The VOICE of Northern Ireland’s catering, licensing and tourism industry
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NEW BEER DAY NI CELEBRATION AIMS TO BOOST PUB TRADE ‘WE’RE BEER PEOPLE’: HRNI LOOKS AT THE CRAFT BEER CATEGORY PS24-30
KEEPING ‘ER COUNTRY: A LOOK AT UPCOMING FESTIVALS & EVENTS PS37-40
GLITTERING GALAS: A ROUNDUP OF THE LOCAL AWARDS SEASON PS50-54
#CHEERSTOBEER EVENT WILL ENCOURAGE CONSUMERS TO ENJOY A BEER IN LOCAL PUBS AND BARS ON JUNE 15
new campaign has been launched, aimed at supporting Northern Ireland’s pub trade and the beer category, by encouraging consumers to venture out and support local hospitality and tourism venues. Beer Day NI will be held for the first time on Thursday, June 15, mirroring a Beer Day Britain event introduced in 2015 by beer sommelier and author Jane Peyton with support from Britain’s Beer Alliance, Society of Independent Brewers, British Beer & Pub Association and the Campaign for Real Ale. June 15 marks the anniversary of signing the Magna Carta, in which beer is mentioned back in 1215. Hospitality Ulster has launched the event in Northern Ireland, with the aim of supporting the pub and beer industry, which is estimated to annually contribute £380m to the local economy, support over 16,000 jobs and pay £180m in wages. “Beer has been playing an important role in our culture and in our lives for centuries,” said Colin Neill, chief executive of Hospitality Ulster. “June 15 is a great chance for publicans and beer
lovers across Northern Ireland to raise a glass to (and of) their favourite tipple and indeed for beer lovers to try some of the new brews now available and even try matching beer with food. “The pub trade plays a key role in supporting Northern Ireland’s economy and its overall hospitality and tourism offering, so this is also a fantastic way to celebrate the great pubs that can be found in every city, town and village in Northern Ireland. “Beer day is a great way of promoting awareness of our beers and pubs and encouraging people to celebrate a rich part of our culture and heritage over a pint with friends and family.”
_ B E B O L D _ the thieved apple tastes best.
Orchard Thieves Hospitality Review Strap June 17 1
SUMMER HRNI • 3
editorialcomment THE TEAM & CONTACTS
NORTHERN IRELAND GETS CRAFTY
Editor: Alyson Magee Manager: Mark Glover Art Editor: Helen Wright Production Manager: Irene Fitzsimmons Subscriptions: 028 9078 3200 (Price £27.50 UK, £37.50 outside UK) Published by Independent News & Media Ltd: Hospitality Review NI, Independent News & Media, Belfast Telegraph House, 33 Clarendon Road, Clarendon Dock, Belfast BT1 3BG. Contact: Editorial: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel: 028 9026 4175 Sales: email@example.com. 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: Olga Patterson The Northern Ireland Hotels Federation: The McCune Building, 1 Shore Road, Belfast, BT15 3PJ. Tel: 028 9077 6635 Chief Executive: Janice Gault President: Ciaran O’Neill Design & Production by: Independent News & Media Ltd Printed by: W. & G. Baird Ltd. The opinions expressed in Hospitality Review are not necessarily those of Hospitality Ulster or the NIHF.
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Find us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/HospitalityReviewNI Look at our Website: www.hospitalityreviewni.com 4 • HRNI SUMMER
t’s great to be back at Hospitality Review, after four months in Indiana, and many thanks to Emma Deighan for putting out such a great magazine in my absence. My return also happily coincided with three of the best weeks of weather in many years, allowing all those new beer gardens to be put to good use and providing a boost to the trade. The big issue on everyone’s minds is of course the General Election and, by the time this edition comes out, the outcome will be known. Whatever happens, hopefully some progress will finally be made in relation to support for the hospitality and tourism industry; particularly the licensing law review. Even in Indiana, a conservative state at the heart of the US Bible Belt, people were baffled when I attempted
to describe our Easter trading restrictions. Brew pubs are also of course a vibrant sector in the US, and it would be great to see a loosening of licensing laws to allow our burgeoning craft beer industry to sell on-site, online and at fairs, markets and festivals around Northern Ireland. Craft beers are a focus of this bumper summer edition, which also looks at some of the upcoming events and festivals happening around Northern Ireland – another growth area – and the latest innovations across food and drink and the wider local hospitality and tourism scene. Enjoy…
WHITEWATER OPENS STATEOF-THE-ART BREWERY
hitewater Brewing Company has commenced production at a new state-of-the-art brewery, developed to increase capacity for export growth. The new 15,000-square-foot brewery is located at Castlewellan, in the foothills of the Mourne Mountain, and features a visitor centre. Owned by Master Brewer Bernard Sloan, it has the capacity to produce around 40,000 litres a month, with scope for further expansion. “As well as a huge investment in the new brewery to expand capacity, we have developed R&D projects that will also increase our overall competitiveness,” said Sloan. “We have other beers in the pipeline over the next few months. “Our strategic focus is on expanding our market share in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland and growing sales in Great Britain and further afield.
We now have substantially increased volume capacity and scope to add further fermenters and other equipment to produce up to two million litres a year. There’s also scope to expand the building for even greater growth. “I believe there are significant opportunities outside Northern Ireland for our expertise in beers with outstanding taste and provenance.” Sloan created the brewery at Kilkeel in 1996, while also operated the White Horse Coaching Inn and Flaming Crust Pizza restaurant in Saintfield; recently sold to publican Gavin Bates (see p42). Whitewater Brewing has a portfolio of award-winning ales, lagers and stouts, several of which have won international acclaim including International Brewing Challenge medals and UK Great Taste Awards for products such as its Belfast Brew (abv4.6%) and Germanic style Hoppelhammer (abv6%).
WHISKEY TOURISM COULD GENERATE AN ANNUAL £1.1BN
number of Northern Ireland-based whiskey distilleries have joined the Irish Whiskey Tourism Strategy, an ambitious all-Ireland plan to treble the number of visitors to Irish whiskey distilleries to 1.9 million by 2025. The strategy has been developed by the Irish Whiskey Association, is supported by Food NI and Tourism NI, and was launched at the Old Bushmills Distillery in Co Antrim last month. Increasing whiskey tourism visitors to 1.9 million could deliver £1.1bn annually to towns across the island, and create hundreds of jobs, according to the strategy.
“Irish whiskey distilleries are positioning themselves as key tourist attractions,” said Miriam Mooney, head of the Irish Whiskey Association. “Already, The Old Bushmills Distillery and Echlinville Distillery at Kircubbin in Co Down are succeeding in attracting more than 120,000 visitors every year. “We believe that when Rademon Estate Distillery in Crossgar, Co Down and The Quiet Man Distillery in Derry open their visitor centres, the number of whiskey tourists travelling to the region may exceed 200,000 visitors every year. Local distilleries will play an integral role in making Ireland the world’s number one whiskey tourism destination.”
THE NORTHERN WHIG AWARDED BEST NI BAR ACCOLADE
he Northern Whig, in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter, has been crowned the best pub in Northern Ireland at the National Pub and Bar Awards. The popular bar and restaurant, which underwent a major £300,000 refit in 2016, was the regional winner for Co Antrim and went on to take the esteemed title at the National Pub and Bar Awards ceremony, held at the iconic BAFTA Theatre in London last month. The Northern Whig, part of the Horatio Group, was joined by its sister property at the event – Denvir’s Coaching Inn in Downpatrick, which was named as Best Pub in Co Down. “We are absolutely thrilled that the Northern Whig Pictured are, from left, Mel Frazer-Reid, has been named Best Pub in NI, especially after Startle; Stephen Magorrian, managing director of The Horatio Group; Gerard our major investment in the venue just over a year Keaney, manager of The Northern ago, when we closed the Whig for over a month, to Whig; and Tristan O’Hana, editor of Pub & Bar. completely transform the look, feel and offering of premises,” said Stephen Magorrian, managing director of the Horatio Group. “This award is a huge credit to our dedicated team of 40 at the Northern Whig, headed up by Manager Gerard Keaney.” The Horatio Group also owns Horatio Todd’s in Ballyhackamore and Molly Browns in Newtownards. www.hospitalityreviewni.com
JAWBOX GIN LIFTS BUSINESS AWARD Jawbox Gin has been named Best New Business in the annual Belfast Business Awards. The gin was the only food and drink producer named among the 18 awards made by business leaders in Belfast. Organised and hosted by Belfast Chamber of Trade & Commerce with principal sponsor, Bank of Ireland UK, the annual, highly-coveted ceremony has become synonymous with recognising, promoting and rewarding the excellence of Belfastbased companies. Over 60 of Belfast’s top businesses made the shortlist spanning 18 categories.
SUCCESS FOR NI BEER AND CIDER Local beer and ciders were successful at recent all-Ireland awards held in Co Kildare. Organised by industry organisation Beoir, the Champion Beer of Ireland Competition took place at the Killarney Beer Festival. Hillstown Brewery received gold for its quirky Goat’s Butt brew in the German Wheat Beer category, while Tempted won Champion Cider for its dry cider, and three other awards with the dry cider coming best in category, Tempted Elderflower awarded best fruited cider and Tempted Sweet second in the non-dry category. Mac Ivor’s Cider came third in dry ciders, was highly commended for its medium cider, and second in fruited ciders for its plum and ginger cider.
BELFAST CITY AIRPORT SOLD IN £700M DEAL The sale of Belfast City Airport to an international investment fund, as part of a £700m deal, has been completed. 3i now owns the airport along with East Surrey Pipelines and a number of other assets which had been owned by fund EISER. It’s understood the deal, which has been in the works for around 18 months, completed on June 1.
SUMMER HRNI • 5
ROE PARK COMPLETES £1M GOLF INVESTMENT Pictured are, from left, Terry Kelly, golf & spa manager, with Golf Captain Arnold Simpson and Lady Golf Captain Christine Wilson.
he four-star Roe Park Resort in Limavady has completed a major investment programme in its golf course totalling £1m ahead of the Irish Open, which takes place at the North Coast in July. The investment programme has seen major redevelopment of the Roe Park Resort golf course and facilities which was completed with the opening of the sixth hole this month at a cost of £100,000. According to the resort’s Golf & Spa Manager Terry Kelly, the investment in redesigning and remodelling the
18-hole parkland course brings it up to world-class standards. The Roe Park Resort golf course was recognised at the 2017 Irish Hotel Awards as Golf Hotel of the Year, and picked up the Best Golf Resort in Ulster accolade at the 2017 Golfers’ Guide to Ireland Awards, for a second time. Over the past few years, the golf offering at the Roe Park Resort has developed not only on the golf course, but also with state-of-the-art indoor and outdoor teaching facilities for both professionals and beginner golfers.
MAPPING BELFAST’S COFFEE CULTURE
Pictured are, from left, map illustrator David McMillan; Belfast Coffee Map founder Gareth Patterson; and Mel Caroll, director of map designers UsFolk.
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new pocket map showcasing the wealth of speciality coffee establishments in Belfast was launched recently at the Naughton Gallery at Queen’s University, Belfast. Belfast Coffee Map, which features 17
speciality coffee establishments across the city, will act as a guide for visitors and locals in search of Belfast’s best coffee. The map was created and launched by Belfast man Gareth Patterson who, when travelling, encountered similar publications in a number of European cities. “Like any coffee enthusiast, one of the first things I do when visiting any city is seek out the best spots for a high-quality coffee,” said Patterson. “So many cities around the world celebrate their thriving coffee culture through a bespoke coffee map, directing both tourists and locals to the best coffee establishments on offer.” Belfast Coffee Map will be sold in all 17 featured establishments, as well as Visit Belfast and a number of independent retailers across the city.
GRAHAM BURNS, EXECUTIVE HEAD CHEF AT THE CROWNE PLAZA BELFAST, DISCUSSES HIS CULINARY CV, INSPIRATIONS AND ASPIRATIONS WITH HOSPITALITY REVIEW NI
WHEN DID YOU FIRST GET INTO COOKING, AND WHAT INSPIRED YOU? Basically my mother’s cooking; licking the spoon from the pavlova mix and watching her. And then, back in high school, we had home economics class before lunch so I thought it was a good idea to get a free lunch out of it. Also, there were only three boys in the class so we were surrounded by the girls and you couldn’t go wrong with that… HAVE YOU ANY CULINARY QUALIFICATIONS? I went to Newry Catering College with two others from high school in Banbridge, and we were the only ones to finish our course three months early. I have also just finished level four in food hygiene and management. WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND IN THE TRADE? After catering college, I went to work at Kilkea Castle in Co Kildare and it was
quite an experience, leaving home at 17 and getting paid 60 punts a week to work 60-70 hours. It was hard work and I learnt a lot. I was entered into the Salon Culinaire competition at a young age, picked up a few gold and silver medals and was picked to compete in Germany. From there, I went to the Burrendale Hotel in Newcastle for three years, moving my way up to sous chef. After that, I was in Australia working at The Rocks in Sydney as head chef of a group of three restaurants serving 3,000 people at lunch and dinner. That was very different from anything I’d done before and, with the diversity of food available, it gave me a new mindset. Four years later, I decided to come home and use those skills here, and went back to the Burrendale as head chef before moving on to Rooney’s restaurant in Newcastle. HAS ANYONE INSPIRED YOU THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER? At the Burrendale, chefs Denis Orr and Alan Foster were great mentors, as was the late Kem Akkari, who was general manager at the Burrendale. He was strict in his ways but a gentleman at the same time.
Then I decided to move to the big smoke, started as sous chef at the Ramada Plaza Belfast and, within a year - 11 years ago now - I became executive head chef of one of the busiest wedding, conferencing and banquet facilities in Belfast. HAS MUCH CHANGED WITH THE RAMADA BECOMING A CROWNE PLAZA? It has meant another step up in service and what the customer demands, and more fine foods to conform with their worldwide standards. WHAT SIZE IS YOUR STAFF? We have 24 chefs and eight kitchen porters while, at Christmas, that would rise to 40 chefs and 20 porters. HAVE YOU ANY INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF WORK? I’m inspired by travelling and different cultures and, any spare time I have, I love spending with my wife Claire and daughters Ella and Sophie.
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SUMMER HRNI • 7
BALMORAL SHOW A RESOUNDING SUCCESS FOR FOOD NI BY MICHELE SHIRLOW, CHIEF EXECUTIVE, FOOD NI
GEORGINA CAMPBELL AWARDS SUCCESS Four local businesses have been recognised in the Georgina Campbell Irish Breakfast Awards 2017, held in association with Fáilte Ireland. Local winners included the Culloden Estate & Spa, Cultra (5* Hotel, Highly Commended); Galgorm Resort & Spa, Ballymena (4* Hotel, Highly Commended); Newforge House, Magheralin (Guesthouse, Winner); and NATIVE by Yellow Door at The MAC, Belfast (Visitor Attraction, Highly Commended). An Irish Breakfast Food Award in the Dairy category went to Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt, Bangor.
FIRST IN FORAGING FOR NI
he Food NI Food and Drink Pavilion at the RUAS Balmoral Show proved another outstanding success last month. Over 100 food and drink companies, including many craft enterprises, had an opportunity to sample their products to thousands of visitors. It was certainly the biggest ever and probably the busiest showcase of local food and drink. We were delighted to be supported once again by many of our leading chefs, who grasped the opportunity to demonstrate how best to use the quality ingredients from local suppliers to create wonderfully tasty dishes. We were joined this year by Jean-Christophe Novelli, the international chef and restaurateur, who will be opening a restaurant in Belfast in 2018, his first in Ireland. We are working closely with him to ensure he is aware of the breadth, variety and quality of local food and drink that’s readily available and which is recognised and supported by our cadre of talented chefs. While there were several excellent craft cider producers with us in the Food NI Food and Drink Pavilion at Balmoral, it was again a shame that they were unable to sell their superb brews because of our anachronistic licensing laws. Their presentations were as popular as ever with visitors to the pavilion eager to taste their world class ciders. Our restrictive licensing laws have been brought into focus again by developments in the Republic of Ireland, 8 • HRNI SUMMER
where the rules are being changed next year, primarily to help increase tourism revenues. Over the Easter period, visitors to Northern Ireland are bewildered by their inability to enjoy alcoholic beverages. It is another immensely difficult challenge for hotels and restaurants here, especially at this time when margins continue to be under pressure. They need all the help they can get to continue providing the superb quality of food and drink and service for which they have earned acclaim. We really do need to sort this out and as quickly as practicable. It’s making Northern Ireland even less competitive with the Republic, where the hospitality industry already benefits from lower VAT and the removal of Airport Passenger Duty. Our recently launched Taste the Greatness strategic action plan focuses on developing Northern Ireland’s international reputation as an excellent food and drink region by growing greater awareness abroad of the outstanding quality of our food and drink. Achieving these objectives will strengthen the economy and overall prosperity by promoting international tourism and boosting sales of local products both here and abroad. It’s time that the relevant legislation was brought into line with efforts at all levels to drive faster economic growth, support employment and grow our hospitality industry.
The first foraging/cookery school is being launched in Northern Ireland to encourage greater use of locally-sourced wild herbs and other edible plants. The new school is being established at Larchfield Estate, near Lisburn, a 600-acre privately-owned complex which has become a popular venue for a host of events especially weddings and corporate meetings. Sarah Mackie, who runs events at the estate with husband Gavin, has teamed up with local chefs to develop the new venture. The estate has a Victorian Walled Garden, and its own well-stocked lakes for trout fishing.
SEARCH BEGINS FOR BEST CARVERY Registration has opened for the eighth annual island of Irelandwide Great Carvery of the Year competition, organised by Unilever Food Solutions in association with KNORR. “We have been delighted to see the growth that has taken place with Great Carvery over the years,” said Mark McCarthy, business development chef at Unilever Food Solutions. “Our judges will be looking for the same standards of excellence as we have in the past - quality of food and staff, cleanliness and value for money.” Hotels and pubs can register by visiting www.greatcarvery.com. Registration closes on July 16.
ELECTRIC IRELAND SUPPORTING THE GROWTH OF TOURISM
Pictured at the Merchant Hotel are Alan Cunningham, customer relationship manager at Electric Ireland and Kevin Reilly, procurement manager, Beannchor Group.
he hospitality sector in Northern Ireland is integral to the development of key revenue-generating industries, such as agri-food, and to the development of a skilled workforce, in addition to directly influencing the standards and service quality of our hotels, restaurants and bars – all of which support a thriving tourism sector. Last year marked the sixth year in a row that Northern Ireland welcomed its highest number of overseas tourists, with almost 2.1 million people visiting. Hotels, restaurants and bars welcomed a record 1.9 million out-of-state visits between January and September 2016, with spend totalling £658m. To sustain this growth and ensure that the industry has the resources and facilities it needs to further expand, infrastructural investment and commitment from both the public and private sectors is needed. Some of that much-needed investment in quality accommodation is now being addressed with almost 30 new hotel projects in the public domain, with Belfast set to see an unprecedented rise of 38% in room capacity by 2018. We also need a better developed road network and sustainable energy infrastructure and the sector received a welcome boost recently when it was announced that Electric Ireland, part of the ESB Group, was the first supplier to provide energy via the new £250m ‘Gas to the West’ pipeline, which brings natural gas to most of the main towns in www.hospitalityreviewni.com
the west. For an industry that is dependent on seasonal demand and has very specific business needs, this type of commitment allows businesses to avail of natural gas for the first time, driving both economic and social benefits and supporting businesses’ energy efficiency ambitions. Electric Ireland is the energy partner to a number of businesses within the hospitality sector including hotels such as Ten Square, the Merchant and the Beannchor Group, the Loughview Leisure Group and companies within the agri-food sector including LacPatrick. It has a long and established presence of providing flexible and targeted products
and services for businesses across Northern Ireland. Commenting on the company’s commitment to support business growth Clare McAllister, sales and marketing manager, Electric Ireland, said: “A key commitment of ours is to support the growth of tourism and the wider Northern Ireland economy. With wide-ranging expertise and long-standing industry relationships, our targeted energy services enable businesses to plan for their long-term future.” “We pride ourselves on adding value to the businesses we serve; particularly in providing the opportunity to monitor, control and manage usage. Our work with companies across the hospitality and agri-food industries offers real, valuable support by helping them to maximise their energy efficiency; providing access to day-to-day account management services and expert advice in the form of wholesale market updates and forecasts. We are proud to support both these sectors, which complement each other perfectly and are positively impacting communities across Northern Ireland by creating employment and supporting economic prosperity.” Electric Ireland is the top-ranked energy supplier in Northern Ireland according to Energy Company Satisfaction survey by Which and is part of the ESB Group which has supplied energy to households in Ireland for 90 years. The company has been operating in the business energy market in Northern Ireland since 2001 and entered the residential energy market in 2015.
Celebrating their partnership in the newly-refurbished reception area are Chris Kearney, Group finance director of Loughview Leisure Group, Vicky Stuart, Ten Square Hotel receptionist, and David Fusco, customer relationship manager, Electric Ireland.
SUMMER HRNI • 9
The Boathouse, Bangor KEN SHARP, OWNER OF THE BOATHOUSE IN BANGOR, TALKS TO EMMA DEIGHAN Owner Ken Sharp, Head Chef Tim Brunton and Manager Jonathan Quinn
WHEN DID YOUR RESTAURANT OPEN? November 2016, in its current guise.
IMPROVE AND DRIVE YOUR MENU? We add elements of theatre at the table and encourage service skills from our waiting staff. We also work hard at the wine list and wine pairings, limiting the mark up on our top-end wines to £15. This limit encourages the amazing flavour matches that can come with these finer wines. Our wine pairings can cater for a full menu and we also offer tastersized servings for specific courses for those not wanting to drink too much. WHAT IS YOUR FOOD SOURCING POLICY? Local wherever possible and, if not from Northern Ireland, then from the Republic of Ireland. We rarely go beyond, unless it’s for specific spices and flavour elements we just can’t get elsewhere.
TELL US ABOUT THE SPACE YOU HAVE A beautiful old stone watch house, a former harbour masters’ office, over two floors with a small outside courtyard, catering for 30 covers on the ground floor. WHO ARE YOUR CUSTOMERS? People who really enjoy food and wine, and who enjoy learning more about the WHAT FEEL ARE YOU AIMING FOR? A professional yet friendly atmosphere; a place not just for serving a meal but to entertain guests with a culinary experience.
WHAT’S ON YOUR MENU AND WHAT IS THE INSPIRATION BEHIND IT? Local produce, as fresh as possible, with food and wine they are experiencing. a large degree of culinary expertise and flair behind it; all served with passion and They’re people who may like to play with their food, and who truly appreciate the a few added extras. flair that we bring to our service. DOES YOUR MENU CHANGE OFTEN? Our full menu changes seasonally but one HAVE YOU FACED ANY CHALLENGES TO DATE? or two dishes will change every week. It seemed to be the worst kept secret in Bangor that we were taking over The WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO TO
10 • HRNI SUMMER
Boat House... yet the best kept secret that we opened! Having said that, it has worked for us. It takes a certain type of person to appreciate what we’re doing and our best sales people are satisfied guests going out and talking about us. As a result, we have built organically, with guests who appreciate the way we go about things. HOW DO YOU MAKE YOUR RESTAURANT STAND OUT FROM COMPETITORS? Our concentration on our customer database allows us to recommend new and interesting things to repeat customers, based on previous choices. It also allows us to ensure they don’t get the same elements of theatre on every visit. HOW DO YOU SEE YOUR RESTAURANT DEVELOPING THIS YEAR? Continuing to improve and push the boundaries, in both service and style in Northern Ireland.
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SO FRESHII, SO CLEAN CONALL KELLY, OPERATIONS MANAGER OF FRESHII BELFAST, TELLS ALYSON MAGEE ABOUT THE HEALTHY FAST-CASUAL DINING CHAIN’S FIRST FORAY INTO THE UK MARKET IN BELFAST’S BUSY DONEGALL SQUARE
ew York City’s mom-and-pop delis were the inspiration behind the latest addition to Belfast’s fast casual dining scene, Freshii, which opened this spring at a prime location beside City Hall. Matthew Corrin established the brand to replicate, expand upon and roll out the impressive fresh food offer in the delis, and his creation soon became the fastest growing fast-casual dining chain in the world with sites across the US, Canada, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Australia. Conall Kelly has brought the first UK Freshii to Belfast as operations manager, and plans to open another three sites over the next year; possibly a second City Centre outlet and a further two locations in the Greater Belfast area. “We’re very happy about how the general public have taken to Freshii so far,” says Kelly. “We’ve had great feedback and friendly customers, which is exactly what we knew we’d get coming to Belfast. We saw an opportunity with the location, and knew that there was a big foodie culture around here.” Quality, healthy, locally-sourced
A STORY OF RAPID GROWTH
reated by Matthew Corrin in 2005, Freshii is among the world’s fastest growing restaurant chains and currently extends to over 300 stores across 85 cities in 20 countries. With headquarters in Chicago, the chain is already present in the Republic of Ireland and the new site at Donegall Square marks the first of four planned to open in Belfast over the next year. Located in the iconic Scottish Provident building, the Belfast Freshii marks another first for the chain as the first outlet housed in a listed building. Offering healthy, fast-casual dining, Freshii’s USP is a customisable menu focused on high-quality fresh ingredients and catering for vegetarians and the free-from market. Choices include salads, hot bowls, burritos, wraps, soups, fresh pressed juices, smoothies and frozen yogurt.
12 • HRNI SUMMER
ingredients and in-house prep by trained staff differentiate the chain from competitors. “It’s nice to get involved with fresh food because you never know what you will get each time,” says Kelly. “You get a great standard each time but you might FRESHII BELFAST: get the freshest avocado you ever EMPLOYEES: 11 had in your life. SEATS: 34 “The wonderful thing for anyone who comes to work for Freshii is it’s not like working in a fast food restaurant, because you learn so much about prep, health and safety and working in the best team, and that’s really what sets us apart.” Putting the 11-strong team together was a major focus ahead of the Belfast opening as “the team is the main thing,” says Kelly. “The company is all about people and of the opinion that, if you look after the people, they’ll look after the customers and everything else will fall into place. If you have the best team, you’ll have
the best store. We spent a lot of time getting the right staff members.” While the venue has 34 seats, all produce is available for takeaway in compostable or biodegradeable packaging including bowls, lids and potato starch cutlery in line with THE STATS Freshii’s Mission Green programme spanning its stores and supply chain. While Freshii is very much on trend with the current health and wellness trend, the new Belfast outlet is attracting a wider customer base. “There’s a vast range of people who come through our door,” says Kelly. “Elderly couples, young mums, families, office workers who wear suits and who wear jeans. It’s just a great catchment area. “We have a lot of people who are obviously quite health conscious, and might walk in on their way back from the yoga studio but you also have people coming in talking about what they just saw in the cinema.”
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CELEBRATE SUMMER WITH A FRESH LOCAL CATCH!
is the season for seafood and menus across the Province are exciting us with their unique and exciting variations of our flippery friends! From succulent shellfish to tender fresh fish, for the most refined to the more
DANNY MILLAR’S BOUILLABAISSE
LOCAL CHEF DANNY MILLAR HAS CREATED A SEAFOOD EXTRAVAGANZA USING LOBSTER, LANGOUSTINES, SHRIMP, MUSSELS, COCKLES, MONKFISH, TURBOT, RED SNAPPER, STRIPED BASS, PORGY, GROUPER AND COD FROM STILL WATERS. GO TO STILL WATERS’ FACEBOOK PAGE @STILLWATERSFISH TO VIEW IT IN FULL. INSTAGRAM: @STILLWATERSFISH TWITTER: @STILLWATERSFISH 14 • HRNI SUMMER
natural palettes, seafood is on the rise and we’re beginning to see why. There’s no doubt, locally caught fish is the freshest and most flavourful. The culinary mantra which is being reinforced through the industry is ‘Food Provenance’, eat local. This is why fresh local suppliers are so important to us. Still Waters, a fresh fish supplier is nestled by the busy Portavogie harbour and has been dedicated to supplying fresh sustainable seafood from the heart of the Irish Sea for generations. The team are under the watchful eye of Paul Carson, once a fisherman and who hails from a long line of fishermen. “Over the years, it’s been clear that the popularity of seafood is increasing,” says Paul. “With the ‘foodie’ movement on the rise, people are becoming more experimental in their own kitchens and in restaurants, they are becoming more knowledgeable in terms of the obvious health benefits, the preparation of fish and also the accessibility. The Co Down shores are awash with an enviable variety of fish! “The early morning fish market is a regular occurrence for me as our product is shipped daily from day boats to the local market, and within hours is with our customers. It doesn’t come fresher!” Still Waters is a company with passion and pride in their product. Steeped in 75 years of family heritage with a trademark that proudly reads ‘Fresh Fish is our Heritage,’ the Still Waters
fishing trawler was built by Paul’s grandfather in 1942. This is reflected first and foremost by quality, and the personal touches that go into their product. Their infamous Portavogie Prawns and Co Down Scallops are hand shelled to ensure complete control over the quality of fish and is 100% natural meat. Skilled filleters prepare every order with a meticulousness that can only be attributed to living a harbour life. Fresh fish is smoked in their smoke house premises giving a characterful artisan touch. “Sustainability and responsibility is at the heart of our business,” says Paul. “We have worked closely with Co. Down fishermen to produce strict guidelines ensuring the long-term sustainability of scallops on our shores. Growing up by the sea instils a desire and a responsibility to nurture the sea bed. We want to ensure a future for the industry, a future for our fishermen and a future for fish.” And casting an eye over the future. Fisheries will be a key area in the EU exit negotiations. Andre Leadsome, Secretary of State at DEFRA, says Brexit will be a once-in-a-generation chance to regenerate UK fishing grounds and improve their conditions under which they are fished, providing a really positive outlook for the industry.
PREMIUM SOCIALISING OCCASIONS CREATE ON-TRADE OPPORTUNITY FOR SOFT DRINKS
encourage an up-spend • A focus on more stylish serves in the on-trade with, for example, Mason jars and balloon glasses a trend; ultimately increasing margins for operators • NPD highlighting premium credentials with provenance, heritage and quality ingredients • Repackaging with more premium cues for existing soft drinks brands • Rising soft drinks sales for coffee and sandwich shops, food-led pubs and quickservice restaurants; benefitting from all-day dining and breakfast occasions • Growth in adult soft drink brands alongside all-day dining and the social brunch occasion • Use of social media by operators to drive footfall and engage consumers
n-trade sales led growth in the UK soft drinks market last year, according to the Britvic 2017 Soft Drinks Review, posting value sales growth of 3.3% against only 1% in the off-trade. Britvic attributes the on-trade growth to ‘an increasing trend for eating out and a growing consumer desire for more premium experiences’. Specific drivers and trends identified by Britvic in the report include:
• Health – reduced calorie and sugar content • Consumers seeking more personalised experiences, delivered by well-trained staff • An increasing number of premium socialising occasions, creating opportunity for premium flavours and ingredients to
SUGAR LEVY COULD COST NI ON-TRADE SOFT DRINKS SECTOR 40 JOBS AND £1M
orty jobs could be lost from the 3,956-strong workforce Oxford Economics estimates to be employed by the on-trade soft drinks sector in Northern Ireland as a result of the sugar levy, while the sector’s contribution to the UK GDP is forecast to fall by £1m to £83m. Oxford Economics features the statistics in its report, The economic impact of the Soft Drinks Levy, commissioned by the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) after former Chancellor George Osbourne proposed the levy in his 2016 Budget as a measure aimed at tackling childhood obesity. The levy will apply to water-based soft drinks with added sugar content from April 2018 across two tax bands; 18p per litre for drinks with more than 5g of sugar per 100ml and 24p per litre for over 8g of sugar per 100ml. Consumption is expected to fall by somewhere between 0.4% and 1.6%
following introduction of the levy, with as many as 4,000 UK-wide soft drinks industry jobs thought to be under threat. The anticipated price hike is expected to hit the off trade harder, due to its lower prices, with Oxford Economics estimating post-levy, on-trade price rises of 2% for dilutables, 3% for energy, 5% for still & juice, 9% for sports and 10% for carbonated drinks. Toluna data for Mintel’s Soft Drinks Ireland - November 2016 report suggests 42% of NI and RoI consumers would cut back on the amount of sugary soft drinks they drink if a 24p/30c per litre tax was introduced. (A similar proposal has been introduced in the Republic of Ireland.) According to BSDA, the industry has already voluntarily reduced sugar content by 16% over 2012-2016 (Kantar Worldpanel figures) and, in 2015, outlined plans to reduce sugar and calorie intake from its drinks by 20% by 2020.
BRITVIC 2017 SOFT DRINKS REVIEW FOODSERVICE & LICENSED: THE STATS • Hotels, pubs and restaurants represent 72% of the UK-wide foodservice and licensed soft drinks trade, with retail, travel and leisure sales accounting for 22% and contract catering the remainder. • The highest increases in soft drinks value growth were food-led pubs at +13.6% and high street food to go at +7.5%. • Across on-trade soft drinks, Britvic identifies greatest value growth for mixers at +15.3% (driven by licensed), followed by pure juice drinks at +9.9% and water at +7.6% (driven by foodservice); flavoured carbs, +4.3%; lemonade, +3.4%; and cola, +2.9%. • Categories reported as in year-on-year decline included juices, pure juice mixers, squash and sports/energy drinks. • Fever Tree reportedly increased its sales by 59.1% to £72m in the buoyant mixers category, lead by Schweppes (+2.2%, £165m) and Britvic (+9.7%, £88m). ‘The brand has reinvigorated the mixers market in the last few years and other manufacturers have responded,’ reads the Britvic report, citing such examples as its own relaunched mixers range, new sub brand the London Essence Co., a redesign of Schweppes and growing premium brands such as Dalston Kola, Fentimans and Franklin & Sons. • In the licensed trade, the rise of premiumisation was apparent with value sales up by 31.8% y-o-y, against an increase of only 3% for mainstream drinks and a decline of 6.5% for the budget sub-category.
SUMMER HRNI • 15
FROM MIAMI TO BALI, TO KERRY AND PORTRUSH NEW COCA-COLA SUMMER CAMPAIGN GIVES CONSUMERS CHANCE TO WIN DREAM HOLIDAY AT HOME OR ABROAD
€1 MILLION MARKETING INVESTMENT AND 500,000 SAMPLES OF COCA-COLA ZERO SUGAR TO BE GIVEN AWAY ACROSS ISLAND OF IRELAND
Coca-Cola is offering consumers across Northern Ireland the chance to win the holiday of their dreams with its new exciting and exotic summer campaign and holiday giveaway. Launching this May, the iconic logo on bottles of Coca-Cola, Coca-Cola Zero Sugar and Diet Coke will be replaced by the names of the world’s top holiday destinations, with some ever-popular local Irish destinations also featuring in the campaign. Those purchasing a destinationthemed Coke can win an unforgettable vacation to a dream holiday hotspot overseas such as Hawaii, Bali, or Miami. Or for those who prefer to staycation, mingling it with those glamorous destinations will be a few more familiar and much-loved locations such as Kerry, Portrush, Salthill, and Tramore. From famous cities and exotic beaches, to the hills of Donegal and the sunny South-East, the limited-edition packs are designed to remind consumers of the refreshment and great taste that only an ice-cold Coke can bring on a hot summer day at home or abroad. Consumers can take part in the promotion by entering a unique code found on pack at coke.ie/summer and winners will be drawn every day during an 11-week period from 15 May until 30 July. The on-pack promotion and iconic packaging design will be supported by a significant marketing campaign 16 • HRNI SUMMER
that includes TVC, digital OOH, social media, PR and influencer campaign. The new summer TV commercial called Pool Boy sees Coca-Cola build on its legacy of uplifting adverts, with a family who are all equally impressed by the handsome pool boy. In the humorous ad, they all race to serve him an ice-cold glass bottle of Coca-Cola on a hot summer day but they’re beaten by one surprising family member. The ad launches at scale on TV, in cinema and
pleasure that makes everyday moments more special. People can join in the conversation by sharing their Coca-Cola summer experiences to #TasteTheFeeling. Aoife Nagle, marketing manager at Coca-Cola Ireland, said: “Irish people love to travel, and who wouldn’t enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime trip to one of the world’s most glamorous far-flung locations? “But, we also know that there’s no place like home. And in recognition of
“IRISH PEOPLE LOVE TO TRAVEL, AND WHO WOULDN’T ENJOY A ONCEIN-A-LIFETIME TRIP TO ONE OF THE WORLD’S MOST GLAMOROUS FAR-FLUNG LOCATIONS?” online from 15 May. It’s already one of the brand’s most popular TVCs to date, achieving over 3.5m views on Youtube in just three weeks. Coca-Cola will also undertake largescale sampling, giving away 500,000 330ml samples of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar in cities and festivals throughout the island of Ireland. The summer campaign continues under the broader creative umbrella of ‘Taste the Feeling’ which was launched last year and brings to life the idea that drinking any Coca-Cola is a simple
our own great local tourism industry, we are including a number of familiar local hotspots as part of the competition. “In doing so, we want to remind Irish people why Coke makes summer more special, at home or abroad. “To support the iconic packs, we will be investing €1m in marketing which includes widespread sampling, an extensive digital campaign, a new TV creative, outdoor and PR.” The campaign will feature across a number of countries in Europe and will kick off in Ireland in May.
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HENNESSY SPARKS SEARCH FOR NORTHERN IRELAND’S BEST BARTENDERS
THE SEARCH FOR NI’S HOTTEST MIXOLOGY TALENT RETURNS WITH THE LAUNCH OF THE HENNESSY CONNOISSEURS CHALLENGE 2017
he competition giving Northern Ireland’s top bartenders the chance to win a prestigious training scholarship with the world’s most iconic cognac brand is back. Now in its third year, the Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge invites local bartenders to mix, muddle, shake and stir their way through a set of challenges in front of a top panel of cocktail experts. Dillon Bass - owners of the Hennessy brand in Northern Ireland – is igniting the competition once again, calling on local bartenders to put their mixology skills to the test. Bartenders from across Northern Ireland will go head to head this summer, competing for the chance to win one of three career-enhancing training scholarships. The incredible prize package includes a VIP all expenses-paid trip to Cognac to visit Maison Hennessy and Chateau Bagnolet, where they will receive one-on-one training and a tasting with Hennessy’s master blender. The winners will also have their signature drinks showcased on Hennessy’s digital platforms. This year’s winners will join a growing cast of Hennessy Connoisseurs in Northern Ireland including bartenders representing Muriel’s Café Bar, The Albany, sixty6, The Merchant Hotel and Deanes EIPIC. Previous winners have praised the competition as one of the most exciting opportunities available to local
18 • HRNI SUMMER
bartenders in Northern Ireland. Belfast bartender, Frankie Cosgrove was one of the original Hennessy Connoisseurs in 2015, when he represented cocktail bar and club, sixty6. Following his success in the competition, he has gone on to secure a new role at Belfast’s Bullitt Hotel. Frankie said: “It was a once in a lifetime experience that keeps on giving. The competition really has brought about a real feeling of community to the local bar-trade and the hospitality industry; with previous winners encouraging others to put themselves forward for this incredible opportunity.” Ryan Adair, formerly a mixologist at The Merchant Hotel was one of the Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge winners in 2016 and is now working as a brand ambassador in London. Encouraging local bartenders to enter this year’s competition, he said: “Visiting
Hennessy in Cognac was a once in a lifetime experience for me. Winning the competition gave me the drive and confidence to pursue and continue my career in London, which has lead on to great things.” The international judging panel includes Vincent Borjon-Prive from Hennessy; Edmund Weil from London’s award-winning, Nightjar and Oriole Bars; and Aaron Wall from London Cocktail Club. The esteemed panel of judges will put the bartenders through their paces, assessing them on a signature Hennessy cocktail, as well as their skill and product knowledge at a live final at The Muddlers Club in Belfast on Monday 21st August. Commenting on the launch of the Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge 2017, Laura Blair, brand manager for Hennessy at Dillon Bass, said: “In our search for the next generation of Hennessy Connoisseurs, we are seeking to uncover Northern Ireland’s most innovative bartenders; those that demonstrate, passion, skill and enthusiasm for their craft, bringing the spirit of Hennessy alive in their creations.” Entries are now open for the Hennessy Connoisseurs Challenge 2017 and can be submitted online at www.HennessyNI. com until Friday 14th July. Share your Hennessy NI stories on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag, #HennessyNI.
drinksnews Kevin Pyke of Pyke ‘N’ Pommes
Proudly distributing BUSHMILLS IRISH WHISKEY TAKES OVER THE FILTHY QUARTER
he Filthy Quarter hosted the first ever Black Bush Block Party on the second bank holiday in May, as part of its #AnswerTheCall event series. Saluting the fearless, the spirited and the defiant, it offered urban revellers the opportunity to enjoy Black Bush-inspired street food, specially-created Black Bush serves, live art demonstrations and a pop-up barber shop experience. Created in collaboration with Kevin Pyke, food guru and owner of Derry/ Londonderry-based street-food start-up Pyke ‘N’ Pommes, The Black Bush Block Party was the first-time Kevin shared his street food concept with a Belfast audience. Kevin has been experimenting with Bushmills Irish Whiskey to create a menu of Black Bush-inspired tacos to introduce at the Block Party. His tacos paired perfectly with the rich, fruity notes and intense character of Black Bush and included Beef Brisket Slow-Cooked in Black Bush and Pork Al Pastor with a Black Bush Glaze, to name a few. The #AnswerTheCall series sees Bushmills Irish Whiskey working with local creators, thinkers, artists, entrepreneurs and adventurers to celebrate their stories and inspire others to fulfil their true calling. Kevin was joined by barber extraordinaire Garry Jackson and elusive street-artist Glen Molloy.
ECHLINVILLE DISTILLERY CELEBRATES THIRD WORLD WHISKIES AWARD
o Down-based Echlinville Distillery is raising a glass to its Dunville’s PX 10 Year Old Single Malt Irish Whiskey, which has won its third consecutive World Whiskies Award. Dunville’s PX has been named the Best Irish Single Malt 12 Years and Under for the third year running – a rare achievement in the whiskey industry. The win is the latest in a string of successes for Dunville’s PX, which also won the 2016 Irish Whiskey Award in the same category. The World Whiskies Awards select, reward and promote the highest quality whiskies to consumers and trade across the globe and are judged by an international panel of whiskey experts. Best Irish Single Malt 12 Years and Under is among the competition’s most hotly-contested categories. Dunville’s was among the world’s best known Irish whiskeys until the demise of the Royal Belfast Distillery in 1936 but was revived in more recent years by The Echlinville Distillery owner Shane Braniff.
20 • HRNI SUMMER
BOATYARD GIN LISTED BY THE SAVOY
oatyard Double Gin has been added to the menu of The Savoy’s internationally-renowned American Bar. Boatyard Double Gin is a unique, awardwinning gin produced near Enniskillen. Made with spirit from organically-grown wheat, the gin uses a combination of organic botanicals, including ‘sweet gale’ taken from the owner’s local family farm, to give the gin a distinctive smooth, flavourful and refreshing taste profile.
Want to taste the quality? T: 028 9267 3316
owers celebrated all things Irish whiskey at a series of events across Northern Ireland to mark World Whisky Day on May 20, inviting the public to ‘try a dram and celebrate the water of life’. Dillon Bass – owner of the largest Irish whiskey portfolio in Northern Ireland, including iconic brands, Jameson, Powers and Redbreast – lead the charge, hosting a series of special events throughout the month of May with Powers Irish Whiskey Ambassador Joe Magowan on hand to share his whiskey wisdom. Events included a Powers Three Swallows customer sampling in Rathfriland; Sunflower Boilermaker Evening in Belfast; and Bailies Coffee & Powers Event in Newry.
DISCOVER SOMETHING NEW S
itting in Gatwick Airport writing this article, surrounded by multiple nationalities makes me think, with all the amazing wines produced all over the world, why are we such creatures of habit? Are we simply subjected to great marketing, conformity or is it just laziness? With all the interesting wines out there why do we continually revert back to Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Shiraz? I believe that with these easy, uncomplicated, fruit driven wines we may know exactly what we’re getting, but are we missing out on so much more? I am returning from the London Wine Fair where I’ve just picked up some stunning new and above all interesting wines that are exploding with soft, rich, ripe fruit and all a complete joy to drink. VEGA DOURO 2013, PORTUGAL This amazing Portuguese red is made from the traditional port grapes of Touriga National, Tinto Roriz and Tinto Franca. These are big, ripe, dark grapes which produce a lush, rich, full bodied but very smooth wine. “Delicious intense fruit with a complex and elegant finish,” João Paulo Martins; Vinhos de Portugal 2016; this wine will really liven up your summer BBQs. PASSO SARDO VINO ROSSO, SARDINIA, ITALY Passo Sardo is crafted according to the deepest wine tradition of Sardinia, using Cannonau, Carignano, Bovale Sardo grapes (bet you haven’t heard of them before), cultivated on this fascinating and mysterious island where vines have grown for centuries. Here, the best part of the crop from the foremost vineyards is selected to dry naturally on the plant. It is then harvested and fermented separately, and then blended with the rest of the wine. This “secret” of the tradition, handed down from generation to generation in Sardinia, allows for a complex, fine wine with a long lifespan.
LUCK BE A LADY AT DOWN ROYAL
Miss Northern Ireland Emma Carswell with Julia Galbraith of Magners
he race is on to find Down Royal’s Best Dressed Lady and, thanks to a partnership with Magners Forbidden Favours, the stakes are higher than ever before as fashionistas get in line to chase the top prize of a dream Caribbean cruise. First past the post in the Down Royal style stakes on June 24 will win a prize package of return flights for two from Belfast to Miami, with three nights’ at the four star Casablanca Of The Ocean Hotel in uber-cool Miami, followed by an amazing seven-night cruise on board the stunning MSC Divina. For more information on Magners Derby Day at the Summer Festival of Racing, visit www.downroyal.com. www.hospitalityreviewni.com
TEMPUS REGIT MONASTRELL, SPAIN This is another huge wine from Southern Spain. As regular readers you’ll know that Monastrell is also Mourvedre in France, responsible for the robust, long lived yet wildly fruit driven wines from Southern France. In Spain the results are equally as impressive. Dark coloured with lots of black forest fruits on the nose, so full on and chewy you’ll need a knife and fork. Get the T-Bone on the BBQ. So do me a favour, I’ve endured hours of tasting to bring you these wines, get outside your comfort zone and give them all a try. I know you won’t be disappointed, trust me, I’m The Wine Wizard.
by Ciaran Meyler
Wine Blog from #WineBloggerNI
POWERS RAISES A GLASS TO WORLD WHISKY DAY
QUOTE OF THE MONTH:
“ANY MAN THAT COULD LAY UNDER THESE VINES WITH HIS FAMILY ALL AROUND HIM AND NOT FEEL TOTAL CONTENTMENT, IS INCAPABLE OF HAPPINESS” JAMES BUSBY
SUMMER HRNI • 21
BELFAST’S ANDREW DICKEY PASSES HIS WORLD CLASS TITLE TO ANDY FERREIRA Winner Andy Ferreira is pictured with John Torode
ndy Ferreira Galway and from Cask Karim Medhi from in Cork was The Exchequer, announced the Martin Holec World Class Irish from Delahunt, Bartender of the Alan Moore from Year 2017 at Lemuel’s and Mihai the Irish Final Pop from Chelsea in Zozimus Bar, Drugstore, all Dublin on May 31. based in Dublin. Andy will go on to All six finalists represent Ireland competed head-toin the World Class head in a series of Global Final 2017 complex challenges in Mexico City this testing them on coming September. all aspects of the Last year’s craft of bartending; Ireland winner, requiring a Andrew Dickey demonstration from Belfast, was of skill, passion, among judges of innovation, Last year’s winner Andrew the 2017 final, Dickey, left, was on the judging creativity and panel for the 2017 Ireland heat. alongside Roe & Co ambition. For the Ambassador Peter first time, finalists O’Connor, World Class Luxury Events were also put through their paces in a Manager Dan Dove and MasterChef speed challenge in front of a live star John Torode, who took part for the audience. second year running. World Class is centred World Class is among the world’s on the Diageo Reserve most prestigious and respected mixology portfolio, which the programmes, committed to celebrating competing bartenders and elevating the craft of bartending. are encouraged to use, The global competition brings together innovate and experiment the best bars, most talented bartenders with: Ketel One vodka, and most exquisite spirits from around Cîroc vodka, Ron Zacapa the world. rum, Tanqueray No. TEN Competing alongside Andy were gin, Bulleit Bourbon, Don Aidan Mulvaney from An Pucan in Julio Tequila, Johnnie Walker Gold 22 • HRNI SUMMER
Label and Blue Label whisky and malt whiskies, Cardhu, Singleton and Talisker. The newest addition to the portfolio is Roe & Co premium blended Irish whiskey. “I am continually impressed and inspired by the raw talent, skill and creativity of Ireland’s bartenders,” said Torode. “World Class is an amazing platform celebrating young bartending talent and I am yet again blown away by their passion for this craft. Andy Ferreira is a very deserving winner and I wish him the best of luck in Mexico later this year.” Donal Comerford, head of Diageo Reserve Ireland, said: “The search for fine drinking experiences and cocktail culture have always been at the heart of World Class, alongside a passion for discovering the next generation of bartending talent and the latest trends in mixology. World Class continues to transform fine drinking experiences and cocktail culture worldwide. It is a privilege for us in Ireland to be a part of this movement. “The World Class final is the culmination of a yearlong journey for these bartenders, all of whom demonstrated incredible flair, skill and commitment since the competition began. We commend all six finalists and we wish Andy the very best of luck at the World Class Global Final.”
A RAPID EVOLUTION FOR THE LOCAL CRAFT BEER SCENE BY JOHN MULGREW
orthern Ireland’s brewing landscape has changed exponentially in a matter of just six years. In 2012, there were just five independent microbreweries here. That number has blossomed to some 30 beer producers and brands. And we’ve come a long way from a handful of traditional pale and red ales, to hearty and boozy sour imperial stouts aged on Pinot Noir wine barrels, and collaborations with breweries from the US and Belgium. And those starting breweries and beer brands in recent years have come from a range of backgrounds, from a former SDLP councillor to the son of television broadcaster Eamonn Holmes. Breweries here are starting to adapt to changing and increasingly progressive palates among drinkers here. That’s been reflected in a number of new specialist beer festivals, regular ‘meet the brewer’ tasting events, and food-pairing dinners, scattered across Belfast and beyond. Michael Kerr, is one of the founders of the ABV beer festival, which will take place in September at Carlisle Memorial Church in north Belfast. “I think a lot of the growth in the quality beer scene is tied up with the move towards spending your money on a smaller number of better-made things generally, be that food, drink, furniture, whatever,” he said. “If money is a bit
24 • HRNI SUMMER
tighter, it makes sense that people will want to spend it on the best made items they can. “The choice is better than ever before and interest is spreading fast. Really, you can credit three or four enlightened distributors and bar owners who believed in the scene from the start and continually stick their necks out with new and interesting products. “And I guess I should mention our festival. We hope we’re doing our bit to move things on.” Pubs here are also embracing a wider selection of better beer, whether it’s produced here or made by some of the best breweries across the UK and Ireland. But Northern Ireland is also following a faster trend in the UK as a whole, with traditional breweries now competing against, and complementing more progressive producers. It started with Hilden — based outside Lisburn, and the longestrunning brewery here, set up in 1981. As for scale, Whitewater Brewery, formerly in Kilkeel now in Castlewellan, has some of the largest output among beer companies here. It wasn’t long until the big beer companies took notice and realised, while still only making up a fraction of total brew sales here, that something was happening, and they needed to get on board.
That started with Molson Coors, which bought the Franciscan Well brewery in Cork in 2013. Diageo soon followed and began producing its ‘Brewers Project’ line of beers in 2014. It’s since gone on to launch a handful of smaller-batch porters and stouts, aiming to muscle in on the independents. Bars in Belfast, and slowly throughout Northern Ireland, have grown increasingly mature in regards to the beer they have on offer. The city got two new ‘beer bars’ in 2015, which are continuing to lead the way here. Woodworkers, which is part of the ever-burgeoning Laverys complex in south Belfast, now has a rotating list of a dozen tap beers from some of the UK and beyond’s most creative, celebrated and innovative breweries, along with a wide range in bottles. And Brewbot, which started off life as a tech firm which developed a beer brewing machine, also serves up a rotating tap list, along with a solid range of bottles and canned beer. Outside of Belfast, spots such as Kiwi’s in Portrush and the Anchor in Newcastle have also made serious strides in adding bigger, bolder and more interesting beers to their menus. Boundary Brewing, a co-operative in east Belfast, has just celebrated two years operating here. In that time, it’s produced dozens of various brews, many one-offs. That includes a collaboration with Shortcross gin, a raspberry vanilla ice-cream India pale ale and seaweed and green tea Belgian-style ale. And it hosts a monthly taproom at its Newtownards Road brewery. Co-founder Matthew Dick said: “We’ve been going just over two years now, and there are already over 30 breweries in Northern Ireland. That’s just crazy. “For the first year or so, only about 15% of our turnover was from Northern Ireland sales. That number is now significantly greater. “The demand for quality beer is really starting to increase quite dramatically here in Northern Ireland, and it’s great to see.”
CRAFTED THE CORK WAY D BISCUITY, FRUITY, BALANCE
IRELANDâ€™S favourite* craft beer
NO.1 CRAFT BEER IN IRELAND*
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IN IRELAND* Contact your local Molson Coors Rep for more details or CONTACT N.I ON TRADE CONTROLLER Paul Hanna on 07734548158
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‘WE’RE BEER PEOPLE’ A PASSION FOR EXPERIMENTATION AND WIDENING THE APPEAL OF NICHE BEER STYLES IS DRAWING VISITORS TO THE OPEN GATE BREWERY AT ST JAMES’ GATE IN DUBLIN, AND GENERATING A SUCCESSFUL INNOVATION PIPELINE TO SELECTED PUBS IN NORTHERN IRELAND, GENERAL MANAGER PADRAIG FOX TELLS ALYSON MAGEE
IT’S A TOUGH JOB… Strictly in the interests of research, HRNI sampled the following creations at The Open Gate Brewery: 1. Ginger Pride* 2. Dublin Amber 3. Pretty-Citrusy IPA 4. Double Dark IPA 5. Deep Purple Sour 6. Amarillo Pilsner 7. Two Roads/Guinness collaboration** 8. 8% abv Stout aged in red wine cask *MG personal favourite **AM personal favourite 26 • HRNI SUMMER
think it’s the right time, place and energy for it,” says Padraig Fox, welcoming the success of Guinness’ experimental beer hub The Open Gate Brewery a year and a half since its creation. “I think Irish people have a broader palate now. People are travelling more, eating different foods and drinking different beers, wines and spirits. “The growth of craft beer in Ireland has been fantastic. It’s brilliant to see so many local breweries opening, using local ingredients and defining their own beer styles. We’re all in the business of beer and, the more people talk about it, try it and taste it, it’s good for the whole beer industry. “You go to a bar now and it’s not just about who’s playing football on TV, it’s ‘what are you drinking?’ or ‘have your tried this?’ and, for the overall industry,
it’s great.” Guinness boasts a long history of innovation and has operated an experimental plant at the current Open Gate location since the 1960s. A one-hectolitre brewery sits on the floor above, with capacity to produce around 100 litres of beer, and is the starting point for all brews from fruit, sour and wheat beers to pale and dark ales and stouts. Whenever the five on-site brewers “are happy with it on the ‘one hec’, it moves down into this set up, which is 10 hectolitres or around 1,000 litres of beer but you get maybe 600-800 litres out of each batch so it’s not big at all,” says Padraig. A variety of malts, sourced from Kildare for 100-plus years, are milled, mashed, fermented and matured onsite. “This is probably the least sexy part
GUINNESS COLLABORATES WITH US-BASED TWO ROADS BREWING COMPANY of brewing but the most visually impressive,” he says. Guinness is among the few large-scale breweries to still roast their own malt on site. “It’s an exact science,” says Padraig. “Two degrees hotter and it can catch fire, two degrees colder and it won’t roast enough to give the flavour. It’s all done by hand and eye coordination.” Using different malts creates distinct flavour profiles with, for example, the cracked black pepper tang of rye malt the distinguishing characteristic of recent creation and export success story Guinness Rye Pale Ale. Hops add further flavour and aroma, from the earthy, cut grass, pine tones of UK Challenger hops to the floral aromas of Cascade hops from the US, while Guinness yeast is generally but not always used in Open Gate brews. “The guys are just given free range to brew whatever they want,” says Padraig. “It’s really just experimentation, and
TAPPING INTO NEW STYLES OF BEER Local bars featuring The Open Gate Brewery rotating tap include: Robbie Cahoon’s; Whites Tavern; Kellys Cellars; Five Points; Maddens Bar; Bootleggers; The House Bar; The Garrick Bar; The Spaniard; Muriels; Cloth Ear; The Belfast House; Laverys A; Sandinos; Sally’s; Morrisons; Ryans Bar; McGlones; M K McCann’s; Aether and Echo; Plough Inn; The Balmoral; Cobbles Bar; Bank Bar; Salty Dog Hotel and Bistro; Jamaica Inn; Jenny Watts; McBrides Bar; Town Square; Hagues Bar; Bittles Bar; Love and Death Inc; Dirty Duck; Balloo House; Fealtys Bar; Brewbot; The Rabbit Rooms; The Lonely Poet; The Four Trees; Ownies; The Stokers Halt; Errigle Inn; Pavilion Bar; The Black Box; The Bull and Claw; The Albany; The Stokers Halt; Pretty Marys; The Corner House Bar; Ivanhoe Inn and Hotel; Devenish Complex; American Bar; Flame Restaurant; Johnny the Jig; Brooklyn Sq; Donegans; Atlantic Bar; Donard Bar; North Down House; The Parsons Nose; Poachers Pocket; Sweet Afton; Bennigans Bar
pushing the limits of what you can do. The beers are kegged right here on the floor and then go on top of the bar, maybe a distance of 15 metres so you won’t taste much fresher.” Each new beer will go on one of eight taps in The Open Gate bar, timed to replace batches coming to an end, while Guinness Draft and Hop House 13 – another success story created onsite - are permanent lines. Most beers have been well received with some more experimental than others; notably an “interesting” Shamrock & Potato Ale created for St Patrick’s Day. To date, 25 beers have reached the taps and, every three months, a small batch beer will go out to selected bars in Northern Ireland (as well as Dublin, Cork, Limerick and Galway). Whereas the Guinness Storehouse attracts largely international tourists, 90% of visitors to The Open Gate Brewery are local and the proportion of male visitors is perhaps less than expected at 60%. Open Wednesday to Friday from 5.30-10.30pm, visitors pay €6 to pre-book online for entry plus a paddleboard with four samples of their choosing, while additional pints and USstyle growlers can be purchased. “It’s not a massive space and we want everybody to have an enjoyable time and be able to chat to the bar staff, who are very knowledgeable about beer, so we limit it to 130 a night,” says Padraig. “People give us very honest feedback when they’re in the bar and we find, for people who think they only like light beers or stout, we can talk them through the different styles.” Trade nights are also held to educate bar staff on the different styles, while The Open Gate Brewery also goes on tour to events such as the Twilight Market in Belfast. In addition to Padraig and the five brewers, a team of 10 beer specialists split their time between The Open Gate, the Connoisseur Bar in the Guinness Storehouse and travelling as brand ambassadors. “They’re really knowledgeable about beer, a couple are
Marking the first ever brewing collaboration for Guinness, The Open Gate Brewery has hosted well-known Connecticut brewery Two Roads to create a unique beer combining Guinness with classic Belgian farmhouse characteristics and Irish botanicals. Two Roads Brewmaster Phil Markowski, author of Farmhouse Ales: Culture and Craftsmanship in the Belgian Tradition, collaborated with Open Gate Head Brewer Peter Simpson to create the beer, with Simpson also travelling to Connecticut to create a similar style of beer using US botanicals. Both small batch beers were tapped on May 24, to be served only to visitors at The Open Gate Brewery and Two Roads Brewing Company. The idea was conceived by Tom Day, president of Diageo Beer Company USA, and Brad Hittle, CEO of Two Roads, whose offices are located within 20 miles of each other in Connecticut. “I’m very excited to try the fruits of this historic collaboration,” said Mark Sandys, global head of beer for Diageo. “These two beers will be produced in small quantities, but I think they represent a landmark for both companies.” qualified brewers and they’re all training to be beer sommeliers,” says Padraig. “We’re beer people.” Certified by Cicerone in the US as a beer professional, Fox has worked for Guinness for 13 years, starting out as a tour guide in the Storehouse, progressing to the quality and sales teams and then a posting in the US before returning for The Open Gate Brewery. “It’s a dream job really,” he says. By the time the Summer edition of HRNI comes out, Padraig should be back from his honeymoon in California where a potential 84 brewery visits had been whittled down to seven key must-sees… SUMMER HRNI • 27
MAKING CRAFT BEER ACCESSIBLE AND ENGAGING ALEX HUGHES, HEAD OF CATEGORY DEVELOPMENT, DIAGEO IRELAND, TALKS TO HRNI HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE CRAFT BEER AND CIDER CATEGORY IN NI? The beer category overall has seen a very positive revival +2.1%* in the last year, of which the continued growth in craft beer and cider has been a good part of it. It has also been premiumising, which is a reflection of consumers drinking better. A good deal of this has been fuelled by a large number of craft breweries being opened both in Northern Ireland but also in the Republic. In fact, the total number of breweries per capita on the island of Ireland is not dissimilar to the USA, which has one of the most established craft beer markets, yet craft in Ireland still only represents c.5% of the beer category – so plenty of growth to come! WHAT WOULD YOU SAY IS DRIVING THE CATEGORY? A few factors I see: firstly, the growth in the category has been driven by an increase in the #occasions as the economy has been buoyed by the gradually improving economy. There were 12million** more occasions in Northern Ireland over the last 12 months than the prior year. Second, the consumer trend towards categories with depth, character and provenance. The evolution of the beer category with areas like ale, growing share of the category +0.5pp in the last year, shows that Northern Irish beer drinkers are looking for more from their beers. It’s also worth remembering that traditional segments like lager, which is still six out of every 10 pints sold and stout, which is two in every 10, are also in growth. WHAT WOULD YOU SAY THE MORE SUCCESSFUL ON-TRADE OPERATORS ARE DOING WELL? Successful trade operators do the basics brilliantly; we always talk about essentials to grow categories: 1. A good core range of beers, well laid out, supported by a local beer offering which connects to a trend in seeking categories and brands with local provenance. 2. The importance of knowledgeable and friendly staff which is critical to retaining customers. 3. Excellent drink quality is a key 28 • HRNI SUMMER
ALEX HUGHES • HEAD OF CATEGORY DEVELOPMENT DIAGEO IRELAND
differentiator; after all you can’t get a beautifully poured draught beer at home! 4. Progressive retailers have also recognised emerging trends that motivate consumers to go out to the pub. A good food offering relevant to their target audience is key. For example, with consumers in the 25-35 years bracket, a desire for more informal meals which puts food at the heart of larger mixed groups and the driver of outlet choice. As part of this gathering, they also enjoy the widening variety of beer - a great reason to go to the pub. WHAT IS DIAGEO’S POSITION & STRATEGY WITHIN THE CATEGORY? We’re clear on our role to help fuel growth in the beer category. We will be ensuring the renaissance in beer continues through two key drivers. The first is to help democratise craft beer which we do through our Open Gate Brewery and Smithwick’s range. We conducted some shopper research last year that saw 50% of mainstream beer drinkers trying a craft beer. Whilst this was really positive for this part of the category, only 3% of these shoppers were coming back into craft. You
are essentially losing shoppers who want to engage with the category. This was driven by an overwhelming level of choice, strong flavours, and lack of guidance on how to navigate beers styles within the category. This issue led us to a key insight that these consumers faced: Help me find an accessible craft beer from a brand that I trust that delivers on the desire to try craft? This is where our Guinness Open Gate and Smithwick’s range play a critical role. Shoppers recognise these brands as a badge of quality and yet offer the credentials of beers with more accessible taste and flavour. This ensures they can engage with this part of the category more confidently and frequently, a key to category growth. A key proof point for us is that our Hop House 13 brand now has a repeat rate of c.30%*** with shoppers which confirms that we can retain beer shoppers in this part of the beer category. The second key driver for us is around how we help celebrate friendship. Around 50% of occasions** are what we call ‘casual get-togethers’ – the heart and soul of the pub, mixed groups socialising. If you ask pub goers to paint their favourite moment in the pub, it is likely to involve a group of friends enjoying an evening together watching sport, celebrating a birthday or just meeting up for the craic. We are fortunate with our Guinness brand and our sponsorship of the Pro 12 Rugby or local events that we can remain the centre of these key occasions that people go to the pub for. DO YOU SEE FURTHER GROWTH FOR THE CATEGORY? We have certainly seen positive growth in beer in Northern Ireland in the year; I would expect to see this growth continue, if not at a slower pace than we saw in 2016. I would be very confident that ale’s growth, driven by craft, supported by the likes of Smithwick’s and our Guinness Open Gate Brewery range will continue, supported by continued increases in stout and lager growth. Cider has been in decline but we could see some growth return to that part of the category driven by increased competition in the market in the coming year. *Nielsen NI On Trade Audit MAT March 2017 **Millward Brown L4W Consumption NI April 2017 ***Dunnhumby shopper research 2016
SULLIVAN’S ALE LIFTS TOP AWARDS AT INTERNATIONAL BREWING AWARDS
CURRENT LICENSING LAWS THREATEN FUTURE OF LOCAL CRAFT BREWERS
Ian Hamilton and Alan Quane) Ian Hamilton, master brewer, and Alan Quane, CEO of Sullivan’s.
ilkenny-based Sullivan’s Brewing Company has been awarded the World Champion Keg trophy for its Maltings Red Ale at the International Brewing Awards in Burton-on-Trent. Over 1,200 beers from 50 countries competed, with Sullivan’s win representing the first time an Irish beer has picked up the top award in the 131-year history of the event. The International Brewing Awards are judged by a panel of 45 top master brewers from around the globe, and look at brew balance and commerciality, with previous winners including Sierra Nevada, Boston Beer Co., Young’s and Sheppard Neame. Master brewer at Sullivan’s is Ian Hamilton, creator of Maltings Red Ale, a balanced, ruby-tinted
classic Irish Ale with distinctive biscuit and caramel notes. He has over 30 years of global master brewing experience under his belt, with world-class brands such as Guinness, Smithwicks and Budweiser. “I’m very honoured to have won such a prestigious award for this brew from a world class peer group of over 45 other master brewers who were on this international judging panel,” said Hamilton. “I spent time early in my brewing career in Burton-on-Trent, the international home of ale brewing, so to have my beer judged there by some of the best brewers in the world and be awarded a trophy, is about as good as it gets – especially as it comes only a year after Sullivan’s started brewing.”
MMB AWARDED SALSA APPROVAL A Co Down brewery has been successful in achieving the Safe and Local Supplier Approval (SALSA) accreditation award. Mourne Mountains Brewery has worked hard to achieve the certification, which is only granted to suppliers who can demonstrate that they are able to produce safe and legal food and drink, and are committed to continually meeting the requirements of the SALSA standard. Just five microbreweries in Northern Ireland have the high-level approval, which allows the sale of products to national retailers who require the accreditation from their small suppliers. 30 • HRNI SUMMER
apid growth in the local craft beer sector will not be sustainable unless current licensing laws are changed to allow brewers to sell at source and through markets and events, CAMRA NI has highlighted. The voluntary campaigning group supporting real ale, real pubs and consumer rights, while welcoming the burgeoning local sector has expressed concerns over its long-term viability. “CAMRA NI was formed in 1981 and has been battling to promote choice in Northern Ireland which, nearly 40 years later, is still dominated by the global brands but it is so encouraging to see the local beer scene blossoming in recent years,” says Clive Talbot, chairman of CAMRA NI. Talbot describes the burgeoning craft scene as “a reflection of the modern public’s desire for a real choice in beer, and a move away from the globally-produced macro offerings which are commonly available in every pub in the land.” “There are now 25 physical microbreweries and brewpubs in NI which is remarkable, given that five years ago there were three or four, but the growth in this sector is not sustainable given the massive competition and obstacles these breweries face in terms of licencing laws and getting their product to market - an area where the global brands have almost total domination,” he says. “Local sells and if we can achieve a change in our Northerm Ireland licensing laws so our breweries can sell at source, online and at farmers’ markets and the like – as they are allowed to in the rest of the UK – and get agreement to introduce a guest beer policy in pubs, then perhaps there is a sustainable future.”
YARDSMAN USED IN STOUT BREAD
HILDEN APPEARS IN LONELY PLANET
Local artisan bakery and restaurant business French Village has teamed up with Belfast craft brewer Yardsman to produce a stout-flavoured traditional Irish wheaten bread. Both businesses are based in Belfast and started collaboration on the bread a few months ago. The bread is baked by French Village using Yardsman’s successful Original Double Stout, which was launched by Hercules Brewing Company in 2015. It is a small batch craft brew, now available in bars and hotels throughout Northern Ireland and increasingly in the Republic of Ireland.
Breweries across the UK, including Hilden in Lisburn, have been recognised by travel guide Lonely Planet as among the world’s best for visitors. More than 20 UK breweries feature in the new Global Beer Tour book, which claims the country’s use of New World hops and innovation within styles are ‘changing the way people view beer’. The book, which features the best breweries in 32 countries across five continents, adds: ‘Beer touring in Britain is a wonderful way to engage in the history of this densely populated little island’.
THE MERCHANT COCKTAIL BAR James Maddison, manager of The Merchant Belfast Cocktail Bar, talks to HRNI
TELL US ABOUT YOUR BAR We are a 5* hotel cocktail bar in the Grand European tradition, based in a Grade-A listed building. We offer table service only and a range of menus to cater for hotel guests and the public alike. WHAT DO YOU DO TO DRIVE SALES IN THE BAR? All our staff have excellent Irish Whiskey knowledge. We ask for preferences, and then go from there with our recommendations. We introduced the Redbreast Tasting flight last year which is a great chance for customers to sample across the Redbreast range. WHAT MAKES IT AN IRISH WHISKEY BAR? Currently we stock approximately 50 Irish whiskies, with more than 50 other whiskies from around the world. We have a strong tourist trade, especially from North America. We find that people are looking for an Irish experience and Irish products – we love introducing new and old products to those who have never come across them before. WHAT ARE YOUR BEST-SELLING BRANDS AND PERSONAL FAVOURITES IN THE IRISH WHISKEY CATEGORY? All the main brands trade well, with the Redbreast range one of our most popular brands. Personally, I’m really enjoying Powers John’s Lane, and Dunville’s PX at the minute – all very different flavour profiles and great to play around with in cocktails. HAVE YOU ANY FUTURE PLANS TO DEVELOP THE BAR FURTHER? We are undertaking work for our Spirits Drinks Cabinet and our new Cocktail Menu books at the moment, and using it as an opportunity to instigate a new bar training programme. We are looking at getting as many staff to as many distilleries as possible this year, too.
SUMMER HRNI • 31
IN THE FIRST OF A SERIES, EMMA DEIGHAN LOOKS AT INTERNATIONALLY-RENOWNED HOSPITALITY FIGURES PROVIDING A SOURCE OF INSPIRATION TO THE LOCAL TRADE
A LAW ONTO HIMSELF BY EMMA DEIGHAN
NATHAN OUTLAW HAS GENERATED A GLOBAL REPUTATION FOR SPECIALISING IN FISH DISHES. HERE THE RESTAURATEUR, CELEBRITY CHEF AND ACCLAIMED COOK BOOK AUTHOR CHATS WITH EMMA DEIGHAN ABOUT HIS INSPIRATIONS, CHALLENGES, THE NI CULINARY MAP AND WHAT’S COMING NEXT
ecoming a chef wasn’t in Nathan Outlaw’s original career plans. As a child, he wanted to be a Disney animator when he grew up but later believed his geographical positioning in Kent made a job of that nature somewhat unreachable. Instead, his natural ability for cooking and working alongside his father in an “industrial kitchen” from the age of eight saw him become one of the most respected chefs of our time. “I really liked the teamwork and 32 • HRNI SUMMER
banter in the kitchen and the building excitement as service approached,” says Nathan, when asked what the single most important influence was in drawing him into the industry. “When I told my parents I wanted to be a chef, they tried to talk me out of it but it obviously didn’t work.” His parents are probably glad their powers of persuasion fell on deaf ears as, to date, Nathan’s success has been immense for his 38 years. He runs his self-titled two Michelin starred-restaurant, Restaurant Nathan Outlaw, in Port Isaac, Cornwall. He has appeared on television shows such as BBC’s Great British Menu and Saturday Kitchen, and has released numerous cook books snapped up by chefs and cooking enthusiasts alike. While he believes passion and “a willingness to learn” was the backbone to becoming a successful chef, Nathan says a classical, theoretical background helps to prepare aspiring chefs for the industry. This belief has also seen him
“Sustainability is something I take very seriously. After all, if we continue to use just one or two species, there will be a time when there is nothing left. I think we have a responsibility in the industry to introduce and encourage the use of different species of fish.” become involved with Cornwall College, where he works alongside young chefs, although he confesses that colleges still have a lot of work to do to safeguard the trade. “Colleges need to keep up-to-date with the needs of the industry and make sure that young chefs leave prepared for the ‘real’ kitchen,” he says. “They
need to start with the basics before progressing on to more complex dishes and techniques. “It’s about the industry and education talking to each other and designing courses accordingly. At the end of the day, putting some effort into young chefs means we’ll have a highly skilled workforce in the future.” Among his own mentors Nathan can count Rick Stein, Gary Rhodes and Eric Chavot - names that no doubt assisted in catapulting him to fame, alongside his own efforts, of course. Nathan opened his first restaurant in May 2003 named The Black Pig. He was awarded his first Michelin star in the following January at the age of 25 and, in 2006, he took over the restaurant at the Marina Villa in Fowey, Cornwall, opening his self-titled Restaurant Nathan Outlaw in 2007. Then, in 2009, the Good Food Guide included Nathan’s self-titled restaurant at the 11th position, and described the chef as making “discreet but powerful waves” in the industry. He opened his second restaurant, the Nathan Outlaw Seafood Bar and Grill, at the St Enodoc hotel in Rock, Cornwall in May during the same year. Nathan cites Rick Stein as one of the biggest influencers behind his fish dish preference. “At the time, Rick Stein was just making it big on TV and he was the person I decided I wanted to work with,” he says. “I’d been to Cornwall on family holidays and knew I liked it there so I applied for a job. The rest is history.” His new cookbook explores food beyond the sea, with meat dishes and desserts also featuring but his passion for what he’s most famously known will never wane. “I love that each piece of fish is different so you never really know www.hospitalityreviewni.com
what’s going to happen,” he says. “Each fish will react differently to cooking dependent on where it’s been swimming and how active it’s been. It’s always a challenge. “Sustainability is something I take very seriously. After all, if we continue to use just one or two species, there will be a time when there is nothing left. I think we have a responsibility in the industry to introduce and encourage the use of different species of fish.” Having been prestigiously awarded Michelin stars, AA rosettes and Good Food Guide accolades from an early age, Nathan is quick to point out that the consistent flow of titles that he beckons aren’t solo achievements but recognition for his whole team. “I’ve never gone out specifically to gain any awards,” he says. “I just do what I think is right and, luckily, it seems that others like it.” And people more than like what the chef has created over the years, so much so he is one of the most-watched celebrity chefs hailing from England; exposure that he believes can only benefit custom and something his contemporaries should consider. “I don’t think in this day and age that you can survive by just being in the kitchen and doing your thing. The media and social media is a fact of life and to have any amount of success these days you need to be able to relate to people. Luckily, I quite like getting out there and meeting the public but I know others who are not so keen.” While it would appear that his
achievements have been somewhat effortless, a man of Nathan’s credibility still has his challenges, creating a work/ life balance being the biggest hurdle and one that he has yet to overcome he confessed. Nathan met his wife Rachel while he was working for Rick Stein and together they have two children, Jacob and Jessica. Beyond the kitchen, college, TV and home life, the chef is also busy penning cookbooks to spread his knowledge. His latest literary and visual treat is Nathan Outlaw’s Home Kitchen; a book he says caters to cooks of all abilities. “My new book is what it says in the title Home Kitchen,” he says. “It’s a collection of recipes I’ve been cooking with or for my family for years. It’s a book that you could give someone just starting out on their own but there are also some recipes for those who are more experienced. “I have a massive collection of cookery books and it occurred to me that very few would be suitable for the novice cook so I decided to set down a collection of recipes that I could give my children when they go off to college or wherever in a few years’ time. I cooked all the dishes for the photoshoot on a domestic cooker in an ordinary kitchen so I know they will work at home.” Unexpectedly the book features meat dishes and desserts as well as Sunday roasts “just to prove that I can cook more than fish. That’s something that comes as a surprise to some people.” Just recently, Nathan visited Galway as part of Chef Swap Aniar - a new project that has innovation, education and strengthening of Irish food at its centre. “That’s about sharing experiences and learning new things from each other,” he says. And although the trip only saw him based in the south, he has his eye on Northern Ireland, describing the restaurant scene here as ‘vibrant’. “I’ve been over several times now and each time I come I’m impressed with the passion of the chefs and the produce that is available locally,” he says. “Those two elements mean that things there are bound to get even better as time goes on.” So what’s next for the man who is literally balancing a thousand plates? “Who knows. It’s going to be a busy year but I don’t plan too far ahead. I like to wait and see what comes up and if I like the look of it, I’ll find out more.” SUMMER HRNI • 33
THE HARDEST WORKING TAP IN THE TRADE
GETS A MAKEOVER
34 â€¢ HRNI SUMMER
advertorial TENNENT’S DRAUGHT HAS THE HIGHEST RATE OF SALE IN THE TRADE, WITH MORE PINTS SERVED PER TAP THAN THE COMPETITION * AC NIELSEN MAT 2017
ennent’s Lager is rolling out its first new font in eight years to the Northern Ireland on trade, with 1,400 fonts to be installed in pubs, clubs and restaurants by the end of the summer. The innovative font features sleeves with iconic artwork that celebrates the brand’s 130 year heritage, including retro imagery of the brand and the iconic Lager Lovelies designs. The unique concept features interchangeable font casings, allowing switching between different designs, creating real and easy-to-vary talking points at the heart of the bar.
renewed and ready to roll out for a further five years … or we might harness the power of the Tennent’s tap to get behind the Northern Ireland football team as they prepare for the World Cup qualifier games. We’re thrilled to have the capacity to provide bespoke imagery but, whatever we do, we will create a real talking point at the bar and our creativity will drive increased sales.” In practical terms, the font retains the familiar high-quality and hard-working quality Rota tap fitting and can be set to serve Perfectly Chilled or Ice Cold to suit all needs.
consideration for those traditional beer occasions – the first pint refreshment on a Friday after work, the mid-week game … or those precious beer garden ‘Taps Aff’ days of summer. “Our app will motivate consumers to bring these moments back into the on trade with a reward of a free pint in an outlet of their choosing. Our marketing team has really delivered something new and fresh to reward our fans,” says Connor. Local grassroots investment also continues to be an area of focus for the leading lager brand. The second season of its Tennent’s Irish Cup finished with a bang with both fans and teams benefitting from the significant investment which Tennent’s brought to the domestic game. As official beer sponsor of the Northern Ireland football team, upcoming games offer Tennent’s the platform to reward Superfans with game tickets and match memorabilia via trade promotions, with the excitement and engagement captured on the brand’s facebook page for more than 114k followers.
THE HARDEST WORKING TAP IN THE TRADE*
*Highest Rate of Sale Brand, AC Nielsen MAT 2017.
Connor Magill, Regional Sales Manager for Tennent’s NI, (pictured) says; “We’re incredibly proud of our new font, which is absolutely unique in the marketplace. It has all the eye-catching standout that the trade and consumers have come to expect from Tennent’s. The concept brings something fresh and exciting to the bar top, delivered with the unique Tennent’s talkability factor that will engage drinkers of all ages. “By introducing a fully customisable sleeve for our font we have introduced dramatic new ways to capture the mood of the moment, making hugely impactful visual connections with, for example, Tennent’s sporting and music partnerships. The opportunities are limitless: an instant font change might celebrate our 26-year association with Féile an Phobail, for example, just www.hospitalityreviewni.com
Please Drink Tennent’s Responsibly. © 2017 C&C Group plc. Tennent’s and the red T are registered trademarks.
Further trade investment has seen an evolution of the much-loved Tennent’s glass. It still features the straight-up 26/05/2017 design and high performing bespoke nucleation but now the red T is outlined in real gold, the glass in 20mm taller and an embossed logo enhances the handling, with a feeling of solid quality. The brand has also invested in pub signage to celebrate the heritage of the brand. Connor says, “There is a lot of nostalgia around the brand for our Tennent’s consumers, and investing at the heart of the trade - at the point of purchase - brings that to the fore, but we don’t stop there. That’s why, as a brand, we are so involved on digital platforms and why we’ll be launching an innovative app this summer.” T’App, the new Tennent’s App, will drive footfall back to the trade by motivating
SUMMER HRNI • 35
COCKTAIL OF THE MONTH
THE FILTHy KrAKEN 40ml The Kraken Black Spiced Rum 10ml peach liqueur 10ml banana liqueur 30ml pineapple juice 20ml grapefruit juice 10ml cinnamon syrup Spray of Absinthe Shaken & poured over crushed ice Served in a tiki mug Garnished with mint, citrus & cherry
COCKTAIL MONTH OF THE
with the KraKen BlacK Spiced rum
In the latest of a regular series, we ask local bartenders to showcase a signature serve featuring the superb premium spirits brands presented by Proximo. David Kelly, cocktail bar manager at Filthy McNastys, creates a classic cocktail featuring The Kraken Black Spiced Rum.
ingredients 40ml The Kraken Black Spiced Rum
about the bartender
10ml peach liqueur
David has been in the bar trade for eight years, starting out in Café
10ml banana liqueur 30ml pineapple juice 20ml grapefruit juice 10ml cinnamon syrup Spray of Absinthe Shaken & poured over crushed ice Served in a tiki mug Garnished with mint, citrus & cherry
the KraKen BlacK Spiced rum
Vaudeville as a bar back for a year before progressing to the bar. After four and a half years at Café Vaudeville, he fancied a change and a rest from cocktails and moved to The Garrick but then found he missed them, and so moved to Rita’s when it first opened. After a year at Rita’s, he moved to Sweet Afton within the same complex as head bartender for four months before joining another pub falling under the same ownership, Filthy McNastys, around a year ago. David enjoys, “just the experience of meeting new people, and learning from others as well,” he says. “Making cocktails is a passion of mine, and I like reading about them and learning from other bartenders.”
The featured spirit in this month’s signature serve is The Kraken Black Spiced Rum. “I love tiki drinks,” says David Kelly. “They’re fun and fruity and everyone has that guilty pleasure of sweet drinks. Tiki is over the top, fun, summery,
David Kelly, cocktail bar manager at Filthy McNastys
refreshing drinks; very boozy and very fruity at the same time.” Available from all good wholesalers. Patrick Morgan T: 07734 128048 kraken spiced rum® and other trademarks are owned by agavera camichines, s.a.dec.v. ©2017 proximo spirits. enjoy the kraken black spiced rum responsibly.
A SUMMER OF #MAGNERSMUSIC AHEAD
orthern Ireland’s favourite cider is embracing music as its future platform for communications and creativity. The newly-announced Magners Music connection has kicked off with the announcement it will be involved in some of Northern Ireland’s top music events, with still more activity on the horizon. Magners is the headline sponsor of Belsonic as the music festival moves to Ormeau Park in June to celebrate its 10th anniversary, with space to cope with expanding audiences. That key sponsorship will be taken through the line with a creative out-of-home advertising campaign, below-theline activity across the trade, radio sponsorship and outside broadcasts, an extensive digital campaign plus experiential activity at each of the outdoor concerts, from June 13-30. The impact of Magners Music will be reinforced over the next month, with more innovative experiential activity at the Sunflower Festival in Hillsborough over July 28-30, as the brand continues to deepen its connection with festivalgoers. “We’re keeping Magners firmly front of mind this summer with a fresh and engaging communications platform
aimed at our core audience of 18-34 year-old cider drinkers - but this is only the beginning of an association which will grow and evolve, as we embrace everything that music means to our consumers,” said Julia Galbraith, Magners brand manager at Tennent’s NI. “When it comes to planning for the future, we speak to the people who share our passion for the brand, our consumers. When we asked 18-34-year-old cider drinkers how the brand fits into their lives they told us that, when they think of Magners, they think of the outdoors and good times with your mates. “When they think of how they want Magners to connect with their lives in the future they were unequivocal; they
GUINNESS BLUES ON THE BAY FESTIVAL RETURNS ON A HIGH NOTE
icturesque Warrenpoint played host to some of the world’s leading blues and jazz performers, who headed to the Co Down town for the 19th International Guinness Blues on the Bay Festival last month. The festival, sponsored by Diageo, attracted thousands of music-loving tourists with many coming from across the globe to visit the renowned festival, which offers over 90 free events. The 19th International Guinness Blues on the Bay Festival featured www.hospitalityreviewni.com
six days of amazing blues, jazz, music workshops and specialist cuisine and was jam-packed with artists from across the globe and from closer to home. The Festival also hosted a special concert at Warrenpoint Town Hall featuring the original members of Rory Gallagher’s band; Gerry McAvoy and Brendan O’Neil. Helping to showcase The Rory Gallagher Rhythm and Blues Revue were guitarists and vocalist Ben Poole and Gwyn Aston. Also in the band are James Sands and special guest
want live music events with credible acts and something special from Magners. That was our brief so that’s what we’re delivering… and this summer’s festival programme is just the beginning of a creative platform which we intend to grow in diverse and potentially surprising directions.” The new Northern Ireland campaign 100% Magners Irish Cider which will be much to the fore throughout summer on out of home, digital and trade also reinforces the brand’s famously intuitive resonance with young audiences. The quirky campaign uses statistics to make sharp observations on the lives of Magners consumers, taking a humorous look at people’s thoughts on all things relevant to modern day society. Grainne Duffy. Gallagher’s band were joined over the weekend by a number of local artists including Lisburn-based jazz, soul, gospel and funk singer Dana Masters who currently supports Van Morrison on tour. “The International Guinness Blues on the Bay Festival is attended by thousands of visitors each year from across Ireland and overseas,” said Paul Callan, Diageo Northern Ireland. “Guinness has been supporting the festival for a number of years and it is a great fit for our brand with talent, passion and fun always on show. “At Diageo we are committed to playing our part in helping to expand Northern Ireland’s tourism and hospitality offering and The International Guinness Blues on the Bay Festival continues to draw visitors into this stunning setting. “The Festival continues to grow from strength to strength and due to the high calibre of performers has established itself as a highlight of the entertainment calendar. A special thank you must go to the bars in Warrenpoint for their help and continued support to Diageo and this event.” SUMMER HRNI • 37
WHEN KEEPIN’ IT COUNTRY BECAME COOL DARREN GARDINER, FOUNDER AND OWNER OF LSFX PRODUCTIONS AND CO-FOUNDER AND OWNER WITH HIS WIFE KAREN OF GROUND ESPRESSO BARS, TELLS ALYSON MAGEE ABOUT HIS INVOLVEMENT IN THE FARMER’S BASH trend, and you’re seeing it on mainstream television “We wanted to take so the time was right.” the jiving scene and Additionally, the organisers set out to the farming scene, and create a “fun, familytry and elevate it onto friendly, all-inclusive event encompassing everything another level.” good about the country scene,” says Darren. “We wanted to take the jiving scene and the tonnes of equipment farming scene, and try and elevate it for World of Coffee. onto another level.” With coffee events And every indication so far suggests a speciality, LSFX will Farmer’s Bash is onto something. “We also be at the World Darren Gardiner is pictured, left, with Lisa McHugh, Mark Mahaffy and Kirstie McMurray from Downtown Radio and Downtown Country, and Derek have been absolutely blown away by Barista Championship Ryan at the launch event for the Farmer’s Bash. the response,” says Darren, with social in Seoul and World ews of the UK and Ireland’s biggest media posts by the Grassmen and artist Coffee Roasting Championship in ever indoor country music event, Lisa McHugh generating hundreds Guangzhou later in this year. Farmer’s Bash driven by Grassmen, of thousands of views with multiple And all this leads to Farmer’s Bash, coming to the SSE Arena Belfast was met comments and ‘likes’. for which LSFX will be harnessing its with immediate intrigue at the offices of “There’s a huge market in the wider full repertoire of technical expertise to Hospitality Review. farming community in Northern Ireland,” bring top notch production values to the The BBC show Keepin ‘er Country is says Darren, “and the really interesting country music and dancing event. certainly a guilty pleasure for many but Having worked with Nigel Campbell at thing is we’re seeing a crossover from an indoor jiving and country music event the diehard country fan to normal Glenarm Castle on the Dalriada Festival of that size? Who were the Grassmen? people actually looking at this and (see p40), which Darren describes as And what had cool coffee bar chain thinking, you know what, that would be “one of the best-run events in Northern Ground to do with it all? a great night’s craic. Ireland”, the two began discussing the With a little delving, the answers came “It’s going to be a safe environment, absence of any local, large-scale events thick and fast and were surprising. It and these people know how to have fun. aimed at the farming community. turns out country is pretty cool, igniting I can honestly tell you we have not had After considering the possibility of secret toe-tapping desires far beyond the hosting such an event at the Dalriada one negative comment about it. farming community. “As it progresses, we’re certain this Festival, they decided to “grow a set,” The Ballymena-based Grassmen are event will sell out. It’s tapped into says Darren, “take a risk, and put it on a Youtube sensation with their tractorsomething that’s a little different and, with the production values it deserves. driving videos attracting millions of talking about where Northern Ireland is “These artists playing at the Farmer’s views, sell related merchandise as fast at the minute, people want to go out and Bash, you can see them at lots of as they can make it and tour the UK and have a good time and it’s not necessarily events throughout the year, but you’re Ireland as farming ambassadors and just about the pubs and clubs.” never going to get to see them on a charity fundraisers. purpose-built, custom-made stage with And, as for Darren Gardiner, it a massive light rig and a monstrous transpires Ground is only a side line and sound system and huge LED screens he has a day job as the founder and and pyrotechnics and confetti bombs. owner of LSFX Productions, providing “And the inherent risk in that is, is sound, lighting, audio visual and the market ready for it? Everybody livestreaming solutions for global events said we were mad because, let me tell over the last 25 years. you, it’s not cheap to go to the arena This year alone, LSFX has taken its and stage an event. So, we worked local team to set up events in the US on the line up and, the more we cities of Austin, Knoxville, Seattle, Los thought about it, the key to success Angeles and New York while, in June, would be incorporating the jiving the team will be heading to Budapest as very much a big part of what the with two 45-foot trucks carrying 20 event would be. That’s very much on
38 • HRNI SUMMER
GROUND IS ‘MORE HOUSEWIFE THAN HIPSTER’
midst a sea of hipster coffee shops washing across the Province, Ground Espresso Bars – while not too shabby on the style front itself - has maintained a stalwart, steadily-growing presence. Flash-in-the-pan trends have never been its MO. “There was a term we came up with at one of our management meetings to describe what we are doing,” says Darren Gardiner, co-founder and owner of the chain with his wife Karen. “We’re more housewife than hipster. We want to be accessible to all.” The first Ground opened in Coleraine in 2001 as a side line to Darren’s day job, events company LSFX Productions. While Darren says it was a “disaster”, the Gardiners kept at it, refining and evolving the concept into the successful business it is today. Sixteen years on, Ground totals 19 stores in Northern Ireland and one in the Republic of Ireland, accelerating its growth in recent years with another 12-plus outlets planned for the next 18 months; potentially expanding its current workforce of 250 to 400. An internal training programme takes staff members through four levels of barista training, and Ground is currently on a drive to recruit more female baristas into the industry. As well as standalone coffee shops, it operates partnerships with Next, Waterstones, Translink and Tesco, and is eying an expansion into mainland Britain. “We’re very choosey,” says Darren. “We turn down 10 sites for every one that we’d even consider making an offer on, and we look at the demographics and the catchment area.” A major point of pride has been making it into Allegra Strategies’ top 20 UK coffee market operators for the first www.hospitalityreviewni.com
time this year, with the industry research consultancy classifying Ground as a ‘scaled artisan’. “We have still maintained that artisan feel but managed to scale it up for growth which is hard,” says Darren. “It’s taken years and a pretty big team to do that.” “We would compete directly with the higher end of the market, the good independents and the chains like Costa, Caffe Nero and Starbucks. This year’s turnover is probably going to be in the region of about £8m, and has grown considerably over the last couple of years. “I think what you’re finding now is the coffee industry is on trend; everybody’s wanting a slice of the pie and a lot of bars and restaurants are developing a coffee offering where it used to be an afterthought.” Key to Ground’s growth has been heavy investment behind the scenes in cost and stock control systems and a senior management team. “We have a team in place that will allow us to double the size of our company as it stands, and we would say that’s the secret to our success,” says Darren. The business is also constantly collating and analysing sales data to see what’s working. “So we know, for example, we have a traybake called a Caramel Oaty Bar which we can’t give away in our Ballymoney store but we sell tonnes of them in our Dublin store.” Another focus is NPD and developing ‘hero products’ from Ground’s Salted
Caramel Brownie to a new range of decadent summer shakes, while Suki teas are a growth area. Inspiration is drawn from the international travels of LSFX, rather than the local coffee scene. “There’s a lot of ‘artisans’ out there,” he says. “The problem is they’re all doing the same thing, and we’re in that genre but I think the next move is back to basics and just making good coffee. “What’s different about us is that we evolve ourselves, and make our own choices. We get it wrong sometimes but are not lead by what a certain section of the market believes is on trend.” Ground is happy to use the best machines and coffee without making a fuss about it, while a very important element of the business is its commitment to ethical trading with a supplier in Honduras. “We take that very seriously,” says Darren. “We know exactly where our coffee comes from, who roasted it, how much they’re getting paid for it, their needs as a community and how we can help them. That to us is a point of entry if you want to be serious in the coffee industry in Northern Ireland. “We could buy considerably cheaper commodity coffee, and to be honest the customer probably wouldn’t even notice, but it was something we needed to do. “There are a lot of pretend independents out there who don’t care about the industry, the values or the farmers but they all fail because they don’t have the pride and the passion.” SUMMER HRNI • 39
PEPPA PIG AND NATHAN CARTER AMONG THE STAR ATTRACTIONS AT THIS YEAR’S DALRIADA FESTIVAL GLENARM CASTLE EXTENDS ITS TEA ROOMS AND WIDER HOSPITALITY OFFER
Launching this year’s Dalriada Festival are Roy Webb and Andrew McCann from CarNET Car Sales, which is sponsoring the kid’s zone is this year, alongside Tyler Campbell from Glenarm and Soley Laverty from Belfast.
Wife Carrying Championship is among new attractions to feature at Ireland’s most popular family festival, which attracts over 30,000 visitors each year and will return to Glenarm Castle again this year over July 15-16. Dalriada Festival is again presenting a cornucopia of delights including music, food, sport and children’s events sure to delight everyone. The Camlin Group is the title sponsor while, for the first time, the official Peppa Pig characters will meet and greet the kids. This children’s favourite is set to equal the phenomenal success of last year’s meet and greet with Nickelodeon’s PAW Patrol which attracted thousands of fans to the event. Dalriada Festival also welcomes the return of the annual Co Antrim Pipe Band Championships, The Nation’s Strongman Championships and an exciting addition to the festival - Northern Ireland’s first ever Wife Carrying Championships. Another first for Dalriada and indeed Northern Ireland, is Northern Ireland’s first ever Mussel Eating Competition sponsored by The Fullerton Arms in Ballintoy. Due to popular demand, this year’s festival kicks off on July 14, a day earlier than previous years, with the return of Ireland’s favourite country star, Nathan Carter, sponsored by The Sitting Room Hairdressing in Ballymena. Donna Taggart, whose single Jealous of the Angels has received global success, and has now reached 85 million 40 • HRNI SUMMER
views on Facebook, will be making her Dalriada debut. The Fureys and Dublin City Ramblers are just some more of the festival’s music offerings. The community of Glenarm will take up the baton from July 17, hosting an action-packed programme of sporting events and other entertainment including a duathlon, triathlon, super-endurocross, rowing regatta and mountain bike enduro race. The festival will culminate with a street fair, carnival and fireworks finale on July 22. “There’s already a great buzz about our festival locally and further afield,” said Nigel Campbell, events and marketing manager for Glenarm Castle. “Having the official Peppa Pig characters for the first time in Co Antrim is a real coup and there’s so much more to enjoy with the eight music stages and comedy house. “We haven’t forgotten our good foodloving visitors as the fine food courtyard will be serving up our own shorthorn beef, which is farmed at Glenarm and recently won supreme overall champion at the prestigious Great Taste awards in London. “There’s certainly something for all the family with lots more entertainment for the children, crafts and shopping, live wrestling and our ever-popular sheep fashion shows and companion dog competition.” Other sponsors of the event include Mid & East Antrim Council, Belfast Telegraph, Sunday Life, Cool FM and Downtown Radio.
lenarm Castle, home of the popular Dalriada Festival, is rolling out its hospitality and tourism offer with extended Tea Rooms, a new gift shop, a summer programme of events and expanded corporate and wedding facilities. The new Tea Rooms, which are managed by chef Justin Donaldson and his team from the Fatted Calf, have tripled in size and include a retail sales area specialising in local food (separate to the gift shop). Local produce, including Glenarm Castle’s own award-winning shorthorn beef and salmon, is also the focus of the Tea Rooms menu, which is particularly popular among families, couples and ladies’ groups coming in for breakfast and afternoon tea. Up to 75 can be seated inside, and an additional 50 outside on two patios, at the Tea Rooms, which employ 20 full-time, 10 part-time and up to 20 casual staff. Demand from increased footfall drove the expansion, with the venue now open seasonally from 10am to 5pm on Monday to Saturday and from 11am to 5pm on Sunday, while plans are in place to extend its opening to Christmas and perhaps all year. “The main aim was to extend the building but maintain the existing charm and character of the old tea room,” said Nigel Campbell, events and marketing manager for Glenarm Castle. “It was very much an in-house and a team effort. We knew what the public needed, we visualised how we wanted it to look and we put together a brief which a local architect then pulled together. “The interior design was put together by Laura Morrow who is on her year out from the University of Ulster studying Interior Design.”
P&F AMUSEMENTS LAUNCH NEW MULTIGAME TERMINAL I
s your gaming income being affected by the machines in the bookmakers? If so you should be thinking seriously about installing the P&F Multi-Game terminal. As main suppliers of Bookmakers in N.I we know what punters want to play and have therefore installed some of these games on a new modern terminal. Machine players in bars/clubs etc. now are getting fed up with the run of the mill Poker/Fruit machines in their locals and are now looking for something different to keep their interest. Taking this on board and with our FOBT experience we have put a lot of development into the content on the terminal.
The cabinet measuring H165cmxW52cmxD62cm has full High Res pictures to give very sharp graphics in all games, has full hopper pay-out and full coin and note acceptance to mention just a few features. New games are being added on a regular basis after testing and Jackpots are fully adjustable for their venue. Adding this to P&F’s already proven large portfolio of other gaming and amusement equipment, this terminal is a must for your premises. One machine with all the games of currently seven. Contact us on the details below for a chat or a site visit from our sales team. Tel: 02890 370314 www.pandfamusements.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
Northern Ireland’s Premier Suppliers of all coin operated gaming and amusement equipment
* Public Houses * Social Clubs * Bookmakers * Hotels * Amusement arcades * Bingo Centres * Pool & Snooker Clubs Tel: 02890 370314 (4 lines) firstname.lastname@example.org Sales@pandfamusements.com Web: www.pandfamusements.com www.hospitalityreviewni.com
SUMMER HRNI • 41
WHITE HORSE COACHING INN SECURES NEW OWNERSHIP
BITTLES SITE SOLD TO PROPERTY DEVELOPER The home of Belfast bar Bittles has been sold to property developer BJ Eastwood’s Wirefox division. While Wirefox has refurbishment plans for the building, which include new office space to be placed on the market, the purchase is not expected to affect the bar. Wirefox described the building as ‘one of the most eye-catching buildings in Belfast, similar in shape to the Flatiron Building in New York’, offering ‘tremendous potential for development’.
THE DIRTY ONION BECOMES A DOGFRIENDLY BAR
Gavin Weir, director of GVA NI, which completed the deal, is pictured with Gavin Bates, owner, the White Horse Coaching Inn.
ocal publican Gavin Bates, leaseholder of the popular Ryan’s Bar on the Lisburn Road, Belfast, has recently expanded his bar and restaurant portfolio, acquiring the 200-year-old White Horse Coaching Inn in Saintfield and Flaming Crust Pizza restaurant from Bernard Sloan of Whitewater Brewery in an off-market deal. “We are delighted to have expanded our business into Saintfield,” said Bates. “The White Horse is a historical, traditional, family-friendly bar and restaurant at the hub of the local
community, and I am really enjoying building relationships with our customers. “Our food offering has something to cater for everyone’s taste buds, with the 60-seat bar restaurant serving up a varied menu of gastro pub food and The Flaming Crust Pizza restaurant on the lower level of the property serving authentic Italian pizza from the woodfired oven. Our menus feature popular mid-week and weekend specials and all of our food is freshly prepared each day using local ingredients, including meat from our nearby butcher.”
BUSHMILLS BRINGS A TASTE OF ANTRIM TO THE DERRY-LONDONDERRY BAR TRADE
ushmills Irish Whiskey welcomed over 50 bar-tenders, managers and venue owners to a special tasting recently at the Walled City Brewery, Derry-Londonderry. The free event, attended by over 15 of Derry-Londonderry’s leading venues, marked Bushmills Irish Whiskey’s first trade event in the city for a number of years. The Old Bushmills Distillery is one of the first distilleries in the world to make both single malt and blended Irish whiskey. Attendees were welcomed with Bushmills Irish Whiskey’s newest serve, the Black and White – Black Bush topped up with refreshing white lemonade, garnished with a zesty wedge of orange. They also had the opportunity
42 • HRNI SUMMER
to experience the full Bushmills Irish Whiskey range including Bushmills finest malt whiskies, the Bushmillls 10-yearold, Bushmills 16-year-old and Bushmills 21-year-old. Also showcased was the wider portfolio from Bushmills distributor, Proximo Spirits.
The Dirty Onion in Belfast’s Cathedral Quarter is throwing open its doors to welcome furry, fourlegged customers, becoming part of a select list of venues that are dogfriendly in the city centre. Dogs can now soak up the sun alongside their owners in the beer garden or enjoy a lazy day by the blazing fire inside the bar in winter months. They will also be offered refreshments, tasty treats and special doggy Dirty Onion merchandise will be available to purchase.
JD WETHERSPOON CHIEF ALLAYS BREXIT FEARS JD Wetherspoon pub chain boss Tim Martin says Northern Ireland has “nothing to fear” from Brexit as the company pushes on with two new bars in Belfast. The chain, which has close to 1,000 bars across the UK and Ireland, has also unveiled design plans for its planned pub at Royal Avenue in Belfast City Centre. “I think there is nothing to fear from leaving the EU,” he said “There are problems that have to be sorted out, like a soft border, but with ingenuity people will solve those problems.”
ARE YOU PREPARED TO RENEW YOUR LIQUOR LICENCE? REGARDLESS OF WHEN YOU LAST RENEWED YOUR LIQUOR LICENCE, YOU MUST DO SO THIS YEAR AHEAD OF THE SEPTEMBER DEADLINE Hospitality Ulster Chief Executive Colin Neill said: “It is time for every business to move on this matter. Although renewal forms are due in September, there is a lengthy process to go through. “Back in 2012 some 63 licensees failed to meet the deadline, which demanded the support of Hospitality Ulster to prevent closures. We do not want anyone to have to endure this in 2017. The sooner you act, the better.” Hospitality Ulster members seeking assistance are advised to contact Colin Mitchell at McCartan Turkington Breen on 028 9032 9801 for further advice, and a special members-only renewal rate. For any other queries, contact the office on 028 9032 7578.
HOSPITALITY ULSTER HIGHLIGHTS BREXIT ISSUES AROUND SECTOR BREXIT DEMANDS FOR NORTHERN IRELAND
order controls and other issues of unique concern to the Northern Ireland hospitality and tourism sector have been raised by Hospitality Ulster in a policy paper, Brexit & Beyond. ‘The added complexity of Northern Ireland’s interlinked tourism and wider economy with GB and RoI places a much greater emphasis on the need to ensure any, and all, outcomes from Brexit do not place Northern Ireland, and the hospitality and tourism industry in particular, at a disadvantage in the post-Brexit period,’ reads the report.
THE STATS: THE NI HOSPITALITY SECTOR Hospitality Ulster is calling on Westminster and the Northern Ireland Assembly to recognise the significant economic value of the Northern Ireland hospitality and tourism industry. • The Northern Ireland hospitality industry sustains 60,000 jobs* • Supports 45,000 jobs in food and drink* • £653.4m wage contribution of the hospitality industry* • Tourism in Northern Ireland provides 58,000 jobs** • Wider tourism economy contributes £1.6bn to NI’s GDP** • Food and drink accounts for over 30% of visitor spend** • NI Assembly has targets to grow tourism jobs by 8,000 by 2025 • Tourism is an export generator, valued at £545m in 2015** *Economic Impact Assessment of the Northern Ireland Hospitality Sector: Oxford Economics May 2015 **Tourism Northern Ireland 44 • HRNI SUMMER
WIDER HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM INDUSTRY PRIORITIES Common UK-wide issues, meanwhile, include: • No changes to the rights of existing EU workers in the industry and within the supply chain. • Any future immigration system to support effectively the necessary levels of stafﬁng for hospitality and tourism businesses. • Any quota system to take account of the service sector and areas of staff shortages (such as chefs). • A free trade deal with the EU as a priority with no tariffs or additional paperwork for imported goods, especially goods produced in RoI. • Free-trade deals with key thirdcountry partners and the rest of the world that beneﬁt the economy and support our domestic market. • Maintaining a food safety system that is compliant with the demands of leading trade partners around the world. • A review of where state aid and free movement rules are hampering business support. • A more competitive excise duty regime that supports growth in tourism and encourages the consumption of lower strength drinks and supports pubs. • Reduced VAT on accommodation and food. • Work with industry to identify other opportunities to develop a more effective and light touch regulatory regime particularly for SMEs. • EU legislation currently implemented to be the default starting point where time is needed to get regulation right for UK business.
Hospitality Ulster believes NI’s unique situation should be recognised and supported through the following measures: • Maintain the common travel area between RoI and Northern Ireland. • Simpliﬁcation of visa requirements for visitors from non-EU countries. • A comprehensive plan to address the skills shortage in Northern Ireland. • No change to the rights of RoI citizens to work in Northern Ireland. • Any future immigration system to be based on a regional system taking account of regional staff shortages and pay scales, including current Tier 2 occupations. • Ensure the unhindered movement of goods and services between RoI and Northern Ireland. • Until such times as Westminster reduces the UK tourism VAT rate, a regional VAT rate should be introduced as a stimulus to growth to offset the uncompetitive situation that exists between RoI and NI. • Exempt NI from Air Passenger Duty (similar to the Scottish Highlands and Islands). • Maintain unfettered air access with no restrictions on pricing, or capacity, across Europe. • Provide financial support for the development of new international air routes into Northern Ireland and investment in the road and rail infrastructure from our air and sea ports. • Provide greater financial support for the promotion of Northern Ireland tourism in RoI, UK and overseas markets. • Honour the commitment to guarantee funding for structural and investment projects, signed after the Autumn Statement. • Replace EU funding with sustained financial support, taking account of regional needs. • Revoke unnecessarily burdensome regulations that particularly impact small and medium businesses. • Government, Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland to bolster activity to communicate Northern Ireland as a welcoming destination in GB, RoI and overseas markets.
WHY DOES THE RESPONSIBLE RETAILING CODE NI EXIST?
THIRD EDITION OF THE RESPONSIBLE RETAILING CODE OFFERS GUIDANCE TO KEEP TRADE ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE LAW
ndustry is urged to pick up a copy of the third edition of the Joint Industry Code for the Responsible Promotion and Retail of Alcohol in Northern Ireland. First introduced in May 2012, the latest edition of the self-regulatory Code outlines the basic standards expected of those involved in the production, promotion, retail and service of alcohol in Northern Ireland. Additions to the latest Code include its extension to cover all promotions via social media, and a recommendation
to enhance staff training in relation to responsible serving. In a foreword to the Code, Minister for Communities Paul Givan highlights the importance of the Code and responsible alcohol sales, given his introduction of the Bill to amend the current Liquor Licensing Legislation in Northern Ireland. The Code includes extensive examples of complaints withheld or dismissed since 2012, including these three cases for which the complaints were upheld:
By Colin Neill, CEO, Hospitality Ulster
he ability to self-regulate and outwardly demonstrate the high standards which already exist in Northern Ireland’s hospitality and tourism industry is key to continuing to modernise and professionalise not only liquor licensing legislation, but the industry itself. Before 2012, prohibitive promotions legislation had been drafted which would have seen the end of responsible hospitality businesses offering any kind of sensible, valuefor-money promotions. Promotions which do have a place in the industry! This legislation would have effectively ceased all alcohol promotions in Northern Ireland, including the most basic of offers such as ’50p off a pensioner’s pint’. The Joint Industry Code for the Responsible Promotion and Retail of Alcohol is not the ‘fun police’. It is an independent body which was introduced in May 2012 by the industry itself, in order to take the place of proposed prohibitive legislation in Northern Ireland. Instead of stopping promotions, its existence actually allows them to happen!
All three of these promotional strategies were found in be in contravention of the Joint Industry Code for the Responsible Promotion and Retail of Alcohol in Northern Ireland.
Overseeing compliance with the Code is an Independent Complaints Panel (ICP) consisting of independent professionals with extensive knowledge and experience in the alcohol, justice, health, education and youth services. ICP is responsible for overseeing the compliance of the industry with the Code and considering complaints made with regards to potential breaches of the Code. The Code is funded by Diageo, Dillon Bass, Golf Holdings, Heineken Northern Ireland, Molson Coors, SHS Drinks and Tennents NI, with Hospitality Ulster and the Northern Ireland Drinks Industry Group as industry advisors. Further information and a full copy of the Code can be found at www.responsibleretailingcodeNI.com.
SUMMER HRNI • 45
WHY, OH WHY, OH WHY...
BEANNCHOR BOSS SHARES THE SECRETS OF LEADERSHIP
BY ADRIENNE HANNA, FOUNDER & CEO, RIGHT REVENUE
hy do we do it? Why do we give more and more control to the OTAs and not learn to manage these relationships? We know that they don’t play fair, so why are we not clinging to the last pieces of control that we do have? AVAILABILITY - Ask yourself, who is managing your availability and how? OTAs can only book rooms that you give them, so manage your availability with the same gusto that you manage your rates and make sure you understand when you need OTA business and when you don’t. If you have a Revenue Management system in place this should do this for you but if not, then make sure you understand booking trends and booking pace for ALL channels. When do you need to release rooms and when do you need to restrict? And of course the place to make the most profitability is when you are clever and manage this far in advance. What are your trends a year or 180 days in advance? No point in waiting until seven days out and then closing... manage each channel and, at the very least, put Trigger Points in place that will at least alert you to an action and allow you to restrict. ROOM TYPES You don’t need to give an OTA all of your room types. Depending on your business, you can either offload some of your more basic rooms to these channels or perhaps keep the standard rooms for yourself so you have a better price point to advertise and sell only your Deluxe through the OTAs. No matter what you chose to do, you need to manage it. REVENUE MANAGEMENT Now here is the real cherry on the cake of control. A year or so ago, Booking.com bought Price Match. Price Match was a revenue start-up and offered fairly-limited revenue management. They relied heavily on recommending rates for your hotel based mainly on what your competitors are selling - a practice we all know is foolhardy. But what Price Match had was integrations to Property Management Systems. Booking.com are about to make a huge push to offer their new Revenue Management tool and are selling this so that they can offer a rate management solution, releasing you from the stress of trying to come up with a profitable selling strategy. However, I ask you to consider if you are comfortable openly giving access to Booking.com to all of your data? With these interfaces, they can see everything and I mean everything about your business. Your data should be yours and yours alone and only passed to companies who are working with you, not against you. Commissions are dropping all over the place as Expedia and Booking.com continue to fight and throw their toys out of the pram. I ask you only to consider the control you give these OTAs (commission is actually secondary). After all, you only pay commission on the amount of control you have given away. Play the game and play it smart. (and for all things revenue, email@example.com) Visit www.rightrevenue.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org
46 • HRNI SUMMER
Pictured are, from left, Dr Bill Wolsey (Beannchor Group); Cathriona Hallahan (Microsoft Ireland); Brian Gillan (First Trust Bank) and Ann McGregor (NI Chamber).
wo exceptional leaders in business shared their inspirational stories on leading highly successful businesses at an event hosted by Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber) and First Trust Bank last month. Cathriona Hallahan, managing director of Microsoft Ireland and Dr Bill Wolsey, founder & MD of the Beannchor Group outlined how they overcame challenges and harnessed opportunities in order to improve performance, stimulate growth and sustain long-term success. “Leadership is about being passionate, empowering and trusting people,” said Wolsey. “If anyone wants to learn, we teach. If anyone wants to know profitability, we show.”
THE OLD SCHOOLHOUSE INN LIFTS AA AWARD
erry and Avril Brown from The Old Schoolhouse Inn in Comber have been presented with AA Guest Accommodation of the Year for Northern Ireland Pictured are Andrew Oxley, AA at the AA B&B Awards Hotel Services, Avril Brown and Sharon Alhalab from The Old 2017. Schoolhouse and Giovanna All the winners were Grossi, AA Hotel Services. nominated by AA Inspectors who inspect and rate over 2,000 B&Bs throughout the UK, while the awards were presented at an annual ceremony in the London Landmark Hotel. The Browns purchased the Old Schoolhouse as a school in 1984, transforming it into an eight-bedroom inn with each bedroom named after an American president of Ulster descent. Guests enjoy a genuine Irish welcome, Avril’s sumptuous breakfasts including Guinness Wheaten Bread and dinner in a two AA Rosette restaurant run by Avril and Terry’s son Will and his partner Karena. twitter.com: @Hosp_ReviewNI
ENJOY MARTINI RESPONSIBLY © 2016. MARTINI, ITS TRADE DRESS AND THE “BALL AND BAR” LOGO ARE REGISTERED TRADEMARKS.
RECORD REVENUE AND A STRONG HOTEL PERFORMANCE APPARENT IN NISRA RESULTS BY JANICE GAULT, CEO OF THE NORTHERN IRELAND HOTELS FEDERATION
he 2016 tourism figures released by NISRA show a strong performance with growth in spend and a modest increase in overall visitor numbers. The holy grail for tourism is for the industry to break the £1bn barrier of spend and, with a figure of £851m in 2016, this target appears to be well within our grasp. Drilling into the performance, there are a couple of points worth noting. The actual number of visits grew from overseas (including RoI, GB and rest of the world) by a healthy 12%. Domestic trips fell by 11% over the last year. In recent times, visitor attractions and notable locations eg The Dark Hedges, have experienced challenges at very busy times. This has led to questions about how we can manage visitor numbers whilst growing revenue and providing an excellent experience. It is important that a collective approach is taken to spreading visits, extending the shoulder seasons and ensuring that we do not create a poor customer experience. Tourism revenue from overseas grew by 12% excluding income from visitors from the Republic of Ireland. The map 48 • HRNI SUMMER
graphic shows the level of spend versus visits. Despite only accounting for 16% of the overall visits, visitors from the rest of the world account for 27% of the overall spend. Engagement by Tourism Ireland with consumers in Great Britain, North America, Europe and long haul destinations has seen holiday makers grow in these markets by 15%. This is a continuation of the positive trend started in 2011. The RoI market has also paid dividends this year attributing £70m to the local economy, an increase of 15%. Our nearest neighbour has potential for real growth and promotional activity in conjunction with Tourism Northern Ireland has produced a great performance in 2016. The hotel sector had a good year with over two million hotel rooms being sold. Hotels remain the accommodation choice with tourists accounting for 74% of the overall room/unit sales in 2016. Figures from STR and the NIHF are slightly higher, giving 2.1m hotel rooms sold in 2016. Data from ASM Belfast collated in 2015 which is set to increase for 2016, shows additional
revenues make every available room worth approx. £21,000 per annum. The current number of hotel rooms sits at 7,887 contributing more than £165m for the local economy. As room numbers grow, even considering sector pressures on rate and occupancy, this figure is likely to break the £200m mark by 2020. It is important to note that all overseas tourism revenue is considered an export. The total figure for 2016 stands at an estimated £613m! It would be a real result for the industry if government was to recognise this economic contribution as such and apply a more favourable VAT rate as a matter of urgency. The 2016 figures along with a good start to 2017 highlights the sector’s ability to contribute at a substantial level to the Northern Ireland economy. Current expansion plans for the hotel sector will see the industry support in the region of 15,000 jobs by 2020 and really allows us to make the case for a more favourable business environment to sustain this growth and allow tourism to reach its full potential.
17TH & 18TH OCTOBER 2017 CROWNE PLAZA BELFAST
Northern Ireland’s leading hospitality conference and exhibition.
YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO MEET, GREET AND ENGAGE WITH KEY INDUSTRY PLAYERS.
ity fin Af et N
ue en ev R
W & es R te es rn or H ts ot
Bar Fire Exit
Seminar Room 1
McCue Crafted Fit
Stairs to Seminar Room 2
Henderson Foodservice Coffee/Tea Stand
Window Henderson Foodservice
Stands are already selling quickly so please contact us for an updated stand plan via anna@ nihf.co.uk or by calling 028 9077 6635. Watch out for more information over the next few months via hospitalityexchange.co.uk.
LOCAL HOSPITALITY SHINES AT HOTEL RECEPTIONIST OF THE YEAR AWARDS CONTESTANTS FROM THE NORTH WEST TRIUMPH AT THE ANNUAL AWARDS HOTEL RECEPTIONIST OF THE YEAR 2017 WINNER: Laura Curran, Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Derry-Londonderry JOINT RUNNERS UP: Sophie Emerson, The Old Inn, Crawfordsburn; Stephanie McCarron, Bishop’s Gate Hotel, Derry-Londonderry
HOTEL RECEPTIONIST OF THE YEAR MOST PROMISING CATEGORY
WINNER: Adam Sweeney, Waterfoot Hotel, Derry-Londonderry RUNNER UP: Gemma McCallion, Maldron Hotel, Derry-Londonderry
Compere Barra Best, right, congratulates Hotel Receptionist of the Year 2017 winner Laura Curran (Bishop’s Gate Hotel), Most Promising category winner Adam Sweeney (Waterfoot Hotel) and Team category winner Gillian Wilson (representing the Bushmills Inn).
HOTEL RECEPTION OF THE YEAR 2017 TEAM CATEGORY
WINNER: Bushmills Inn, Bushmills RUNNER UP: Tara Lodge, Belfast HOW DOES NIHF JUDGE HOTEL RECEPTIONIST OF THE YEAR? https://youtu.be/GczBmsXnAyo https://youtu.be/pE3RWciL5VM
orthern Ireland Hotels Federation hosted its annual Hotel Receptionist of the Year gala awards ceremony in the Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel & Lodges on May 10. Almost 80 entrants from Northern Ireland’s top venues were competing for gold in the various categories. “It is great to see such enthusiasm for these awards,” said Ciaran O’Neill, president of NIHF. “We had a record number of competition entries this year. The standard throughout the entire competition was particularly high with the judges commenting on the exceptional quality of the finalists. “It is a pleasure for the Northern Ireland Hotels Federation to recognise the important role of the receptionist, reflect on the exceptional talent that we have in Northern Ireland and reward those who ensure the success of our hotels. 50 • HRNI SUMMER
Barra Best is pictured with joint runner-up Stephanie McCarron (Bishop’s Gate Hotel), winner Laura Curran (Bishop’s Gate Hotel), joint runner-up Sophie Emerson (The Old Inn), and category sponsor Adrienne Hanna of Right Revenue.
“Within the tourism industry, people are an essential part of our hotel product we simply cannot function without them. The receptionist role is multi-faceted. It includes welcoming guests, dealing with queries, managing complaints and imparting information on local attractions. “Receptionists must have an excellent knowledge of not only their own hotel’s amenities but of attractions, sites and products in their local area. Every day they deal with a wide range of requests and many miscellaneous issues. “This competition is also a great example of working in partnership. The support of category sponsors: Tourism Northern Ireland, Net Affinity and Right Revenue coupled with the assistance of
Omagh & Fermanagh District Council, Life – One Great Adventure and Frost Couture has been essential in making the event possible. I want to thank all of our generous sponsors.” Scooping the title of Hotel Receptionist of the Year 2017 was Laura Curran of Bishop’s Gate Hotel, DerryLondonderry. The judges described Laura as “someone who has such passion for the job and the industry, she should be bottled and used as a global ambassador.” Meanwhile, the accolade of Most Promising Hotel Receptionist of the Year 2017, supported by Net Affinity, was bestowed on Adam Sweeney, Waterfoot Hotel, Derry-Londonderry. Adam was described by the judges
nihfawards Pictured celebrating are, back row, Gemma McCallion (Maldron Hotel), Laura Curran (Bishop’s Gate Hotel), Stephanie McCarron (Bishop’s Gate Hotel) and, front row, Adam Sweeney (Waterfoot Hotel).
as: “warm, energetic and enthusiastic with exceptional business acumen. This person’s passion for hospitality and their story of progression is a real inspiration”. Finally, in the team category, the title of Hotel Reception of the Year 2017, sponsored by Tourism Northern Ireland, went to Bushmills Inn, Bushmills. One of the judges summed up the interaction they had with the team as: “Possibly one of the best check-in experiences I have ever had throughout my years of hotel inspecting. The experience was a perfect mix of genuine hospitality, very good systems and a well-trained team.”
William Cotter and Sharon Power Cowley from category sponsor Net Affinity are pictured with Most Promising category winner Adam Sweeney (Waterfoot Hotel), Barra Best and runner up Gemma McCallion (Maldron Hotel, Derry-Londonderry).
Ciaran O’Neill, president of NIHF, and compere Barra Best congratulate Hotel Reception of the Year 2017 Team category runner up Sinéad Tierney (Tara Lodge), second left, and winner Gillian Wilson (Bushmills Inn), right.
Joanne McFetridge, Melanie Peachey, Gillian Wilson and Nichola Cassidy (Bushmills Inn).
Sophie Emerson, Hannah Baker, Garvan Rice and Michael Joseph (Old Inn).
Brian Tracey, Tiarnach Craig, Jackie Johnston, Lynn Redden, Emmett McErlane, Colleen McGivern and Helen Crawford (Maldron Belfast).
Glenn Monahan, Louise McKinstry and Samantha Corr (Tourism Northern Ireland) with Terry McCartney (Belmore Court & Motel).
Stephen Redden, Caoimhe Quinn, Jenny Drain, Aimee Scullion, Neil Gilbride and Andrew McWhiter (Clayton Hotel Belfast).
Chiree Bowen, Catherine McConnell, Gemma McCallion and Mike Gatt (Maldron Derry).
SUMMER HRNI • 51
STARS OF HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY SHINE AT IOH GALA AWARDS
orthern Ireland’s hospitality industry celebrated in style at the 22nd Institute of Hospitality NI Awards presented at a prestigious gala ball and awards ceremony on May 5 in Titanic Belfast. The glittering event was hosted by BBC’s Barra Best and UTV’s Pamela Ballantine.
Michael Cafolla; Ian Manson, Stephens Catering Equipment; Laura McKee (Student Management Potential Award); and Pamela Ballantine.
Michael Cafolla, and Simon and Jilly Dougan from Yellow Door (Outstanding Contribution Award).
Michael Cafolla; Michael Scott from Firmus Energy; representatives from The Dorman Group (Hospitality Management Team of the Year); and Pamela Ballantine.
Michael Cafolla; Mel Bacon, Lynas Foods; Jonathan McBride, Haptik (Coffee Shop Manager of the Year); and Barra Best.
52 • HRNI SUMMER
Michael Cafolla; Leann Duffy, Mount Charles; Brian Donaghy, Hastings Europa Hotel (Catering and Banqueting/Events Manager of the Year); and Barra Best.
Michael Cafolla, chairman of the Institute of Hospitality NI; Geoff Wood, Lilliput; Alla Pahomova, Holiday Inn, Belfast (Housekeeper of the Year); and Pamela Ballantine.
Michael Cafolla; Harry Crawford from Get Fresh; Chris Mawhinney (Hotel Chef of the Year); and Barra Best.
Michael Cafolla; Marianne Hood, Native By Yellow Door; Cathy Adamson, Sodexo ( Contract Catering Chef of the Year); and Pamela Ballantine.
Michael Cafolla; Maria Conway from MKB Law; Tammy Stephenson from Premier Inn (Hotelier of the Year); and Pamela Ballantine.
Michael Cafolla; Adrienne Hanna, Right Revenue (joint winner, Supplier of the Year); Ciara Donnelly, Newbridge Silverware; and joint winner Nelson Sauvin.
Michael Cafolla; Ciaran Nelson, K+G McAtamney; Gary Stewart, Tartine and Distillers Hotel (Restaurateur of the Year); and Barra Best.
Michael Cafolla; Niamh Power, Avvio; Lynsey Gordon, Galgorm Resort and Spa (Front Office Manager of the Year); and Barra Best.
Michael Cafolla; Roisin McKee from People 1st; Daryl Beacom, Killyhevlin Lakeside Hotel and Lodges and Jayne McFettridge, Wine Inns (joint winners, Apprentice of the Year); and Pamela Ballantine.
Michael Cafolla; Ryan McFarland, Molson Coors; Phil Patterson, The Stokers Hilt (Bar Manager of the Year); and Pamela Ballantine.
Michael Cafolla; Michael Stewart, Bar Czar; Tim Smith, Johnsons Coffee (Trainer of the Year); and Barra Best.
Michael Cafolla; Sinead Scott representing NIMMS; Colin Prentice, Compass Group (Contract Manager of the Year); and Pamela Ballantine.
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TOURISM’S FINEST TAKE ENNISKILLEN CASTLE BY STORM T
Hotel of the Year: Mark McKeown with Kelly Neill of the Bushmills Inn Hotel and Restaurant.
he Northern Ireland Tourism Awards took Enniskillen Castle by storm on May 18 in a celebration worthy of Hugh the Hospitable Maguire. The annual black tie event, regarded as the highlight of the tourism calendar, recognised 37 of the industry’s most inspirational individuals, businesses and organisations and marked tourism’s success over the past year and was organised by Tourism Northern Ireland in association with Diageo Northern Ireland.
Non-Serviced Accommodation: Michael McQuillan with Nicholas and Colleen Lowry of Blessingbourne Estate.
Serviced Accommodation: Colin Neill with Nicola Neill of Blackrock House B&B.
Unique Tourist Accommodation: Cllr Mary McGarrity with Gillian Beare of Finn Lough Forest Domes.
Outstanding Visitor Experience: Niall Gibbons with Lisa McGinley of the MAC (David Hockney I draw, I do 2016 exhibition).
Best Event or Festival Experience: Niall Gibbons with Anita Byrne (Ulster Rugby V Clermont Auvergne match).
Best Marketing Initiative: Katy Best with Cathy Chauhan and Eimear Kearney of the Lough Neagh Fisherman’s Co-Operative.
Best Food Tourism Experience: Cllr Mary McGarrity with Ian Orr and Marcus Roulsten of Browns Restaurant.
Customer Service Excellence: Mark McKeown with Kelly Neill of the Bushmills Inn Hotel and Restaurant.
Sustainable Tourism Award: Terry McCartney with Mark Scott of Marble Arch Caves, UNESCO Global Geopark.
Tourism Innovation: Paddy McKeown with Vicky Stevenson (Atlantic Sessions – A Causeway Coast and Glens Council Event delivered by Snow Water).
Most Promising New Tourism Business: Professor Stephen Boyd, Ulster Business School with AnneMarie O Neill and Ciaran O’Neill of Bishop’s Gate Hotel.
Local Tourism Hero: John McGrillen with David Wilson, Royal County Down Golf Club.
Outstanding Contribution to Tourism: Jorge Lopes and Terence Brannigan with Tim Husbands MBE, Titanic Belfast.
54 • HRNI SUMMER
tourismnews James Kenny of Tourism Ireland China is pictured with the Hong Kong travel agents at Ballygally on the Causeway Coastal Route.
TOURISM IRELAND CREATES SUMMER VIDEO
HONG KONG TRAVEL AGENTS HOSTED ON THEIR FIRST VISIT TO NORTHERN IRELAND
group of travel agents from Hong Kong visited Northern Ireland and the island of Ireland, including Belfast, Londonderry and Dublin, for the first time last month, hosted by Tourism Ireland, Tourism NI and Fáilte Ireland. Travel agents continue to play an important role in China, with Chinese travellers preferring to use a travel agent for a number of reasons, including convenience, language barriers, visa preparation and knowledge gaps. The aim of the week’s fact-finding visit was to educate and enthuse the group about Ireland. Their packed itinerary in Northern Ireland included visits to Titanic Belfast, the Giant’s Causeway, and a walking tour of the historic city walls of Derry. China is an important emerging travel market, and the visit follows Tourism Ireland’s recent sales mission to China – which took in Hong Kong again this year.
ABC COUNCIL LAUNCHES FIVE-YEAR BLUEPRINT FOR TOURISM GROWTH
rmagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council (ABC Council) have unveiled ambitious plans to bolster its standing as a market-leading heritage and cultural international From left, are Aubrey Irwin, head of NI at Tourism Ireland; Cllr Colin McCusker, chair tourism of Regeneration and Economic Development Committee and Roger Wilson, CEO, ABC destination Council; and John McGrillen, chief executive, Tourism NI. within five years. Attracting more visitors and increasing tourism spend are at the heart of its tourism blueprint which will help in growing the local tourism economy by 10% every year to 2022. The launch of the council’s integrated strategy was part of a major Tourism Conference – a first for the borough – which was held at Navan Centre and Fort with the support of Tourism NI and Tourism Ireland. The council’s new and comprehensive five-year tourism development strategy and action plan sets a clear five-year vision and direction for building the borough’s national, regional and international profile as a successful and compelling tourist destination. www.hospitalityreviewni.com
Tourism Ireland has created a new online film inviting potential visitors everywhere to come and discover the island of Ireland during the summer months and immerse themselves in our culture. What makes summer in Ireland so special reminds travellers around the world that the island of Ireland is unbeatable for a summer break. It highlights breath-taking road trips along the Causeway Coastal Route and the Wild Atlantic Way, wild waves and superb surfing at places like Portrush, and showcases great summer festivals including the Dalriada Festival at Glenarm Castle.
NEW NAPLES ROUTE ANNOUNCED Tourism Ireland has welcomed a new Jet2 flight from Naples to Belfast International Airport, to commence in May 2018. “The announcement is excellent news for tourism to Northern Ireland in 2018 and will certainly expand travel options for holidaymakers from Italy wishing to visit Belfast and Northern Ireland,” said Niall Gibbons, CEO of Tourism Ireland. “Tourism Ireland looks forward to co-operating with Jet2, Belfast International Airport and other tourism partners, to maximise the promotion of inbound travel on this new weekly service.”
NI STAYCATION IS HOLIDAY OF CHOICE British hotels and the leisure industry are set for a record year, according to a Barclays report, Destination UK: driving growth in the UK hospitality and leisure sector. Almost a third of holidaymakers from Northern Ireland plan to spend more time on holidays within the UK this year, with a similar number expecting to be spending more money on UK breaks. And a third of Northern Ireland’s holidaymakers say they would now choose a staycation over an international holiday, even if time and finances allowed.
SUMMER HRNI • 55
HARNESSING COLLABORATION AND CREATIVITY TO DEVELOP NEW DIGITAL STRATEGIES FOR TOURISM
Dr Peter Bolan, right, picks up an Impact Excellence Award for Creativity and Culture Impact recognising the collaboration between UU in Coleraine and the International North West 200 on May 11.
By Dr Peter Bolan, director of Travel & Tourism Management at Ulster University
e live in a connected world, one which has gone digital, where we search for, consume and share information and data on a constant basis. This digital world has revolutionised how the tourist researches, plans and increasingly how they experience their holiday. Expectations from tourists and event attendees continue to grow and develop digitally as to how they obtain their information and enhance their experience. Ensuring we meet those digital expectations is the key to getting visitors to return. Our tourism and eventrelated organisations are continually under pressure to develop their presence and level of engagement on social media platforms and to consider whether or not they should delve into the world of mobile apps to cater to the ever-growing appetites of those who increasingly use their smartphone and tablet to stay connected. In short, the key to success is about getting ‘smarter’ in terms of approach to all of this. Harnessing social media correctly and creatively, developing significantly innovative, informative and immersive mobile apps for destinations, visitor attractions and events, and providing high quality free wifi connectivity for visitors are the cornerstone of what is required digitally to not only attract today’s tourist but to provide a meaningful experience to encourage such visitors to return and to recommend Northern Ireland as a destination to others. Ulster University (UU) Business School final year travel and tourism and event management students have recently developed a digital strategy for 56 • HRNI SUMMER
the North West 200, which helped to deliver a strong digital dimension for what is one of Northern Ireland’s top sporting events. The Coleraine campusbased students designed components of the website, social media and smartphone applications (including creation of micro-video) to enhance event goers’ experience. Working closely in collaboration with Fergus Mackay, operations manager of the North West 200, the UU students used an innovative app-building platform, RAPORT, which was designed by a UU researcher (John Bustard) specifically for the tourism and events sector. The smartphone app elements developed by the students provided live information and delivers updates about the North West 200 event through push notifications as well as through new platforms such as Snapchat. North West 200’s Fergus Mackay commented: “Working with the UU students has been incredibly rewarding for both parties. The Vauxhall International North West 200 has established itself as a premier tourism event. It’s the largest outdoor sporting event in Ireland, attracting 100,000 visitors last year with 20% of these coming from overseas. We aim to deliver a first-class visitor experience and the work of the UU students in developing the digital dimension will be an important part of that.” The students were undertaking their digital strategy work as part of their final year eBusiness Strategy module, where they explore the current importance and future potential of the Internet and digital media to business success in the various sectors of the tourism and events industry. Different groups are assigned to live business cases for a variety of tourism/event organisations (further developing important collaboration between industry and the University),
where the students then analyse the existing digital provision of the business before developing a new digital strategy as well as actual design of new website elements, social media provision and smartphone applications. The students pitch their ideas, concepts, elements and strategy to a panel of industry experts in a Dragon’s Den-style scenario. As well as being an integral part of their studies, the students also compete for two major industry awards: the Origin Digital Award and the Bank of Ireland Digital Innovation Award. It was a great testament to the hard work, dedication and creativity of this year’s students that the North West 200 organisers implemented key elements and components of their digital concepts and strategy to this year’s event and its wider tourism potential. Fostering and developing creativity and innovation in this way, with regard to applying digital knowledge and skills to the field of travel, tourism and events, is something we equip and prepare our UU Business School students to do. With regard to such digital enterprise, it is vital that these students (who are the next generation of managers in the industry) are able to utilise and harness such aspects for future success. It enhances their employability and aids in creating a highly knowledgeable and skilled workforce that can make a major contribution to our economy. Moving further into the 21st century, there is tremendous scope and potential for tourism to continue to grow in Northern Ireland but we must ensure that digitally we are capturing every opportunity and advantage to enable us to compete effectively in the global marketplace. It is vital that we instil this in our next generation of industry managers if we are to fulfil our true potential. Tourism in Northern Ireland is a vital component for economic growth and job creation and the digital arena is one way in which we can improve and develop this crucial area for the future. The eBusiness Strategy module is also available as a stand-alone module to industry that wish to advance their knowledge and skills in this field. It is offered by the Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management on the Coleraine campus (home of the specialist degree programmes in International Travel and Tourism Management and Leisure and Event Management).
POSITIVE START TO YEAR LOOKS SET TO CONTINUE DESPITE CHALLENGES AHEAD By Mark Carron, director, Osborne King Commercial Property Consultants
arket transactions have been steady during the first quarter of 2017 with many deals occurring within the licensed premises sector. Notable deals so far this year include The Beechlawn Hotel, Dunmurry, Curran Court Hotel, Larne, The Basement, 21 Social and Café Vaudeville; all of which have changed hands. In addition, the signature Living Group has exciting plans to develop a portfolio of Belfast hotels which is a welcome boost. Their plans include the long-awaited refurbishment of the Crumlin Road Courthouse and Scottish Mutual Building. A third deal is pending for another city centre building. Our own sales include Wineworks Off Sales in Saintfield on behalf of a private client to Winemark, The Back Door Bar, Maghera, the former Alfie G’s in Kilkeel and a number of additional on and offmarket transactions throughout Northern Ireland; all of which points to continuing activity during the year. Recently, I leased Café Vaudeville www.hospitalityreviewni.com
to the Revolution Bars Group which, following a significant refurbishment programme, will re-open in July as Revolución de Cuba, one of the Group’s two brands. The Revolution Bars Group has approximately 60 outlets in Great Britain and this marks the Group’s entry into the island of Ireland. The De Cuba brand will focus on premium drinks and a food-led offering and is expected to trade from late morning, during the day and late into the evening. From a market perspective, it is an interesting development ushering in a new GB entrant alongside Wetherspoon’s; albeit both operators appeal to two distinct markets. It is a trend that is likely to continue, judging from calls I have received from other GB operators expressing an interest in entering the local market. Furthermore, J D Wetherspoon has recently lodged an application to open their second of three Belfast pubs on Royal Avenue. In terms of liquor licences surrenders/
sales, the market is relatively steady with demand primarily coming from the convenience retail operators who are keen to add a key anchor to their overall business and trade mix. The most recent licence transaction that we have undertaken was at the £85,000 level. Ideally a purchaser will always seek to acquire a vicinity licence in the market in order to lessen the impact of possible objectors to the proposed application. A vicinity transfer should reduce the risk, associated legal costs and the protracted timetable of any application. Clearly a vendor of such a vicinity licence would expect to be compensated appropriately from a purchaser. As we are now well into 2017, all licensed operators should have sought advice in respect of the five-yearly licence renewal, particularly since the statutory deadline is in September. This deadline affects anyone licensed to sell alcohol including publicans, clubs and restaurant owners. Renewal is the licensee’s responsibility; therefore should an operator fail to act within this timescale, the consequences may be severe and detrimental to the owner’s livelihood. My advice to you is to speak to a solicitor specialising in this area to make sure that your renewal proceeds in a competent manner. From recent experience, at least one high profile Belfast City Centre pub had a challenging experience at the last renewal. In conclusion, the licensed market generally is positive with good on- and off-market transactional activity across the board. The main issues affecting the market at present are the impact of Brexit and labour retention, the draconian local licensing policy and VAT. It is also worth noting that we are now dealing with private willing sellers (as opposed to distressed sales) in the majority of transactions, which is a welcome development.
SUMMER HRNI • 57
UNDERSTANDING.LICENSING. WITH THE LIQUOR LICENSING RENEWAL DEADLINE OF SEPTEMBER 2017 FAST APPROACHING, WE CAUGHT UP WITH SOLICITOR MAEVE FISHER FROM BELFAST’S LEADING LAW FIRM MILLS SELIG, TO FIND OUT WHAT STEPS LICENCE HOLDERS SHOULD BE TAKING BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE MILLS SELIG ACT FOR A WIDE RANGE OF CLIENTS WITHIN NI’S HOSPITALITY AND LEISURE SECTOR ON THE SALE OF ALCOHOL AND PROVISION OF ENTERTAINMENT MILLS SELIG LICENSING EXPERTISE:
WHAT IS THE LIQUOR LICENCE RENEWAL? Renewals occur once every five years and the deadline will impact every licensed premises in Northern Ireland, including pubs, off sales, bars, restaurants and hotels. Owners should not delay application and we are encouraging everyone to complete their applications ahead of the deadline date. Our advice is to act quickly now and avoid penalties and potential closure. Leaving it to September is too late as the application needs to be lodged at least three weeks before the deadline date. IS IT A COMPLICATED AND COSTLY PROCESS? No not at all. At Mills Selig, our licensing team has been involved in many successful licensing renewals so we make it as straight forward and stress free for our clients as possible. We take on all of the work on your behalf. Late submissions could result in closure of premises as it’s illegal to trade without a licence. Our advice is to act now and let Mills Selig take on the stress while you get on with running your business. Paying for the court and legal fees are not as costly as lost business, reputational damage and court fees 58 • HRNI SUMMER
to get your business re-opened. We act efficiently and cost effectively for all our clients. Mills Selig will guide you every step of the way and make it as stress free as possible WHAT DOES YOUR NORMAL DAY ENTAIL AS A LICENSING LAWYER? The variety of the role is what I enjoy the most. I could be at court in the morning and then consulting with clients and their architects in the afternoon and be back at my desk drafting and lodging applications later in the day. I’m very fortunate to work with great clients who bring many opportunities to keep me busy. WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE PART OF THE JOB? Definitely watching our clients’ projects develop and grow. I get a real kick out of working with a multi-disciplined team of professionals to make visions become a reality and legal, of course. It definitely comes with its perks. Our firm has grown significantly over the last few years and our areas of expertise are expanding too. It’s great to be part of such a young, talented and ambitious team. Then there are client opening parties, tastings and networking events – it would be rude to decline those invitations!
• Applications for public houses, hotels, off-licences, restaurants • Renewals • Protection orders and transfers • Amendments/additions to licence terms • Objections to applications • Commercial negotiations/ sales and purchases of licences • Social club applications • Pharmaceutical applications • Betting and gaming advice
• Successfully advised an objector in opposing the grant of a new supermarket licence in Belfast, which made new law in Northern Ireland. • Acted for a major NI hotel and spa complex in a series of unique court applications to facilitate their multi-million pound spa renovations. • Appeared before Belfast City Council Licensing Committee in relation to contested Entertainment Licence applications. • Advising on necessary protections for liquor licences in insolvency situations. • Lead on Licensing Renewals in NI. For further information on Licensing Renewal contact: Maeve Fisher, Mills Selig on T: +44(0) 2890 243 878 E: email@example.com
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THE LAST WORD FAVOURITE BAND: Since a teenager… Guns N Roses LAST BOOK READ: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman FAVOURITE CELEBRITY: Arnie Schwarzenegger
FAVOURITE FOOD: All food FAVOURITE RESTAURANT: Wherever
Liam McCrarren is chef; currently at the Central Wine Bar, Ballycastle LAST HOTEL YOU STAYED AT:
Allingham Arms Hotel, Bundoran LAST BAR/NIGHTCLUB YOU VISITED: The Perch FAVOURITE PLACE IN WORLD:
Home INDOOR CONCERT OR FESTIVAL:
Festival LAST HOLIDAY: Sotira, Cyprus
FAVOURITE HOT DRINK:
Cappuccino FAVOURITE SOFT DRINK: Soda
water and lime BEER OR CIDER: Beer WHITE OR RED WINE: Red wine WHISKEY OR BRANDY: Whiskey GIN OR VODKA: Gin COCKTAILS OR BUBBLY: Cocktails WHAT FOUR PEOPLE WOULD YOU INVITE TO A DINNER PARTY? Arnie
NAME ROSE REA COMPANY DIAMOND ELECTRONIC SYSTEMS LIMITED JOB TITLE PA TO MANAGING DIRECTOR STEVE SNODDON
Schwarzenegger, Gerard Butler, Billy Connolly and Audrey Hepburn
ONE ITEM YOU COULDN’T LIVE WITHOUT? Toothbrush
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN A MOVIE OF YOUR LIFE?
Jennifer Aniston WHAT IS YOUR IDEAL JOB?
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST JOB?
My first paid job was working for my dad during the summer holidays when I was 13. I was a builder’s apprentice, digging founds, carrying brick etc…
DESCRIBE A TYPICAL DAY?
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN IN THIS ROLE?
Every day is different; it can range from organising CPD seminars, attending events, running sales reports and sourcing project opportunities to generating the Diamond Systems e-newsletter and recently we have launched our e commerce website so we are pretty busy with that. 66 • HRNI SUMMER
PA to Gerard Butler… swoon! FAVOURITE QUOTE: “Be kind, for
everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” INSPIRATION IN YOUR LIFE? My
FAVOURITE TV SHOW: Sons of Anarchy FAVOURITE FILM: It changes all the
time, at the minute it’s Lone Survivor. However, I never tire of watching The Goonies.
THE MOST IMPORTANT LIFE LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT?
ALBUM CURRENTLY LISTENING TO:
Bon Jovi, Slippery When Wet is on in the car as my son loves it.
To always follow your gut, you’ll thank yourself that you did. If you’re not feeling your gut, maybe it’s time to meditate! twitter.com: @Hosp_ReviewNI
find out what he really wants this father’s DaY... OK, THIS WAY.... He likes things a certain way, The right way, appreciates tradition?
Loves to make stuff, often found in the garage working away on a new project?
He’s a proper grown up, watches the news and can hold a conversation about interest rates and stuff?
not really Always
Tells dad jokes that are so bad they’re good?
No The epitome of easy going he enjoys the craic and is always fun to be around?
Owns a million toolbits, wratchets and maybe even a toolbelt?
NOT MUCH Yes
OF COURSE You know what’s funny? Novelty socks with jokes on.
Not even once
Loves clothes shopping?
OF COURSE NOT
Get him socks, novelty socks ... that should crack a smile.
Take him shopping for socks... novelty socks.
The CRAFTY HANDS ON TYPE
The discerning traditionalisT
Relaxed, fun and will go the
extra mile, knows all the
craftmanship. He’s a maker
best spots and has the low down on all the latest gear.
The LAID BACK TREND SETTER
Has at least once, said ‘oof’ as he sits back in his chair?
The Mellow & mature character
The VERSATILE All Rounder
If it’s worth doing it’s worth
Don’t worry he’s got this.
He’s every kind of dad we’ve
doing right, you’re in safe
Whatever it is. Before you
talked about rolled into one
and can turn his hand to
hands with this one. Has
ask he’s done it, been there
package, and probably very
most things. Always has the
and bought the whiskey.
hard to buy for.
right tool for the job.
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Please Drink Tennent’s Responsibly. © 2017 C&C Group plc. Tennent’s and the red T are registered trademarks.
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Hospitality Review Summer 2017