HRH The Princess Royal visits Dennys Brands in Leatherhead

February 2016

Hospitality uniform specialist Dennys Brands welcomed HRH The Princess Royal to its head office to mark 186 years of combined service between six long-serving employees, as a testament to the family values the company embodies.

The visit to Dennys Brands head office and distribution centre in Leatherhead took place on Tuesday 16 February. Established for over 176 years, the company was granted a Royal Warrant by HM The Queen in 2013 as suppliers of catering clothing to the Royal Household.

The Princess Royal met employees and was interested to learn how Dennys has expanded over recent years.

With Joseph Alan and London Tailors joining the Dennys family of brands, Dennys is now the go-to company for stylish uniform design of the highest calibre – providing bespoke and made-to-measure uniforms to the hospitality industry.

Her Royal Highness learnt from Master Tailor, Roger Gustavson, the difference in construction between a bespoke and made-to-measure suit and demonstrated considerable knowledge of textiles.

Dennys has had a shop in Soho since 1840, close to the heart of restaurant and hotel life. Now, after only a short delay of 176 years, their second store in Berners Street, W1 will open in April. This will be a flagship store catering for the ever expanding hospitality industry. Made-to-measure suits, shirts, shoes, stylish aprons and accessories will be under one roof in the new shop. Manager Pam Harte and her team told The Princess how excited they are to be having this new challenge.

Dennys Brands managing director Nick Jubert said: “We were delighted and honoured to welcome HRH The Princess Royal to Leatherhead, both to mark our employees’ commitment to the business, and to celebrate our continued success as we prepare for the opening of our flagship store in London’s West End and continue our export drive.”

The visit ended with Her Royal Highness presenting long service awards to those with over 20 years’ service and she unveiled a commemorative plaque and wished Dennys and all their staff continued success.

Gusto drives bookings with social media campaign delivered by Airship

February 2016

Contemporary Italian restaurant brand Gusto has boosted bookings and increased revenue thanks to an updated social media strategy implemented by digital marketing specialist Airship.

In a three-month trial, Gusto, part of the Living Ventures group, saw revenue from bookings through social media increase by more than £20,000 a month across its 12 restaurants.

Offering a combination of classic and contemporary Italian dishes, Gusto’s restaurants are inspired by the traditional Grand Cafés of Europe. Such grand sites require plenty of customers to fill them, and with social media increasingly important to the casual dining sector, Gusto turned to Airship.

The Airship strategy has significantly increased customer engagement with Gusto across key social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and trained Gusto staff to post messages, pictures and offers more effectively.

Crucially, this has not only seen an increase in the number of followers for each Gusto restaurant, but, as the revenue figures demonstrate, has also led to an impressive uplift in the number of customer engagements that convert to bookings.

Highlights of Airship’s successful three-month trial programme include:

More than 3,000 additional customer ‘likes’ on Facebook;

  • More than 3,800 additional Twitter followers;
  • More than 8,800 customer engagements with Gusto’s Instagram content;
  • A 478% year-on-year increase in customers coming to the Gusto bookings web page through Facebook and Twitter;
  • A 96% conversion rate of attributable social media traffic to the Gusto site into bookings.

Jon Batty, content services director of Airship, said: “Social media has changed the way consumers engage with brands, including restaurants. Any strategy has to be two-pronged; it has to offer consumers interesting and engaging content, but that needs to be balanced with content that converts into revenue, in this case in the form of restaurant bookings.

“We’ve worked with Living Ventures for some time, but every brand is unique, and in the case of Gusto we worked with their restaurant teams to ensure that the content, timing and consumer appeal of their social media post was focused on persuading customers to book a visit to ‘their’ Gusto.

”We’ve also built robust measurability into the system, so both we and Gusto can be confident that it is the social media strategy that is delivering the very significant upturn in bookings.”

Charlotte Solomon, group marketing manager, Living Ventures, said “Airship has delivered an extremely impressive return on our investment, whilst providing continual training and support. We’ve seen an exponential increase in followers, engagements and impressions across all platforms – in addition to being able to directly attribute how many sales we have acquired from social media.”


Hi-Spirits agrees distribution partnership with Brooklyn Gin

January 2016

As the UK’s love affair with gin continues, drinks marketing and distribution specialist Hi-Spirits has further strengthened its portfolio with a deal to supply Brooklyn Gin to the UK on-trade and off-trade.

Brooklyn Gin is handcrafted in New York using artisan methods and the finest natural ingredients, including fresh, hand-cut citrus peels and hand-cracked juniper berries and a neutral spirit made from corn grown in upstate New York. The flavour is fresh and complex, with juicy citrus notes that enhance both classic and contemporary gin serves.

Founded in 2010 by industry veterans Emil Jättne and Joe Santos, Brooklyn Gin has won awards including a double gold medal at the 2015 New York World Wine & Spirits

Jättne said: “We’re very excited to launch Brooklyn Gin in the UK, a place that is distinctive in its longstanding love of gin, and is the home of exceptional establishments and hospitality.  We look forward to working with Hi-Spirits to bring our one-of-a-kind gin to the fast growing group of craft spirit connoisseurs.”

Dan Bolton, managing director of Hi-Spirits, said: “Gin has been through an astonishing renaissance over past few years.  Consumers love classic serves such as the gin & tonic, martini and negroni, as well as the innovative new serves continually being developed by mixologists.

“Brooklyn Gin is a wonderful addition to our portfolio, allowing operators to offer a craft brand to customers for whom provenance is part of the enjoyment of drinking spirits at home or out with friends.

“Across our range we now have an unrivalled choice of mainstream, premium, niche and craft gins that enables our customers  to offer a range of styles and price points. “

RSP for Brooklyn Gin is £40.  Signature serves for the brand are the Brooklyn Gin Martini and the Bee’s Knees.


  • 62.5ml Brooklyn Gin
  • 12.5ml Dry Vermouth
  • 1 Dash Orange Bitters

Stir over ice, strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with a twist of lemon, or for a Brooklyn variation, a fresh kumquat.


  • 50ml Brooklyn Gin
  • 12.5ml Honey Syrup
  • 25ml Fresh Lemon Juice

Shake with ice, strain into a cocktail glass and finally, garnish with a twist of lemon.

The Hi-Spirits portfolio also includes Broker’s London Dry Gin, Blackwood’s Gin, Gin No.209, Langley’s No 8 Gin, and King of Soho Gin.  For more information, contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252100, email, or visit

Hogs Back Brewery puts Montezuma’s Chocolate Lager in keg

January 2016

Chocolate on tap

Customers in Mitchells & Butlers pubs will be able to satisfy their cravings for chocolate and beer in one easy serve, as Montezuma’s Chocolate Lager from Hogs Back Brewery goes into keg format in time for the three key chocolate occasions of Valentine’s, Mothers’ Day and Easter.

Montezuma’s is the world’s first authentic chocolate lager, launched in 2014 by Hogs Back Brewery in collaboration with Montezuma’s Chocolate.  Mitchells & Butlers will be the first operator to take the beer in keg, putting in on the bar in around 110 of their ‘Castle’ concept pubs.

A 4.5% ABV light, refreshing beer with a well-balanced chocolate and hop flavour, Montezuma’s won a Gold award at the International Beer Challenge 2014. It was developed by Hogs Back Brewery with Montezuma’s Chocolate, based in Sussex, using a natural essence from their ‘Lordy Lord’ dark chocolate bar.  The lager itself is based on the recipe for Hogs Back’s Hogstar English Lager, which is brewed with five different hops and special botanicals, and is matured for over a month to allow flavours to deepen.

Rupert Thompson, Hogs Back Brewery managing director, says, “Montezuma’s appeals both to beer ‘geeks’ looking to try something genuinely different, and to more mainstream drinkers who are intrigued by the idea of ‘chocolate in a glass’. We’re pleased to be putting this new, kegged version into more than 100 pubs at the peak time of year for consumer interest in all things chocolate.”

CAPTION TO ATTACHED IMAGE: Hogs Back Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson with Montezuma’s Chocolate Lager

Bestway launches new ranges to help operators take advantage of wine trends

January 2016

Bestway Wholesale, the UK’s leading independent wholesaler, is expanding its wine offer with new lines designed to help on-trade operators capitalise on consumer trends.

Wine sales in the on-trade are valued at £3.9bn by the IWSR, with wine accounting for almost 20% of the value of drinks bought when consumers are out in pubs, bars and restaurants. Helping operators maximise the opportunity, Bestway’s new additions are Royal Prosecco, Villa Principal Rioja Tempranillo and two ranges:  the Toro Riendo own label ‘everyday’ Spanish wines and the Cellier D’Or range of French wines, which will be sold exclusively by Bestway in the UK.

Prosecco overtook Champagne as the UK’s favourite sparkling wine last year.  Roopinder Toor, Bestway licensed category controller, said “We have seen triple digit growth in Prosecco sales at Bestway over the last year, and are delighted to be bringing Royal Prosecco to market.

“It is a quality brand, produced in Treviso which has continually proven itself as the home of the best Prosecco, and offers bright and fresh fruit flavours that make it the perfect sparkler for a range of occasions, whether accompanying food in a restaurant or sharing with friends in the bar on a night out.”

He added, “Royal Prosecco is a worthy addition to Bestway’s sparkling wine offer. Both our Royal Cava and Lelac Champagne are multi-award winners.”

Spanish wine sales have grown across the board, with Rioja achieving a 10% increase last year. A third of all wines from the Rioja region are exported to the UK.

Villa Principal Rioja Tempranillo is produced for Bestway by winemakers with more than 100 years’ experience and is a rich, fruity wine of exceptional quality. Toor commented, “Sales of Rioja through Bestway are ahead of the market growth, which is already impressive.  Such is its popularity in the UK that it is becoming a ‘bar call’ and Villa Principal is a wonderful example of the style which will enable operators to make exceptional margins.”

With the growth of Rioja, consumers are exploring the wider Spanish wine offer – a trend which the Toro Riendo range of everyday wines caters for with its five variants:  dry, medium and sweet whites, a medium bodied red and a medium dry rosé.

Bill Creighton, Bestway wine category manager, said, “The Toro Riendo (Laughing Bull) range presents a playful, modern image.  Bar fridges are full of new world wines, but Europe still has a key role to play and Toro Riendo is the perfect opportunity for licensees to capitalise on the category.”

Finally, completing the new line up is an exclusive label from France, Cellier D’Or, which comprises red, white and rosé variants.

Royal Prosecco and Villa Principal Rioja Tempranillo will be promoted in Bestway and Batleys depots throughout February with a discounted case price of £29.99 and £24.99 respectively, and will also be available for free delivery.

Bestway offers its customers a range of added value services to help them grow their wine business, including: wine list advice and printing, and guidance on selecting wines to match food menus.

Fireball Friday

December 2015

Fireball has launched a campaign to get the weekend off to a scorching start with the chance for consumers to win prizes every Fireball Friday.

The fast-growing cinnamon liqueur is inviting consumers to post Instagram pictures showing how they enjoy Fireball on a Friday. By following FireballUK on Instagram and using the hashtag #FireballFriday, consumers are entered into a digital raffle.

Weekly prizes will include iPods, festival tickets, headphones, speakers, and other giveaways, with a winner selected every Friday until April 2016.

Dan Bolton, managing director of Fireball distributor Hi-Spirits, said: “Fireball is part of ‘the weekend starts here’ ritual for many consumers, enjoyed as a chilled shot and in mixed drinks. We’re celebrating that with our Fireball Friday giveaways by inviting our consumers to show us how they kick off the weekend with Fireball.”

Fireball will also have a presence at a series of party nights at venues around the UK. Starring on Friday 13 November, the custom-built Fireball Dive Bar will be on tour, with the Fireball team on hand to offer sampling, raffles and giveaways.  Details of dates on the tour are online at

  • Figures for global spirit sales collated by IWSR show that Fireball is the world’s fastest growing liqueur brand, and it is now ranked at number 10 in IWSR World Class Brands listings, based on international sales volumes.  The ranking reflects global growth for Fireball from just over 2m cases in 2013, to more than 4.2m cases in 2014.

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