Gold Award for Hogs Back Unfiltered TEA

March 2019

Farnham-based Hogs Back Brewery is celebrating its latest prestigious award win, after its recently-launched Unfiltered TEA keg ale was given a Gold Medal by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).

Unfiltered TEA was named the best Keg British Beer for the South East in the up to 4.4% ABV category at the SIBA Independent Keg Beer Awards 2019. Judged by brewers and industry experts, the awards are given to the very best beers produced by Britain’s thriving independent brewing sector. The winners were announced at SIBA’s BeerX event, taking place in Liverpool.

The medal-winning beer is an unfiltered version of Hogs Back’s flagship TEA (Traditional English Ale). At 4.2% ABV, it is a full-bodied bitter, brewed in small batches using English malt carefully balanced with Fuggles hops, some of them grown in the Hogs Back hop garden.

Unfiltered TEA is cold-conditioned for one week. Being unfiltered keeps the sweet malty character of TEA during this process, so it can be served colder with an optimal flavour and a natural slight chill haze.

Rupert Thompson, managing director of Hogs Back Brewery, said, “We’re delighted that Unfiltered TEA has won such a high profile award from SIBA, so soon after its launch. It’s a testament to the hard work our Master Brewer Miles Chesterman and his team have put into crafting premium quality, great tasting keg beers which complement our established cask beer range, including TEA itself.”

Unfiltered TEA forms part of a four-strong Hogs Back keg beer range, alongside the rebranded Hogstar lager as well as Hog IPA and low ABV blonde beer Little Swine.

The award-winning Unfiltered TEA is available in the Hogs Back Brewery Shop, The Castle Inn in Farnham, G Live in Guildford and the Four Seasons in Dogmersfield

• Hogs Back Brewery has won a number of SIBA Awards in recent years. Hogstar won a Gold in the SIBA Independent Keg Beer Awards 2018 South East region, along with a Bronze medal nationally, and also won Gold nationally in the 2014 awards. Hogs Back also won the SIBA Business Innovation Award 2016 for the investment in its hop garden, which has been expanded this year.

Caption to attached image: Rupert Thompson, managing director, and Miles Chesterman, head brewer, pour a celebratory pint of award winning Hogs Back Brewery Unfiltered TEA.

Charity set up by industry entrepreneur launches “Pinkspiration” initiative

March 2019

A charity founded by an industry entrepreneur is appealing to hospitality operators to get involved in a fun awareness initiative to help drive blood stem cell donor registrations.

Unusually for a charity The Team Margot Foundation, co-founded by Yaser Martini, who is a board member of Beds and Bars, PubAid and Cirrus Inns, isn’t asking operators to raise money but instead to support in helping spread the message about blood stem cell donor registration through ‘Pinkspiration Week’ which is taking place from Tuesday, 23rd July to Tuesday, 30th July.

We Row You Register

This December, the Team Margot Atlantic Rowers, a team of four dads, skippered by Martin Beaumont whose late father Chris was the first CEO of industry charity Springboard, will be rowing across the Atlantic, in a pink boat, in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. In the meantime, the boat will be doing a road trip around some of the participating ‘Pinkspiration’ venues, as part of the campaign.

The rowers hope the ‘Pinkspiration’ campaign will help make a significant contribution towards its ‘We Row You Register’ target of 1.5 million sign-ups to the register, with this number being targeted as it will take them around 1.5 million strokes to complete the challenge. If they succeed in reaching this target then statistically up to 15,000 lives could potentially be saved.

Orchard Pig backing team

The Team Margot Atlantic Rowers’ boat is sponsored by cider makers Orchard Pig, part of the C&C group. Jason Ash, the company’s chief marketing officer, said: “In terms of challenges of sheer human endurance this one epitomises the Orchard Pig attitude of ‘Go Pig or Go Home’, and we’ve been hugely inspired by The Team Margot Atlantic Rowers. We’re delighted to sponsor the team and have no doubt they’ll do a brilliant job in raising awareness to drive blood stem cell donor registrations – and hit that magic target of 1.5 million sign-ups.”

Operator support

Beds and Bars is among operators already set to take part in the awareness week, which is also being supported by UKHospitality, and which asks operators to embrace the Team Margot colour pink in their business for just a day or the full week.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said: “We will be helping to raise awareness of this important initiative and would encourage hospitality operators to get involved.”
She adds: “Stem cell donor registration is such an important issue and people have the opportunity to help save a life just by doing a simple cheek swab which only takes a couple of minutes.”

Getting involved: Pinkspiration ideas

Ideas for activity for the week include featuring a pink drinks list, having a ‘Drink Pink Day’, offering pink-inspired dishes or teams wearing pink to help raise awareness and encourage people to join the register.

The Team Margot Foundation was set up in 2015 in memory of Yaser’s daughter Margot and to honour her legacy after she lost her battle with blood cancer, aged two. One of the ways Margot might have been saved was through a well-matched stem cell donation from an unrelated donor on a register.

Margot’s father Yaser Martini said: “We are excited to be launching ‘Pinkspiration Week’ which we believe will be a fun way for hospitality operators to engage their customers around this important message of going on ‘standby to save a life’ through stem cell registration.”

He adds: “Sadly the register of stem cell donors just isn’t large enough or sufficiently diverse to meet patient needs, which is why we encourage every individual who is eligible, particularly those of mixed heritage to register1. If you are aged between 17-55 and in general good health you could save a life.”

Live Your Life, Save a Life

‘Pinkspiration Week’ ends on 30th July which is Franca Knowles’ birthday. Yaser says “My late friend Franca, who was people director at Beds and Bars, embedded a culture of ‘Live Your Life’ at the company and in the short time Margot was with us, it was clear that she loved life and wanted to live! So the aim of the ‘Pinkspiration’ campaign is to encourage people to ‘Live Your Life, Save A Life.”

Keith Knowles, CEO & founder of Beds and Bars said: “We have been supporting the Team Margot Foundation since 2014 and we will be supporting Team Margot Pinkspiration as part of our annual Live Your Life campaign in July.”

He adds: “Through the tragedy of loss, we have come to understand the simple opportunity there is to help save lives and be part of the cure for cancer today.”

Uniting the country through donation

Martini adds: “The country is polarised and we need a solution to unite people. This opportunity is for hospitality operators to lead the way in helping to unite the country around donation – we need to remind people that of course your views matter, but your humanity matters more. We would love to see other industries coming together in the same way as the hospitality sector to unite people around donation.”

* For more information on the Team Margot Atlantic Rowers and ideas on how to get involved in ‘Pinkspiration’ Week visit

Pic caption: Thinking pink: Team Margot Foundation founder Yaser Martini with the Team Margot Atlantic Rowers’ car and boat, which will be going 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to help drive blood stem cell register sign-ups

Look beyond Brexit to a sustainable approach, urges Lynx Purchasing

March 2019

Operators need to look beyond Brexit and focus on the opportunities that a sustainable approach to business offers, believes buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.

“In the current market, it can feel like a challenge to try and focus past the potential for supply chain disruption over the coming months, and onto the long term,” says Lynx managing director Rachel Dobson, “but that’s exactly what we’re encouraging hospitality businesses to do.

“One of the most important issues around Brexit, and one that is most difficult for operators to address directly, is consumer confidence. Consumers need to feel able to commit their disposable income to going out to eat and drink, and a clear message from the industry that, as far as possible, it’s business as usual, will help.”

The advice comes as Lynx publishes the Spring 2019 edition of its regular Market Forecast. which offers operators an in-depth look at pricing and product trends over the coming months, using exclusive data gathered from the range of suppliers who work with Lynx Purchasing.

Dobson adds: “Efficient ordering, well-planned delivery schedules and reducing waste all play a part in this. In the short term, they help operators deal with any disruption to supply over the coming months, and over time, these measures will reduce the sector’s environmental impact, as well as increasing operators’ margins in the long term.”

The Market Forecast also focuses in detail on the potential supply chain challenges of the months ahead, emphasising that British produce is likely to be the least affected in the event of Brexit hitting supplies, “but with demand a big driver of price, operators are advised to keep menus flexible and work closely with suppliers,” advises Dobson.

Sectors covered in the Spring 2019 Market Forecast include:

Beef: The arrival of the barbecue season from Easter onwards will see an increase in the demand for burger cuts from the beef forequarter, as well as continuing demand for steaks, Round cuts such as topsides and silversides are likely to be better value.

Fish: Wild brill, turbot, monk and hake caught in UK waters should be plentiful, weather and tides permitting. Plaice will also be in good condition after the spawning season, from April onwards, while wild bass, skate and mullet should be avoided because of sustainability issues.

Potatoes: The 2018 potato crop was poor due to the weather, and led to a number of quality issues. While supplies are likely to last until the new season, larger potatoes such as bakers will be in shorter supply and so likely to cost more.

Salads: March sees the arrival of Dutch salad crops such as cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes, which gradually replace Spanish stocks as they come to the end of their season. The UK market is important to these producers, and any supply or currency issues caused by Brexit will be a challenge on both sides.

Dobson adds: “High quality British produce coming into season this spring includes rhubarb, asparagus, and Jersey Royals. While higher demand may push up prices, we’re encouraging our customers to buy British wherever possible, and to make the most of produce when it’s at its best in terms of price, quality and availability.

“Operators who can adapt recipes and menus will be best place to make the most of seasonality. These are simple measures that help operators deal with any short-term challenges in the supply chain, and also support sustainability.”

The Spring 2018 Market Forecast is available to download free from the Lynx Purchasing website at

Lynx Purchasing is launching a new sustainability programme in partnership with its key suppliers. As just one example, Lynx Purchasing has now joined the Sustainable Seafood Coalition, which is working to ensure that all fish and seafood sold in the UK comes from sustainable sources. “We’re the first purchasing group to join, and our membership is part of a wider commitment to sustainability across our business,” says Dobson.

Lynx Purchasing works with more than 2,200 hospitality and catering operators to match them with the best suppliers and get the best possible prices on food and drink, as well as a whole range of essential products and services. Lynx’s buying experts help operators buy better and save time and money, year after year.

For more information on Lynx Purchasing, visit email or call 01325 710143.

Paddy Whiskey offers London Irish prizes for St Patrick’s Day

February 2019

Paddy Irish Whiskey is launching a high profile neck-tag competition tied in to St Patrick’s Day, with matchday tickets to London Irish Rugby Club fixtures up for grabs, as well as replica shirts, hats, mugs, hoodies and other London Irish merchandise.

The prize tags will be on 15,000 bottles of the iconic Irish whiskey. The Paddy promotion will feature on bottles sold in Tesco from the end of February, as well on Amazon and through independent retailers, with more than 100 prizes up for grabs in total. The promotion builds on the partnership which has seen Paddy become the Official Whiskey of London Irish for the 2018/19 season.

James Pattison, UK brand manager for Paddy with distributor Hi-Spirits, said, “Paddy is all about the craic and has strong links with St Patrick’s Day celebrations. This promotion is a great way to build on the success of our partnership with London Irish, as well as to encourage consumers in Tesco and across the off-trade to toast St Paddy with a glass of his namesake whiskey.”

The neck-tags feature a unique code which can be entered at Match-winning codes can be redeemed for a pair of tickets to a choice of this season’s Greene King IPA Championship clashes at London Irish’s Madejski Stadium in Reading.

Paddy Irish Whiskey will also be at the heart of the London Irish’s St Patrick’s Day party, taking place after the match on Saturday 23 March. The event will feature live music and great food and drink, including a Paddy Whiskey bar offering samples, and serving Whiskey Gingers and Irish Coffees for guests.

Pattison added, “The great Paddy drinks we’ve been serving London Irish fans this season have been going down a storm, both on match-days at the Madejski Stadium and at the club’s Hazelwood Centre in Sunbury, and we’re looking forward to being at the heart of the St Patrick’s Day party.”

Brian Facer, London Irish CEO, said, “Paddy Irish Whiskey has quickly become a firm favourite here at London Irish and we’re looking forward to welcoming winners of the neck-tag promotion on match days, and to Paddy being a part of our St Patrick’s Party celebrations – always a highlight of our year!”

Paddy Irish Whiskey is 40% ABV and has an RRP of £20 for a 70cl bottle. For more information, please contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email or visit


Notes to Editors:
• Blended with triple distilled pot still, malt and grain whiskeys and matured in oak casks, Paddy is a soft and mellow whiskey with a sweet, malty finish.
• Paddy owes its name to legendary distillery salesman Paddy Flaherty. Famed throughout his native county Cork for buying rounds of his favourite tipple, he became so synonymous with the whiskey he sold that in 1913 the distillery owners paid him the ultimate tribute by renaming the whiskey “Paddy” in his honour.

Hogs Back Brewery launches new keg range

February 2019

Family of four keg beers unveiled at Craft Beer Rising

Hogs Back Brewery is unveiling a new keg beer range at Craft Beer Rising as it steps up its product innovation programme. The range comprises rebranded Hogstar lager and three new beers: Unfiltered TEA, Hog IPA and low ABV blonde beer Little Swine.

The new range is Hogs Back’s biggest NPD launch since it introduced Hogstar in 2013 and reflects the brewer’s forward-looking approach to its portfolio, evolving it to meet the demands of younger drinkers, who generally favour keg beers, while also satisfying the many loyal drinkers of its cask beers, particularly TEA (Traditional English Ale). TEA has enjoyed impressive growth over the last year despite the decline in the cask market, and remains Hogs Back’s flagship beer.

The design for all four beers is clean, modern and eye-catching. While each beer has its own distinctive look, they are clearly part of the Hogs Back family, which will encourage consumers to try beers across the range. The new designs are initially being launched on impactful draught founts before being rolled out to packaged product later this year – Hogstar in bottles and cans and Hog IPA in cans. Packs for Little Swine and Unfiltered TEA are to be confirmed.

Rupert Thompson, Hogs Back managing director, said: “We’re delighted with our new keg beer family. Although we’ve been brewing great keg beers, including Hogstar lager, for some years, we’ve been seen more as a cask brewer, thanks to the success of TEA.

“That all changes now as we launch new beers into fast-growing sectors of the market – low ABV, unfiltered and IPA – and present them alongside Hogstar lager. We’re confident our keg beers will compete in modern craft beer bars, as well as finding a place in more traditional pubs already stocking Hogs Back’s cask ales, particularly TEA.”

Hogs Back Brewery will be on Stand 91 at Craft Beer Rising with a distinctive, specially designed Hop Garden Bar. Craft Beer Rising takes place at the Old Truman Brewery in London’s Brick Lane from 21 to 23 February.

Hogs Back Brewery keg range – tasting notes:

Hogstar: 4.5% ABV lager brewed with special lager malts and five different hops from the UK – including English Cascade from the Hogs Back hop garden – Europe and USA. A small quantity of natural herb extracts is added before Hogstar is left to mature for over a month. The result is a beer that has all the crisp refreshment of a lager, but with a greater depth of flavour and aromas.

Unfiltered TEA: An unfiltered version of Hogs Back’s flagship TEA (Traditional English Ale), a full-bodied bitter, brewed in small batches using English malt carefully balanced with Fuggles hops, some of them from the Hogs Back hop garden. Cold-conditioned for 1 week and unfiltered for optimal flavour.

Hog IPA: 4.5% ABV light, hoppy ale with a blend of floral and fresh citrus notes upfront, well-balanced with a long, dry finish. Hog IPA is brewed with a selection of fine English malts and locally grown Cascade and Fuggles hops, alongside US Centennial.

Little Swine: A new 2.8% ABV dry-hopped aromatic blonde beer – billed as a ‘Small’ Beer with a Big Taste. It is brewed with a carefully selected blend of aroma hops including home-grown Cascade, and then dry hopped for additional aroma and flavour. No and low alcohol beers have grown by 22.7% volume and 24.3% value over the past year, according to CGA.

New senior team for Rockpool backed Epic, Heroic and Aspley Pubs

February 2019

Rockpool Investments, the private equity investment firm, has appointed a new chairman and managing director for its Epic Pubs, Heroic Pubs and Aspley Pubs businesses.

Rufus Hall, who is also chairman of Rockpool backed Urban Village Pub Company and Metropolitan Village Pub Company, is the new chairman of the three companies who between them have 11 pubs.

Jo Probert, formerly at Stonegate Pub Company’s Slug & Lettuce, joins as the new managing director of the companies, which operate three freehold and eight leasehold sites across eight counties, including one pub in London. The latest opening is Aspley Pubs’ The Hummingbird in Hertford which opened in November.

The external umbrella operating name for the three companies is Epic Pubs.

Rockpool Investments is looking at further acquisition opportunities for Aspley Pubs in late 2019.

Probert, who also previously held operational roles at Orchid Group and Greene King, said: “We are building a pub company of really great British pubs with fresh, quality, handcrafted food and standout specials boards. We see our general managers and head chefs as at the front of the business leading teams.”

She adds: “We want our sites to be seen by customers as independent pubs, at the heart of their local communities. We want them to be the first choice for local people to go to have a drink, a sandwich or enjoy more extravagant dishes.”

A big focus is being put on driving more pre-booked sales, as the majority of pubs have excellent private dining facilities, with a newly expanded sales and marketing role created to support this drive.

Lisa Burbidge has been appointed company secretary. She joins from the NHS and also previously worked at The Orchid Group.

The pubs were previously operated for Rockpool by Andrew Coath, managing director of management services company Unique Hospitality Management, on a contract basis.

Pic caption: Go Jo: Epic Pubs’ new managing director Jo Probert