Fireball announces Fuelling The Fire Tour 2019

June 2019

Fireball is once again adding a shot of excitement to the live music scene, with confirmation of the fourth annual Fireball: Fuelling The Fire tour.

Run in association with Academy Events, the tour has become one of the most anticipated events in the UK Punk-Rock calendar. Held in O2 Academy venues up and down the UK in September, this year sees ska-punk legends Less Than Jake and Goldfinger as headliners, along with some very special guests to be announced.

As testament to the Fireball brand’s continued support for grass roots music, also on the bill are the winners of the Fireball Hottest Band competition, Sunderland-based Thieves Of Liberty. DJ Matt Stocks will keep the party vibe going between sets.

Fans are being offered early bird tickets at just £15, along with multi-buy discounts. Matt Reynolds, Fireball brand ambassador with UK distributor Hi-Spirits, said: “Music is all about the fans. That’s why we at Fireball UK want to do this. We’ve grown up loving music, and watched in fear as ticket and drink prices are hiked at live shows beyond comprehension.

“Our brand support goes into subsidising the ticket and drink prices for the fans. A great line-up of bands for just £15, party games, confetti cannons, toilet roll guns, and some great deals on Fireball. What’s not to love?

“We also work hard to support bands that play live in pubs, bars and venues around the UK, and the Fireball Hottest Band competition gives them a chance to take a step up as part of the Fuelling The Fire line-up.”

Chris DeMakes of headliners Less Than Jake, who are regulars on the tour, said: “Yes! It’s that time of the year again. Less Than Jake is extremely excited to headline this year’s Fireball: Fuelling The Fire Tour. We wanted to ramp up the insanity this time around so we’re bringing along our friends in Goldfinger to celebrate with us. We can’t wait for these shows. It’s going to be epic!”

Tour dates September 2019:
19th O2 Academy, Sheffield
20th O2 Academy, Leeds
21st O2 Academy Birmingham
23rd O2 Ritz Manchester
24th O2 Academy Newcastle
25th O2 Academy Glasgow
27th O2 Academy Bournemouth
28th O2 Academy Brixton

Fireball is the number one shot brand in the US with 15 straight years of growth*, and continues to build sales in the UK, with double digit growth for five consecutive years in the UK shots category**.

Fireball is a Canadian whisky-based cinnamon-flavoured liqueur produced by the Sazerac Company. The product was developed in Canada in the mid-1980s, forged during one of the coldest Canadian winters on record by blending smooth Canadian whisky with sweet, spicy cinnamon. Its recommended serve is a shot, ice cold and straight from the freezer.

*Nielsen CGA On-Premise User Survey, October 2018
**CGA Nielsen, March 2019

Brakspear adds ‘iconic Oxfordshire pub' to managed estate

June 2019

Pub operator and brewer Brakspear has purchased the Nag’s Head in Abingdon, as the 14th pub in its expanding managed estate.

The Nag’s Head is a historic riverside pub in the town centre with a reputation for excellent food and drink. The Nag’s Head sits halfway across Abingdon Bridge on its own island, with extensive gardens seating up to 200 people, a barge bar and wood-fired pizza oven. Its menu offers classic British food freshly-made from local ingredients, accompanied by a wide range of beers and wines.

The pub has featured in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide for the last five years and won a Town & Country Pub of the Year title three times.

Tom Davies, Brakspear chief executive, said, “We’re delighted to be adding the Nag’s Head to our managed division. It’s an iconic Oxfordshire pub and we think it’s fitting that the name above the door and on the bar will now be Brakspear, another Oxfordshire icon.

“The pub is a very successful one and trades especially well over the summer months, so we are not planning any changes to the offer in the short-term. We’re also pleased to be keeping general manager James Griffiths and his team, who have done a fantastic job in making the Nag’s Head such a success.

“We’re delighted to welcome them into the Brakspear family and looking forward to seeing the pub go from strength to strength.”

He added: “We’re very happy with the growth of our managed estate, which we started six years ago. We could have expanded more quickly, but are only adding pubs that are a perfect fit, with the right location, size and style. So, although all our managed pubs have their own individual character, they also share an overarching ethos of serving top quality food, drink and customer service.”

The Nag’s Head has been purchased from a private landlord and takes Brakspear’s managed estate up to 14 sites. The division was formed in 2013 with the opening of the Bull on Bell Street in Henley-on-Thames and includes pubs across the Cotswolds and south east.

Last summer, Brakspear reopened the Frogmill near Cheltenham, its largest managed site to date, set in extensive grounds with a sizeable wedding and functions business.

Traditional blessing for Hogs Back Brewery hop garden

June 2019

Surrey-based Hogs Back Brewery has celebrated the growth of its new hop garden with an official blessing by local vicar Rev. Claire Holt, attended by close to 200 local residents and customers.

The 8.5-acre hop garden next to the brewery on Manor Farm in Tongham, was created late last year, when Hogs Back relocated 2,000 hop plants from its previous site across the road and added 4,000 new ones. The new garden is almost treble the size of the old one and the hop plants are now beginning to flourish in their new home, growing up posts and wires ahead of harvest later this year.

Blessing the hops, Rev. Holt, of St Paul’s Church in Tongham, explained the origins of crop blessing ceremonies, which were traditionally held on Ascension Day – falling this year on 30 May, which was when the Hogs Back blessing took place. She said: “When the crops were planted, a group of young and old people from the village, usually led by the priest, would walk round the boundaries of the parish, stopping at each boundary post to pray for the protection of the crops.

“Blessing the hop garden therefore revives a long-held tradition that would certainly have been part of the cycle of hop growing in Farnham for many years. It gives me great joy to lead today’s prayers for the Hogs Back hop garden, the brewery, and all who work in them, for this year and long into the future.”

Rupert Thompson, Hogs Back Brewery managing director, said: “Ever since we planted our first hop garden five years ago, we’ve been keen to observe hop farming milestones and were delighted to welcome back Rev. Holt, who also conducted a blessing for us in 2014.

“Today’s celebration was a much larger affair, which shows the extent to which the community has engaged with the hop garden and the brewery in that time. Hogs Back’s values of tradition, authenticity and local community appeals to a growing number of craft beer drinkers, across Surrey and beyond.”

With the hops duly blessed, the Hogs Back team led by estate manager Matthew King, will now be tending the bines carefully to encourage a healthy harvest in September. Three varieties are being grown in the new garden: Fuggles – used in the brewer’s flagship TEA ale; Cascade – used in its Hogstar Lager; and Farnham White Bine – a local variety that they have revived from near-extinction.

King said: “We’ve learned that the first harvest from a new hop garden is never the best, as it’s good practice not to cut all the new plants in Year 1, leaving them in the ground to grow stronger for subsequent years. However, we’re pleased with the way the hop plants transported from our old garden have adapted to their new home so are hoping they will yield a good crop in September.”

As well as expanding its hop garden, Hogs Back is also planning to build a new kiln to dry its hops, next to the brewery. This is believed to be the first traditional style kiln to be constructed in Surrey for over 100 years and will stand on the site occupied for many years by an original kiln within Manor Farm. It will be used to dry Hogs Back’s hops for around one month and for the rest of the year will serve as an event space and visitor centre, educating people about the local hop farming industry.

Thompson said, “We are excited about continuing the journey we started with the planting of our original hop garden in 2014. Growing our own hops has made us better brewers, as with each harvest we’ve learned more about how the flavour of the hops is affected by the weather, and how that then impacts the quality and taste of the beer. It has also drawn us closer to the local rural community and its history, and gives us a unique opportunity to accentuate the provenance and quality of our beers.”

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