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inapub

Issue 80 September 2018 ÂŁ4.95 trade.inapub.co.uk

Start stocking Get set for the season of plenty

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CHOOSE GREAT COKE TASTE WITH OR WITHOUT SUGAR

In 2016 we reformulated Coca-Cola zero sugar to taste even more like the original Coca-Cola and as a result Coca-Cola zero sugar is growing by 148% in Licensed outlets.* From September Coca-Cola zero sugar will also look more like Coca-Cola original taste as we move to the iconic Coke Red across both brands. This exciting move will be supported by a £5m Marketing campaign, including TV to explain to consumers that they can enjoy that great coke taste and experience their way – with or without sugar.

To find out more visit www.cokecustomerhub.co.uk or call Customer Hub on 0808 1 000 000 *CGA Value MAT 19.05.18. © 2018 The Coca-Cola Company. All rights reserved. COCA-COLA and COCA-COLA ZERO are registered trade marks of The Coca-Cola Company.

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this month Working with schools • A pub in a station

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drink Christmas cocktails • Festive mixed drinks

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eat Britain’s best pub burger • Desserts

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play Groups to go for • Quizzes

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stay Make online bookings work for you

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back-bar business The art of Christmas decorating

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time at the bar Christmas with a twist • Your work for charity

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s I write this it is my daughter’s birthday. A significant day in the Black family calendar, naturally, and also the day in August after which my thoughts begin to turn to Christmas. Too early? For some, I’m sure (my own mother refuses to even discuss festive matters until December 1) but for me Christmas is the best time of year and getting it right means putting in a decent amount of prep. This is even more true for retailers like yourselves, of course. Perhaps draping the tinsel and hanging the baubles before the summer holidays have even ended is a step too far – shout out to the Bristol pub that became the first in Britain to hang up the decs on August 2 though (see page 58). Whatever your personal thoughts on Christmas getting earlier each year, making your customers aware of what you’ll be offering in this key spending season as early as possible makes good business sense. So we make no apologies for this Christmas-tastic issue. It’s not all festive fun, of course. We’ve also got a look at how pubs can work with schools to the benefit of both, a focus on desserts and some info on how to make online booking systems work harder for your business.

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Editor Robyn Black 07909 251 231 • robynb@inapub.co.uk

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Multimedia journalist James Evison 07884 868 365 • james@inapub.co.uk Contributors Matt Eley, Richard Molloy

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Production editor Ben Thrush 07810 620 169 • ben@inapub.co.uk Chief executive Barrie Poulter 07908 144 337 • barrie@inapub.co.uk

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Sales manager Leah Gauthier 07884 868 364 • leah@inapub.co.uk Subscriptions trade.inapub.co.uk/magazine 0800 160 1986 • subscriptions@inapub.co.uk 23/08/2018 14:42


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this month.

BARSTOOL EXPERT all you ever needed to know about CHRISTMAS Bah humbug. Already? It’s only September, yule can’t be getting grouchy about Christmas already?

I’m going to ignore that terrible pun to point out that here I am enjoying a nice autumnal pint and a Ploughman’s and over there is a Christmas tree.

though. A recent survey found that 59 per cent of people would spend more money if the venue they were in had an impressive Christmas display – £21 more per head, on average, to be exact.

Who commissioned that study? Christmas Tree World.

It’s Christmas creep, that’s for sure.

Say what? Christmas creep. Whereby retailers put up festive decorations earlier and earlier to encourage people to spend more.

That can’t work. Anytime I see as much as a glimmer of tinsel before December it makes me want to run away, not stay and spend more money. You are in the majority. A study in 2015 by Confused.com suggested that 86 per cent of people thought that even November was too early to deck the halls with boughs of holly or whatever.

So why do they do it to us? The economies of Christmas, innit. Shopkeepers and landlords alike need to make the most of the “golden quarter”, that period from October to December, when they hope to make the most profit.

It’s become like a baublebased arms race – who can get them out earliest. Christmas decorations are important for pubs in particular,

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Ho hum. Mock if you must, but study after study has shown that, done sensitively, putting Christmas decorations up early can create excitement and boost business.

Bring out the mince pies, then. Apparently, the average person in the UK eats 27 mince pies per year.

Do you want them all now? It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Jingle bells: Do create a small festive display to promote your party packages and menus as soon as you can. People like to plan in advance – but keep the carols on a loop until December 1 at the earliest. Silent night: Don’t bank on a white Christmas this year. According to willigetawhitechristmas.com the chance of snow on December 25, 2018 currently stands at just 23 per cent.

For more on how to make your venue the most Christmassy around, turn to p52-53

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IN THE TRADE THIS MONTH Champion Beer of Britain crowned This year’s Champion Beer of Britain is a 6.5 per cent ABV heavy stout brewed by the Siren Brewery. Broken Dream Breakfast Stout was pronounced the winner of the annual CAMRA competition at the Great British Beer Festival last month. Silver went to Ripper, a barley wine from the Green Jack brewery, while Bronze was taken by Workie Ticket, a 4.5 per cent ABV bitter, from Mordue Brewery.

‘Long Live the Local’ campaign launched A campaign to save local pubs has been launched by Britain’s Beer Alliance. Dubbed “Long Live the Local”, the campaign calls for a cut in beer duty and publicans are being urged to get involved with 15,000 free in-pub activation kits available consisting of point-of-sale informing people about how great pubs are and how they can support the campaign.

TOP STORIES ON TRADE.INAPUB.CO.UK Does this pub have the strictest rules in Britain? New industry campaign to save the pub Gluten-free Stella Artois to hit pubs Could boozy desserts put people over the drink drive limit?

Cost guide for publicans published The latest edition of the British Beer & Pub Association’s (BBPA) operating cost guide for publicans has been published. Aimed at tenants and lessees the guide shows typical operating costs in the pub sector across nine pub models to enable licensees to compare their own costs against industry norms. It can be downloaded from the BBPA website.

Have a ‘safer Freshers’ Week’ Alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware has drawn-up seven tips for landlords looking to have a “safer Freshers’ Week” this autumn. They include: interacting with students as they queue outside; offering an interesting range of soft drinks and ensuring staff are able to identify and help vulnerable students. The full list is available on the Drinkaware website.

Pub puts afternoon tea in Yorkshire puds

Back where it began... 60 years later Pubs and weddings are truly a marriage made in heaven, especially as you can revisit them when your anniversary comes around. One couple did exactly that at their Norwich local, the Lamb Inn. But it wasn’t one year after the event... it was 60. Dennis and Beryl Wall were invited back thanks to the detective work of Simon Longbottom, the chief executive of Stonegate, which runs the boozer, who read about how the couple wed at his pub, after meeting at a bus stop in 1956, in the local paper. Simon tracked them down and offered a special threecourse anniversary dinner in the pub’s private function room with their close family.

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Dennis said: “We thank and praise the management and staff at The Lamb Inn for making this such a wonderful experience. The private room was wonderful, and the meal and drinks were served to perfection.” Cheers, Mr and Mrs Wall.

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this month.inapub THE WAY I SEE IT ANDREW BUSH

TWEET ALL ABOUT IT

Apprenticeships are key

This month we learned that The Royal Oak in Ulley, Yorkshire, has implemented some very strict rules for punters, including no bikers, no shorts, no trainers, no vests and… no sitting on the wall, so Inapub asked Twitter, “Does this pub have the strictest rules in Britain?”

This month, young people all over the country will inevitably be thinking about the next stage in their lives, having collected their A-Level results [a couple of weeks ago]. The choices available are broader than ever, and as costs rise, many young people are eschewing university in favour of jumping straight into work or applying for an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are key to the health of the hospitality industry: they help to mitigate the ongoing chef shortage and create a sustainable pipeline of talent, which is why we’ve worked hard over the past decade to both dispel misconceptions and introduce schemes to bridge the skills gap, including our awardwinning apprenticeship programme and more recently Get Into Hospitality programme with The Prince’s Trust. It’s proving successful: this month we announced that the number applications for our apprenticeship programme has increased by 141 per cent since 2016. We really believe that as an industry, people are our greatest asset. We urge other operators to commit to apprenticeships and, if they’re already in place, maintain that commitment, especially in back-ofhouse roles. The benefits have been proven time and again: apprenticeships create a more motivated workforce, improve employee retention and make good commercial sense. Here at Greene King, we’re looking forward to continuing our commitment by welcoming even more apprentices this autumn to begin an exciting and rewarding career with us.

Our house rules: have a great time and be respectful...South Yorkshire on the other hand. @RoyaloakNW10 I like rules more than the average person does, but this is crazy! Not Yorkshire hospitality. @Stressed_Eric72 Must be wonderful. If I might add? No eating of crisps. @BellMacdonald2 TV, music and wifi are all signs you are in a bar not a pub. Community, conversation and socialization without distraction exemplify a good pub. @GENUKELSO Market forces will decide, but though extreme it’s good to see some rules .We have too many pubs in Rotherham where ordinary people are excluded because they are straight out of an episode of Shameless. @Michael94369648 It’ll be closed down soon with that attitude of snobbery . @BellMacdonald2

Andrew Bush is the Group HR Director at Greene King

65 seconds

Time it takes UK diners to take a snap of their meal for social media after it’s been served Survey by online booking website OpenTable

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Bar snacks for dogs

Ever feel like this country’s going to the dogs? The nation’s pubs feel a bit like a canine remake of Planet of the Apes at the moment, what with BrewDog offering parties for dogs, and “pawsecco” (see Collection Tin, p56) appearing on menus. Manchester’s Louise Bezyk is joining the pawty with the pun-tastic Get Your Hound Inn, which claims to be the first pub snack for four-legged customers. Developed after Louise realised few dog-friendly pubs were offering more than a bowl of water, the treats hang on a card at the back of the bar. Just don’t get them mixed up with the Mini Cheddars. getyourhoundinn.co.uk

Alabama Grillhouse Burger Bun

We love a burger here at the Inapub Inn, which is why we combed the country to find Britain’s Best Pub Burger (turn to p23 to find out the winner). We were privileged to experience minced beef being turned into an art form in the hands of the UK’s pub chefs. But, as Liam Gallagher once sang, you wanna roll with it. You could do worse than this new offering from Speciality Breads, made with free-range eggs and a hint of malt, with a heavy glaze and a dark crust. 01843 209 442

Aryzta pides

You’ve got to hand it to the Turkish, they don’t mess around when it comes to delicious and filling savoury dishes. It’s not all kebabs either – a pide is a pizza-like dish shaped like a boat so as to contain more of that beer-absorbing goodness. Aryzta Food Solutions is offering one filled with chicken, tomatoes, onions, sour cream, herbs and a touch of cayenne pepper, while the meat free option contains spinach, mozzarella and a basil pesto. We’ll have one of each please, and another pint – maybe we’ll skip the doner on the way home. www.aryztafoodsolutions.co.uk

Stuff

What’s new in the pub this month

Strongbow dual font

It’s been a while since a longbow on the bar was a common sight in our taverns, but those days are about to return with the launch of this iconic font from Strongbow. The dual font dispenses both Strongbow and Strongbow Dark Fruit – the brand says stocking the two together can boost rate of sale by 44 per cent. direct.heineken.co.uk

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this month. Chocolate churros

Everyone likes Christmas pudding, right? Well we do, but there’s no accounting for taste and there are plenty out there who won’t touch the stuff. Offer your refuseniks the chance to treat themselves with something different – cylindrical South American doughnuts stuffed with cocoa cream sound festive enough to us. Available in packs of about 75 mini churros – simply defrost and serve. www.funnybones.co.uk

Greene King Yardbird

Back by popular demand – not a member of a pioneering British rock band but a formerly seasonal ale inspired by “the freedom and energy of American jazz.” Joining the brewer’s permanent line-up, the latest incarnation sees the hop content quadrupled, thrusting the trio of Citra, Centennial and Simco centre stage. The brewer bills it as “the beer that will challenge the lager drinker into the pale ale category.” www.greeneking.co.uk

Stella Artois Gluten Free

Gluten-free beer sales grew 83 per cent in value between 2016 and 2017, and now AB InBev is throwing its hat into the ring with a gluten-free version of its flagship Belgian lager. It’s only the gluten that’s been taken out though, the brewer insists the taste remains unaltered. bestbeer@ab-inbev.com

Ian Botham’s wines

He may have spent his sporting career tormenting Australians, but now he’s selling them. Beefy worked with some of Down Under’s most renowned winemakers to follow his passion and develop his own range. www.bothamwines.com

Wadworth Big Baubles

“We wanted to create a beer that celebrated festive cheer and how people make merry at Christmas,” says Wadworth chief Chris Welham of this year’s festive offering. Looking at what appears to be a naked Santa cowering behind the pump clip, we can only surmise it must be one hell of a Christmas party over in Wadworthshire. With a fruity malt base, tart finish and 4.9 per cent ABV, this should help them have a ball. www.wadworth.co.uk

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Old school values by MATT ELEY

Making a good connection:

“Education, education, education” was how Tony Blair outlined his priorities when taking office more than 20 years ago. Since then the political landscape has changed dramatically and the pub trade, too, has had to go back to school. Most pubs have either closed or evolved since 1997, with a major change being how welcoming pubs have become to families. One way of doing this is by forging links with local schools.

The Buck Inn in Thornton Watlass, North Yorkshire sponsors events at the local school

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It can be good business sense but working with schools can also provide community cohesion, which is even more important against a backdrop of closing community shops, post offices and other local services. The Buck Inn in the North Yorkshire village of Thornton Watlass is a perfect example of how a pub has connected with its local school to the benefit of both the business and the community.

The guv’nor

Vicki and Tony Jowett took over the only pub in the village four years ago. The freehouse is family-friendly, which is helped by Vicki’s role as a school governor. She says: “The village has been so supportive of us and you have to give something back. Though it’s funny when I’m in the playground, someone calls me Mrs Jowett and one of the kids says: ‘That’s not Mrs Jowett, that’s Vicky who runs the pub.’” The pub has been able to support the school by sponsoring events and lending its barbecue. Vicky also provided hospitality training to Key Stage 2 pupils ahead of a community lunch in the village. Suffice to say it was a huge fundraising success. “They really got into it,” she says, “and you could see some talent in there as well.” The pub was also the scene of celebrations when the village’s junior cricket team recorded its first ever victory.

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this month.

Rising to the challenge: Adrian Emmett of The Lion in Treorchy has helped improve school attendance with his Lion Attendance Challenge

Fun for all the family

The landlord used to be up there with the headmaster and the local vicar, and this has helped restore the reputation of the profession trade.inapub.co.uk

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All this means the village’s children are comfortable in the pub environment and are able to mix socially with the adults, which will go a long way to ensuring the pub remains an important asset. Vicki adds: “We are a very small village with a school and a pub and no shops, so we are the heart of the community.” Adrian Emmett recently picked up the Pub of the Year Award from his landlord, Ei. He has picked up plenty of prizes after transforming The Lion in Treorchy, south Wales, from a boarded-up boozer into a top-of-the-class performer, but he has also handed out quite a few. The Lion Attendance Challenge has simultaneously encouraged more children to go to school more regularly and brought thousands of new faces into his pub. He works with all of the schools in the area — 39 primary schools and five comprehensives — on the project. If pupils achieve 98 per cent attendance in a school term they are presented with a much-coveted golden ticket, which entitles

them and as many guests as they want to bring to a meal at The Lion with a 20 per cent discount. Adrian says: “We can get 20 to 30 people coming in — the more the merrier. I always look at it as 80 per cent I didn’t otherwise have rather than worrying about the 20 per cent. You can’t bank a percentage.” The primary school children also receive a goody bag when they arrive at the pub, while Adrian provides Kindles to the best attenders and most improved attenders at the comprehensive schools. Adrian adds: “To date we have awarded 182 Kindles and attended more than 90 school assemblies, many with our mascot, Super Attender, who has his very own song and dance.” In the five years the project has been running, more than 4,000 golden tickets have been awarded. With an average of four people coming to the pub on each occasion, that makes an incredible 16,000 extra people through the doors who may otherwise have never set foot inside The Lion. ▶

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Lesson plans There are loads of ways that you can forge links with your local schools. Here are three more that get gold stars:

• Cooking school

dinners at the pub — up to 100 a day (Kings Arms, Shouldham)

• Growing vegetables

with pupils (The Fountaine, Linton, York)

• Art projects with

pictures going on pub walls (Eagle + Child, Ramsbottom)

Pillar of the community

It has been a huge success for both the pub and the schools, with attendances improving across the board. Adrian says it has also changed the way people view his pub and his profession. “The landlord used to be up there with the headmaster and the local vicar and this has helped restore the reputation of the profession,” he says. “It is about breaking barriers and one of the biggest barriers with my business is that it has the name ‘pub’ next to it, which had negative connotations for some people, but we have completely changed that now. “At first people were sceptical about it and were asking ‘why do you want to promote alcohol to kids?’ but we have shown that it isn’t about that and that you can bring your family to a pub like this on a Friday night in the same way that you might go to a restaurant or a Toby Carvery.” And his work with local schools does not stop with the golden tickets. As a Business Wales mentor and chairman of the Treorchy Chamber of Commerce he is keen to develop entrepreneurial talent. He has done this with his own staff and is now working with Treorchy Comprehensive to create a hospitality course and qualification that could be run at the pub. This follows on from the workshops at the pub he already provides to sixth-formers as part of their studies.

Bar-room classroom

Simon Mills at The Harvester in Long Itchington, Warwickshire, has already seen the freehouse that has been in his family for the best part of 25 years become a classroom of sorts. He had a daughter at the local primary school, became a governor and, about five years ago, got involved in teaching children the basics of being in a kitchen. The four- to five-week course takes place in the pub’s kitchen. He says: “We cover the basics like how to stock a fridge and how to chop an onion. One of the things they do is cook a stew and they learn all of the elements to that along the way. “At the start sometimes when you show them how to chop an onion it is like we are speaking alien to them, but they are good listeners and you can see the look of pride when they learn something.” And it does not stop at the kitchen — the pub also uses its contacts to secure deals from its suppliers when it comes to events at the school. Adrian adds: “This is a little village and you can’t continually take from it. You don’t have to give much but you have to give something back. We don’t do it to bring new customers to the pub, but it doesn’t hurt in that regard either.” Of course, if you get the pupils in, the parents and teachers shouldn’t be too far behind. Top of the class: building links between your pub and a local school can bring benefits for both your business and the school and its pupils

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FAMOUS FOR

RAILWAY HISTORY

James Evison pulls in to a listed building in King’s Cross station

The wiring was 24cm out from where it should have been, so this was moved. But when it was inspected, they said no, this will have to go back to the way it was

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It’s not often you visit a pub in a Grade I listed building. It’s even less often you visit a pub with this much history that wasn’t even a pub until six years ago. And yet this is the story of the Parcel Yard in Kings Cross. Owned by Network Rail and ▶run ▶ by Sinead Murphy, the pub is a sprawling station boozer with a difference. It was formerly the Great Northern Railway parcel sorting office – and stood empty for years. Indeed, when JK Rowling was busy in the 1990s inventing Platform 9¾ next to it, she would have found a couple of pigeons rather than a cheeky pint. Fuller’s took on the site with Network Rail as its landlord when the station was regenerated in 2012, turning an abandoned building into a railway-themed pub. But, as Sinead explains, the Grade I listing created a number of challenges. She says: “Network Rail owns the building and for the whole refurbishment we had to work with them on the various design issues. “As you would expect, you have to adhere to a lot of things – like the paint we use. Also, we can’t put holes in the wall willy-nilly. Network Rail keep an eye on what we are doing, and everything has to go through them.” “Our main issue is that we are so highvolume, but the quality of the renovation is all — and this helps with the upkeep.” The refurbishment of a listed building delivered real oddities. She gives an example: “The wiring was 24cm out from where it should have been, so this was moved. But when it was inspected, they said ‘no, that will have to go back the way it was’.” The floorboards across the pub were

retrieved from the station floor during the overall regeneration. Grimy from the soles of decades of commuter shoes, you would think they would be unusable. Not so. “We have a high footfall obviously as a station pub,” Sinead continues, “so we have had to replace some of the boards. It was important to keep as much of the history as possible, and Network Rail seem to have a supply of them, so we have been able to replace like for like.” Inevitably there were some issues which were very specific to the 21st century. “The ceiling of the atrium area had to be bomb-proof. And we have a full set of fire doors throughout the pub. But where possible we have kept to the original fabric of the building.”

Arrivals

Sinead says the utilities and beer lines aren’t too much of a problem for such an old building. The pub has two cellars fitted, serving the main bar areas, which are spread over two floors. But the actual cellaring is less of an issue than the cask and keg delivery in the morning, which one would expect from such a large, complex station site. The drayman deliver two floors below the pub – and it takes two lifts to even access the loading bay. Sinead explains: “We have a delivery bay policed by Network Rail staff at all times. Then you have an allocated slot, so we have our telephones manned all the time, and we are then called to get the delivery. “This is the same for all food and other deliveries – you can’t just have things come through the front door. The station is

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this month.

The Parcel Yard King’s Cross station, London On the menu: London Porter smoked salmon, golden pride sourdough, caper butter Online: www.parcelyard.co.uk observant, as it has to be.” I’m interviewing Sinead during the midafternoon lull, and the site is busy even then. Surely it is an incredible feat to run a pub – let alone one with such huge volume – in a Grade I building? Sinead smiles: “Everything is quite straightforward really. But, yes, in terms of the upkeep of the building, everyone that comes into the building to do repairs has to be prepared and signed off. They must do a risk assessment two weeks in advance of carrying out the work.” She has worked in pubs across the City of London – some of which are also listed – and you get the impression that she knows how to keep things running well. “It’s just keeping on top of things, I’ve been at some pubs where if you let it slide, you have problems.” And do they get a lot of Great Northern Rail enthusiasts visiting? “We really do!” she says. “We get people coming in that are train fans — and those who have just heard about what we have done to the building.” “It’s great to see people go ‘wow’ at the renovation.”

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RICHARD MOLLOY Christmas is a time for children. In the pub game this means your customers – who are usually sensible grown-ups, worrying about bills and enjoying easy weekends and early midweek bedtimes – suddenly turn into overgrown toddlers. It usually begins in November when they get hypnotised by sentimental ads by John Lewis, M&S, Sainsbury’s and the rest of them, who foist puppies, penguins, kids with speech impediments and old people inexplicably stuck on the fucking moon on us to make us realise it’s almost time to pretend we celebrate the birth of a child whose mother got knocked up whilst in an as-yet-unconsummated relationship with a local builder. Two millennia later, Colin is cross because there are no decorations up and is demanding the tree be prettier than last year. That’s right, Colin – Colin who thinks that there hasn’t been one good song in the charts since 1979. Colin who will never be in when the band’s on or a DJ is playing. Who will tut at the hen nights and the birthday groups. This same Colin will, for six weeks of the year, wish to be surrounded by pretty tinsel and flashing lights. He wants Slade, Wizzard and Cliff Richard on a loop until January. He wants party-poppers and crackers and mulled wine and mince pies on the fucking bar. He wants all the staff in Santa outfits and demands everyone be happy because “It’s Christmas”. OK, I’m being ultra-cynical, and I do actually really enjoy the Christmas week: people are generally very happy and merry, and, for a week or two, trade is good in a local boozer. We take the hit whilst the trolley rage at Tesco builds; twiddle our thumbs whilst people donate their savings to Amazon; and prepare for the rush whilst shoppers swear they’re never giving another penny to those useless twats at Argos. Then it begins. Black Friday, for pubs, can be a bit tense. It’s a good earner, but a drunken gang of

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From the Saturday before Christmas until New Year’s Day the local pub is a beautiful place. As publicans, we revel in the happiness and love

Richard Molloy is director of four-strong pubco White Rose Taverns and the microbrewery Platform Five. Read more of his work on trade.inapub.co.uk

builders celebrating no work for two weeks and revelling in their last romp with their work mates before they’re on family duties until January is not for the faint-hearted. The boss can be very generous at this time of year; the competition to make the most of a free bar can be fierce and the collective sigh of relief from landlords, landladies and bar staff can be heard throughout the land when the bolt slides across the door to shut out the sirens and the blue flashing lights of the vehicles that some of the more volatile punters will be using as late-night transport. So… once Colin is placated with his tinsel and his tree, and Black Friday has been and gone. Once the rotas are done and the rows over double-time are sorted. Once the cellar is full and the entertainment is booked it’s time to forget the hypocrisy and the lunacy of the last six weeks of commercial bullying and distinct lack of goodwill in car parks and supermarkets. It’s time to party. From the Saturday before Christmas until New Years Day the local pub is a beautiful place. It’s full of hugs and handshakes and kisses; feuds are forgotten and friendships are made. There’s singing and dancing, and, as publicans, we revel in the happiness and love. It’s a great time to do what we do and we forget the worries of the trade, enjoy the atmosphere and the accolades, and visualise a utopian future where pubs are like this all the time.

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THE ULTIMATE GIN & TONIC PAIRING GUIDE

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Gin is only as good as the tonic it’s paired with. That’s why our award-winning tonics have been carefully crafted to complement the varied flavours of gin. Find the perfect tonic water for your favourite gin at fever-tree.com

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drink Christmas is a crucial time for mixed drinks, with more than 50 per cent of drinkers choosing spirits and 63 per cent of those choosing mixers to go with them. Which is why we’ve dedicated an entire feature in this issue to help you give yours a festive fillip this winter. However, mixed drinks are also becoming increasingly important all year round. No doubt this has been driven by the gin boom, but the signs are that people are moving away from the humble G&T and turning to other spirits to which they can add tonic, such as vermouth, Sherry, Port and Cognac. Don’t believe me? It’s not so newfangled — the Portuguese have been enjoying a white port and tonic for decades, while our friends over the Channel have been imbibing Cognac “the French way” (as a long drink with ice and tonic) for as long as anyone can remember. It’s easy to see why such drinks chime with today’s drinkers. They are a lower-ABV choice (especially for those

with ROBYN BLACK

of us who plump for vermouth and tonic); the versatility of tonic water means drinks can be made simply but still offer complex flavours, and the sheer breadth of flavoured tonics now available means the possibilities for creating simple new drinks are almost endless. What might you put with Fever Tree’s limited-edition clementine and cinnamon tonic from last Christmas or its cucumber tonic from this summer? What about matches for Franklin & Sons’ recently released rosemary tonic with black olive? Of course, mixed drinks aren’t just about those that come with tonic and the good news is that, alongside the myriad flavoured tonics now available, we also have an everexpanding range of other mixers. From Fentimans’ rose lemonade to Schweppes 1783’s new muscovado mixer (due out this autumn and, speaking as someone who’s had a preview, definitely worth a punt), there’s no excuse not to put some life into your mixed drinks range this winter and beyond.

The sheer breadth of flavoured tonics now available means the possibilities for creating simple new drinks are almost endless

COMMERCIAL BREAKDOWN

PEPSI • Pepsi Taste Challenge Britvic has brought back the Pepsi Taste Challenge for its STARSLUSH • Killer Combo Pepsi Max brand. The Vimto Out of Home is promoting a “Killer Combo” this comcompany is hoping ing Halloween — a blood orange version of its frozen drink to complete 100,000 brand Starslush, served with a Vimto popping candy sachet challenges across the in classic, strawberry or cherry flavour. UK, where participants MALTSMITHS • When You Love What You Do blind test two colas As part of a £4.5m spend on its craft beer brand before deciding which is the better tasting. Maltsmiths this year, Heineken has revealed a A new TV ad will new TV ad with the strapline When You Love What You Do, aimed at bridging the gap between premium lager and craft beer. support the activity.

18 SEPTEMBER 2018 p18-19 drink intro.indd 18

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drink. Ailsa Bay Sweet Smoke

This peated single malt whisky has been given a new look and the spirit itself has been “modified” to make it sweeter, more mellow and complex. A new marketing campaign is also in the pipeline for the brand, which will be available in limited numbers from this month. www.williamgrant.com

Padro & Co/Forzudo

You may think of vermouth as an Italian drink but the Spanish have also been making it for centuries. Importer Morgenrot has bagged two brands for its portfolio: Catalonia’s Padro & Co (comprising three vermouths: Rojo Clasico; Dorado Amargo Suave and Blanco Reserva) and Forzudo, a vermouth from León. 0845 070 4310

Look out for... Magners Dark Fruit

The cider synonymous with the over-ice serve from a bottle has now made its Dark Fruit variant available in the same format, following its launch on draught last summer. The over-ice serve “certainly translates well to our Dark Fruit variant,” says brand owner C&C. In the on-trade the brand is distributed by AB InBev in England and Wales and Tennent Caledonian Breweries in Scotland. 0870 1696969 (AB InBev) 0141 552 6552 (Tennent Caledonian Breweries)

VK’s new flavour

The Soho Juice Co

Just in time for the season of sniffles. The Soho Juice Co has launched a mixer made of apple, honey and lemon. It has been designed to pair with rum and whisky and is only 38 calories per bottle — news that frankly makes the prospect of a winter cold somewhat appealing for the first time ever. sohojuice.co.uk

A nationwide search to find the next flavour of VK has come to an end and (drum roll please) the people have chosen Watermelon. Brand owner Global Brands asked drinkers to suggest new flavours and received more than 33,000 ideas. The four most popular went to public vote in July and Watermelon pipped Violet, Wild Fruits, and Raspberry & Pineapple to the post. It will be available from February. info@globalbrands.co.uk

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On the bar Ben Bullman, The Grove, Ealing, London I arrived here in March and we’ve transformed the pub. Previously the drink selection was pretty mainstream and there wasn’t anything that interesting on the bar. We’ve since introduced local London breweries such as Truman’s and Sambrook’s and lots of IPAs from craft breweries like Tiny Rebel and Beavertown. Our “gin wall” has also been very successful for us, we have 60 gins at the moment and have even run tasting evenings with the likes of Sipsmith. We’ll probably change it up a bit for the winter, I’m considering a whisk(ey wall. Food is a big part of our offer, so we do well with wine. Again we try to offer something different and that keeps costs down as well – New World wines offer more value for money I think, as Old World names such as Chablis, Sancerre and the like command a premium. One of my favourites is a winery called Sokol Blosser, which is in Oregon in the US. We sell a lovely Pinot Noir and a sparkling wine of theirs. 19

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20/07/2018 16:58


Cocktails for Christmas

Cocktails are a market you can’t afford to ignore at any time of the year – an estimated 8.7 million UK adults now enjoy cocktails out of home, according to the CGA Mixed Drinks Report published in April. The first quarter of 2018 showed cocktail sales had grown in value by 7.5 per cent year on year. Promotions are the most effective way to boost cocktail sales – 44 per cent of cocktail drinkers say they use promotions almost every time they order them – but there are other ways to encourage sales without eating into your margins. Cocktail menus, recommendations from bar staff and “theatre of serve” are other big influences CGA reports. Seasonal drinks are another tactic, and adding a seasonal slant to a cocktail that is already popular in your gaff seems a sensible move. That’s why we’ve cased out the experts to find you ways of adding a festive feel to some of the UK’s most popular cocktails…

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1

Jager Negroni

With its 56 herbs and spices including citrus peel, liquorice, anise and ginger, there is definitely a whiff of Christmas about Jägermeister and, as the brand is stepping away from the bomb serve and promoting its versatility as a cocktail ingredient, what better way than to shift the gears up a notch on a standard Negroni by swapping vermouth for Jägermeister? “As well as the ice cold shot, Jägermeister can also be enjoyed in other ways, from cocktails to long drinks, including those developed by bartenders across the UK with the support from our brand ambassador, Florian Beuren,” says customer marketing and insights controller, Jonathan Dennys. Jägermeister •25ml 25ml •25ml Campari Gin •Garnish: orange peel • Add all three ingredients to a glass and add ice cubes. Stir to cool, garnish with the orange peel and serve. Easy peasy orange squeezy.

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2

White Christmas Mojito

That same Mixed Drinks Report by CGA in April confirmed that, once again, the Mojito remains the UK’s favourite cocktail (though by all accounts the Pornstar Martini is closing the gap at a pace). This recipe is from American food blogger Tieghan Gerard but others are available.

3

of a lime •Juice 8 x mint leaves •1 x tablespoon •15ml white rum of sugar •15ml coconut rum •60ml coconut milk •Splash of sparkling water •Garnish: pomegranate seeds • As with a normal Mojito, begin by muddling the lime juice, sugar and mint leaves in a glass and top with ice. In a blender, combine the white rum, coconut rum, and coconut milk. Pour into the glass, top with sparkling water and sprinkle over the pomegranate seeds.

Jack Frost

This is basically a winter version of a Piña Colada, adding blue curaçao to the basic recipe to make it a wintery blue. There are lots of versions of this recipe online, which vary very little but after trying out a few, here’s our favourite. of simple syrup •Dash 25ml pineapple •25ml white rum juice •12ml blue curaçao •60ml cream of coconut • Put the ice, pineapple juice, vodka, blue curaçao and cream of coconut into a blender. Pour into glasses and serve at once.

4

Mince Pie Irish Martini

This one comes courtesy of cocktail master JJ Goodman, who created it after Sainsbury’s approached him to try and distil the taste of Christmas into one drink. Inexplicably eschewing sprouts and gravy, JJ took inspiration instead from the nation’s love of mince pies and gifted the world this tempting tipple.

•50ml Irish cream liqueur 22

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•25ml2xCognac teaspoons mincemeat • 25ml whole milk • Garnish: clementine peel • Add all the ingredients, apart from the clementine peel, to a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake it harder than you would your presents under the tree and strain into a Martini glass. To serve, take a strip of clementine peel and twist to spray the oils over the drink.

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5

Fryst Berry Nutty

Think frozen cocktails are just for summer? You’d be wrong — sales of alcoholic slushies are rocketing whatever the season. Fryst (pronounced ‘freest’) brand owner Vimto Out of Home is hoping to capitalise on that this winter with cocktails such as this one – a festive blend of berry and nut flavours. “Frozen cocktails are a huge trend for 2018, with more consumers than ever looking for refreshing cocktails in record time,” says Ed Jones, senior customer marketing manager at Vimto Out of Home. “Requiring minimum time and effort, bar staff simply have to pour the base spirit, add the frozen mix and serve.”

6

Red Wine Spritzer

Of course, not everyone wants something heavy to drink at Christmas, some are looking for something a bit lighter and refreshing – not too summery though, cue this wintery twist on a white wine spritzer.

Amaretto •25ml 4 x parts •FRYST mixRaspberry Pour Amaretto into a glass or cup, add the frozen mix and serve.

red wine •125ml 15ml syrup • 15mlsimple lime juice • Several dashes of bitters •Soda water to finish •Garnish: Wedges of lime or lemon • Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Add the wine, lime juice, syrup and stir. Top with the soda water and bitters, and add a couple of citrus wedges.

BEST ENJOYED AT Achieve the perfect serve with a Jägermeister tap machine. To purchase yours, or for more info, please call Customer Services on 02031 899501 or email customerservices@jaegermeister.co.uk

Visit www.jagershop.co.uk

SERVE IT PERFECTLY at -18oc TO INCREASE RATE OF SALE

BE THE MEISTER

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Festive cheers by ROBYN BLACK

For over half of adults planning to drink alcohol at Christmas, the tipple of choice is spirits, according to research undertaken by Britvic last year, which focused on festive drinking habits. The same research showed that 63 per cent of those spirits drinkers use mixers, so you can see why mixed drinks are a key part of the Christmas drinks offer. Maybe you are thinking you already have a pretty good range of mixed drinks – a decent G&T, a vodka & cola that flies off the bar or a whisky & ginger that brings the

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range up-to-date. But people expect a little more at Christmas, as Russell Goldman, commercial director at Britvic, points out. “They expect to be delighted by great

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drink.

They expect to be delighted by great experiences, surprised by hidden value and tempted to be more adventurous

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experiences, surprised by hidden value and tempted to be more adventurous. They are happy to treat themselves but only if they feel it’s worth paying more for,” he explains. And so, what do we expect will be the things punters are willing to pay more for this Christmas, we wonder?

Up your garnish game

“Presentation should not be forgotten,” says Russell. “Interesting glassware and garnishes are small investments in time and money, which can really help to enhance the drinker’s experience and inspire repeat purchase with large groups in particular, so make sure you add theatre to your serves with fresh fruit and seasonal herbs such as nutmeg and cinnamon sticks.” Ed Hartridge, sales and marketing director of soft drinks producer Hartridges, agrees that these days, “drinks need to look good too.” Put effort into your garnish game, he says. Choose some garnishes that fit well with

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SIGNATURE SERVE

Sbagliato The unmistakable Italian flavours of Campari and vermouth rosso are poured over ice and topped with Schweppes 1783 Salty Lemon Tonic Water. An orange slice garnish completes this unique take on a classic.

the season he suggests, “such as trading lime and lemon wedges for zesty curls or switching half-moons of freshly cut orange for crispy dehydrated slices.”

Add some spice

Adding seasonal flavours to your mixed drinks is also encouraged by Katie Hewitt, spirits category manager at Distilled, the spirits arm of Carlsberg. “Bartenders shouldn’t be confined to standard serves,” she says. “Take gin for example – why not try heating things up and making a hot G&T sharing punch? “Challenge and excite consumers by using flavoured gins such as sloe, spiced and orange, or bring other taste profiles into the mix through syrups, complementary fruits or even other categories – gin, port & ginger ale together, for example, create a wonderful festive ruby red mix.”

Festive renaissance

.

It’s not all about gin, of course (although the category looks set for another strong Christmas). There are several other spirit trends worth making note of, including fortified wines, such as vermouth and Sherry, says Amy Burgess, trade communications manager at Coca-Cola

Ingredients • 25ml Campari • 25ml sweet vermouth • 200ml Schweppes 1783 Salty Lemon Tonic Water • Garnish: large slice of orange Method Take a rocks or tumbler glass and drop in a large piece of block ice. Pour in Campari and sweet vermouth before topping with Schweppes 1783 Salty Lemon Tonic Water. GET IN CONTACT TO FIND OUT MORE AT CONNECT@CCEP.COM OR CALL 0808 1 000 000 SCHWEPPESMIXERS.CO.UK © 2017 European Refreshments. All rights reserved. SCHWEPPES, the FOUNTAIN DEVICE, the SCHWEPPES 196 GRAPHICS and J.SCHWEPPE and Signature Design are registered trade marks of European Refreshments.

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SIGNATURE SERVE

Cucumber Pink Light and zesty pink grapefruit vodka, mixed with Schweppes 1783 Quenching Cucumber Tonic Water. Perfectly complemented with a hint of fiery root ginger and a slice of pink grapefruit.

Seasonal swaps Fancy a classic mixed drink? No problem, but why not think about one of these exciting alternatives this Christmas? Swap a G&T for: a G&T Royale (35ml gin, Schweppes tonic, splash of Champagne, 10ml vanilla syrup and orange bitters); a Sloe & Low (sloe gin, lemon juice & Britvic Low Cal tonic) or Oloroso Sherry & Franklin & Sons Rosemary Tonic with Black Olive. Swap rum & cola for: a Panettone Mule (25ml Captain Morgan Spiced; 25ml apricot brandy; 150ml ginger ale) or a rum & ginger ale (garnish with mint and lime); Swap whisk(e)y & ginger for: a Hot Toddy Twist (slightly warmed Hartridges Ginger Ale, a teaspoon of honey and a stick of cinnamon). Swap vodka & cola for: a Vodka Cinnamon Cola (vodka, cinnamon liqueur, such as Smirnoff Gold, and cola).

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Ingredients • 50ml pink grapefruit vodka • 200ml Schweppes 1783 Quenching Cucumber Tonic Water • Garnish: twist of pink grapefruit peel and slice of fresh ginger Method Fill a highball glass to the top with ice. Add the vodka and top with Schweppes 1783 Quenching Cucumber Tonic Water.

GET IN CONTACT TO FIND OUT MORE AT CONNECT@CCEP.COM OR CALL 0808 1 000 000 SCHWEPPESMIXERS.CO.UK © 2017 European Refreshments. All rights reserved. SCHWEPPES, the FOUNTAIN DEVICE, the SCHWEPPES 196 GRAPHICS and J.SCHWEPPE and Signature Design are registered trade marks of European Refreshments.

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European Partners. This is in part because drinkers are looking for an alternative to stronger spirits as they seek lower-alcohol options when choosing a mixed drink. “Sherry and vermouth are now routinely served with tonic as a less alcoholic, innovative twist on the classic G&T,” says Amy. “A Fino sherry mixed with Schweppes 1783 Tonic Water and served over ice with an orange peel twist is a delightfully dry and floral drink. “Cognac is also experiencing something of a renaissance and is likely to be a very popular festive choice. With exports reaching record highs, growing by 14 per cent in 2017 (Figures from the Bureau National Interprofessionnel du Cognac), it is being tipped as the next hot global trend. Serve it the “French way” mixed with

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drink.

6 seasonal garnish ideas Cinnamon sticks Mini ginger bread men Pomegranate seeds & rosemary sprigs Mini candy canes Star anise Wedge of orange studded with cloves

a measure of tonic with a squeeze of fresh lemon,” she suggests. Rum is also worth noting here, with sales up 11 per cent last year (Waitrose Food & Drink Report 2017). “This trend shows no signs of slowing down. In fact, rum sales hit the £1bn mark for the first time last year, a milestone gin

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Position premium products at the top of the fridge to make the most of the profit margins they offer

Scotch & Dry

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achieved in 2016 (Wine and Spirit Trade Association). Mirroring the “ginaissance”, a key factor in this resurgence is the wide variety of rums now available on the market, catering to consumers’ appetite for new flavours and experiences. The premiumisation trend has also been key to this growth, with premium rums growing by 15 per cent (CGA to 22.04.2017),” Amy says.

Play your positions

Ah, premiumisation. There’s only so far into a feature about Christmas drinks you can go before we have to address the ongoing premiumisation trend – for if drinkers are treating themselves to better drinks the rest of the year, as the research shows, then they will almost certainly be looking to do it when the Christmas decorations are in full force. Happily, Faith Holland, head of category development at Diageo, has some advice: “Licensees can promote up-trading at the bar through the way they display spirits,” she says. “Position premium products at the top of the fridge to make the most of the profit margins they offer; try multiple facings to draw

the customers’ eye to certain lines along the back bar, as consumers admit that visibility influences their decision, and keep the bar clear and clean so as not to block the view of the back-bar. “This should also be a consideration when placing point-of-sale – obstructing the fridge will only hide what you have on offer.”

Go premium

As well as premium spirits, for course, there are premium mixers to think about these days. “The continued rise in the popularity of premium tonics is another trend operators should be thinking about when planning their stock range for Christmas,” says Andrew Jackson, marketing director at Fentimans. “Listing a range of quality mixers to match the spirits on offer is key. The Going Premium report by CGA revealed that more than two in five consumers now chose high quality drinks or say they are more than likely to upgrade to one when drinking out of home. “Pubs must ensure they are listening to consumer demand when planning their

Sloe & Low

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Listing a range of quality mixers to match the spirits on offer is key, says Andrew Jackson, marketing director at Fentimans

ranges. Our award-winning Rose Lemonade is made with otto oil from the Valley of the Roses and doubles as both a soft drink and also as a mixer for vodka and gin, providing a premium and diverse option for licensees.”

Get out the fancy glasses The glasses you use are another simple way to make your drinks seem extra special this Christmas. “From highballs to balloon glasses playing around with glassware can make all the difference,” says Katie Hewitt, spirits category manager at Distilled. “Along with the garnish (for seasonal garnish ideas see previous page) they can add another dimension to the drink.” Mugs, teacups and even teapots work well at this time of year, particularly for mulled and hot drinks but also think about investing in some glasses that have a cut glass effect that will catch the tree lights or those made with warm metals like copper and brass.

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eat

The quality of entrants in the inaugural Britain’s Best Pub Burger competition has been a wonderful example of how pubs are beating casual dining chains at their own game. The competition, in association with Shipyard beer, has shown how far pubs have come in such a short space of time. When I was a student back in the early noughties, the situation was simple. You went to a pub to have a cheap “burger and a beer” deal. This would normally be less than a fiver and that was it – in one case that I remember, it was a ridiculous £1.99 for a burger, chips, and a pint of Continental lager. The burgers were frozen. The chips were frozen. The beer wasn’t far off frozen. Oh, how things have changed in the past decade. Challenged by the likes of Byron Burgers, Gourmet Burger Kitchen and Meat Liquor, there has been little choice but for pubs to up their game. It hasn’t been easy, but it has happened. And this competition is wonderful proof. I can say with confidence that the End of Democracy burger by We Serve Humans – a permanent residency at The Heathcote and Star in Leytonstone – not only holds its

with JAMES EVISON

own against the high street offer, but surpasses it. Freshly made, locally sourced, and full of flavour, the ingredients of our winner (see picture opposite) have really blown us away. The thought that has gone into it, from bun to patty and all the elements in between, is brilliant. These are burgers to wash down with flavoursome craft beers – publicans tell us many punters are doing so, I did while judging. And the pub burger experience is a great, uniquely British one. Perhaps most impressive is how many of the pubs have marketed their burgers for the 21st-century diner. They’ve seen the future and it is a filtered, square photo on Instagram, with a million hashtags added. They’ve supersized, supercharged and super-spiced their burgers to make sure the smartphone generation will be whipping out their gadgets and sharing the dishes online. The Britain’s Best Pub Burger competition has highlighted pubs at their most innovative and trend-setting, aware that the only way to grab the under-35 market is to be the best of the best in the marketplace. And pubs have really done it. Congrats to all entrants – you’ve done the pub burger proud.

Top five freshers’ meals 1. Mac and Cheese The young ones will be looking for comfort food now they are away from home. This cheap dish with a good margin delivers. 2. Penne Arrabbiata Carbs and flavour for the sporty students. A fresh, spicy sauce of garlic, tomatoes, and dried red chili peppers cooked in olive oil. #Delish. 3. Lamb Kofte Wrap Keeping students sitting still for more than a few minutes is a challenge for any operator. This grab and go meal will appeal to those rushing to eat in between lectures.

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4. Cheesy chips Similar to the mac and cheese option. A carb and comfort bomb that will fill the home cooking-shaped hole. 5. Fresh soups Students love soups. Hot, easy, healthy and cheap. Also they are a great way to serve the veggie and vegan crowd. Put three or four on the menu and the ladle will be in constant action.

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BRITAIN’S BEST PUB BURGER Paul Human, We Serve Humans

Permanent residency at The Heathcote & Star, Leytonstone, London Winner of the Inapub Britain’s Best Pub Burger competition in association with Shipyard Beer

The bun

“The bun is made by an artisan baker and is a brioche to which we add cream to ensure that it less prone to falling apart when eaten.”

The name

“Originally this was called the Donald Trump burger as a bit of a joke, but once he won the presidential election we changed it to The End of Democracy.”

The chilli

“This is made from chuck steak and pork shoulder which we cook for several days and add the chilli spices.”

The burger sauce

“This is my own sauce which I keep a closely guarded secret, but what I will say is that we aim for it to have the flavour of the Big Mac burger sauce.”

The patty

“The patty is made from brisket and rib of 21 day aged Suffolk cattle that I get from my supplier in Smithfield. We add some veal bone marrow to it as we find that this adds an extra layer of moisture to the burger.”

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Get your just desserts

by JAMES EVISON

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This year’s long, hot summer has been good news for pubs, as many people have enjoyed a cold drink or two in the sun. However, all that hot weather has also had an impact on pubs’ pudding menus.

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eat. The welcome change from the typical Great British summer weather has meant pubs needed to pay close attention to their dessert offer. Here are a few ideas to keep your menu on-trend and interesting, whatever the rest of the year may hold weather-wise.

Ice, ice, baby

When it’s hot you go cold — and nothing is cooler than a great, diverse ice cream offer. Anna Sentence, gourmet marketing manager at Callebaut UK and Ireland, says: “Ice cream is in high customer demand during the warmer months, making it clear that the category remains popular, with plenty of room to grow. “The trend towards creating more interesting ice cream flavours has become prominent among high street ice cream parlours. Flavours such as matcha green tea, buttered popcorn and maple syrup are becoming increasingly popular.” Callebaut’s Sundae Parlour (see recipe on p38) would be a decadent addition to a dessert menu. It goes hand in hand with the firm’s real chocolate sauce, which is quick and easy to make. Simply drizzle over the top of any ice cream flavour.

ALABAMA and TENNESSEE GRILLHOUSE BUNS If you’re looking for the ultimate southern BBQ style rustic burger bun, then look no further! We’ve created a superb dark finish to these buns by using a dash of red malt in the dough and they will handle even the juiciest of premium burgers.

Get boozy

One of the ways to drive sales (and create a premium element to desserts) is to add booze because, let’s face it, most things go better with alcohol. Angus McKean of Fuller’s Red Lion in Barnes has created a chocolate cake using Fuller’s London Porter to create an outrageously sweet and gooey dessert, which is accompanied

a t s e u q Re ample free s ack p If you would like to try any of our new products please visit: www.specialitybreads.co.uk/inapub

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The trend for creating more interesting ice cream flavours has become prominent among high street ice cream parlours

with a sweet white chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream. Perfect for autumn. He says: “Chocolate just has to go with porter and with the white chocolate sauce I wanted to make something truly special. “To complement it with the porter, I may even add some crystal malt to the dish too, as I think that might just take it up to another level.” Indeed, as Anna also points out, you can get boozy with the ice cream offer as well. She says: “Alcohol-infused ice cream has also become a fast-growing trend, with spiced rum, brandy and craft gin topping

the list as flavour favourites. “Offer up a zesty gin & tonic lemon sorbet, a creamy spiced rum & raisin sundae or an indulgent brandy & coffee ice cream to appeal to the adult-only ice cream market.”

Going premium

Hot or cold outside, desserts also present a “vital upselling opportunity” for pubs — and a chance to cover all customer bases. Bidfood has recently launched a range of vegan faux-chocolate desserts alongside a traditional collection including a Belgian chocolate and raspberry torte, a salted caramel figgy pudding and a gluten-free rhubarb and custard crumble cheesecake.

Keep it classic: lighter flavours and textures may be more popular when the weather is hot but chocolate will always play a big part in your pudding offer

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27/08/2018 00:06


Providing extra toppings taps into the customisable trend for those looking to experiment with different flavours

Anna continues: “Pubs can tempt Sundae Parlou Ingredients customers with toppings and extras r Chocolate ice crea priced from 50p extra each. Training m Vanilla ice cream (two scoops) staff on how to upsell desserts will (two scoops) Brownie (one pi enable them to build skills and help ece) Strawberries (cho your venue boost profits. Topping pp Cookies (two) ed) options have the scope to be as Callebaut® 811 extensive or as limited as operaD Whipping cream ark Chocolate Callets (25g) tors choose. (20ml) “Providing extra toppings also Method taps into the customisable trend Place the chocol for those looking to experiment ate and heat in the m callets and whipping cream in a with different flavours.” sm icr you have a smooth owave, stirring every 20 second all bowl Another rising dessert trend is s until , creamy chocolat e sa cold water to redu miniature desserts, often served ce the temperature uce. Place the bowl in sauce round the in of mixture.Pour on a sharing platter or with a si ice cream into the de of the sundae glass. Place on half the coffee, which have become a e sc gl and repeat. Top ass, crumble cookies, brownie piec oop of fixture of several casual dines, fruit with remaining sa uce and callets. ing chains. But these can be popular in pubs too, for those looking for a guilt-free option or smaller appetites.

38 SEPTEMBER 2018

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trade.inapub.co.uk 27/08/2018 00:02


PLUS

128GB tablet prize draw for all entrants!

DOES YOUR PUB SERVE BRITAIN’S BEST ROAST? Enter the Best British Roast * Dinner Competition and make your roast famous.

WIN £5,000

worth of kitchen equipment

BOOST YOUR SALES

Last year’s winners saw a 25% increase in trade**

Enter the Best British Roast Dinner competition at: ufs.com/brdw *The Competition and prize draw is open to pubs who serve roast dinners who are a resident in England, Wales or Scotland and their employees aged 18 or over. The opening date is 08:00 GMT 06/08/2018 and closing date is 00:00 GMT 14/10/2018. Employer permission required for employees to enter. To enter, complete entry form at www.ufs.com/brdw. One entry per person and per establishment. Competition consists of multiple stages, including mystery dining. Prize: One overall winner will win 200,000 UFS Chef Reward Points, £5,000 of Vouchers for Kitchen Equipment (vouchers must be used within 12 months of winning notification), a framed certificate and a Chef Jacket. Regional Winners will receive a framed certificate and a Chef Jacket. Shortlisted entries subjected to mystery dining will receive a framed certificate. All entries are automatically entered into a prize draw to win one Tablet 128GB grey. T&Cs are applicable to the UFS Chef Rewards scheme see www.ufschefrewards.com. For more information and full T&Cs see on www.ufs.com/brdwterms. Promoter Unilever UK Limited, trading as Unilever Food Solutions Unilever House, Springfield Dr, Leatherhead KT22 7GR. **The Feathers Inn, BRDW 2017 Winner.

ad page2.indd 39

27/08/2018 00:07


BT Sport customers book your free place now We, at BT Sport have partnered with Google Digital Garage to offer free, bespoke training to our licensees. The training, designed

Publicans will also hear from members of the

exclusively for the industry, will include

BT Sport team including Harry Redknapp,

workshops and face-to-face coaching

Lawrence Dallaglio, Steve McManaman,

sessions.

Ugo Monye and Robbie Savage who will be attending some of the events to talk about

The aim is to help publicans grow their

the upcoming season of sport.

digital skills, focusing on how to make their business more visible online and optimise

Events will run throughout September and

social media.

October and will be held at landmark locations across the UK. More details of which are below.

BT Sport licensees book your place at www.btsportbusiness.com/google

When and where are the events?

ad page2.indd 40

LOCATION

VENUE

DATES

Liverpool

Anfield

3rd Sept

Brighton

Amex Stadium

10th Sept

London

BT Tower

17th Sept & 18th Sept

Belfast

Kingspan Stadium

24th Sept

Edinburgh

BT Murrayfield

1st Oct

Newcastle

Kingston Park Stadium

2nd Oct

Manchester

Old Trafford

16th Oct

Cardiff

Cardiff Arms Park

22nd Oct

Bristol

Ashton Gate Stadium

23rd Oct

27/08/2018 00:10


Free personalised digital training We’ve partnered with Google Digital Garage to offer our customers bespoke workshops and face-to-face coaching so you can learn how to make your business visible online.

Register now at www.btsportbusiness.com/google

Be There

Growing your Business Together *full terms and conditions apply

ad page2.indd 41

27/08/2018 00:10


play Pieces of research involving the pub trade these days often include the words “premiumisation”, “millennials” and “experiential”. Many still refer to “closures” as well, but collective wisdom seems to suggest that if you can crack the first three you stand a better chance of avoiding the latter. You have to put on a show to drag people out these days (especially that tricky younger crowd) and you had better make it good or they won’t come back in a hurry. Plus, if they have a bad experience, there’s every chance they’ll put the boot in on social media… but that’s another story. But apart from sounding like a word that is used in a lot

with MATT ELEY

of marketing PowerPoint slides, what does “experiential” actually mean? To me it’s about experiencing something different and memorable that will create a buzz and get people speaking about your venue. The ball pit below falls into this category. So do gin tastings, murder mystery nights, music festivals and psychic nights. But these are generally tried and tested. The greatest experiences are the ones we don’t even know we want to have. Can you tap into something your customers can’t get at home or anywhere else and deliver it with style? Manage that and you’ll be getting great feedback on social media and inside your pub.

Dive in and have a ball at sports venue A sports venue in Leeds is encouraging its customers to dive into in its new attraction. Shooters has introduced a 98m2 adult-only ball pit – with more than half-a-million plastic balls. And the company’s head of marketing Isaac Mayne says anything goes in the pit. He says: “Contrary to what people might assume, drinks and food are completely welcome in the ball pit, so visitors can book a session, take a dip, try our new food and drink menu, have a dance to some classic party music and enjoy the ball pit in any way they choose.” There are also opportunities for customers to take snaps to share on social media, with a dedicated custom selfie area. Visitors are also advised to look out for the one and only Golden Ball, which enters them into a prize draw to win £500 in cash. It’s certainly one way of ensuring your customers have a ball.

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UEFA Nations League

England’s players will no doubt get a welcome befitting a side that made it to the semi-finals of a World Cup for the first time in 28 years. They take on Spain in a league format that should make non-tournament internationals a little less friendly. Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are also in action. Saturday, September 8, Sky Sports

Cask Ale Week

Celebrate our national brew in style. Download assets to help you promote the festivities at www.caskaleweek.co.uk September 20-30

Happening this month England v India

Can England wrap up the test series against India at the Oval in style? The T20 Blast finals day follows a few days later at Edgbaston on September 15. Fifth Test, September 7-11, Sky Sports

International Day of Charity

A great chance to fill up those collection tins on the bar. If you’re looking for a cause to support, September is also Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Wednesday, September 5

The heavyweight champion of the world…

The big man is back. Anthony Joshua returns to Wembley to defend his world titles against Alexander Povetkin. Saturday, September 22, Sky Box Office

Champions League

Celtic aren’t there this year but the two Manchester clubs, Spurs and Liverpool will be vying for the biggest prize in European club football when the group stages get under way. September 18-19, BT Sport

Ryder Cup: did you know Europe will be united this month in a bid to wrest golf’s greatest team prize away from the Americans. Here are a few facts about the Ryder Cup to impress the swingers in your pub. 1. It’s in France. The tournament is being held at Le Golf National, Paris, between September 28 and 30. It’s only the second time it has been held in Continental Europe. (Seve’s Europe won at Valderrama in 1997). 2. The biggest win was in 1967, when the Americans recorded a one-sided 23.5 to 8.5 victory over Great Britain and Ireland. It was their fifth consecutive victory. 3. Great Britain weren’t so great. After suffering too long at the hands of the Americans the Great Britain and Ireland team became Europe in 1979. 4. Nobody has scored more points for Europe than Sir Nick Faldo, who returned an impressive 25 from 11 Ryder Cups played over a 20-year period. 5. Tournament founder Samuel Ryder was buried with his trusty 5 Iron. Ryder, who donated that lovely gold trophy, died in 1936 and was buried in St Albans.

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27/08/2018 00:22


groups 6 to go for

by MATT ELEY

Repeat custom in numbers is great for business, so why not reach out to clubs such as these and make your pub their base? 1

Book clubs

Attract book clubs to your business and you could be doing a great service for two threatened classics: the printed word and the beloved British boozer. Book groups come in all shapes and sizes. Some may want their own room, but a decentsized table that they can reserve could well be enough for others. They’ll mainly be chatting and drinking, so they should fit in nicely. Who does this? The Shrewsbury Book in the Pub Club meets once a month at The Red Barn. Where can we find them? Try putting an ad up on a noticeboard at the local library. How can we develop it? You could extend this by introducing a community library, just like The Halfway House in Polbathic, Cornwall, or having a simple charity bookshelf.

2

Sports clubs

Running your own pool and darts teams is one thing, but how about broadening your horizons? So many minority sports are short of funds and facilities and need places to go for meetings and team-bonding sessions. Who does this? The Chequers Inn in Laddingford, Kent, formed its own swimming, cycling and running clubs and has travelled

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the world with them. Allstars Bristol sponsors teams including the local American Football side (big squads, big appetites). Where can we find them? Sports governing bodies can tell you where local clubs are – some, such as the FA, even have web search functions just for this. Failing that it could be time for a trip to the local sports centre. How can we develop it? Start your own team or run an event pitting your sports teams against each other. Ladies tennis v Men’s boules, at darts – who’s your money on?

3

Local political groups

4

The Women’s Institute

It isn’t hard to find people talking politics in the pub. In fact, we’d wager you may well have several party members among your regulars already. They need rooms for their discussions – just make sure you book different groups on different nights. Who does this? The Sultan in London’s Wimbledon offers its upstairs room to political groups and is proud that Tory and Labour members will have the odd drink together. Where can we find them? They’ll find you. How can we develop it? Some pubs, such as The Bush in Tallentire, Cumbria, have been used as polling stations.

The WI turned 100 a couple of years back and has been trying to modernise its slightly fusty image to attract new members. A cool location, like your pub, could help. Who does this? The Dalston Darlings meet up regularly for red wine and chips at The Duke of Wellington in East London. Where can we find them? www.thewi.org.uk has a great search facility that will put you in touch with your nearest WI.

trade.inapub.co.uk 27/08/2018 00:39


Clockwise from top left: business meetings have become a common fixture in the nation’s pubs; The Halfway House in Polbathic hosts a community library; The WI is looking to modernise its image; The Chequers in Laddingford formed its own cycling and running clubs

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How can we develop it? It’s not just baking. The Hampshire County Federation of Women’s Institutes (HCFWI) surveyed members and found out they were involved in 170 different activities That’s potentially a lot of organisations for you to cater to.

5

Local business networks

Are you into trends? Here’s one for you: self-employment has grown from 12 per cent to 15 per cent of the labour force in the last 15 years or so. That’s around five million people who work for themselves and may need places to network or even just to occasionally log in and use the wifi with a lovely cup of coffee. Who does this? The Farm is a networking group for freelance web designers and developers. They meet monthly at pubs in Brighton, including The Caxton Arms. Where can we find them? We found a load by searching out online forums. There are bound to be some local to you. How can we develop it? The great thing about business networking groups is

members may have skills that could benefit your business. You could even provide a room, drinks and a bit of grub in return for some help with your website, PR or similar.

6

Parent Teacher Associations

As our feature on pages 10-12 shows, the links between pubs and schools is growing. This is likely to continue as other community amenities struggle and pubs become more family-friendly. Linking with your local PTA is a logical step, and let’s be honest, which teacher or parent of young children couldn’t do with a relaxing drink in a pub? Who does this? More pubs than you might think. The Merito Bar in Dunlop, East Ayrshire was bought by the community and is run as a social enterprise. Groups, including the PTA, use it as a meeting space. Where can we find them? You don’t need our help with this. Just make contact with your local school. How can we develop it? Get involved with fundraising or encouraging kids to engage in community projects at the pub.

SEPTEMBER 2018 45 28/08/2018 08:40


Keep ’em guessing by MATT ELEY

? “ Smartphones are essential for on-the-spot checks on who shot JR, but a good pub quiz should have answers that are guessable or simply un-Googleable

Team name: The Criterion

Location: Leicester Type of quiz: Two traditional pub quizzes — ‘Things to Come’ and ‘The One with Everything’ How long has your quiz been running? Both have been running five years — and one of them has moved venue twice, it’s so loved. How many people take part? We get a crowd of between 10 to 40. In no more than 50 words can you describe the basic premise? “The One With Everything” is like our best pizzas — full of ingredients that, while still fresh and local, can be anything. No question is too strange. “Things to Come” takes the difficulty towards 12 — a true quizzer’s quiz.

?

Are smartphones a threat to the pub quiz or the next stage in its development? Smartphones are essential for on-thespot checks on exactly who did shoot JR, but a good pub quiz should have answers that are guessable or simply un-Googleable. And you can’t beat a bit of peer pressure to play the game fairly.

pxx-xx pub quizzes.indd 46

?

How do you deal with the smartphone in the pub quiz: embrace it and make it part of the experience or fine anyone who dares ask Google for an answer? We put a traditional pub quiz up against a snazzy app-based quiz company. Who wins? You decide.

Who comes up with the questions? We do it ourselves. Who marks the scores? The quiz master. This is where mobile phone answers can be detected right away, as we can Google any answers that seem too down pat. Is there always a prize? Always; but the prize itself is usually secondary to being the winner. Failing on the last question can sometimes hurt a lot more. Favourite pub quiz team name? Unrepeatable, but my second favourite is “I thought this was speed dating”.

27/08/2018 09:51


?

play.

Team name: KwizzBit Location: International Type of quiz: Interactive

How long has your quiz been running? Launched in February 2017

We have eradicated cheating by using the smartphone web browser as the platform on which you play and introducing a scoring system that rewards fast answering

?

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How many people take part? We are suppliers to some of the biggest pub companies in the UK: Greene King, Stonegate, Mitchells & Butlers, Marston’s and Ei Group. More than 10,000 Kwizzez have been played to date, with 120,000 questions answered and more than 35,000 unique players. In no more than 50 words can you describe the basic premise? KwizzBit is a subscription-based interactive quiz service, which means three things: there are no expensive hardware costs; it can be used an unlimited number of times and is updated daily with new Kwizzes. KwizzBit can be hosted and played from any smartphone, tablet or laptop via 3G, 4G and WiFi. Are smartphones a threat to the pub quiz or the next stage in its development? Smartphones are a threat to the pub quiz. The ability to find information so quickly, thanks to modern phone technology, makes cheating so easy to do. The answer is to marry the smartphone to the pub quiz and have their love child. The ideal interactive quiz aims to create a more engaging and exciting experience for hosts and users than traditional pen-and-paper quizzes. The work we’ve done here at KwizzBit does just that. We’ve eradicated cheating by using the

smartphone web browser as the platform on which you play and introducing a scoring system that rewards fast answering. Who comes up with the questions? Based on feedback and conversations with pub-goers and customers, our in-house content creation team makes new quizzes daily, which include Picture This, Bak2Skool, Headlines and Mystery rounds, as well as weekly recap quizzes of EFL and Premier League football for the sportier crowds. What’s more, we regularly create themed quiz events, which really draw a crowd — our recent Love Island quiz went down a treat with pubs all across the UK. And, if a person can’t find what they’re looking for, we’ll create a bespoke quiz for them. Who marks the scores? The system automatically marks the questions after each has been answered. This gives a live in-play leaderboard, which creates an interactive gameshow atmosphere throughout the entire Kwizz, which really brings out people’s competitive sides.

?

Is there always a prize? While prizes are decided by venues, we encourage creativity. One of our venues gives KwizzBit winners 60 seconds to grab as many bottles as they can from behind the bar… with one hand. Favourite pub quiz team name? Our favourite pub quiz team name has to be “You’re a Kwizzard, Harry” — we’re big on Harry Potter over here at KwizzBit HQ.

SEPTEMBER 2018 47 27/08/2018 09:51


NATIONS UNITED FEEL IT ALL

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27/08/2018 20/08/2018 10:05 16:20


BRING YOUR CUSTOMERS TOGETHER FOR AN AUTUMN PACKED WITH LIVE INTERNATIONAL SPORT New UEFA Nations League Northern Ireland v Bosnia Saturday 8 September, 2pm

Denmark v Wales Sunday 9 September, 5pm

England v Spain Saturday 8 September, 7.45pm

Scotland v Albania Monday 10 September, 7.45pm

International Golf Ryder Cup Friday 28 - Sunday 30 September All 3 days exclusively live

Autumn Internationals England v South Africa Saturday 3 November, 3pm

England v Japan Saturday 17 November, 3pm

England v New Zealand Saturday 10 November, 3pm

England v Australia Saturday 24, November, 3pm

Plus, huge live games from the Premier League, EFL, SPFL and Carabao Cup, including: Tottenham v Liverpool Saturday 15 September, 12.30pm

Arsenal v Everton Sunday 23 September, 1.30pm

Liverpool v Man City Sunday 7 October, 4.30pm

Chelsea v Man Utd Saturday 20 October, 12.30pm

Call 0844 417 8983 or visit business.sky.com/pubs Sky Sports requires a Sky subscription, equipment and installation. Scheduling may be subject to change. Further terms apply. Calls to Sky cost 7p per minute plus your provider’s access charge. Correct at time of print: 17/08/2018.

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20/08/2018 10:06 16:21 27/08/2018


stay 11

All systems go by JAMES EVISON

inapub

DIGITAL MARKETING GUIDE

Grappling with Google or flummoxed by Facebook? Inapub could have the answer. Our new digital and social media “how to”guide offers step-by-step instructions on improving your Facebook Page, Google presence, Twitter following, TripAdvisor ranking and more, so you’ll be marketing your pub more effectively in no time. Order your Inapub Digital Marketing Guide — today: email sales@inapub.co.uk, call 0800 160 1986 or visit inapub.co.uk

These days travellers want to find and book their accommodation online. But how do you make sure it’s you they find and book? At last month’s Stay in a Pub conference, Martin Newenham, a consultant for hospitality marketing firm Journey, delved into how to make online booking systems work harder for your business. Start with Google

If you want to guarantee the top slot on Google, you will have to pay for it through the Google Ads system.

Use an Online Travel Agency (OTA)

These are third-party booking sites like Booking.com, Expedia, Trivago etc. The main reason people opt for these rather than booking direct is they are easy to use. Seventy per cent of people interested in booking a hotel use an OTA. They will then go to your pub website to get more information such as the location, menu, and images of rooms. But 68 per cent will then leave to return to the OTA to book, or reconsider completely. Very few will actually book on your website.

Why won’t they book on my site? Your website design may be poor or not mobile-optimised – or it may offer a poor booking experience compared with the OTA.

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How do I get people to book directly then?:

You can’t deliver a “special” experience on an OTA, so take back control. Own the guest experience, then you own the guest relationship. You can do this in six steps: 1. Build your online presence It is going to cost you to do it. You will need to have some cash or resource set aside to grow your online presence, either through assigning someone the role of social media manager or through spending on adverts across Facebook, Google, Twitter and Instagram. 2. Get ready for business. Have the best website you can for your pub. So many websites are impersonal and tell you little about what the pub is like. And have a great booking engine. Make sure, if you have details such as telephone numbers on the site, that they are manned or there is a voicemail being picked up regularly.

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stay. Most customers will book through third-party sites, but if you can convince them to book direct through your own website you can boost your margins

3. Become a conversion machine. Do the things to keep customers on the page and signing up. Put messages such as “Only two rooms left!” or “Welcome offer at The Red Lion” up when people come to your site.

If you want to drive margin for pubs with rooms, the best way is to look at how you can get people to book direct

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4. Focus on your guests. Devise, build, implement, measure, get data, learn. I firmly believe in Dave Brailsford of British Cycling’s marginal gains theory. Keep going back and making things better. The one per cent improvement is everything. Also, remember that Amazon adds new coding to its website every 11.6 seconds. Don’t just build a site and leave it for a year. 5. Keep tabs on your visitors Get some great CRM (customer relationship management) software and use it to track and really engage with your guests. For example the software could log customers’s dates of birth and drop them an email offering a free glass of Prosecco on their birthday. Or the system could email them to say “we see it is nearly a year since your last stay, we would love to have you back with this offer...” This way they are more likely to

come straight to you next time, rather than an OTA. 6. Know your numbers. This is what I call the “Brucie bonus”. You need to understand what is going on in your online brand. No point just getting loads of clicks on your site. It’s about attracting the right kind of traffic. The real test of a website is conversion – turning people visiting your website into people booking your rooms.

Direct is worth it

On that final note above, look at what is happening on the site. A good booking engine would see about 15 to 35 per cent of visitors to the website go onto the booking service. Then only about five to seven per cent actually book. But despite the low numbers it is still worth driving people to direct bookings. The cost to the business of going direct works out at around five to 10 per cent of the overall booking. But if you are going with an OTA, it will be around 18 to 20 per cent. So, if you want to drive margin for your accommodation, the best way is to look at how you can get people to come direct.

SEPTEMBER 2018 51 27/08/2018 09:55


back-bar business

Decorate by JO BRUCE

to accumulate

Being a scrooge with your Christmas decorations may not only be perceived as Bah humbug! by customers. It can have a direct impact on your bottom line, according to new research.

Sell decorations Selling Christmas trees and wreaths to customers is an approach that has worked well for London’s Three Cheers Pub Co, who will again be setting up “Christmas Tree Forests” at five of its pubs from late November to Christmas Eve. Every shopper who buys a tree will receive a complimentary glass of hot apple cider or mulled wine. Mark Reynolds, co-founder of the company, says: “Selling the trees creates a wonderful Christmas atmosphere and lovely community feel. It creates another dimension to the exterior decorations at the pub and gives people more reasons to come to the pub.” He adds: “Christmas is a busy time. If we can make the lives of our customers easier, save them having to do another task. Let’s do it.”

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Online Christmas decorations e-tailer Christmas Tree World (www.christmastreeworld.co.uk) says 59 per cent of consumers surveyed would spend £21 more on average per head if the venue had impressive Christmas decorations and displays, with 45 per cent also citing decorations as the second-most important part of their Christmas visit experience, after food. The research also shows that striking decorations also increase dwell time, with consumers saying they would spend 54 minutes longer if a venue had great festive decorations. Stephen Evans, managing director of Christmas Tree World, says: “Spending even a small amount on Christmas decorations which can be re-used year after year can ultimately boost business performance significantly. This is not to be ignored.”

Colours for Christmas 2018

So what to choose for this Christmas? When it comes to colour schemes for trees and garlands, professional decorating company Christmas Decorators’ co-director Vicky Doughty says gold is always a winner, as it can be mixed in with reds for a more traditional look or paired with black for a more contemporary feel. She also tips rose gold, bronze and copper to be big this Christmas and colours such as deep reds/burgundy, dark greens, pewter and blues to complement these for a stunning rich “jewelled” look. Supplier Bidfood’s campaign manager Laura Mason also tips white and silver and contemporary designs such as festive jumpers as key themes this year. Decorations made from recyclable materials and crack-

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My Christmas decorations David Utting, The Empress, Cambridge

The George Payne in Hove creates a winter wonderland with tree branches overhanging the bar festooned with festive treats

Spending even a small amount on Christmas decorations which can be re-used year after year can boost business performance significantly

ers made from sustainable sources will also be bigger news for this festive season, with Bidfood among stockists.

Do something different

Whatever you choose, try to deliver one piece or area with a wow factor. At Three Cheers Pub Co’s Bolingbroke pub in London they featured an upside down Christmas tree hanging from the ceiling to great effect at The George Payne in Hove, licensee Zoe Rodgers creates a winter wonderland feel, with natural tree branches hanging over the bar with bags of festive treats attached. Lights can achieve a big impact for those on a limited budget. Vicky from Christmas Decorators says: “String lights can be twisted around beams and shrubs, or potted plants can have lights wrapped round branches. Frame the outline of windows either inside or out with string lights and add in a twinkle for a magical look.”

Going large on decorations has proved a business winner for Ei Group licensee David Utting of The Empress in Cambridge. He puts up around £10,000-worth of decorations – a collection of tinsel, baubles, red brick wallpaper, bells, reindeers, snowmen and around 150 sets of lights, a haul which has been built up over 11 years. The outside of the pub is also painted a festive red and green with pictures of snowmen and the like to deliver kerb appeal. David buys decorations all year in sales and his team start decorating part of the pub in early October. He says: “We add to the decorations each year. It takes a long time to put them up, but they are really great for business and boost profits. People who come to see them will have two or three pints and it provides a great talking point for customers.” David’s tips: • If you have a large pub then focus on just going big on decorations in one area, as you have to go over the top to make an impact. • Don’t underestimate how long it takes to put up decorations. Enlist a team of helpers and if decorating on a largescale, be prepared for it to take several weeks. • Use lots of cable ties to secure decorations.

Sustainable crackers from Bidfood. Environmentally conscious Christmas goods are tipped to be big this year

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27/08/2018 10:03


time at the bar

PLATE OR SLATE? Where the nation’s publicans stand on the really big questions Tom Lord, FirePit Rocks, Sheffield Tom Lord is general manager of FirePit Rocks, which opened last month on the city’s busy West Street. The new venue takes its cues from American “dive bars” and serves up a combination of sports, rock n’ roll and casual dining. Tom has previously worked at Bamboo Door and The Great Gatsby, also in Sheffield and Revolucion de Cuba in Manchester.

Plate or slate?

Cash or Apple Pay?

It has to be plate over slate every time for me – even though a lot of what we serve at FirePit Rocks comes served in baskets or on trays! The serve has to fit the concept – there’s nothing worse than a slate being purely used as a gimmick.

Apple Pay is the way forward. But money is money, I won’t say no to either.

Cocktails or cask ale? Always cocktails. I’ve spent my entire career working in cocktail bars in Manchester and Sheffield. You can have a menu with cocktails that appeal to a huge range of people, whereas cask ales tend to have a specific demographic.

Background music or silence is golden? It has to be music, music, music! DJs, live bands – you name it. So much of our identity here at FirePit Rocks is about the music we love. And anyway, you don’t just go to a bar for drinks – you go for the atmosphere. And a huge part of the atmosphere is provided by the music.

Dress up or dress down? I live in shorts and Hawaiian shirts, dress down all the way! I fully intend to get married in a Hawaiian shirt, let’s see how that one turns out!

On the tab or no credit here? Cash is king now. I can’t think of a venue that does rolling tabs for regulars any more. Things have changed since the days of paying off a tab when your paycheck lands. Mainly because credit cards were invented.

Wear what you like or uniforms for the staff?

Dyson Airblade or hand towels?

The dress code needs to fit with the brand. At FirePit Rocks we’re all about rock bands and pop culture. We like people to express themselves in what they wear. We’re an independent – one of our key attributes is our staff, so they have their freedom as long as it fits with the venue.

Dyson Airblade every time. Great for drying hands – awful as a urinal.

Shabby chic or a design shrine?

Menus online or on paper? I think both in this day and age. Everyone expects an online menu these days. Most people have an idea of what they’re ordering before they get to the venue.

We’ve definitely gone for a shabby chic look and it’s something that will evolve over time. A lot of effort went into engineering the look and feel of a dive bar. Sports memorabilia, retro games and neons everywhere, but it will never be finished. It’s the beauty of the kind of venue we are.

Book in advance or find a seat where you can? Book in advance for large parties so we can make sure we can accommodate, but four or less, then just come in and grab a seat. We’re a casual place and we want people to feel they can wander in without the need to call ahead.

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10p from every pint of Two Bells beer sold at The Angel on the Bridge in Henley, Oxfordshire, after the annual Club to Pub Swim was donated to Sue Ryder, the charity supporting people with life-threatening illnesses. This time a record 625 swimmers took part, swimming 1.5km from Henley Rowing Club to The Angel on the Bridge pub. Finishers received a bottle of specially brewed Brakspear ale and a medal with a built-in bottle opener. Afterwards the pub hosted a barbecue where the beer was sold for charity. “We’ve been proud to support the swim and delighted to see it grow from 160 competitors in its first year to today’s field of more than 600,” said marketing manager Emma Sweet. (Pic courtesy of Henley Herald)

THE COLLECTION TIN What pubs around the country are doing to help good causes The annual golf day held by The Whalebone Freehouse in Norwich got its first female winner this year – particularly apt as the event was in aid of Keeping Abreast, a charity that supports women through breast reconstruction following cancer treatment. Claire Smith beat 40 regulars who took part on the day, which raised £2,500 for the cause. A fundraising day at The Cuckoo Pint in Stubbington, Hampshire, raised more than £1,000 in memory of Sarah Williams. Sarah died aged 25 in 2007 and her parents Kevin and Tricia used to manage the pub. The money will all be donated to the charity Cardiac Risk for the Young.

The Braes in Dundee, held a dog fun day last month in aid of Guide Dogs for the Blind. Dog beer and “pawsecco” were served, alongside stalls, games and a photographer offering dog portraits. The activity raised £1,559 in total. The Pink Ladies of The Old White Lion in Bury, Manchester, added a further £4,000 to their combined fundraising total of £12,000 over the last four years, by holding a “pink party” for Cancer Research. The 12 women took part in a local Race For Life before returning to the pub, which had been decorated pink for the occasion. Punters also enjoyed karaoke, a tombola, raffles and face painting.

LANDLADY OF THE MONTH For her “Unreal housewives of Eryrys” calendar, this month’s Prostate Cancer UK’s Landlady of the Month has to go to Vicky Tommy of The Sun Inn in Eryrys, Denbighshire. Vicky has raised £6,000 since March when she started to raise money for the charity with initiatives including the calendar, selling t-shirts and badges, and holding an afternoon of comedy, music, raffle, tombola and afternoon tea in May. Vicky said: “I decided to support Prostate Cancer UK because it has affected a few of my customers and I wanted to help make a difference. I am really overwhelmed and proud to be named Landlady of the Month, what an honour! The event went really well and I’m

thrilled we were able to raise awareness of a disease that affects one in eight men in the UK. Everyone had a great time and I encourage all landlords to sign up and turn their pubs into a Men United Arms. I couldn’t have done it without the time and dedication of the ladies involved with the calendar and arranging the event in May.” Men United Arms is Prostate Cancer UK’s fundraising initiative that encourages pub, club and bar licensees to raise awareness amongst their customers, and funds to help beat prostate cancer. To sign up for a fundraising pack or receive more information visit prostatecanceruk.org/menunitedarms

Are you raising funds for a great cause? Let us know at editorial@inapub.co.uk

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FESTIVE VIBES Pubs that celebrated Christmas with a bit of a twist 1

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1. Help the homeless

6. Impress the nationals

Loads of pubs put people before profits when it comes to Christmas. The Nag’s Head in Manchester is one of many that has opened on Christmas Day to feed the homeless for free and provide clothing and shelter.

With its “lavish decorations and festive fare” plus an annual guided walk through the village before Christmas lunch, The Shibden Mill Inn in West Yorkshire was recommended by The Times as one of the pubs to visit at that most wonderful time of the year.

2. Go for Number One

7. Add some sparkle to your food

The Woodstock Arms didn’t quite get to the top of the download charts with its festive offering a couple of years back, but the Oxfordshire local had great fun recording Jingle Bells. They made it in honour of 89-year-old regular Pete Adams, who was born in the pub.

The Fox Under the Hill pub in south-east London literally did that by infusing its gravy with sparkly edible glitter. The festive look went well with turkey and all the trimmings, according to locals.

3. Go over the road for one

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Even a devastating fire at The Bell in Parkham, Devon, couldn’t stop Christmas. Licensees Michaela and Rachel Sanders started trading from the village hall while the pub was closed for repairs and celebrated with a special Christmas lunch for loyal locals.

4. Have a summer crimbo

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Christmas is traditionally in December, right? Not at the Bedford Tavern in Brighton. They held a three-day Christmas weekend in June 2014, with-full on decorations, Christmas parties, dinner and even an appearance from Santa (who probably isn’t so busy at that time of year).

5. Be a chocolate genius

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Christmas at Ye Old Sun Inn in Colton, North Yorkshire, would not be Christmas without one of chef-owner Ashley McCarthy’s incredible chocolate creations. Over the years scenes have included Frozen, Alice in Wonderland and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang with money (and the chocolate) being donated to the Martin House Hospice for children.

8. Get the ginger look Mark Walton said it was “a drink with fellow nutters” that inspired him to turn The Queen Victoria in Priddy, Somerset, into a giant gingerbread house complete with sweets plastered all over the pub for Christmas. Almost good enough to eat.

9. Get into snow business As the highest pub in the country at more than 500m above sea level, The Tan Hill has had its fair share of snow-ins over the years, with one lasting for 11 days. It’s no wonder Waitrose featured them in a Christmas advert, which, of course, focuses on a snow-in.

10. Deck the boughs The Churchill Arms in Kensington, London, was hard to miss last Christmas. With 92 Christmas trees, 21,000 lights, and a garland over the front door, it claimed to be the most Christmassy pub in Britain. 5

28/08/2018 08:51


time at the bar

HAIR OF THE DOG Tales of the unexpected from the wonderful world of pubs y) Christmas is coming (alread

Dog fight

ing you, pub is given up to remind Much of this issue of Ina se, that hra pub trade press catchp in the timeworn autumnal the corner.” “Christmas is just around b in Bristol’s ty for the Air Balloon pu par the to We’re too late up for more Christmas tree has been Filton, though, where the than a month already. pub, purpose of decorating the “I don’t really do it for the ’ve we started - to let people know that it’s more for advertising bookings,” taking Christmas dinner n told nso landlady Joanne Joh I didn’t put r yea t firs The Bristol Live. year and we it up until quite late in the s.” ng oki didn’t get as many bo was a she its, adm nne However, Joa t year the tree Las year. bit slow off the mark this ss has ine tard 8’s went up in July, and 201 rs. ula reg by on ed ark not gone unrem

Land of the free(house) As Theresa May thrashes out the terms of Britain’s future outside the EU, she in turn is facing her own secession, with a pub in Somerset declaring an INNdependent RePUBlic. Landlord David Grindley has written to the Prime Minister to tell her his plans to make The Cross Keys Inn in Lydford-on-Fosse independent of the UK on Friday September 7. The cabinet, president and first lady, he made clear, would be chosen that night. A national anthem was being drafted, with passports to be issued at border control. It’s all for charity of course, and to celebrate the five years David has owned the pub. It will all come to a peaceful conclusion on Sunday September 9, when local MP David Warburton will visit to accept the pub’s surrender and shift back to UK control. Pretty sure chief Brexit minister Dominic Raab will be watching proceedings closely…

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The drive to attract canine custom into pubs continues apace. Hot on the tail of BrewDog’s “pawties” (see this page in last month’s issue), came the “pawsecco” at The Braes in Dundee (this issue, p56) and Get Your Hound Inn’s bar snacks for dogs (p8). And there’s no let-up in either the targeting or the terrible puns, as news breaks of Scotland’s first “pup crawl” – a pub crawl for dogs organised by Dog Furiendly. Taking place on Sunday September 9, the route wends around several dog-friendly pubs in Glasgow, taking in a fancy dress competition and a doggy disco. Inevitably though, all this four-legged focus has provoked a backlash. From this month, Wetherspoons has announced it will be enforcing a ban on dogs in its pubs and gardens. Spokesman Eddie Gershon explained: “Even well-behaved dogs can be unpredictable, and every owner thinks their dog is perfect.”

Payphone police Are mobile phon es killing the art of conversation? Mark Robson ce Landlord rtainly thinks so – and he’s doing about it. If anyone something ’s phone rings or beeps at the aptly Just Reproach in named Deal, Kent, he fin es them £1. So far, The Sun reported, the rule has raked in mor £20,000 for char e than ity. “It’s quite an even t if a phone rings on a packed Frid Barman Martin Do ay night,” cherty told the pa per. “There’s a ro applause, and all und of positive as it mea ns someone’s go Regular Michael t to donate.” Spicer added: “the whole idea is people speakin g to each other. O ne day a local was asked for hi s phone number by a stranger. By the time he’d given it out seve ral of us had got it down and rung him, it cost him about £7.”

trade.inapub.co.uk 28/08/2018 08:19


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Inapub magazine september 2018 issue 80  

A pub in Bristol was the first to put its Christmas decorations up this year, trimming the tree in late July, so if your thoughts are turnin...

Inapub magazine september 2018 issue 80  

A pub in Bristol was the first to put its Christmas decorations up this year, trimming the tree in late July, so if your thoughts are turnin...

Profile for inapub