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Dorset Tourism Awards celebrate the best in the county
Dorset’s best tourism business were presented with a total of 61 trophies at the fourth annual Dorset Tourism Awards.
In a ceremony at the Tank Museum on 13th October, a capacity crowd of 240 guests saw winners from across the county and three new categories for International Visitor Experience, Dog Friendly and Glamping were introduced. A 3-stage judging process including a programme of mystery visits helped find the winners.
One big surprise was the Unsung Hero award for Brenden Howard of Bournemouth’s Grove Hotel, nominated by one of the mystery shoppers, who commented: “Kind, considerate and goes out of his way to be helpful. He goes above and beyond his official duties.”
The Outstanding Contribution to Tourism award went to Bruce Grant-Braham, for more than 20 years service to tourism in Poole, Bournemouth and the wider Dorset. Chair of the Judges Peter Jones said: “His commitment to raising the profile of tourism has known few bounds.”
The Tank Museum won prestigious Golds for Tourism Event of the Year and International Visitor Experience, along with the prestigious Winner of Winners trophy. Another multiple winner was the Symondsbury Estate, in the Self Catering, Café & Tearoom and Venue & Business Tourism categories.
Smaller business also took big awards. The Dorset House in Lyme Regis took Gold for B&B of the Year, the Taste Brasserie in Dorchester for Café and Tearoom and Wareham Forest Park for Camping, Caravanning & Holiday Park of the Year. The Large Hotel Gold was presented to the new Hilton Bournemouth, whilst The Kings Arms in Christchurch took Gold for Small Hotel/Boutique Accommodation. Greenwood Grange excelled again taking Gold in the Self Catering sector.
Food and Drink Golds were awarded to the Taste Brasserie in Dorchester for Café & Tearoom and the Anchor Inn in Seatown for Tourism Pub of the Year. The final category award of the night resulted in a joint award, with joint Golds going to Sherborne’s Eastbury Hotel and Weymouth’s Dorset Burger Company for Restaurant and Bistro of the year.
The Dorset Tourism Awards were launched in June 2013, following liaison between their founder, Robin Barker, and tourism leaders. Robin has been delighted with year-on-year progress since then, saying: “This year has record entries, more sponsors, a capacity event and a further raising in quality. The judges have had their toughest task yet – many congratulations to all of the winners.”
UK Hotel investment up 12% above 10 year average despite Brexit uncertainty
Investment in the UK hotel property market reached a total of £3.1 billion in the first three quarters of the year, which is 12% higher than the 10 year average, according to the latest report from international property advisors Savills.
Their UK Hotel Investment report notes that there is resilience in the market despite some of the uncertainty around Brexit. The deal count, as of June, has outperformed the 10 year average of 60.
The research suggests that stock constraints in London and economic uncertainty has led to investment decisions being determined by income security rather than geography alone, providing a boost to transaction activity in the UK regions. August, traditionally a quiet month saw 14 regional deals completed, say Savills including Imperial Hotel, Torquay for in excess of £10 million to the Brownsword Hotel Group and Kenwood Hall in Sheffield for £6.5 million.
For the first time since 2011 overseas investors no longer dominate acquisition activity with UK property companies taking the lion’s share, accounting for 34.6% (£1 billion) of total transactions. This trend is expected to continue as the weaker pound in the latter half of the year restricts UK property companies from buying overseas. Private individuals have also become more active over the course of 2016, with transaction volumes almost double that of year end 2015 levels at £340 million.
Martin Rogers, head of UK hotel transactions at Savills, comments: “Its really been a case of two halves this year – pre and post the EU referendum vote – that has shaped the type of investor interested in the sector. Supply constraints and the strong pound affected the decisions of foreign investors over the first six months of the year meaning UK property companies are, to date, the most active in the market. As seen over the third quarter, in the coming fourth quarter we expect to see overseas investors make a comeback with them becoming increasingly more comfortable looking beyond London.”
Palmers and St Austell win beer and pub awards
The south west triumphed in the British Beer & Pub Association’s annual awards with brewers Palmers and St Austell both bringing home trophies.
Palmers are the Pub Champion 2016. This award seeks to recognise companies that have worked to secure pubs for future generations, either through investment in pubs or investment in the pub workforce. Palmers focused on their tenancy package which offers the opportunity for individuals to run their own pub with a managed support platform. Judges were impressed by Palmers’ commitment to nurturing young talent within the business, offering support and guidance throughout their careers. The food offering throughout Palmers’ 54-strong pub estate also impressed the panel.
The Beer Champion 2016 award went to St Austell, recognising their promotion and celebration of beer as a category. The Cornish brewery have grown beer sales over the last 12 months, driven by key brands Tribute, Proper Job and Korev. Their Small Batch Brewery has innovated with a dedicated research and development facility. Judges were impressed by the “tireless commitment to quality” alongside their passion for beer.
Other winners at the annual celebration of Britain’s beer and pub industry were Waitrose for Off-trade Retailer, Joseph Holt for the Heart of the Community award and The Rugby Football Union was the Chairman’s Award winner.
Cornwall Tourism Awards finalists announced
After a 3-stage judging process and with an increase to 25 categories, the annual awards will be presented at a ceremony on 3rd November 2016.
Entries have increased by 13% to 195 entrants across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly with 75 selected as finalists who will be perfecting their potential winner’s speeches for the Awards Ceremony at the Headland Hotel, Newquay.
Malcolm Bell, Chief Executive of Visit Cornwall, says: “It’s great to see the breadth and depth of quality in Cornwall – all the best to all of our finalists on awards night.”
The 25 award categories cover everything from surf schools, cafes and hotels to cottages, spas and holiday parks. A Winner of Winners title and special Outstanding Contribution to Tourism award will also be presented on the night.
For a full list of finalists, visit www.cornwalltourismawards.org.uk
Brewery and distillery plan to shack up in Cheltenham
A Gloucester brewery and it’s offspring gin distillery have applied for planning permission to move in together. Battledown Brewery, whose beer includes Cheltenham SPA Blonde, Sunbeam and Four Kings, and The Siblings Distillery, set up by four children of the brewery founders have applied for a change of use of a building on the Barlands Industrial Site in Cheltenham.
The site would be more suitable for the two companies than the existing premises which are located in a residential area. It’s hoped the move will attract other food and drink producers to relocate there.
Thai street food chain opens in Bath
Thaikhun have opened its ninth site in the city’s Little Southgate development after a £900,000 investment. The 4,200 square foot site will have 154 diners with an open kitchen, bar and outdoor dining area.
It’s Thaikhun’s first restaurant in the south west, joining locations in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Newcastle, Guildford, Nottingham, Oxford, Cambridge and Manchester. Leicester, Cardiff and Southampton will follow this year with another eight sites planned for next year.
The restaurant’s design fits the food by recreating a Thai street scene including imported artefacts and a tuk-tuk.
Ian Leigh, managing director at Thaikhun says: “We are delighted to bring Thaikhun to Bath and hope that our new restaurant will offer something a little different for diners in the area.
“By combining traditional Thai street food and an authentic, eclectic restaurant setting we hope to inspire dreams or memories of exploring Thailand for every customer that dines with us. This is our first site in the south west of England and we couldn’t be more excited to hear what the people of Bath think!”
Bursary for baristas
The leading supplier to the café bar industry, Beyond the Bean, are looking to sponsor a competitor for the UK Barista Championship (UKBC) for the second year running.
The BTB Bursary is “an opportunity for one competing barista to get financial and developmental support which we hope will ease some of the more laborious pressures of the competition – freeing them up to concentrate on the important part, the coffee.” say Beyond the Bean.
The budding barista chosen will qualify for support when attending the UKBC heats which includes £100 credit to use on the BTB Gear range and a day’s training with a past judge. Beyond the Bean will then continue to support the winner throughout the competition and if they qualify to represent the UK they will receive an additional fund of £2.5k towards expenses, plus assistance with shipping to WBC Seoul.
For more details and to apply go to beyondthebean.com/baristabursary
Whitbread PLC board joined by Hammerson CEO
The Chief Executive of Hammerson PLC, David Atkins, has been appointed to the board of Whitbread PLC as a non-executive director.
David Atkins, CEO of Hammerson plc added: “I’m delighted to be joining the board of Whitbread, a major leisure operator with a clearly defined vision and ambitious expansion plans. Whitbread has strong brands and large property portfolio and as our retail destinations continue to deliver an enhanced leisure offer, this role is a great opportunity for both of us.”
FTSE 100 listed Whitbread are the owners of Premier Inn, Costa and restaurant brands including Beefeater and Brewers Fayre, totally over 2,200 outlets across the UK.
Butcombe Brewery recruit Mark Harding from Bath Ales
Mark Harding joins the Liberation Group-owned brewery in a newly created operations director role. His previous role was sales director at Bath Ales and he also has stints at Weston’s cider and Smiles Brewery on his extensive CV.
Mark said: “I’ve watched Butcombe grow and develop as a business over the years and can see what a progressive company it has become. It’s clear there is collective vision throughout the team for the future of the business, and I’m thrilled to be embarking on the journey as part of the team.”
Geraint Williams, Managing Director of Butcombe Brewery said, “This is a pivotal role within our Directors team. We welcome Mark to Butcombe. We have a clear vision to be the leading brewery in the south west and our production and logistics strategy is pivotal to achieving that goal. Mark has significant knowledge of our region and the industry as a whole, and his experience will be invaluable to the rest of the team.”
Mark Crowther, Chief Executive of Liberation Group, which owns Butcombe Brewery, commented, “Mark’s appointment comes at an important time for the Group. We have made no secret of our aspirations to extend our reach in the UK, building on the incredibly successful model we have established in the Channel Islands. As a highly successful regional brewer, production and distribution are crucial elements in the success of our longer term business plan and the appointment of Mark Harding is an important step towards delivering our objectives.”
Woman with £5m nose makes the grade
Wyke Farms has promoted Diane Cox to head cheese grader and technical director and insured her nose for a cool £5m. She replaces Nigel ‘the Nose’ Pooley, a man with an equally valuable nose, who is retiring after smelling his way through an estimated 520 million blocks of cheese in his career. The job involves ‘sniffing out’ and tasting cheese to filter out the finest batches.
FOOD & DRINK NEWS
173 year old brewery celebrates railway heritage
Arkell’s Brewery is releasing it’s second special Steam beer to mark 175 year’s of Swindon railway history.
Hooter, at 5% ABV, is a “luscious dark beer with floral notes from the hops, on top of strong roasted flavours from Brown and Munich malts.”
Arkell’s Brewery is just two years younger than the Great Western Railway it grew up alongside in Swindon. The iconic railway works closed in 1986 but Arkell’s is still brewing beer every week.
George Arkell, managing director at Arkell’s Brewery said: “Everywhere you look in Swindon there are references to our great railway past, and we’re very proud to have been a part of it from the beginning.”
In celebration of 175 years of Steam in Swindon, Arkell’s is brewing three special cask beers this year. The first, Golden Gooch (3.7% ABV), was released in September to celebrate Sir Daniel Gooch, Brunel’s first engineer’s 200th birthday on August 24th. From October 3, it’s Hooter (5% ABV) and from November 7, the final beer, Steam Powered (4% ABV) will be available across the Arkell’s estate of pubs.
Steaks are high for Artis
Renowned Brazilian Tramontina steak knives are coming to UK thanks to Artis who are the sole British importer. All of the 22 different knives have high quality stainless steel blades and sustainable sourced polymer-impregnated wooden handles which can survive a commercial dishwasher.
The work for pizza as well as steak too and start with a list price of £2.48 per piece. www.artis-uk.com/cutlery
Cloud temperature sensing system
UK-based food safety monitoring solutions company Monika are launching a cloud-hosted subscription service.
This allows customers to remotely monitor temperature and task completion data in real time, anywhere in the world via smartphone, tablet or computer.
The secure system allows operator to monitor and implement corrective measures, responding to alerts and alarms that are sent to key personnel though email and SMS message.
Simon Wood, Technical Manager at Monika comments: The launch of the cloud hosting subscription service represents just that, a completely remote, fully accessible, yet secure service that operators can use to monitor their business 24/7 from anywhere in the world. Optimised for use on any internet enabled devise, the system is quick and simple to access while allowing the same great overview or detailed reporting for everything from an individual site, right up to a full estate for a large chain or franchise business. The new cloud hosting service delivers ongoing cost efficiencies, representing true value for money.”
For more information www.monika.com
The Ham Yard Hotel, London
“The forum will present an exciting programme of specialist speakers together with panel debate from key leaders within the hospitality sector. The forum focuses on the future of technology, online platforms and social media within independent and multisite operators across the sector.”
National Coastal Tourism Academy: Annual Coastal Tourism Forum
17th October 9:15-16:30
Church House, Westminster, London
“This event breaks new ground for everyone involved in the business of coastal tourism. At this Forum we’ll be unveiling new research, identifying national trends and highlighting new markets. We will be sharing our Vision for the Coast but we need your expertise to help shape and deliver it.”
Independent Hotel Show
18th – 19th October
“Inspiring and Informative, the Independent Hotel Show, is the UK’s largest and best established business event in support of the luxury, boutique and independent hotel sector.”
Institute of Hospitality Southern Branch “Wake Up & Smell the Coffee” Event
19th October 18:30
Winchester Coffee School, Winchester. SO23 7QN
The evening will include a talk and theory about coffee beans, choosing of the beans and grounding, the practical aspect of using a barista and making coffee. Hand-made food to taste whilst enjoying the coffee. Members & non-members welcome.
South West Chef of the Year Annual Awards Dinner
Exeter Golf & Country Club
“A lavish award ceremony and dinner hosted by the judges including Michael Caines MBE. The awards dinner is a culinary feast comprising courses prepared by three top chefs from the region.”
New Forest Food Festival
31st Oct – 6th Nov
New Forest, Hampshire
“A week of culinary events, produce, tastes, dishes and activities for every foodie. 15 themes with amazing Headline Events hosted by leading Forest venues & producers all with a special twist. Tasting menus, celebrity chef evenings, tea parties – there’s something for everyone.”
Gin for Breakfast at Chewton Glen’s Festival Business Event
Tuesday 1st November: 07:30-09:30am
Chewton Glen, Hampshire
“Business men and women from across the New Forest and beyond will meet for a New Forest Breakfast on Tuesday 1 November. The addition of gin is not a sign of the times – but an introduction to one of the Forest’s latest and most exciting businesses.”
Return to the fold
We’ve all been faced with a dish of food and wondered how to eat it. But usually it’s oysters or lobster or something Korean. Not pizza.
However the internet has been raging all week with the correct way to eat a ‘proper’ Neapolitan pizza with a thin stone-baked crust. If you’ve been using a knife and fork or picking it up by the crust and willing the pointy end of the slice mouth-wards you’ve been doing it all wrong.
The correct way is to fold the slice in half according to the experts. For a whole pizza you can even fold it in half and then in half again, like a wallet.
“We’ve grown up to think pizza is a thing that you slice into perfect segments, pull a slice away by the crust and pick it up and put it in your mouth – like a bit of cardboard – and post it into your mouth,” Jim Morgan, the co-owner of Rudy’s Neapolitan Pizza in Manchester told the Manchester Evening News.
Using the expert folding method, none of the topping or sauce slides off. Ultimately though, it’s your pizza and you can eat it however you want…