Shepherd Neame acquires three freehold pubs
Kent-based brewer and multiple pub operator Shepherd Neame has expanded its estate with a triple acquisition of sites in Essex.
The company’s portfolio of pubs and hotels has now reached 303 across Kent, London and the south-east after the addition of the Bellhouse in Leigh-on-Sea, the Exchange in Southend-on-Sea and the Hamlet Court in Westcliff-on-Sea. This follows the business’s acquisition of Urban Reef in Bournemouth earlier this July.
All three pubs are freeholds and were part of the East Anglia Pub Company estate.
Shepherd Neame managing director of pubs Jonathon Swaine said: “Following the strong company performance revealed in our latest trading update at the end of June, we have been actively looking for opportunities to grow and develop our high-quality estate and are delighted to expand our presence in Essex with these unique properties.”
Built as a hunting lodge around the 16th century, the Bellhouse is said to be a large pub and restaurant steeped in original features and charm. Situated in Eastwood it has a large patio area and garden while customers can relax by the open fires during winter. Its menu offers contemporary and classic dishes.
The recently refurnished Exchange pub is in the heart of Southchurch Village and uses live music as a draw for customers. It operated as a bank before being developed into a pub in 2002 and makes use of the original bank vault as its beer cellar.
Meanwhile, the Hamlet Court, located in the centre of Westcliff-on-Sea, is renowned as a live music venue, has recently been revamped and is close to the historic Palace Theatre meaning it is a popular destination for pre-show dinner and drinks.
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The Squirrel reopens after £330k investment
The Squirrel in Amersham, Buckingamshire has reopened its doors following a £330,000 investment by independent pub operators Punch Pubs.
The Penn Street pub has undergone a internal and external renovation, and will be operated by Punch Pubs management partner John Lee Perry.
The eight-week revamp included added seating and snug areas in the bar and dining spaces, as well as outdoor seating and a renovation of the beer garden.
Perry said: "This pub is a real village landmark, and I cannot wait for the local community to experience their new-look pub.
“The new menu is simply stunning, full of decadent new dishes and fantastic drinks. It's everything the community and guests have been waiting for.
“Aside from the great food and drinks, we're particularly proud of the garden – with the rest of the summer ahead, there is no better time to reopen!"
Punch senior operations manager Sarah Edmunds said the company was “really excited and proud” to reopen the pub.
She continued: “Much loved already, the investment has reinvigorated the pub to ensure that it remains the beating heart of the local community for many years to come.
“We're [also] looking forward to working alongside our new Management Partner, John, who is the perfect host to showcase all this pub has to offer."
Community pub reopens following £189k investment
The Black Bull, a local community pub in Thirsk, North Yorkshire, reopened on Friday 29 July after a £189,000 investment.
Operator Cheryl Hallcro took over the pub in February, and the investment was funded by leading community pub company Admiral Taverns who owns 1,600 pubs across the country.
The Black Bull is part of Proper Pubs, the community wet-led division of Admiral Taverns which has more than 170 sites across England, Scotland and Wales.
The investment has included a renovated of the inside and outside of the pub. The venue boasts a new bar, a new seating area, new signage and a beer garden which can accommodate around 30 people.
Hallcro said: “We are over the moon with the results of the refurbishment at the Black Bull, it looks better than we ever imagined. It’s essentially a brand-new pub – I’m so thankful to Admiral Taverns for the investment and their ongoing support.
“Opening night was fantastic, it was great to see so many new faces and I can’t wait to meet more locals over the coming weeks.”
According to Admiral Taverns business development manager Martin Wood, the refurbishment looked “amazing” and had created an authentic pub which could cater to more people throughout the year in a welcoming environment.
“I wish Cheryl and the team every success for the future and am confident the pub will thrive at the heart of its community,” he added.
Berkshire Botanical opens distillery
Berkshire Botanical has opened its own distillery at Child’s Court Farm on the Yattendon Estate.
The new site, the ‘Yattendon Distillery’, boasts a brand new 200 litre copper pot still, significantly increasing the production capacity for the brand’s growing product portfolio.
The distillery’s range includes Berkshire botanical dry gin, rhubarb and raspberry gin as well as honey and orange blossom gin.
Berkshire Botanical founder Johnny Neill commented: “Since launching Berkshire Botanical, we’ve always wanted to open up a larger distillery on the Yattendon Estate, so it’s brilliant to finally be up and running.
“It’s been a really exciting few years for us, as we have focused on producing a quality range, as well as increasing distribution and sales both in the UK and globally.
“The range has already won a raft of accolades at key industry awards, including the recent Gin Trophy for our Dry Gin at this year’s International Spirits Challenge, as the highest scoring London Dry in the competition.
“With the opening of the Yattendon Distillery, we now look forward to welcoming people to our brand home, and further growing the Berkshire Botanical range.”
Searcys rolls out Champagne Coupé for 175th anniversary
As part of its 175th anniversary celebrations, Searcys has created a unique Champagne Coupé by converting a 1935 Rolls-Royce Sedanca de Ville into a fully working mobile champagne bar.
The blue car, first supplied by Clyde Automobile Co more than 85 years ago, comes complete with built-in fridges for up to 60 bottles of champagne, a hanging glasses rack and storage for bar snacks. The side door opens to present the bar, while the boot drops down to convert into a table and service station.
Paul Jackson, Searcys managing director, said: “Searcys is synonymous with champagne, with links to fizz dating back to 1893 so it’s only fitting that we mark our 175th year with our very own vintage Champagne Coupé.
“Searcys and Rolls Royce are historical British brands with a similar ethos – the luxury automobile maker’s slogan is, ‘Whatever is rightly done, however humble, is noble’, which complements Searcys’ founder John Searcy’s personal approach.
“Adding to our event portfolio, the Searcys Champagne Coupé is a great addition to parties and weddings – we can’t wait to see it in action.”
The Searcys Champagne Coupé is available to hire from this summer and can be fully staffed, with package price on application and options to tailor the champagne and nibble selection to meet the preferences of event organisers.
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