PRESS RELEASES

Blackwoods launches 2017 vintage for popular gin and vodka range

November 2017

Blackwoods is launching a new 2017 vintage across its spirit range, featuring new formulations for its premium gins and vodka, developed in partnership with leading bartenders.

To mark the new vintage of Blackwoods Vintage Dry Gin in both 40% and 60% ABV variants, along with Blackwoods Premium Grain Vodka, a distinctive new bottle and a new, premium look to the packaging are being introduced, recalling the vintage Roaring 1920s era of cocktails as well as spotlighting the Blackwoods brand’s premium character.

The launch marks the first new Blackwoods vintage for five years. The reformulation of the range celebrates the latest harvest of hand-picked Shetland botanicals, using the finest quality ingredients available, as well as updating the recipes to reflect bartenders’ choice of the latest trends in flavour and mixability.

The range, distributed in the UK on-trade and off-trade by Hi-Spirits, will be available from January 2018, and includes:

  • Blackwoods Vintage Dry Gin 40% ABV
  • Blackwoods Vintage Dry Gin 60% ABV
  • Blackwoods Premium Grain Vodka 40% ABV

The new bottle design is inspired by vintage soda syphons, recalling the energy and effervescence of the golden age of gin and classic cocktail culture. The faceted detailing evokes premium glassware, while a copper cap with crafted detail reflects Blackwoods’ small batch production in a traditional copper pot still.

The new labeling includes intricate graphics which reference vintage bars of the gin era, while also drawing attention to the hand-picked Shetland botanicals used across the range  – wild thyme, meadowsweet, cowslip and eyebright – in a subtle, premium way.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “The new Blackwoods design celebrates the 2017 vintage and aligns with the new formulation for the popular and successful spirits in the range. The involvement of bartenders in finalising the recipes ensures that Blackwood is up-to-date in terms of consumer appeal, while evoking the classic age of cocktails in the Roaring 1920s!”

The Blackwoods range is widely available in the on-trade, and through retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.  For more information, please contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email info@hi-spirits.com or visit www.hi-spirits.com.

Brakspear reopens Dog & Duck in Wokingham as 10th managed pub

November 2017

Pub operator and brewer Brakspear has taken its managed estate up to 10 sites with the reopening of the Dog & Duck in Wokingham, which has undergone a major refurbishment, transforming it into a stylish and welcoming pub offering drinks and dining to local residents.

The refurbishment has been carried out by Brakspear’s in-house design team, with the aim of retaining the heritage of the pub, which dates back to the 1850s, while also updating it. Traditional features, such as the oak beams, sash windows and antique prints, are combined with more modern elements including three large light wells over the 130-cover dining space, bi-fold doors leading onto the garden, and a large screen showing live sport.

The menu offers seasonal British pub classics such as steaks and fish & chips, as well as grills, salads and sour dough or spelt base pizzas from the kitchen’s wood-fired oven. A lunch express menu offers open sandwiches and other quick options for diners in a hurry, while children have their own menu. A Carvery menu is operating on Sundays.

The drinks list features classic cocktails; a range of 10 speciality gins such as Hawthorn’s, Silent Pool and Tarquin’s Cornish and a wide selection of wines including champagne and prosecco. Craft beers including Brooklyn, Sierra Nevada and Goose Island, sit alongside Brakspear cask ales and a range of world beers and ciders.

Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said, “We are delighted to be reopening the Dog & Duck as our 10th managed pub.

“We are basing the pub’s offer on the Retreat at Staines, which we opened a year ago; high quality food and drink in an informal, welcoming setting with broad local appeal. While we want all our managed pubs to have their own individual character, as we expand the managed division there are also benefits from rolling out the best elements into new sites.

“We are confident the Dog & Duck will quickly become one of Wokingham’s most popular pubs for drinking, dining and relaxing with friends and family.”

The Dog & Duck transferred from Brakspear’s tenanted and leased estate in September this year, along with the Little Angel in Henley-on-Thames. Brakspear’s other managed pubs are: the Bull on Bell Street, Henley; Porch House and the Sheep on Sheep Street, both in Stow-on-the-Wold; George Townhouse in Shipston-on-Stour; Townhouse in Stratford on Avon; Chequers in Marlow; Running Horses in Mickleham, Surrey and the Retreat in Staines.

Hogs Back Brewery meets increased demand with £300k investment

November 2017

Hogs Back Brewery is gearing up to meet increasing demand for its flagship beer TEA (Traditional English Ale), as well as its keg beer range, with a further £300k investment programme in the brewery at Tongham in Surrey. TEA is now sold in more than 1,000 supermarkets across the South-East and is a favourite cask ale in pubs throughout the region.

The first part of the programme is a new building housing a beer kegger, enabling Hogs Back to meet growing orders for Hogstar English Craft Lager and London’s Outback Pale Ale from pubs and bars. A new beer filtering system will also be installed. These will also help support Hogs Back’s innovation programme as it develops new products for the dynamic UK and export beer market.

The new building will be finished by the end of January, and the increased flexibility it delivers will also enable the brewery to meet demand for TEA from both the on-trade and off-trade. A further phase of significant investment in improvements and additions to the brewhouse is also scheduled for later in 2018, which will see the capacity of the brewhouse increase by 70%.

Rupert Thompson, managing director of Hogs Back Brewery, said, “This is a significant investment in the brewery, and will enable us to be even more flexible in terms of the range of beers we can brew and pack, as well as enabling us to increase capacity when needed.

“The UK beer market is more diverse than it’s ever been, with consumers enjoying beer in a wide range of styles and formats. As a local brewer combining heritage with innovation, it’s vital that we continue to invest to meet those consumer expectations.

“We’re delighted that there is growing demand for our two innovative keg beers, Hogstar lager and London’s Outback pale ale, and it’s equally important that this latest investment gives us improved flexibility to supply TEA. Over the past two years we’ve invested circa £300k, planted our 3.5 acre hop garden, and created five jobs at the brewery as a result.”

A new visitor reception area will also be completed in early December as the first stage to improving facilities in response to increased demand for tours and meetings, as well as providing a special event bar space.

The new beer kegger is from Brewology, while the filtration system was supplied by Liquid Solutions.

Hi-Spirits serves up Christmas cocktail ideas

November 2017

Pubs and bars can get into the seasonal spirit with a new range of simple-to-make Christmas cocktail serves from Hi-Spirits, featuring leading brands from across its portfolio.

With cocktail sales booming right across the on-trade, Hi-Spirits’ expert mixology team has created new seasonal serves using brands including Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace, Antica Formula, Fireball and King of Soho gin.

As well as new twists on classic cocktails, there are recipes for warm-served drinks to keep out the winter chill: • Southern Comfort Southern Berry Sour: Pour 50ml Southern Comfort, 100ml Cranberry Juice and 50ml Fever-Tree Sicilian Lemonade into a glass over ice. Add 6-7 cranberries and garnish with a rosemary sprig. Stir gently and serve.

• Sweet Manhattan: Pour 50ml Buffalo Trace Bourbon, 25ml Antica Formula and two dashes of Peychaud’s Bitters into a glass filled with cubed ice. Stir for around 10 seconds then strain into a coupe glass and garnish with cherries.

• Soho Sling: Add 50ml King of Soho gin, 15ml lime juice and 35ml pressed apple juice to a tall glass filled with cubed ice. Stir and garnish with a slice of apple.

• Mississippi Mulled Wine: Add 50ml Southern Comfort, 75ml red wine and 75ml pineapple juice to a pan, stir and gently heat to 75°C. Pour into a mug or toddy cup and garnish with a pineapple wedge and a slice of lemon.

• Spiced Apple Pie: Stir 25ml Southern Comfort, 25ml Fireball and 100ml apple juice into a pan; heat serve to 75°C, pour into a toddy glass and garnish with cinnamon and a slice of apple.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, says: “Customers catching up with friends or enjoying a night out in the run-up to Christmas are ready to treat themselves, and a seasonal cocktail menu, including warm serves, is a great way to drive sales.

“These drinks have been developed with mainstream pubs and bars in mind. We also work closely with operators to create bespoke cocktails at this time of year, and many bartenders enjoy creating their own seasonal serves with our brands.”
For more information, please contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email info@hi-spirits.com or visit www.hi-spirits.com.

Hogs Back Brewery boosts off-trade presence in time for Christmas

November 2017

Surrey-based Hogs Back Brewery has secured a raft of new off-trade listings ahead of the key festive sales period that will see its flagship TEA, or Tongham English Ale, in more than 1,000 supermarkets across the south east and its Hogstar English Craft Lager stocked nationally by Majestic Wines.

The new stockists for TEA are the Co-op, who are listing the 500ml bottled ale in 320 stores; Morrisons, with 39 stores and Tesco, who are adding it to 19 Express stores in addition to the 64 stores already stocking it. The new listings join existing distribution for TEA in Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and ASDA. At the same time, Hogstar 330ml cans are going into 211 Majestic Wines stores across the country.

Hogs Back relaunched TEA this summer, giving the brand a new label with a cleaner, more modern look while retaining the heritage and iconic hog image that have helped to make it one of the leading ales in the south east. The new bottle design also features a ‘100% Surrey grown Fuggles hops’ neck collar to communicate the beer’s local provenance; a proportion of hops in the brew are sourced from Hogs Back’s own hop garden next to the brewery.

Hogstar English Craft Lager, launched in 2013, is a 4.5% ABV lager brewed with five different hops, including English Cascade grown on the Hogs Back hop garden, and matured for over a month to allow flavours to deepen. Hogs Back launched Hogstar in cans in 2016.
Rupert Thompson, Hogs Back managing director said “We are delighted to have secured wider distribution for TEA and Hogstar in time for the busy Christmas beer buying season. These are all retailers with a reputation for stocking interesting, quality beers and supporting local producers, so Hogs Back beers are a perfect fit.

“The relaunch of our flagship TEA has certainly helped to win these new listings; the new label design gives the brand greater impact on the shelf and we’re confident it will achieve strong sales.

“Hogstar is growing in popularity among drinkers who want a lager with more flavour than offered by standard brands, and its appeal to younger drinkers was boosted by putting it in cans. We’re pleased that the listing with Majestic Wines will bring Hogstar to a wider audience across the country.”

The RRP for TEA is £2.17 per 500ml bottle, and £2.00 for the Hogstar 330 ml can.

Hogs Back’s range for the off trade also includes two beers that are ideal for the festive season. Advent Ale, offered in 500ml bottles, is a ruby coloured, 4.4% ABV ale with a refreshing fruity nose, a sweet liquorice and roasted malt flavour and rich dark chocolate aftertaste.

Also available is the newly bottled 2017 vintage of A Over T – Aromas over Tongham. The 9% ABV bottled conditioned beer now has a 10 year ‘drink by’ date and Hogs Back expects the ale to mature over the next decade to offer even deeper and richer flavours to those with the patience to wait.

Drinkaware at Work: supporting operators to ‘look after their own’

November 2017

During Alcohol Awareness Week (13 – 19 November), alcohol education charity Drinkaware is encouraging hospitality operators to ‘look after their own’ as well as their customers, with help available from the charity’s Drinkaware at Work programme.

Every year in the UK, 17 million alcohol-related sick days are taken, costing the economy £7.3 billion. Drinkaware at Work helps companies to support the health and wellbeing of their employees, through informative, engaging training and e-learning about alcohol. The programme is flexible and can be tailored to suit companies of all sizes, and to slot into existing staff wellbeing schemes.

Drinkaware Chief Executive Elaine Hindal said: “Responsible operators are doing great work in making their pubs and bars places where customers are able to moderate their drinking, by providing a range of soft drinks and low/no alcohol beers and wine and by using Drinkaware resources such as  the Drinkaware Crew and the Alcohol Vulnerability Awareness e-learning programme.

“It’s important to recognise that staff members at all levels could be drinking in ways that may be harmful, and to offer them appropriate support.  We know the majority of operators take the wellbeing of their staff seriously, and so are confident of a good uptake for Drinkaware at Work from the industry.  The programme has been designed to allow flexible use, so whatever the size of their company and whatever their training needs, Drinkaware at Work can be adapted to suit.”

Liz Gaffer, Director of Marketing & Charity Services at the Licensed Trade Charity said: “Our research shows that people working in pubs and bars are more likely to be affected by alcohol related health problems than the general population, and we provide support through our website and helpline specifically for this area.

“The Drinkaware at Work programme provides another resource that operators can use to identify and help staff who might have a problem and we would encourage all employers to look at how they might use this programme.”

During Alcohol Awareness Week (13 – 19 November), alcohol education charity Drinkaware is encouraging hospitality operators to ‘look after their own’ as well as their customers, with help available from the charity’s Drinkaware at Work programme.

Every year in the UK, 17 million alcohol-related sick days are taken, costing the economy £7.3 billion. Drinkaware at Work helps companies to support the health and wellbeing of their employees, through informative, engaging training and e-learning about alcohol. The programme is flexible and can be tailored to suit companies of all sizes, and to slot into existing staff wellbeing schemes.

Drinkaware Chief Executive Elaine Hindal said: “Responsible operators are doing great work in making their pubs and bars places where customers are able to moderate their drinking, by providing a range of soft drinks and low/no alcohol beers and wine and by using Drinkaware resources such as  the Drinkaware Crew and the Alcohol Vulnerability Awareness e-learning programme.

“It’s important to recognise that staff members at all levels could be drinking in ways that may be harmful, and to offer them appropriate support.  We know the majority of operators take the wellbeing of their staff seriously, and so are confident of a good uptake for Drinkaware at Work from the industry.  The programme has been designed to allow flexible use, so whatever the size of their company and whatever their training needs, Drinkaware at Work can be adapted to suit.”

Liz Gaffer, Director of Marketing & Charity Services at the Licensed Trade Charity said: “Our research shows that people working in pubs and bars are more likely to be affected by alcohol related health problems than the general population, and we provide support through our website and helpline specifically for this area.

“The Drinkaware at Work programme provides another resource that operators can use to identify and help staff who might have a problem and we would encourage all employers to look at how they might use this programme.”

Drinkaware at Work offers:

  • ‘For the Facts’: an engaging and interactive session delivered by a Drinkaware specialist, ideal for groups of up to 40 people.
  • Train the Trainer: for companies with their own HR/Learning & Development/training team, Drinkaware can instruct and equip them to deliver For the Facts sessions
  • Open Programmes: workshops run by a Drinkaware specialist, offering either ‘For the Facts’ or ‘Train the Trainer’. Sessions are limited to 15 participants, making them ideal for SMEs
  • E-learning: a series of modules for employees to access in their own time, with quizzes and self-testing to reinforce the learning

For more information on Drinkaware at Work: daw@drinkaware.co.uk

Drinkaware at Work offers:

  • ‘For the Facts’: an engaging and interactive session delivered by a Drinkaware specialist, ideal for groups of up to 40 people.
  • Train the Trainer: for companies with their own HR/Learning & Development/training team, Drinkaware can instruct and equip them to deliver For the Facts sessions
  • Open Programmes: workshops run by a Drinkaware specialist, offering either ‘For the Facts’ or ‘Train the Trainer’. Sessions are limited to 15 participants, making them ideal for SMEs
  • E-learning: a series of modules for employees to access in their own time, with quizzes and self-testing to reinforce the learning

For more information on Drinkaware at Work: daw@drinkaware.co.uk