The White Hart at Stratton St Margaret is about to undergo a £1.4 million transformation after pub owner Arkell’s Brewery begins work on a 24-room accommodation extension next week.
This is the latest investment in good quality hotel rooms by the Wiltshire brewery, and comes only two years after successfully adding accommodation to The Sun Inn at Coate Water.
Brewery director, George Arkell, said: “There is an acknowledged lack of good hotel room space in Swindon, particularly on the north side of the town, and an increasing number of people preferring the cosier atmosphere of a pub with rooms.
“The White Hart at Stratton is the ideal pub for rooms. It’s at a major Swindon gateway site, the car park is large and there is ample space.”
The construction will be undertaken by Swindon building contractor, Edmont. Arkell’s bought The White Hart at Stratton in 1878, extending it substantially in the 1920s. Nearly 100 years’ later, the pub is still going strong.
“Ongoing investment in our pubs is essential if we are to maintain standards and provide customers with the warm welcome they expect,” said George. “Over half our estate of pubs can now offer accommodation, which provides a valuable added revenue stream for our landlords as well as increased facilities for visitors to Swindon and the surrounding area.”
Batemans, the family brewer based in Lincolnshire, has recruited Linda Green as its new Retail Director. Linda’s appointment comes as Batemans makes acquisitions a major priority for the business, with the aim of increasing its managed houses in particular.
Batemans is looking to evolve its estate to be split equally between tenanted, managed and franchised operations, with a particular focus on sites that include a strong food, or accommodation offering, alongside cask ale, and have the capability to earn between £8,000 and £12,000 a week. South Yorkshire, East Midlands, North Cambridgeshire and Norfolk have been identified as the favoured locations for new Batemans sites.
Linda will be targeted with increasing the number of managed houses in the Batemans estate to 15 in three years, and then to 20 after five years. She joined Batemans this week with a main board position, and has over 20 years of executive level experience. In the pub and bar sector, she worked for Scottish & Newcastle for more than 10 years, helping to set up the food division at brands including Chef and Brewer and John Barras.
Stuart Bateman, Managing Director of Batemans, commented: “Linda’s appointment marks the start of an exciting time for Batemans as we look to dramatically increase our retail estate. This is a new role for us, and we believe Linda will prove invaluable in helping us to achieve our acquisition targets.”
Hertford based family brewer, McMullen, has completed a major refurbishment of local pub The Rising Sun near Hitchin after investing £100,000 in the site, leading to a 25 per cent increase in footfall since it was re-opened.
The substantial refurbishment has introduced a conservatory extension to the side of the building, drastically increasing the amount of covers. The interior of the pub, which was acquired by McMullen in 1904, has also had a considerable internal facelift and the toilets have been improved significantly. The beamed ceiling and brasses have been exposed to restore the old world charm of the pub.
Following the three month long refurbishment landlords, Natalie and Nigel Brown had a fantastic launch party to show off the new look to their locals, which was well received by all.
Gavin Mansfield, McMullens’ Tenancy Operations Manager commented: “It is amazing to see the pub performing so well so soon after the refurbishment. The investment is part of our ongoing commitment to our tenants to improved retail competitiveness, ensuring both parties have a long term sustainable earnings and making sure the drive and ambition of our outstanding landlords are reflected in the pubs.
148 solar panels costing a total of around £50,000 are now catching the last rays of summer sun on the roof at Arkell’s Brewery, Swindon.
The Wiltshire brewery has just completed installation of the solar panels to cut energy consumption and reduce costs.
“We have three massive cooling systems to keep our beer and lager cold, all using significant amounts of energy,” said Head Brewer Alex Arkell. “In fact powering our cooling systems is the biggest energy cost for the brewery.
“Our Beer is an all-natural product and looking after the environment that gives us the ingredients is critical. Over the last few years we have been working to reduce our carbon footprint, first through buying ingredients more locally where we can and now harnessing the sunshine to reduce our energy costs.”
The brewery’s energy consumption has risen this year as sales of its 1843 lager have taken off. 1843 lager requires a month of cooling whereas Arkell’s real ale needs just five days of cooling before it’s ready to drink.
The Capacity of the new system is 37 KWpk, which is estimated to be able to produce 35,261 kWh of electricity per year, depending on the sunshine, all of which will be used in the brewery. Even on a late summer afternoon, the panels generate 18 kWh.
“Apart from it being extremely rewarding to be using a green energy source, we estimate that we should receive payback on the solar panels within five or six years,” added Alex.
Everards Brewery and Punch Taverns have collaborated for the fourth time to give eight lucky Punch Partners the chance to brew and brand their own beer.
The Everards Gold Cask Ale Champion course was hosted at The Brunswick pub in Derby, where
Graham Giblett, Everards Head Brewer, led the team through the brewing process from the raw materials and ingredients.
Punch Partners were then able to plan the hops, malt, ABV and colour to create their recipe with inspiration on hand with the fantastic range of beers the Brunswick had to offer!
The partners got stuck in with brewing the beer, going through each stage of the brewing process thoroughly - even the cleaning of the mash tun! All done under the watchful eye of James Salmon, Head Brewer at The Brunswick
The brewers were proud to present ‘Brief Encounter’, a four per cent golden beer, brewed with four hop varieties – Cascade, Summer, Fuggles and Goldings - resulting in a delicious citrus, peach beer with a hint of caramel.
Claire Cannell, Brands Manager said “The naming of a Gold Course beer can often be a challenging, but as soon Brief Encounter was suggested we were hooked – after we had the name, the design and theme all flowed.”
Following the success of last year’s brew ‘Amberella’, the partners stepped up to the challenge to design a beer, strong enough to exceed last year’s autumn’s sales. A fantastic 320 casks of Amberella were sold across 225 pubs nationwide in 2013, so something special needed to be brewed to beat this!
John Healy, Commercial Director at Punch Taverns said: “Partner brewing initiatives such as the Gold Course by Everards present a fantastic opportunity for our Partners to get involved, learn about the complexity of beer brewing so that they can proudly create their own ale.
“After the success of the Amberella in our autumn rotation last year, we have high expectations from the ‘Brief Encounter’. The fact that it is only available on our Finest Cask range is a big sales driver, as Partners like to offer a variety of cask ales to their customers, and limited edition ales like ‘Brief Encounter’ provide a unique point of difference against competitors.”
Brief Encounter will be exclusively available on Punch’s Finest Cask guest ale programme this autumn, which will run from October to November.
Sales of Black and White, one of the latest beers to be launched by Batemans, the family brewer based in Lincolnshire, have more than doubled in two months.
Black and White was launched as part of the brewer’s celebrations for its 140th anniversary in February, along with the Bohemian Brews and Black Pepper Ale. In its first month of availability, it sold 51 barrels, 15 of which were sales to pubs outside Lincolnshire. The latest figures show that in its third month, Black and White sold 126 barrels, 81 of which were through pub companies outside Lincolnshire.
Available solely by cask, Black and White is a dark, rich and creamy beer, brimming with fruity flavours and nutty overtones from the charred black Yorkshire malt. An unbelievably full bodied beer, with an ABV of 3.6%, Black and White is packed with roasted, crunchy biscuit character and subtle hop flavours from the Challenger hops. A beer with a larger than life personality, it goes perfectly with red meat and gravy based dishes such as Shepherd’s Pie, or Bangers and Mash.
Stuart Bateman, Managing Director of Batemans Brewery, commented: “We launched a selection of new beers for our anniversary, each offering the customer something different, and Black and White has proved very popular with those looking for something mild and creamy, yet with plenty of flavour. The sales have rocketed over the last two month, and we are confident they will continue to rise over the summer months.”
Brewers across Britain are being urged to be part of the nationwide launch of Cask Ale Week on Thursday 25th September.
“We’re calling on all cask ale brewers to become involved,” says Paul Nunny from Cask Marque. “It doesn’t matter whether they’re from national, regional, local or micro breweries – they’re all welcome to join in.
“The aim is to kick start the Week with tutored cask ale tastings all over the country. So we’re asking brewers to offer their services to pubs for 25th September.”
The idea started to take hold last year. Brewers including Craig Stevens from Caledonian, Simon Yates from Banks’s, Bruce Ash from Woodforde’s and a number of Beer Academy sommeliers all held tutored tastings in pubs or breweries to mark the start of the Week. The events capitalised on the growing interest in crafted food and drink, drawing audiences beyond the usual beer-lovers.
“This year, we’re looking to do the same again, but on a larger scale,” says Paul. “There are far more pubs than there are brewers, so licensees interested in holding master classes in ale tasting need to get in quick!”
Cask Ale Week runs Thursday 25th September to Sunday 5th October. The theme is ‘Celebrating Britain’s National Drink’.
"Who better to lead the charge with this year’s Cask Ale Week than the talented producers of Britain’s national drink?” says Paul.
Since launching in June 2012; Robinsons’ unique mystery visitor programme, Perfect Pub, has recruited over 1000 customers operating as Perfect Pub ‘agents’ and has also revealed a 9% sales swing for Robinsons pubs linked directly with standards.
“The results reveal what you hope – pubs that score higher sell more beer,” Explains David Bremner, Director of Marketing at Robinsons. “Our pub’s that score consistently well are 5%+ on beer volume. Pubs that have shown improvement in score over the last 12 months are up 4%, and those that have declined in score are -4% in volume. That’s a swing of 9% volume which is directly linked to standards. Raising standards is something all of our pubs can achieve at a relatively low cost.”
Information from over 1325 missions has shown that agents have been particularly impressed with the ‘bar service’ in Robinsons pubs – scoring an average of 90%; traditional ‘boozers’ have improved their score by almost 20%; and just under 1/3 of Robinsons entire pub estate is attaining a rating of over 95%.
“1000 pub agents in just under 2 years is fantastic!” said Retail Standards Consultant Angela Bremner. “Not only are we gaining real feedback from target customers, who are passionate about supporting the Great British pub, but the agents - and their friends and families - are also rewarding us with their loyalty and returning to our pubs time and time again.”
Sarah Rogers, Retail Marketing Manager at Robinsons, added: “Delivering great service and retail standards is essential to driving sales and competing with the best managed, tenanted or free houses in any given area - it’s an area we all have to focus on in tough times. Staff training is key to all this.”
The Robinsons Perfect Pub secret service is currently recruiting agents in Wales and Cumbria! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is: 1. visit the pub. 2. Tell us what you think of the pub. 3. Get paid £15 for going to the pub. Simples! Sign up at www.perfect-pub.co.uk today!
Batemans, the family brewer based in Lincolnshire, is appearing for the first time at this year’s Hotelympia show, which is being held at ExCel, London, between the 28th April and 1st May 2014. They will be part of the exhibition’s ‘Craft Beer Takeover’, a dedicated area aiming to spearhead the craft beer revolution.
Hotelympia, the UK’s largest foodservice and hospitality exhibition, is the ideal platform for Batemans to promote their new Bohemian Brews, alongside some old favourites. Visitors to the stand, number 4258, will be able to enjoy both Orange Barley, from the Bohemian Brews range, and Yella Belly Gold on draught key keg, as well as a number of 50cl bottled beers including the new Black Pepper Ale, and B Bock.
The full Bohemian Brews range will also be available to try in 33cl bottles, with visitors able to choose between Orange Barley, Mocha, Hazelnut Brownie, and Mocha Amaretto. These delicious craft beers have been created for both beer enthusiasts and newcomers who want to try something different, with a flavour to suit every palate.
For those operators looking to place orders at the exhibition, Batemans is offering an unmissable opportunity; a free case of beer with every three purchased, as well as the chance to win a digital camera.
Jaclyn Bateman, Marketing Director of Batemans, comments: “We’re thrilled to be appearing at Hotelympia for the first time, and this is the largest exhibition of its kind that we’ve ever taken part in. We’ve got lots to shout about this year, with the launch of our new Bohemian Brews range, as well as the hugely popular Black Pepper Ale, making Hotelympia the perfect platform to reach key operators, buyers and decision makers who are looking to try a craft beer that offers something a little different.”