New wine-focused bar and dining offer to open in Henley

April 2019

Hof’s offers handcrafted wines and education

Hof’s offers handcrafted wines and education

Hof’s, the newest addition to Henley’s thriving food and drink scene, is set to open its doors on Saturday 13 April on the site of the former Station House pub on Market Place.

The brainchild of South African wine guru Christopher Hof, the new Brakspear-owned venue will offer customers a unique selection of wines from smaller vineyards around the world, coupled with advice and education. Hof’s has been supplying handcrafted South African wines to restaurants across the globe since 2009, but the Henley site is its first retail outlet.

Hof’s will sell more than 25 wines, served by the glass, bottle and in flights of three or five glasses, chosen by the customer or recommended by one of the in-house wine experts who will be on hand at the venue’s tasting table, to guide them on their wine journey.

As well as wines, Hof’s will sell Brakspear cask ales and a full range of draught products. There will also be a good selection of bottled beers as well as a select list of expertly-served cocktails.
The kitchen at Hof’s will open on 26 April, with a focus on meat and fish dishes from South Africa, Germany, Switzerland and Japan, with a deli section offering hearty bites such as Salt Beef bagels, Beorewors and Biltong, all made on site. Sharing foods as well as individual serves feature on the menu. From opening day on 13th, a range of bar nibbles will be available.

Christopher Hof explains: “Hof’s is all about bringing the vineyard to the customer, helping them to further their wine appreciation. We have all the well-known wine styles, as well as some more unusual ones not widely available in the UK, so we have something for wine novices and connoisseurs alike.

“Although we’re serious about our wines, Hof’s has an informal, friendly vibe. People are welcome to join us for a glass of a wine they already love, or let us choose a flight of new styles that will expand their wine horizons. And we’ve a full bar to cater for customers who prefer beer, spirits or soft drinks.”

Ahead of opening, Hof’s is undergoing a refurbishment, designed to reflect its wine credentials, and training the 10 new team members, led by front of house manager Sophie Meldau, who has worked for Hof’s wine business for a number of years, delivering wine tastings and events around the world.

Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said: “We’re delighted to welcome Christopher, Sophie and their team to Brakspear and to Henley. Their proposition of handcrafted wines and wine education is quite distinct from anything else currently offered in the town and we’re confident Hof’s will quickly find an appreciate audience. We look forward to helping them grow their business with Brakspear.”

Hof’s, 34 Market Place, Henley
Telephone: 01491 578574
Opening hours : Tuesday – Sunday 12 noon – 11.00
Food served: 12 noon – 3.30 and 6.00 – 10.00
Further information:


RedLeg Caramelised Pineapple spiced rum adds to the mix

April 2019

RedLeg spiced rum is extending its range with the launch of Caramelised Pineapple flavour, available in the UK from May 2019.

The launch comes as the rum category, and spiced rum in particular, continues to enjoy double digit growth. The new flavour expands on the established success of the RedLeg brand, which is growing faster than the market. RedLeg is owned by Distil and distributed by Hi-Spirits.

RedLeg Caramelised Pineapple has 100% natural pineapple and caramel flavour. This brings a new dimension to RedLeg’s original combination of rum rested in oak barrels and infused with Jamaican ginger and vanilla spices, creating a very accessible, mixable spirit.

Jade McKenzie, marketing co-ordinator at Distil said: “RedLeg is all about relaxing with good friends. Pineapples have long been a symbol of friendship and hospitality in the Caribbean, with islanders traditionally hanging pineapples on their doors to welcome all inside. Taking inspiration from this tradition, RedLeg Caramelised Pineapple is a celebration of friendship and good times.

“We expect the flavour profile to attract new consumers to the RedLeg brand and to the spiced rum category as a whole. As the gin boom has demonstrated, consumers are very confident about moving between flavours and styles within a popular spirits category, and RedLeg Caramelised Pineapple is the perfect reason to gather friends and explore new and great tasting cocktails.”

RedLeg Caramelised Pineapple combines well with simple mixers as well as in more complex cocktails. The recommended perfect serve is a simple Pineapple and Tonic, made by adding a double measure of RedLeg Caramelised Pineapple to a Collins glass with plenty of ice, a dash of gomme syrup topped with tonic water, and a squeeze of lime.

RedLeg Caramelised Pineapple is 37.5% ABV, with an RRP of £20. Its vibrant, stand out packaging gives it a high profile on every shelf or back bar.

For more information, please contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email or visit

Direct Seafoods warns chefs on halibut sustainability

April 2019

Direct Seafoods is urging chefs to take wild halibut off menus, and has pledged to only offer the farmed variety to its customers.

The move is in response to increased concern about the sustainability of halibut caught in the North Atlantic. With dishes such as roast halibut increasingly popular on menus, Direct Seafoods are encouraging their customers to use farmed fish sourced from both Scotland and Norway.

Direct Seafoods brings together 10 hospitality-focused regional fish businesses from Devon to Scotland under a national brand within the Bidfresh group, supplying thousands of chefs in restaurants, hotels, pubs and other hospitality sectors.

The business has invested in putting sustainability at the heart of its approach, with a specialist team led by Laky Zervudachi, director of sustainability. He said: “Halibut is an extremely slow growing species and is considered endangered. There is growing concern at the lack of co-ordinated and consistent management plans to rebuild stocks across the North Atlantic.

“This is particularly concerning as the true status is unknown, meaning that fishing continues to deplete potentially unsustainable stocks. We sometimes hear the excuse that that Norwegian Halibut is a by-catch species, but most halibut landed in Norway is from targeted longlines which, however well managed, are still targeting an endangered species.

“Direct Seafoods is clear that we won’t sell wild halibut until a truly demonstrable well-managed fishery is in place. The USA and Canada have proved that it is possible, and the Pacific halibut fishery has been MSC certified for many years. In the meantime, we’re urging chefs to avoid supporting the trade in endangered species and only put farmed halibut on menus.”

For more information, chefs are urged to contact Direct Seafoods on 01206 584 790 or, or their local group business. For more information see

Halibut and sustainability:
• The halibut is the largest flatfish, with the record sized fish of just over 230 kg caught off the coast of Norway.

• They are an extremely slow growing species and don’t reach sexual maturity until 10-14 years of age, meaning smaller fish are landed without having a chance to reproduce.

• Halibut has been on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) list of threatened species since 1996.

Gold Award for Hogs Back Unfiltered TEA

March 2019

Farnham-based Hogs Back Brewery is celebrating its latest prestigious award win, after its recently-launched Unfiltered TEA keg ale was given a Gold Medal by the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA).

Unfiltered TEA was named the best Keg British Beer for the South East in the up to 4.4% ABV category at the SIBA Independent Keg Beer Awards 2019. Judged by brewers and industry experts, the awards are given to the very best beers produced by Britain’s thriving independent brewing sector. The winners were announced at SIBA’s BeerX event, taking place in Liverpool.

The medal-winning beer is an unfiltered version of Hogs Back’s flagship TEA (Traditional English Ale). At 4.2% ABV, it is a full-bodied bitter, brewed in small batches using English malt carefully balanced with Fuggles hops, some of them grown in the Hogs Back hop garden.

Unfiltered TEA is cold-conditioned for one week. Being unfiltered keeps the sweet malty character of TEA during this process, so it can be served colder with an optimal flavour and a natural slight chill haze.

Rupert Thompson, managing director of Hogs Back Brewery, said, “We’re delighted that Unfiltered TEA has won such a high profile award from SIBA, so soon after its launch. It’s a testament to the hard work our Master Brewer Miles Chesterman and his team have put into crafting premium quality, great tasting keg beers which complement our established cask beer range, including TEA itself.”

Unfiltered TEA forms part of a four-strong Hogs Back keg beer range, alongside the rebranded Hogstar lager as well as Hog IPA and low ABV blonde beer Little Swine.

The award-winning Unfiltered TEA is available in the Hogs Back Brewery Shop, The Castle Inn in Farnham, G Live in Guildford and the Four Seasons in Dogmersfield

• Hogs Back Brewery has won a number of SIBA Awards in recent years. Hogstar won a Gold in the SIBA Independent Keg Beer Awards 2018 South East region, along with a Bronze medal nationally, and also won Gold nationally in the 2014 awards. Hogs Back also won the SIBA Business Innovation Award 2016 for the investment in its hop garden, which has been expanded this year.

Caption to attached image: Rupert Thompson, managing director, and Miles Chesterman, head brewer, pour a celebratory pint of award winning Hogs Back Brewery Unfiltered TEA.

Charity set up by industry entrepreneur launches “Pinkspiration” initiative

March 2019

A charity founded by an industry entrepreneur is appealing to hospitality operators to get involved in a fun awareness initiative to help drive blood stem cell donor registrations.

Unusually for a charity The Team Margot Foundation, co-founded by Yaser Martini, who is a board member of Beds and Bars, PubAid and Cirrus Inns, isn’t asking operators to raise money but instead to support in helping spread the message about blood stem cell donor registration through ‘Pinkspiration Week’ which is taking place from Tuesday, 23rd July to Tuesday, 30th July.

We Row You Register

This December, the Team Margot Atlantic Rowers, a team of four dads, skippered by Martin Beaumont whose late father Chris was the first CEO of industry charity Springboard, will be rowing across the Atlantic, in a pink boat, in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge. In the meantime, the boat will be doing a road trip around some of the participating ‘Pinkspiration’ venues, as part of the campaign.

The rowers hope the ‘Pinkspiration’ campaign will help make a significant contribution towards its ‘We Row You Register’ target of 1.5 million sign-ups to the register, with this number being targeted as it will take them around 1.5 million strokes to complete the challenge. If they succeed in reaching this target then statistically up to 15,000 lives could potentially be saved.

Orchard Pig backing team

The Team Margot Atlantic Rowers’ boat is sponsored by cider makers Orchard Pig, part of the C&C group. 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 – and hit that magic target of 1.5 million sign-ups.”

Operator support

Beds and Bars is among operators already set to take part in the awareness week, which is also being supported by UKHospitality, and which asks operators to embrace the Team Margot colour pink in their business for just a day or the full week.

Kate Nicholls, CEO of UKHospitality, said: “We will be helping to raise awareness of this important initiative and would encourage hospitality operators to get involved.”
She adds: “Stem cell donor registration is such an important issue and people have the opportunity to help save a life just by doing a simple cheek swab which only takes a couple of minutes.”

Getting involved: Pinkspiration ideas

Ideas for activity for the week include featuring a pink drinks list, having a ‘Drink Pink Day’, offering pink-inspired dishes or teams wearing pink to help raise awareness and encourage people to join the register.

The Team Margot Foundation was set up in 2015 in memory of Yaser’s daughter Margot and to honour her legacy after she lost her battle with blood cancer, aged two. One of the ways Margot might have been saved was through a well-matched stem cell donation from an unrelated donor on a register.

Margot’s father Yaser Martini said: “We are excited to be launching ‘Pinkspiration Week’ which we believe will be a fun way for hospitality operators to engage their customers around this important message of going on ‘standby to save a life’ through stem cell registration.”

He adds: “Sadly the register of stem cell donors just isn’t large enough or sufficiently diverse to meet patient needs, which is why we encourage every individual who is eligible, particularly those of mixed heritage to register1. If you are aged between 17-55 and in general good health you could save a life.”

Live Your Life, Save a Life

‘Pinkspiration Week’ ends on 30th July which is Franca Knowles’ birthday. Yaser says “My late friend Franca, who was people director at Beds and Bars, embedded a culture of ‘Live Your Life’ at the company and in the short time Margot was with us, it was clear that she loved life and wanted to live! So the aim of the ‘Pinkspiration’ campaign is to encourage people to ‘Live Your Life, Save A Life.”

Keith Knowles, CEO & founder of Beds and Bars said: “We have been supporting the Team Margot Foundation since 2014 and we will be supporting Team Margot Pinkspiration as part of our annual Live Your Life campaign in July.”

He adds: “Through the tragedy of loss, we have come to understand the simple opportunity there is to help save lives and be part of the cure for cancer today.”

Uniting the country through donation

Martini adds: “The country is polarised and we need a solution to unite people. This opportunity is for hospitality operators to lead the way in helping to unite the country around donation – we need to remind people that of course your views matter, but your humanity matters more. We would love to see other industries coming together in the same way as the hospitality sector to unite people around donation.”

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

Pic caption: Thinking pink: Team Margot Foundation founder Yaser Martini with the Team Margot Atlantic Rowers’ car and boat, which will be going 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to help drive blood stem cell register sign-ups

Look beyond Brexit to a sustainable approach, urges Lynx Purchasing

March 2019

Operators need to look beyond Brexit and focus on the opportunities that a sustainable approach to business offers, believes buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.

“In the current market, it can feel like a challenge to try and focus past the potential for supply chain disruption over the coming months, and onto the long term,” says Lynx managing director Rachel Dobson, “but that’s exactly what we’re encouraging hospitality businesses to do.

“One of the most important issues around Brexit, and one that is most difficult for operators to address directly, is consumer confidence. Consumers need to feel able to commit their disposable income to going out to eat and drink, and a clear message from the industry that, as far as possible, it’s business as usual, will help.”

The advice comes as Lynx publishes the Spring 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.

Dobson adds: “Efficient ordering, well-planned delivery schedules and reducing waste all play a part in this. In the short term, they help operators deal with any disruption to supply over the coming months, and over time, these measures will reduce the sector’s environmental impact, as well as increasing operators’ margins in the long term.”

The Market Forecast also focuses in detail on the potential supply chain challenges of the months ahead, emphasising that British produce is likely to be the least affected in the event of Brexit hitting supplies, “but with demand a big driver of price, operators are advised to keep menus flexible and work closely with suppliers,” advises Dobson.

Sectors covered in the Spring 2019 Market Forecast include:

Beef: The arrival of the barbecue season from Easter onwards will see an increase in the demand for burger cuts from the beef forequarter, as well as continuing demand for steaks, Round cuts such as topsides and silversides are likely to be better value.

Fish: Wild brill, turbot, monk and hake caught in UK waters should be plentiful, weather and tides permitting. Plaice will also be in good condition after the spawning season, from April onwards, while wild bass, skate and mullet should be avoided because of sustainability issues.

Potatoes: The 2018 potato crop was poor due to the weather, and led to a number of quality issues. While supplies are likely to last until the new season, larger potatoes such as bakers will be in shorter supply and so likely to cost more.

Salads: March sees the arrival of Dutch salad crops such as cucumbers, peppers and tomatoes, which gradually replace Spanish stocks as they come to the end of their season. The UK market is important to these producers, and any supply or currency issues caused by Brexit will be a challenge on both sides.

Dobson adds: “High quality British produce coming into season this spring includes rhubarb, asparagus, and Jersey Royals. While higher demand may push up prices, we’re encouraging our customers to buy British wherever possible, and to make the most of produce when it’s at its best in terms of price, quality and availability.

“Operators who can adapt recipes and menus will be best place to make the most of seasonality. These are simple measures that help operators deal with any short-term challenges in the supply chain, and also support sustainability.”

The Spring 2018 Market Forecast is available to download free from the Lynx Purchasing website at

Lynx Purchasing is launching a new sustainability programme in partnership with its key suppliers. As just one example, Lynx Purchasing has now joined the Sustainable Seafood Coalition, which is working to ensure that all fish and seafood sold in the UK comes from sustainable sources. “We’re the first purchasing group to join, and our membership is part of a wider commitment to sustainability across our business,” says Dobson.

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 710143.