PRESS RELEASES

Bartenders set for a Southern Showdown!

August 2016

Hi-Spirits launches Southern Comfort Cocktail Competition

Bartenders are being challenged to create a new cocktail using Southern Comfort, with a trip to New Orleans on offer to six regional winners.

The Southern Showdown cocktail competition is looking for unique new recipes that capture the spirit of the city of New Orleans, where the classic whiskey-based liqueur has its roots. Distributor Hi-Spirits is inviting bars from across the UK to submit entries online, with the best entrants invited to make their cocktail for judges at the six regional Showdowns.

All bars stocking Southern Comfort are invited to enter. Cocktail recipes should contain at least 50ml of Southern Comfort, and embody New Orleans in any way the entrant chooses. With food and drink at the heart of Southern hospitality, entrants will also be asked to which dish would go best with their creation.

Regional finalists will also be able to gain bonus points in the run-up to their Showdown by promoting and serving the cocktail in their venues, as well as spotlighting it on social media.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “New Orleans has one of the world’s greatest cocktail cultures, and the opportunity to compete in the grand final in the heart of the deep south will inspire UK bartenders to high levels of creativity.  Southern Comfort is a wonderfully versatile and mixable spirit, so it we’re expecting to see some real ingenuity and flair from entrants.

“The opportunity to be crowned champion in the home of Southern Comfort is a great incentive, and we’re expecting a hard-fought contest.”

Entrants have until 16 September to upload their recipe and an image at www.hi-spirits.com/southernshowdown, where full terms and conditions for the competition are also available. The regional finals will take place between 3 – 12 October, with the grand final in New Orleans from 27 – 31 October.    

To stock Southern Comfort, please contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email enquiries@hi-spirits.com or see www.hi-spirits.com. The full Hi-Spirits portfolio is online at www.hi-spirits.com/portfolio.

Hi-Spirits to distribute Paddy Irish Whiskey in the UK

June 2016

Hi-Spirits is to distribute Paddy, the world’s fourth biggest Irish whiskey brand, in the UK from July 1.

The new agreement covers distribution in the UK on-trade, off-trade and travel retail markets, and follows the acquisition of the Paddy brand by US spirits company Sazerac in May.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “Paddy is a wonderful fit with our existing portfolio. Both Irish and American whiskey have seen strong growth over recent years, and being able to offer our customers Paddy alongside the Buffalo Trace American whiskey portfolio is a significant development.

“We have a very successful track record in growing Sazerac brands, including Buffalo Trace and Fireball, in the UK market. The addition of Paddy, coming hot on the heels of Sazerac’s acquisition of Southern Comfort and Tuaca earlier this year, means it’s an exciting – and busy –  time for Hi-Spirits.”

Globally, Irish whiskey experienced the fastest volume growth of any spirits category in the last five years, and the Irish whiskey industry is projecting 100% growth by 2020. Sazerac has indicated that its acquisition of the Paddy brand will be supported by a sizeable investment to support its future growth.

Paddy Irish Whiskey will continue to be produced by former brand owner Irish Distillers at the Midleton Distillery in Cork. Irish Distillers is the producer of the world’s best-known and successful Irish whiskeys. Sazerac is one of New Orleans’ oldest family owned, privately held companies.

For more information, please contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email enquiries@hi-spirits.com or see www.hi-spirits.com. The full Hi-Spirits portfolio is online at www.hi-spirits.com/portfolio.

Epic Pubs set to open third pub

June 2016

Epic Pubs is to open its third pub, the Mill Street Pub & Kitchen in Oakham, Rutland. The pub, leased from Punch, is currently undergoing an extensive refurbishment and is due to open on 21 July.

Epic Pubs, which operates two other pubs in Northamptonshire and Berkshire, is led by managing director Andrew Coath. Coath has worked in the pub and hotel industry for 20 years, including Malmaison in Birmingham, and has received a commendation from the Queen for his contribution to hospitality.

Mill Street Pub & Kitchen, in the centre of market town Oakham, is Epic’s first pub with accommodation, offering seven boutique bedrooms. The 180-cover pub will feature an open kitchen, two private dining rooms including one with a private bar, and an urban country courtyard garden with banquet seating.

Coath said, “We are really excited to be entering the next phase of Epic’s development with this new pub, which will build on the success of our two existing businesses. Each Epic establishment is unique in character and style, but with the same consistent standards of excellence in our food, drink and service.

“We are creating a collection of pubs that as well as offering beautiful boltholes for dining and drinking, are investing back into their local communities. Further sites are planned, including more with bedrooms.”

Wayne McGarry, Development Manager at Punch, said, “We are delighted to have joined forces with Epic Pubs, who have an excellent portfolio of pubs as well as operational expertise. The redevel

Pictured (l-r): Epic Pubs chef/director Mark Austin; managing director Andrew Coath; central services director Wendy Twiddy and group operations director Jonathan Taylor

opment of the site brings Oakham a brand new sensational venue and we are looking forward to continuing working with them on the project and in the future”.

 

Hi-Spirits agrees UK & Ireland Distribution Deal with Toorank

June 2016

A newly agreed partnership sees Hi-Spirits become the exclusive UK and Ireland distributor for Dutch spirits producer Toorank.

Effective immediately, the agreement covers distribution of all Toorank’s business in the UK and Ireland. This includes private label spirits, challenger brands supplied to major retailers and the independent off-trade, and premium brands, principally Sloane’s Gin.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “The addition of Toorank adds significant volume to our already sizeable off-trade business, and we are confident we can grow it further. It also gives us the opportunity to work even more closely with multiple retailers, cash & carries and discounters on private label and NPD projects, where we see significant opportunities.

“Drawing on Toorank’s expertise in the production of high quality liquid and their supply chain flexibility, we will also be able to explore private label opportunities with key on-trade groups and wholesalers.”

Toon Blij, Toorank CEO and owner, said: “We are delighted to be working with Hi-Spirits in the UK and Ireland, our most important markets.  When we decided to switch our distributor, we challenged ourselves to create a genuine partnership, and Hi-Spirits matched our stringent criteria. Together, we can get closer to our customers and grow the business for mutual benefit.”

  • Toorank is a family owned business based in Zevenaar in Holland. The business operates a state of the art production facility in Holland and a further distillery in Poland, and has bottling capacity of 80 million bottles per annum.
  • Hi-Spirits is a drinks marketing and distribution specialist based in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey. The company distributes a wide range of brands in the UK on-trade and off-trade, including Southern Comfort, Tuaca, Buffalo Trace Bourbon, Antica Sambuca, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Fireball, Red Leg Spiced Rum, Broker’s Gin and Ron Abuelo Rum.

For more information, contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email info@hi-spirits.com or see www.hi-spirits.com.

Brexit fears driving up food costs, warns Lynx Purchasing

June 2016

Market fears over the UK’s potential exit from Europe are driving up food and drink costs for caterers, warns buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.

Uncertainty in the City over the outcome of the referendum on June 23 has seen sterling fall in value against both the euro and the dollar across the spring and early summer, pushing up fresh produce costs during a key period for imports.

The newly-published Summer 2016 edition of the Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast shows a range of factors linked to the European debate combining to put upward pressure on the prices being paid by caterers.

Rachel Dobson, Lynx Purchasing managing director, says, “Both the City and the supply chain thrive on certainty. There are clearly very strong views in both camps as to whether Brexit would be good for the UK in the long-term, but there’s no doubt that the extended debate before the referendum is having an impact.”

Factors with a European dimension which are causing challenges for suppliers include:

  • The weakening of sterling has hit the price of imports both from Europe and further afield. Summer salad produce such as tomatoes, lettuce and cucumbers is mainly imported from Europe, and more pork is also being imported as UK production declines.  Key commodities such as coffee and bananas are traded in dollars, also pushing up the prices paid by caterers.
  • The availability and cost of labour; the introduction of the National Living Wage in April has already increased labour costs, which are significant in an industry which has to work on low margins. Producers rely heavily on migrant labour from the EU for seasonal work such as picking and packing, and are worried about the longer term availability of these workers and the effect on their costs in the event Britain leaves. Higher prices for fuel are being paid by UK companies shipping from Europe, along with increased costs due to the migrant crisis. Hauliers have significantly increased the charge extra per pallet year-on-year to cover increased insurance costs – if a migrant is found in a vehicle the whole load is disposed of. There is also an additional cost in time for drivers delayed at ports.

“We are fortunate to the extent that these price increases are coming at the end of a very benign period for inflation,” adds Dobson. “Prices are building back up again from a low base, which gives operators time to plan. However, we expect a return to inflation later in the year regardless of the outcome of the referendum, and we advise all operators to look carefully at their costs.”

Other challenges set out in the Summer 2016 Market Forecast include strong demand for the most popular meat cuts during the peak barbecue season, as well as continuing higher prices for avocados, as producer struggle to keep with booming global demand for Mexican dishes on menus.

Dobson says, “As always, the Market Forecast shows a mixed picture for caterers as they plan summer menus. There are some challenges ahead, but operators able to ‘go with the flow’ and work with suppliers to get the best availability, price and quality will have the advantage.”

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 Summer 2016 edition can be downloaded at www.lynxpurchasing.co.uk or via the link Lynx Purchasing Market-Forecast-Summer-2016

Lynx Purchasing works with more than 2200 businesses including hotels, pubs, restaurants, healthcare and education providers. Lynx offers access to the best prices in the market, with no fees or contracts. Lynx customers also benefit from detailed market insight, enabling them to plan menus more effectively.

For more information on Lynx Purchasing, visit www.lynxpurchasing.co.uk  email savings@lynxpurchasing.co.uk or call 01325 377 845

Three Hogs backs England for Euro 2016

June 2016

Surrey craft brewer Hogs Back Brewery is supporting England’s Euro 2016 bid with a specially-brewed ale, Three Hogs, available throughout June.

Three Hogs is a quintessentially English golden ale; at 4% ABV, it is brewed with locally grown Fuggles hops, among others, and a selection of English malts. 

The pump clip substitutes England’s three lions with three Hogs Back hogs and describes the ale as ‘a beer of two halves’: refreshingly hoppy up front, followed by a balancing bitterness and a hint of sweetness to finish.

Hogs Back Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson said, “The Euros are going to be screened in thousands of pubs, with crowds of supporters rooting for England.  There’s no better way to toast the team’s triumphs, or commiserate if things don’t quite go their way, than with a pint of refreshing English ale brewed in their honour.

“We’d love to think that Vardy and Kane can lead the England team to Euros victory but, more pragmatically, we’d advise licensees to learn from the national team’s performance over the last 50 trophy-less years, and make sure Three Hogs is on tap for the group stage through to quarter finals, rather than the later matches.”

If England do defy the odds to reach the final, Hogs Back is offering a free pint of beer to any customer who visits its Brewery Shop in Tongham on Saturday 9 July to stock up for the big match on the Sunday.

Hogs Back Brewery is building a reputation for beers that offer a humorous take on events of national importance. Others that have peppered its seasonal ale programme include ‘Hogswallop’, which has been lubricating pub debate on the EU Referendum during May, and ‘England’s Mourning Glory’, which marked the national rugby team’s early exit from last autumn’s World Cup.