CAMRA gets PM's autograph
Now that the Office of Fair Trading has decided to take a second look at evidence surrounding the beer tie, CAMRA has put its appeal for cash from punters on ice. That said, it had been looking at some novel ways of raising funds for the pricey process, the most novel of which was
surely auctioning a bottle of scotch signed by no lesser an individual than the Prime Minister. That's right; CAMRA, auctioning scotch signed by the man whom it blames for so many of the industry's ills. And after all Brown did for the whisky trade over the years, versus beer and pubs. Priceless. Surely a (Gordon) Brown Ale would have been a better choice? Bids were still being taken as The Publican went to press, though we're not sure what battle the proceeds will help fund now.
Heineken lifts the trophy
Presumably in an attempt to raise its profile in the US — and that of what we over here properly label 'football' — Dutch brewer Heineken is traipsing around America to show off the UEFA Champions League trophy in the coming weeks. The brewer is sponsoring the competition for the fifth consecutive year and says the tour will be an opportunity to share "this unique and memorable experience with fans all over the world, and what better way than to be able to see and be close to the very esteemed trophy itself?" It would be remiss of me to let this opportunity pass, so… might I suggest a certain Mr A Wenger hotfoots it over the Pond as it's likely to be the closest he'll get to the thing…
Ball and chain restaurant
Taybarns, Whitbread's value family restaurant ('Experience our 34-metre food line — it's out of this world!') has apparently been "inundated" with requests from brides "desperate" to hold their weddings in the restaurant. So the eatery chain is seeking to help couples tie the knot. Packages would include wedding cake, bouquet and honeymoon suite at the adjoining Premier Inn hotel, along with unlimited access to its food counter for all guests — all for the bargain price of £600. In these straitened economic times such a deal might be a God-send to some cash-strapped young lovers out there, but be warned, given the 'all you can eat' promise, you might not fit into your honeymoon outfits…
Farewell then to Michelle Luscombe, the BII's communications manager for the past two years. According to the trade body's press release announcing her departure, Michelle is leaving in April to work as a freelance public relations and communications consultant and "part-time singer". Come again? Before she leaves she will be "heavily involved in progressing BII's manifesto, which will promote the value of innkeeping and the many good things being done in the industry". Good stuff so far. Then the blurb concludes: "When asked if we can expect to see her on The X Factor, Michelle quickly replied: 'No!'" And who wrote the press release? Er, Ms Luscombe.
Financial jargon explained
As anyone who has been following the fortunes of the nation's large pub companies knows, corporate debt has been a jolly hot topic lately. Many pubcos have something known as a 'floating rate note' (FRN), which is a form of debt.
Last week Standard & Poor's, the credit rating bods, put some of Punch Taverns' FRNs, on something called credit watch negative.
According to one financial website I read last week FRNs are colloquially known as - get this - 'floaters'. I'd hate to draw a comparison between certain types of corporate debt and the euphemism given to one outcome of a human bodily function. That would be crass…
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