Beer Today http://beertoday.co.uk British beer news, blog and events listings, updated daily Sat, 06 Feb 2016 14:41:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Excalibur wins Brains’ communications contract http://beertoday.co.uk/excalibur-wins-brains-communications-contract/ Sat, 06 Feb 2016 14:28:46 +0000 http://beertoday.co.uk/?p=34989 Excalibur has won the race to become communications partner for S A Brain, the fast-growing Welsh brewer and pub owner. As a hospitality business with 2,400...

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Excalibur has won the race to become communications partner for S A Brain, the fast-growing Welsh brewer and pub owner.

As a hospitality business with 2,400 staff in 238 pubs, bars and hotels, and more than 50 Coffee#1 shops in Wales and the south of England, Brains required account management of its mobile phone infrastructure.

James Phipps Excalibur CommunicationsThe company’s business support manager, Craig Coombs, said: “Excalibur are very hands on and thorough, which is exactly what we need. We appreciated the honesty and openness that they demonstrated throughout the tender. This is already developing into first class support that we cannot fault.”

Brains (which is owned by descendants of those who founded the company back in 1882) wanted to indentify handsets that were fit for purpose and compatible with their existing mobile device management platform. They also wanted to help staff affected by poor signal areas and introduce emergency wi-fi device access for new locations and for personnel with temporary connectivity issues.

Excalibur has provided Vodafone Sure Signal devices, which enables connection to several mobiles and wi-fi connected calls. Following a trial, Moto G smartphone handsets have been chosen by Brains.

James Phipps (pictured), chief executive at Excalibur, said: “To support S A Brain as it makes such impressive progress, our industry-leading level of customer service will help them grow, with our role as communications provider allowing their workforce to be more productive.”

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Annual beer sales down 1.5% says BBPA http://beertoday.co.uk/annual-beer-sales-down-bbpa-0216/ Sat, 06 Feb 2016 14:27:43 +0000 http://beertoday.co.uk/?p=35007 Annual sales of beer in Britain declined by 1.5% in 2015, according to the quarterly Beer Barometer survey from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA)....

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Annual sales of beer in Britain declined by 1.5% in 2015, according to the quarterly Beer Barometer survey from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA).

The decline represents a loss of 114 million pints from Britain’s pubs, bars and restaurants, as off-trade sales in shops and supermarkets held steady in 2015.

BBPAWith the Budget looming on March 16, campaigners say this is not time for the Chancellor to start reversing his three historic cuts in beer duty in the last three Budgets – particularly as the sector faces big financial challenges in the year ahead. There will be rising costs from the national living wage, higher business rates and the apprenticeship levy all hitting the bottom line for Britain’s pubs.

UK beer drinkers already pay some of the highest beer taxes in the EU — twice the European average, and 13 times higher than in Germany, where beer duty is just 4p a pint compared to 52p here.

The BBPA is campaigning hard with others, including the Campaign for Real Ale, for a fourth penny cut, to safeguard jobs in the sector, mostly in Britain’s much-loved community pubs.

BBPA chief executive, Brigid Simmonds, said: “The figures are certainly not all bad news as, overall, Britain’s beer sales have stabilised over the past three years following years of sharp decline, due to the disastrous tax policy of the beer duty escalator, which saw beer tax rise by 42% from 2008 to 2013.

“Since then, we have seen growing confidence in the sector, but the figures show this is no time for complacency, and any return to tax rises would wipe out this fragile recovery.

“We need another one penny cut in the Budget — to safeguard jobs and much-loved pubs, and to help Britain’s hard pressed beer drinkers.”

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Preview: Craft Beer Rising 2016 http://beertoday.co.uk/preview-craft-beer-rising-2016/ Sat, 06 Feb 2016 14:23:34 +0000 http://beertoday.co.uk/?p=34971 The post Preview: Craft Beer Rising 2016 appeared first on Beer Today.

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  • Craft Beer Rising 2015
  • Craft Beer Rising 2015
  • Craft Beer Rising 2015

Craft Beer Rising (CBR) — part of London Beer Week — returns to the Old Truman Brewery in East London for a third year on February 26 and 27, with more than 150 breweries showcasing over 600 beers.

There will be established UK breweries such as BeavertownThornbridge and Harviestoun, international talent including Little Bichos, LagunitasMikkeller, and Bronx Brewery to independent family brewers like Elgoods and Adnams, and relative newcomers, such as Bad Seed and Mondo.

Brand new for 2016 is a dedicated cider zone called Lost In Cyder Space, in association with Sheppy’s cider, which is choosing CBR to kick off its bi-centennial celebrations as well as a new cider launch.


» See also: London Beer Week preview


There will also be a whisky and rum partnership with Auchentoshan and Don Papa respectively, who will be bringing their own unique beer-infused serves from their own bars. Mead will also be present, another emerging bedfellow to beer, while those of a non-beer or cider persuasion are catered for by the likes of Hawkes ginger beer and Harry Brompton’s Ice Tea. A wine bar will also be present for those who prefer the grape to the grain.

There will also be talks, from the likes of Des de Moor and the Two Thirsty Gardeners, plus live music and DJ sets.

The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has been appointed as the official partner of the event. SIBA managing director, Mike Benner, said: “Our view of where British beer is headed is perfectly aligned, with both SIBA and CBR showing a commitment to showcasing and promoting the very best in British brewing regardless of format. Whether it’s in a bottle, a can, cask or keg, we believe there is some of the best beer in the world being brewed in the UK right now.”

Tickets are priced from £15 and are available now from http://bit.ly/CBRTickets. For full details about Craft Beer Rising, visit the event website

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Preview: London Beer Week http://beertoday.co.uk/preview-london-beer-week/ Sat, 06 Feb 2016 14:21:45 +0000 http://beertoday.co.uk/?p=35003 London Beer Week (February 22-28) comprises a week of events in and around the capital, culminating in the third annual Craft Beer Rising festival. The...

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London Beer Week (February 22-28) comprises a week of events in and around the capital, culminating in the third annual Craft Beer Rising festival.

London Beer Week 2016The hub of the week is the Old Truman Brewery, in Shoreditch, East London, where a £10 LBW wristband can be purchased, giving access to more than 100 of the capital’s best bars, each serving a £3 speciality beer or £5 boilermaker.

Sharp’s Brewery will be based at the hub offering tasting sessions inside its secret bar, and with a Cornish beach bar, too.


» See also: Craft Beer Rising preview


Also at the Old Truman Brewery

Hop House 13
Monday 6-10pm, Tuesday-Sunday noon-10pm

The Brewers Project joins London Beer Week once again, this time launching a brand new brew — Hop House 13. Try it alongside all the beers from St James’s Gate, Dublin, at the Hop House 13 pop-up bar, where you can also chat to the experts and enjoy live music.

The Czech Club
Monday-Thursday, 4-10pm, Friday-Sunday 1-10pm

A collaboration between Kozel and Pilsner Urquell celebrating the culture and history of the Czech Republic’s iconic refreshing style of lager. They’re even setting up the Pilsner tanks especially so you can sup it straight from the source.

The DrinkUp.London Boilermaker Bar
Thursday 5-10pm and Friday and Saturday, noon-10pm

A bluesy rock and rollin’ pop-up showcasing the humble boilermaker. The organisers have picked six of their favourites beers and six whiskies (well, five and a Czech liqueur), all of varying styles – just roll the dice to pick your poison.

Selected London Beer Week events

The Knowledge beer and brewing masterclass
Friday, 10.30am-3pm, Meantime Brewery. Tickets £90 from meantimebrewing.com

Join the chaps at Meantime Brewery for an in-depth five hours in the brewery, including a full tour and a detailed exploration of beer and the brewing process, covering topics such as ingredients, brewing history, and food and beer matching.

Crate Tutored Tastings
Monday-Thursday 6pm, Crate Brewery, Hackney Wick. Tickets £10 from yplanapp.com

Be guided through the depths and delights of some of the world’s top brews, with each day allocated to a particular style of beer. Look forward to IPA Monday, Pale Tuesday, Dark Beer Wednesday and Sour Thursday with a breakdown of the style, where they’re from, and what magical ingredients they contain.

Beer Meets Fine Dining
Tuesday, 7.30pm, Outlaw’s at The Capital. Dinner and drinks £50, e-mail outlaws@capitalhotel.co.uk

This special, one-off event sees Michelin-starred Outlaw’s at The Capital team up with Sharp’s Brewery to offer an exclusive seafood-focused, three-course menu, including Crab Scotch Egg paired with Chalky’s Bite; and Hake with Curry Sauce and Honey Spice IPA.

Buenos Aires to Bourbon Country
Tuesday, 6.30pm, Gaucho Piccadilly. Tickets £20 from gauchorestaurants.com

Learn about the origins of the boilermaker and the long and fruitful partnership between suds and sippers in America. Woodford Reserve distillers select, double oaked and rye expressions will be tasted alongside signature beers that have been hand chosen by Gaucho’s resident beer expert.

The House of Peroni presents Italian Supperclub
Friday 7.30pm, Union Street Cafe. Dinner, drinks and masterclass £35, email uscreception@gordonramsay.com

A contemporary Italian dining experience with a specially-created menu by head chef Davide Degiovanni. The evening includes an infusions masterclass led by one of their special House of Peroni mixologists, and the party continues after dinner with more beers, Peroni cocktails and live music until late.

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Norwich landlord pulls his one ‘Phillionth’ pint http://beertoday.co.uk/norwich-landlord-phillionth-pint-0216/ Fri, 05 Feb 2016 10:40:39 +0000 http://beertoday.co.uk/?p=34994 Phillip Cutter is toasting his millionth pint as landlord of The Murderers freehouse in Norwich by launching commemorative brew One in a Phillion. The special...

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Phil Cutter The MurderersPhillip Cutter is toasting his millionth pint as landlord of The Murderers freehouse in Norwich by launching commemorative brew One in a Phillion.

The special beer, created by Norfolk brewer Woodforde’s, is a light and zesty golden ale to reflect the milestone achievement notched up over an impressive 28 years behind the bar.

One in a PhillionThe Murderers is one of Norwich’s most historic pubs, dating back to 1696 and with a lineage of landlords traceable back to 1841. Despite retaining its trading name The Gardeners Arms, the pub has kept it macabre nickname of The Murderers following an incident in June 1895 when the landlady’s daughter was murdered by her husband after being seen in the pub with another man.

As well as its fascinating history, The Murderers also has a reputation for being a popular real ale pub, which is why Phil teamed up with local real ale brewery Woodforde’s to produce the commemorative brew.

Phil said: “It’s amazing to think I’ve pulled my millionth pint and I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed serving every single one! Thank you to all my customers, colleagues, friends and supporters, as well as thanks to Woodforde’s, one of my best-selling brewers over those 28 years, for creating this special brew.”

Rupert Farquharson, managing director of Woodforde’s, added: “We were naturally delighted to produce this special beer to celebrate a long-standing and highly successful operator. Congratulations, Phil!”

One in a Phillion will be available in cask at The Murderers for a limited time only.

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Why I’ll be heading back to Reading http://beertoday.co.uk/why-ill-be-heading-back-to-reading/ Thu, 04 Feb 2016 16:01:12 +0000 http://beertoday.co.uk/?p=34978 Here’s a picture of where I live. Well, very near to where I live. By the sea in west Cornwall, close to Hayle’s famed three...

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Godrevy CornwallHere’s a picture of where I live. Well, very near to where I live. By the sea in west Cornwall, close to Hayle’s famed three miles of golden sands. So you can appreciate why, even though I originally come from not that far from it, I had quite a set view of Reading as, well, not terribly interesting.

Ale House ReadingA visit to two pubs there yesterday has changed my view. Yes, just two pubs, but what absolute crackers. Very different, but both now on my bucket list for a return visit (I was in them because I hitched a life on the Coastal Brewery dray which was delivering in Oxfordshire, Surrey and Reading).

The Alehouse, at the bottom of Broad Street, in the town centre, has a narrow front, but goes back a long way inside, with cubby hole seating, bare floorboards and tons of atmosphere. They had seven or eight handpumps, including three regular West Berkshire Brewery beers, real ciders plus an impressive range of bottled beers, including lots of continental brews.

It is the antithesis of the modern shopping area outside, with a buzz of conversation and wide age range of clientele. I could have happily stayed there for a couple of hours or so, were we not trolleying casks of Coastal brews to the hard-to-get-to cold store right at the rear of pub (the casks are rolled right through the middle of the bar).

Further out of town and close to the railway station, on Greyfriars Road, is The Greyfriar. This place, run by an amiable chap called Andy, reminded a little of Camden Town Brewery’s Horseshoe pub in Hampstead, London, with its clever, contemporary mix of real ale on handpump and craft keg, along with more great bottles in the chiller cabinets behind the bar. Here I did have a beer (plenty of time as the beer delivery was a simple drop through a cellar door in the street), a terrific Mosaic from the Lymington-based Vibrant Forest Brewery. They were due to take part in a tap takeover that evening, and I’d have been fascinated to try some more of their beers.

Greyfriars Reading

With Zerodegrees in town, which I love in Cardiff, and the multi-award-winning  Nag’s Head shining out from the pages of CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, it looks like I should be booking a ticket back to Reading soon for, at least, an overnight stay.

• Apologies about the quality of the Greyfriar pic. I had interior shots of both pubs, or so i thought, but it seems my soon-to-be-abandoned phone had other ideas…

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Sheppy’s launches Old Conky to mark bicentenary http://beertoday.co.uk/sheppys-launches-old-conky-mark-bicentenary0216/ Thu, 04 Feb 2016 11:04:21 +0000 http://beertoday.co.uk/?p=34968 Somerset-based cider maker Sheppy’s is celebrating its bicentenary with the launch of Old Conky Cider. As well as marking two centuries of Sheppy’s, the cider’s name is an affectionate nod to...

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Somerset-based cider maker Sheppy’s is celebrating its bicentenary with the launch of Old Conky Cider.

As well as marking two centuries of Sheppy’s, the cider’s name is an affectionate nod to another historic notable, the first Duke of Wellington.

Sheppy's Old ConkyThe Duke’s title originates from the Somerset town close to where Sheppy’s produces its premium cider. Famed for his victory at the Battle of Waterloo, the Iron Duke was also sometimes affectionately known as Old Conky, thanks to his rather conspicuous nose.

For Sheppy’s, the cider making journey began back in 1816, spanning six generations and two farms. It began with John Shepson, who later became known as Sheppy, at Iwood Farm, Somerset.

Like all dairy and beef farmers, the Sheppy family first produced cider as a sideline. However, as the business was passed down through the generations, it was Stanley Sheppy who went on to establish the well-respected and well-known cider-making brand.

Today it is John Sheppy’s great, great, great grandson — and Stanley’s grandson — David Sheppy, who owns the business, with his wife Louisa. It was as a young boy that David’s path was cemented.

He often accompanied his mother as she sold cider on the roadside. It was only natural that he would share the same passion for cider making, and continue in the family footsteps.

Sheppy’s now produces 18 varieties of its traditional premium craft cider, in bottle, keg and bag in box, at Three Bridges Farm, Bradford-on-Tone, near Wellington. The company remains true to its 200-year-old heritage and traditions, combined with modern innovations.

Old Conky will be launched at Craft Beer Rising, in the Old Truman Brewery, London, on February 26 and 27. It is a medium sweet cider, made with traditional cider apple varieties and a little added sparkle.

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New name and a price freeze at Tennent’s http://beertoday.co.uk/new-name-price-freeze-tennents-0216/ Thu, 04 Feb 2016 09:39:10 +0000 http://beertoday.co.uk/?p=34965 Tennent Caledonian — owner of Tennent’s Lager — is changing the trading name of its sales and distribution company from Wallaces TCB to Tennent’s. It has also...

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Alastair Campbell TennentsTennent Caledonian — owner of Tennent’s Lager — is changing the trading name of its sales and distribution company from Wallaces TCB to Tennent’s.

It has also implemented a 12-month price freeze for the Scottish independent on-trade as part of a raft of new measures designed to further support Scotland’s hospitality industry.

Alastair Campbell (pictured), appointed managing director of Tennent’s in summer 2015, is looking forward to an exciting year ahead for the business, which offers a one-stop shop for the Scottish licensed trade by distributing a vast range of brands and products to outlets across the country.

He said: “Scotland’s pubs, club, hotels and restaurants are at the heart of our communities and part of the social fabric of our cities, towns and villages. Throughout our rich history, dating back hundreds of years, Tennent’s has been the strongest supporter of Scotland’s licensed trade, and today we re-emphasise that commitment.

“We understand the challenges they’re facing and, while other brewers have announced price increases to the trade, we are pleased to freeze the wholesale list price of our leading draught brands, including Tennent’s Lager, Caledonia Best, Magners Original Ice Cold Cider, Heverlee and Menabrea for the year ahead. This is further evidence of our support of the trade, allowing owners to direct greater investment into their businesses and help sustain jobs.

“Scotland’s licensed trade is a huge part of the local economy, contributing nearly £1.5 billion in value and employing over 71,000 people. We remain resolute in our support of it. Over the past five years we’ve invested £40 million, which is more than any bank or drinks supplier has invested in the Scottish on trade. We’ll continue this in 2016 to ensure Scotland enjoys a thriving quality-led industry.” 

C&C Group, owners of Tennent Caledonian Breweries since 2009, acquired Scottish drinks wholesaler Wallaces Express in March 2014. The combined business has until today traded as Wallaces TCB and has successfully integrated the sales and logistics functions of both businesses to provide a customer focused one-stop-shop for their customers.

Picture: Nick Ponty

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Key business data for Hall & Woodhouse tenants http://beertoday.co.uk/key-business-data-hall-woodhouse-tenants-0216/ Thu, 04 Feb 2016 09:09:52 +0000 http://beertoday.co.uk/?p=34962 Hall & Woodhouse has released its first ever benchmarking report, compiled using data supplied by its business partners, or tenants, over the past 18 months....

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Hall & Woodhouse has released its first ever benchmarking report, compiled using data supplied by its business partners, or tenants, over the past 18 months.

It features price benchmarking on key products as well as the operating costs associated with running a Hall & Woodhouse Business Partnership Public House, with comparisons against the UK pub industry as a whole.

Hall & WoodhouseThe report has been compiled from data supplied by business partners from an annual price survey, as well as open-book accounts which Hall & Woodhouse business partners share, and then segmented across four different trading styles. This data was then benchmarked against the 2014/15 data from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) on the costs of running a tied pub.

The report is a helpful guide for the business partners to compare their prices, costs and performance against other pubs in the Hall & Woodhouse estate as well as the industry as a whole, including identifying areas where they could maximise their profits. It also allows Hall & Woodhouse to target its support in the areas most needed by their business partners.

Key statistics from the report show that Hall & Woodhouse business partners have an average net turnover of £418,000 and achieve an average wet GP of 56% and dry GP of 63%.

Chris Chapman, business partnerships commercial manager at Hall & Woodhouse, said: “We are very pleased that we were able to produce this benchmarking report to support our business partners. It allows them to compare the pricing of their public house to similar businesses and see where they have the room to alter their prices and maximise their profits. It also demonstrates their performance against similar sites nationwide.

“It’s a valuable tool that we believe will help existing business partners to improve their profitability and also help attract new business partners to work with us.”

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Pub closures down, but duty cut still important http://beertoday.co.uk/pub-closures-down-duty-cut-still-important-0216/ Thu, 04 Feb 2016 08:19:39 +0000 http://beertoday.co.uk/?p=34956 Pub campaigners are welcoming a fall in the number of pub closures in the UK, but have called on the Government to cut beer tax...

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Pub campaigners are welcoming a fall in the number of pub closures in the UK, but have called on the Government to cut beer tax to help reinforce the fragile recovery.

The figures published by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA), compiled by independent research company CGA Strategy, show that 27 pubs a week closed in the second half of 2015, compared to 29 a week in the previous six months.

CAMRAA report from the Centre of Economics and Business Research last year showed pubs and drinkers would benefit from a cut in beer tax — conclusions supported by the improving figures.

It found that beer would have increased by 16p a pint, more than 1,000 additional pubs would have closed, 750 million fewer pints would have been sold and 26,000 jobs would have not been created had the beer tax not been cut in 2014.

CAMRA is now calling on the Government to continue and strengthen its support for pubs by further cutting tax to help keep beer affordable and pubs open.

More than 3,000 CAMRA members have already lobbied their MPs to call for a reduction in beer duty and the campaign is urging as many people as possible to make their views known via camra.org.uk/beertax2016

Particularly encouraging is news that closures of local community pubs have fallen, down from 26 closures a week to 20. Community locals are particularly vital to the overall wellbeing of their users, as shown by CAMRA’s recently released research into the benefits of pub going.

Tim Page, chief executive of CAMRA, said: “The latest figures show that the work of campaigners across CAMRA, the wider pub and beer industry and the Government is taking effect and arresting the decline in the number of pubs being lost every week.

“However, it’s a fragile recovery which could very quickly be reversed if the Government fails to build on this positive development and misses the chance to support the British pub and beer industry by reducing tax again.

“The report produced by CEBR for CAMRA at the start of 2015 showed how cutting beer tax would have a great economic benefit for the country and the reduction in closure numbers is further proof that the Chancellor’s decision was a good one.

“It’s pleasing to see that our campaigning to protect community pubs is having an effect, with closure numbers reducing. Local pubs are vital to their communities and the wellbeing of their users, as a recent report from Oxford University showed. As well as reducing tax the government can continue to support these pubs by strengthening national planning regulations and supporting local groups seeking to list pubs as assets of community value.”

• The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has launched a short film campaigning for the beer duty cut.

The one-minute film, now available on YouTube (click above), gives consumers and campaigners facts about beer tax rates in the UK and their huge impact on the economy, comparing UK duty rates with other countries, and highlighting what a tax cut would do to boost jobs and growth in the coming year.

Finally, the film calls on viewers to write their MP about beer duty via www.beerandpubjobs.co.uk

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