Lynx Purchasing launches new branding

September 2016

Hospitality and catering buying specialist Lynx Purchasing has launched new branding as the business gears up for an expansion drive.

The revamped marketing approach will reinforce Lynx Purchasing’s key strengths, emphasising the openness and trust that are at the heart of Lynx’s relationship with its customers in its target sectors, which include hotels, restaurants, cafés, pubs & bars and care homes.

With increased import costs as a result of the post-Brexit fall in sterling starting to filter through the supply chain, and operators competing hard for customer spend, Lynx is highlighting the savings it can deliver on food and drink purchases, and well as a wide range of other essential products and services.

A redesigned company logo, along with updated marketing messages, will appear on all of Lynx’s communications with the hospitality and catering sector, including its website, social media, printed material and trade exhibitions.

Rachel Dobson, managing director of Lynx Purchasing, says, “We operate in a very competitive market and it’s important that our key message to customers is clear – not all purchasing companies are the same, and with Lynx Purchasing what you see is what you get.

“Our job is to help operators buy better and save time and money, year after year, with 100% of the savings we negotiate passed on. We have a proven track record of successful partnerships with leading operators in the hospitality and catering sector, and as we enter a period of greater price instability, our new marketing and branding messages will help us reach even more of the operators who can benefit from our support.”

For more information on Lynx Purchasing, visit  email or call 01325 377 845

Second healthy hop harvest expected at Hogs Back Brewery

August 2016

Hogs Back Brewery is preparing for its second hop harvest this September, with expectations of a healthy crop thanks to favourable weather and skilful tending of the hop plants in the 3.5 acre garden, adjacent to the Brewery in Tongham, Surrey.

The 2016 harvest is expected to be between 40-50 zentners, or 2,000–2,500 kilos, which is more than double last year’s crop.

Hogs Back has continued to cultivate the same three hops it grew for its first harvest in 2015. These are the popular British varieties Fuggles and Cascade, along with Farnham White Bine, a local variety that was once prized for its aroma, but which had been ‘extinct’ until last year’s revival.

Hogs Back has used Farnham White Bine to create a single hop beer, Farnham White, which was initially available as a limited edition cask ale, and has now been launched as a bottled ale exclusive to Waitrose.

Hogs Back Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson said, “We’re looking forward to our second harvest. Last year, we left a lot of hops on the bine rather than picking them, in order to create stronger plants, so we’re hoping to literally reap the rewards this time with a yield of excellent quality hops.

“We doubled the number of strings to support the hop plants from two to four this year, and we’ve also been blessed with more hop-friendly weather with warmth, rain and sunshine at the right points in the growing cycle.

“The hop garden is a huge investment for us and we’re in it for the long term, learning and improving as we go. We’re delighted with the beers we produced from our own hops last season and excited about the potential that the hop garden gives us to create unique beers in the future. It also makes us a little more resilient than other brewers to the global hop shortage, particularly as we expand our plantings in future years to use more of our own hops in our beers, rather than buying in.”

He added, “Consumer interest in the hop garden has been bigger than we expected; 250 people came to our harvest party last year. In a crowded beer market, being the only UK brewer to grow our own hops gives us a point of difference that resonates with a growing number of consumers who are interested in sustainability and environmental issues.”

Hogs Back planted the hop garden in 2014, with the first harvest in September 2015. The initiative has already won accolades from the industry, with the British Beer & Pub Association’s Grain-to-Glass Award 2015 recognising the brewer’s commitment to sustainability and local community engagement and, earlier this year, the Society of Independent Brewers’ Business Innovation Award.

*The zentner is a traditional agricultural measurement of about 50 kilos, still used to measure hop harvests. 



  • Hogs Back Brewery was founded in 1992 in Tongham, Surrey, in the heart of the traditional Surrey hop growing area.
  • Its flagship brand TEA, or Traditional English Ale, is the leading independent ale in Surrey and increasing in popularity elsewhere. According to CGA Brand Index figures for the year to September 2015, TEA was the third biggest craft beer brand in volume growth terms in the on-trade, behind Brewdog Punk IPA and Goose Island IPA, and saw the biggest growth of any cask ale brand.
  • The Hogs Back Brewery range includes a number of award-winning draught and bottled beers. Recent launches include Hogstar English Craft Lager and Montezuma’s Chocolate Lager, both demonstrating Hogs Back’s ability to combine brewing expertise and tradition with product innovation to create distinctive, memorable beers. Hogstar won a Gold award at the Society of Independent Brewers’ National Keg Beer Competition 2015. In 2013, Hogs Back also launched a traditional cloudy cider, Hazy Hog.
  • In September 2015 Hogs Back Brewery harvested the first hops from its own hop garden on a 3.5 acre plot adjacent to the brewery, bringing the traditional but near-extinct Farnham White Bine hop variety back to its Surrey home. Once fully mature, the hop garden will provide 25% of the brewery’s hop requirements.
  • Hogs Back Brewery is growing its presence in both the on and off trade.  Customers include Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Lidl, Majestic Wine, JD Wetherspoon, Mitchells & Butlers, Greene King and Spirit Pub Company.
  • Hogs Back Brewery is growing its presence in both the on and off trade.  Customers include Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Lidl, Majestic Wine, JD Wetherspoon, Mitchells & Butlers, Greene King and Spirit Pub Company.

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, 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 or see The full Hi-Spirits portfolio is online at

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 or see The full Hi-Spirits portfolio is online at

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 or see