Pubs (and bars) in brief …

Star Pubs and Bars says it is investing a further £4m in rent reductions for its licensees in September and October. Managing director, Lawson Mountstephens, said: “We hope this latest tapered rent relief will help licensees plan ahead as much they are able to and we’ll continue to review our overall support as we have done since the beginning.”

Greene King is looking to recruit some 150 apprentices and is urging youngsters receiving their A-level results to get in touch. The company has taken on more than 12,500 apprentices since 2011.

CAMRA members have until 30th September to nominate entries for 2020’s Pub Design Awards. The classes are: Historic England’s conservation award; refurbishment award; conversion to pub use award; new build award; and community local award. Find out more and nominate a pub here.

Hospitality technology specialist Airship is to donate 20% of revenue from its track and trace system, Trck.to, to industry charity Hospitality Action, as it notches up 500,000 customer check-ins from 6,000 locations. Airship kick-started its support with a £5,000 donation to the charity, and will be giving 20% of the ongoing licence revenue it receives from hospitality operators through Trck.to for a minimum of six months.

Revenue and other income rose 3% to £330m at Fuller’s in the year 28th March, 2020. There was good performance from managed pubs and hotels pre-coronavirus, with like-for-like sales growth of 2.3% for the 49 weeks to 7th March. In the same period, drinks sales rose 1.7%, food sales were up 1.9%, and accommodation sales up 5.9%.

Stonegate is to run its own version of Eat Out to Help Out, giving customers 50% off their food bill at participating venues on Mondays, Tuesday, and Wednesdays, for the time being. There is no spending limit.

Robinsons has re-opened the Flower Pot pub, in Macclesfield, following a £1m refurbishment. The brewer built the pub in September 1939.

A sign of the times: Mick Dore, who manages the well-known Alexandra pub, in Wimbledon, advertised two £9-an-hour jobs as he re-opened this week — and received 484 applications. He said former air stewards and restaurant managers were among those responding.

Rather than wait for the official starting gun, Oakman Inns has launched its own version of Rishi Sunak’s Eat Out to Help Out, and is covering the cost itself. Customers can download a £10 voucher towards food dishes and soft drinks on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, until 29th July.

Brains is to re-open 40 of its pubs on Monday, 3rd August. The company is in the process of selling off a number of pubs, which was planned before the pandemic.

Johnny McFadden, tenant at the Star Inn, St Just, Cornwall, has achieved national notoriety with the electric fence he set up to keep people away from his bar.He says the fence is switched off “but can be turned on”. A spokesperson for St Austell Brewery, which owns the pub, said: “As a tenancy, the Star Inn is in charge of its own day-to-day operations, but we are talking to Johnny about his plans to replace the fence with a more traditional safety measure.

Summerhall’s Courtyard in Edinburgh has re-opened from Thursday to Sunday as Scotland moves into phase three of lockdown measures. On tap will be Barney’s Beer.

The Independent Family Brewers of Britain says it has provided more than £20m of financial support to pub tenants during the pandemic. The association comprises 29 of the oldest family businesses in the country.

Tim Martin has sold £5m worth of his JD Wetherspoon shares, reducing his stake in the company to 27.4%.

Lee Morris bar

Lee Morris (pictured), of Albrighton, in Shropshire, has won a Liberty Games contest to find the UK’s best home bar. Lee said: “The pub is all hand-made by myself, using a lot of recycled materials. I’ve had the pub for about seven years and we’ve had many good curry nights. It really does give you that ‘Friday night feeling’. I home-brew a lot of beers and use traditional handpulls to give a real pint feel. Inside the pub, I have a fully-stocked bar with spirits and optics. I still sit in the pub now and smile to myself about how great it looks — it really is the best space.”

The Old Dairy Brewery Taproom is now open at weekends. Social distancing and hand sanitising measures are in place. Hours are: Friday, 5pm-10.30pm; Saturday, 10am-10.30pm; Sunday, noon-4pm.

Lady Abercorn’s Pub & Kitchen, in East London, has now re-opened. There’s an array of beers, including a house IPA, Lady A.

Consumer spending in pubs and bars rose 495% week-on-week as pubs re-opened, says Barclaycard Payments. However, there was a 45% year on year drop across the hospitality sector as a whole.

Brewhouse & Kitchen will be opening its chain of venues nationally next Tuesday, July 14. Brewers are busy brewing, and chefs ​are putting the final touches to a new menu.

The British Beer & Pub Association has urged the Welsh government to confirm when all pubs — rather than just those with outdoor space — will be able to re-open, as a matter of urgency. The Welsh goverment has announced that pub beer gardens will be able to reopen from 13th July, with two-metre social distancing in place, as long as the Covid-19 virus continues to abate. When asked when pubs will be able to fully re-open, the Welsh Government would only say this would be looked at “later”.

Anglian Country Inns has secured £3.3m through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, via Cynergy Bank. The money will refinance debt and provide emergency working capital.

West Country pub operator Heavitree is extending its rent cancellation period for tenants until the end of July.

Adnams is aiming to re-open 90% of its pubs on Saturday, 4th July. The remainder will open over the next few weeks.

Ei Publican Partners — the leased and teanted part of its business — says its support package for publicans has cost more than £28m. This will include rent credit equivalent to 75% in July and 50% in August.

The Licensed Trade Charity saw 10,210 new visitors to its website in March, an increase of 650%. And there was an increase of 300% in enquiries by email, referral, and via the charity’s helpline. A spokesperson said: “We are working as hard as we can to deal with all the enquiries as quickly as possible and deliver support where it’s needed, and the feedback so far has been really positive. We’ve also stepped up our support services to cope with the increased volume and we’re developing our partnerships and resources to increase the support we can offer to licensed trade people.”

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