Tesco listing for Tails Cocktails

April 2017

Cocktail enthusiasts are raising a glass to Tesco after the UK’s biggest retailer listed the Tails range of premium pre-mixed cocktails in 290 stores.

The move brings some of the most popular cocktail bar favourites into the at-home market for the first time. The Tails range is crafted in collaboration with global cocktail experts including mixologists, master distillers and flavour experts, and made with premium spirits and ingredients.   

Tesco is stocking four Tails varieties in exclusive 50cl bottles:

·         Espresso Martini: 15% ABV, £10 RSP

·         Elderflower Collins: 10% ABV, £8 RSP

·         Berry Mojito: 10% ABV, £8 RSP

·         Moscow Mule: 10% ABV, £8 RSP

Nick Wall, managing director of Tails, said: “We’re delighted that the Tails range is now available through Tesco, enabling consumers to enjoy premium cocktails in an easy-to-serve format. An indulgent Espresso Martini, or the Berry Mojito variation on the best-seller, along with our other premium varieties, are the highest quality premixed cocktails available.

“Figures from Kantar show that couples enjoying a night in, celebrations and socialising are key occasions for enjoying cocktails at home.  There’s also an opportunity to carry over the growing popularity of matching cocktails with food from the casual dining market, especially US, Mexican and Italian dishes.

“While people enjoy experimenting with their own recipes, there’s nothing to compete with a professionally-mixed cocktail.”

Dan Bolton, managing director of Tails distributor Hi-Spirits, said: “These much-loved cocktail varieties have helped drive the boom in sales in the on-trade, and consumers can now recreate the experience at home. With no compromise on quality, the Tails range takes the home cocktail market to the next level.”

The Tails launch in Tesco is being supported with in-store tastings and displays, as well as coverage in the Summer Drinks feature in Tesco Magazine.

Pub-goers looking for a ‘One Stop Shop’ online

March 2017

Cross-industry co-operation will drive pub visits, survey shows

Pub customers want a ‘one stop shop’ single online solution to keep them informed about pubs in their area and encourage them to visit.

The findings, from new research commissioned by, are a clear message to the pub sector that cross-industry co-operation is the key to building loyalty and increasing trade for both pub operators and brand owners.

The survey of 874 members and social media users found that nine out of 10 want to find out about events and activity at all their local pubs from one website, rather than by trawling individual sites or signing up to multiple mailing lists.

Founder and managing director of Stuart Mills said, “Today’s consumers increasingly rely on a single, trusted online brand to make informed choices, whether it’s Just Eat to order a takeaway or Rightmove to find a new home. As the leading digital platform for the UK pub & bar industry, is already that same trusted source of information for hundreds of thousands of pub customers every month, and our survey clearly shows that the more effectively the industry co-operates, the more opportunities there are for everyone.

“Consumers now have a huge range of choice on how to spend their leisure time, but when it comes to going to the pub, they find it frustrating and difficult that the information they need is in many places online, and is often out of date. It’s very simple for pubs to keep their information on accurate and current, enabling consumers to find everything they’re looking for in one place, and so encouraging them to go to the pub more often.

“Individual pub websites play an important role, but both our research, and our years of experience, demonstrate that when individual licensees, pub groups and brands work in partnership with, we all benefit as an industry.”

Other key findings of the survey include:

  • Three-quarters of respondents said they would go to the pub more often if they were prompted.
  • Three out of four people look online before going out, and 40% have gone on to visit a pub or bar specifically because of the information they found at
  • In terms of frequency, six out of ten people would like to receive information about their local pubs at least once a day.

Mills added, “Ensuring customers can easily find information about their local pubs is the key to encouraging them to drop in more often. Pubs who engage with their customers via will see them visiting more frequently – and as one-fifth of survey respondents said they would recommend us to a friend, the number of regulars will also grow.”

The survey results also revealed demographics about members. While around 70% are men, and 54% fall within the 25-54 age group, Mills emphasises that “our members come from right across the spectrum, male and female, married and single, and from millennials to families and older ’silver surfers’, all of whom pubs need to engage with online.” was founded in 2009, and celebrates the role of local pubs and bars in our communities, and actively encourages people to visit their local more often by connecting pubs and brands with consumers. It lists 75,000 pubs, bars and clubs. Every month, 400,000 consumers visit to find out about events, food and drink menus, brand activity and promotional offers to help them plan their pub visit. Of these, 20,000 members have opted to follow one or more local pubs and receive regular notifications from giving them news about those pubs.

The survey is based on 874 responses to a bespoke questionnaire sent to members and social media followers.

Menu ‘Spring Clean’ essential to tackle food inflation, warns Lynx Purchasing

March 2017

Foodservice operators will need to rethink many core menu items in order to protect their business from inflation and other rising costs in the months ahead, warns buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.

The newly-published Spring 2017 edition of the Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast comes as the eating-out sector gears up for a challenging year. Included for the first time is ‘the Lynxometer’, analysis of a basket of goods routinely bought by hospitality and catering operators which shows a 9% year-on-year increase between March 2016 and March 2017.

Alongside the impact of food and drink inflation, issues such as the business rates revaluation and the latest Living Wage increase are all putting pressure on operators’ margins.

“We’re urging operators to give their menus a thorough ‘spring clean’ in order to identify dishes where they can build in a defence against the impact of rising costs,” says Rachel Dobson, managing director of Lynx Purchasing.

“For example, the widely-reported problems with salmon supplies, which are expected to mean volatile prices and smaller fillets until the autumn, favours operators who can keep their offer flexible in terms of the fish species they use, using specials boards to highlight the best fish, both the British catch and imported varieties.”

“With British meat in higher demand, driven in part by the rising cost of imports, switching between different cuts according to availability will help to maintain margin on for key dishes such as a Sunday roast. There are also opportunities to reinvent traditional slow-cooked dishes making use of less popular cuts, while still engaging customers with updated recipes and upmarket presentation.”

Other issues highlighted in the Spring 2017 edition of the Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast include:

  • Continued challenges with imported produce, following wet weather and freezing temperatures in much of southern Europe, at the start of the year. UK brassicas and root vegetables, including Savoy cabbage, cauliflowers, parsnip, swede, turnips and beetroot, will represent better value until home-grown salad lines kick in in May.
  • High global demand for dairy produce; and with many UK farmers having exited the market in recent years, reliance on imports is greater. Caterers have already seen price hikes for butter, cream and cheese from some suppliers.
  • Many wine suppliers have already raised their prices or are planning increases when supply agreements come up for renewal. The lower pound means operators will need to factor in an increase of around 10% in wine prices, although regular wine list changes will make a difference – for example, Australia had a good grape harvest in 2016, so will have plenty of high quality wine on the market.

Dobson adds: “Clearly, we’re in for some challenging times ahead, with food and drink inflation combining with other increased costs. Consumer confidence will be key, so those operators that offer appealing, innovative menus that represent good value will be in the strongest position.

“We’re also emphasising the opportunities to save costs in all areas of the business.  Alongside our long-standing partnerships with specialists in areas such as utilities and telecoms, we now work with a specialist business rates consultant able to advise on appeals.”

The Spring 2017 edition of the Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast, including a FREE download, can be founded at Lynx Purchasing Market Forecast Spring-2017

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 welcomes Tales of the Cocktail to Edinburgh

February 2017

Hi-Spirits is bringing a selection of its leading brands out in force when the Tales of the Cocktail festival comes to Edinburgh in April.

Southern Comfort, Buffalo Trace, Fernet Branca and Brooklyn Gin will all have a high-profile presence during Tales of the Cocktail on Tour, a five-day celebration of cocktail culture which runs in Edinburgh from 1- 5 April.

Hi-Spirits, UK distributor of a range of leading spirits brands, is making the most of the first visit of the touring version of the world’s leading cocktail festival to Europe.  Activity in Edinburgh during Tales of the Cocktail on Tour includes:

·         The Branca Breakfast, held at the Voyage of Buck bar on Saturday 1 April. Complimentary for the first 150 bartenders who collect Tales of the Cocktail tickets, this is an opportunity to stimulate appetites for the days ahead with classic Italian aperitif Fernet Branca. Voyage of Buck will also be serving a Branca Cocktail menu throughout the festival.

·         A series of ‘Dynamic Duo’ pairs will see bartenders from the US and UK team up throughout the festival, with the first session, featuring Southern Comfort, held at the Hoot the Redeemer bar.

·         The Southern Comfort #SouthernWelcome party at the Hoot the Redeemer bar, also on the first day of the festival. This will feature Southern Comfort cocktails matched to southern-style food, along with a live band.

·         The acclaimed Buffalo Trace speakeasy-style Buffalo Bourbon Empire will set up shop in the Bryant and Mack Detective Agency cocktail bar for the duration of the festival. The whiskey selection will include three vintages of the Buffalo Trace Antique Collection, along with the Pappy Van Winkle whiskey range, and vintage cocktails made with Branca vermouth from the 1940s.

·         There will also be a series of exclusive Buffalo Trace whiskey tastings for trade customers throughout the festival. Keep an eye on @buffalotraceuk for further details.

·         Jason Coleman, Sazerac Brand ambassador from New Orleans, will team up with a UK bartender for a Dynamic Duo’ session, held at Bryant and Mack on Sunday 2 April.

·         All things Brooklyn come to the award-winning Bramble Bar & Lounge on Monday 3 April, with a ‘Dynamic Duo’ event spotlighting Brooklyn Gin. Jan Warren from Dutch Kills, New York pairs up with Bramble’s own Jon Hughes to create killer cocktails followed by old school Hip-Hop, street art, hot dogs and an exclusive performance from special guest DJ Jazzie B (Soul II Soul).

·         Sazerac Rye Whiskey is sponsoring a seminar based on New Orleans Classic Cocktails, hosted by Phil Greene, cocktail historian, author and founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail.  The event, on Monday 3 April, showcases brands including Sazerac Rye, Southern Comfort, Peychaud’s Bitters, Peychaud’s Aperitivo, Praline Liqueur and Herbsaint.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “We’re delighted to be part of the warm welcome that Edinburgh is extending to Tales of the Cocktail on Tour on its first visit to Europe. We’ll be giving both bar professionals and cocktail lovers plenty to celebrate.”

The main Tales of the Cocktail festival was first held in 2002 and takes place in New Orleans every summer. Tales of the Cocktail on Tour was founded in 2011 to bring the spirit of the festival to other cities, as well as to celebrate the local cocktail culture of each host city. 

The full schedule and details of timings in Edinburgh are online at 

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




Sekforde mixers unlock the flavours of dark spirits

February 2017

Bespoke Botanical Mixers for whiskey and rum launch at Pub 17

Pubs and bars can enhance the flavour of premium and craft dark spirits in a refreshing serve with the launch of Sekforde Bespoke Botanical Mixers.

The all-natural mixers are designed to complement the flavours of rum and whiskey without overpowering their character, helping operators capitalise on the continued strong growth of premium spirits in the on-trade – 25% of customers now frequently drink cocktails and mixed drinks made with premium spirits (CGA, 2016).  Family-owned start-up business Sekforde is targeting both pub and bar groups and independents.

Sekforde for Rum is made with aromatic lime, while Sekforde for Whiskey includes delicate orange. Both use a subtle, balanced blend of natural botanicals and English spring water, with each lightly carbonated 200ml serve containing fewer than 40 calories. That means customers stay under 100 calories with a standard spirit single and under 150 calories with a standard double – less than a large glass of wine or a pint of beer. They also come in well below the proposed sugar tax threshold, with no artificial sweeteners, flavours or preservatives.

The two recipes were created on Sekforde Street in London, giving the business and brand its name.  Founder Talula White’s husband Tom originally combined fruit and herbs with natural spring water to develop mixers which are as refreshing when combined with dark spirits as tonic water is with gin.

She says: “Sekforde mixers are the first to be individually designed to complement and enhance the flavour profiles of rum and whiskey, not crowd them out. Creating a bespoke mixer for each spirit, as well as developing new flavour combinations, is a genuine innovation and reflects people’s increasing desire to enjoy the flavour of craft spirits in new ways.”

“Unlike tonic waters, there is no quinine in our recipes. Without the need to balance this strong flavour, we use less than half the sugar found in a conventional mixer.”

Consumer demand

She adds: “Our taste trials show that consumers welcome new ways to enjoy dark spirits, especially with new and interesting botanical flavour combinations, rather than drowned in sugary cola or ginger ale. For operators, we’re expanding the serves for rum and whiskey – including both bourbon and Scotch – and the occasions when they can be enjoyed.

“Our approach is to honour the traditions and dedication which go into making premium whiskey and rum by pairing them with our dedicated Sekforde mixers, crafted with the aim of enhancing the beautiful flavour profiles in these spirits we love.”

Taking bar staff skills and speed of service into account, Sekforde is as easy to mix behind the bar as a G&T, creating a refreshing long drink in seconds, with the sophisticated profile of a cocktail in a simple serve. Branded glassware and POS promoting the serves are available.

The Sekforde Perfect Serve:

  • Sekforde for Whiskey: Orange and a hint of rosemary help develop the subtle toasted grain sweetness. On the finish, the oak, dried fruit and spice flavours are highlighted by our combination of bitters. Serve in a tumbler or bowl glass with ice and a twist of orange peel and if liked a sprig of rosemary.
  • Sekforde for Rum: Lime and green herbs give a sophisticated edge to the molasses or tropical fruit sweetness of the spirit. There is a bitter sweet finish, lifted with a touch of mint. Serve in a tumbler or bowl glass with ice and a twist of lime peel and perhaps a sprig of mint.

For more information:



Twitter/Facebook: @Sekfordedrinks, Instagram: sekfordedrinks




Sekforde Bespoke Botanical Mixers are available to the UK on-trade through Boutique Bar Brands, email, or call 0207 7175560; or via Nectar Imports:  / 0800 028 0511

Tasting notes:

  • Sekforde Delicate Orange and Istrian Botanicals for Whiskey

The first flavour is sweet orange, especially if garnished with the signature serve garnish of an orange twist. The heart of the whiskey flavour should then fill the palate; lengthened and teased out with a hint of rosemary you should find a complexity that can be rather hard to pick out in the neat spirit. Highlighted by our combination of dry bitters, the whiskey finish will last longer than usual and may surprise you – look for hidden dried fruit and spice notes. Sekforde is versatile and makes a beautiful drink with all bourbons and most blended Scotches, especially with a sherry cask influence – but avoid mixing with Islay single malts because the stronger peaty or phenol flavours can be a mismatch.

  • Sekforde Aromatic Lime and Mistral Botanicals for Rum

Aged rums exhibit a broad flavour spectrum, and with Sekforde, the mixed drink is reflective of the character of the spirit. Lime is a classic partner to rum, but Sekforde offers a great deal more. The initial rum taste is always sweet, with hints of tropical fruits, vanilla, caramel, through to molasses in the darkest and stickiest of rums. We complement these flavours with a combination of aromatic herbs such as thyme and sage, lightened with rose – fresh and aperitivo-like on its own, this combination lends a sophisticated depth to the sweetness of the rum. The rum’s finish, typically spicebox or tobacco, is lifted with a refreshing finish including a hint of mint.

The Names: Inspiration

People often ask us where the names come from – the flavour combinations are inspired by the natural botanicals in the landscape around the northern Adriatic, or Istria (including Croatia and Slovenia), and the South-East of France where the Mistral wind blows.

The on-trade spirits market:

CGA Strategy’s Mixed Drinks Report 2016 found that 78% of British bars now sell cocktails and mixed drinks. Across the licensed trade as a whole—including pubs, restaurants and hotels as well as bars—penetration is now at 28%, with cocktails and mixed drinks are most popular in London, where 36% of outlets now sell them. 25% of on-trade customers now frequently drink cocktails and mixed drinks made with premium spirits.

Act Now To Tackle Inflation Impact, Warns Lynx Purchasing at Pub 17

February 2017


Operators need to take action to tackle the impact of food and drink inflation on their business, warns buying specialist Lynx Purchasing. The Lynx team will be at Pub 17 on 7 and 8 February to advise operators on ways to manage costs.


The new year has seen a wake-up call delivered to many pubs and bars in the form of supplier invoices for products bought during the key trading month of December, while impending price rises for many fresh produce prices as a result of bad weather in Europe have added to the challenges facing the sector.


Rachel Dobson, managing director of Lynx Purchasing, says, “Many found that much of the profit margin they were forecasting from the December sales  period were eroded by lower GPs.


“That is already a sobering thought for many operators as they face the prospect of the quiet trading months at the start of the year, and the steadily increasing food and drink inflation forecast throughout 2017 is also now starting to come through.  


“For example, dairy, and especially butter, has seen sharp price rises. Products imported from Europe were already costing more as a consequence of the fall in the value of sterling, and that will be compounded by the effect of bad weather on many salad lines and leafy vegetables grown in Europe.


“We’ve been able to negotiate on behalf of our customers to mitigate the impact, but many operators without access to specialist purchasing support will have seen significant increases in their buying costs, with more to come.”


For Peach Pubs, operator of 18 acclaimed food-led pubs, Lynx Purchasing has worked with suppliers to limit price increases on new menus introduced in January. Founder Hamish Stoddart said: “Rachel has worked really hard on our behalf, so while our wholesalers have imposed price rises in some areas of the menu, it hasn’t been on the most important lines for Peach.  


“This, along with Lynx’s expert negotiation, has got the increase down to something approaching OK, and in almost all areas of the menu, there won’t be any more increases until later in the year. I’m not celebrating, but I do believe it gives us a reasonable base for the first half of 2017.


“However, our suppliers are still under immense pressure and some of them will be losing money, so I expect more challenges later this year.”


Dobson adds: “We have a long-standing partnership with Peach. Their chefs have buying lists and know which suppliers they have to order from across every area of the menu. That level of discipline is going to be essential for operators during 2017 and beyond.


“No business will be immune to the effects of inflation, but our priorities are to negotiate the best possible prices with suppliers for our customers; to put pricing agreements in place which allow operators to plan menus with confidence; and to continue to share our insight into pricing and market trends.


“It is now more essential than ever for operators to plan their menus effectively, price their dishes profitably, and work closely with suppliers to maintain purchasing discipline. Those who fail to act now could well find themselves struggling very soon.”  


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.


Lynx Purchasing are on Stand 94 at Pub 17. For more information on Lynx Purchasing, visit  email or call 01325 377 845.