Hi-Spirits to launch Carpano Botanic Bitter

January 2020

Hi-Spirits is bringing Carpano Botanic Bitter to the UK market, offering bartenders and cocktail lovers an authentic premium cocktail bitters that brings a new dimension to classic cocktails such as the Negroni, Americano and Boulevardier.

The launch further builds on Hi-Spirits’ successful distribution partnership with Italy’s Fratelli Branca Distillerie. Carpano Botanic Bitter aligns closely with the established Carpano range, as well as the broader Fratelli Branca family of brands including Fernet-Branca.

The Carpano brand dates back in 1786 when the first Vermouth was created in Turin. Over more than 230 years, the Carpano name has become world famous for its passion for balancing natural ingredients using traditional, artisan methods. The development of Carpano Botanic Bitter is the latest milestone, leveraging all the brand’s heritage and premium drinks expertise.

As a contemporary take on the Italian bitters tradition, Carpano Botanic Bitter skillfully combines 10 natural botanicals including saffron, sandal, fresh green orange peel, bitter orange peel, cinchona, rhubarb, zedoria, gentian, myrrh and wormwood.

These combine harmoniously into a ruby red bitters with a fragrant aroma, a balanced sweet and spicy flavour, and a long bittering finish. The overall result is a premium cocktail bitters that enables bartenders to bring an added dimension to a range of drinks recipes.

Nicola Olianas, Branca Distillery Global Ambassador said: “Carpano Botanic Bitter adds further breadth to the Carpano range, with a unique recipe that combines the Carpano tradition with a contemporary complexity.

“With cocktail sales set for further strong growth in the UK, Carpano Botanic Bitter meets the need for continued innovation at the premium end of the market.”

Cocktail recipes created by Wet & Dry’s Russell Burgess and Harry Gerakis will be served at industry events in February. They include:

Perfect Negroni
• 30ml Carpano Botanic Bitter
• 30ml Brooklyn Gin
• 30ml Punt e Mes
• Garnished with lemon

• 40ml Carpano Botanic Bitter
• 20ml Carpano Antica Formula
• Topped with tonic and garnished with grapefruit

Irish Boulevardier
• 30ml Carpano Botanic Bitter
• 30ml Paddy Irish Whiskey
• 30ml Carpano Antica Formula
• Garnished with lemon

The Carpano range, crafted in Milano by the family owned Fratelli Branca Distillerie and distributed in the UK in partnership with Hi-Spirits, also includes:

• Antica Formula, the original Italian vermouth and the pinnacle of the range, made with wines blended with carefully selected precious herbs, as vanilla and saffron;
• Punt e Mes, the red vermouth, ideal for classic cocktails including the Manhattan;
• Carpano Dry, an authentic dry white vermouth, with suggested serves including the Champagne Dry and Vesper;
• Carpano Bianco, a sweet white vermouth ideal with just splash of prosecco or in a Bianco Spritz;
• Carpano Classico, the traditional Italian red vermouth.
Carpano Botanic Bitter will be launched in the UK on-trade in February 2020. Supplied in a 1-litre bottle with an ABV of 25%, it will be available through trade wholesalers.

For more information, please contact your local Hi-Spirits representative, or call 01932 252 100, email or visit

Time for a Test Run, says Lynx Purchasing

January 2020

Hospitality businesses cautious about changing suppliers in the current tough market are being encouraged to take a Test Run by buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.

With the first quarter of the year traditionally the quietest, it’s a good time to trial the benefits of working with a purchasing company, says Rachel Dobson, managing director of Lynx Purchasing.

“Our Test Run challenges operators to give us one product area and a chance to demonstrate the savings we can make,” says Dobson. “It’s a risk-free way for operators to experience the benefits of using a purchasing company, making savings without any impact on their operation or on the customer experience.

“We’ve got a proven track record in delivering savings for businesses in every sector of hospitality, and across the full range of products and services they need. So, for the Test Run, we’re asking operators to give us just one product category to review.

“That could be a kitchen staple, but equally might be cellar gases, business rates or staff uniforms. With more consumers than ever taking a flexible approach to food and drink, maybe we can help with new vegan menu options or low and no alcohol drinks choices.

“As with every supplier recommendation we make, there are no fees or contracts, and it is completely open and transparent. There’s literally nothing to lose by taking a Test Run, and big potential savings to be made.”

The Test Run is being supported by a marketing campaign that will spotlight the savings that Lynx Purchasing has made for existing customers in key hospitality sectors including hotels, restaurants, pubs and bars.

“The Test Run is an opportunity to see how we work with our satisfied customers, and to experience the same benefits,” says Dobson. “Once we’ve delivered savings, and great products and service, we hope they’ll consider trialling another category – which is how most of our customers begin their relationship with Lynx Purchasing.”

To book a Test Run call 01325 710143, email or visit

Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz adds premium mixer varieties

January 2020

Profit and sustainability boost using dispensed concentrates

Dispensed soft drinks specialist Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz is throwing a lifeline to operators struggling with packed bottle fridges and overflowing recycling bins, with the launch of four premium mixer varieties.

Three tonic waters, along with a ginger-based dark spirits mixer, are being added to the choice of concentrates in the Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz range. Each of the four new flavours – Aromatic Tonic; Mediterranean Tonic; Indian Citrus Tonic; and Ginger Beer, Orange & Nutmeg – is made with premium ingredients to an exclusive recipe formulated to mix perfectly with spirits.

Served using pure filtered sparkling mains water from the brand’s distinctive bar-top fount, the mixers boost both profitability and sustainability for hospitality businesses by eliminating the need for single serve glass bottles. Each bottle of concentrate can be used to serve 20 or more spirit-and-mixer drinks or cocktails, removing many thousands of bottles annually from a venue’s recycling costs.

Mark Fenton, head of brand for Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz, said: “The addition of premium mixers to our existing range of soft drink concentrates makes the business and environmental case for operators to switch to dispense even more compelling.

“The boom in sales of spirits and cocktails over recent years means pubs, bars, hotels and restaurants now send millions of single use mixer bottles to recycling every year, which has implications for both costs and sustainability.

“The Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz system is backed by the proven dispense expertise of Brewfitt. By switching dispense to pure filtered still and sparkling water, soft drinks and now mixers, operators can achieve market-leading GPs, as well as removing single-use glass bottles from the supply chain.”

The new mixer range will be available to try at Pub 20, taking place at Olympia London on 04-05 February. Brewfitt and Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz will be on stand C65 at the show.

For more information see

Cotswolds pubs reach finals of national competition

Brakspear shortlisted for the Best Pub Accommodation Award at the Publican Awards 2020

Four pubs in the Cotswolds have reached the finals of the Publican Awards 2020, a national competition that rewards the ‘cream of the cream’ of the UK pub industry. The pubs, operated by Henley-based pub operator and brewer Brakspear, are shortlisted for the Best Pub Accommodation Award, the winners of which will be announced in March.

The Publican Awards, run by leading pub magazine The Morning Advertiser, are open to pubs across the UK and are widely regarded as the ‘ones to win’. The four Cotswolds pubs shortlisted are: the Frogmill at Shipton Oliffe near Cheltenham; George Hotel in Shipston-on-Stour; the Porch House in Stow-on-the-Wold and the Sheep on Sheep Street, also in Stow.

The Best Pub Accommodation Award will be given to the pub group which offers guests the best overnight stay, with judges looking for first-rate comfort and design in the bedrooms, outstanding customer service and a tasty breakfast. All Brakspear’s pub rooms are decorated and furnished to high standards with features such as roll-top baths and rainfall showers, super-comfortable beds with Egyptian cotton linens and Nespresso coffee machines.

Reaching the finals is the first stage in the Publican Awards’ rigorous judging process. The next steps include a visit by judges to several of the pubs, professional mystery visits and a panel interview in London for the Brakspear senior management team.

Simon Stanbrook, general manager at the Frogmill, said: “We are thrilled to be shortlisted for the Publican Awards.

“We’re very proud of our beautiful, comfortable bedrooms, which offer our guests an overnight stay with a boutique hotel feel. And, because we’re still first and foremost a pub, they also benefit from the sociable, relaxed atmosphere, enjoying a pint in the downstairs bar or a meal in the dining area before turning in for the night just a few steps away.

“We want our guests to feel at ease from the moment they walk through the pub door to to when they check out, feeling rested and refreshed, and we’ll be aiming to make the judges feel the same when they visit. We’ve got everything crossed for the winner’s announcement in March!”

Editor of The Morning Advertiser Ed Bedington said “We had record entries into the Publican Awards this year, so our judges had a difficult task in choosing the finalists from a very talented field. All the pubs that have reached the shortlist deserve to be very proud of their achievement and we wish them all good luck with the next stage of the judging, and look forward to announcing the winners in March.”

Winners of the Publican Awards 2020 will be announced at an awards ceremony in London on 4 March, attended by hundreds of guests from across the pub industry.

Drinkaware signs third local area to Nightlife Crew training

January 2020

Essex becomes latest to adopt night-time safety scheme

Alcohol education charity Drinkaware starts 2020 with a third partner committing to its recently-launched Nightlife Crew training, as Essex joins Hackney and Cardiff in adopting the night-time safety scheme.

Trained Nightlife Crew teams will be active in a number of the county’s biggest bars and clubs, identifying and supporting people who become vulnerable after excessive drinking.

Nightlife Crew teams circulate in the venues, reuniting customers with their friends or possessions, or helping them to get home safely. They also proactively promote a positive atmosphere, by talking to customers queuing to enter the venue, and engaging with them during the evening.

The Nightlife Crew scheme will run for an initial 12-month trial in Essex, focusing on Colchester, Chelmsford, Basildon and Southend.

The scheme is being funded by the Essex Police, Fire, Crime Commissioner, NHS, and Chelmsford Business Improvement District (BID). Nightlife Crew teams will be managed by Essex & Medway Drug and Alcohol Recovery charity Open Road in Chelmsford and Colchester, the YMCA SOS Bus in Basildon, and Triple L Training and Medical Ltd in Southend.

Brett Crabtree, Head of Business Development at Drinkaware, said: “We’re delighted that Essex is rolling out our Nightlife Crew training, with venues across the county showing tremendous commitment to the scheme.

“We would urge any local authority, BID and organisation with a night-time safety remit to look at how Nightlife Crew can help to promote their local area as one that people can visit for an enjoyable evening – without the risk of alcohol harms.”

Detective Chief Inspector Mark Barber of Essex Police said: “The Nightlife Crew teams can help to prevent anti-social behaviour and possible sexual offences. They give an extra level of reassurance to customers in bars and clubs, as well as freeing up bar managers and security staff to manage their venue, which results in less disruption and fewer calls to emergency services.

“The project highlights the great partnership work between the police, bars and clubs, and other stakeholders to keep people safe on a night out in Essex.”

Colin Goodwin, manager of club, Moo Moo, in Southend, said: “This is about taking our responsibility to another level. While we want people to enjoy themselves, we know sometimes they can get in trouble after drinking too much, without realising it. Nightlife Crew teams on site is another level of care we can provide.”

Steve Wood from Open Road said: “Nightlife Crew teams complement our SOS buses in Chelmsford and Colchester, which offer a safe place and support for people in need of help on a night out. The Nightlife Crews will be active inside the venues, being an extra set of eyes and ears, looking for any unwanted characters, speaking to management and generally making people feel safer.”

Bidfresh appoints Brian Hall as managing director

January 2020

Bidfresh, the specialist fresh food supplier to the hospitality sector, has confirmed the appointment of Brian Hall as Managing Director.

Hall, previously Managing Director of Bidfresh’s Direct Seafood’s business, assumes his new role with immediate effect. He replaces Stephen Oswald, who announced in December that he was moving on to pursue new opportunities.

Bidfresh comprises a portfolio of specialist fresh food businesses, and supplies more than 15,000 foodservice customers with meat, fish and seafood, fruit and vegetables, and cheese, through a combination of regional specialists and national brands. Hall has been with Direct Seafoods for 12 years, the past four as MD.

He said: “I’m excited to be working with a dedicated and professional group of colleagues across Bidfresh, who are totally focused on meeting the needs of chefs and hospitality businesses.

“The strong focus on sustainability and ethical trading that has been instilled throughout the Bidfresh business will continue, and will become even more important as these issues move to the forefront of consumer expectations.”

Andrew Selley, CEO of Bidcorp UK, said: “Brian brings years of experience in the industry in sales, operations and strategy to his new role. He is passionate about Bidfresh’s core strength as a separate trading identity within Bidcorp UK, and will continue to drive a focus on the highest standards of service to our customers.”