BrewDog confirms departure of Hawkes’ Simon Wright
Independent Scottish craft brewer and bar operator BrewDog has announced Hawkes Cider founder, Simon Wright, will leave the business at the end of October.
Launched by Wright in 2013, Hawkes was founded on the principles of democratising cider and spearheading the craft cider movement in the UK via its focus on sustainability, through its Appledonor program, and then by opening up the UK’s first commercial urban cidery on the famous Bermondsey Beer Mile in London.
In 2018, Hawkes became part of BrewDog before launching Stateside production in 2019.
“There was always going to be a time when we felt that the baton needed to be fully passed over to BrewDog, and that moment is now,” Wright commented. “I would like to think I was committed totally to pushing the company and the craft cider category forward, I look forward to continuing to help cider in any way I can in the future – I owe it, and the friends I’ve made on the way, everything.”
“Working with the whole BrewDog team alongside James and Martin has been a real pleasure,” he continued. “I’m leaving the business in great shape with an exciting range of innovation, a real focus on liquid quality and increased production capacity in London.
“I have no doubt BrewDog will go on to make Hawkes, and the cider category, even more awesome in the future."
Speaking to The Morning Advertiser (MA) in May 2019, Wright described BrewDog as a “kindred spirit”, stating: “As a combined force, there’s going to be quite a lot of opportunity for us and them to push on. We’re really excited.”
James Watt, BrewDog co-founder added: “Simon is leaving on brilliant terms and we have plans to continue to work together with him in the future in his next venture.
“I would like to thank Simon for all his hard work in creating and helping us build a brilliant craft cider business.
“We are excited about the next chapter of Hawkes and continuing to go from strength to strength.”
Mark Crowther named new Portobello Brewery chairman
Pub sector stalwart Mark Crowther has been unveiled as the new chairman of west London-based Portobello Brewery – the award-winning creator of London Pilsner, Notting Helles, London Pale Ale and Market Porter.
Crowther will bring close to three decades’ worth of experience in the hospitality sector to the business, which includes an 11-year stint as chief executive of Liberation Group where he spearheaded investments and acquisitions including the group’s Butcombe Brewery buyout and the addition of a number of west country pubs.
What’s more, Crowther will join Portobello – founded in 2012 by Rob Jenkins – having previously worked as Carlsberg UK’s on-trade managing director and as general manager of Diageo’s northern European beer business.
“I am delighted to have been appointed as chairman, giving me the opportunity to work with a talented and experienced team at one of London’s leading independent brewing companies,” Crowther said. “Despite the current economic challenges, we are looking forward with excitement to implementing our plans to grow this business in the coming years.”
Discussing the appointment, founder and managing director of Portobello’s brewing division, Jenkins added: “We are delighted Mark has agreed to join and invest in the company. His wealth of experience in the brewing industry will help support our next chapter of growth.”
Andy Burnham brew to raise money for Greater Manchester’s hospitality staff
Salford-based brewery Seven Bro7hers has teamed up with a number of Greater Manchester’s hospitality businesses and cashless tipping solution Tipjar to raise funds for the city region’s embattled hospitality workforce.
The brewers have launched Andy Burnham inspired IPA King of the North in tribute to Mayor and his tireless pursuit of Government support for Greater Manchester amid Covid-19 restrictions.
Thew 5% New England IPA will feature a QR code on the back of cans which drinkers can scan to give a 'tip'.
After being brewed on 4 November, the new pour will be sold online for £4 through the Seven Bro7hers web shop and will also be available via a number of venues across the city, including its BrewDog bars.
“We can’t ignore the Covid rates across our region but many businesses have been impacted by the constant rule changing and restrictions,” Keith McAvoy, CEO of Seven Bro7hers said. “Tier three has seen some establishments close, and they won’t open their doors again.
“Mirroring the spirit of Andy Burnham sticking up for his region, we want to back our sector too and do something to help, that’s why a percentage of sales from the ‘King of the North’ will be donated to hospitality charities.”
“We urge people to stay safe and to support your local hospitality businesses. Follow the rules, buy a beer and together we can help businesses to make it out the other side of tier three and curfews.”
Seven Bro7hers currently runs two beer houses in Manchester, Middlewood Locks and Ancoats, as well as a bar on the outskirts of MediaCityUK from its Salford taproom.
Henry Harris steps down as Harcourt Inns’ chef-director
After partnering with London-based Harcourt Inns in 2017, Henry Harris has announced that he has stepped down as chef-director of the Ducalian Capital-backed pub group.
Harcourt Inns currently operates six sites across the capital, with its most recent opening, the KPH in Notting Hill, launching in 2019.
Initially joining to relaunch the Truscott Arms in Maida Vale, Harris went on to oversee the food offer across new openings the Three Cranes in the City of London, the Coach & Horses in Clerkenwell and the Crown in Chiswick.
“This week, I stepped away from the London pubs that I have been running as chef-director for the past three years and I no longer have any involvement in them,” Harris explained. “I am very proud of what we have achieved.
“A truly great team that has cooked and served great food and poured good drinks and I know will continue to do so. I am working on a new project that I hope to be able to announce before too long.”
Everards’ new home to create 40 jobs
Leicestershire-based brewer and pub operator Everards has announced that new state-of-the-art brewery, beer hall and shop, Everards Meadows, will open in Spring 2021, creating 40 new jobs.
“We will be looking for 40 people who are passionate about delivering excellent customer service, to join us in a variety of roles,” Stephen Gould, Everards’ managing director, said.
“We are working with our trusted recruitment partner ER Recruitment who are exclusively managing this recruitment campaign to help find a great team to join us at our new home.”
As well as great beer, visitors will be able to enjoy local spirits and a range of hot drinks. The open kitchen will offer home cooked food from full meals to a broad range of snacks.
“This really is an exciting time for us and the beginning of a brand-new chapter in our 170-year history,” chairman Richard Everard explained.
“We are still an independent family business with strong roots in Leicestershire and we are about to move into the sixth generation of the family leading the business as we commence this exciting next chapter.
“We look forward to welcoming customers to our new home where they will be able to enjoy fantastic hospitality while overlooking both the wonderful meadows but also our state-of-the-art brewery.
“We will be brewing a great range of beers and of course bringing our famous ‘Tiger’ back to Leicestershire.”
Casamigos appoints Richard Larkin as European commercial director
The tequila brand co-founded by award-winning actor, director, producer, and screenwriter George Clooney, Rande Gerber and Mike Meldman, Casamigos Tequila & Mezcal, has appointed Richard Larkin as its European commercial director with immediate effect.
Larkin – who brings more than 20 years’ experience in premium and luxury on-trade drinks to his new role – will work in tandem with existing European brand director, Jack Brooksbank, to drive sales growth and commercial brand awareness across the continent.
“As the newly appointed Casamigos European commercial director, I am excited to be joining the Casamigos Tequila & Mezcal family to drive sales growth across Europe,” Larkin said.
“Working alongside Jack and the Casamigos global team, I am thrilled to be bringing my wealth of experience in delivering exceptional sales strategies to one of the fastest growing spirits brands in the world and seeing it go from strength to strength.”
Casamigos was acquired by Diageo in 2017 and launched Casamigos Mezcal in 2018.
Red Mist to ‘give back’ cash grants to apprentices
Pub operator Red Mist Leisure has announced that it is to “give back” additional Government cash bonus grants to its apprentices in a bid to actively support the next generation of hospitality sector staff.
Though the Government is providing additional grants to businesses under its economic plan, Red Mist has pledged to hand over the full cash bonus – between £500 and £2,000 per trainee – to apprentices joining the business between 31 August 2020 and 31 January 2021.
The windfall will be granted in two instalments over the course of the apprentice’s first successful year in placement, including levels one to five in kitchen, front of house and management positions as per the apprenticeship programme launched by Red Mist in September 2018.
New candidates for training programmes of between 12 and 36 months offered by Red Mist are also guaranteed a full-time role upon course completion.
“We recognise the landscape has changed and recruitment in the hospitality industry has been highly affected by the Covid-crisis, but we remain committed to the development of our teams and giving opportunity to those who want to enter into this remarkably resilient industry,” Red Mist managing director and British Institute of Innkeeping chair Mark Robson explained.
“We have had great success in nurturing incredibly talented apprentices since launching our scheme more than two years ago and I hope, by giving the additional grant bonus back to apprentices, Red Mist will help lead the way by encouraging even more talent into the sector.”
St Austell Brewery ‘to cut 100 jobs’
Cornish brewer and pub operator St Austell is set to cut up to 10% of its 1,000-strong workforce.
As reported by The MA, St Austell is looking to reduce its staff count by up to 100 jobs, blaming coronavirus for said losses and a significant fall in revenue.
The firm has more than 1,000 full and part-time workers across south-west centric 170 pub, inn and hotel estate.
“When the coronavirus crisis hit, and our pubs were closed, we experienced a 90% fall in our revenue,” St Austell Brewery chief executive Kevin Georgel said. “The months since have been hugely challenging and we’ve been regularly communicating with our teams – including those on furlough – about the significant financial impact we’ve faced.
“The pandemic continues to have a knock-on effect and, despite reopening our pubs, our trading levels are much lower than last year.
“Thanks to Government support we’ve been able to keep all of our people employed throughout the crisis however, as the furlough scheme tapers out, we can no longer maintain our current staffing levels. Regrettably, this means we’re having to make some very difficult decisions, which will result in job losses.
“It’s with heavy hearts that we started to consult with our teams in July. It is a phased process and we are doing our utmost to support those who are affected. We anticipate that a revised business structure will be in place by the end of November.”
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Star launches ‘Play to Win’ platform to boost calendar event footfall
Heineken’s pub arm, Star Pubs & Bars, has launched digital ‘Play to Win’ platform to enable its 2,500 pubs to safely maximise calendar opportunities such as Halloween.
The new platform will mark key events throughout the year with different customer activities for pub-goers, aged 18 plus, to play on their phones by scanning a QR code displayed in each venue.
The platform – which is free and simply requires operators to display QR codes throughout their venue – will launch across Star’s estate over Halloween with HalloWin, a Pac-Man style game with cash prizes of up to £200.
“The platform is a great way for pubs to safely celebrate key occasions and boost trade,” Cathy Olver Star Pubs & Bars’ retail marketing manager explained. “At a time of uncertainty and changing rules, this digital activity is a safe method of entertainment that licensees can rely on to go ahead.
“Pubs have been going digital in many areas over recent years, the pandemic has accelerated that process. Our new ‘Play to Win’ platform is part of a wider package of digital support we’re offering to licensees which includes free digital marketing training as well as social media assets to promote their pubs."
Star also plans to run digital ‘Play to Win’ campaigns, games and giveaways for further calendar opportunities such as Christmas and for major sporting occasions like the UEFA Champions League and European Championships.