‘Staycation’ boom following Brexit expected to be worth extra £1.4bn: The boom in “staycations” following Brexit is expected to be worth an extra £1.4bn to the UK economy, new figures have revealed. While the surge in UK holidays after the 23 June vote had been predicted, the findings by the industry’s leading bodies show a huge rise both in visitors from abroad and in Britons opting for a “staycation”. The extra takings in 2016 for “staycations” alone are set to be £2.4bn, according to the Tourism Alliance, whose members include the British Hospitality Association, ABTA and regional tourist boards. While £1bn of that was spent before 23 June, the total additional “staycation” income for 2016 is expected to be £1.4bn. An extra £725m has been spent so far across Britain’s popular tourist destinations with more set to follow – thanks to the growth in foreign visitors. The falling pound since the Brexit vote has made holidays more expensive for Britons going abroad and cheaper for foreign tourists coming to the UK – giving Britain’s tourism a double boost. And the extraordinary growth in holidays in Britain means the industry is set for a record-breaking year, topping the high set in 2015 of nearly £1.3bn. Other factors adding to the boom are recent fine weather, low interest rates and fears of terrorism overseas. The Tourism Alliance estimated spending by Britons on UK holidays has been up by 17% on 2015 so far this year. Alliance director Kurt Janson told the Mail on Sunday the additional £2.4bn had the potential to create about 40,000 new jobs in tourism and hospitality. Resorts in the key “staycation” markets such as Brighton were really benefiting from the upward lift while businesses in Blackpool said the town was on course for one of its best seasons ever. Visit Cornwall said tourism across the county was up more than 4%.
CBRE – pubs moving to mainstream real estate, ‘business as usual’ for restaurant market: Agent CBRE has argued pubs are moving to mainstream real estate and are now being viewed as valid alternatives to offices and shops by investors. In its market overview for the second quarter of 2016, the company said UK monthly all property initial yield was up 5.05%, compared with 4.82% in the previous quarter. London corporate prime pub yield was down 4%, compared with 4.25% the quarter before. London independent and regional corporate prime pub yields remained at 5.25%, while regional independent pub yield stayed at 10%. Simon Johnson, corporate advisory, pubs and leisure at CBRE, said: “UK pubs are moving to mainstream real estate and there are three reasons for this – all real estate has got expansive and investors are looking around for yield; new buyers that have been in the sector before are arriving; and long income funds are targeting operational real estate like never before. It is clear property yields on core real estate assets have moved so significantly that many investors no longer see the value. If we look at good corporate regional pubs, we can see this has moved from a 40 basis points premium yield in 2007 (the peak of the last market) through to a 150 basis points discount in the dark days of 2011 and is now trading back at a 40 basis points premium again, but now at a 5.3% yield. And when we add in London prime corporate, we see that yields have never been lower. New investors are looking at the market with fresh eyes and most importantly seeing value and investing where traditional owners and buyers have previously only seen risk. In pubs we have started to see others looking closely at the sector.” Meanwhile, David Muslin, director of UK restaurants and leisure at CBRE, said the general message for the restaurant property market was “business as usual”. He added: “The top retail and leisure parks in the UK continue to be in demand. High streets still have their place and invariably new pitches find themselves evolving from previously off-pitch locations. Temple Street in Birmingham, for example, where San Carlo has been established for a number of years has, since the opening of Grand Central, become a much stronger link from the office core. The Botanist opened last year and it seems Fuller’s, Wahaca, Las Iguanas, Turtle Bay and Busaba are all bidding for space now topping out at over £40 per square foot. Premiums are less of a feature in the out-of-town market than in central London but they do happen more in the off-market deals where an existing operator has been ‘convinced’ to sell. So the market sentiment is still positive, the sun is now almost shining and, with summer in full swing, we are in a great place!”
CAMRA calls for alcohol guidelines consultation as public disagrees with advice: More than half of respondents to a new study disagreed with official health guidelines on alcohol consumption, according to figures released by the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA). Of 2,040 people surveyed by YouGov, 61% agreed moderate alcohol consumption could be part of a healthy lifestyle – and 51% disagreed with the chief medical officers’ decision that alcohol guidelines should be the same for men and women. Publishing the figures at the start of the Great British Beer Festival, a week-long celebration of Britain’s brewing industry, CAMRA is calling for the Department of Health to launch a new public consultation into whether the alcohol guidelines are fit for purpose and evidence-based. CAMRA chairman Colin Valentine said: “The figures we’re releasing today, at the start of the Great British Beer Festival, show that government advice on drinking is at odds with common sense. If the government wants people to take the guidance seriously then it needs to present people with realistic and believable advice, which they can use to judge their own risk when it comes to responsible drinking. If the public feels, as our figures suggest, that the guidelines are not credible and lack evidence, the danger is they will increasingly just ignore them. There have been decades of international scientific evidence showing moderate drinking can play an important part in a healthy and happy lifestyle. We’d like to see that research reflected in a more grown-up approach to help adults understand the risks and benefits associated with drinking.” Numerous scientific studies have shown moderate drinking can have a protective effect against various health problems, including cardiovascular disease, cognitive decline and certain forms of cancer. However, this is ignored in the new alcohol guidelines. This year the Friends on Tap report from Oxford University also found those who frequented a pub were happier, healthier and felt more integrated in their communities than those who didn’t have a local. These latest figures chime with research released by CAMRA in May, which showed 60% of GPs also disagreed with the chief medical officers’ statement that there was no safe level of alcohol consumption, while two-thirds considered moderate alcohol consumption could be part of a healthy lifestyle.
Joule’s set for ‘brief hiatus’ in expansion for remainder of 2016, expects to start acquiring sites again next year: Shropshire brewer and retailer Joule’s, which is headed by Steve Nuttall, has said it expects a “brief hiatus” in expansion for the remainder of 2016 before looking to acquire sites again next year. Retail director Neale Chandler told Propel the company, which has 40 pubs, would concentrate on refurbishing some of its existing sites before “returning to the buying path” in 2017. He said: “Steve Nuttall is on record saying we could roll this out to 100 sites. The plan right now is that we’ll stop for a bit, and our in-house build team will go out to our existing estate, sparkle everything, and we’ll retrofit a couple of pubs. As the years have gone on, our design has evolved, so to stay relevant we need to continually invest in the older part of the estate. We are always looking for the right pubs, and I anticipate that next year we’ll be on the buying path again. In terms of new pubs, we’re always looking. The geographic footprint can expand. Our brand is becoming more and more well known, and so consequently the risk gets less. We are looking to infill, there are opportunities in Bridgnorth, we could probably get up to Uttoxeter, and we’ve now expanded down to Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham. We have target towns.” Chandler said the pipeline for new sites is still there, although “it’s not as good as it used to be”. He added: “When we started buying in 2008/09 the market was on its knees. The old adage that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure is true. I think when people go to other pubs is when they realise just how good our pubs are. I do think we lead our market in our heartland.” Last month, the investment focus shifted to the brewing side of the business with Joule’s doubling its footprint in Market Drayton with the acquisition of a 1.5-acre site adjacent to the existing brewery and its Red Lion pub. Nuttall said of the deal: “This new site doubles our footprint and will allow Joules many options for the long term. As we are in the heart of an ancient town, our options for extending are very limited, so this purchase future-proofs our continued presence in the town and our importance as a Shropshire brewer with access to the essential Market Drayton aquifer, our mineral water source.”
British Country Inns II looks to dispose of remaining four pubs, and the company: British Country Inns II, a subsidiary of British Country Inns, which currently has four pubs in Somerset, has said it is looking to dispose of the remaining sites, and is even aiming to find a buyer for the company. The company saw turnover fall to £1,796,544 for the year ending 31 January 2016, compared with £1,884,423 the previous year, according to accounts filed with Companies House. It reported a pre-tax loss of £156,384, compared with a loss of £382,476 the year before. The company managed to dispose of the loss-making Ponda Rosa on the Isle of Wight but for below book value. The company stated: “Trade during 2015 was disappointing, with both sales and house trading profit down on the previous year. Turnover across the pubs in the company fell by nearly 5% (but less on a like-for-like basis) and house trading profit declined from £252,000 to £172,000. We were finally able to dispose of the loss-making Ponda Rosa on the Isle of Wight during the year, albeit at below book value. This leaves four pubs remaining in the company ¬– The Lime Kiln; the Beambridge Inn; the Huntspill Arms; and the George, Donyatt. Our strategy continues to be to focus on maximising sales while controlling costs. There have been variations in performance across the houses, with the Lime Kiln being affected by poor summer weather and increasing local competition, the Beambridge failing to achieve its ambitious targets, and the Huntspill failing to perform adequately. Management changes have been made since the year end to address the problems and we believe 2016 should be a much better year for the company as a result. We are working very hard to try to dispose of all the remaining pubs at reasonable prices, or better still, to dispose of the company itself, as this would reduce the time and costs involved. An exit for shareholders is dependent on the pubs being sold, and the prices that might be obtained for them are dependent on the level of their trading and the overall market for country pubs. There is currently little or no demand for our type of pub, which makes the job very difficult. We are anxious to try and provide an exit as soon as possible, so shareholders can receive some value back, apply for loss relief and move on.”
Star Pubs & Bars launches two initiatives to help licensees address chef recruitment crisis: Star Pubs & Bars has launched two initiatives to further help licensees address the chef recruitment crisis. The initiatives – a chef recruitment tool kit as well as a significant discount on Ashburton Cookery School’s Chefs Academy – will help licensees recruit and grow their own kitchen staff. The chef recruitment toolkit will build Star licensees’ confidence and skills in the specialist area of catering staff recruitment. The toolkit contains “how to” guides on interviewing and recruiting candidates as well as a series of professionally written job descriptions, interview questions and job advert templates. Licensees have access to 30 documents covering the complete range of kitchen jobs, from kitchen porter and commis chef to food handler and chef de partie, which they can download and adapt. Star has also negotiated a significant discount with the Ashburton Cookery School, one of the country’s most respected private cookery schools, for its four-week Chefs Academy course. The course offers more than 30 hours of practical cookery a week, teaching the core skills required to cook to a professional standard. Graduates attain a Level 2 Award in Culinary Skills QCF qualification, accredited by the Confederation of Tourism & Hospitality. Star Pubs & Bars managing director Lawson Mountstevens said: “The problem of chef recruitment comes up time and again when we’re talking to licensees. Our toolkit will help licensees promote the benefits and career opportunities offered in pub catering. The materials and support will also give licensees’ recruitment drives the sort of professionalism looked for by candidates who are serious about a career in catering.” The two initiatives are part of a raft of support Star has put in place to help licensees grow their food offering. These include new menu designs, in-pub chef mentoring, and a five-day residential cookery course.
Open brewery UBrew to launch project that sees ten micro-breweries open under one roof in London: Ubrew, the “open brewery” founded by Matt Denham and Wilf Horsfall, has unveiled a project that will see ten new micro-breweries open under one roof in London later this month. The collaborative idea will see micro-brewers launch beer into the commercial market from one location in Bermondsey. The company recently installed a new 800-litre brewing kit that allows hobby brewers to start selling their product. Denham told the Evening Standard: “We’re helping people scale up. We’re helping people develop their recipes. But also we want to help develop their product, their brand and actually getting to the market.” Hugo Moreno, of Vandells Brewery, has been able to launch his product thanks to the new equipment. He said: “Before this we looked into getting our own space and investments and loans but financially this makes more sense to us. It’s going to mean a lot of opportunities and we can brew on a bigger scale. It gives us more freedom for brewing what we want to give out to the public.”
SIBA launches initiative allowing independent brewers to take back craft beer: The Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) has launched an initiative – called “Assured” – to promote independent British craft breweries in an effort to provide greater clarity for consumers looking to purchase beer from genuinely independent craft breweries in the UK. To qualify for the stamp of approval, breweries must be truly independent of any larger controlling brewing interest and pledge to abide by SIBA’s Manual of Good Brewing Practice. Breweries signed up to the initiative will be able to use the stamp on their pump clips, bottles, cans, point of sale and websites. More than 150 SIBA members have already pledged their support for the scheme. To give consumers a quick and easy way to identify the independent craft brewers near them, SIBA has launched indiecraftbrewers.co.uk, which includes a UK-wide interactive map. The organisation’s bar at the Great British Beer Festival in Olympia, London, will also, from 5pm today (Tuesday, 9 August), be displaying details of the new initiative alongside serving its Champion cask beers. With more than 850 brewing members in the UK, SIBA said beer drinkers needed more information to help them make informed choices. Market research commissioned by SIBA showed 46% of beer drinkers regarded craft beer as “made by small brewers rather than large corporations”, although one in ten beer drinkers were unsure what the term meant. 35% regarded craft breweries as “artisanal”, with 22% associating the term with “small” and 14% with “local”. SIBA claimed its entire full brewing membership fell into those definitions. SIBA managing director Mike Benner said: “We’re not being sanctimonious about this or taking ourselves too seriously and we realise that great beer can be brewed by all kinds of brewers but, as more and more brewers jump on the ‘craft’ bandwagon, we think firstly that people want to know where their beer is being brewed and by whom, and secondly that we need to help even our relatively small members compete with the huge marketing budgets of big ‘craft’ brands. This is why we have launched this stamp of approval, which assures independence and quality. The future credibility and growth of the craft beer market would be seriously threatened if consumers simply associated it with a handful of brands from global brewers and not from their very own local brewery. Consumer access to beers from truly independent craft brewers is key to the future of British beer.”
More than 100 million pints of independent craft-brewed beer now sold through SIBA scheme: More than 100 million pints of beer have been sold through a scheme designed to get craft-brewed beer from some of the smallest brewers into the UK’s largest pub companies. Now in its 14th year, BeerFlex was set up by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) to get its members’ beers into pub chains and has proved a huge success, with about 101 million pints now having been sold. In 2002, when the service was launched, there were only 200 beers available through the service, a number that has now increased to more than 3,500 thanks to the craft-brewing boom the UK has seen in recent years. SIBA operations director Nick Stafford said: “BeerFlex has been a hit with pub companies as it allows them a simple, cost-effective way to gain access to a huge range of beers brewed within a short distance of their pubs, which means they can offer their customers genuinely local, fresh-tasting draught beers. On top of that, consumers are happy as they are being given greater choice and brewers are happy as their beers are getting into pubs which were previously a closed door to small-scale producers.” While there are more than 3,500 beers from across the UK available through BeerFlex, the majority of pubs, bars and restaurants buy beer from breweries in their local area – in fact SIBA figures show about 70% of its brewing members sell the majority of their beer within a 40-mile radius of the brewery. 37 different pub companies have worked with SIBA over the years to sell beer from independent breweries in their pubs, including Punch, Enterprise Inns, Admiral Taverns, Thwaites, and NewRiver Retail. Originally set up as the “Direct Delivery Scheme”, which won the BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Award for “best retail initiative” in 2007, BeerFlex has had much more than a name change since its launch, recently adapting to offer independent beer solutions to the restaurant, coffee shop and cafe trade following extensive SIBA research that highlighted consumer demand for craft-brewed beers in these venues. Stafford said: “SIBA is hugely proud to have reached this 100 million pint milestone and hopes the scheme will continue to connect beer drinkers with full-flavoured, independently brewed craft beer, no matter what pub they’re visiting.” SIBA will serve its Champion cask beers and is available to discuss BeerFlex at the SIBA Bar at the Great British Beer Festival, Olympia, London, today (Tuesday, 9 August).
Bison Beer signs agreement to reopen derelict Brighton pub following crowdfunding campaign: Brighton-based beer shop Bison Beer has signed a deal to reopen a derelict pub in the city having previously raised more than £100,000 in crowdfunding for the venture. Bison Beer launched the fund-raise on Seedrs to transform the former Mariner pub into a craft beer pub The Bison Arms after Burger King earmarked the site for one of its restaurants. Having raised the money, the deal has been delayed by protracted negotiations, in part caused by the post-referendum economy. However, an agreement has now been reached, reports The Argus. A statement from Bison Beer co-owners Jack Cregan and Nick Vardy, and Bottom’s Rest pub owner Simon Duddington, said: “We are absolutely delighted to announce that a formal agreement has been reached after much discussion and negotiation. Heads of terms have been signed that reflect a deal we have worked very hard to formulate these past few weeks.” The team will now have to finalise the shares with crowdfunding partner Seedrs, instruct solicitors to finalise the lease, create a schedule of works and preparation with the council and residents, and shape the design development. Food partner 64 Degrees will lead the design of the restaurant section.
Wild Beer Co opens second site, in Bristol: Somerset-based brewer Wild Beer Co has opened its second site, this time in Bristol. The company, which launched its first bar and restaurant in Cheltenham last year, has opened the venue at the Wapping Wharf development, at the Harbourside. The site features a mixture of modern, colourful furnishings. Its food menu includes ingredients sourced from around Somerset, with dishes including burgers, steaks, seafood and salads. Wild Beer Co co-founder Andrew Cooper told the Bristol Post: “We have 22 different draft beers, half coming from Wild Beer, while the others have been specially selected by our team. We’ll also have about 15 different gins with a huge selection of tonics and garnishes.” The company was founded in 2013 and currently distributes its beers and ales across the UK.
Manchester-based craft beer brewer Seven Brothers closes crowdfunding campaign after raising £200,000: Manchester-based craft beer brewer Seven Bro7thers has closed its campaign on crowdfunding platform Crowdcube to increase capacity and fit-out its first bar after raising £200,000. The company, founded by the seven McAvoy brothers, was looking to raise £150,000 and offered a 16.84% equity stake in return for the investment. It has now closed the campaign with 275 investors pledging £200,000. The largest investment was £25,000. The company also secured the site for its first bar last week and plans to open two more by the end of 2018. Seven Bro7thers distributes its beers to pubs and restaurants across the UK and is in advanced discussions to stock its brands in Tesco stores. The pitch stated: “Since we launched in 2014 we have grown steadily and need to update the brewery to keep up with the demand for our beer and also to fuel our ambition. We are seeking £150,000 to increase capacity with the procurement of five additional fermenting vessels to keep up with demand, procure canning and bottling lines, and fit-out our first craft beer bar in Manchester.”
Butcombe Brewery acquires 23rd site, in Cheltenham: Brewer and operator Butcombe Brewery, owned by Liberation Group, has acquired its 23rd site, in Cheltenham, Gloucestershire. The freehold purchase of The Old Restoration – Cheltenham’s oldest pub – is the first deal for Liberation Group, since it was acquired by Caledonia Investments for £118m last month. The 15th century The Old Restoration, which is in High Street on the eastern side of the junction of Grosvenor Street, will sit within Butcombe’s managed pub estate. It is thought the landlord in circa 1660 changed the name of the pub in honour of the Restoration of King Charles II to the throne of England. The purchase follows the brewer’s acquisition of The Pelican Inn, Chew Magna and The Charlton Inn, Shepton Mallet, in June which kick-started a strategic growth plan that could see up to 20 pubs a year joining the Butcombe estate over the next five years. The Old Restoration marks Butcombe’s second outlet in Cheltenham after The Frog and Fiddle, which it acquired in 2011. Butcombe pub operations manager Charlotte Close said: “The Old Restoration is a fantastic addition to our portfolio in a great town. We will be fully refurbishing the site in the coming months and plan to introduce a premium casual dining concept driven by our great range of beers and craft ales. The building itself has a wonderful character which reflects the Butcombe brand perfectly, we can’t wait to see the outputs of another successful transformation following our investment.” Liberation Group chief executive Mark Crowther added: “It’s no secret we’re looking to grow the Butcombe business both organically and through acquisition. Following the positive news of our refinancing, it’s fantastic to welcome another great site into our business as part of our ambition to become the leading brewer and pub operator in the West Country.” Butcombe has seen year-on-year growth in sales of 32% and is in the top 20 performers in the nationwide draught cask ale market.