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Over 60 bars in Glasgow and Edinburgh are set for some monkeying around next week as William Grant & Sons holds a series of in-bar events to promote its Monkey Shoulder whisky brand.

The tour, which will hit 37 bars in the capital and 27 in Glasgow, takes place from Wednesday July 24 until Saturday July 27 and is aimed at driving advocacy with bartenders as well as connecting with customers.

The newly launched Monkey Shoulder Breakdown Service will be delivering the brand’s Lazy Old Fashioned and Boilermaker serves, amongst others, to trade staff during after-hours clean ups, while the brand’s S.W.A.T team will be bringing the tunes and special cocktail deals and free Show me the Monkey cocktails.

The Monkey Shoulder team will be armed with branded drinks trolleys fitted with DJ decks and will be calling the tunes and handing out free Cocktails at Glasgow’s Committee Room No 9 and Ghillie in Edinburgh on Saturday July 27 as well as helping to relaunch Browns brasserie in the capital on Thursday July 25.

In addition, the advocacy team will be taking over the bar at 4042 in Edinburgh on Friday July 26 with DJs, arcade games, a whisky vending machine and discounted Monkey Shoulder cocktails from 5pm to 3am.

John Wayte, Monkey Shoulder’s UK brand ambassador, said: “We can’t wait to shake things up and bring the fun with our epic Breakdown Service, S.W.A.T. and bar takeovers to help everyone feed their inner monkey.

“We are particularly excited for our Breakdown Service to support the legendary bar teams we love and respect; letting them put their feet up and have a drink on us, to say thank you for all their hard work.”

The other venues taking part are:

Glasgow:

  • Thursday 25thJuly: Van Winkle, Boteco do Brasil, Maggie Mays, Bar 91, Bar Soba (Merchant City), The Amsterdam, Max’s
  • Friday 26thJuly: Tingle, Tabac, Fault and Blame, The Howlin Wolf, Saint Jude’s, Bloc+, The Bunker, Tikki Bar, Slouch
  • Saturday 27thJuly: King Tuts, Variety Bar, Broadcast, Box, Chinaski’s, Strip Joint, The Dirty Duchess, Bag O’ Nails, Record Factory

Edinburgh

  • Wednesday 24th July: High Dive, McSorleys, Paradise Palms, Summerhall, The Abbey
  • Thursday 25th July: Empress of Broughton Street, Jeremiah’s Taproom, Joseph Pearces, Kin, Nauticus, Nobles, Sofi’s Bar, The Brass Monkey, The Fly Half, Treacle, Woodland Creatures
  • Friday 26th July: Akva, Bennet’s Bar, Burlington Bros Casting Agency, Harry’s Bar, Panda & Sons, The Beer Kitchen, The Black Cat, The Blackbird, The Raging Bull
  • Saturday 27th July: 99 Hanover, Bramble, Hoot the Redeemer, Nightcap, Tonic, 52 Canoes, Cold Town House, Dragonfly, Holyrood 9a, OX184
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Paul Miller (centre) was presented with the award yesterday (July 11) by Joe Hair (left) and Barry Babin of the Academy of Marketing Science

PAUL Miller, the co-founder of Eden Mill, has been bestowed with a major marketing award in recognition of his entrepreneurial skills and contribution to the development of Scottish gin, whisky and beer at home and abroad.

Miller was presented with the Global Marketer of the Year award yesterday (July 11) at the 22nd Academy of Marketing Science (AMS) World Marketing Congress at the University of Edinburgh.

In addition to recognising the Eden Mill co-founder’s “significant global contribution” to the marketing of the drinks industry, the award win credits Miller for his role in “revitalising the Scottish craft gin market” and bringing whisky production back to St Andrews after 150 years.

In winning the award, Miller, whose trade career includes stints with Diageo, Glenmorangie and Coors before he co-founded Eden Mill in 2012, joins the likes of Olivier Dexemple, the former marketing and development director of Coca-Cola Europe.

Commenting on the award win, Paul Miller said: “I am thrilled to be recognised at the AMS World Marketing Congress 2019, as well as the wider marketing and business community. It’s been a tremendous few days learning from experts and peers around the world.”

Professor Tina Harrison, co-chair of the 2019 AMS congress, said: “Paul Miller receives this award in recognition of his significant contribution to the development of the Scottish gin, whisky and beer markets at home and globally.”

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MANORVIEW Hotels & Leisure Group has appointed a new managing director as part of a wider restructure of its management team.

David Tracey (pictured second left) has moved from his role as operations director to MD, taking the reins from Manorview founder Steve Graham (pictured left), who has assumed the role of director.

The change will allow Steve, who founded Manorview in 2007 with The Commercial Hotel in Wishaw, to focus on growing the company, which now has eight hotels across the central belt.

Steve said: “David has been with Manorview for over three years; he knows the organisation, people, culture and our aspirations. As MD, he’ll move the business forward, with the support of a great management team.”

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 Glencoe House Hotel is latest addition to group’s Highland portfolio

HIGHLAND hotels group Perle has bought five-star Glencoe House Hotel, taking its portfolio to five.

The firm, whose hotels include The Perle Oban, Lochardil House Hotel in Inverness and The Bosville and Marmalade in Portree on the Isle of Skye, acquired the historic property, which was built by Lord Strathcona in 1896, for an undisclosed sum; Perle Hotels said “all existing employment contracts will be honoured and all staff will continue working at the 14-suite hotel”.

“Glencoe House Hotel and its team are a fantastic addition to our growing hotel group,” said Perle Hotels chief executive Fasih Rehman.

“We appreciate what a very special place Glencoe House is, but also the very high standards at which it operates now and we intend to build further on these in the future.”

The acquisition comes as Perle Hotels continues work to expand its Marmalade hotel in Portree. An extension will add 23 bedrooms and a new lounge area to the 11-bedroom hotel; phase two of the work is due to begin in October, with the full extension expected to be open to guests next April.

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Diversity is the name of the game for International Beer Day World beers should be at the fore of an outlet’s selection for International Beer Day

WITH International Beer Day less than a month away (August 2), it’s fair to say that a raft of world mainstream and craft brands will be vying for space on taps and in bar fridges in pubs across the country.

But for operators looking to fully capitalise on the occasion, what are the most important considerations?

Diversity is the name of the game, according to brewers.

Simon George, managing director of Budweiser Budvar UK, said: “Celebrate the diverse range of beer styles available by looking to stock Belgian trappist ales, true lager beers from the Czech Republic, dunkel beers and wheat beers from Germany, porters from Ireland – there are so many styles to celebrate.

“And progressive wholesalers, such as New Wave, can help the licensee make choices from their wide range.”

George added that operators should also look out for special collaborations, especially those which are exclusive to the on-trade.

Sarah Stirton, marketing and events manager at Stewart Brewing, said promotion is also important.

“The build-up is key,” she explained.

“Make people feel like they will be missing out if they don’t make it down.

“You could do a special food and beer offer, or set up a brewery collaboration, or just get some great new lines on. Whatever it is, be clear about what you have to offer and shout about it.”

The build-up is key; make people feel like they will be missing out if they don’t make it down.

But if licensees do choose to offer new brews for International Beer Day, they still have to factor in their clientele’s tastes, according to Stirton.

She said: “Consider what your customers normally like; you don’t want to throw a 7% ABV smoked porter at a group used to drinking 4% ABV session IPA.

“Figure out what your most popular product lines are, then go for something just a little departed from that. For example, if your session IPA sells well, go for something with a similar ABV but a more interesting hop profile.”

A pub’s beer range must also cater to potential drinks allergies and dietary preferences as these consumers are often “the deciders” when a group of friends choose a venue, reckons Giselle Dye, director of Bellfield Brewery.

She said: “Offering a gluten-free and vegan beer at your pub or restaurant puts it on the map as a place for people to go, regardless of who makes up their group.

“It’s not about catering for people with ‘illnesses’; it’s about offering exceptional beer that tastes great and that everyone can enjoy.

Offer a wide selection of beers on tap, as well as in bottles, and make sure your staff have tasted them.

“You’ll find you can increase footfall and takings by offering it – and promoting it as a thing you do – and you’ll be rewarded by customers and bloggers who are vocal in their support of good outlets.”

And if operators choose to stock gluten-free or vegan beers for this year’s International Beer Day, Dye stressed that they must be properly accredited with the ‘cross grained’ symbol and licence number from Coeliac UK and the vegan sunflower symbol.

“If you’re offering a gluten-free draught beer, display it on the specials board and give out tasters or do blind tastings to show it tastes as good as any other beer,” said Dye.

When it comes to promoting your beers generally, excellent staff knowledge is said to be essential.

Dye said: “Offer a wide selection of beers on tap as well as in bottles and make sure your staff have tasted them, so they can talk to customers with confidence about debut beer styles.”

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Black Sheep Hotels group unveils revamped Highland property

THE first of three Highland hotels bought by Indian hospitality entrepreneur Sanjay Narang has opened its doors following a major refurbishment.

Rokeby Manor – the former Craigard Guest House on the outskirts of Invergarry – is said to have been “tastefully designed to complement its surroundings” and the Victorian property’s original features.

The hotel now has 13 en suite rooms and a new restaurant, which was created in a former cow shed; called Emily’s Byre, the eatery majors in Indian cuisine, especially “Northern Frontier-style dishes, reflecting recipes brought back by Scottish soldiers from India and adapted for locals”.

The hotel also has a souvenir and gift shop; and it offers guest transport to and from hiking locations.

Rokeby Manor is one of three hotels in the newly-established Black Sheep Hotels group, which is part of Narang’s Mumbai-based group, Mars Enterprise and Hospitality.

He also acquired The Cluanie Inn at Glenmoriston and Whispering Pine Lodge (formerly the Letterfinlay Lodge) in Spean Bridge following a hiking holiday in the Highlands with his sister Rachna last year; they bought the three properties for £3 million and pledged to invest a further £9m refurbishing them, with both The Cluanie Inn and Whispering Pine Lodge due to open later this summer.

Sanjay Narang

Narang, who has relocated from India to Glengarry, said: “We are delighted to be opening the first of our Black Sheep Hotels at Rokeby Manor, bringing together our considerable experience and expertise in the hospitality sector in order to provide a distinctive and authentic experience for our guests.

“Our stylish rooms are spacious and reflect much of the Highlands’ unique charm and character.

“And for travellers who love to be surrounded by ever-changing landscapes of the rugged beauty and timeless enchantment of the Highlands, Rokeby Manor helps the visitor switch off from the world in truly spectacular surroundings.”

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Dundee bartender heading to US after winning Jack Daniel’s cocktail competition

Dundee bartender Amy Carmichael will be heading to Lynchburg after winning a cocktail competition for Jack Daniel’s.

Amy, from Abandon Ship Bar, won a place in the final of the Tennessee Rivals competition after impressing judges with her Concrete Jungle Rye Tai highball serve.

In the final – held at Glasgow’s SWG3 – she wowed them again with Rye Stone Cowboy, which combined Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Rye with mezcal. Her prize is a trip for two to the Jack Daniel’s distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee.

The contest was judged by a panel consisting of Cam Dawson, UK brand ambassador for Jack Daniel’s, Mike McGinty, Bacardi Brown-Forman trade ambassador for Scotland, and Emily McFarlane, area experiential manager for Scotland and Northern Ireland at Brown-Forman.

Speaking after her win Amy said she was “shocked and surprised”.

“I was really nervous,” she said.

“I’m a really nervous person so I was a bit scared. I didn’t expect to win, I just expected to go in, give it my best shot and enjoy it. So this is a very nice surprise.”

She explained that the thinking behind her initial highball serve was to challenge the view that whiskey isn’t suited to use in fruity drinks by creating a rye version of a Mai Tai.

For her second serve, Amy was keen to use mezcal, a spirit she is particularly fond of.

“I just thought I wanted to keep it quite simple,” she said. “I wanted to present one that was quite fancy and extra, and the other one very simple and just keep Jack Daniel’s Rye as it should be.”

Bartenders Daniel Elphinstone of Orchid in Aberdeen and Murdo Maclever of Tigerlily in Edinburgh secured second and third places, respectively.

Dawson said that Amy “had the full package” on the day of the final.

“She had the best presentation, the best techniques behind the bar, she was tasting her drinks to make sure they were balanced,” said Dawson.

“She was giving us good brand knowledge, showing us she had researched the brand. Not only that, her drinks were balanced, they looked great, they tasted great.

“She really had the full package.”

Concrete Jungle Rye Tai 

40ml Jack Rye
20ml cinnamon syrup
20ml lemon
10ml black tea
60ml pineapple
2 dash bitters

Rye Stone Cowboy 

40ml Jack Rye
10ml mezcal
5ml green chartreuse
5ml maple syrup

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Chance to showcase nation’s buoyant spirit

IT is difficult to overstate how far the Scottish gin industry has come in the last decade.

With some 70 distilleries now producing a diverse range of the distillate in Scotland, and more in the pipeline, the only surprising thing about the inaugural International Scottish Gin Day (Saturday August 3) is that it has taken until 2019 for it to be held.

With many Scottish gins in keeping with the prevalent trends of local, craft spirits production and the seemingly never ending thirst for the spirit in pubs and bars, drinks firms told SLTN that operators should use the day to shine a light on the raft of expressions Alba now offers.

To maximise the opportunity the day presents, it is not only important to stock a decent range of Caledonian gins but also to ensure staff can upsell the spirits and are well armed with knowledge of the products, said Lara Williams, distillery manager at Stirling Gin.

“Creating a specific Scottish Gin Day menu will give operators the chance to really show off their knowledge of Scottish gins,” she said.

“The more varied these gins can be, the more scope operators have to appeal to everyone’s taste and to experiment with cocktails that wouldn’t sell as quickly at other times of the year.

“Most importantly, they need to make sure their staff know everything about their Scottish brands.”

Andrew Hannah, brand controller for Red Door Gin, which is produced at the Benromach Distillery in Forres, reinforced that view.

He said: “In order to capitalise on International Scottish Gin Day, operators should make sure they’re promoting the range of Scottish gins available in a clear and engaging way, whether through a dedicated gin menu or via display boards and table-top chalkboards highlighting certain gins.

“Consumers like to know where the spirit they’re purchasing is from and there has long been an interest in buying local.

“The day also provides operators with the opportunity to show the regional offering available with a tasting map, in a similar way to the whisky industry, highlighting the different flavour profiles found in products throughout the country.”

The significance of the suggested serve was signposted by Alisha Goodwin, brand manager for Ben Lomond Gin, which was launched last month by Loch Lomond Group.

“Specialist serves which bring out the flavours of the liquid are a simple way to engage customers on Scottish Gin Day,” she said.

“Operators should pair the gin with mixers which truly complement the taste and flavour profile, choosing garnishes which highlight its individual characteristics.”

Putting on gin events such as tastings in licensed venues was flagged as a route to success on the day by Victoria Miller, head of on-trade and prestige retail for Eden Mill St Andrews.

She said: “Hosting events can be a great and fun way to drive consumers into a venue, to then spend money later in the evening. Our brand ambassadors can help work with on-trade outlets to host fun and informative events.”

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New figures underline importance of a robust ID policy

OPERATORS are being urged to ensure their staff are properly enforcing age verification checks after an auditor found that almost three in ten young people were not being asked for any form of ID when purchasing alcohol in Scotland’s bars.

New data from Serve Legal, a commercial provider of ID checking services, claims that of 668 visits to Scottish premises by its mystery shoppers last year – who were all aged either 18 or 19 – 29% were not asked to prove their age, a fall from 32% in 2017.

In 2011, the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 was amended to ensure all licensed venues operated a Challenge 25 policy.

But Ed Heaver, director of Serve Legal, said the figures showed there is still “more work to do”.

“The consequences of faltering in delivering effective staff training around an age restricted policy and ensuring its compliance can be a cost too great for some establishments to bear,” said Heaver.

Licensing lawyer Jack Cummins said operators that neglect Challenge 25 could be risking their licence.

“Selling alcohol to a mystery customer aged around 19 without a challenge isn’t an offence,” he said.

“But it could mean that no ‘age-verification policy’ is in force.

“That would be an offence – because having a policy is a mandatory licence condition.

“Or it could indicate that staff are taking a sloppy approach to ID checks and placing the licence at serious risk.

“The key message here is that robust, regularly refreshed staff training is the top priority.”

Brigid Simmonds, the outgoing chief executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA), said: “Any licensee or staff member faces a criminal penalty and risks the premises losing its licence by not implementing Challenge 25.

“Our message is clear: it is simply not worth the risk.”

Convenor of the City of Edinburgh licensing board, Norman Work, said while it is “vital” to ask those who appear to be under the age of 25 for proof of age in the on-trade, he thinks there is greater difficulty in the off-trade with regards to “proxy purchasing”.

Paul Waterson of the SLTA agreed with that view, stating “far more credence should be given to third party purchasing in the off-trade”.

He added: “We are working with the Scottish Government Alcohol Industry Partnership to try and eradicate that as much as we can.”

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Restaurants feeling the impact of a growing problem No-shows are said to be a growing problem

DINER ‘no-shows’ are having a “huge financial impact” on the restaurant industry, say chefs and restaurateurs.

Dean Banks, who recently opened his inaugural restaurant Haar within St Andrews’ five-star Kinettles Hotel, said no-shows have been “a recurring issue” since he launched his eatery.

One Saturday his restaurant suffered 14 no-shows, which Banks said resulted in £1000 of lost revenue, as well as staff and food waste costs.

He told SLTN: “What these people forget is that I have staff for that [booking], turned away tables for that – there’s a big domino effect.

“These are my big days; these basically fill up my revenue for the week – the weekends. I’ve currently got 13 members of staff; at the end of the day I’m trying to pay for these people’s livelihoods, plus my own – which I’ve not been able to do whatsoever yet – so with these people doing that I don’t think they really understand they could be affecting people’s jobs.”

In a bid to combat this, Banks has amended his booking system to require customers to input their bank card details to book a table and, if they then fail to turn up without contacting the restaurant to cancel the booking, they will be charged £25 per head, or £65 per head on Saturdays.

“If someone called an hour before their booking and said, ‘we can’t make it tonight’, just a call, we could sell that table again via walk-ins and we’ve got a waiting list as well now,” he said.

This was echoed by chef operator Mark Greenaway, whose eponymous restaurant Grazing by Mark Greenaway opened in Edinburgh’s Waldorf Astoria in April.

He said no-shows “have a huge financial impact” on the industry.

“When customers reserve a table, they are making a commitment to the restaurant, just as proprietors commit to having a table waiting for them when they arrive,” he said.

“Understandably, people will cancel for legitimate reasons, but the industry is justified in taking action on no-shows to help restaurants sustain a healthy business.”

James Rusk, co-owner of Rusk & Rusk – which counts Butchershop Bar & Grill and The Spanish Butcher within its portfolio of Glasgow restaurants – reckons no-show diners are a growing problem that is fuelled by the “slight facelessness” of technology.

“There’s definitely a trend of people not showing up for reservations at peak times,” he said.

“We still call every single booking through the week to confirm; we have our reservations and management team call everybody and we try to confirm as many people as we can.”

Similar to Banks, Rusk & Rusk now requires card details to be logged for bookings at peak times across all its restaurants; if customers fail to make contact and don’t turn up, their card is charged £10 per head of the booking.

But Rusk stressed he doesn’t want “a combative environment”.

“We want to make sure we can create a discussion with our customers,” he said.

“But there is a challenge here; I don’t have the answers to this.”

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