Beer Hawk FRESH delivers craft beer distribution boost

September 2019

Craft brewers across the UK are being offered a powerful new route to market with the launch of Beer Hawk FRESH.

At the heart of the Beer Hawk FRESH proposition, which has launched this month, is its chilled supply chain. Operating from a refrigerated warehouse in Central London, Beer Hawk FRESH delivers cold-chain beer in kegs, cans and bottles, same-day to London customers, always in brewery-fresh condition.

Among the acclaimed breweries already signed up with Beer Hawk FRESH are Modern Times, Magic Rock, Fourpure, Little Creatures, Alpine, Great Divide, Voodoo, Camden Brewery, Birra Del Borgo, Goose Island and Brewski.

Breweries receive seven-day credit terms, which is a notable improvement over the usual 30 days minimum that the majority of UK craft brewers currently operate under. Beer Hawk will also agree annual volume targets and offer collaborative forecasting.

Andrew Morgan, Head of Beer Hawk FRESH, describes the business as a “coming of age” for the craft beer sector. He said: “Breweries working with Beer Hawk FRESH will also gain access to the sales support and distribution network of the UK’s largest online beer retailer at, while still maintaining their independence. With Beer Hawk FRESH part of ZX Ventures, the global growth incubator of AB InBev, breweries will benefit from the significant scale this provides in the UK craft scene.”

Morgan, known for pioneering beer freshness and refrigeration, said the aim is to give shops, bars and restaurants across the UK access to the highest quality, most commercially viable beer possible.

He added: “Simple science dictates that beer is happier when it’s stored below 6 degrees Celsius. It keeps the flavour as the brewer intended and stops beers refermenting, which means more beer is poured rather than fobbing foam down the drain. We’ll be delivering cold kegs that bars won’t have to worry about which means less waste and happier customers.”

The bespoke online ordering platform provides live inventory and will guarantee stock when orders are placed, resolving an issue that has been a challenge for distributors and a cause of frustration to retailers.

Morgan said: “Beer Hawk FRESH is as much about fresh thinking as it is fresh beer. We’re going to change the way businesses can expect a craft beer distributor to behave. For retailers, all our beer is stored cold for maximum commercial quality, and we’ll offer next-day delivery across the UK with no minimum order quantity.

“The UK beer market is changing very quickly, and our platform gives bars, shops, restaurants and breweries the confidence to trade on a firm footing, while giving consumers access to both modern and classic world-class beers.”

Chris Beaver, Channel Controller, UK and Europe for Lion, owner of Magic Rock and Fourpure, said: “As beer quality is the most important thing to any brewer, we are delighted to work with such a respected distributor as Beer Hawk on entering the world of refrigerated distribution.”

Many more brewery partners are due to be announced in the coming weeks. As an opening offer, retailers signing up to Beer Hawk FRESH will be given £50 credit towards their first order. Retailers can sign up at or contact

Keep it ‘Special’ in Seafood Week, says Direct Seafoods

September 2019

A varied range of fish and seafood specials will encourage customers to eat out during Seafood Week, as well as supporting the sustainability of fisheries, says Direct Seafoods.

Seafood Week 2019, running from 4-11 October, is putting a focus on the variety of species available to enjoy. To support this, Direct Seafoods has expanded the range of recipes and resources available free to chefs on its website.

“The specials board is a great way for chefs to highlight interesting fish and seafood recipes,” says Natalie Hudd, Director of Sales for Direct Seafoods. “Customers who may not have the confidence to cook fresh fish at home can be tempted to eat out, and using a broad range of species helps to ensure the entire catch is being used.

“Encouraging customers to enjoy a seafood dish they haven’t tried before doesn’t simply help to boost sates at a time when the eating-out market is feeling the pinch, it also helps to ensure that our fisheries have a long-term, sustainable future.”

Expanding on this year’s “not just for fry-days” Seafood Week theme, Direct Seafoods has added recipes online for starters and main dishes featuring a wide choice of fish and seafood. These include grilled whole plaice with brown shrimp and samphire butter; pan fried hake with a crab and prawn croquette and a saffron and mussel sauce; and mussels with rose harissa and chorizo with a white wine and lime broth.

Seafood Week 2019, promoted by industry body Seafish, is putting a focus on a different species each day. These include:
• Friday 4: Mackerel
• Saturday 5: Prawns
• Sunday 6: Plaice
• Monday 7: Scallops
• Tuesday 8: Mussels
• Wednesday 9: Hake
• Thursday 10: Crab
• Friday 11: Haddock, cod and pollock for fish & chips

Hudd adds: “For us, every week is Seafood Week, as we work with chefs all year around to promote choice and sustainability, but we’re delighted to be teaming up once again with our colleagues at Seafish to make Seafood Week a success for chef and operators, as well as a memorable eating out experience for customers.”

As well as recipes, chefs can find a range of resources online at including updates not only on which species are being caught sustainably, but which are ‘red rated’ and should be avoided. This includes downloadable posters that can be used as a simple reference guide when ordering.

Direct Seafoods is a national fish supplier, made up of 11 regional fishmongers, and part of the Bidfresh group. It sources from all major UK fishing ports, as well as globally, and supplies 12,000 chefs and businesses on a regular basis. Direct Seafood leads the way in seafood sustainability in the foodservice sector, offering more than 130 Marine Stewardship Council certified products.

Hogs Back organises Hop Harvest ‘Drink-Up' in the Brewery for a record 2,000 locals

September 2019

Hogs Back Brewery celebrated the first harvest of its new hop garden on Saturday (14th September), with a record 2,000 people joining the Hop Harvest Party at the brewery in Tongham near Farnham.

Guests enjoyed the glorious sunshine as well as live music from five bands, a Kids Zone, street food, and of course plenty of Hogs Back beers, including Green TEA, made with Fuggles hops freshly picked from the new hop garden – a hop harvest tradition, served exclusively at the party. Hop bines were also used in another tradition, as guests took part in a Hop Garland competition. And in a nod to traditional harvesting techniques, dray horses Fred and Ginger offered rides around the hop garden.

The event was an enjoyable and memorable day for the guests, who included local residents, families and members of the Tongham TEA Club of loyal Hogs Back customers.
Hogs Back planted a new hop garden earlier this year, replacing the original garden created in 2014. They transferred 2,000 plants from the old garden and planted 4,000 new ones, creating a new hop garden which is three times larger than the previous one, and closer to the brewery, on the Manor Farm site.

On the day, Hogs Back managing director Rupert Thompson named Alzheimer’s Society as the company’s charity partner for the next 12 months, presenting them with a cheque for £10,000. Hogs Back will aim to raise at least £10,000 more for the charity over the coming year. Thompson also presented a £10,000 cheque to Phyllis Tuckwell, the local hospice care provider which has been its nominated charity for the last year, taking the total donation to the charity to £20,000.

Returning to the brewery was Rev. Claire Holt, of St Paul’s Church in Tongham, who offered a thanksgiving for the harvest. Rev. Holt officiated over a blessing of the new hop garden in June this year.

Thompson said, “This was our fifth Hop Harvest Party and our best ever. We were blessed with the perfect weather for an outdoor event and our guests had a fantastic time drinking beer, listening to some wonderful music from our mainly local bands, and soaking up the sunshine.

“We’re delighted to see how the party has grown over the years to become the unmissable community event it is today. Hop farming is an important part of Farnham’s history and we’re happy to have brought it back to the region and to celebrate our harvest with local residents.

“This party was particularly special to us as it marked the first harvest of our new hop garden. This is an essential part of our commitment to becoming an even more sustainable brewer. With the hops grown just yards from the brewhouse, we are brewing beers with the freshest ingredients and creating a minimal carbon footprint – ‘from field to firkin in a furlong’, as we say.”
He added, “Moving hops from the old garden to the new one was a huge challenge, as plants had to be dug out and replanted by hand. We’re grateful to the Tongham TEA Club members who helped the Hogs Back team with this, and pleased that many of them were here today to enjoy the fruits of their labours with a refreshing pint of Green TEA.

“A big thank you to all the local businesses and volunteers who put in a huge amount of time and effort to make this year’s Hop Harvest Party such a wonderful event.”

Five bands performed at this year’s party, catering to a range of musical tastes and featuring several local musicians: 50s/60s Swing band The Bee-Bops; Farnborough-based indie-rock band Armstrong, who were recently featured on BBC Introducing; energetic folk band The Salts and local band The Frets, who have played the brewery’s Hop Harvest Party and Summer Bar evenings. This year’s headliners, Black Market, delivered a ‘big finish’ performance of covers from bands including Foo Fighters, Black Keys, Killers, Bowie and the Beatles.

Younger visitors were able to make their own music thanks to the Rock & Pop Foundation within the Kids Zone, which also offered a Bouncy Castle and face painting.

Several local businesses and groups were involved in making the event a success. Food included a hog roast from The Barbeque Chef; locally-made Alf Turner sausages – made using Hogs Back beer – and burgers; wood-fired pizzas from Stromboli and, new for this year, Thai Next Door’s street food.

The stage was kindly donated by Hi Speed Services, and Hedgehogs capably built and took down marquees. Volunteers from SamFest welcomed everyone on the gate and the 4th Farnham (Tongham) Scouts directed cars and manned the Kids Zone.

The next event on the Hogs Back calendar is a Pizza & Music Evening at the brewery’s Summer Bar, on 26 September, featuring live music from a popular local performer, wood-fired pizzas from Stromboli, and a range of Hogs Back beers. The Hogs Back’s Summer Bar was set up earlier this summer with seating, canopy and lighting just outside the brewhouse, and has proved popular among drinkers wanting to enjoy sunny days and balmy evenings with a pint of refreshing beer brewed just yards away. For more details, visit:

To view a short film of the Hop Harvest Party:


Mind over matter

September 2019

Brakspear team complete 100K walk for mental health charity

A team from the Brakspear head office in Henley completed the Thames Path Challenge over the weekend, finishing their 100km continuous walk in Henley on Sunday evening. Their efforts – and those of colleagues who completed part of the route – have raised more than £5,200 for Mind, Brakspear’s charity partner this year.

The Thames Path Challenge is an annual event, starting at Putney and following the course of the Thames upstream to Henley, taking in the beautiful riverside scenery as well as historic jewels such as Hampton Court Palace and Runnymede. This year, more than 2,000 people started the challenge, most of them walking, others jogging or running.

Six Brakspear walkers completed the 100 km challenge, starting on Saturday morning and walking through the night without sleep, to finish in Henley on Sunday morning. Four colleagues joined them for the final 22km from Cookham to Henley, and three others pulled out after completing 72km, but their fundraising efforts helped to reach the impressive total collected.
Sue Williams, Brakspear’s Head of People, said: “This was a huge challenge for me and I’m both proud and relieved to have completed it.

“I wasn’t fit when I signed up, so I had to get fit and that was hard; after my early training walks, I ached for days and my feet were covered in blisters. I was determined though, and I became the office cheerleader, encouraging the others to start their training.

“The walk itself was tough both physically and mentally. Walking through the night, cold and sleep-deprived, and knowing you’ve still got a long way to go – that’s tough! Through it all though, there were good times, when we belly laughed hysterically at ridiculous jokes, or came together to help one another through when it got really hard. And knowing we were doing it all for Mind helped us to keep going.”

Brakspear has been supporting Mind, the UK’s leading mental health charity, for the past year. Pubs have raised money through a range of fundraisers including pub quizzes, music nights and Fun Days, while the head office team have organised a ‘Bake Off’, crazy golf and taken part in sporting challenges such as the Ride100 bike ride.

Tom Davies, Brakspear chief executive, said: “This was clearly a seriously tough challenge and I’m really proud of the team for completing it. The money they’ve raised will be used by Mind to continue the great work they do supporting people experiencing mental health issues.

“The fact that the Thames Path Challenge finishes in Henley made it a clear winner when we were looking for this year’s charity challenge. I’m sure a pint of Brakspear has never tasted as good as the ones the team enjoyed in the pub after crossing the finish line!”

Caption to attached image: Team Brakspear after completing the Thames Path Challenge (l-r): Gavin Mansfield, business development manager; Vicky Manning, financial accountant; Sue Williams, head of people; David Nathan, finance director, Trang Tran, accounts assistant and Dan Turner, retail marketing manager

The book lover’s beer

September 2019

; Brakspear brews Writer’s Block to support Henley Literary Festival

A beer with your books, anyone? Literature lovers in Henley can enjoy a new ale from local brewer Brakspear, specially brewed to celebrate and support the town’s Literary Festival running later this month.

The aptly-named Writer’s Block is brewed at the Bell Street Brewery and will be sold from mid-September in Brakspear pubs in and around the town. For every pint sold, 10p will go to the festival, which runs from 26 September to 6 October.

Writer’s Block is a 4.6% ABV rich, red ale, brewed with Amarillo and Jester Hops and Carared malt. Brakspear has designed a striking, book-shaped pumpclip for the beer to spark interest and orders from pub customers.

Henley Literary Festival is now in its 13th year and this year features a stellar line up of authors, journalists, TV presenters and politicians, including Mary Berry, Melvyn Bragg and Alastair Cook as well as children’s authors Konnie Huq, Dougie Poynter and Chris Riddell, and former PM Theresa May in her first public speaking appearance since leaving office.

Brakspear chief executive Tom Davies said: “The Literary Festival is one of the highlights of Henley’s cultural calendar and we applaud the sterling work done by the organisers who have built it into one of the UK’s leading book festivals.

“We’re delighted to be brewing Writer’s Block, a beer that celebrates the Festival and raises money for it. With its red colour and rich taste, it heralds the autumn season ahead and is the perfect pint for supping, book in hand. Or just supping!”

He added, “Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee a pint of Writer’s Block will turn the drinker into the next literary sensation, but taking a short break in the pub with a sociable pint just might help the creative juices to flow again!”

Harriet Reed-Ryan, events director at Henley Literary Festival, said: “We were delighted when Brakspear approached us about brewing a beer as one of our main focuses of the festival is bringing people into the centre of town to go to pubs, shops, cafes and restaurants in between events, so now they can even order a pint of Writer’s Block too!”

Brakspear regularly brews special beers to commemorate local events and support local causes, including ‘Rhuby’, brewed for the first Eat Food Festival in Henley this June and ‘Two Bells’, which has been given to swimmers at the end of the Henley Club to Pub Swim for the past six years.

For more information on Henley Literary Festival, visit

Fernet-Branca celebrates 25 years of St. JOHN

September 2019

Classic Italian digestif Fernet-Branca is celebrating the 25th anniversary of iconic London restaurant St. JOHN by presenting co-owner and renowned chef Fergus Henderson with a specially designed Fernet-Branca challenge coin.

The coin recognises the devotion that Henderson holds for Fernet-Branca, which is the principal ingredient in his two favourite cocktails, the Dr. Henderson and the Hanky Panky.

This marks the first time a Fernet-Branca coin has been created for a specific venue rather than for an event, and the exclusive coin will be sent to VIP guests invited to the party to mark the restaurant’s anniversary in September.

Henderson is responsible for transforming how and what people cook and eat. He coined the now-ubiquitous phrase Nose-to-Tail in his seminal and multi-award-winning cookbook of the same name, Nose to Tail Eating, which was published in 1999 and went on to be named in the LA Times as the most influential cookbook of all time. It has never been out of print.

2019 sees not only 25 years of St. JOHN but also the publication of a new book, The Book of St. JOHN, which includes the recipe for Henderson’s beloved Hanky Panky.

Fergus Henderson said: “Fernet Branca has been a ritual of mine for many years. It’s the ideal kitchen nip and I am proud to discover that a generation of chefs feel just the same. It is a miracle. I can trace its path through my body – ping! Ping! Like a human pinball machine, working its magic as it goes. It has been my ritual at St. JOHN for many years and, as we now celebrate our quarter-century, we are living proof of its benefits.”

Poppy Croft, marketing manager with Fernet-Branca UK distributor Hi-Spirits, said: “Thousands of Dr. Hendersons and Hanky Pankys have been served over the bar at St. JOHN over the past 25 years, and Fergus’ passion has introduced many customers, as well as bartenders and chefs, to the delights of Fernet-Branca.

“It’s very appropriate that St. JOHN is the first venue to have its own Fernet-Branca coin, and creating an exclusive design for Fergus and the team seemed the right way for us to mark the 25th anniversary of one of London’s finest restaurants.”

Fernet-Branca coins are carried and swapped by a select group of bartenders, chefs and industry professionals around the world, marking their membership of the exclusive Fernet-Branca Secret Society. The many different designs celebrate the brand’s heritage and versatility.

Created in Milan in 1845 by Bernardino Branca, Fernet-Branca is a 39% ABV digestif amaro with a distinctive bitter flavour, still made to the closely-guarded original recipe.

The Hanky Panky was created at the Savoy in London in 1926. In his new book, Henderson says of the cocktail: “It lifts the spirits like nothing else. Take equal measures of Gin and Punt e Mes, stir with ice, strain into a cold martini glass. Gently pour a little Fernet-Branca float, serve with a twist of lemon.”

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

Caption to attached picture: Fergus Henderson toasts the 25th anniversary of St. JOHN with a Fernet-Branca at the bar. Photo by Sam A. Harris.