Issue 94 Spring 2021 £4.95 magazine.inapub.co.uk
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M I T F E L S Q U E L LWA S S E R G E B R A U T
Naturally brewed in Germany. Proudly served around the world. www.krombacher.com
@KrombacherUK for the facts
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This issue of Inapub is brought to you by.... Debbie Baisden Runs rural pub The Rayleigh Arms in Terling, Essex
Ed Turner Owner of urban pub group Buff & Bear, which includes the Dolphin in Newbury, Berkshire
Richard Molloy Director of White Rose Taverns and Platform 5 Brewing Co in the South West
e’re back! And so are you. Hats off to all of you out there that have made it through the last year with your minds and businesses intact – the team at Inapub salutes you and we want to wish all our readers every success at they begin to re-open their doors at last. For this issue of the magazine we felt it was important to hear from licensees in all corners of the UK, operating a whole range of different styles of pub, in order to see how they had been affected by the pandemic but also get their thoughts and ideas on the best way to kickstart our industry’s recovery. We were delighted to be able to speak to six licensees in particular who feature throughout this magazine and would like to thank them all for their contributions and wish them the very best for a bumper summer’s trading. Raising a glass of draught beer to you all!
The Inapub Team
From community site The Black Lion in Bramley in the North East
Sam O’Brien Manager of village pub The Pitcairngreen Inn in Perth, Scotland 4
what’s new Kickstart your recovery • Outdoor space
From the Village Bar Café in Killay, Wales
drink Drinks trends • Premium mixers
Editor Caroline Nodder Contributors Matt Eley, Robyn Black, Claire Dodd, John Porter, Katy Moses, Archie Mills Production editor Ben Thrush
Snacks & takeaways • Healthy • Chocolate
Restart your entertainment 43
time at the bar
Bring back the business travellers
Sales manager Katy Robinson p
Chief executive Barrie Poulter Subscriptions magazine.inapub.co.uk 0800 160 1986 • email@example.com
Innovations to improve your cellar
Rich Molloy’s mistakes • Plate or slate?
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ways to kickstart your recovery
by KATY MOSES
As pubs across the UK clamour to re-open their doors and welcome back the drinking masses, it is essential that in these first few months postlockdown you put in place everything you need to maximise profit. Here, Katy Moses, managing director at industry insight specialist KAM Media, offers up six areas to focus on in order to drive takings and attract new customers. One of the many things this pandemic has done to British pubs is exacerbate the traditional challenges that licensees have faced for many years; how to drive footfall and how to diversify the offer to open up opportunities to increase incremental spend in their venues. For many it will be these new and additional opportunities that allow the industry not just to survive but thrive.
Plant-powered people Among 18 to 24-year-olds:
10% are vegetarian 4% are vegan 11% are following a
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Broaden your menu
Diversification of diets is only going to get broader. What would have been considered niche 10 years ago is fast becoming a standard expectation for the diners of today. When we consider the customer experience, if their choice is between two dishes compared with their friend/partner (who happens to eat meat) having a choice of 10, it doesn’t really feel like they’re having the same experience. Examine your menu in detail. Are you offering enough choice for all your diners according to their diet preference? Could you alter some of the ingredients
to cater for a more diverse audience or add a meat-free version of some items?
Digitised diners KAM research carried out with Zonal found:
of customers find it frustrating waiting to pay their bill
42% of customers say mobile phone ordering and payment has become more important to them
61% of consumers use at least one
‘tool’ to help them choose a venue. This represents a huge opportunity to influence the decision.
Change your channels
General internet searching and seeking recommendations from friend and family are the main sources of help for consumers. However, we see huge generational swings when it comes to the use of social media,
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this month. enjoyable experience? According to fans, plenty of screens and table service are the top two desires. Can you ‘premiumise’ some seating areas with group offers on food and drink? Consider a pared-down menu, quickly served items, and sharing platters. How will service work? Can you serve in disposable boxes/containers for speed? Can you fit in extra screens or make all seating areas bookable for events?
Generation Z have been a key demographic for pubs during the pandemic
This sporting life According to research with our friends at MatchPint:
59% of UK adults intend to watch the final weekend of the Premier
12% of them intend to watch a match in a pub or bar 6.9m will watch the Euros in a pub or bar 73% of the UK adult population intend to watch some of the Olympics 9% intend to watch some of the Olympics in a pub or bar – that’s 4.7m
people looking for a suitable venue.
45% of publicans who show sporting events expect it to have a significant impact on attracting customers to their venues this summer.
KAM Media’s Katy Moses
with Gen Z and Millennials, in particular, heavily reliant on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok for ideas and inspiration. Carry out an audit of all your communication channels and the language and content you are sharing through them. Are you using the right channels for your customer base and are you speaking to each segment of your audience in the right tone of voice?
Embrace the summer of sport
Last summer we had Eat Out To Help Out and whether you loved it or hated it, it certainly drove footfall into many venues. This summer, we have sport – and lots of it. What can pubs do to make it a more
Say hello to Generation Z
Let them take the pub home
There’s one customer group who have held strong for hospitality throughout the pandemic – let’s hear it for Generation Z. For them, a credible online presence is a must. It will come as no surprise that they are hyper-connected – 25 per cent spend 7+hours a day on their phones. They communicate on them, work on them, research on them, order dinner and coffee on them. If you don’t have an app or, God forbid, a decent website, then you won’t exist! The second absolute must for Gen Z is to be authentic. They want you warts and all. Everything a brand does from how it treats its staff to how it disposes of its waste is in the public domain now. The way to connect with Gen Z is to embrace the challenges you face; admit to the mistakes you’ve made and celebrate your successes with them. Just as a friend would do.
While pubs and restaurants have been unable to welcome customers to dine in their venues, many have found innovative new ways to take the hospitality experience into their customers’ homes. Research carried out in partnership with Slerp, shows that even as venues re-open demand from consumers remains strong. Whether it’s maximising take-aways or expanding into “catering platters” or even take-away kegs, many publicans are realising that they don’t have to wait for their customers to come and visit them, they can get their brand and products straight into their customers’ homes.
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Home comforts 62% of UK adults have ordered a take-away during lockdown 22% ordered a ‘cook at home’ meal box 67% and 40% respectively intend to do so in the future, even
when all restrictions are lifted
38% of adults will entertain 10+ people in their house this year, when allowed
Make sure your takeaway menu items travel well and can be made easily in your kitchen alongside normal service. Look at how delivery drivers access your site so as not to disturb in-pub customers. Consider meal boxes for larger groups and ‘finish at home’ boxes with preparation instructions. Brand your delivery boxes with your pub name and logo and include offers for in-pub dining. Use all your channels to promote your services.
Make some memories
The British pub industry is unique. We sell products and a service, but we also
A pint may last 15 minutes, but an experience, good or bad, can last a lifetime
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sell experiences and memories. A pint may last 15 minutes but an experience, good or bad, can last a lifetime. Of course, we need to focus on our range, our décor and our staff, but the starting point from which all these evolve should be the customer experience. While ensuring customers feel safe is key, we have one chance to ensure they have an absolutely unforgettable experience, and ideally tell their friends about it. This might mean doing something different, offering something new or evolving the customer journey throughout our venues. Consider ‘zoning’ your pub into different areas for different occasions both night or day. Is your WiFi coverage good enough? Can you provide daytime working space packages? Are your venue design and your food and drink serves ‘Instagrammable’? What themed events can you host? What extras can you add to give you the wow factor – party packs, outside cabins, board games, kids goodie bags, dog treats… consider all areas and customers.
Back to business at Buff & Bear Ed Turner, who runs pub group Buff & Bear, says: “We now have a leaner business with fewer dishes, products, opening hours and staff but more desire to succeed. We are really starting to focus on private hire events again as we designed the pubs with bookable spaces, and we feel that there will be some comfort for customers if they are controlling their personal space. We are also focusing on maximising day parts. We are very ruthless now about only opening when we won’t trade at a loss. Historically everyone just opened all week, but we review this weekly. We also shut one of the pubs on a Monday. We launched a basic app that is used by another pub in Newbury, meaning that customers don’t have the app for just one pub. We have also upgraded our coffee to a fully traceable blend with a range that means our supplier also gives donations to the actual farmers to help them. This is part of a focus on using the pub as a coffee and workspace when traditionally the drinkers aren’t around. We have a focus on raising the quality and increasing the visibility of the sourcing on our menus. Maximising the five per cent VAT helps but there is a great hangover from Eat Out to Help Out and people just not wanting to cook, which gives our (all made from fresh) menu the chance to be tried by a lot more customers – so it’s perfect for spreading the word about being better than the competition. And we are linking with more independent traders in our towns to underpin the uniqueness of our pubs as well as to support those who have found it tough – we are looking to have local barbers setting up in our gardens and local food suppliers trading from our car park.”
KAM Media is a boutique research consultancy, specialising in hospitality and retail. www.kam-media.co.uk • @KAMMediaInsights
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FAMOUS FOR THE WARM GLOW OF THE GARDEN Matt Eley finds a couple making the most of outdoor trading
We have got firepits and marshmallows you can cook over them. We did this when we re-opened. We usually expect a bit of a lull towards the end of summer but it was the busiest halfyear we’ve ever had
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The last year has been one that Sam O’Brien and her partner Calum MacLeod are not going to forget in a hurry. There was the pandemic and closures that we have all endured, plus the arrival of their second child. On top of all that, the couple have overseen some of the most successful trading days in the five years they have been running The Pitcairngreen Inn, on the outskirts of Perth. After months of doing takeaways, the couple were looking forward to reopening their popular outside space, with restrictions due to be lifted in Scotland at the end of April. “We have been doing food and takeaway cocktails, which has been a great way of seeing our regulars,” says Sam. “We are lucky to have such a good community that supports us through all of this,” says Sam. Of course, you make your own luck, and the efforts that Sam and her team have gone to have played a major part in their success. Arguably the smartest innovation they made was providing heat and a campsite feel with the introduction of firepits located between the benches on their patio. Sam explains: “We have got gazebos and a bunch of blankets and we have got firepits and marshmallows that you can cook over them. We did this when we re-opened in June last year and it was a big hit. We normally expect a bit of a lull towards the end of the summer but it just kept going. It was the busiest half-year we have ever had.
“It started off with people just wanting to get out and back to normality but when they realised how much effort we were putting in with the fires and the outside they came back for more.” Shared images and endorsements of the warm glow from the garden also helped the team make new connections on social media. “We got a lot of new customers and made lots of new connections on Facebook, which shows how social media really does work,” she adds. It culminated with the pub selling more meals in a day than ever before. “We had never hit 100 covers in a day but we did it for three weeks in a row and hit 124 one day, which for a wee pub was quite incredible.” The pub benefits from its own garden and patio plus the overspill onto the green that the pub takes its name from. Sam adds: “If the benches outside are full, people can take their drinks and go and sit on the green. We have plastic cups so we are ready for that scenario. We ask people to be tidy and we always go over there to keep it tidy too.” Ahead of the latest re-opening, Sam has also been planning for further down the line. “We have been decorating inside, and converting the function room into a lounge space. We have made the most of this time. We would never have had the chance to do what we have done in normal circumstances. You could never say what has happened has been a good thing, but it has been beneficial.”
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The Pitcairngreen Inn Perth, Scotland Ownership: Private lease Style: Community/rural Staff: 7 Outside seats: 9 picnic ben ches Wet/dry: 50/50 Online: pitcairngreeninn.c o.uk
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ways to take it outside 1
Do the right thing
It’s the obvious but essential place to start. Most customers’ number one concern will be safety, so ensure everyone signs in, signage is clear and sanitiser is available. Then you can have a little fun. As Matt Todd, licensee at Hampshire freehouse The Wonston Arms, says: “Stage one was about being Covid-secure. At this stage we have built and decorated beach huts on the side and have seating for 80 people out there now.”
Invest in the outdoors
Money will be tight for many businesses but the old adage about speculating to accumulate remains true. Matt has spent around £10,000 on turning his car park into what is now affectionately known as “The Beach”. There are beach huts, heating and soft furnishings. The first day of re-opening, on April 12, the most successful in the former CAMRA Pub of the Year’s history.
Create a vibe
Atmosphere is always a major factor for customers choosing where to go. How does your outside space represent you? Matt’s beach theme includes playing appropriate music and Estrella and Corona on draught. He says: “It’s The Wonston Beach Pub this year. Nobody is going abroad on holiday, so come down here for a drink!” Life’s a beach at The Wonston Arms. The pub spent £10,000 to create a holiday atmosphere
Installing a wood-burning pizza oven has been a big success for The Rayleigh Arms in Terling, Essex. It started off as with takeaways lockdown. Debbie Baisden says: “People tried takeaway first then they came in afterwards in the summer.”
The Rayleigh Arms gets a pizza the action
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Feed them al fresco
Keep them warm
It’s an obvious point but the more comfortable customers are, the less likely they will be to leave. The Pitcairngreen Inn’s firepits, or infrared heating, as installed at The Wonston Arms, are viable options.
Take the inside outside
Get your space connected
Make the rules work for you
Can’t do what you usually do in your function rooms? Could you use marquees instead? Debbie is doing just that:“We run creative courses in the marquee areas. We want to encourage them to do the course in the morning and have lunch afterwards.”
“We want to give people as many reasons as possible to come here,” says Debbie. “We are putting in a children’s play area and we are going to sell plants. People will want to go to as few places as possible, we want to make sure they choose us.”
We all want to hear the hubbub of conversation but let’s face facts, plenty of customers are going to be checking their phones every few minutes. Matt has installed WiFi boosters in his garden. He says: “Network communication is going to be an issue and I need to take money at the tables. I’ve put the card machine on a different system so it doesn’t get compromised.”
Pre-pandemic, few would have wanted widespread table service for drinks. But it can work surprisingly well. Matt says: “I’ve always liked being a licensee out on the floor anyway. Table service makes money because I can upsell and I can spot a two-thirds-empty glass. I reckon I sold 15 to 20 per cent more than I would have done standing behind the bar.”
for it 10 Go You might just find things that surprise you and could work for the business longer-term. Debbie says: “You’ve got to sell it to them that it’s an adventure. At first it is about getting the pub up and running and checking out consumer confidence. As the weather gets warmer, we will see where we are at as a nation with it.”
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drink ON THE BAR AT THE VILLAGE BAR CAFÉ, KILLAY, SWANSEA Martyn Jenkins and his team at The Village Bar Café in Killay in Swansea were busy re-stocking the bar and getting ready to welcome back their customers when we caught up with him last month. The pub is a real community hub specialising in real ales from local breweries including Tenby Harbwr, Glamorgan Brewery, Gower Brewery and Grey Trees Brewery, and even a local coffee brand, Gower coffee, giving the site a point of difference as well as supporting local businesses around it. Martyn says: “It’s been a strange time for us all, not seeing family and friends, and not being able to do the things we used to take for granted. We’ve really missed our customers, perhaps more than we realised. But now it’s time to look forward. So, although there are still some uncertain times ahead, myself and the staff can’t wait to start pulling the pints and welcoming back our locals.”
HOW TO GET REAL ALE RIGHT MATCH RANGE SIZE TO THROUGHPUT
If your cask beer is supplied in firkins (72 pint casks), your rate of sale needs to be 24+ pints per day for each cask brand on the bar to sell it within three days and keep it fresh. MAKE CASK RELEVANT TO TODAY’S DRINKERS
Focus on presentation of equipment, glassware, temperature, merchandising and brands.
CAMRA locals were able to enjoy their favourites even in lockdown with the Vil age Bar Café takeaway service
Martyn and some of his regulars before the pandemic magazine.inapub.co.uk p13 drink intro.indd 13
Manager and Martyn’s daughter Lucy can’t wait to reopen the doors
The pub has a wide range of gins and often runs tastings and masterclasses, pairing them with canapés
STRIKE THE RIGHT BALANCE Serve a choice of colours and styles. Have a ‘well loved’ brand available permanently. A mix of permanent and rotational brands is the key to maximising sales (a constantly rotating range offers the lowest volume and least margin). KNOW YOUR STUFF Publicans who are knowledgeable about cask make more money from it. Make at least one person the business a ‘Cask Champion’ Tips from the 2021 Cask Marque Cask Ale Category Report produced with Molson Coors, Carlsberg, Marstons and Greene King
How about a glass of New Zealand?
New Zealand wine has never been more popular, so pour your customers a glass of New Zealand. As we celebrate pubs opening across the country, New Zealand wines are the perfect choice for your customers to enjoy as the weather warms up – both indoors and out! Get in touch with your suppliers to take advantage of the growing popularity of New Zealand wines, and add value to your business today.
Rippon, CENTRAL OTAGO nzwine.com
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What’ll it be? by CLAIRE DODD
Time was, you only had compete with a loss-leading supermarket. Now, after a year of stop-start trade, you’ve also got to deal with Beverley’s summer punch, Emma’s home-made cocktails, and Mark’s home brew. With drinking largely limited to the home – or let’s face it, the park – for the past 12 months customers, while of course craving a proper pint, have also got used to the infinite choice of the internet and the myriad of new drinks on shop shelves. They’ve been exploring. Over the course of a normal year, tastes change. But this was no normal year. So where are we now? What have customers missed? And what do they want that’s new? From growing health concerns and demand for low calorie drinks, to a demand for premium options that feel like a treat, exotic flavours, and new RTDs, here’s what you need to know for summer 2021.
understanding of our own health and, as a result, people are looking at how they can be healthier across all aspects of their lifestyle, which includes re-evaluating drinking habits,” says Ian Baines, William Grant & Sons senior category manager. “Thirty-five per cent plan to of consumers consider the reduce their alcohol conLow and no range of spirits important sumption in 2021.” After several years of lowwhen choosing a venue Diageo According to a YouGov study and no-alcohol launches, from the Portman Group, 25 per there can be no doubt that cent of UK drinkers consider themselves demand for lighter drinks is here to be semi-regular consumers of low- and and growing. “The pandemic has no-alcohol products. Sales are up 30 per caused an increase in awareness and
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drink. Regal Rogue vermouth with a soda, tonic cent year on year from 2019 to 2020. or ginger beer, plus a fruit or herb garnish, You’ll likely already stock alcohol-free beers, clocks in at around 5 per cent ABV, and has but do you have a “spirit”? “It is recommended an average of 40 to 60 per cent less sugar to make sure no- and low-alcohol alternatives than traditional European vermouth, accordare visible near associated categories,” says ing to the brand. Faith Holland, head of category development Diageo has its eye firmly on “spritz for the on-trade at Diageo, whose low- and season” too, with its new Haig no- brands include its most recent Club launch. The Scotch grain launches Gordon’s 0.0%, and whisky brand – a collaboraTanqueray 0.0%. tion with David Beckham If you’re using digital or – now has a Mediterranean table menus, be sure to Orange flavour. Using bourcreate a low- and no- secVodka’s share of all mixed spirits serves bon cask-aged Haig Club tion of finished serves, be it Diageo Clubman as a base, it is said an alcohol-free gin and tonic, to have a blend of “fresh and or indeed a spritz. “Quality will be juicy marmalade orange flavours”, essential,” adds Ian, “given the cost and is infused with orange blossom extract. per serve to deliver the needed ‘value for It’s hoped that its serve – 50ml mixed with money’ for these consumers.” If mixing 150ml lemonade, ice and a slice of orange feels too much, there are now low/ – will help it appeal to a wider audience beno-spirit RTDs available. CleanCo yond whisky, and specifically “the growing has a CleanGin & Tonic and Cleanearly evening and ‘Aperitivo’ occasion”. Rum & Cola, while tropical-themed, “We see this as a huge opportunity to non-alcoholic spirit Caleño has just recruit a new generation of drinkers as more launched its canned RTD with and more consumers are choosing flavours light tonic. and sweeter drinks,” says Violeta Andreeva, whisky marketing director at Diageo. Aperitifs Pink gin brand Pinkster is also targeting Sun’s out – must be spritz season. the ‘spritz moment’ with its new launch. The orange glow of an Aperol spritz Pinkster Spritz is 24 per cent ABV may be unmistakable, but and available in Raspberry and there will be some customHibiscus, and Elderflower and ers looking for lighter aperitif Raspberry. Mixing with soda water options too – see a theme and a lime wedge will give you a 40 emerging? There’s a number calorie serve, at 4.8 per cent ABV. of easy two-ingredient options to try too. Step forth vermouth. “ConSpiced rum sumers are more aware of But it’s not all abstinence and what ‘other’ options there are moderation. After a tough year, beyond spirits, following experpeople are also looking for fun, imenting with their home bars flavourful treats. Consequentially, during lockdown,” says Mark spiced rum is on the up. Figures Ward, founder of Australian for the off-trade for the year to Jan vermouth brand Regal Rogue. 2 (of course, comparable on-trade “Furthermore, gin fatigue is a real figures are unavailable) show a 50.6 per thing and vermouth offers a similar cent rise in sales. option with the use of botanicals, “Similar to gin, the rum category also but at a lower ABV. A Regal Rogue saw an increase in sales of spiced rums Spritz offers flavour diversity as well whilst hospitality was closed,” says Ian from as being just as quick to make as William Grant. “Rum, and particularly spiced a G&T.” rum, is most prevalent within social sharing
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holiday, or maybe it’s because we’re all looking to have a little fun, fruity, tropical flavours are going to be big this summer. And this extends beyond just cocktails and rum. Kopparberg has added a Mixed Fruit Tropical Cider, to tap into “the growing drinks trend for tropical flavours”, made with pineapple, passion fruit and mango. “The decision to introduce a tropical variant to the range comes as tropical tastes lead flavour trends across drinks categories,” says Rob Salvesen, head of marketing at Kopparberg. “Partnered with our very first limited-edition bottles and cans, we know that this new variant will define that first sip of a truly unforgettable summer.”
Fruity, tropical flavours are going to be big this summer
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Summer is approaching. There’s – hopefully – not a cloud in the sky. It must be time for a cider. But which one? “Pent-up demand for a return to on-trade premises has been building for months – and this anticipation, coupled with a summer filled with sporting events, spells great news for the on-trade,” says Darryl Hinksman, head of business development at Westons Cider. According to the company’s 2021 Cider Report, during sporting events occasions, and as people are able to meet up again, it is undoubtedly going to be a key cider sales jump from 9.9 per cent of serves to 10.8 per cent, with draught cider accountcategory over the coming year. Spiced rum ing for 52 per cent of them. In fact, significantly over-indexes in mixed when pubs reopened in summer groups (75 per cent of all 2020, cider was able to take serves), and younger groups share from beer, reaching 12 in particular, who will be per cent of market share. actively present in the onAnd a million more shoptrade as it re-opens.” pers purchased cider in the Pernod Ricard certainly of on-trade customers choose off-trade last year, while pubs agrees. It has launched cocktails including gin were closed. “This shows new Havana Club Cuban Diageo the appetite for cider remains Spiced (35 per cent ABV), enormous,” says Darryl. again aimed at luring Millennial Draught cider accounts for 72.5 per cent and legal-aged Gen Z drinkers into the of cider sales, while packaged cider sales are rum category. The first spiced variant for the brand, it includes vanilla, aromatic spices, hints declining. Time to free up some fridge space? of guava, toasted coconut and fresh pineapple, Apple cider accounts for 60.1 per cent of ontrade cider serves. Cloudy cider is tipped as a with a 100 per cent Cuban rum base. Mix with must-watch category, and currently sits at nine cola, ginger beer, coconut water or tropical per cent of total draught apple. fruit juices. When it comes to the fridge, John Gemmell, on-trade category and commercial Tropical flavours strategy director at Heineken UK, says: Perhaps because we’ve all been craving a
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Pinkster Spritz can be mixed with soda water and garnished with a lime wedge for a low-calorie serve
“We’ve seen the emergence of rosé cider as a subcategory in the off-trade this year and exotic flavours continue to drive growth within premium flavoured cider.” Heineken research says 42 per cent of drinkers are excited to try new drinks brands, while 37 per cent plan to make on-trade visits special by choosing more premium drinks and food. It recommends using packaged cider, including Strongbow Rosé, to encourage trade-up.
launches include Gordon’s Sicilian Lemon, Bombay Sapphire’s Sunset with additional turmeric, cardamom, and mandarin botanicals, and Whitley Neill Mango & Lime Gin. Speaking of pink, Otterbeck Distillery recently launched Cotton Gin Strawberry and Pink Peppercorn. And on the more niche side, savoury flavours are also now emerging. Adnams has just launched Jardín Mexicano, made with avocado leaf, and Audemus Umami Gin, which incorporates Sicilian capers.
Trying to keep pace with the gin category is like trying to catch Hard seltzers up with Usain Bolt, while hopAnd finally… ladies and genping. “In the last year, 127 tlemen, the hard seltzer. What gin serves across the new gins came to market,” to say about this American on-trade are flavoured says Ian from William Grant. concept, now fully embraced variants Diageo That’s a lot of new gins. And by just about every drinks from 2016 to 2021, the category brand you can imagine? Spring has more than doubled in value from 2020 saw the first of these alcoholic £1bn to £2.2bn. flavoured sparkling waters launch in the UK. So which should you be stocking? There’s With their major selling point being their been “a large increase in flavoured gin oplight, low-calorie, low-ABV, and guilt-free tions”, adds Ian, “which now account for 41 sessionability, they are as yet untested in the per cent of total gin value sales. Flavoured on-trade. gin will be top of mind for the younger con“We see hard seltzers as any other canned sumer, who the category over-indexes on, as drink in a pub, offering a simple alternathey get back into the on-trade.” tive to a cocktail or spirit and mixer,” says Is orange the new pink? New and recent Steven Kersley, head of distillery at BrewDog
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Hard seltzers fill the gap between mocktails and cocktails, when customers don’t want a non-alcoholic drink but don’t want a fullABV version either Distilling Co, of its Clean & Press hard seltzer keto-friendly, and under 70 calories per can brand, available in Cactus & Lime, Crushed – is recommended for use as a mixer too. Black Cherry and White Peach & Mango. Jack Daniel – great name – is beverages “They fill the gap between mocktails and director at Molson Coors, whose brands cocktails, when customers don’t want a noninclude Bodega Bay, and new brand Three alcoholic drink but don’t want a full ABV Fold, launching in Red Berries, Tropical version either.” and Citrus flavours. Funkin too has launched He says: “While it’s still early a hard seltzer range, in days in Europe, we’re expecting Passion Fruit & Mango, the hard seltzer category to Strawberry follow a similar pattern to the & Raspberry US, where sales are expected of consumers consider the range of spirits important and Lemon & to surpass total spirit sales. when choosing a venue Lime. How to Three Fold has been especially Diageo serve them? “Hard crafted for the older Generation Seltzers are traditionZ audience. Creating a hard seltzer ally served in their original of our own with mainstream appeal felt packaged can,” says marketing like a natural next step given the momentum director Ben Anderson. “However, in this space.” similarly to a fruit cider, they can Do customers expect to see them in also be served in a glass over ice the pub? “Not quite yet,” says Steven at and with a garnish for a more preBrewDog. “The hard seltzer market is growmium experience at the pub.” ing slowly but there is still a lot of education Long Shot – which is four per cent as to what a hard seltzer is [here], which is ABV, gluten-free, vegan, low-sugar, where pubs can really capitalise.”
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magazine.inapub.co.uk 10/05/2021 12:07
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Magnificent mixers by CLAIRE DODD
From Pineapple & Cardamom soda (thanks to Franklin & Sons) designed to mix with rum, to Pomelo & Pink Pepper or Grapefruit & Rosemary flavoured tonics (courtesy of the London Essence Company), the list of new mixers – and new flavours of existing mixers – continues to grow. However, the space on that back-bar of yours, of course, never ever does. But, when it comes to making choices about which products have earned their spot, premium mixers have quite the case. According to the Fentimans Premium Soft Drinks and Mixers Market Report 2020, the UK premium mixer market is worth £375m, accounting for an 8.1 per cent share of the total soft drinks and mixers market. Yet sales are on the up. In fact, Fentimans puts the year-on-year increase in premium mixer sales at 18.3 per cent, making up 59 per cent of the year-on-year growth for the total soft drink and mixer category. In short, it’s a category on the rise.
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But what do your customers want? Though lockdown has of course interrupted mixers’ sales growth – along with everything else – there are some clear trends currently governing consumer behaviour, making selecting the right range a little easier. “As many people have developed a taste for mixed drinks in the home, mixers will play a hugely important role in the hospitality channel as it reopens,” says Amy Burgess, senior trade communications manager at Coca-Cola European Partners (CCEP), whose brands include Schweppes. “The key
A high-quality premium tonic water is still the biggest priority when it comes to ranging for operators is to provide a perfect serve that consumers can’t replicate themselves.”
Just the tonic – but keep it light
Neil Donachie, marketing manager at Fentimans, says: “Approximately 70 per cent of the on-trade mixer market is still clear tonicbased, so ensuring a high-quality premium tonic water is still the biggest priority when it comes to ranging. Following this, size and variety of ranging is very venue-specific.” Following a year when health and wellness concerns have been key to many, it makes sense that within simple tonics, diet options are key. “Low- and no-ABV saw triple-digit growth during the pandemic,” says Ounal Bailey, cofounder of The London Essence Company, “fuelled by consumer desire for balance of both wellness and enjoyment. “This trend can be seen with an increase in demand for low-sugar and -calorie mixers, with premium tonics stepping in to meet this need as an option for drinkers to enjoy straight as they provide the elegant drinking experience without the need for alcohol.” Amy from CCEP adds that in the off-trade much of the category growth since lockdown began has come from light variants. Sales of Schweppes Slimline Tonic are up by 28 per cent, and more than one person in 10 says a slimline tonic is their mixer of choice. And while demand for extensive and sophisticated non-alcoholic options is another topic entirely, low-calorie tonics and mixers form part of the picture. “The on-trade needs to cater for the new health-conscious
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consumer,” adds Ounal, “or risk losing them to continued at-home entertainment, where they can control their intake more carefully.”
Two for one, and don’t forget the soda
With space limited, it makes sense to prioritise products that can function both as a mixer, and as something to sip straight. “Outside of tonic waters, there is a significant overlap in the perception of what constitutes a soft drink or mixer,” says Neil from Fentimans. Alongside the likes of cola and lemonade, ginger beer, the classic lime and soda serve, and the increasingly nuanced and fancy flavoured sodas are enjoying a moment of increased popularity as a drink in their own right. Their versatility offers you the chance to use your back-bar space efficiently. We can expect to see ever more flavoured sodas hit the market, in much the same way as has happened with tonics. There’s no divisive quinine taste, and they’re the mixer of choice for most non-alcoholic “spirits”. New flavours such as Fentimans Tropical soda are designed to pair with trending categories such as rum and, importantly, are low-calorie. The London Essence Company is set to launch Roasted Pineapple Crafted Soda in May.
Hold the packaging?
According to the Fentimans Premium Soft Drinks and Mixers Market Report, 65 per cent of consumers now expect to see ethically sourced food and drink, as well as more than half (54 per cent) wanting environmentally friendly packing. Mixers then, with their doesn’t-quite-fit-the-glass little
magazine.inapub.co.uk 10/05/2021 13:33
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bottles that are handed across the bar, may be great advertising for brands, but may also be of concern to eco-conscious customers. We’ve seen many products try to launch a font format over the years – from prosecco to pre-mixed cocktails and even vodka – but could tonic be a viable contender for a tap of its own? In late 2019, Britvic launched the London Essence Fresh Serve, which serves five different tonic flavours from one tap. Offering 1,000 serves, it reduces packaging by 96 per cent and reduces cost by around 17 per cent, as well as freeing up fridge space and restocking time.
“As we hit the summer season, drinkers will lean towards lighter, lower-ABV options like aperitivo and interestingly flavoured mixers that complement – like Lixir Drink’s Elderflower & Lemon – will help venues to make the most of these shifting behaviours,” says Jordan Palmer, co-founder of Lixir Drinks. The brand, which has eight variants including soda, tonic, a light tonic, and Rhubarb & Ginger, Elderflower & Lemon, and Blood Orange & Cinnamon flavoured tonics, has just joined the Molson Coors portfolio. Its drinks are low-sugar, low-calorie at 20 calories per 100ml serving, and use all-natural ingredients. “Our products are a direct result of a gap we noticed first-hand in the mixer market,” adds Palmer. “There is a misconception that using natural ingredients and reducing sugar means less flavour.” When it comes to easy spritz or spritzer serves, mixers are your friend. “Our portfolio also contains Schweppes Russchian Pink Soda,” says Amy from CCEP, “which is designed to help operators deliver a twist on a wine spritzer this summer. With 50 per cent of wine drinkers saying that spritzers are a good way to reduce alcohol intake, the serve taps into a key consumer trend.”
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That’s the spirit
Brands such as Sekforde, which launched in 2018, have been championing mixers designed to bring out the flavour notes of specific spirits for a while now. But with sales of rum and tequila on the up, now might be a good time to consider them. Coca-Cola launched its Signature Mixers range, designed to pair specifically with dark spirits in 2019. It includes Smoky, Spicy, Herbal and Woody flavours. “It has been developed with leading mixologists to provide a premium mixer option that gives consumers the chance to discover and enjoy dark spirits in the same way that tonics have enabled the exploration of gin,” adds Amy. Tequila, in particular, can be tricky to mix simply. New Edinburgh-based brand Savora is made with lime and agave, and is intended to help create long serves akin to a gin and tonic. Co-founder Matthew Walker says: “The idea behind Savora is to retain familiarity whilst also challenging perception, transforming the renowned tequila slammer into a refined long serve. With the growing popularity of sipping rather than slamming premium tequila, consumers are on the lookout for a complementary mixer.” As the nation emerges for the longawaited Great British Summer, paying some attention to your mixer range can help make your pub a special place to catch up with friends and family.
magazine.inapub.co.uk 12/05/2021 18:19
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eat BACK TO BUSINESS AT THE RAYLEIGH ARMS, WITH DEBBIE BAISDEN
The deli not only offers a choice of cheese and charcuterie either as boards inhouse or takeaway, it also creates opportunities to upsell items we would never have chosen to sell before the pandemic
Who knew we would be setting up a deli bar as we returned from our third lockdown here at The Rayleigh Arms in Essex? This was a concept we had discussed between lockdowns over the last year but it was quite daunting once the refrigerated unit was delivered and we now had to fill it with produce we could sell in order to warrant the initial financial outlay. To be fair, it has most certainly given us a lift both in customer interest generated and knowledge of local producers. Although it’s a whole new ball game, I have to remind myself we have been adapting pubs for decades in the UK, so why not add a deli bar? When it comes to calculating the GPs, stock rotation and display, the skills are transferable. With the added advantage of
The new deli bar at The Rayleigh Arms has created interest by promoting local producers
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being enjoyable, especially when tasting produce – albeit time allowing. During the first lockdown, we also created a new revenue stream around home-made, stonebaked pizza which has travelled extremely well through takeaway and in-house sales. The deli not only offers a choice of cheese and charcuterie either as boards in-house or takeaway, it also creates opportunities to upsell items we would never have chosen to sell before the onset of the pandemic. You’ve got to love a stuffed pepper or a choice of olives before the main event! Or is that just me? To be honest I can’t wait to be able to offer a customer the personal choice of strolling over to the deli and picking their own cheese board behind the glass screen. We have found working with local producers not only creates a great story to tell our customers, it also embeds our business that little bit more in the community. Especially when we team up with the producers, offering each other space on social media. When considering easy access, climate change, and the local economy, customers are proving to be far more sophisticated in their thirst for local knowledge. It also enables our customers to extend their experience, just as a customer might spend a day at an independent garden centre browsing and buying, eating and drinking. We feel there is a need to create an experiential environment in our pub in order to diversify and sustain interest, whilst being mindful not to lose sight of the real heart of the pub, the people that visit and work within its walls. Indeed, there are many challenges for licensees across the country in these current times. But with an ever-changing attitude from the public and the use of transferable skills on our part, this possibly may save many of our businesses and show how adaptable the British pub can be.
Bites and boxes by JOHN PORTER
Quite a catch – Cheshire Cat Pubs’ crispy whitebait
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As pubs re-open, the ‘substantial meal’ requirement of last summer has thankfully not been reimposed on the trade. The rule was widely derided, but it did drive a national debate on the exact status of the scotch egg, demonstrating the esteem in which Britain holds its pub snacks. Through the various lockdowns, takeaway and delivery proved a lifeline for many pubs. This gives pubs a balancing act to negotiate. How should the menu be split between sit-down meals and hot snacks to accompany a pint? And should pubs now drop their takeaway menus to focus on the customers coming through the door?
have to attract outside trade.” Licensee Debbie Baisden and The takeaway menu has husband Tony took on The helped to establish a Rayleigh Arms in Terling, new reputation for The Essex in July 2019. Like Rayleigh Arms in the the rest of the trade area. Alongside stonethey faced the abyss in March 2020 when year-on-year increase in value of baked pizzas from a the initial lockdown was delivery and takeaway across UK wood-fired oven, the pub offers fish & chips, imposed. “We’d had a hospitality groups, and a burger menu that good Christmas, but the Feb 2020 – Feb 2021 includes piri-piri chicken pub had a chequered past, and veggie burgers. and we didn’t feel we’d had CGA As it re-opens, the pub is offering enough time to get these takeaway dishes as eat-in options, but established. Our takeaway has also kept some choices distinct from offer has basically kept us takeaway. “We were building a reputation going,” says Debbie. “We for our Sunday lunches, and we didn’t want introduced pizzas in the to endanger that by offering a takeaway summer of 2020, and Sunday lunch that might not have been as as a village pub, we good,” Debbie says. “Looking at our forward always knew we’d
magazine.inapub.co.uk 10/05/2021 14:00
Above left: takeaway stone-baked pizza has helped The Rayleigh Arms establish a new reputation. Above right: and inset: Restaurant Brands Collective’s EYC Pizza. and Killah Prawns Katsu
We were initially a little too formal, people thought they could only get a full meal here
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bookings, that’s been the right decision.” The takeaway option will also continue – “that’s now a given,” says Debbie. “We’re trying to get people to ring ahead with their orders, so we know when we’re going to be busy, and we’re in the process of setting up online ordering with Inapub.” There are also plans to introduce a deli bar serving filled bagels and toasted paninis, with a focus on local produce such as cheese. “We’ve realised that we were initially a little too formal, people thought they could only get a full meal here. There’s already a tearoom in the village, but they’re keen for us to open the deli with a slightly different offer. There are a lot of cyclists that come through the village, and it gives them a reason to stop.”
On board with the snacks
Tim Bird, co-founder and director of the award-winning Cheshire Cat Pubs & Bar group, says: “We operate main menus that change seasonally, and we also have bar snack menus featured on boards that offer toasties, light lunches, sandwiches etc. These only operate Monday to Friday, 12 midday to 5pm-ish. We don’t do them at weekends as it drops the average customer spend. “These board menus solve the smaller appetite needs at lunchtime, and are more
aimed at those guests that just need a snack as opposed to a meal.” During lockdown, Cheshire Cat operated two of its pubs as takeaway hubs, offering gourmet burgers to go, as well as wine and other products from its suppliers. However, with customers back in the pubs, Tim is keen to maintain a clear difference between the pub experience and takeaway food. “People want to spend time out enjoying themselves, and service needing to be quicker isn’t something we’ve picked up on. We don’t do fast food, just fresh food as fast as possible.” Toph Ford, brand director at Restaurant Brands Collective, which creates delivery brands for hospitality operators, believes “takeaway and delivery is the new way of living, and will continue, even if people are back out eating down the pub too. “Pubs have their traditionally busy food serving times, but if operators offer takeaway/ delivery too, it opens up further dayparts to keep kitchen teams busy during quieter times and help drive revenues.”
To find out more about how Inapub can help you set up online ordering, email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Virtuous victuals by ROBYN BLACK
With the global pandemic having heightened customers’ awareness of their health, the growth of interest in good nutrition shows no sign of abating. Even pubs operating reduced menus for re-opening need to include healthy options if they’re to appeal to as wide a range of diners as possible. These days, the term “healthy food” seems to be intrinsically linked to vegetarian or vegan options, the latter especially as plant-based diets have taken off in recent years. Covid-19 seems to have only accelerated this trend, with a record 125,000 people signing up to the Veganuary campaign this year. Pubs have been catching on, with CGA’s MealMetrics showing that the number of food pubs offering vegetarian and vegan burgers jumped from 70 per cent ahead of the UK’s first national lockdown, to more than 80 per cent by October 2020. Beyond this, CGA research also points to a significant section of the population (25 per cent) looking to reduce their meat consumption. Publicans such as Debbie Baisden of The Rayleigh Arms in Essex, are keen not to miss out. “I am very aware of the importance of catering for vegetarians and, increasingly, vegans,” Debbie says. “There are more people choosing meat-free and you only need one in a group
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for that person to dictate where everyone eats, so it’s vital to offer them good options. Even our daytime deli offer now has vegan dishes, such as vegan sausage rolls, while the main menu has vegan pizza and a vegan burger.” Healthy eating isn’t all about meat-free, of course. Ed Turner, landlord of the The Dolphin in Newbury, Berkshire, has managed to turn some of his healthy dishes into best-sellers, even as part of a reduced menu on re-opening.
Bit pokey in here
“Our poke bowls (a rice-based Hawaiian dish) have become a mainstay on the menu since we launched them in the autumn,” he explains. “They are full of supergreens but we give the option to add some peri-peri chicken or chalk stream trout. Healthy is very important but the dishes also need to be filling, as people don’t want to go out for a nice meal and then still need a snack when they get home.” The good news is that healthy dishes can fill up tills as well as people, with CGA MealMetrics figures showing the average price of a vegan or vegetarian meal is £9.90. Once again underscoring that what is good for customers, is also good for business.
I should cocoa by ROBYN BLACK
‘We have noticed an increase with our dessert sales, especially since doing takeaways,’ says Sam O’Brien, manager of The Pitcairngreen Inn in Perth, Scotland. ‘Since people aren’t getting the chance to go out, we think they are making the Plant-based puds most of it when getting a takeaway.’ And it hasn’t Vegans can eat chocolate too and with more people than stopped since outdoor opening either. ever opting for plant-based diets (see “Virtuous Victuals”, page 35), it’s important not to forget them on the pudding menu. With this in mind, Callebaut has created a range of vegan-friendly recipes using its Dark Chocolate Callets, including a chocolate beetroot cake, a chocolate banoffee pie and chocolate flapjack bites (pictured). All the recipes can be found at fortheloveofchoc.com
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Sam reports: “A lot of people will indulge in a three-course meal whilst it’s still a novelty to go out again. Perhaps this will die down after a few months. However, it is hard for customers to resist a board of delicious home-made desserts.” For publicans operating with reduced menus, this will mean sticking to the most popular puds. For the most part that means chocolate-based ones and for punters at the The Dolphin in Newbury, Berkshire, this means brownies. “A brownie on the menu is a must have for us,” landlord Ed Turner explains. “People aren’t that adventurous when it comes to puds and go for the safe options.” The pandemic has forced some tweaks to the must-have dish, however. “I’ve always thought that puddings are too large and consequently too expensive, so we’ve reduced the size and price and this has had the right effect on sales. Puds
are often shared but more often it’s just a small sweet treat at the end of the meal that people want.” Chocolate treats don’t come much smaller than a truffle, and sure enough, these have proved a runaway success at The Rayleigh Arms in Essex. “Since we first put them on the menu our Oreo truffles have been a big seller for us,” licensee Debbie Baisden explains. “We sell them for £1 and very few people are able to resist them.” The truffles are sold as part of Debbie’s new all-day deli offer, which shows that chocolate isn’t just for after dinner. “Chocolate sells all day long,” agrees Anna Sentance, gourmet marketing manager of chocolate specialist Callebaut. “Once seen as exclusively an after-dinner treat, sweeter choices have become much more inclusive with consumers choosing more indulgent items across the whole day.”
magazine.inapub.co.uk 12/05/2021 16:56
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play ON AT THE BLACK LION, WITH MARSHA JONES Marsha Jones first got into the pub trade when she was 15 and began collecting glasses in a working men’s club. She poured her first pint at The Griffin Hotel in her home town of Attleborough in Norfolk, and she has always had a passion for the social surroundings and entertainment a community pub offers. She now runs community pub The Black Lion in Bramley, West Yorkshire.
What excites me about the industry is the diversity that each day brings (interacting with strangers and regulars from all walks of life) combined with the constant re-invention of the business to keep the market place interested. What makes a great community pub? Easy! Caring about the people that visit, ensuring they have a great experience and leave happy. We support lots of different community projects that our customers bring to our attention. We are a family that all look out for each other and help each other. Up until lockdown we had weekly entertainment, which was dependent on whose birthday it was or what events were occurring. This included all the usuals of live bands, karaoke and discos. We had our own “Wonky Wednesdays”, where the customers chose the music, and we had bar snacks or a monthly cheese and wine club from 5pm to 7pm, where everyone brought their favourite cheese (and the occasional samples of fruit cake would appear). Bingo was popular on a Sunday at two o’clock prompt. And we had a regular “old boys” crash card school on a Saturday that would sometimes attract more than 10 people wanting to join in. We have a table tennis table, dart board and pool table as well as an entertainment system that plays over six multi
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screens, in case anyone fancies doing a video or music quiz or having a pretend wager on a horse race. Sky Sports has always been popular with our projector and screen – we are a staunch Leeds United pub with plenty of Leeds Rhinos fans popping in before they walk to the game. This is despite me being a Norwich fan – and teasing our customers with a Norwich scarf above the bar that often used to get stolen or moved about! Sport is essential and we will be screening whatever we are allowed to dependent on current guidelines. We re-opened (on the first May Bank Holiday) with a bank holiday weekend bonanza. We put on welcome back drinks offers and a socially distanced family fun day barbecue on the Monday – it was amazing to see everyone back again! As to changes for re-opening, we have done extra staff training, introduced plastic glasses, put in some price increases, introduced posters reminding everyone of the new rules and adjusted our opening hours. We are all most looking forward to June 21 when social contact can be reinstated. We are a tight-knit loving pub, there was always someone hugging someone else or shaking hands and that’s what we have all missed the most.
We put on a socially distanced family fun day barbecue when we re-opened. It was amazing to see everyone back again SPRING 2021
Getting the show
back on the road
by MATT ELEY
With a big summer of sport on the calendar, outdoor screens could pay dividends
Your garden is immaculate, the cellar is full of beer, your staff are raring to go. You’re ready to return, but what can you do to provide a bit of entertainment for your guests? Government guidance is vague at best, with talk of music and TV being allowed – ‘if kept at a reasonable volume’ – but singing and chanting barred. But there are some ways you can start to bring back entertainment to your pub. Here’s how: The match of the day
You can show sport, but that caveat about “reasonable volume” and no chanting or singing could prove challenging. There are huge games coming up in the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and, later in the summer, the European Championships and Olympics. Live sport is still a virtually guaranteed way of bringing people in, especially with sports fans missing out on the collective experience of watching matches live at grounds. Research by KAM Media in association with MatchPint in March, indicates that of the 44 per cent of UK adults who intend to watch the Euros, 13 per cent plan to do so in the pub. On top of that, 10 per cent intend to watch the Champions League Final in the pub and nine per cent will head that way for the Olympics. Katy Moses, KAM Media managing director, says: “If you have the capability to do it well, then outdoor screens will be popular. We know that the threat of Covid will make
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HOW TO BRING BACK ENTERTAINMENT GET GUIDANCE Ignorance is not bliss so check the GOV.UK website for latest recommendations on capacity and any restrictions USE YOUR SPACE Make more of what you’ve got, such as car parks, but check with authorities that you can serve food and drink in these areas HAVE A MINIFESTIVAL Bring Glastonbury to your pub for a day by holding a Covid safe event outdoors GET LICENSED Remember that to play live music you’ll need an entertainment licence from your local authority. You also need TheMusicLicence, issued by PPL PRS to play music which is subject to copyright Tips from PPLPRS
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people more cautious for months to come and consumers have told us that as long as they can keep warm, they are more likely to choose outdoor seating this summer compared with pre-pandemic. They also like to be able to reserve their seats, even outside.” Inapub’s resident landlord Richard Molloy has covered and invested in the outside space to improve the viewing experience at Molloy’s in St Marychurch, Devon. He says: “We have the football on but the volume is at a low level. What has worked really well for us is being able to show our local team, Torquay United. This has been very popular.”
According to the official guidance, live music should be “incidental”, so we wouldn’t recommend any moshing or dancing on tables, but there are ways it can work. At The Lord Nelson in Brentford, London, lockdown provided an opportunity to revitalise the pub garden. It is now a covered and heated space with 80 seats and is used for live acoustic music. Licensee Rich BowdJones books local duos or soloists to provide ambient music. “It is one of those things that we would probably never have done if it wasn’t for Covid, but it has given us and all pubs the chance to re-evaluate how we use outside space,” he says. “Even when we can trade inside, we will keep the music outside and use that space 12 months of the year.” Simon Delaney, licensee at The Firbank in Manchester’s Wythenshawe, has taken a different approach to live music. “I got a load of headsets so we can have a silent disco,” he says. “It sounds bonkers, but we can set up for someone to be in the pub and play music and we can pipe it out through our speaker system.”
Plays at the pub
Later in the summer you should have more freedom for live entertainment. Pubco Fuller’s is confident this will be the case and has planned its biggest ever Shakespeare in the Garden programme this July to September. Thirty-nine pubs will see 64 performances of As You Like It and Love’s Labour’s Lost.
Acoustic music doesn’t drown out conversation at The Lord Nelson in Brentford
Businesses will be looking to run deals to get you up and running again, so be sure to have a look at what’s out there. One such example is tech provider Startle offering pubs a free month of its Rock and Roll Bingo music quiz, from May 17. The offer coincides with a national game on May 21, with a £1,000 cash prize for the winner.
Busy nights of indoor entertainment may still be a little way off, but companies are trying to find ways to make it happen. Shuffleboard supplier SHUFL has developed safe play guidelines to keep customers and staff safe. SHUFL UK’s Ben Minter says: “Operating tables on a pay-to-play basis with online booking makes it easy for venues to manage customer flow and maintain social distancing.” Similar methods could work for other traditional games such as darts and pool.
Restore the Rhythm Your business may soon be back up and running but, understandably, it may not be quite back to normal just yet. Playing music is one way in which you could help get your business back to its best. Even small changes could make a big difference, and music could help enhance the atmosphere, lift the mood and create a more positive environment. If you are going to introduce music, or if you are already using music in your business, you’ll usually need a music licence. TheMusicLicence covers virtually all commercially released music available – millions of songs & recordings, including the most popular & well-loved music, not just from the UK, but globally. So while you are making all of the arrangements to get your business back to its best, now is the perfect time to turn the music back on and ensure you that you are appropriately licensed, and set up TheMusicLicence for your business.
Music could help your business get back to its best. Restore the rhythm and put the power of music into your business with TheMusicLicence.
0800 0868 801 pplprs.co.uk/restore-the-rhythm
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SPONSORED BY STAY IN A PUB
Bringing back the by MATT ELEY
Anyone who has looked to book a holiday on the UK coast this summer could be forgiven for thinking that pub rooms will be potential gold mines once Covid restrictions are lifted. But what if your pub happens to be in a town centre and relies heavily on workers for trade?
Bringing people to stay with you for a night or two in those circumstances is an entirely different ball game, as Ed Turner, owner of The Dolphin in Newbury, Berkshire, knows only too well. His pub has five contemporary letting rooms and, although early indications are promising, he and his team are working hard to come up with ways to encourage customers to stay. “Historically we do well out of business people because Newbury is home to Vodafone, but we are up against several budget offers nearby,” he says.
The personality of the pub drives repeat trade from business travellers
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“We don’t get heard as much as the other ones, but once we do, they want to come back for the personality and the individuality of what we do.” Despite the huge hit the business market has endured, Ed is confident that it will return to being an important income source for The Dolphin. “We are focusing on business meetings. We will say ‘have the meeting room for a couple of days and have all five bedrooms for the conference.’”
The main event
Making the most of bookable areas is going to be a key way of securing revenue for pubs in general, according to Ed, who used to head up Geronimo Inns and also sits on the board of leading pub accommodation operator Brakspear. “It might be different for younger people, but the middle-aged and older generations do not want to be crammed in six-deep at the bar. Personal space is such a big thing now and is a fully ingrained habit. But booking private spaces where you know the 30 people will become more important.”
magazine.inapub.co.uk 11/05/2021 10:38
Newbury, Berkshire Rooms: Five Occupancy (pre-Covid): 75 per cent Room rates: £69-£95 Website: www.dolphinnewbury.com
Older generations do not want to be crammed in six-deep at the bar. Personal space is such a big thing now. But booking private spaces where you know the 30 people will become more important
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Making sure you’re as visible as possible will be key to bringing back people to stay in your rooms This should have a positive knock-on to the rooms, with guests at events likely to stay overnight. To further this opportunity, The Dolphin will be running events of its own, such as a street festival, once the relaxation of social distancing rules makes this possible. “When there is something to do, we will be fully booked,” continues Ed. “We know we will be full when things like that start to pick up. “We are doing themed dinners and we advertise them by adding the room on at good value,” he says. “They are still spending money with you.”
Leveraging long stays
Discounts on rooms for longer stays are another incentive you could offer. “You can do this because if they are staying for three days with you, then you know they will have dinner for one or possibly two nights, so you can still make money,” says Ed. Longer stays also help with another area that has been impacted by the pandemic: cleaning. “The setting up and cleaning down of rooms takes longer,” says Ed. If they are staying more than one night, we say, ‘are you happy we are not going to come into your room apart from giving you
fresh towels?’ and they generally are. “Once you get them to stay two or three nights, the rates start to fall. You don’t have to clean so often.” Having the ideas is one thing, but how to reach the right audience is the “£50m question,” according to Ed.
It comes down to digital and being on the most useful booking engines out there. “You’ve got to be on as many different websites as you can, and that’s the hard work,” he explains. “If you can, you want to be on the more specialist sites as well. You are not losing anything by doing it, you should be gaining. “We also have to work hard to make sure we are always talking about places like Highclere Castle or Vodafone, so when people look up ‘hotels near’ those, we come up on the search engines.” Encouragingly, the industry stalwart remains confident pubs, with rooms or without, can succeed if they continue to evolve. “During the pandemic they have become the centre of the village again,” he says. “They have become shops, takeaways. They have become everything. In town centres you have got to do that as well and give them as many reasons as possible to visit you.”
As customers return to pubs up and down the country many will be greeted with remodelled outside spaces and interiors, giving them a great new pub experience. Whether it’s updated décor, new outside decking or extended trading space, the changes made by hard-working licensees and operators will be obvious to pubgoers as they walk through the door. However, these are not the only areas of the pub that have been receiving attention during the various lockdowns over the last year or so. Behind the scenes many licensees have been busy making changes in their cellars, which can be just as important to the customer experience as the look and feel of the pub itself. by ARCHIE MILLS
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Not only can giving your cellar an overhaul help improve the quality of serve at your venue, but it can also substantially cut your costs at the same time – a win-win! We have been looking at some of the latest cellar technology and how it can help do just that. Richard Stephens, head of technical services at Heineken UK, says the range of systems now available means there is technology to support any style of cellar or hos-
pitality operation. He says: “We now have a full range of systems for every type of bar. SmartDispenseTM CellarPro, configured to optimise cellar space, extends line cleaning to a six-week schedule which reduces wastage by up to 85 per cent. Our most recent innovation, CellarManager, helps operators reduce energy costs by an average of £720 per year by measuring the temperature of the beer and cider at the keg, rather than the air temperature of the cellar.” Beyond the savings systems such as this bring, innovation in cellar technology is also delivering on quality of serve. With customers missing the draught beer experience for months, having a reputation for good quality beer has never been more important, and it is now a real footfall-driving opportunity for pubs and bars. Carlsberg, for example, has seen an eight per cent increase in sales with venues using its DraughtMaster system compared with a four per cent decrease for those using steel kegs.
magazine.inapub.co.uk 12/05/2021 17:02
The Dr Johnson installed the Technik2 system to relieve the pressure on its cooling systems. Technik2’s Cellar Manager Plus draws free cold air into the cellar when temperatures outside fall below 10˚
So is making changes really worth the investment? We chatted to John Newnes, who runs The Doctor Johnson in Netherstowe, near Lichfield in the West Midlands. John has been at the helm of the pub for 27 years and is always looking at ways to improve his pub operation.
Playing it cool
I estimate we have saved £180 a month on our electricity bill in the first few months we had the system running trade.inapub.co.uk
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Last year John decided to install Technik2 in his cellar as part of an EI Group trial of the system. He explained that having a ground-level cellar at the pub was constantly putting pressure on the cooling systems, especially in the summer – an issue that many pubs experienced last year in the long hot summer of 2020. A year after installation, John is glad he made the investment. “It’s obviously been difficult with the pub opening and closing during the various lockdowns, but I estimate we have
saved £180 a month on our electricity bill in the first few months we had the system running,” he explains. “The use of the electric motor fan in the new system compared to the three-phase electric compressors that the main cooling system uses makes a major difference.” Running the new system alongside his existing cooling system really seems to have paid off. The installation was done within a day, with a follow-up test visit making sure everything was optimised and working as it should.
A gift from the taxman
Not only will systems like this keep your accountant happy as they bring with them energy cost savings, the system can also save on your tax bill. Simon Treanor from Technik2 explains: “The Chancellor’s Super Deduction Tax, announced in the March Budget, means that 25 per cent of the cost of installing a Cellar Manager or Cellar Manager Plus system (which combines drawing in free cold air into the cellar when outside temperatures are below 10°C) can be offset against Corporation Tax (the calculation being 130 per cent super deduction allowance against a 19 per cent Corporation Tax charge). This effectively saves the pub over £200 on their installation and would speed up their payback by around an extra three months.” So with cost savings, energy savings, tax savings and improved beer quality all up for grabs as new technology continues to make its mark on your cellar, it’s certainly worth going underground.
time at the bar
Well fuck me, the magazine’s still going. Impressive indeed, considering we publicans have been learning new hobbies such as going to bed early, eating at normal mealtimes and going outside. What we haven’t been doing is thinking about which rum Joan the Moan will be demanding this week, what golf tournament Roger will be telling you to put on the big screen instead of the cup final that everyone else is watching or whether we should be mixing cocktails for dogs. Seriously, congratulations and thanks to all involved in keeping this publication going when so many facets of the pub business have faltered. Hopefully this landing on your sole-starved welcome mat will bring with it a sense of normality, a feeling of hope, and a return to those familiar tugs of guilt that 23 different gins is still not enough. My editor, Caroline – a clever and meticulously professional lady — is, I think, under the impression that I’m actually good at being a pub landlord and, presumably with this mirage as her vision, asked me for my thoughts and tips to aid other publicans in the rebooting of their warped businesses. Not being one known for giving editors an easy ride, I’ve decided to do the opposite and tell you about all the shit I got wrong last time. • Too many signs. Everyone knows what to do. It’s been all that’s been spoken about, typed up and written down for a year now. No need to hammer the point home. This time we’re going minimalist and if people get it wrong then I’ll just presume that they’re stupid, deliberately confrontational or posh. • The one way system. Binning it. Half the people ignored it and the other half moaned about the people that ignored it then started ignoring it themselves. The way I see it, not having one will be exactly the same but without the dramatic hissy fits. • Two-household rule. Not buying it. Got sick of arguing with groups of 19-year-olds claiming that they all live together in some kind of American-style Fame Academy
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Hopefully this magazine landing on your sole-starved welcome mat will bring a sense of normality and a return to those tugs of guilt that 23 gins is not enough 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
condo. This time it’s six, fewer or out. • Cleaning absolutely everything: pens, menus, seats, babies. Nothing went unsprayed, unwiped or unwashed. I don’t see this happening in any other business and I refuse to make people feel like pariahs just for existing. This time it’s basic cleanliness. There will be hand sanitisers available for customers, but it will be up to them if they choose to use them. This time around, for a few reasons — vaccines not the least of them — we will be more laid-back and won’t forget that we’re in the entertainment business and people deserve, more than ever, the opportunity to relax. We are none of us good at our jobs any more, because to get so many things right at the moment is well nigh impossible, so don’t beat yourself up about getting stuff wrong. And remember that through all this red tape, rules, regulations and fannying about by people with nice suits and expensive eyebrows; our aim is simple enough. All we have to do is get our punters merry and give them a safe environment in which to enojy themselves. Then maybe people will think we know what we’re doing.
magazine.inapub.co.uk 10/05/2021 22:59
PLATE OR SLATE? Where the nation’s publicans stand on the really big questions Martyn Jenkins
The Village Bar Café Killay, Swansea The Village Bar Café is an independently owned local pub, offering cask real ales, premium keg beers and lagers, wines and freshly prepared local food Hospitality runs in Martyn’s blood. His dad has been in the trade since he was 16, and for the last 40 years his parents operated out of the same premises. Martyn’s elder daughter Lucy worked for her grandparents for several years, and when they came to retire three years ago, Martyn and his wife Leanne bought the pub to keep it as a family run business, which Lucy jointly manages.
Plate or slate?
Packet of scratchings or Michelin Stars?
Plate, plain and simple – I’m always amazed by the variety of ways people find to present food.
Michelin stars – my father is a very, very good chef. He was trained at the School of Hospitality and Culinary Arts at Westminster Kingsway College during the 1960s, before going on to work in Brown’s Hotel, Mayfair and The Angel in Abergavenny, cooking for the likes of the Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and Tom Jones. Although none of his culinary skills have passed to me, I am a real foodie.
Coffee or cask ale? Tough one. I love my coffee, we use a local supplier, Marcus Luporini who produces Gower Coffee, and owns Kardomah Café in Swansea (one of the Telegraph’s 50 Greatest Cafés on Earth. But we also serve real ales from local breweries, including Tenby Harbwr, Glamorgan Brewery, Gower Brewery, and my favourite, Grey Trees Brewery. Their pale ale Mosaic is a delight, and the award-winning Afghan Pale is one to savour. So cask ale!
Background music or silence is golden?
Breakfast or afternoon tea? Breakfast. I am not fussed on the tea and cakes scene – egg and bacon always.
Professor Whitty or Matt Hancock? Hmm – scientist or politician. It’s got to be scientific. Prof Whitty.
Music every time, provided it’s not from my younger daughter Ffion’s playlist.
Wear what you like or uniforms for the staff?
Table service or online ordering?
Uniforms. The staff prefer them, and at least you don’t have to get into a discussion about fashion, which is always personal.
Table service. It may seem like it will take a little longer, but there is no substitute for face-to-face contact, which is what pub life is all about!
Karaoke or pub quiz? As a Welshman we are supposed to all sing like choirboys or angels – I am neither, therefore pub quiz.
Cash or Apple Pay?
Family-friendly or keep the kids at home? Family-friendly. One thing the Covid pandemic has taught me is that you have to make the most of the time you’ve got with other people, so why exclude anyone?
Cash. Contactless is more efficient, but I can’t imagine a completely cashless society.
Dress up or dress down? Dress down. We live on the Gower, so when the weather is good, it’s shorts at the beach, so sometimes there’s not long enough to smarten up before going out socially.
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time at the bar
Life for licensees over the last year has been challenging, but so many of you out there set aside your own struggles to help support your communities and local charities. Here are just a few snapshots of the amazing work that licensees all around the UK have been doing.
The Fountain Bar in Aberfeldy, Perthshire gave out an amazing 40,000 free meals to people in need during lockdown
lied pizzas to the The Rayleigh Arms supp y Brookfield intensive care unit at ne, arb sex hospital in Chelmsford Es
The Eagle & Child to the vulnerable in ithn eiRamsbottom provided meals deliveries and takeaway r local community with s
The Balcarres Arms together to col ect a inhuWgeigan brought the community to be sent to the local number of children’s toys hospice and those in need
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inapub SPRING 2021
Amanda Hol and, lic ee at The White Horse in Harwood, Lancashirens herself ordained so e,shewent above and beyond by getting of two regulars who ha could preside over the wedding d their plans scuppered by Covid
Debbie Howe from The Oxleathers in Stafford turned the pub into a food and clothes bank to help local families magazine.inapub.co.uk 10/05/2021 16:53
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