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.

Hogs Back Brewery launches new keg range

February 2019

Family of four keg beers unveiled at Craft Beer Rising

Hogs Back Brewery is unveiling a new keg beer range at Craft Beer Rising as it steps up its product innovation programme. The range comprises rebranded Hogstar lager and three new beers: Unfiltered TEA, Hog IPA and low ABV blonde beer Little Swine.

The new range is Hogs Back’s biggest NPD launch since it introduced Hogstar in 2013 and reflects the brewer’s forward-looking approach to its portfolio, evolving it to meet the demands of younger drinkers, who generally favour keg beers, while also satisfying the many loyal drinkers of its cask beers, particularly TEA (Traditional English Ale). TEA has enjoyed impressive growth over the last year despite the decline in the cask market, and remains Hogs Back’s flagship beer.

The design for all four beers is clean, modern and eye-catching. While each beer has its own distinctive look, they are clearly part of the Hogs Back family, which will encourage consumers to try beers across the range. The new designs are initially being launched on impactful draught founts before being rolled out to packaged product later this year – Hogstar in bottles and cans and Hog IPA in cans. Packs for Little Swine and Unfiltered TEA are to be confirmed.

Rupert Thompson, Hogs Back managing director, said: “We’re delighted with our new keg beer family. Although we’ve been brewing great keg beers, including Hogstar lager, for some years, we’ve been seen more as a cask brewer, thanks to the success of TEA.

“That all changes now as we launch new beers into fast-growing sectors of the market – low ABV, unfiltered and IPA – and present them alongside Hogstar lager. We’re confident our keg beers will compete in modern craft beer bars, as well as finding a place in more traditional pubs already stocking Hogs Back’s cask ales, particularly TEA.”

Hogs Back Brewery will be on Stand 91 at Craft Beer Rising with a distinctive, specially designed Hop Garden Bar. Craft Beer Rising takes place at the Old Truman Brewery in London’s Brick Lane from 21 to 23 February.

Hogs Back Brewery keg range – tasting notes:

Hogstar: 4.5% ABV lager brewed with special lager malts and five different hops from the UK – including English Cascade from the Hogs Back hop garden – Europe and USA. A small quantity of natural herb extracts is added before Hogstar is left to mature for over a month. The result is a beer that has all the crisp refreshment of a lager, but with a greater depth of flavour and aromas.

Unfiltered TEA: An unfiltered version of Hogs Back’s flagship TEA (Traditional English Ale), a full-bodied bitter, brewed in small batches using English malt carefully balanced with Fuggles hops, some of them from the Hogs Back hop garden. Cold-conditioned for 1 week and unfiltered for optimal flavour.

Hog IPA: 4.5% ABV light, hoppy ale with a blend of floral and fresh citrus notes upfront, well-balanced with a long, dry finish. Hog IPA is brewed with a selection of fine English malts and locally grown Cascade and Fuggles hops, alongside US Centennial.

Little Swine: A new 2.8% ABV dry-hopped aromatic blonde beer – billed as a ‘Small’ Beer with a Big Taste. It is brewed with a carefully selected blend of aroma hops including home-grown Cascade, and then dry hopped for additional aroma and flavour. No and low alcohol beers have grown by 22.7% volume and 24.3% value over the past year, according to CGA.

New senior team for Rockpool backed Epic, Heroic and Aspley Pubs

February 2019

Rockpool Investments, the private equity investment firm, has appointed a new chairman and managing director for its Epic Pubs, Heroic Pubs and Aspley Pubs businesses.

Rufus Hall, who is also chairman of Rockpool backed Urban Village Pub Company and Metropolitan Village Pub Company, is the new chairman of the three companies who between them have 11 pubs.

Jo Probert, formerly at Stonegate Pub Company’s Slug & Lettuce, joins as the new managing director of the companies, which operate three freehold and eight leasehold sites across eight counties, including one pub in London. The latest opening is Aspley Pubs’ The Hummingbird in Hertford which opened in November.

The external umbrella operating name for the three companies is Epic Pubs.

Rockpool Investments is looking at further acquisition opportunities for Aspley Pubs in late 2019.

Probert, who also previously held operational roles at Orchid Group and Greene King, said: “We are building a pub company of really great British pubs with fresh, quality, handcrafted food and standout specials boards. We see our general managers and head chefs as at the front of the business leading teams.”

She adds: “We want our sites to be seen by customers as independent pubs, at the heart of their local communities. We want them to be the first choice for local people to go to have a drink, a sandwich or enjoy more extravagant dishes.”

A big focus is being put on driving more pre-booked sales, as the majority of pubs have excellent private dining facilities, with a newly expanded sales and marketing role created to support this drive.

Lisa Burbidge has been appointed company secretary. She joins from the NHS and also previously worked at The Orchid Group.

The pubs were previously operated for Rockpool by Andrew Coath, managing director of management services company Unique Hospitality Management, on a contract basis.

Pic caption: Go Jo: Epic Pubs’ new managing director Jo Probert

Success for first Parliamentary Pub Quiz

February 2019

A team led by MPs Therese Coffey and Simon Hoare quizzed their way to victory in the inaugural All Party Parliamentary Beer Group and PubAid Pub Quiz, held yesterday (5 February). Team ‘Bling’ lifted the winners’ trophy ahead of fierce competition in a packed room in the House of Commons with 20 MPs taking part as well as other parliamentary colleagues, brewers, pub companies and journalists.

With Mark Labbett – aka The Beast as seen on The Chase – as quizmaster, the 100+ contestants worked in teams to answer questions on everything from sport and science to music and movies – as well as a beer round.

The quiz was held just a month ahead of the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz, organised by PubAid with Prostate Cancer UK. More than 1,200 pubs have already signed up to run the quiz between 3-7 March and PubAid hope that the final number will at least match last year’s, when 1,500 pubs took part, raising £190,000 for hundreds of charities.

MPs who took part in the Parliamentary Pub Quiz are being encouraged to also attend a World’s Biggest Pub Quiz in a pub in their constituency.

Mike Wood, chair of the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group, said: “We’re delighted with this first Parliamentary Pub Quiz, and congratulate Therese, Simon and their team as worthy winners. Not only was the evening a lot of fun, it also served as a reminder of the vital role that pubs play in communities up and down the land, which includes raising more than £100 million for charity, every year.”

Nick Bish, representing PubAid, said: “Everyone loves a good pub quiz and tonight’s was no exception. We’re looking forward to early March when hundreds of pubs will be hosting the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz, raising money for worthy causes including Prostate Cancer, and giving their customers a great reason to come out to the pub and enjoy socialising with other quizzers.”

The World’s Biggest Pub Quiz is completely free of charge to pubs, who receive two sets of questions, posters and social media assets to encourage customers to take part. Pubs can register now at Although the quiz is scheduled for 3-7 March, pubs who want to take part but can’t run the quiz during that week are welcome to run it at any other time in 2019. Pubs are encouraged to support official partner Prostate Cancer UK, but are also free to support another charity of their choice.

Mark Labbett appeared courtesy of Redtooth, the largest supplier of pub quizzes in the UK, with more than 3,000 pubs receiving their weekly quiz from Redtooth. Redtooth also organise the country’s largest pub poker league, host regional and national quiz competitions, sporting dinners, casino nights and have a range of top quality authenticated sporting memorabilia.


World’s Biggest Pub Quiz attracts close to 1,000 pubs – and counting!

January 2019

Fundraising packs for the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz will be arriving over the next few weeks at the 970 pubs, bars and clubs across the country who have already registered for this popular event, running between 3-7 March.

Organisers PubAid are urging more licensees to sign up now for the quiz, which is completely free of charge and offers a great way to attract customers into the pub, as well as supporting charities, including official charity partner Prostate Cancer UK. Pubs who register will receive a fundraising pack containing two sets of quiz questions, posters and social media assets to encourage customers to come along and join in. To sign up, visit:

The World’s Biggest Pub Quiz is now in its fourth year and has seen participation from pubs, bars and clubs and their customers grow over the past three years, along with an increase in the amount raised for charity. Last year, 1,500 pubs took part and the three quizzes together have raised an impressive £405,000 for hundreds of charities.

Co-founder of PubAid, Des O’Flanagan, said: “We’re delighted with the response to the quiz so far, and we’re confident many more pubs will register before March. The quiz is easy for pubs to host, a lot of fun for the customers who take part, and a great way to support a charity. It’s a genuine no brainer!”

One of the first pubs to sign up to this year’s quiz is Will Shaw, licensee of The Crown in Sydenham, Oxfordshire. He said, “This will be the third time we’ve run the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz. It’s been a great event for us, with 60 people taking part last year on a Sunday night – a session we’re not usually open for, so it delivered incremental sales.

“This year, we’re running it on the Sunday night again, and offering customers a package including a meal as well as the quiz and a charity contribution. We’ve already sold about 50 tickets, so we’re confident we’ll have a full house on the night, and will raise a good sum for charity as well.”

The quiz is scheduled for 3-7 March, but the organisers stress that this window is a guideline, not a requirement and pubs who want to take part but can’t run the quiz during that week are welcome to run it at any other time in 2019. Pubs are encouraged to support official partner Prostate Cancer UK, but are also free to support another charity of their choice.

Gabriella Bailey, Interim Director of Fundraising at Prostate Cancer UK said: “We have lots of pubs already signed up to support Prostate Cancer UK at the World’s Biggest Pub Quiz which is fantastic and shows how popular this event is.

“Through supporting Prostate Cancer UK in this way, pubs are not only helping us raise funds for vital research, but it also allows us to reach even more men with an important health message. We encourage as many pubs, bars and clubs as possible to sign up, join in the fun and help us stop prostate cancer being a killer.”

Caption to attached image: PubAid co-founder Des O’Flanagan (right) presents a World’s Biggest Pub Quiz pack to Will Shaw, licensee at the Crown Inn, Sydenham, Oxfordshire