World’s Biggest Pub Quiz tops £200,000 for charity

July 2019

The World’s Biggest Pub Quiz, organised by PubAid in March this year, has raised more than £230,000* for hundreds of charities, including over £94,000 for Prostate Cancer UK, the event’s official charity partner.

This is the first time that money raised from the quiz has topped the £200,000 mark since its launch in 2016 and is a 21% uplift on the 2018 amount. The average sum raised per pub this year was £160, up from £134 last year. The quiz has raised a total of £750,000 over the four years it has been running.

Co-founder of PubAid, Des O’Flanagan, commented: “We’re delighted with this impressive total raised by the quiz, which we know will be put to good use by the wide range of charities and worthy causes it benefits.

“The substantial increase in the average amount raised per pub is welcome and we think it shows that, after four years, the quiz has become a popular fixture on many pubs’ calendars, something that licensees and their customers look forward to every year. It meant that this year, more publicans were promoting the quiz, attracting more quizzers and often adding additional fundraising activities like bingo or raffles, to increase the amount raised on the night.

“The quiz not only raises money, but also shines a spotlight on the great work that pubs do for charity. More than £100 million is raised by pubs every year, an incredible amount which reflects their vital role at the heart of their local communities.”

He added: “We are grateful to every pub, pub company and brewer who supported this year’s quiz, and also to our charity partner since 2017, Prostate Cancer UK; they have driven the quiz with huge professionalism and enthusiasm and have undoubtedly helped to raise its profile over the last three years.”

Jon Eserin, Associate Director of Fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “It’s been brilliant to watch the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz grow over the past three years and we feel lucky to have been able to play a part in that as PubAid’s official charity partner. We are extremely grateful to all the venues who have chosen to support Prostate Cancer UK this year and who have raised funds that will help stop prostate cancer being a killer.

“As well as helping us to raise an incredible amount of money, our partnership with PubAid has allowed us to reach men and raise awareness of a disease which kills one man every 45 minutes. We thank PubAid for their ongoing support and look forward to seeing the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz grow from strength to strength.”

Based on a post-event survey of 94 participating venues
• An estimated 1,438 pubs ran for the quiz this year
• 91% of licensees liked this year’s quiz questions and 74% liked the promotional posters
• 50% of participating pubs also ran a raffle on the night, and 17% held another type of fundraising activity
• The most popular night to hold the quiz was on the Sunday (19%), followed by Thursday (18%)
• 22% of pubs asked for questions to be made easier, while 6% asked for them to be harder
• 70% of pubs who took part are ‘definitely’ planning to run the quiz again in 2020 and a further 24% are ‘likely’ to repeat it.

*Total number of pubs who have reported monies raised (986) plus an estimated 452 pubs who have not yet reported the sum they raised, multiplied by the average gift (£160).

Caption to attached image: At the King’s Arms, Dorking, ‘Mark’s Men’ won The World’s Biggest Pub Quiz 2019

The Fernet-Branca Barback Games return to London for a second year

July 2019

The Fernet-Branca Barback Games return to London this September to challenge Britain’s bravest bar industry professionals. The winning team will go on to compete in the European final, taking place during the Bar Convent trade event in Berlin in October.

The event takes place at Village Underground, London on Sunday 29 September, with host Hi-Spirits expecting an even stronger turnout for the games’ second year in London, both from teams competing, and with loud, enthusiastic support from across the bar trade to cheer them on.

Eight teams of finalists will be chosen, with travel and accommodation paid for, and a minimum of four teams from outside of London competing on the night. The games test the skills and endurance of competitors with a series of physical challenges, as well as their knowledge and passion for classic Italian digestif Fernet-Branca.

Any bar stocking Fernet-Branca or another Fratelli Branca brand can enter a team, made up of one competitor and one coach. A competitor must work in a role that includes barback duties. To narrow down the entries, teams are being asked to sum up “What does the industry mean to you?”.

A global judging panel of bar professionals will oversee the proceedings, leading to a final battle between the top two teams to decide who will compete for the honour of the British bar trade in Berlin.

Poppy Croft, marketing manager of Fernet-Branca UK distributor Hi-Spirits, said: “The audience is as much a part of the Barback Games as the competitors, and bars can RSVP for tickets online.
“It’s a great chance to network, explore exciting complimentary Fernet-Branca drinks, and enjoy food and entertainment – last year saw DJ Luck and MC Neat perform – and, of course, shout themselves hoarse as the competitors are put through their paces.”

Teams hoping to compete, and trade professionals applying for complimentary tickets, can sign up at Entries for competitors are open from 15 July to 31 August, with the finalists announced on 8 September.

The teams won’t find out what’s involved until the day of the games, but competitors are being warned that they need to be fit and able to compete in some very physical challenges.

Originally held in San Francisco in 2007, the Barback Games are now one of the biggest touring bar industry events. The 2019 London heat competition takes place at Village Underground, Shoreditch, London from 7pm – 12pm on 29 September. The winning team will spend three nights in Berlin, with the European final taking place during Bar Convent, which runs from 7 to 9 October.

Celebrity chefs and drinks experts support Pinkspiration Week

July 2019

Team Margot Pinkspiration Week, the charity awareness week running from 23-30 July, is gathering support across the hospitality sector, with pink recipes and drinks serves contributed by a number of well-known chefs and drinks experts now available to participating operators.

Pinkspiration Week has gained the support of several pub and bar operators, who between them have around 700 outlets.

Unlike most charity initiatives, Pinkspiration Week is aiming not to raise money, but to encourage people to register as stem cell and bone marrow donors.

The dedicated Pinkspiration Week website now includes a Pink Food & Drink section featuring recipes for pink dishes contributed by celebrity chef Tom Kerridge, three-times Great British Menu finalist Josh Eggleton; Saturday Kitchen host Matt Tebbut and Louisa Ellis, finalist in Masterchef The Professionals in 2017.

The drinks section includes pink serves created by flavour guru Pritesh Mody and Tom Proud of the Crafted Projects group. Emma Inch, current Beer Writer of the Year, has curated a list of pink beers and ciders, including Orchard Pig Pink, sponsors of the Team Margot Atlantic Challenge. Posters, social media assets and menu statements, are also available as downloads from the website, equipping participating pubs and bars to promote Pinkspiration Week to their customers.

Pinkspiration Week links to the Team Margot Atlantic Row in December this year, when a team of four dads will be taking part in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. They are hoping to encourage new registrations from 1.5 million people – the number of strokes it will take them to complete the 3,000-mile journey, hence their slogan of ‘We Row, You Register’ #WeRowYouRegister

Casual Dining Group sites join campaign

The latest operator to sign up to Pinkspiration Week is Casual Dining Group who will be offering their customers a free pink gin at Café Rouge and Bella Italia sites nationwide during the week.

Other operators already committed to Pinkspiration Week include: Beds and Bars, Glendola Leisure, Yummy Pubs, Cirrus Inns, Arc Inspirations, New World Trading Company, All Our Bars and Fuller’s. UKHospitality and the BII are encouraging members to back the campaign.

Martini says: “We are basically asking people to swab their cheeks and join the register. It’s quick and easy to do and it’s incredible to think that a stranger standing next to you at the bar could be your ‘perfect match’ and lifesaver, if you needed a stem cell transplant. But you wouldn’t know that, unless they were on the register.

“We are delighted with operators’ enthusiasm for Pinkspiration Week so far and with under a month to go, would urge others to get on board. It is fun, promotes a worthy cause that everyone can support – and for once, doesn’t involve rattling a collecting tin at customers!”

He added: “We’re encouraging operators to spread the word about stem cell registration not just to customers, but across their networks – to all their teams in outlets and at head office and up the supply chain. Community is what our industry excels at. The more people who go on the register, the better the chance that those who need treatment will find a match.
“If we can reach our target of adding 1.5 million people to the register, then up to 15,000 lives could potentially be saved.”

Team Margot was set up in 2015 by Martini in memory of his daughter Margot and to honour her legacy after she lost her battle with blood cancer, aged two. Margot was unable to find her ‘perfect match’. Anyone between 17-55 years old who is in general good health can join the register via a simple swab test.

Orchard Pig backing Team Margot Atlantic Row

The Team Margot Atlantic Rowers’ boat is sponsored by cider makers Orchard Pig, part of the C&C group, who have just added Orchard Pig Pink to the range of premium ciders. Perfect for summer, Orchard Pig Pink is a 4.5% gently sparkling cider that combines the light and fruity elements of a rosé wine, with the medium dryness expected from a Somerset cider.
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. We’ll certainly be encouraging all Orchid Pig customers to support Pinkspiration Week and do their bit to help Team Margot hit their target.”

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

Caption to attached image: Thinking pink: Team Margot Foundation founder Yaser Martini with the Team Margot Atlantic Rowers’ boat, which will be going 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to encourage people to register as stem cell and bone marrow donors

Ed Sheeran Hits The Brakspear Henley Ale Trail

June 2019

Rock star Ed Sheeran has added another prestigious award to his collection of gold discs, Grammys and BRITs, after completing the Brakspear Henley Ale Trail.

The acclaimed songwriter and a group of friends stopped off for a pint at the Saracen’s Head pub on Greys Road as part of the trail, which involves a visit to 10 Brakspear pubs in the town.

Co-licensee Mel Roberson, who run the Saracen’s Head with husband Colin, said: “Collin came to me and said “I think Ed Sheeran’s in the bar”. We Googled a picture of him to make sure it was, and he was so friendly. He stayed for a game of pool and said what a great idea he thinks the Ale Trail is – apparently he only has one local pub where he lives.”

By getting their card stamped in each pub, Ale Trailers qualify for rewards including exclusive Ale Trail t-shirts.

Marketing manager for Brakspear, Emma Sweet, said: “We’re delighted that Ed has completed the Ale Trail and had a chance to enjoy our pubs, which are so much a part of the social life of the town.

“We hope to see him sporting his Henley Ale Trail t-shirt on stage, and also hope that he’ll join us at our annual Ale Trail party in January. We always book a live music act for the party, so if Ed would like the gig, we’d be very happy to consider him!”

Details of the Brakspear Henley Ale Trail are at Participants have a full year from starting the trail to visit all 10 pubs and claim their rewards.

Time for a pre-Brexit Buying Check, says Lynx Purchasing

June 2019

The arrival of summer is the ideal time for hospitality and catering operators to give their business a thorough pre-Brexit buying check, urges buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.

With so much still uncertain, including who will be leading both the country and the ongoing Brexit negotiations, Lynx Purchasing is advising the industry that the abundance of good value British produce now available makes it a good time to make sure robust product sourcing practices are in place.

The advice comes as Lynx Purchasing publishes the Summer 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.

Rachel Dobson, managing director of Lynx Purchasing, says: “The Brexit uncertainty rumbles on, but overall, the next few months are looking positive in produce terms. Weather conditions have been kind, with no repeat of last years’ ‘beast from the east’ or similar challenges, and most crops are expected to be good quality across the summer.

“While every operator is dealing with similar challenges in terms of rising costs and lower consumer confidence, it’s important to remember that there are also costs that can be controlled.
“With a wide choice of British produce at its best across the summer in terms of quality, value and availability, a pre-Brexit buying check looking at menus, ordering procedures, suppliers used and other factors could make all the difference to being ready for whatever challenges are to come,” she added.

Product areas highlighted in the Market Forecast include:

Meat: There have been expected seasonal increases in the price of home produced beef, lamb and poultry, with higher demand for cuts popular for barbecue and grill menus. UK lamb is in demand for export to France in particular, while imported beef is in shorter supply, both of which have a pricing impact. Suppliers can advise on alternative cuts, which can be better value and boost sustainability by making use of the whole animal.

Fish and seafood: There is a strong export market for UK wild caught fish, as well as increasing domestic demand as it becomes increasingly recognised as an environmentally friendly source of protein. Farmed seafood can often better value, and although there have been concerns raised in the media about some practices, it can be a more sustainable option provided it is properly certified. Farmed bass, bream, turbot and halibut will be in good supply.

Berries: The British berries season has started well, with strawberries to be followed by raspberries, blueberries and blackberries as crops ripen. With berries expected to be high quality thanks to good growing conditions, operators should make the most of the opportunity. As well as desserts, try using use fresh berries to flavour and garnish cocktails and spritz-style drinks

Vegetables: Jersey Royal potatoes have been very good quality and value this year, which is a good indicator of a better overall potato crop than last year, when supplies were affected by the weather. Home-grown carrots, broccoli and courgettes are also expected to be high quality. Use ‘served with fresh, seasonal vegetables’ as a menu description to make the most of changing supplies.

Dobson adds: “By making simple improvements to their purchasing, and working with suppliers who understand their needs, operators can generate substantial savings that can mean the difference between staying profitable or going under.

“As ever, there will be some product areas that are a challenge, but overall summer is a great time to put good buying principles into practice, with appealing menus focusing on British produce.”

The Summer 2019 Market Forecast is available to download free from the Lynx Purchasing website.

Lynx Purchasing works with more than 2,200 accounts in the hospitality and catering sector, on a no-membership and no-contract basis that offers like-for-like products at lower prices and often better quality than operators could obtain by negotiating alone.

As purchasing professionals, Lynx works with leading suppliers in the hospitality and catering industry. These include specialist fresh food suppliers, wines & spirits, catering equipment providers, utilities, and specialist service providers such as telecom, business rates consultancy and waste management.

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

A jewel of a beer! Brakspear brews Rhuby for EAT Food Fest

June 2019

Henley brewer and pub operator Brakspear has launched Rhuby, a rhubarb ale, brewed specially for the town’s new EAT Food Fest event that runs until 29 June.

Brewed at Brakspear’s Bell Street microbrewery, Rhuby is a 4.2% ABV golden ale brewed with locally grown rhubarb. The result is a refreshing, pale gold beer with a subtle fruitiness and warmth that make it a perfect summer drink.

Rhuby is available on draught in a number of Brakspear pubs in and around Henley including the Angel on the Bridge, Catherine Wheel in Goring, the Bull on Bell Street and the White Hart at Nettlebed.

Landord at the White Hart, Ted Docherty, said: “Our pub is just outside Henley but we think of ourselves as part of the town so were keen to get involved in EAT Food Fest as a celebration of local food and drink.

“Rhuby, brewed in Henley with locally grown rhubarb, fits perfectly with that ethos and we’re delighted to be one of the first pubs to put it on the bar: we know customers are going to love drinking it in our pub garden – whatever the weather!”

Bell Street Brewery head brewer Malcolm Mayo said: “It’s always fun to brew with new ingredients. When we were asked to brew a beer for EAT Fest, we wanted something that would reflect the event’s theme of celebrating local food and drink, so we chose to add locally-grown, fresh rhubarb.

“We started with a blend of pale, special roasted malt and malted oats, which gave the beer a gold colour with a red tinge. For hops, we used Bramling Cross for bitterness, then added late hop Cascade and Amarillo for aroma. Finally, we added the fresh rhubarb after the boil, which gave it a subtle flavour. We’re delighted with the final beer – it really is summer in a glass.”

EAT Food Fest is a new event for Henley designed to champion and celebrate all things food and drink locally. It kicked off with The Big Feast on Saturday 15 June, when food and drink stalls filled Market Square. Screenings of foodie films, chef demos and food and drink tastings are taking place over the next 10 days, with the final celebration a Riverside Fiesta at Mill Meadows on Saturday 29 June.

Caption to attached image: Bella Redrup, team member at the Angel on the Bridge, pours a pint of Rhuby