Corazón Tequila Launching in the UK

September 2018

Premium Single Estate Tequilas being introduced by Hi-Spirits

With premium tequila in strong growth in the UK, Corazón Tequila is being launched by distributor Hi-Spirits. A four-strong range will be available to the on-trade and off-trade from September.

Figures from Nielsen show that tequila sales grew by 3.9% in value in the UK in the year to June 2018, with premium brands performing even more strongly as consumers continue to seek out spirits with craft and artisan credentials.

The Corazón brand is owned by Sazerac, whose portfolio also spans brands including Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace, Fireball and Paddy Whiskey.

Corazón is produced for Sazerac by the award-winning Casa San Matias Distillery, one of the few family-owned agave estates & distilleries in Los Altos de Jalisco, Mexico. Corazón Tequila is single estate-cultivated, distilled and hand-bottled. The entire Corazón Tequila process comes straight from the heart of its producers. It is made from 100% blue Weber agave sourced from the Highlands of Jalisco with only the highest quality plants selected and used in the traditional production process including cooking in stone ovens. During its unique distillation process, oxygen is infused into the tequila after the second distillation to produce a spirit that is softer and more approachable with enhanced aromas and distinct flavours.

For more than 130 years, Casa San Matias has been committed to producing the best quality tequila in Mexico, making it one of the oldest tequila distilleries in the country. Casa San Matias is an environmentally and socially responsible company. It is one of only four tequila distilleries equipped with a biodigester and has one of the smallest carbon footprints in the tequila industry. It was the first tequila company to be certified as a “Great Place to Work,” was recognised as part of “TOP Companies” in Mexico, and has been certified and recognised for gender equality in the workplace.

The four-strong line-up of Corazón Single Estate Tequilas coming to the UK, all at 40% ABV in a bespoke bottle with a distinctive cork cap, includes Corazón Blanco RSP £32, Corazón Reposado RSP £35, Corazón Añejo RSP £40, and Corazón Extra Añejo RSP £50.

The Casa San Matias Distillery and the Corazon line are both very highly decorated. At the 2018 Los Angeles International Spirits Competition, the Añejo and Extra Añejo were awarded Gold, with Blanco and Reposado winning Silver. The competition saw Casa San Matias win 11 medals in total, including nine for Corazón Tequilas. Corazón de Agave Extra Añejo also won a Double Gold Medal at the 2018 San Francisco World Spirits Competition.

At the 2017 International Sprits Challenge, Casa San Matias was named Producer of the Year. At the 2016 World Tequila Awards, Corazón was awarded World’s Best Tequila. Corazón Reposado was also awarded 95 points and Extraordinary, Double Recommendation status at the Ultimate Spirits Challenge 2017.

Hi-Spirits is targeting a core demographic of 25-35-year-old cocktail drinkers and spirits explorers with the Corazón range. Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “Quite simply, Casa San Matias is currently distilling the finest tequilas in the world, and we’re delighted to be adding Corazón to our portfolio of brands.

“Tequila is a huge opportunity for the UK spirits market, and with serves generally weighted towards shots in the on-trade in particular, we see a strong opportunity with the launch of the Corazón range to shift that perception.

“We want to engage the growing number of knowledgeable consumers who enjoy cocktails both when they’re out to eat and drink, and at home, and who appreciate spirits with authenticity and provenance, as we’ve seen with the craft gin boom.

“Along with premium cocktail serve ideas, we’re offering information about the heritage of premium tequila and the terroir of agave, tapping into that artisan spirits trend. While consumers appreciate classic cocktails such as the Paloma and Margarita, there is so much more to enjoy. We’re making the Verdita our signature serve for Corazón, positioning it as the ‘unknown classic’ cocktail that consumers will come to love!”

The Verdita (to accompany a 50ml measure of Corazón)
Half bunch of mint
1 bunch of fresh coriander
3 green Jalapenos (can be scaled back if too spicy)
1.3 litres of pure pasteurised pineapple juice
Quarter cucumber with skin
8-10 inch cubes of fresh watermelon
Pinch black pepper
Method: Blend the mix, strain it and chill before serving

For more information, please contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email or visit

Cocktail Culture in the spotlight as Hi-Spirits celebrates London Cocktail Week

September 2018

Hi-Spirits will be celebrating the capital’s booming cocktail culture by bringing some of its biggest brands together during London Cocktail Week (LCW) 2018.

Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Scapegrace Gin will be headlining a specially created area in the in the Brick Lane Courtyard area of the Old Truman Brewery, branded as the Cocktail Culture Experience presented by Hi-Spirits.

With a ‘secret garden’ feel, the area will feature several bars under a canopy tent, along with snug seating areas where visitors to the LCW Village can enjoy a wide selection of great cocktails served by Hi-Spirits’ expert bar teams. Alongside the three sponsor brands, the bars will also serve a wide selection of drinks made with brands from across the Hi-Spirits portfolio, including Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Italian classic Fernet-Branca and the recently launched Southern Comfort Black with its robust whiskey-forward profile.

With this year’s event running from October 2 – 8, a highlight of the Hi-Spirits area will be the Signature Classic Cocktail bar, a modular mixology experience allowing visitors to personalise their drink. By selecting from classics such as an Old Fashioned, Sour, Negroni or Mule, visitors will be able to choose a base spirit from brands including Southern Comfort, Southern Comfort Black, Buffalo Trace bourbon and others. By then choosing from a range of sweeteners, bitters and garnishes, every drink served will be personalised to each LCW visitor’s taste.

Masterclasses focusing on the heritage, provenance and quality of the Hi-Spirits portfolio will also be at the heart of LCW activity. These will include Buffalo Trace masterclasses exploring some of the range of bourbons from the world’s most awarded distillery, the Buffalo Trace Distillery. The distinctive Scapegrace Van will host masterclasses including a Negroni workshop, a focus on gins from around the world and sessions on premium New Zealand gin Scapegrace itself. To sign up to masterclasses, please visit

Other activity within the Cocktail Culture Experience includes:
• The Main Bar serving spirits and mixers, classic cocktails with a twist and straight up drinks featuring brands from across the Hi-Spirits portfolio;
• The Southern Quarter, serving up the Spirit of New Orleans with Southern Comfort cocktails paired with delicious fried chicken from Mother Clucker, and a chance to try each of the Southern Comfort expressions – Original, Black and 100 Proof.
• The specialist Gin Bar serving a selection of G&Ts and cocktails made from a variety of gins from around the world including Scapegrace, Langley’s Old Tom, The King of Soho and Brooklyn.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “London Cocktail Week is now renowned as a showcase for one of the world’s great cocktail cities, and we’re delighted that our high-profile area in the LCW Village courtyard puts some of the iconic brands from our portfolio at the heart of the celebrations.”

For more information, contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email, or visit

Toast of the town: Brakspear brews beer from surplus bread

September 2018

Henley brewer and pub operator Brakspear is collaborating with Toast Ale to brew an ale from surplus bread. Henley on Toast will be sold in pubs during Cask Ale Week (20–30 September), with 30p per pint sold donated to Toast and Feedback, the charity campaigning to end food waste.

Henley on Toast is a 4.1% ale, brewed at Brakspear’s Bell Street Brewery in Henley by head brewer Malcolm Mayo. The recipe, created in collaboration with Toast, uses surplus bread from Lawlor’s bakery in Henley, together with pale, Cara and crystal malts, and a portion of oats. As well as Bramling Cross and Amarillo hops, Cascade is added as a late hop, alongside sliced oranges. The result is a rich auburn ale with tart bitterness and a hint of citrussy zest.

The spent grain from the brewing process is being given to Pete Holmes, a farmer near Maidenhead, to feed to his pigs, ducks and chickens. Most of the malt and hops used in Henley on Toast are British and, with distribution limited to the Brakspear estate, its carbon footprint is minimal.

Mayo said, “Brewing with a new ingredient is always a challenge, but we’re very pleased with Henley on Toast. It’s an easy drinking ale, well balanced with a bit of a zesty kick from the oranges.”

Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said, “This is the first collaboration brew for the Bell Street Brewery and we’re delighted with the result – a deliciously tasty ale brewed from bread that would otherwise have been thrown away, with a donation towards ending food waste.

“We’re confident our customers will be more than happy to order a pint or two of Henley on Toast in their local, knowing that it supports a worthy cause. Our Honey Bee beer raising funds for Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause was popular earlier this year, and we had an excellent response to our campaign to get rid of plastic straws, so we know our customers are concerned with environmental issues and expect them to support an end to food waste.”

Toast’s head of partnerships Chris Head said, “We’re delighted to work with Brakspear on this collab beer and really excited about Cask Ale Week. Drinkers will be able to support our environmental mission simply by enjoying a delicious beer. Food production is the biggest impact we have on the planet, yet one-third is never eaten.

“The biggest culprit is bread, so drinking a beer made with surplus loaves is a great way of doing your bit. We can’t wait to raise a glass of Henley on Toast with punters.”

The bread in Henley on Toast has been provided by Lawlor’s, who have been baking in Henley since 1948. Twenty-eight kilos of their brown and white bread went into the brew, producing 12 firkins (864 pints).

Henley on Toast will be available in Brakspear pubs in and around Henley, to find out who will be serving it contact

Caption to attached image (l-r) Richard Ashplant, Brakspear assistant brewer; Emma Sweet, marketing manager and Malcolm Mayo, head brewer, at the Bell Street Brewery

Watneys Raises A Laugh With Headliners Craft Range

September 2018

Watneys has launched a new range of beers in celebration of the lighter side of life, balancing the serious craft credentials of the beers with the importance of sharing a pint and a joke with friends while enjoying the many different things that make us laugh.

Named Sarcasm, Slapstick, and Irony, the three-strong Headliners range launches in September and features a Citrus Pale Ale, Double IPA and Craft Lager in keg and can. The launch will be supported this autumn with a Pop-up Stand-up campaign, which will see surprise gigs in pubs and bars by some of the UK’s best up-and-coming comedy talent.

Nick Whitehurst, managing director of Brands Reunited, which returned the Watneys brand to the bar in 2016, says, “We love a good time down the pub with our mates, and we love craft beer – but beard oil and Birkenstocks is really not us. So we’ve created three premium beers for laid-back laughter lovers who want to enjoy the flavours of craft beer but don’t necessarily buy into the full-on hipster experience.

“There’s a real opportunity to bring a broader range of beer drinkers into the craft category by making it more accessible, so with our Headliners beers we’re celebrating all the funny things that make us laugh, and different styles of humour. We all know a sarcastic mate, an ironic uncle, or someone who is always playing the joker, who we enjoy spending time with.

“Don’t get us wrong – these beers are great, but we know there’s much more to life. Drinkers appreciate a great beer as part of the experience of having a laugh and spending time with mates.”

The three Headliners beers are:
• Sarcasm Citrus Pale Ale 4.5% ABV
• Slapstick Double IPA 7.5% ABV
• Irony Craft Lager 4.6% ABV

The range will be available to pubs and bars in kegs and cans, with the cans also available to order online at The cans will feature tasting notes which take a more tongue-in-cheek approach than many craft brewers. Watneys beers are brewed at Sambrook’s Brewery in Wandsworth, continuing the Watneys tradition of brewing in London dating back to 1837.

Watneys will be taking the Pop Up Stand Up tour to a range of pubs and bars, with venues to be announced. Licensees interested in stocking the Watneys Headliners range should contact

Registration now open for World’s Biggest Pub Quiz 2019

September 2018

PubAid aiming for participation from 2,000 pubs

The World’s Biggest Pub Quiz is back for 2019 and set to be bigger and better than ever. Organisers PubAid are encouraging even more pubs and their customers to take part and raise money for charities, including official charity partner Prostate Cancer UK.

Next year’s event will be the fourth quiz and will follow the successful format of previous events. Pubs wanting to run the quiz will receive a free fundraising pack containing all they need to run a successful event and to encourage customers to take part. Pubs can join the 150 pubs who have already registered their interest by signing up on the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz website.
Co-founder of PubAid, Des O’Flanagan, said: “The World’s Biggest Pub Quiz has become a popular fixture for many pubs and their customers and we’re delighted to see many licensees signing up to run it again, as well as new pubs coming on board for 2019.

“We’re delighted with how the quiz has grown over the years, with 1,500 pubs taking part earlier this year, raising £190,000 for charities. We’re grateful to our charity partner Prostate Cancer UK who have made the event both easy to run for licensees and great fun for participants.

“We’re also grateful to all the pubs, brewers and pub groups who supported this year’s quiz and we are confident even more will take part in 2019. It would be great to see more than 2,000 pubs run the quiz and raise more than £250,000 for charity.”

He added, “The quiz has become a tremendous showcase event for pub fundraising overall. Pubs raise an amazing £100 million for charity every year, and we’re pleased to see that message now getting through to consumers, MPs and others, helping to shape positive perceptions of the great British pub.”

James Beeby, Director of Fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK said: “It’s been really great to see the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz grow since 2016 and we are excited to be PubAid’s charity partner once again for 2019. We are extremely grateful to all the pubs who have taken part so far and raised an incredible amount of money for Prostate Cancer UK.
“By continuing our partnership with PubAid, we can reach even more publicans and their customers, to not only help raise funds for vital research, but to also help us raise awareness of a disease which kills one man every 45 minutes.”

Jon Dale, head of corporate communications at Ei Group, said: “Pub quizzes play an important part in bringing the community together and enjoying the Great British pub. We always encourage as many of our publicans as possible to sign up to take part in the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz and will continue to support this worthy cause in 2019.”

The World’s Biggest Pub Quiz is scheduled for 3-7 March 2019, but the organisers stress that this window is a guideline, not a requirement. Pubs who want to take part but can’t run the quiz during that week are welcome to run it at any other time in 2019. Pubs are encouraged to support PubAid’s charity partner Prostate Cancer UK, but can choose to raise funds for another charity should they wish to.

Tom Richardson & Ollie Boulton – Three Moles, Selham, West Sussex

“The World’s Biggest Pub Quiz was a real hit with our customers. We’re a small, traditional pub, and were absolutely packed on quiz night, it was standing room only – so it shows how an event can really draw customers into your pub.

“Customers were incredibly generous and, by combining the quiz with an auction of items donated by local businesses and residents, we raised an incredible £1,060 for Prostate Cancer UK. The charity has helped some of our local customers through difficult times and it’s a subject that isn’t talked about enough, so anything that can raise awareness is great.”

Penny Warren – The Trout Inn, Lechlade, Gloucestershire

“The day we’d scheduled for the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz coincided with the heavy snowfall, but despite that, three teams made it to us through the blizzard to pit their wits. That’s a sizeable group of people who might not have made the effort just for a drink, so it shows how popular the quiz is.

“We ran the quiz again once the weather had improved, so it was great that we had another set of questions to choose from, and we added our own current affairs round. All our customers enjoyed the quiz and the atmosphere on both evenings was great, we’ll definitely be running it again in 2019.”

Hogs Back prepares for fourth and final harvest on current site

August 2018

New hop garden to double hop yield

Hogs Back Brewery is predicting a top-quality hop harvest this year, with the impact of the long, hot summer raising expectations of quality over quantity. With plans in hand to relocate the hop garden to a much larger site for 2019, the fourth, and final, harvest on the existing hop garden will take place mid-September, after which the process of transferring hops, and planting new ones, will begin.

The brewer, based near Farnham in Surrey, has been closely monitoring hop growth during the heatwave. Estate manager Matthew King said, “This is the first extended period of dry and hot weather we’ve experienced since planting the hop garden in 2014. Hops thrive on heat and sunshine, but the lack of rainfall has affected their development. They are drawing water up to the top of the plant which is looking very healthy, but we’re not seeing as much lateral growth lower down.

“For this reason, we’re expecting this year’s harvest to be more about quality than quantity. We’ve learned a lot this summer about how hops respond to hot and dry weather, which will stand us in good stead when we move to our new hop garden.”

The new hop garden is more than double the size of the existing one – a total of eight acres, compared to the current 3.5 acres – and is located within Manor Farm, where the brewery itself is sited. The garden will sit in a prime location on the best land on the farm and will also include a test area for different varieties.
Work is due to start this month on the new garden – formerly a wheat field – and is expected to be complete by early 2019. The site will be prepared for the arrival of hop poles which, thanks to an absence of overhead power cables, will be taller – and therefore higher-yielding – than those at the existing garden. After several miles of hop wire have been added, 2,500 hop plants from the current site will be moved by hand, and new ones planted.

Hogs Back Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson said, “This is a huge investment in the future of Hogs Back Brewery and we’re proud to be continuing the journey that started with the planting of our hop garden in 2014.

“The new hop garden embodies everything Hogs Back stands for as a ‘farmer brewer’ and will make us an even more sustainable, environmentally-conscious business: we can measure the distance from hop garden to brewery in ‘food feet’ rather than ‘food miles’!

“Expanding to the new garden will make us more self-sufficient in hops, ultimately providing around half our hop requirement, compared to less than 25% currently. Just as importantly, growing our own hops has made us better brewers, as with each harvest we’ve learned more about how the flavour of the hops is affected by the weather, and how that then impacts the quality and taste of the beer.

“Getting closer to this key ingredient has given us a level of control over our beers that few, if any, other British brewers can claim.”

Hogs Back will harvest four hop varieties in September: Farnham White Bine, a traditional local hop which Hogs Back revived from near-extinction; Fuggles, used in the brewer’s flagship TEA (Traditional English Ale); Cascade, used in Hogstar Craft English lager, and Pioneer, added alongside the other varieties to the seasonal Home Harvest Ale.