Issue 99 Summer 2022 £4.95 magazine.inapub.co.uk
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his issue is dedicated to, and a celebration of, the pub as the beating heart of its community. Community has become so much more important to us during the pandemic, but pubs have been bringing local communities together for as long as they’ve existed, and we thought it was high time we celebrated that. In fact, the importance of pubs to their local communities cannot be overstated – they connect people, deliver vital services, provide a meeting place for local groups, raise money for local causes and are essential to the local economy. When the pandemic hit, our readers, in pubs across the UK, stepped up to support their communities like never before. Delivering food and drink, checking in on the lonely and vulnerable, raising money for the NHS, acting as vaccine centres, selling essential supplies and holding online events to keep their customers’ spirits up. You did all this while your business was shuttered, your income slashed and your expertly cared-for cask beer was going to waste in your cellar. In this edition of the magazine we celebrate the many ways local pubs are proving how essential they are, and feature just a handful of the great community pubs across the country that are going above and beyond to support and improve their local area. The Inapub team raises a collective tankard to all the thousands of you out there for the vital work you do in your local communities – cheers! The Inapub Team
what’s new Community champions
drink Flavours of summer ’22 • Cider
eat Food favourites • Variety on the menu at The Wych Elm
play Entertaining the community
stay A honeypot for travellers
ideas Elton Mouna finds some ways to add a little fun
time at the bar Richard Molloy • Postcard from the Pub Frontline
Editor Caroline Nodder
Contributors Claire Dodd, Andrew Ives, John Porter, Richard Molloy
Production editor Ben Thrush Chief executive Barrie Poulter
Sales manager Katy Robinson
Visit us online at magazine.inapub.co.uk
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Heart of the
Pubs are powerful things. They can unite a whole community. They can heal a person’s mental health. They can prevent loneliness. Get people through the toughest of times. Boost the local economy. Care for the vulnerable. And all this while serving up the best locally sourced food and freshest cask ales for miles around. Pubs are community superstars, and this issue of Inapub magazine is a tribute to all of the licensees out there who are, at this very moment, quietly getting on with their important work. First, we hear from four organisations that champion community pubs in four very different ways.� The BII: championing pubs as a vital part of the community One of the best things about the pub sector is the community that licensees themselves have formed, supporting each other and sharing ideas and advice that helps the whole industry to grow. Behind this community sits the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII), an organisation that champions pubs and the people that work within them. The BII’s chief executive Steve Alton says: “At the BII we are passionate about our purpose to do all we can in keeping pubs thriving at the heart of their communities. Our pubs have always represented so much more than a place to eat and drink, they are where we gather to celebrate, commiserate, or just catch up. Their role at the heart of their communities was never clearer than through the pandemic. When they were able to trade, it was where we went to reconnect after the isolation, and for many, it was a welcome antidote to the real loneliness felt through lockdown. Even when their doors were closed, so many of our pubs and their teams reached out into the communities they are an integral part of to help others. From delivering prescriptions, providing essential groceries, running online events to keep people connected or checking on their vulnerable neighbours to make sure they were OK, they simply showed why Pubs Matter. We at the BII took the opportunity to recognise these amazing pub
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teams with over 130 Heart of the Community Awards, to say thank you for all they did and continue to do. Our pubs are unique in society, playing an essential economic role as part of the wider hospitality sector, delivering around £40bn to the Treasury via taxation. They also provide essential local employment in every community, alongside the vital role they play providing a safe and accessible place for us to come together. Right now they are facing a cost-of-business crisis on top of a chronic shortage of staff. The hospitality sector is estimated to need around 400,000 people to fill key roles, around one in three of all national vacancies. It is critical that we shout about the fantastic place our sector is, with great jobs and careers in vibrant, dynamic businesses. Remuneration levels are higher than equivalent entry-level jobs and we have extensive professional development opportunities to rapidly accelerate talent. We need to share the fantastic stories that we all have to change the perception of our sector. Our customers expect more than ever in terms of their experience at the pub and with prices having to rise, we need great talent to continue to create that fantastic pub experience. The team at the BII will ensure we continue to both make the case for greater support for these vital businesses across the UK, and do all we can to support our members navigating the challenges ahead.”
Pub is the Hub: helping publicans diversify to support the community It’s not just food and drink on offer at community pubs Many enterprising licensees have added a variety of vital village services to their offer to help keep the community thriving. Pub is the Hub supports licensees who want to expand their business with services like a shop, post office, deli or office space. Pub is the Hub’s chief execu-
tive John Longden says: “During the last 20 years Pub is The Hub has been able to help over 600 pubs diversify, with nearly 200 receiving both advisory and direct financial support through our Community Services Fund. The social value impact of these projects has made such a positive difference to so many local communities.”
Our pub hub The Marquis of Granby, Granby, Nottinghamshire
The Marquis of Granby in Granby, Nottingham, is owned by wife-and-husband team Sara Barton and Sean McArdle, who also run the Brewster’s Brewery at Grantham. The pub, which also acts as the brewery tap, is a small country pub located in the heart of the Vale of Belvoir, around 14 miles from the centre of Nottingham. There is no shop in either Granby or any of the surrounding villages and it is a nine-mile round trip to the nearest supermarket and transport links are limited in the area. Both Sara and Sean felt that a grocery store and coffee shop would benefit the community as there are no other facilities other than the village hall. After speaking to Pub is The Hub for both advice and a Community Services Fund grant, they opened The Dragon Street Store and Coffee Shop at the pub.
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The village store provides a range of essentials such as bread, milk and cheese, saving people the drive to the nearest town. The shop works well as the person already working behind the bar can also serve customers. The coffee shop provides an area for people who are not traditional pub-goers to socialise. It is also proving popular at the weekends and has started to grow especially with cyclists and people from a local Park Run. Sara says: “By working with Pub is The Hub we were able to get advice and a grant to provide these new services for people living locally. We have had such great support and positive feedback from local residents to both the village store and the coffee shop. And as well as providing essential local services it is bringing new people into the pub.”
Join Inn – Last Orders for Loneliness Building on its community services work, in 2019 Pub is The Hub conceived its “Join Inn – Last Orders for Loneliness” initiative, which looks to support publicans and people living in their local areas to become better connected, helping local people feel less isolated and helping to alleviate loneliness. “Join Inn” provides a range of useful resources to help publicans tackle loneliness, and attract new people to their pubs, including guides and ideas of what has worked well for other publicans. Tips for publicans on tackling loneliness Loneliness affects people of all ages and from all types of backgrounds. Simple acts can make a difference to someone’s day, such as starting a conversation with someone on their own in your pub or out in your community. 1. Ensure your team members know it’s OK for them to take five minutes out during certain times of day to chat with customers. Offer team training around conversation and listening skills.
2. Give people who may be feeling lonely the confidence and opportunity to join in and meet people in similar circumstances around shared interests of activities. Inviting someone to a seasonal event, friendship circle or weekly activity is vital so the pub can become a social hub for people previously isolated or lonely. 3. Activities such as a ‘Meet-Up Monday’ group, organising a Christmas lunch for people who would be on their own, or hosting a regular gardening, walking, craft or games group can all help bring people together. 4. Connect with other organisations and charities that are involved in helping to tackle loneliness. They may be able to provide resources or connect you with groups looking for somewhere to host activities.
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The Licensed Trade Charity: caring for the carers Running a pub and caring for your community can be a tough job, and the Licensed Trade Charity (LTC) is there to help. The LTC helps pub people across the UK through the everyday problems that life throws at them with practical information, emotional support and financial grants. Their services are free and confidential, and for a sector hit hard by closures and trading restrictions during Covid, and now as across the UK we all face the increasing cost of living, especially utility bills, have never been more needed. The charity’s app can be downloaded free of charge through the App Store and Google Play – just search Licensed Trade Charity. The charity’s free helpline (0808 801 0550) is available 24/7 and can give useful information and tips to help licensed hospitality people manage on a reduced income and manage increased everyday bills for utilities, rent, clothing and food. The helpline also gives pub people someone to talk to, any time, about anything.
Health, housing or money proble ms? We offer emotio nal support, practic al advice and financial gra nts. Call our helpline 0808 801 0550 or visit www.licen sedtradecharity.or g.uk The last thing you want to do is bottle things up.
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Pub Aid: making some noise about pubs’ good works One of the most impressive aspects of what a community pub does is the huge contribution it makes to charity every year. PubAid was set up to measure the sector’s contribution and shout about the amazing charitable work that pubs do. PubAid co-founder Des O’Flanagan says: “Pubs raise more than £100m for charities every year and support grassroots sport to the tune of £40m. These are impressive figures that everyone in our industry should be very proud of. Just as important but less quantifiable is the incredible support pubs provide for their communities, as became clear through the Covid lockdowns. Whether delivering groceries or hot meals to vulnerable residents or putting on virtual quizzes to keep people connected, pubs offered a lifeline. Our Community Pub Hero Awards received 100+ entries last year and are running again this autumn, to recognise those licensees and their teams who go the extra mile to support their communities in whatever way they can. With the pandemic hopefully behind us, pubs are con-
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Staff at The Sun in Ulverston, Westmorland, raising money for a neonatal illnesses charity with a Grand National Day. Pubs raise more than £100m for charities every year
tinuing to provide a vital role as neighbourhood hubs, with their recent support for the Ukrainian relief effort a great example of how they bring people together and turn good intentions into good deeds. Pubs really are a force for good in their communities and it is our mission at PubAid to make more people aware of that fact!”
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FAMOUS FOR COMMUNITY SPIRIT Andrew Ives visits a pub that became a locals’ lifeline in the pandemic
When we first took over the pub it was very much geared towards tourists. Now the locals do come in during the summer because they know we will look after them
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The Pityme Inn, a handsome ivy-clad building that sits within beautiful gardens about a mile away from an equally beautiful Cornish beach, has been run by reigning BII Licensees of the Year Chris and Jason Black since 2018. The pub’s picturesque location, close proximity to the sea, and luxurious en-suite rooms meant the business historically enjoyed a roaring tourist trade, to the extent that residents of the local village of Wadebridge were less inclined to visit during the summer months. But then Covid arrived, and with it the first period of lockdown, which had a transformative effect on the Pityme Inn’s relationship with its local community. “When we first took over the pub, it was very much geared towards tourists, there was a perception that there was no room for locals in the summer,” says Chris. “So we built that local relationship and trade up throughout the pandemic, and now the locals do come in during the summer because they know we will look after them as much as we look after the tourists. It’s more of an equal playing field now, I think. Lots of businesses find that if you neglect the local trade they won’t come back in the winter. We treat everyone exactly the same.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, the pub’s first step towards strengthening its relationship with local customers during the pandemic involved food. “There is quite a large elderly population here, and some of them were very isolated during lockdown,” says Chris. “So we started making meals in the restaurant kitchen, which were delivered to people in the community by Meals On Wheels. It snowballed quite quickly, to the point we were making
200 meals twice a week.” During the period of semi-normal trading in between lockdowns one and two, Chris and the Pityme Inn team took the idea of serving the community a step further by opening a village shop within the pub. The shop provides local residents with easy access to every day necessities and frozen “ready meals” from the restaurant kitchen, as well as gifts and souvenirs made by local craftspeople for out-of-town visitors. The shop has proved to be beneficial to the local community, and to the pub’s bottom line.
“The village shop has a glass partition around it, so you are basically walking into the pub when you walk into the shop, and people can see the pub looks really nice, and they say ‘let’s book a table when we come back out’,” says Chris. “So it keeps the narrative going. It’s another reason for people to come in and visit the pub.” The events section of the pub’s Facebook page on the day of our interview lists the next big community event as a Jubilee street party, with all proceeds going to charity. Chris says of the pub’s charity work: “It started during lockdown. We did a virtual beer festival and virtual quizzes for a couple of hundred people, which raised money for the village’s pre-school to get a new roof – that raised about £1,500. And then we do work with the local food bank in Wadebridge, and we’ve done a bit with the RNLI, because we are on the coast.” Although the pandemic years have been painful and stressful, Chris feels happier with the Pityme Inn’s place within its community than he was pre-Covid. “During the
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The Pityme Inn Wadebridge, Cornwall Bestselling beer: Korev Cornish Lager in summer, Tribute in winter Wet/dry 40/60 Music : Live folk and jazz from local musicians
pandemic we became a big part of the community because we were doing the meals on wheels for the locals, which cemented us as part of the community. The people who had those meals recommend us to their families who now come in, and it’s snowballed. “We do coffee mornings for the elderly, which came about because people didn’t have anywhere to congregate. We do breakfast with Santa at Christmas for the local kids. We have become very much an events hub for the community, and it’s very important to us to keep that alive. “It’s something we didn’t have before the pandemic, so it’s something positive at least that came out of that.”
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3/05/21 4:05 PM 25/05/2022 10:53
THE SUMMER OF SERIOUS GINS
Pink Raspberry Tonic A Britvic addition, exclusively for the licensed channel, the raspberry flavour, with crisp tones and fresh citrus cues, will continue to help operators elevate experiences for consumers when it comes to selecting their mixers out of home.
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Summer is here, and usually that means fruit flavours, fruit flavours, and more, you guessed it, fruit flavours. And though this year is no exception – see our summer drinks focus across the following pages – there are of course always two sides to every coin. And so, it’s our pleasure to show you that alongside the pink gins, the blood orange flavours, and the flourish of tropical drinks, there’s a more complex, more nuanced trend washing over that perennial favourite, gin. Essential ingredient though it is, juniper has kind of been overlooked when it comes to gin, with the spotlight being focused on other botanicals. African superpremium gin Procera, however, is named after the little-known juniper variety at its heart. The gin hails from Nairobi, Kenya, and the berries are indigenous to the highlands of East Africa. They are used fresh, rather than dried, imparting earthy, nutty and bright flavours. Another “superpremium” gin (read, expensive), Brockman’s, uses both traditional, and some more unusual botanicals, such as liquorice root, blueberries and blackberries. These are steeped in pure grain spirit for up to 24 hours for a bolder, more complex flavour. Organic food producer Daylesford
Farm has just launched its own Organic Fig Leaf Gin, inspired by the gardens surrounding the farm. It’s infused with fig leaves, bergamot, gorse and herbs, for a grassy citrus taste. And Whitley Neill has recently added an Oriental Spiced Gin variant, which combines cardamom, citrus, cumin, pepper and savoury spice. Here’s to a summer of characterful G&Ts.
One of your five a day?
We all know you should eat your veggies. But should you drink them too? Londonbased gin producer Portobello Road certainly thinks so. Stepping into the world of vodka, it has added a load of aromatic asparagus to its latest launch. Going from farm to bottle in under a week, the limited edition of 600 bottles uses a British potato vodka base, in which asparagus from Portwood Farm in Norfolk is steeped for 24 hours. The brand plans to launch a bottling each year, just after the start of the asparagus season, and will be distilled on St George’s Day. Use it as a replacement for traditional vodka or gin in classic cocktails such as the Negroni, Martini or Corpse Reviver. “We are seeing a real desire from customers for more savoury drinks,” says co-founder Jake Burger. “It is something that we have noticed in our West London venue, The Distillery, and it is perhaps in response to the overly sweet, sugary spirits that have flooded the market in recent years.”
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37.5% ABV 70cl
Feels like by CLAIRE DODD
At last. With extra bank holidays, the Jubilee, a full calendar of sporting events, and the opportunity to finally put those socially distanced garden tables back to normal (hurrah!), 2022 is set to be a golden summer. (Now watch it pee it down every weekend). Weather aside, it’s time to serve up summer. And we have a few suggestions. “During lockdown many people began discovering their inner mixologist by creating serves at home,” says Jennifer Runciman, head of category development for the on-trade at Diageo. “Now that the on-trade is open, people are enjoying themselves in pubs, bars and restaurants and may be looking for serves they can’t necessarily create at home themselves.” So, cocktails it is then. If that word still fills you with fear for sticky bar-tops and required staff training, don’t worry. There are some very simple serves you can try. “We know that pre-pandemic spirits had the second-highest value sales in the on-trade and 66 per cent of drinks are consumed with a mixer, and we can expect this momentum to continue,” adds Jennifer. “So, for operators, ensuring a drinks menu taps into customer trends and features popular serves will be key, as well as incorporating a few unique options to excite customers with something new.”
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If you are doing cocktails, make them fun. But make it easy for yourself. “Cocktails of the month are as popular as ever, especially those where an element can be pre-mixed to save time,” says Patrick Venning, co-founder of the Brixton Distillery Company. “Plus, brand-mentioned cocktails and locally named drinks on the menu are important. People want to know what rum it is and where it’s from – it definitely works!” So sit back, grab your sunnies, and get ready.
It’s ALWAYS Spritz season It really is. Such is the suggestive power of that neon orange liquid, that as soon as one customer orders one, you know a hundred more are incoming. But, you can make a spritz with more than Aperol. From alternative spirits, to other bitter Italian aperitifs such as Luxardo Pink Aperitivo, why not try a spritz of the week menu to drum up interest?
Pimm’s Sundowner Spritz
Launched last year, Pimm’s Sundowner is an 18 per cent ABV raspberry and redcurrant aperitif. To turn it into a spritz, fill a wine glass with ice, and combine with 50ml each of Pimm’s Sundowner and prosecco, then top with soda. Garnish with
fresh raspberries. “Spritz serves are synonymous with summer and are quick and easy for staff to create,” adds Jennifer. “Operators would also benefit from providing a good range of spirits that form the base of spritz serves.”
this trend. With this in mind, operators may want to think carefully about which no and low drinks to stock behind the bar.” And one area that has been substantially overlooked so far, is wine. Summer may be the perfect time to try some out.
Oddbird Red and White wines
Gareth Franklin, global brand ambassador for Luxardo, says: “This summer is all about the spritz and simple long drinks. “The Limoncello Spritz is delicious, easy to make and to customise. Quality and consistency is easy to achieve for venues, even during the busiest of shifts.” Use 50ml Luxardo Limoncello, 20ml lemon juice, 75ml prosecco, and build the ingredients in that order in a wine glass over plenty of ice. Stir gently and garnish with lemon peel, or fresh herbs of your choice.
Spanish vermouth El Bandarra Al Fresco – which uses Mediterranean botanicals including liquorice, mint, rose and citrus – makes the base for a cocktail said to have all the vibes of Barcelona. Mix two parts of El Bandarra to three parts Cava (because, Spanish), and one part soda. Garnish with a slice of orange.
This summer is all about the spritz and simple long drinks 16
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Is there anything more summery than watermelon? Sunburn? OK, fair. For a watermelon spritz, grab a bottle of El Sueno Watermelon (which combines the silver tequila with pressed watermelon juice), and tonic. Garnish with a slice of melon.
Non-alc wine brand Oddbird has added a couple of new variants to its range of sparkling wines that launched in 2021. Oddbird Low Intervention Organic Red Wine is a blend of merlot and pinot noir from Breganze, Italy and fermented spontaneously and aged for 12 months. Oddbird Domaine de la Prade Organic Red Wine is a blend of merlot and shiraz. Oddbird Low Intervention Organic White Wine is a blend of garganega and vespaiola grapes again from Breganze, and fermented spontaneously, handharvested and 100 per cent organic. According to the brand, the low-intervention process produces six times less CO2 than wine from the average vineyard.
Three Spirit’s Blurred Vines
Non-alc spirit brand Three Spirit has added a range of “functional” non-alc wines, made from rare teas, active botanical extracts, fruits and ferments. Spark is an alternative to sparkling Rosé, while Sharp is described as a floral spritz with high minerality.
Club Tropicana Starved as we have been from venturing to far away tropical climes, it makes sense that consumers are now reaching for fun, fruity, and playful serves and flavours.
Whitley Neill Pineapple
“Tropical flavours have been performing
No and low “Inclusivity in a drinks range is becoming more important as people look for more choice during social occasions,” says Jennifer. “And there is now a diverse range of non-alcoholic beer and spirits to cater to
SUMMER 2022 25/05/2022 17:46
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The cream liqueurs category is another area that is seeing strong growth
particularly well in spirits, and this is something that we have been keen to tap into with our most recent flavour launches for Whitley Neill,” says James Stocker, marketing director at Halewood Artisanal Spirits. Last year it launched Whitley Neill Watermelon and Kiwi and Mango and Lime gins, but for this summer it’s about pineapple. It’s distilled using Costa Rican Pineapples, and simple serves include with a light tonic, lemonade or elderflower. Or use it in summery cocktails such as a piña colada or French martini. For the martini, mix 60ml of the gin, with 25ml Chambord, and 50ml Pineapple Juice, shake with ice, and serve in a coupe glass.
The beer brand has just launched its first RTD, a tropical-flavoured hard seltzer. Described as a blend of boozy sparkling water and real fruit juice, the range is aimed at those looking for lighter refreshment. Its three flavours – Guava & Lime, Raspberry & Lemon, and Grapefruit & Lemongrass – are all offered at 4.5 per cent ABV, have no added sugar, and are 100 calories per can. “Corona is a brand that was born from the tropics and… we’re excited to offer a new Corona beverage to those who love the brand but are looking for options outside of beer,” says Felipe Ambra, global vice-president. “It is our mission to bring paradise to people everywhere.”
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Nostalgia Another strong trend is for nostalgia. From Angel Delight to Bakewell tarts, in times of change we’re seeking comfort in classic flavours, something which has spilled into drinks launches. And that means a push behind cream liqueurs. For example, Diageo has just added Bailey’s Eton Mess to take the brand beyond Christmas and into the summer months.
Dead Man’s Fingers Raspberry Rum Cream Liqueur, and Strawberry Tequila Cream Liqueur
“The cream liqueurs category is another area that is seeing strong growth, with lots of new fruity and tropical variants entering the market,” says James at Halewood. It has added a couple of new products, with Strawberry, described as a deliciously smooth and velvety rum-based cream liqueur with aromas of fresh raspberries. Pour neat over ice with a garnish of fresh raspberries, or mix into a Raspberry White Russian. And alongside rum-based Raspberry, the company has also added a tropical Mango flavour, with a Tequila Reposado base.
Don’t let the vegans miss out. Described as the world’s first alcoholic oat milk RTD cocktail, the Panther M*lk brand is available
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*CGA, Total Licenced, Average Volume RoS, MAT, Data to w.e. 31.12.2021
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BRITVIC: SENSATIONAL DRINKS
10/05/2022 11:02 18:00 25/05/2022
With lager growing in popularity during the warmer months, now is the time to look for the next big thing in the category
in Original flavour, with brand new limited editions Mint, Chocolate and Strawberry now available. Pour or shake with ice. Brand owner Paul Crawford, says: “Panther M*lk is based on a Spanish cocktail from the 1920s called Leche De Pantera which translates into English as “panther milk”. In 2022 there is really no reason to use dairy with all the alternatives out there. Our strawberry flavour goes down a treat with vegans and those with lactose intolerance, who for too long have not been able to enjoy strawberry milkshakes or cream liqeurs, but now they can.”
A pint of sunshine Summer of course means beer. From fruity cask ales, to refreshing lagers, there are plenty of summer brews to choose from. Patrick McCaig, managing director of Otter Brewery, which makes lagers Tarka Pure, and Tarka Four, says: “With lager growing in popularity during the warmer months and with an annual growth rate of 4.4 per cent predicted between 2021 and 2026, now is the time to look for the next big thing in the category.” It’s well-known that cask ale is having a tough time post pandemic. But new launches aimed at light summer drinking are now coming to the fore, hoping to reverse its fortunes.
Black Sheep Brewery Velo Citrus Pale Ale First brewed to mark the 2014 Tour de
France, which passed the gates of the brewery, Velo is making a seasonal return. Described as having a “complex flavour profile’”, Velo combines a blend of cascade hops, with “heaps” of orange and coriander for a juicy brew, at 4.2 per cent ABV. The company also launched its brand-new cask beer, Refresher in April, a traditional blonde ale made with British hops to provide a sessionable, lightly floral pint.
St Austell Brewery Anthem
Looking for a lighter option? Cornish brewer St Austell has added a new permanent line, with Anthem, a 3.8 per cent ABV pale ale made with 100 per cent British ingredients, including maris otter barley grown in Cornwall and East Anglia, and target, olicana, jester, and harlequin hops. Said to be packed with fruit flavours, it’s ripe for summer.
And now for something completely different. Think it’s just rosé, white, and prosecco that consumers are looking for this summer? Think again. Morandé Wine Group’s latest product is Winebeer, which aims to combine the “sophistication of a good sparkling wine, with the refreshing taste of a beer”. Set to launch in July, the five per cent ABV drink combines grapes, hops and yeast, and is described as balancing bitterness and acidity, with the aroma of white flowers, nectarine and tropical notes, with a kick of citrus.
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Strawberry & Lime, the bestselling packaged cider variant* Now available on draught For stocking info:
Stay in touch: Kopparberguk Source: CGA On Premise Data, Packaged Cider, Value sales, MAT to 01/01/2022.
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Season of cider by CLAIRE DODD
Westons recommends making premium and crafted apple brands the focus on the bar but fruit cider remains important for attracting new drinkers
Cider and summer are synonymous. Yes, we know it’s a drink for year round, but with sales reliably spiking at the same time as sun lotion sales do, there’s a lot to catch up on to get your offer summer-ready. Especially after two years of uncertainty. “It’s been an uncertain time for the cider category,” says Paul Evans, buyer for LWC Drinks. “Last year across both the on- and off-trade, almost 667 million litres were bought by consumers – a decrease of 2.6 per cent on the previous year, after years of continued growth.”
According to the latest Westons Cider Report, the on-trade now accounts for 50 per cent of value and 24 per cent of total cider volume. “With all Covid restrictions now lifted,” says Darryl Hinksman, head of business development at Westons Cider, “there is an invaluable opportunity for the cider category this summer across the on-trade, bolstered by bank holidays, Platinum Jubilee celebrations and the World Cup in November”.
Traditional and craft
Yes, amidst the flurry of flavour, crafted and apple ciders are being tipped for growth. So don’t forget them. Westons reports that premium and crafted brands combined accounted for almost half of draught apple cider last year, and command between 36 and 97 pence per pint more than mainstream ciders. “We know that cider-drinkers are continuing to drink less, but better,” says Darryl Hinksman, head of business development at Westons Cider, citing its brands such as Stowford Press and Henry Westons Vintage. “Within a category that’s encouraging more and more consumers to trade up, there are some subsectors we’re watching with particular interest. “With this in mind, operators should make more premium and crafted apple brands
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their focus on the bar. These products offer consumers a premium taste and increasingly represent the traditional products which have always been at the heart of the category.” Even beer brands are getting in on the act. Working with a small Somerset-based apple juice producer, Theakston’s has launched Paradise Gold, a 6.8 per cent ABV vintage dry, sparkling, golden cider, inspired by the cider it produced in the late 1970s and the 1990s. Executive director Simon Theakston says: “The pandemic gave us pause to reflect on the past, look back at our archives and rediscover some old favourites from our 195-year-long history. “We’ve long talked about reviving this association between the brewery and cider production and now that industry confidence is returning, we felt that there was no better time to have a bit of fun and experiment with cider recipes to bring back a delicious variation on a theme of dry, crisp fruity cider meeting the demand for a new generation.”
It’s all about the flavours
Speaking about that new generation… yes, love them or loathe them, flavours have been a key way into the cider category for at least the past decade. And with their ability to follow current trends, though not in growth, they remain important for attracting new drinkers. “Fruit ciders deliver 42 per cent of value sales in the cider category in the on-trade – worth more than £565m to outlets – and we expect demand to rise as the weather gets warmer,” says Mark
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Bentley, on-trade category controller at Molson Coors Beverage Company. And this year after making its presence felt in everything from spirits to IPAs, the summer belongs to blood orange, with both Rekorderlig and Thatchers having released distinctive orange-hued liquids. Rolled out to the on-trade in late April, Rekorderlig’s tipple was created in response to the growing popularity of orange-flavoured drinks, with blood orange in particular tipped to be the next big thing. It combines the cider with blood orange juice and Swedish spring water. Last year it launched Rekorderlig Pink Lemon, reminiscent of pink lemonade. Thatchers Blood Orange Cider forms one of three flavours available in the brand’s One Fusion Font, and is in 500ml bottles, offered at four per cent ABV. “Research has shown that 95 per cent of 18- to 39-year-
Both Thatchers and Rekorderlig have released distinctive orange-hued liquids
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old cider drinkers are excited about new flavours in fruit,” says Rob Sandall, on-trade sales director at Thatchers Cider. “So with Thatchers Blood Orange we’re bringing something new and accessible for flavour connoisseurs, and appealing to this generation.” It too launched a lemoncentric flavour a couple of years ago, with Cloudy Lemon Cider, as both tropical and refreshing flavours continue to trend.
Low and no
Cider by numbers
draught presented 73.5% of re er cid e pl ap 21 In 20 er’s 26.5%. volume, to fruit cid nuary 2022 are up 40.2% to Ja les sa er cid t gh au Dr cider sold counts for 73.8% of ac w no er cid t gh Drau in pubs ost 10% of s now represent alm Crafted apple cider price of £4.50 boast an average sale d an ple ap t gh au dr total 26% to in share to just over Packaged cider grew n by kegs January 2022, drive
Don’t leave out the non-drinkers! According to CGA, 36 per cent of Brits have recently drunk an alcohol alternative in the on-trade. So make sure there are some cider alternatives too. And when it comes to non-alc ciders, in a similar trajectory to the category itself, first came apple, now comes flavours. Heineken recently added an alcohol-free version of its top-selling Old Mout Pineapple & Raspberry, in 500ml bottles. Rachel Holms, cider marketing director, says: “Some 33 per cent of all cider serves are ordered by Generation Y drinkers, who are also some of the most adventurous drinkers in Britain’s on-trade. Old Mout’s newest launches present a clear opportunity for our customers to tap into this highly engaged customer base, who seek exciting new flavours from trusted brands when drinking in pubs and bars.”
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All data Westons Ci
No pump? No problem
We all know there’s only so much space on the bar. So if you want to trial a new cider, a practical option is a bag-in-box. Darryl at Westons says: “With limited risk both in terms of shelf life, volume and price, these highly versatile formats can be dispensed on a handpull through the cellar, from the fridge or even at room temperature directly from the shelf. Not only does this format offer a real opportunity to add incremental sales, as the average retail selling price is higher than mainstream cider, but it gives outlets a chance to really engage with cider enthusiasts.” Weston’s itself offers Henry Westons British Vintage Cider (7.3 per cent ABV) in a 10-litre bag-in-box. “Additionally, bag-in-box ciders can be sold in much higher volumes for events or to use behind a bar, allows for greater freedom than installing kegs for events and can be easily transported and stored,” adds Paul at LWC.
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WHO’S COUNTING? IS IT TIME TO LABEL YOUR CALORIES?
Providing pub-goers with a premium, wholesome and delicious crisp alternative, No. 1 healthy snacking brand, graze, brings its popular Crunch range to the pub channel for the first time. Try the popular, healthy snack in your outlet now.
Once customers expect to see the information, any pub not providing it risks seeing them take their business elsewhere
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If it delivered no other benefits whatsoever, the recent change in the food labelling regulations requiring larger businesses to include calorie counts on menus and labels should have been welcomed by anyone concerned that the art of conversation was being lost. In restaurants, cafés and branded pub chains, the sudden realisation amongst customers that a basic sandwich can deliver hundreds of calories, a burger and fries can easily top the 1,000-calorie mark and a Sunday roast delivers enough nutrition to see most of us through to Wednesday has prompted plenty of debate, mostly along “who’d have thought it” lines. None of this should have come as any surprise, but we are all very good at compartmentalising knowledge when it suits us. Good intentions to cut back on calories and eat more healthily may be front of mind on a Monday morning, but can be easily shunted aside when presented with the choice of sticky toffee pudding or chocolate brownie. Independent pubs
that don’t yet have to comply with the regulations, which apply to businesses with 250 or more employees, are probably relieved that they have escaped the need to remind paying customers of their poor lifestyle choices. However, this may only be a temporary stay of execution. The official line is that government recognises that calorie labelling would put a greater burden on independents, but the government also said it is “asking smaller businesses to adopt calorie labelling”. Whether or not the powers-that-be stop asking independent pubs and start telling them at some point, the big test of calorie labelling will be whether customers come to expect it when they eat out. Once customers expect to see the information, any pub not providing it risks seeing them take their business elsewhere. As with alcohol limits, it sometime feels difficult to have a sensible public debate on the issues around health and obesity. However, pubs can make a difference by giving their customers the tools they need to make healthier food choices – or not – according to the occasion. And if it also prompts a lively conversation, so much the better.
The flavour of
by JOHN PORTER
It may be that ‘normal’ is too much for pubs to hope for. Just as the pandemic seems to be fading in urgency, at least until the next variant comes along, the prospect of rising inflation and a cost of living crisis shows up to spoil the party. For many pubs, adding food and drink delivery and takeaway services was a lifeline while Covid restrictions were in place, but most operators wouldn’t be too upset if it turned out that people are now fed up with picking chips out from the back of the sofa and ready to get back to the pub to enjoy a meal out. There is some evidence that the pendulum is swinging back. Figures compiled for the CGA & Slerp Hospitality at Home Tracker
Sure we can’t tempt you? Chip supplier Lamb Weston suggests loaded sharing dishes such as this chips with bacon, lettuce, tomato and avocado, can be a great way to drive incremental sales with drinkers
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shows that while delivery and takeaway sales from pubs and restaurants were 119 per cent higher in March 2020 than in March 2019 at the start of the pandemic, levels are falling on a year-on-year comparison. At the same time, consumers say they want to eat out more, with CGA’s Consumer Pulse survey showing that more than twothirds, 70 per cent, now feel confident about visiting pubs, bars, and restaurants, at least in terms of any worries about Covid. The challenge for pubs is to turn this goodwill into bums on seats, at a time when people are now instead worrying about higher household bills and lower disposable income. Operators are also having to pass on their own increased costs. The figures compiled by the Office for National Statistics show that the price of a meal eaten out of home was 6.8 per cent higher in
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Good to be back: more than two-thirds of people now feel confident about going back to pubs, bars and restaurants
March 2022 than a year previously. With food and drink prices expected to continue to rise for at least the rest of the year, every operator has to ask how much they can absorb themselves rather than increasing the price pressure on customers. When the big picture looks a bit daunting, a good approach is to tackle the challenges one step at a time. Ensuring that the topsellers on the menu offer options for a broad range of customers is one way to ensure that a meal at the pub has broad appeal. Just as the cask ale drinker in a group will often pick the pub, customers with special dietary needs or a passion for provenance can influence the choice for everyone.
Mix up familiar favourites
The survey carried out for Inapub’s Indies’ Choice report, covered in detail in the last issue, shows that the best-selling pub dishes are all familiar favourites: fish & chips; meat pie, burger, steak, and a roast dinner. All of these core menu items can be adapted and extended to broaden their appeal. This could include using a range of white fish species to promote sustainability, offering
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plant-based alternatives as part of a burger or pie menu, or simply ringing the changes with a venison steak instead of beef – which may also help with managing costs. Varying the meat served with the Sunday roast, and using “served with seasonal veg” to use the best available produce, will also help keep the cost of a family favourite within customers’ budgets. Highlighting the provenance of food on the menu also adds to its appeal. Joe Angliss, customer marketing manager for the hospitality sector with Bidfood, says: “Consumers will factor in the locality when choosing an eatery and see a sense of premiumisation with a product sourced or created just down the road. There has also been a growth in UK distilleries, breweries and wineries, so there are now more British drink options to choose from than ever.” Quoting the company’s customer research, undertaken in conjunction with CGA, he adds: “There is scope for pubs to push provenance, with 46 per cent of consumers saying that when it comes to eating out they like to support local producers and farmers. Research shows that more than half of pub
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diners (54 per cent) are willing to pay more for food featuring local ingredients. Pubs should therefore highlight their contribution to the local economy by writing it on menus, putting up posters or via social media.”
Direct Seafoods’ sustainability chief Laky Zervidachi says: menu descriptions such as ‘Catch of the Day’ can help you make the most of the diversity of fish and seafood available
Consumer analyst Mintel has identified three key trends that are currently driving consumer food choices both when it comes to preparing food at home, as well as eating out. Pubs which can tap into these should find that customers respond by eating out more often and maybe even spending a bit more.
In times of uncertainty, people crave a sense of agency over their lives. Pubs can help their customers make more confident decisions, whether it’s protecting their health or the health of the planet. Flag up lighter
options on the menu, offer sides such as fresh vegetables, rice and salads alongside chips and onion rings, and highlight more sustainable dishes, whether it’s free-range meat or line-caught fish. Laky Zervudachi is director of sustainability at Direct Seafoods, named Marine Stewardship Council Fresh Fish Food Service Supplier of the Year in 2021. He says: “We encourage our customers to recognise the diversity of the fish and seafood available with menu descriptions such as ‘Catch of the Day’. Varying the species can also help with the cost. Dishes such as fish curries and fish tacos are a great fit with streetfood-style menus, and enable pubs to use a broader range of species according to availability and the latest advice on sustainability, as well as offer their customers great value.” Customising menu items also helps give customers a sense of control. By offering a choice of toppings and fillings for burgers, pizzas and sandwiches, pubs can ensure customer get exactly want they want, and also encourage them to trade up to more premium ingredients when they want to push the boat out.
Net profit: varying your menu with species such as hake can help with the price of fish
Having endured lockdowns, and faced with the cost of living challenge, customers are looking for opportunities to break out of their confines and explore, play and embrace new experiences. While it’s important for pubs to offer dishes that enable punters to make
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Lucky Boat’s rice noodle salad. Regional Chinese, South-east Asian and Korean cuisines are in demand as people look to treat themselves after a hard couple of years
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healthier eating-out choices when they want to, menus also need to recognise that eating out with friends and family is often an indulgent occasion. Focusing menu descriptions on the flavours, colours, textures and aromas of food makes a meal at the pub a memorable occasion. Offering spicy sauces as an option, as well as desserts using tangy seasonal fruit, all helps to add enjoyment to the whole experience. Greta Strolyte, brand manager for Oriental food brand Lucky Boat, says: “Food favourites can be found in the diverse range that global cuisines have to offer. Regional Chinese, South-east Asian and Korean cuisines are tipped to be in demand, with dishes such as Hakka noodles, Szechuan hotpot and Vietnamese pulled beef bahn mi as hot options.” With chips an essential part of the pub offer, supplier Lamb Weston suggests promoting exciting chip-based “loaded” sharing dishes to tempt grazers and snackers at the bar with a touch of extra enjoyment, which can add incremental sales with customers who have come primarily to drink. Adding seasonings such as a splash of sriracha, a pinch of peri-peri or a burst of blackened Cajun can transform fries into a spicy treat without putting extra pressure on the kitchen.
Working from home has given consumers a greater appreciation of the way spaces can be used for different things. For pubs, there’s an opportunity to offer a more multifunctional approach to trading, by offering laptopfriendly Wi-Fi access, and a broader range of hot drinks, snacks and sandwiches. Creating spaces where consumers can spend more time, work and meet can help suburban and community pubs make daytime trading a bigger part of their appeal. Foodservice analyst Peter Backman has been monitoring the impact of working from home on the eating-out market. He says: “Whether people work from home or from an office, they need to be fed and watered. But the places where this occurs are shifting from city centres to suburban and rural areas. “For example, the City of London and Canary Wharf suffer from working from home; the West End suffers both from loss of overseas tourists, and working from home. Less travel reduces aggregate demand for foodservice in places such as these. “Even though the demand may still exist, changes to travel are transporting it to other places, such as pubs in outer suburbs, which benefit from working from home.”
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Keeping it fresh by JOHN PORTER
‘I’ve always believed that if you give people quality, they’ll beat a path to your door,’ says licensee Michael Pearson. Which explains why the path to his pub, a Fullers tenancy in Kingston, south west London, is definitely well-trodden. Michael and his partner Charlotte Salaman took on the tenancy in 2015, having previously run another successful pub in the area. The Wych Elm has wellestablished local appeal, with a secluded garden in summer, log burners in winter and a well-kept pint all year around. “We’ve deliberately kept a traditional pub style for the business, with a strong local trade. We have a 60/40 wet/food split, although at the weekend our food trade increases,” says Michael, who is a regional finalist for BII Licensee of the Year 2022. The Wych Elm has a varied food offer which includes pizza and burger menus, classics such as steak, fish & chips, Sunday roasts and a Pie of the Week. Also on offer is a small-plate “bar bites” menu which includes fish and chicken goujons, and mac
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& cheese balls, which can be matched with sides such as chips, salads and flatbread. Supplementing this is a specials menu featuring more premium dishes, changing according to availability. “We serve whatever is in season or available,” says Michael. “The specials will always include an additional two or three starters, and up to four or five different main courses, which will always include fresh fish, a vegetarian dish which will often be of Korean origin, and always an alternative meat dish such as chateaubriand for two to share, rack of lamb or confit of duck. Every dish on the menu is made freshly, with the specials being a little more at the restaurant-quality end.” The rationale for The Wych Elm’s varied food offer is Michael’s recognition that pubs now have to work harder than ever to trade
Pic: Charlotte Salaman
The Wych Elm Kingston upon Thames
Style: Fuller’s tenancy Licensees: Michael Pearson and Charlotte Salaman Chef: Greg Kerr Wet/dry split: 60/40 Target GP on food: 80%
(Left to right) Wych Elm co-owners Charlotte Salaman and Michael Pearson, and chef Greg Kerr.
By offering choice on the menu, you’ve got several bites of the cherry to try to bring people in
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successfully. “We have a lot of locals and regulars using us two, three or four times a week. They’ll come in with the kids for a pizza on a Monday, or for a bar bite and a pint midweek, but equally they’ll come back for dinner on a Saturday night, or a Sunday roast with the family. By offering that menu choice you’ve got several bites at the cherry to try to bring people in,” says Michael. “Equally, the quality of what we’re doing is such that we’re having people driving from places like Weybridge or Hampton Hill several miles away, so we’ve become a destination for diners as well.”
Much of the pub’s success is down to word of mouth, with social media and review sites also important, keeping The Wych Elm at the top of online lists of Kingston’s best pubs to eat at. “The reviews are bringing people in, word of mouth is bringing people in, and over time we’ve also built up an email database of about 4,000 customers, so we can target them with the weekend’s menu,” says Michael. Some of this marketing has to be lastminute, due to the nature of using the best available seasonal produce. “Some days, literally the fishmonger’s van
arrives in the morning, and then we email out the evening menu.” Heading up the kitchen team is chef Greg Kerr. Michael says: “Recruitment has always been a challenge, it’s not new to the industry. I’ve always been quite lucky to get one key player, which in this case is my chef. If you know that you’ve got the skill set and the ability, it’s worth paying more than the market rate.” The pub’s price point ranges from £13 for a burger and £15.50 for haddock and chips, to around £45 for a shared chateaubriand. “Building loyalty is very important. We do a midweek £10 meal, which will be something delicious like a duck confit with puy lentils, which we know we can deliver for 10 quid and still make a margin of 60 per cent. My rule of thumb is an 80 per cent GP on my regular big sellers, and then we’ve got room to manoeuvre in other areas. “People who go to the pub for a pint don’t necessarily associate it with a Saturday night meal, but they are now starting to. We’re full virtually every Saturday night with people coming to dine, and we can do up to 200 covers on a Sunday. A pub like ours doesn’t start with a reputation for a restaurant experience, we’ve had to build and earn that over time.”
35 25/05/2022 14:48
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THAT’S COMMUNITY ENTERTAINMENT Relaxing lunches, after-work drinks, lazy afternoons in the beer garden… whatever the mood calls for, music can help to make it. Discover the power of music and the benefit it can bring with TheMusicLicence
Something for all sorts: from board games to bouncy castles, and much more, pubs offer an unrivalled range of entertainment
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Of all the things that a good community pub does well, it really comes into its own when it comes to entertainment. The range of entertainment on offer at your local boozer is quite staggering, and the ingenuity of licensees in constantly introducing new and different forms of entertainment to keep the locals interested is something to be admired. Not only do we have pub quizzes, karaoke, comedy nights, live music, darts, pool and bingo, but we now have outdoor cinema screenings, street food events, community vegetable competitions, art installations, axe-throwing, charity auctions, video game tournaments, open mic nights, speed dating, escape rooms, cookery classes, yoga, murder mystery nights and board game evenings. We have lunches for the lonely, sing-a-longs for the elderly, performances by the school choir, book clubs, mother and baby mornings and space for daytime working. There are charity fairs, bouncy castles, Christmas markets, Bonfire Night fireworks, summer
BBQs, five-a-side football, beer festivals and fancy dress parades. There are very few venues that can turn their hand to such a wide range of different forms of entertainment, and that is the true beauty of a good community pub. As well as all these events and activities, of course, local pubs are great supporters of local groups and sporting teams, with PubAid estimating that community pubs contribute £40m a year to grassroots sport alone. And let’s not forget the charities that benefit from the support of their local pub – according to PubAid an incredible £100m each year is donated by local pubs to charities, many of which are small local non-profits that rely on this funding to support the local community. Community pubs – we salute you!
Inapub’s 10 weirdest community pub names ever 1. The Jolly Taxpayer Portsmouth 2. The Quiet Woman Buxton, Derbyshire 3. The Old Thirteenth Cheshire Astley Volunteer Rifleman Corps Inn Stalybridge, Greater Manchester 4. Poosie Nansie’s Mauchline, Ayrshire 5. The Case Is Altered Pinner, Middlesex 6. The Pyrotechnists Arms London 7. The Gate Hangs Well Syston, Leicester 8. The Legend Of Oily Johnnies Winscales, Cumbria 9. My Father’s Moustache Louth, Lincolnshire 10. Brown Edge St Helens, Merseyside
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Getting it right by RICHARD MOLLOY
Winning an award for serving the community in an industry renowned for its value to society is no mean feat. We chat to Heidi Lane of The Crown and Anchor, Eastbourne, to find out what she’s done in her neighbourhood to deserve the accolade, and how her support for local sports teams, arts groups, charities and events has been the key to her success. When envisaging a community boozer you might think of a backstreet local or a pub on a housing estate. Maybe a chimney-pot pub that’s been vital to the neighbourhood for years? What you probably don’t imagine is one on Eastbourne seafront recently turned around and made invaluable to local residents by a first-time publican. Heidi Lane has done just that. Her Crown and Anchor pub has recently been named Community Pub of the Year at Greene
King’s Night of Excellence Awards evening, held over from 2020 (you know, because…). The awards saw the Sussex pub commended for the vital role it plays in many aspects of local life, with families, charities, local organisations and sports teams benefiting from Heidi’s community spirit. Speaking to her, it’s clear that she’s serious about the importance of pubs to neighbourhoods and it’s soon apparent just why The Crown is both an asset and a success: “A pub should represent the whole community, not just be a niche,” she says, outlining her ideas on what a Great British boozer should be and exploding some myths about what a “community” pub looks like. “It’s not about old-fashioned boozers. A community pub isn’t just about darts and pool teams. It’s about collaborating with all local groups and representing all walks of life.” Many teams in the Eastbourne area have benefited from the financial backing Heidi has given them. Football teams, boxing clubs, cheerleaders, softball teams and even the GB Roller Derby team. Sponsorship is a tried and tested symbiosis for pubs and sports teams, and Heidi is
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Game on By Rhiannon Jepson, PR & Communications Executive, PPL PRS
The Crown and Anchor Eastbourne, Kent Style: Community local Entertainment: Live music every Saturday and Sunday, quiz on Thursday, karaoke on Sunday Menus: Full range including vegan, gluten-free and kids’ Website: crownand anchoreastbourne.co.uk
happy to contribute sums ranging from a few hundred pounds up to a few thousand, although it’s not necessarily about the direct financial value to her business. “It’s hard to measure,” she says, “But it definitely breeds goodwill.” She uses the phrase “two-way street” often, saying you only get out what you put in. Heidi allows groups and societies to use the pub’s function room for free, including Greenpeace, The Dickens Society, Extinction Rebellion, debating groups and sports clubs. The mutual benefit comes from introducing new people to the pub. “The Dickens Society meets up here for a meal before the meeting. It helps us on an otherwise quiet Monday night,” Heidi says.
Call of duty
The importance of the pub to a local area has been much trumpeted over the years, probably never more so than in the last couple when the boozer has been a yardstick used by the media and the general public to measure normality. Forget cinemas, theatres and gyms; if the pubs were closed then we were still in lockdown. If they were open, then things were normal. People missed them as much if not more than almost anything else, and the sense of duty felt by many publicans is apparent in the landlady of The Crown and Anchor. “It’s important to
understand your responsibility to the community when you run a pub,” she says. “If you take a pub on and run it into the ground, it can have a huge effect on many people.” It’s fair to say that Heidi and her team have had a huge effect on the neighbourhood in the 11 years that she’s been at the helm: creating more than 30 jobs from a premises that was previously underperforming, providing a service that is beneficial to all comers and aiding many local organisations by providing funds, space and support in a place where there was little before. The Crown and Anchor doesn’t merely benefit the community – like all great boozers, it is a community. It is for everyone and is greater than the sum of its parts. It is a shining example of the service, beyond merely feeding and watering the general public, that licensees provide and it’s exactly this type of pub that should be the most coveted. And it’s this type of pub that will be missed the most by society when they are gone. Despite this being Heidi’s first crack at being a landlady, she certainly seems to have a knack for dealing adroitly with the general public. “Before this I was the manager of a children’s home for teenagers,” she explains. “So I guess you could say I already had transferable skills.” Most licensees can surely relate to that.
We’ve all been there (think last year’s Euro football semi-finals or this year’s record-breaking snooker action for example) where drinks have been flowing, hearts have been pounding and cheers have been rising. As a nation, there isn’t much more we love than a summer of sports – and with everything from Wimbledon to the Commonwealth Games taking place this year, there is even more to look forward to! As a publican or bar manager, you may have already thought about which sports you might play – but have you thought about ensuring you are correctly licensed to broadcast each event? Obviously, you will need a TV licence if you are showing sports or other television programmes in public, but since music is used all the time in sports features, you’ll usually need TheMusicLicence from PPL PRS too. TheMusicLicence covers virtually all music used within TV broadcasts, meaning with just one licence, you won’t miss a thing… and with a summer this good, you won’t want to! For more information and to set up TheMusicLicence visit pplprs.co.uk/ seasonal-music/ summer-sports
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by CAROLINE NODDER
RoomRaccoon is a leading all-in-one hotel management system that accelerates property operations and actively increases revenue across customer touchpoints. Today, over 1,600 accommodation businesses across the globe are powered by RoomRaccoon’s innovative platform.
Cleverly put-together decor can help turn a £70 room into a £150-£180 one
Family brewer Brakspear recently re-branded its managed division as ‘Honeycomb Houses’. It’s looking to blaze a trail for upmarket pub accommodation, with rooms that boast Soho House style, but retain the comforting feel and homely attitude of a great British pub.
The Frogmill in Shipton Oliffe, just outside Cheltenham, is a stunning 16th-century coaching inn built of local Cotswold stone and boasting 28 individually designed boutique bedrooms and suites. It is one of the jewels in the crown of the Honeycomb Houses estate, and epitomises the Honeycomb ethos, with each room individual, but all offering the bespoke touches and quality finish that command a premium. What is nice, from a guest’s perspective, is that this premium style does not come with any of the snobbery you might associate with a hotel at this level. Tom Davies, Brakspear’s chief
executive, says: “Our philosophy is ‘Our house, your home’. We talk to our team about treating colleagues like family, and guests as friends.” The Frogmill may have that homely feel but the rooms come with comforts that guests might be left wishing they had in their own bedrooms. It is these features, plus the décor, with items hand-picked by Brakspear’s inhouse designer from local junk shops and reclamation yards, that enable Honeycomb Houses to push up room rates while maintaining value. Occupancy at The Frogmill is an impressive 95-97 per cent in the summer. Operations Manager Sophie Johnson says the premium décor and these bespoke touches can make the difference between a £70 letting room, and one with a value of £150 or £180: “It’s the little touches our guests expect. Where we are positioned in the market people do want to sleep somewhere better than their own home. Putting baths into bedrooms is a huge thing. A rolltop bath in a bedroom is what people want. It’s Instagrammable, it adds that extra layer of luxury that people haven’t yet got at home.” The business recently invested in upgrading its website and has worked to drive direct, higher-margin bookings, as well as grow the
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The Frogmill Shipton Oliffe, Gloucestershire Rooms: 28 Split: Dry 50%, Wet 30%, Rooms 20% Rates: £110-£500 per night (depending on room/suite and time of year) Added extras: Exclusive snug retro games room for accommodation guests, Feather & Black matresses with Hypnos toppers, Nespresso machines, DAB radios, roll-top baths in premium rooms, dogfriendly rooms
potential for repeat custom by cross-promoting the eight other Honeycomb House sites. Marketing manager Jacqueline Fletcher says: “We’ve done a lot of work with partner businesses as well – Stay in a Pub, Epicurean Club – to promote the Honeycomb House brand and the individual houses.” The company has also started using influencers for the first time, targeting those with 10,000 to 15,000 followers in the local area. Although it is early days there has already been a significant increase in followers.
Hive mind In keeping with the Honeycomb House name, four new beehives have been installed at The Frogmill by beekeeper John Farrell, who raised a colony of native British bees specially for the Honeycomb Houses estate. Hives will also be going in at some of Brakspear’s leased and tenanted sites, and the resulting honey is earmarked not only for the breakfast table for guests at the sites, as an ingredient in food and drink items for the menu, but also potentially for products such as candles and toiletries for the rooms and to be sold on site. Profits are destined for the new Brakspear Charitable Foundation, which channels donations to local charities and community projects or to help members of the team and their families in need.
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Also important to the accommodation business is the pub’s range of events. General manager Simon Stanbrook says trade at The Frogmill in 2021 exceeded 2019, due in part to the weddings hosted in the pub’s event space, which can seat up to 150 people. The pub also offers a range of bespoke packages, from shooting parties to corporate team-building weekends, which help boost accommodation revenue at quieter times. Underpinning all this is a commitment to maintaining The Frogmill’s character as a historic pub, rather than a hotel. Guests can expect Brakspear beers, sausage rolls and scotch eggs, a roaring fire in winter and classic games, from Monopoly and cards, to shuffleboard and bar billiards. Pub rooms, with more character than their homogenous chain hotel counterparts, came in to their own during the pandemic, and now that visitors are aware of the quality pubs can offer this is likely to continue. David Nathan, Brakspear’s chief finance officer, says: “We certainly benefited from that last year. Hopefully people are now seeing the UK pub as a credible destination for their family holidays.”
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Elton Mouna finds a few ways to add some extra fun for punters Eviivo Helping pubs and inns manage guests, bookings and travel agencies and promote their rooms online
If you missed the first ever “Now There’s An Idea” column, well fear ye not. Put the kettle on, scan here and hear the narrated version. Also look out for the QR codes in this article – they link to super-short videos to enhance your reading pleasure.
Toss the Boss
You, the Guv’nor, are behind the ramp when a couple of really good regulars come in. They order their drinks, you pour them and as you place the drinks in front of them on the bar you ask them “Would you like to Toss the Boss?” They look quizzically at each other and then equally quizzically back at you. You show them a coin, you spin the coin, you snatch the coin mid-spin, slap it down on the back of your hand and ask them to call. If they call wrong they pay full price, as normal, for their drinks and an extra pound is levied to your house charity. If they call right, the drinks are on the house. Regulars absolutely love the chance to play this game and it’s the little things like this that really do keep regulars regular. There’s a bar in Manchester, the Wash House, where when ordering a particular cocktail you are led away in handcuffs and made to hold up an ID board and have your photo taken. A few minutes later when their cocktail arrives, tah-dah! The photo is pegged to the glass. OK yes I hear you, the handcuffs may be a tad over the top, but it is ideas like this that can be adapted to suit your pub. For example, you could adapt to a version where customers ordering your signature, high-margin dessert, had their lovely smiling face snapped on a instant camera
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and then the photo was presented back to them atop of their dessert. They would surely be delighted? And you would surely be delighted as your high-margin dessert sales went through the roof?
After ordering an aperitif called the Key from the drinks menu in a bar in Prague, the customers are given a simple riddle to solve. Solving the riddle earns the customer a small UV light to reveal the secret cocktail list hidden on the first few blank pages of the menu. How could you adapt that? How about your dessert menu written in invisible ink and a UV torch (seven quid on Amazon)
Commission a celebrity video to wish your lovely regular a very happy birthday
given to each table so they can reveal your hidden desserts section? I bet you the seven quid it cost to buy the UV torch that more people would read the dessert menu and as a consequence you will sell more desserts. The birthday of one of your valued regular customers is coming up and you want to make it something really special for them. Commission a celebrity video via Thrillz to wish your lovely regular a very happy birthday. Messages start from £25 depending on the celebrity (the cost can easily be covered with a whip-round amongst their friends). Imagine the face of the birthday boy or girl when you play the video in your packed pub in front of all their friends. Go to www.thrillz.co.uk to see which celebrities you can have or scan this QR to hear a message from a national treasure exclusively for Inapub.
There are lots of different quirky beers on the market but one from the Yorkshire Pudding Brewery really piqued my interest. It is a beer made with real Yorkshire Puddings added to the brewing process. It could make a quirky accompaniment to a Sunday Roast on Father’s Day (or any Sunday for that matter). Scan here to watch me have a chat with Yorkshire Pudding Beer Brewery owner Howard Kinder. We all know the power of a well-chalked customer-facing blackboard, but how about the message board above, spotted behind the scenes at the staff entrance of a pub? And finally there is some unfinished doggie business from my last feature. I spotted this super idea where a pint of beer for the dog owner is sold alongside a bottle of Bottom Sniffer doggie beer at a bargain price in what the (genius) licensee called called Yappy Hour. A sure way to make sure dog walkers end their walk in your pub and not with your competitors. Don’t forget if you missed the first edition of Now There’s An Idea, scan here to hear the narrated version.
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‘Cask Marque’ is an independent scheme that assesses the beer quality in pubs to ensure standards are driven and maintained. Qualified assessors visit pubs to test the beers temperature, appearance, aroma and taste. pubs have increased sales since 88% ofgaining the accreditation accredited outlets said they would 98% ofrecommend the scheme to other licensees Benefits include: n Featured on the CaskFinder app - used 60,000 times a month to find Cask Marque pubs n A Cask Marque plaque – recognised by 77% of beer drinkers as a badge of quality n Point of Sale material – to help promote this achievement to customers n Random inspections – helping pubs to consistently serve quality beer n Access to cellar management training n Regular newsletters Sign Up today by visiting cask-marque.co.uk or calling 01206 752212
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time at the bar
RICHARD MOLLOY Unless you’re one of the blessed and wise humans that flick straight to the back page to read my column, then you’ve arrived here via a glut of heart-warming articles extolling the community values of the Great British boozer. I feel I may be walking on a path well-worn by the soles of my own boots as I add to that championing of the importance of our industry within society, but I’ve been doing it most of my adult life and I see no reason to stop now. We’re not just important. We’re not merely advantageous. We are essential. And some are more essential than others. Forgive the Orwellian elitism, but in the pub industry the value to the community is often inversely proportionate to size, wealth and power. Oh, I know some national branded pubs will team up with national charities and use their customers’ generosity to billboard their pseudo-altruism to the world. Whilst almost all charity work should be applauded, puffed-out chests bragging about the millions raised (the industry equivalent of sixth-formers pissing higher up the wall than the first years just because they can) resonate less with me than a local pub having a whip-round for a recently bereaved customer or putting on a raffle for the local hospice. And where were these aloof marketleaders when their customers needed them? How did they keep in touch with those they penny-pinched from when their licensed sanctuaries were taken away from them? Those pubs that dine at the top tables of the industry (topped with A3 sized laminated menus adorned with photos of your next mouthful of mediocrity – “microwaved curry twice for table one thousand, two hundred and four please, mate”) did little but the business equivalent of curling up in a ball, sticking their fingers in their ears and shouting “la la la, can’t hear you” until the grown-ups came and told them that it was OK to come downstairs again. Whilst companies employing tens of thousands of people that regularly undercut small pubs – some whilst avoiding corporation tax
The physical interaction between publican and punter dissipated onto social media, phone calls and cheery house calls to the chime of clinking bottles
Richard Molloy is director of four-strong pubco White Rose Taverns and the microbrewery Platform Five
by being registered in tax havens – claimed furlough from our taxes, many solo operators of VAT-registered independent pub businesses, grants aside, got nothing. Many had to Slug it out and go Walkabout in a market where deliveries and takeaways became a life jacket, whilst for some, it appeared that you can indeed have your Lettuce and eat it. But many licensees went above and beyond mere survival. It quickly became apparent just how much people missed us and how valuable we are. The physical interaction between publican and punter dissipated onto social media pages, WhatsApp, phone calls and cheery house calls to the chime of the clinking of bottles or the familiar smell of home-cooked food delivered by a friend. Online, quizzers quizzed; singers sang, and communities communicated. We set ourselves apart from those who mimicked our product and values and bloated them into impersonal and impersonable halls. Most that benefited from the care proffered by the landladies and landlords of their local won’t forget them for going those extra miles to bring the sense of friendship and belonging to their doorstep. And although those who do so much to prop up the economy of the Cayman Islands may continue to undercut us and take a bigger slice of the vac-packed pie, more people than ever now realise the value and vitality of their local, and are prepared to pay mates’ rates over Yates’ rates .
magazine.inapub.co.uk 25/05/2022 18:30
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POSTCARD from the pub frontline
The local community was full of ideas about how to create a better future for the young people of Kington, at an event organised by the Open Arms Kington group. In May, the group was awarded £300,000 from the Government’s Community Ownership Fund to help it purchase and restore The Oxford Arms in the Herefordshire market town. Their goal is to keep the historic building open as one of Kington’s best-loved local venues, while developing it as the base for a social enterprise that will contribute to Kington’s social and economic regeneration and help build long-term post-Covid community resilience. The plan is to build on the current successful pub and B&B businesses and use the profits towards projects that will benefit Kington. Top of the list is a dedicated space for young people, with other ideas put forward including a music and performance venue, a workshop/meeting space and making the building fully accessible for people with disabiltiies.
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by BEN THRUSH
Open Arms Kington director Patrick Conrad said: “Our plans will help improve Kington’s local economy through creating new jobs, training and volunteering opportunities. We will alsoNOVEMBER be investing in and conserving a landmark / DECEMBER 2017listed building, which just happens to be my favourite Kington pub.” 5 Pictured sharing their ideas are locals including (clockwise from top left) Ros Bradbury, Richard Banks and Szilvia Bacsa, and Kate Bull. The interactive photo-installation followed a survey of Kington’s young people. The project was one of eight chosen to receive the latest round of levelling-up funding from the Government’s Community Ownership Fund. Other beneficiaries include the Red Lion theatre pub in London’s Islington and The Countryman’s Inn in Lower Wensleydale, North Yorkshire. The fund previously helped locals buy mainland Britain’s most remote pub, The Old Forge in Knoydart, Scotland. Applications for the next round of funding were due to open from the second week of June.
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