Cafeology flies high with European award for Bird Friendly coffee

November 2016

Ethical beverage company Cafeology has been recognised at a Europe-wide Awards scheme for its innovative Bird Friendly coffee initiative in Guatemala.

Cafeology was named runner up in the Business & Diversity category within the European Business Awards for the Environment, which is given to a product or service that ‘makes a significant contribution to halting biodiversity loss and supporting natural ecosystems’.  It was the only UK company to reach the finals of this award, open to businesses from across Europe.

Cafeology is the first UK company to supply a Bird Friendly coffee. The beans are grown by coffee cooperative Asociación Civil Guaya’b, close to Guatemala’s border with Mexico, under a high altitude canopy of diverse trees. This provides a habitat for birds, protects the rainforest and produces a superior quality, denser bean with a unique taste.

Bryan Unkles, founder of Cafeology, said, “I learned about the destructive effect some coffee farming was having on the natural habitat while visiting our central American growers.  With Cafeology’s core principle of ‘great coffee, great cause’ in mind, we looked at ways of addressing this, which resulted in the launch of our Bird Friendly coffee in 2014.

“Ours is the only coffee in the UK with Bird Friendly certification from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre in Washington DC, which is considered the gold standard for shade-grown coffee.  It was also the first coffee to be endorsed by the RSPB, who receive a donation from the sale of every tin.

“We’re delighted that both our product and our campaign to raise awareness of the need for more sustainable coffee farming, have been recognised at these prestigious European awards.”

The latest award follows similar accolades for Bird Friendly coffee in the UK last year, when Cafeology was presented with a Guardian Sustainable Business Award and reached the finals of the RSPCA’s ‘Animal Hero’ Awards.

Unkles added, “Coffee is the second most-traded commodity after oil and, around the world, is drunk an estimated 30,000 times every second. As the UK’s demand for coffee continues to grow, we have a duty to think about our consumption and how we can minimise any harmful effects on the tropical rainforest and its biodiversity.”

Cafeology’s Bird Friendly coffee is a single estate, 100% organic Arabica coffee with a smooth taste and medium body.  It is available to food service operators in 1kg bags of roast and ground coffee, or roasted coffee beans.

Cafeology supports its food service customers with a comprehensive range of dispense equipment, maintenance, eye-catching Cafeology branded crockery, menus and other POS, and a number of barista training courses.

Notes to editors


Cafeology was founded in 2003 by Bryan Unkles with the aim of delivering ‘exceptional, ethically sourced products selected by taste and sourced directly through long term relationships.’

The company, headquartered in Sheffield supplies coffee, tea and chocolate to retail and food service customers in the UK and Ireland.

Cafeology has unique direct supply agreements in place with coffee producers in central and south America. It chooses its partners carefully and takes pride in developing long term relationships with them.

Bird Friendly Coffee

Asociación Civil Guaya’b is a cooperative of around 300 indigenous farmers in Huehuetenango near the Mexican border. They follow growing and organic farming conditions that are third-party certified to standards created by the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Centre with strict requirements on tree height and diversity, foliage cover and canopy structure to help protect the rainforest habitats of resident and migratory birds. These include the Resplendent Quetzal, which is at risk due to habitat loss, as well as a multitude of migrant birds which spend their winters in Central and South America.

The success of Bird Friendly certified coffee is measurable. Research by the SMBC in Peru shows that while a sunny plantation harbours just 61 species of birds, this number jumps to 243 when coffee is cultivated under a canopy of 10 tree species or more.

Farmers must be re-certified every three years in order to retain their Bird Friendly status. Meanwhile, the premium prices they obtain for their product is invaluable in supporting their families and boosting local economies.

The replacement of traditional shade-grown methods for sun-grown has risen steeply in recent decades due to economic pressures that have forced farmers globally to increase the yield of coffee plants and individual farms. This ‘technification’ has resulted in over 2.5 million acres of forests in Central America alone being destroyed in the last 20 years and with it has come a loss of biodiversity in animals and birds living in these habitats.

Data from the Word Resources Institute has also revealed that more than 104 million hectares of the world’s remaining Intact Forest Landscapes – an area three times the size of Germany – were degraded from 2000 to 2013.

Some coffee farmers have contributed to this deforestation by cutting down shade-grown plantations to cultivate in the open and applying a range of chemical inputs that help to increase yields. These technified farms are more costly to manage, farmers become dependent on the inputs, and production increases are realised at the expense of habitat and biodiversity. Most coffee available in the UK today is sun-grown with limited shade.

Hi-Spirits to distribute Scapegrace Gin in the UK

October 2016

Hi-Spirits is expanding its gin portfolio with an agreement to distribute New Zealand brand Scapegrace Gin in the UK.

Coming from the Rogue Society Distilling Co, Scapegrace bills itself as the gin ‘from the bottom of the world’. Distilled in New Zealand using spring water sourced from the country’s Southern Alps, and 12 botanicals sourced from around the world, the spirit is batch-distilled using a restored 19th century copper whisky still, with each batch individually numbered.

Scapegrace is a traditional word for a rogue or rascal, and the brand celebrates gin’s sometimes murky history with a black-tinted bottle, which has a shape based on an antique genever bottle. The end result is a complex gin which combines classic juniper and citrus notes with subtler floral and spice undertones.

The partnership between Hi-Spirits and Scapegrace comes as UK gin sales continue to boom – analyst Mintel estimates that total gin sales were worth £1bn in 2015, and will top £1.3bn by 2020.

Hi-Spirits managing director Dan Bolton said: “Scapegrace is a great addition to our gin portfolio, as a premium spirit that carries New Zealand’s reputation for clean, fresh flavours with it.

“Consumers increasingly enjoy a range of gins and gin serves in their drinking repertoire. Along with offering on-trade and off-trade retailers classic and modern gins, both British and global, we’re helping them to plan their ranges and segment the gin category to meet consumer expectations.”

High profile marketing support will include a brand ambassador and a customised branded Scapegrace Gin camper van, which will be offered as both a consumer prize for festival trips as well as doubling as a pop-up bar and being used for trade incentives. Sampling, POS, and staff training in both the on-trade and off-trade are also planned.

Scapegrace gin is 42.2% ABV with an RSP of £39.99. Suggested serves for Scapegrace include:

Gin & Bit

  • 50ml Scapegrace Gin
  • Bitter Lemon

Pour over ice, top with bitter lemon and garnish with two slices of orange.


  • 45ml Scapegrace Gin
  • 12.5ml maraschino liqueur
  • 8ml crème de violette
  • 12.5ml fresh lemon juice

Shake, double strain into a coupe.

More details at

For more information, please contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email or see The full Hi-Spirits portfolio is online at

Lock in Christmas prices for the best deals, urges Lynx Purchasing

October 2016

Caterers should be negotiating with suppliers now in order to lock in prices on food and drink for Christmas menus, says buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.

With sterling having fallen sharply in the wake of the Brexit vote in June, uncertainty over both pricing and availability is expected to be a factor in the supply chain throughout the rest of the year and into 2017.

The warning note comes as Lynx Purchasing publishes the Autumn/Winter 2016 edition of its regular Market Forecast for the catering and hospitality sector. Rachel Dobson, Lynx Purchasing manager director, said, “We’re now clearer on the timetable for Brexit, but not the detail of what it will mean in terms of our trading relationship with Europe and the rest of the world.

“It’s understandable that suppliers are building plenty of caution and caveats into their forecasts, and with a wide range of products seeing changes in price, caterers will need to keep a close eye on their costs over the coming months.

“When it comes to produce for Christmas menus, our best advice this year is that it’s never too early to start talking to suppliers. Orders that are locked in early provide certainty for everyone, and it looks unlikely that there’ll be too many last minute bargains on offer come December.”

Product areas featured in the Market Forecast include:

  • Turkey: The UK imports a significant number of fresh turkeys from the EU, and while this will be affected by the exchange rate, there is a good supply of birds which could help to keep prices competitive. Turkey for added-value products, such as stuffed or flavoured joints, comes mainly from South America and is traded in dollars, so while availability is good, higher prices than last year are inevitable.
  • Dairy: With many dairy farmers having exited the market, prices are now moving up. While the price of milk often hits the headlines, for caterers the prospect of a sharp increase in the cost of butter, cream and cheese should also be a concern.
  • Salmon: Salmon is always a Christmas favourite on menus. However, with problems in Chile caused by an algal bloom that has killed millions of farmed fish, and a fall in production in Norway, the supply of fresh, frozen and smoked salmon is unlikely to improve by the end of the year.
  • Prawns: A hugely popular product for Christmas starters, prawns are in short supply after a sharp drop in the availability of warm water prawns. Severe weather conditions in Asia earlier this year have affected the volume of supplies from India, Bangladesh and Vietnam, inevitably pushing up prices.
  • Cooking Oil: The UK inflation figures for August showed a sharp 12.8% uplift in the price of oils and fats. With all oil initially traded in Chicago, the cost has been affected by the weaker exchange rates, and both rapeseed and sunflower prices have jumped dramatically following the Brexit vote. With unpredictable weather patterns also playing a big part, the price of cooking oil is expected to remain high into 2017.
  • Salad: Spain supplies much of the UK’s leafy salads during autumn and winter, but there are suggestions that some Spanish growers will be looking to reduce their exposure to the UK market this season. This is as much to do with the UK’s retail price wars as with concern over Brexit and the lower value of sterling, with the low prices paid by supermarkets deterring growers.

Dobson adds: “Our advice to caterers is to be cautiously optimistic. There are clearly challenges ahead, but as ever there will also be opportunities, especially if operators can build enough flexibility into menus to make the most of produce when availability, quality and value are best.”

The Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast combines official inflation data with exclusive insight from across the range of suppliers Lynx works with. A FREE copy of the Autumn/Winter 2016 edition can be downloaded at or via the link Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast Autumn Winter 2016.

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 377 845


Hi-Spirits to Distribute Our/London vodka

Micro-distilled spirit Our/London vodka is to extend its reach after agreeing a distribution partnership with Hi-Spirits.

The move will make the vodka available through Hi-Spirits across the UK on-trade and off-trade.   Our/London is a wheat-based vodka, with a fresh, pure flavour and a fruity note. Its smooth character means it can be enjoyed on its own, as well as in cocktails and mixed drinks.

The distillery in Hackney Downs, East London is one of a global network that also sees Our/Vodka produced in micro-distilleries in Berlin, Detroit, Amsterdam and Los Angeles, with more to follow. The same recipe is used internationally, but with local ingredients giving each Our/Vodka a unique character.

The new partnership builds on a network of stockists for Our/London which already includes

retailers Selfridges, Fenwick’s and Harvey Nichols, drinks specialists Whiskey Exchange and Master of Malts, e-commerce through 31 Dover and Amazon, and on-trade operators Cosy Club, Bistrotheque and Balans Soho Society.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “Our distribution expertise will make this authentic, premium vodka much more widely available. Our/London taps into long-term trends in both the on- and off-trade for premiumisation, authenticity and provenance and consumer’s increasing preference for quality over quantity when enjoying drinks.

“The Our/London and Hi-Spirits teams are a great fit and we are excited to work together to increase the brand’s distribution both in London and the wider UK market. By adding Our/London to our portfolio alongside Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Moskovskaya, we’re expanding and differentiating the choice for operators when planning a vodka range.”

Our/London partners Neil Chivers and Clive Watson said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the Hi Spirits team. From our very first meeting it was clear that they understood what we were about and, given their great reputation and existing portfolio, we felt they were best placed to help take our business to the next level.

“We’re confident the new relationship will lead to continued growth and ensure that nationwide availability of Our/London vodka increases to both the trade and consumers alike.”

Our/London vodka is 37.5% ABV, with an RSP of £19 for a 350ml bottle.

For more information, please contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email or see The full Hi-Spirits portfolio is online at


For media information please contact John Porter at ShielPorter Communications 07734 054389

Note to Editors: The Our/Vodka network is the brainchild of Åsa Caap and four entrepreneurs from Great Works in Sweden. The Our/Vodka brand is funded by Pernod Ricard Holding, but operates independently from the Pernod Ricard distribution network

Our/Vodka works with local partners in each city to add their own stamp and character. The Our/London partners are Hackney dwellers Neil Chivers and Clive Watson.

Make Sausage Week Sales Sizzle, says Bestway Wholesale

October 2016

Operators should make the most of the opportunity to put a sizzle in sales not just on Halloween and Bonfire Night, but right through British Sausage Week, says Bestway Wholesale.

The week-long British Sausage Week promotion, running from 31 October to 6 November, takes in the key Halloween and Bonfire Night trading days, occasions which are ideal for sausage snacks and main courses.

Ron Hickey, Bestway Wholesale’s catering and on-trade sales director, says: “UK consumers have an enduring love affair with the great British banger and this national celebration of the sausage, now in its 19th year, is an ideal opportunity for caterers to get creative with this menu classic, to help attract new customers and generate some interest in the local press and on social media. From main courses to sandwiches and sharing platters, sausages are a versatile and popular menu offering.”

Hickey adds: “The week is the ideal time to introduce new sausage dishes or varieties of sausage to menus, such as a sausage sharing board as a snack, or a sausage meat burger. Caterers could also consider launching a sausage and mash mix-and-match board, adding a choice of ‘extras’ such as freshly chopped onion or a local cheese to mash.”

There are in-store butchery departments in 30 Bestway and Batleys depots, with trained butchers on hand to prepare meat to customers’ specific requirements, including handmade sausages.

There are also special offers on Halloween party products in Bestway and Batleys depots, including:

  • San Pellegrino Blood Orange 24x330ml £8.49
  • Monster Energy 12x500ml £8.45
  • Cadbury Spider 26 x 33g £8.99
  • Cadbury Ghooost Egg 48 x 40g £15.49
  • M&M’s Peanut Halloween Treat Bags 16 x 90g £10.99

Ron Hickey’s Top Tips for Sausage Week Success

  • Offering a sausage and mash mix-and-match board, where customers can choose their own variety of sausage, mash and gravy;
  • Feature sausages on snack and lunchtime menus, offering dishes such as sharing sausage platters with a selection of mustards, hot dogs, honey glazed chipolatas, sausage rolls or a sausage sandwich;
  • Offer special sausage dishes for Halloween and Bonfire night, such as Bonfire bangers and beans with jacket potatoes, bean and sausage hotpot, or hot dogs with a choice of toppings;
  • Use a local ale to add a special touch to gravy;
  • Add sausage dishes to your kids’ options, such as a sausage and mash hedgehog, sausage pasta or a mini sausage burger.

Bestway Wholesale:  01738 646666

Hogs Back Brewery embarks on £400,000 expansion programme

October 2016

The arrival of three new fermenting and maturation vessels at Hogs Back Brewery has marked the start of a £400,000 expansion programme at the Surrey brewer.

The installation of one 80-barrel and two 120-barrel dual purpose vessels also includes the infrastructure for a further four 120-barrel vessels, as well as a new boiler and chilling system for the entire brewery.

The capital investment at the brewery in Tongham will also see the building of a new hop store and racking building, with a keg racker and sterile filtration equipment. A second warehouse will be built beside the existing listed barn, which will free space for a new visitors’ centre.

Hogs Back is also investing in jobs, with two new assistant brewers having already joined the team, and the business is now searching for additional marketing and sales staff.

The tricky task of manoeuvring the three stainless steel tanks, the heaviest weighing 3.2 tonnes, involved a 50-foot crane. The vessels will be used to ferment and mature Hogstar English Craft Lager to keep up with growing demand. They will also provide more capacity for the brewery’s new craft keg beer, London’s Outback, which was launched at Craft Beer Rising earlier this year.

Hogs Back owner Rupert Thompson said: “Hogstar is an authentic lager which is matured for a minimum of 28 days in order to give the beer its combination of depth of flavour and refreshment. With sales of Hogstar growing in bottles, cans and kegs we needed increased maturation capacity and to free up fermentation space for our bestseller,TEA.

“The successful launch of London’s Outback has also created a need for increased kegging capacity, and the filtration plant will allow us to do small runs of cans on site.

“Our biggest challenge is adding capacity on our existing small site. There were one or two sharp intakes of breath as the new vessels were moved into place, but our location in Tongham is an integral part of our identity.

“This is where we grow our hops and brew our beer, and it’s well worth the time and investment needed to expand on our existing site, in order to retain our place at the heart of the local Surrey community.”

Caption to attached image: one of the new fermentation and maturation vessels is lowered by crane into the Hogs Back Brewery in Tongham