Charity Pub of the Year Awards open for entries

May 2019

The competition, now in its second year, seeks to recognise pubs who go the extra mile in their support of charities and good causes. While the sums of money raised are one element, judges are also looking for other involvement, such as hosting meetings for local groups, offering meals as raffle prizes or doing good works in the community, such as litter picking or helping elderly residents.

Pubs across the UK who are proud of their charity and community support are welcome to enter online on the PubAid website before the closing date of 30 September. Entries need to be endorsed by the pub’s local MP, but this can be sought by the PubAid and APPBG teams after submission of the form. All entrants will be featured on the PubAid website, and mentioned on PubAid social media channels.

After the closing date, judges will review entries and publish a shortlist of the pubs who are, in their view, best fulfilling the aims of the competition. All finalists will be invited, with their MP, to attend a reception in London, where the overall winner will be announced.

The 2018 Charity Pub of the Year competition attracted 69 entries and was won by the Logan Rock, a St Austell pub in Cornwall. The eight pubs shortlisted for last year’s award have together raised £1 million for charity over the last 10 years, contributing to the £100 million raised by the UK’s pubs every year.

Co-founder of PubAid, Des O’Flanagan said: “We’re delighted to be running this competition again, and are grateful to the involvement of Matthew Clark, whose support makes these awards possible.
“Whatever size of pub you run, whether you raise money for a national charity or a local cause, or support your local community in other ways, please think about entering and receiving recognition for the great work you done by you, your team and your customers.”

David Philips, Managing Director, Matthew Clark, said: “The support provided by pubs up and down the land for charities and worthy causes is hugely impressive, with licensees and their teams frequently putting in many additional hours to organise fundraising events and similar, on top of the demands of running a pub. They certainly deserve recognition and we are proud to be sponsoring these awards for a second year.”

Mike Wood, MP for Dudley South and Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Beer Group, said “We had some fantastic entries for this award last year. It was truly humbling to learn about the amazing things that pubs do to support charities and local community groups. We are really looking forward to seeing this year’s entrants and welcoming the shortlisted pubs to a celebration of their achievements in the autumn.”

Hi-Spirits offers Summer serves

May 2019

As summer approaches, Hi-Spirits is encouraging operators to make their drinks sales shine with simple, profitable serves featuring popular brands from its portfolio.

The Southern Comfort Lemonade & Fresh Lime serve brings the party spirit of New Orleans to summer nights out, while Buffalo Trace Bourbon and Coke offers one of the most popular spirit and mixer combinations. The newly launched RedLeg Caramelised Pineapple spiced rum features in an appealing summer daiquiri recipe.

In addition, Hi-Spirits has created new ‘perfect serve’ videos showing bar staff how to tap into demand for coffee-based drinks including the espresso martini, using authentic Italian liqueur Caffe Borghetti.

The videos show bar staff how to make a premium espresso martini combining Caffe Borghetti and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, as well as demonstrating how Borghetti can be served on its own over ice.

Poppy Croft, marketing manager of Hi-Spirits said: “As soon as the sun comes out, bars need to be ready with appealing serves for customers. We have some wonderful cocktail recipes for brands across our portfolio, but for many operators, these quick and simple serves made with popular brands including Southern Comfort are ideal.”

She adds: “An espresso martini made with Caffé Borghetti doesn’t need added coffee, and so offers improved GP, saves bar staff time and frees up space on the back bar. Alongside the proven popularity of the espresso martini, a well-shaken Borghetti, served over ice, is a classic Italian summer serve.”

Operators can access the Caffe Borghetti videos at

POS support including a range of branded glassware is also available. For more information, please contact Hi-Spirits on 01932 252 100, email or visit The full Hi-Spirits portfolio can be seen at


RedLeg Caramelised Daiquiri
• 50ml RedLeg Caramelised Pineapple
• 35ml fresh lime juice
• 20ml sugar syrup
Method: Pour the RedLeg Caramelised Pineapple, fresh lime juice and sugar syrup into a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a coupe glass. Serve.

Buffalo & Coke
• 50ml Buffalo Trace
• Cola
Method: Pour the Buffalo Trace into a glass filled with ice and top with Cola. Garnish with a lemon wedge.

Southern Comfort Lemonade & Fresh Lime
• 50ml Southern Comfort Original
• 150ml Lemonade
• 2 Squeezed Lime Wedges
Method: In a Mason jar or Collins glass, pour 50ml Southern Comfort Original over ice. Squeeze in two lime wedges and place in glass, top with lemonade, stir gently & garnish with a lime wedge.

Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz launches on-trend new flavour

May 2019

Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz has expanded its innovative range of premium soft drinks with the launch of new Lemon, Yuzu & Turmeric flavour. Served using pure filtered mains water though a distinctive branded dispense system, Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz boosts both profitability and sustainability for hospitality businesses.

The new Lemon, Yuzu & Turmeric botanically-brewed drink is an on-trend blend of authentic flavours that brings the total number in the range to more than 25. Exotic in taste, and vibrant in colour and style, this latest addition features Sicilian lemons blended with Japanese yuzu citrus fruit, and invigorating extracts of turmeric.

The new blend has been created to work as a sparkling or still long soft drink, meeting growing customer expectations that restaurants, bars and hotels will offer an appealing choice of adult soft drinks. It can also be served as a mixer with a spirit, and in dessert, mocktail and cocktail recipes.

Like all the botanically-infused range, the new flavour is served in combination with pure filtered water from the bespoke Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz system, supplied by dispense specialist Brewfitt. This is connected to the mains water supply and dispenses sparkling and still water, removing the need to store and serve water in disposable plastic and glass bottles.

The system also comes with premium branded glassware and exclusive drinks recipes. The combination of cost-effective dispense and premium serves can deliver a category-leading GP of 85% on soft drinks, and close to 100% on water.

The choice of flavours across the Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz range enables operators to change their drinks menu quickly and profitability, according to the season, the weather, or simply the changing customer mix though the day or week.

Mark Fenton, head of brand for Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz, said: “Our new Lemon, Yuzu & Turmeric flavour is already proving very popular with both consumers and bartenders. Across the range, we offer an unbeatable combination of current and classic flavours, with businesses using the system seeing the benefits of improved customer choice and higher margins. The eye-catching font drives interest, while the sustainability benefits of eliminating single serve bottles in bars addresses a key environmental concern.”

Award winning gastropub operator Whiting & Hammond is now using the Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz system in all its eight pubs. Operations director Paul Worman said: “Our customers expect to be offered a varied choice of premium drinks, and the combination of the Mr Fitz font and the range of flavours enables us to do that across soft drinks, as well as both mocktail and cocktail serves.

“We can vary our drinks list quickly and simply, as well as serve chilled sparkling and still water, while achieving high margins. We’ve freed fridge space previously used for bottled water and soft drinks for more profitable products, as well as reducing our recycling costs and improving our sustainability credentials, which is important to us as a business as well as to our customers. The continued flavour innovation from Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz is an important part of the brand’s appeal.”

Mr Fitz Aqua Spritz is an innovative partnership between drinks dispense technology company Brewfitt and soft drink producer Mr Fitzpatrick’s.

For more information see

Peter Spanton Drinks launches two new premium flavours

May 2019

Premium soft drinks producer Peter Spanton Drinks is expanding its range ahead of the key summer sales season with the launch of two new authentic flavours, Peter Spanton No. 2 Lemonade With Italian Bitters and Peter Spanton No.16 Cream Soda.

As with the other varieties in the range, they can be enjoyed alone, as a mixer with spirits, and in both alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails. The new launches build on the established success of the drinks range created in 2012 by entrepreneur Peter Spanton, former owner of Vic Naylor’s restaurant in Clerkenwell.

Spanton said: “We wouldn’t bring anything to market that didn’t deliver something different, and these new recipes do exactly that. I initially devised our range because there simply weren’t enough genuinely adult non-alcoholic choices, and despite the growth of the market, there is still a real need for distinctive soft drinks choices for consumers and operators.”

• Peter Spanton No. 2 Lemonade With Italian Bitters is described by Spanton as “more Talented Mister Ripley in style than the sugary kids’ soda everyone knows. The flavour is inspired by the romance of the Riviera, and is a homage to Italy’s aperitivo culture.” It can be enjoyed served simply with a slice of orange, or pairs well with a premium vodka. Tasting notes: Combines the fizz and punch of sharp sherbet lemons with the oily swagger of a fine negroni. Refreshing Sicilian lemon in the mouth subsides into warmer, richer aromatics on the nose.

• Peter Spanton No.16 Cream Soda is a reimagining of the classic cream soda, originally patented as a temperance drink in Vienna, New Jersey in the 1850s. “It has a really sensual mouth feel and rich flavour, capturing the spirit of sultry summers,” said Spanton. As well as working very well on its own, it mixes superbly with American Whiskey. Tasting notes: Soft, rich, buttery bubbles fill the mouth with vanilla and cream. A refreshingly rich quencher, as satisfying as the first ice-cream of summer on a warm pebbly beach.

Spanton adds: “Consumers are seeking out authentic flavours, and they want to know that there’s a genuine story behind their drink. Alongside a classic cocktail or spirit-and-mixer serve, they increasingly expect a soft drink to deliver the same premium, engaging experience, without leaving them feeling that a non-alcoholic choice is second best.”

The two new products bring the core Peter Spanton Drinks range to nine, and are available in 200ml glass bottles in cases of 24. For more information see email or call 020 3763 5665.

Direct Seafoods urges chefs to stay up to speed on sustainability

May 2019

Direct Seafoods is encouraging chefs to keep up to date with the latest advice on sustainable fish and seafood species, as it increases its support with new online resources and increased access to specialist advice in its network of local businesses.

With guidance changing regularly according to factors such as the time of year and the quantity of specific species being landed, Direct Seafoods’ director of sustainability Laky Zervudachi warns that chefs and hospitality operators need to be committed in order to stay up to speed.

He said: “A sustainability programme isn’t something operators can simply sign up to and ‘tick the box’. Any list of fish and seafood species is a snapshot, as the situation changes all the time. It can depend on the breeding season, changes to quotas and simply the size of the catch, among other factors.

“As just one example, wild caught sea bass has become widely used on menus, and the advice now is to switch to farmed varieties or alternative species. We’ve been making this kind of up-to-date guidance available to our customers through our local businesses for some time, and we’re expanding that to ensure the information is also regularly updated online.

“The Marine Conservation Society Good Fish Guide provides up-to-date guidance on which species should be avoided and which are ok to eat. We use this as a main reference point for our teams to advise customers on sustainable species.”

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

With more consumers than ever expecting operators to put sustainably caught and managed fish on the menu, Direct Seafoods will now offer regular online 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 by chefs as a simple reference guide when ordering, backed up by a range of information and resources.
Recognising the need to put responsible sourcing at the heart of its service to operators, the business has recruited a specialist team led by Zervudachi as director of sustainability.

Brian Hall, managing director of Direct Seafoods says: “For us, it’s not simply a question of advising operators on sustainability; there are species we simply won’t sell. We’re committed to working with customers to ensure their menus reflect the latest sustainability advice, and we have specialists at all our sites to help ensure that.”

Direct Seafoods works with a range of organisations including The Marine Stewardship Council, The Marine Conservation Society, the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative, The Sustainable Seafood Coalition, Sustainable Restaurant Association, Global Aquaculture Alliance, Global GAP, Sustain and the Blue Marine Foundation.

For more information and resources for operators see

Case Study: Ibérica Restaurants – a sustainable approach

Among the operators working with Direct Seafoods is the seven strong Ibérica Restaurants group. Group head chef Cesar Garcia says: “Guest awareness around sustainable eating has grown hugely in recent years, and is continuing to become more and more important to people. They are more interested than ever in knowing where their food comes from and many make choices based on sustainability of the ingredients and produce.

“We focus our menus on seasonal produce wherever we can, which means we use ingredients that are naturally abundant at the right time of year. We use free-range meat and eggs from trusted suppliers and all of our fish such as hake, prawns, and sea reared trout comes from Direct Seafoods. We look to work with responsible suppliers across all of our food and drink purchasing and our fish is no exception. We then reflect this in the dishes we serve on our menu.

“We have worked with Direct Seafoods for four years, and trust their commitment to responsible fishing. We work with them because they promote sustainability, which, in turn, means we can offer our guests a dish made with sustainable and excellent quality fish.”

On Your Farm starring role for Hogs Back Brewery

May 2019

The Hogs Back Brewery hop garden in Tongham, Surrey, is to be the star of the show on BBC Radio 4’s On Your Farm programme later this month.

The edition of the popular long-running farming show to be broadcast on 19 May, focuses on the brewery’s successful move to a new, larger hop garden and plans to build a hop kiln on its Manor Farm site, as well as the revival of the Farnham White Bine hop variety.

On Your Farm presenter Sarah Swadling spent a day at the brewery and hop farm, where she spoke to Hogs Back managing director Rupert Thompson, hop garden manager Matthew King, and head brewer Miles Chesterman.

Swadling also heard from members of the Tongham TEA Club, who had been drafted in for the all-important Hop Twiddling process, which helps ensure the hop shoots grow strongly up the garden’s network of strings. TEA Club member Ted Block said: “Sarah was interested that we’re all volunteers working for the love of it – as well a couple of beers – but it’s great to get out in the open, as well as to feel that we’re part of the story of our local brewer.”

Thompson said, “We were delighted to welcome Sarah and On Your Farm to the brewery and hop garden. Hogs Back is one of a growing number of ‘farm brewers’ in the UK, with a rural, farming heritage that gives them a deep understanding of the ingredients used in brewing.

“We talked to Sarah about our decision to carefully transplant the hop plants from the original garden to the new site to ensure continuity, as well as our revival of the Farnham White Bine, which was once highly prized by brewers, but declined at the start of the last century. These are great farming stories which we’re sure will appeal to the programme’s audience.”

Hogs Back’s new hop garden occupies 8.5 acres of prime farmland on Manor Farm, where the brewery was founded 27 years ago. With anchors, posts and several miles of hop wire in place, 2,000 hop plants were lifted from the old garden and a further 4,000 new ones planted. Three varieties grown on the new site will be harvested this summer: Fuggles, Cascade and Farnham White Bine.

Hogs Back’s original hop garden featured in the BBC TV Countryfile programme in 2016.

The episode of On Your Farm recorded in the hop garden and brewery will be broadcast at 6.35am on Sunday 19 May, and will also be available on BBC Sounds.

Caption to attached image: On Your Farm presenter Sarah Swadling with Hogs Back Brewery managing director Rupert Thompson