynote presentation from Petra Wolsey (centre), group marketing director of the Beannchor Group about the highs and lows of running a family business, (pictured with Patrick Leonard and Darren McDowell from Harbinson Mulholland).
is also set to open a new hotel, The Haslem, at Lisburn Square later this year. Cubic will offer a mix of hot desks, dedicated desks and private offices at affordable prices for businesses of all sizes, without the requirement to commit to a long-term lease. The new venture will also provide fully-equipped meeting rooms and event space, which will be available to book by both members and non-members. “We pride ourselves on creating design-driven spaces for people to socialise, dine and stay, so the move into the flexible office market is a natural extension of our business,” said James Sinton, group finance director, Beannchor. “We want our members to experience a vibrant entrepreneurial community; we will use our experience in the hospitality industry to provide the same level of service and friendly atmosphere that they would at any of our venues. “Lisburn Square benefits from a
CLAIRE WOODS APPOINTED GARDENS MANAGER AT HILLSBOROUGH CASTLE
istoric Royal Palaces, the independent charity running Hillsborough Castle and Gardens, has appointed Claire Woods as its new gardens manager. Claire Woods Bringing a life-long passion for horticulture and over 30 years’ professional experience, Woods will lead a team of experts, caring for and growing in Hillsborough Castle’s historic gardens, covering 100 acres of ornamental grounds, woodland, meandering waterways and picturesque glens. Her role will include managing ongoing maintenance and new schemes in the Castle grounds, from implementing planting to coordinating all horticultural training onsite. She will also oversee continual work in re-presenting the Castle’s fouracre Walled Garden and the development of a Lost Garden. “It’s a fantastic time to join the team and, whilst we have almost completed a major project to transform large parts of the grounds, we have further ambitions to continually develop these areas across the seasons,” said Woods. “As an enthusiastic ‘plants’ person, I’m keen to explore how we develop the plant collection to create picturesque views and use locally grown and native plants in gardens and grounds to promote biodiversity and sustainability.” Hillsborough Castle and Gardens re-opened daily to the public on April 18, following a five-year, £20m investment and project transformation. Woods succeeds Stephen Martelli, following his 14 years at Hillsborough Castle and Gardens as gardens and estates manager. 40 • HRNI MAY
dedicated underground car park and this new space will allow our members to reduce their commutes and make the most efficient use of their time. With the opening of The Haslem later this year, and the other successful restaurants and cafes at Lisburn Square, we see the location becoming the heart of Lisburn City Centre.” To register interest in Cubic CoWork, visit CubicCoWork.co.uk or email info@ cubiccowork.co.uk.
McCUE NAMED AMONG IRELAND’S BEST MANAGED COMPANIES
arrickfergusbased McCue Crafted Fit has been named as one of Ireland’s Best Managed companies in the Deloitte Best Managed Companies Awards programme. From left, Gary Purdy, Diane Purdy, Alastair The company, Lyons, Rhonda Lyons and Les McCracken at the Awards. which demonstrated superior business performance for the seventh year in a row, achieved the prestigious platinum status at the gala awards dinner held recently in Dublin. “Being a member of Deloitte’s Best Managed programme has guided our company in various ways, helping us focus on our core vision, increase stakeholder value and strive for excellence in all aspects of the business,” said Les McCracken, managing director of McCue. “We’re looking forward to building on our current success, as part of the programme, in future years.” Meanwhile, McCue has also extended its support to Helping Hand, charity to the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children, raising £2,700 for the charity through a series of fundraising activities such as an odd sock day, count the sweets in the jar, a coffee morning, pub quiz, hamper raffle and Christmas jumper day. twitter.com: @Hosp_ReviewNI
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THE LAST WORD INDOOR CONCERT OR FESTIVAL: The Wedding Present in the Limelight LAST HOLIDAY: Stirling in the lovely heatwave last summer
FAVOURITE HOT DRINK: Hot chocolate FAVOURITE SOFT DRINK: Coke Zero BEER OR CIDER: Cider WHITE OR RED WINE: Prosecco WHISKEY OR BRANDY: Prosecco GIN OR VODKA: Prosecco COCKTAILS OR BUBBLY: Bubbly WHAT FOUR PEOPLE WOULD YOU INVITE TO A DINNER PARTY? Kate Bush, Morrissey, Tom Waits and David Bowie
PLAY DEAD NI
CREATIVE DIRECTOR HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THIS ROLE? 15 years DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY? I like to start the day with a bit of research, so I might Google a particular era, place or something gruesome like the effect of different poisons. I like to give my characters names before I can think about their motivation for killing the victim. I draw a spider diagram of how they are all connected and add to it as the day goes on. A trip to the charity shops or a look on eBay for costumes is my special treat. WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB? Primary school teacher.
FAVOURITE TV SHOW: I love murder mysteries like Father Brown and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries as I love the 1950s and 1920s fashions in them. I also love historical programmes which give me ideas for plots and characters. I always have a notebook beside me. 50 • HRNI MAY
FAVOURITE FILM: I love Holywood glamour, so anything from the 1940s and 1950s. I love Bette Davis; the feud between her and Joan Crawford was the inspiration for my Death of a Diva murder mystery. FAVOURITE ALBUM CURRENTLY LISTENING TO: The Cure Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me FAVOURITE BAND: The Smiths LAST BOOK READ: The Blue Tango by Eoin McNamee about the murder of Patricia Curran in Whiteabbey in 1953 FAVOURITE CELEBRITY: Lucy Worsley, the television historian
FAVOURITE FOOD: Chocolate FAVOURITE RESTAURANT: As a family, we love to go to our local cafe Sylvesters on the Antrim Road at the weekend for a lazy lunch. LAST HOTEL YOU STAYED AT: The Hilton in Glasgow with three of the other actors - we there as 1920s characters to animate a Great Gatsby Ball. LAST BAR/NIGHTCLUB YOU VISITED: McHughs - possibly the oldest bar in Belfast and has a cosy private room at the top which is perfect for murder mysteries. FAVOURITE PLACE IN THE WORLD: Italy for holidays and Mount Stewart for weekend family walks.
ONE ITEM YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT? Eyeliner! But the person I really rely on is my husband. He does all of the business side of things as I am quite disorganised. Anyone who has made a booking with us will be familiar with Nigel and know how good he is. WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE OF YOUR LIFE? My daughter. She is 13 and has been in a few murder mysteries. She is a talented actress and she loves writing too. WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL JOB? What I am doing - just more of it. I intend to extend my work, offering interactive history lessons to schools. FAVOURITE QUOTE? “Life is short, break the rules. Forgive quickly, kiss slowly. Love truly. Laugh uncontrollably. And never regret anything that makes you smile.” Mark Twain THE MOST IMPORTANT LIFE LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT? Nothing stays the same so just live in the moment and enjoy it. INSPIRATION IN YOUR LIFE? I take inspiration from everything friends, history, true stories, books and places I’ve visited.
Hospitality Review NI May 2019