PubAid names Keith Bott as its first President

January 2020

PubAid, the organisation dedicated to promoting pubs as a force for good, has appointed Keith Bott MBE as its first ever President. The founder of Titanic Brewery and former chairman of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) takes up the position in January 2020, and will serve for two years.

Bott’s appointment comes as PubAid enters its second decade. Founded in 2009 by a group of senior pub industry figures, it has helped to shape more positive perceptions of the great British pub, through research showing that pubs raise more than £100 million every year for hundreds of charities and local causes. Last year, a PubAid-commissioned survey revealed that pubs also provide an estimated £40m per year in financial and in-kind support to grassroots sports.

PubAid co-founder Des O’Flanagan said: “We’re delighted that Keith has agreed to become our first President and confident that his highly respected status both within and outside the pub industry will be a tremendous boost to the work of PubAid.

“Keith’s appointment marks a new chapter for PubAid, as we look to expand our communications around pubs’ support for charities and their local communities to a wider audience.
“In the decade since we founded PubAid, pubs have raised an estimated £1 billion for charities and causes; we think that’s a figure that everyone in the industry should be proud of, and everyone outside it should know about!”

Bott said: “I was honoured to be asked to become President of PubAid, an organisation I’ve admired since its foundation. Throughout my years in the industry, pubs have been at the heart of their communities and have had community at their heart, including our 13 Titanic pubs.

“I’m looking forward to helping the PubAid team continue to spread the word about the pivotal role pubs play in their communities, and ensuring that their contribution to society’s wellbeing is always recognised by policymakers.”

Oliver Kay Produce launches Vegan Dish recipe competition

January 2020

Chefs are being challenged to create a new dish to appeal to the growing number of vegan customers eating out, with the launch of the Oliver Kay National Vegan Dish of the Year 2020.

Specialist national supplier Oliver Kay Produce is inviting chefs from across the hospitality sector to submit recipes. The launch of the competition coincides with a new range of premium vegan ingredients available from Oliver Kay, brought together as the Plant Based Collection. The competition is open for entry at

The aim is to create recipes with a strong appeal to customers looking for enticing vegan dishes, as well as to inspire hospitality businesses to create profitable vegan menus.

Shortlisted finalists will be invited to prepare, cook and serve their recipe for a panel of industry judges at the cook-off final, to be held at Oliver Kay Produce’s development kitchen in Bolton, on Monday March 30. The final will also include a short Mystery Box challenge inviting entrants to prepare and serve a starter or dessert from a selection of fresh produce provided by Oliver Kay.

The prize on offer to the overall winner incudes a UK city break for two, including a dinner booking at a leading vegan restaurant. Finalists will receive a hamper of products from the Plant Based Collection, and the shortlisted recipes, credited to their creators, will be featured in a national marketing campaign.

Jane Aukim, marketing manager for Oliver Kay Produce says: “Sales of vegan food served out-of-home are forecast to significantly increase further during 2020. We believe the range and choice of vegan dishes on offer to consumers often lags behind their high expectations. With such a wonderful choice of vegan ingredients now available, we’re asking chefs to step up and show the industry what they can do!”

Dishes entered must be the chef’s original creation and should include an element of protein, Beyond that, chefs have free rein to use all their creativity and skills, to create a new vegan menu classic.

The Oliver Kay National Vegan Dish of the Year 2020 competition is open for entry at The closing date for entries is Friday, February 28 2020. The Plant Based Collection is available for chefs to order online or by phone, from Oliver Kay Produce

Beer Hawk FRESH to distribute Fix8 Kombucha

January 2020

Beer Hawk FRESH is expanding its range of premium drinks with the addition of the Fix8 Kombucha range to its chilled supply chain.

The distribution partnership between Beer Hawk FRESH and Fix8 means that bars and retailers can now order freshly-fermented kombucha from a refrigerated warehouse to be delivered in top quality, chilled condition, in both bottle and keg.

Like the full range of drinks available from Beer Hawk FRESH, the three-flavour Fix8 range will be available same-day to London customers, and for next-day delivery across the UK.
Andrew Morgan, Head of Beer Hawk FRESH, said: “The Fix8 range complements the expanding choice of brewery-fresh beers we distribute, and further demonstrates the benefits of our partnership approach to working with craft drinks producers.

“With consumers increasingly expecting to be offered a broad range of premium drinks in prime condition, we’re delighted to be expanding our offer to on-trade and off-trade retailers with the addition of the Fix8 range. For operators looking for a premium non-alcoholic offering to engage customer interest, which is important during Dry January and increasingly all year round, it enhances the choice of brands we offer.”

Freya Twigden, founder of Fix8, said: “Freshly-fermented kombucha must be stored chilled, otherwise it is overly-filtered and void of bacteria and yeast – essentially it becomes a ‘dead’ kombucha. It has been a challenge to find cold-chain distribution for the on-trade in particular, as most wholesalers only offer ambient distribution.

“Authentically brewed kombucha, which must be stored chilled if it contains the live bacteria and yeast, is more flavoursome. While some kombucha producers sterile-filter their product, that’s allowing the shortcomings of the supply chain to dictate product quality, and we were stubborn enough not to compromise.

“We’ve worked hard to develop our range of unique flavours, as well as investing in the fermenting expertise and equipment to produce kombucha in ideal condition, and so it’s important to know that it’s reaching our customers, and ultimately consumers, in the same prime chilled condition.

“There’s also a lot of crossover between craft beer and kombucha drinkers, depending on the occasion. Kombucha is a great craft non-alcoholic ferment, that retains complexity and flavour when you’re having a night off, so we think our partnership with Beer Hawk FRESH has strong potential to develop.”

Fix8 Kombucha is naturally fermented using wild yeast and bacteria at the company’s south London “kombucha brewery”, and is available in 240ml bottles, as well as 20 litre key kegs, in three favours:

• Triple Ginger – Three-dimensional flavour that combines kombucha character with exceptional spice.
• Strawberry Tulsi – Simple summery strawberry and aromatic holy basil, an irresistibly moreish combination for kombucha newbies and connoisseurs alike.
• Citrus Saffron – Cold pressed tangerine oil, orange blossom, cardamom + whole saffron. Sophisticated, vibrant and unusually uplifting.

Beer Hawk FRESH is part of ZX Ventures, the global growth and innovation group of AB InBev, and operates a chilled supply chain, supplying brewery-fresh beer from its refrigerated warehouse in Central London.

Retailers can sign up for the service at or contact

Brakspear helps its pubs to beat ‘Dry January blues’

December 2019

Alcohol-free version of Henley Ale Trail to run during month

Pub operator and brewer Brakspear is starting the year with two no and low alcohol drinks offers designed to help its pubs beat the Dry January trading blues and make abstainers feel as welcome as drinkers during the month.

The popular Henley Ale Trail is being adopted for non-drinkers, with a new Dry January version encouraging them to buy a low or no alcohol or soft drink in 10 pubs in the town and collect a stamp from each. Full collector cards can be redeemed for a smart metal water bottle featuring the iconic Brakspear bee.

Further afield, more than 20 Brakspear pubs are offering a free bottle of Heineken 0.0% to anyone buying eight low or no alcohol or soft drinks, and a £25 bar tab for the drinker whose completed collector card is drawn from a hat at the end of January.

Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said: “Dry January has been no friend to the pub sector, but with millions of consumers set to give up alcohol next month, we’ve decided to embrace the trend this year rather than rail against it.

“The message behind our campaign is that giving up alcohol for January doesn’t have to mean giving up pubs and the social aspects of a trip to the local can be enjoyed just as much if you’re abstaining. We’re confident our low and no alcohol offers will encourage many Dry January followers to visit a Brakspear pub, and help to keep our pubs a bit busier over the month.”

He added, “The Dry January Ale Trail is an alternative, not a replacement, to our long-established Henley Ale Trail. Drinkers choosing to stay off the wagon during January will also receive a warm welcome in our pubs and can, as usual, collect stamps against their beer purchases to redeem for a free pint and an Ale Trail T-shirt.”

Pubs taking part in the promotions are offering a selection of no and low alcohol drinks, including: Heineken 0.0%, Estrella Freedamm, Shipyard Low Tide and Becks Blue; Old Mout and Kopparberg zero alcohol fruit ciders, and Seedlip.

Chefs need ‘2020 Vision’ on menu planning, says Bidfresh

December 2019

From seaganism to sustainarianism, chefs will have to be ready to embrace an even broader range of customer dietary trends than ever during 2020.

Fresh food supplier Bidfresh is advising hospitality operators to increase the menu choices they offer, as consumers bring an increasingly complex set of values to the table when they eat out.
Bidfresh, which supplies fresh food to more than 15,000 foodservice customers through a combination of regional specialists and national brands, has published a new report, “2020 Vision: Fresh Food Trends in Hospitality and Foodservice”. Using exclusive sales data, the report features insights into the best sellers and rising star products across the four Bidfresh divisions – meat; fish and seafood; fruit and vegetables; and cheese.

While top selling lines such as steaks, salmon and salad are still in demand, sales of newer meat cuts such as the flat iron steak, alternative fish species such as meagre and monkfish, and less familiar veg such as kale and butternut squash are on the rise. Halloumi, the Cypriot cheese widely used by chefs as a meat alternative, has been a star sales performer.

The report also forecasts key menu trends for 2020. Alongside seaganism, a broadly plant-based diet which also includes fish and seafood; and sustainarianism, where the environmental and ethical impact of food production is factored into menu choices, there are a range of other issues chefs will need to be ready for in the year ahead.

Stephen Oswald, chief executive officer of Bidfresh, says: “Eating out is increasingly as much about value as it is about cost; not just value for money, but the values that an operator brings to the menu. These ‘sustainarian’ customers increasingly want to be sure that the food they eat has been produced sustainably and ethically, and they also curate their own food choices very carefully.

“So, while some consumers fully embrace the plant-based trend, others are looking for that ‘seagan’ combination of seafood and plant-based dishes, which is an area where we’re seeing a great deal of menu innovation from customers, and have also been building our own online recipe bank.

“There are others who have cut back on meat, but when they do eat it, expect a premium product with provenance. Bespoke burgers continue to be an important trend, and we’re also expecting many more recipes which feature meat combined with plant ingredients to appear on menus in 2020. From jackfruit to halloumi, there’s a huge amount of innovation from chefs in these areas.

“You can’t ignore economic factors either, and one clear trend is operators looking carefully at different cuts and portion sizes, as well as making the best use of food, which can be anything from crispy fried fish skin served as a bar snack to vegetable and fruit peelings and stalks used to make smoothies. This has the added benefit of reducing food waste.”

On-trend ideas identified the report include

Vegan in vogue: the fastest growing products tap into the increasing need to cater for vegans/flexitarians, with products including vegan bacon jam, and vegan potato slider buns. Sales of vegan ‘cheese’ products are up 52% and set to increase further in 2020 as chefs and caterers create vegan-friendly versions of classic dishes including pizzas, burgers and sandwiches.

• Meat substitutes: products such as tinned jackfruit, mushroom varieties such as puff balls and Chanterelle, aubergine, and halloumi cheese, all of which can be used as meat alternatives, are seeing sales boom. Wheat protein seitan is popular in products which replicate ingredients such as pepperoni and chicken.

• Leaner choices: Flat Iron steak, the lean cut made famous in the US, is a big hit in the casual dining sector, while chefs are also using venison in everything from burgers, pies and steaks to Scotch eggs and street food dishes. Bespoke burgers for specific customer menus, such as a Chuck, Brisket and Bavette Burger, are very much in demand.

• Seafood surprises: chefs are preserving fish and seafood through pickling, fermenting, smoking and ageing to make interesting snacks and sharing boards. Seafood Skewers, high quality kebabs using a range of fish, are enabling chefs to serve a broader range of species.

Bidfresh supplies chefs through national businesses including Direct Seafoods, Countrywide Butchers, Oliver Kay Produce and Rustic Cheese. A free copy of “2020 Vision: Fresh Food Trends in Hospitality and Foodservice” can be downloaded at

‘Support Your Local, Go TEA Total’ this January, says Hogs Back Brewery

Hogs Back Brewery is reprising its successful ‘Support Your Local, Go TEA Total’ campaign in January, with the aim of encouraging more consumers to support their local at the pub trade’s quietest time of year.

‘Go TEA Total’ ran for the first time in January this year, when more than 150 pubs displayed the campaign pumpclip wobblers or posters. For 2020, Hogs Back is building on the campaign with more impactful assets to create standout in participating pubs, a competition to find the TEA Drinkers’ Pub of the Year, a ‘TEA Total Thursday’ initiative, advertising in Hogs Back’s Surrey heartlands and a social media drive.

The campaign will also remind consumers of the many good reasons to visit the pub in January, from roaring fires to pub quizzes, live music or a dog-friendly welcome. In this, Go TEA Total will amplify the messages of the industry’s Long Live the Local initiative, which shows that socialising with friends is the main reason people enjoy visiting their local pub. The ‘TEA Total Thursday’ social media campaign encourages people to ‘tag’ the mates they’re taking to the pub, with the chance to win a tour of the brewery.

Hogs Back managing director Rupert Thompson said: “We came up with ‘Go TEA Total’ last year to give pubs a boost in January. It’s always been a quiet month for the trade and even more so since the growth of Dry January.

“The campaign has a light-hearted feel, but the underlying messages are important. January can be a challenging time for many people, but we strongly believe that getting out for a walk to the pub and enjoying a sociable pint or two of TEA can help to counter social isolation and contribute to our overall wellbeing.

“It’s also vital that we all support the pubs at the heart of our communities: if too many people stay away from their local in January, it may not be there in February.”

Pubs wanting to be part of the campaign in January can sign up with their Hogs Back sales manager, or by emailing to receive a pack of TEA Total assets including pumpclip wobblers, dripmats and posters.

The TEA Drinkers’ Pub of the Year competition is open to all pubs taking part in TEA Total. Customers nominate their favourite pub via the website or the QR code on dripmats, with those with the highest number of nominations included in a shortlist and profiled on the website, before the winning pub is chosen at the end of January. There will also be weekly competitions on social media for customers to nominate pubs that are best for dogs, or best open fire.

Long Live the Local’s research shows that:
• Six in 10 Brits (59%) say the main reason to visit their local is because it’s a great place to socialise with friends;
• Almost half of pubgoers (48%) go to the pub because they enjoy feeling like a local and bumping into people they know;
• 47% feel the pub brings people and the local community together;
• 40% believe the pub acts as a social centre for the community.