Brulines: now it's 'fizzlines' for soft drinks

By The PMA Team

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Soft drinks Alcoholic beverage Soft drink

Beer flow monitoring company trials soft drinks equipment at 20 tenanted pubs Beer flow monitoring company Brulines is trialing flow-monitoring...

Beer flow monitoring company trials soft drinks equipment at 20 tenanted pubs

Beer flow monitoring

company Brulines is trialing flow-monitoring equipment at around 20 tenanted pubs to measure the quantity of soft drinks they are selling.

The move, being dubbed "fizzlines", amounts to a major expansion of Brulines flow-monitoring equipment - and will allow pub companies to police the tie on soft drinks.

The system, which fits into the head of the dispense unit, will be particularly useful at pubcos that enforce a full tie on wine, soft drinks and spirits. Many smaller regional brewers enforce a full tie and Marston's, which is trialing the system at one pub, introduced a full tie around four years ago.

The Brulines trial began at three pubs and has now expanded to around 20 sites. The decline in beer sales and the rise in soft drinks means pub companies are likely to be very keen on technology that allows them to monitor soft-drink sales in tenanted sites on a full tie.

Brulines marketing and commercial director Ron Colley said: "We are trialing a flow meter on post-mix syrups. It measures the amount of syrup being used and is very similar in principle to our beer kit, but is a slightly different product to measure syrup." Colley said the trial had been "very positive".

But one industry observer, who declined to be named, said: "There is a view that if pubcos need to install flow monitors they have lost the relationship with tenants.

"I also think that a 100% tie means a pub becomes little more than a franchise and that hurts recruitment."

Mark Charman, who has run several pubs before handing in the keys to his last pub a fortnight ago, said: "It's just another affront to the working relationship - it's simply more and more a policed one.

"My staff were always encouraged to drink soft drinks on duty - but you end up being rented on product you never see an income for."

Licensee Bernard Brindley, chairman of the National Parliamentary Committee, said: "I've no sympathy for those who buy outside of the tie but this is likely to create more unease between pubcos and lessees. It suggests lessees can't be trusted."

David Elliott, managing director of Greene King Pub Partners, said: "We have 250 beer-flow monitoring systems in an estate of 1,450 tenanted pubs. A number of our multiple retailers have them and like them, and they can help in some instances." He added: "We try to build our business on relationships (with our tenants)."

Francis Patton, customer services director of Punch, said: "We are aware of this. We have no plans to use it but we are keeping a watching brief."

l MA Opinion - p18

Related topics Soft & Hot Drinks Legislation

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