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Exeter’s Royal Clarence Hotel for sale
The site of the Royal Clarence Hotel in Exeter, which was gutted in a devastating fire three years ago, has been put up for sale by Andrew Brownsword Hotels.
The Grade-II listed, four-AA-star, 53-bedroom hotel partially collapsed following a fire which broke out in the adjacent Castle Fine Art Gallery building. Significant works to protect the hotel’s historic fabric have been undertaken since then and the owners hoped initially to reopen the hotel this year.
Andrew Brownsword said: “The extensive recovery and preparation work that has been completed at the site means it now offers an excellent opportunity for the next stage of development and I have had to concede that this will be realised by others. It was always my vision to deliver a new hotel at the level of luxury and quality as others within our group, however, the financial and resource investment made in the demolition, historic restoration and enabling works has been significant and this has meant that it is regretfully unviable for us to develop the level of hotel that we had envisaged.
“This has been a heartbreaking decision for us to take, but, alongside the residents of Exeter, we want to see this corner of Cathedral Yard resorted to its former glory. We believe that selling the site now to a group that operates to a different business model to ours, will enable them to start building, unencumbered by all of the challenges and costs already overcome by us, and is the only way we can conclude to make the rebuild happen quickly and viably.”
The hotel group acquired the hotel in 2003 for £4.5m and transformed it into Abode Exeter, one of five hotels in the Abode brand owned by Andrew Brownsword Hotels.
Steady sales growth in July for pubs and restaurants
Britain’s managed pub and restaurant groups saw collective like-for-like sales grow 1.2% in July against the same time last year, with restaurant chains recovering strongly after a poor summer in 2018, latest figures from the Coffer Peach Business Tracker show.
Like-for-like sales for restaurant groups were up a healthy 3.8% against last July where results were hit by the World Cup and hot weather. However, managed pubs saw sales slip back by -0.2% compared to their bumper July 2018 which were boosted by the fine weather and football.
“Considering the barnstorming July that pubs had last year, holding relatively steady this July will be seen as a good performance, and restaurant groups will be more than relieved with their sales recovery,” said Karl Chessell, director of CGA, the business insight consultancy that produces the Tracker, in partnership with Coffer Group and RSM.
“These figures are very much ‘steady as she goes’ for both the pub and restaurant sectors. Pub like-for-likes were always going to be challenging against a World Cup year and the exceptional weather of 2018. Decent weather in 2019 as well has no doubt helped sustain performance on the wet-led side. We continue to see very good results from quality operators with good demand for new sites across the country from both established and emerging operators across both sectors,” said Trevor Watson, executive director, valuations at Davis Coffer Lyons.
“Following a good showing in June when collective like-for-likes across the sector grew 1.4%, the eating and drinking-out market is showing some resilience. Nevertheless, with Brexit looming, there will be real nervousness about a crash in autumn,” Chessell added.
Underlying like-for-like growth for the Tracker cohort, which represents both large and small groups, was running at 1.8% for the 12 months to the end of July, up from 1.6% at the end of June.
D&D opens first South West restaurant
Hammerson have announced that D&D London will open a new restaurant and events venue at Cabot Circus, Bristol in the Quakers Friars piazza.
The 13,000 sq ft site will include a landmark restaurant, bars, private dining and an outdoor terrace, partly contained in the listed 18th-century Friary building.
Des Gunewardena, chairman and CEO of D&D London said: “Following our Leeds openings and most recently the launch of our rooftop restaurant 20 Stories in Manchester, our Cabot Circus venture in Bristol reflects our continuing commitment to expansion in the UK outside of London. We are very pleased to be working again with Hammerson and are very supportive and enthusiastic about their plans for the overall development of Quakers Friars.”
Iain Mitchell, UK commercial director at Hammerson, said: “D&D continues to innovate in the restaurant scene and we are thrilled to have secured their first venture in the South West, which we know will be a huge draw for consumers and brands alike. Quakers Friars is a unique setting and we have some really exciting plans which will transform this part of Cabot Circus. We’ll have more of an update on that soon.”
South West producers win Great Taste stars
Businesses from the South West picked up 434 accolades in this year’s Great Taste awards.
Great Taste 3-star winners from this region included: “sophisticated, clean and homely” Special Reserve, a “dry, crisp and sharp” medium 5.4% ABV keeved Somerset cider from Shepton Mallet-based Worley’s Cider; Somerton-based Melbury Farm’s “simple and perfect” Apple and Cinnamon Syrup, a versatile syrup made from the farm’s own apple juice, with its “a brilliant baked apple caramel depth – sharp and clean with well-judged cinnamon”; and a handmade single variety Blaisdon Red Plum Jam produced by Gloucester-based Artisan Kitchen, which uses rare, heritage, Gloucester-sourced Blaisdon Red Plums from ancient, private orchards to create a “dark and velvety” jam, which “wraps around the tongue like a blanket” and is “like eating a plum right off the tree”.
The panel judging the record-breaking 12,772 entries for 2019 included cook and writer Melissa Hemsley, Kenny Tutt, MasterChef 2018 champion, author, Olia Hercules, chef and food writer, Gill Meller, Kavi Thakar from Dishoom, food writer and stylist, Georgina Hayden and author and chef, Zoe Adjonyoh, as well as food buyers from Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Sourced Market and Partridges.
The 3-star winners go on to compete to be Supreme Champion which will be announced at the Great Taste Golden Fork Dinner on September 1st at the InterContinental Park Lane Hotel, London.
Full details of this year’s winners can be found at www.greattasteawards.co.uk.
South West charcuterie is Great Taste star
Dorset-based Capreolus Fine Foods grabbed four 3-star Great Taste accolades at this year’s awards.
The four 3-star winners were: Guanciale, Dorset Coppa, Smoked Mutton, and Chorizo. The judges said of the Guanciale: “Beautifully complex layers of flavour. Perfectly cured. Salt content is well balanced. Deep, meaty, satisfying flavours, succulent. Some sweetness and a gentle citrus note. So many layers of flavour in this finely cured pork cheek. This sings!”
David Richards, Director of Capreolus, explains: “My wife Karen and I are humbled by the 3-Star Awards that we have won this year. We have entered products many times and always dream about getting a 3-Star Award but this has really bowled us over. It is a tribute to the team who work so hard for us and care so deeply about what they do”
For more information contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01935 83883.
Lympstone Manor partners with Nyetimber wines
Micheal Caine’s luxury country house hotel and Michelin-starred restaurant Lympstone Manor has announced a partnership with English sparkling wine pioneers Nyetimber. The agreement will see Lympstone Manor serve an extensive collection of Nyetimber wines including rare vintages.
Eric Heerema, owner and CEO of Nyetimber, said: “It gives me great pleasure to announce our partnership with Lympstone Manor and Chef Patron Michael Caines. Our world-renowned English sparkling wines will beautifully complement Michael’s precise and distinctive highest-quality modern European cuisine, as well as the elegant surroundings of this historic, yet contemporary property.”
Michael Caines commented: “Lympstone Manor is a country house hotel for the 21st Century and it feels entirely befitting to be partnering with a great English sparkling wine producer. I’m thrilled to be welcoming Nyetimber’s meticulously crafted collection to Lympstone as the perfect accompaniment to our menus and ethos.”
Cornish resort wins Visitor Attraction status
Landal Gwel an Mor in Portreath has become the first resort in the South West to gain Visitor Attraction status. It’s hoped this move will open up their facilities to more guests and promote Portreath as a day trip destination for Cornwall.
Matt Way, resort director, Landal Gwel an Mor, said: “There are lots of locals and visitors who haven’t discovered us yet so we plan to change this, opening our doors to welcome day guests. We want to share our top-class facilities with more holidaymakers but also shine a spotlight on the stunning beach and village we have at Portreath. As a year-round resort, employing over 150 staff, we are very proud of our facilities and are working closely with other local organisations to encourage more visitors to have a day out in Portreath – a destination with so much to offer.”
Currently Visit Britain’s Holiday Village of the Year, Landal Gwel an Mor will welcome day visitors to enjoy fishing, golf, swimming, spa treatments, soft play, climbing walls, wildlife, family activities, and dining.
FOOD AND DRINK NEWS
Devon beer named UK’s best low-alcohol ale
Powderkeg’s Green Light was named the UK’s best low-alcohol pale ale at the 2019 World Beer Awards held in London in August.
The Devon-based craft brewers beat many of the country’s biggest names to win the prize in the fast-growing “low and no” category with their 1.2% ABV “Quarter IPA”.
Head brewer John Magill said: “Until recently, low-alcohol beer had a deserved reputation as heartless, soulless, gutless. But Green Light is different. It’s made with love, by beer lovers. We’ve held the highest expectations throughout the development process, and have used our many years of brewing experience along with cutting-edge techniques to produce a beer that we’re proud to put the Powderkeg name to…
“So this summer, drink small brewery beer” adds John. “The quality and flavour you want is out there, probably brewed within 50 miles of your own home. Think before you drink – seek out local brews and support the businesses that champion them. They really are the beating heart of the industry.”
Green Light is available in 30l keg and 330ml cans. For trade enquiries, contact email@example.com.
St Austell launches one-off beer to help pubs
St Austell Brewery has brewed a one-off Special Cornish Red IPA beer in support of Long Live the Local, “the campaign to save the Great British pub.”
The beer will be used at events to campaign for petition signatures calling on the government to relieve pubs of the rising tax pressures on them. The campaign’s programme director, David Cunningham, visited the Cornish brewers to help brew the Red IPA, inspired by the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s red Budget box.
St Austell Brewery will also be sending Long Live the Local activation kits – including beer mats and posters – to 176 of its pubs and 500 of its customers, to raise further awareness of the campaign.
David Cunningham said: “We’re grateful to St Austell Brewery for helping to amplify our message. Having our own great-tasting bottled beer will really help us to spread the word about our campaign and the petition to cut beer tax.
“Not only will the campaign’s success help local pubs, it’ll also benefit the wellbeing of the economy, job security and most importantly communities. The reality is that pubs are struggling to make any profit in the current climate because one in three pounds spent in pubs currently goes to the taxman. This year the government plans to increase beer duty again, applying even more pressure on local pubs.”
James Staughton, chief executive, St Austell Brewery said: “We encourage everyone to support the Long Live the Local campaign. The pub industry creates jobs, encourages tourism and most importantly, provides places for people to gather and socialise. As an independent, regional brewery with our own pub estate, we’re keen to ensure that local pubs remain vibrant and successful – but rising costs are putting small businesses under strain.
“Pubs have been the heart and soul of British culture for generations. It’s vital that we do all we can to work with the government to safeguard their future.”
To sign the Long Live the Local petition and contact your local MP, visit www.longlivethelocal.pub.
Chef launches gin to save leopards
Chef and gastropub owner Will Phillips has created his gin brand to help support a rare leopard facing extinction.
He will donate 15% of the gross profits of Clouded Leopard Gin to the Born Free Foundation who protect the Clouded Leopard, with at least £1 from each bottle sold going to fund the foundation.
Distilled in Bristol, the gin will “delivers a classic London dry Juniper on the start, bright lemon zest citrus notes through the middle and tropical mango and fragrant black pepper finish.” It has an ABV of 40% and is produced from British wheat spirit with botanicals of juniper berries, coriander seeds, angelica root, cassia bark, mango, black pepper and lemon zest.
The RRP is £35.95 for a 50cl bottle available from www.masterofmalt.com.
New manager at Whatley Manor
Cotswolds manor house hotel Whatley Manor has announced that Andreas Rosendal is their new food and beverage manor.
He joins them from his previous job as wine director at Flemings Mayfair hotel and has over 15 years of experience as a sommelier and buyer.
He will manage the hotels’ Michelin-starred Dining Room, Grey’s Brasserie and the recently launched Green Room, working with executive chef Niall Keating.
Dartmoor Brewery appoints new MD
South West craft ale producer Dartmoor Brewery have appointed Ian Cobham as their new managing director.
Ian was made head brewer at the company in 2016 and has added new beers to the brewery’s range. He has previously worked with Cornwall’s Harbour Brewing Company and Sharp’s Brewery.
Ian said: “I am delighted to have this opportunity to lead Dartmoor Brewery into its next phase of development, particularly at a time when more and more beer drinkers are looking for top-quality ales with real local provenance. We are fortunate to have so many loyal Dartmoor Brewery fans and trade customers here in the South West, and a growing following in national markets beyond our traditional heartland.”
Four historic Cotswolds properties come to market
A portfolio of four prime Cotswold assets has been put on the market by Barons Eden Limited, represented by Savills.
They are Huxleys Restaurant and Island House, both in Chipping Campden; The Dial House Hotel in Bourton-on-the-Water and The Old Bank in Moreton-in-Marsh. The portfolio is available to purchase either individually or as a whole.
Housed in a seventeenth-century building, Huxleys Restaurant in the heart of Chipping Campden offers 100 covers across both inside and outside space, including two private dining rooms. Island House, on Chipping Campden’s high street, provides a rare opportunity to create a new food and beverage offering.
The Dial House Hotel provides 15 boutique rooms all of which are en-suite alongside two recently renovated dining areas and a bar lounge. Located in the centre of the high street of Bourton-on-the-Water, there’s an opportunity for further development of the grounds.
The Old Bank in Moreton-in-Marsh town centre has planning to convert to a 10 bedroom hotel with restaurant and bar and would suit a range of other uses subject to planning permission.
James Greenslade, associate director in the hotels team at Savills, comments: “These four charming assets provide a rare opportunity to acquire properties in the picturesque Cotswolds villages. Each one is unique in its character and all provide a range of opportunities for new owners, in particular, the redevelopment of Island House could work well in conjunction with the existing operation at Huxleys.”
Dartmoor destination pub for sale
The Welcome Stranger pub on the outskirts of Liverton village is on sale for £625,000 for the freehold, with Charles Darrow.
Built as a coaching inn in the 18th century, the building extends over three storeys with the main lounge bar containing two feature fireplaces and a woodburning stove with seating for 50 customers.
The main restaurant seats 54 covers and features the original vaulted ceiling and access to the courtyard garden for 30. The beer garden has a children’s play area and picnic table seating.
Owner’s accommodation includes two double ensuite bathrooms and two double bedrooms. The proper sits on a 1.5-acre plot.
Jon Clyne, director of Charles Darrow, said “Neil & Julie are fantastic operators and have built the business into an incredibly profitable entity, attracting a strong local and regional following. Given further diversification, the business could cater for campsite use or, lodges (STPP) and is set in an outstanding location, with excellent access to the surrounding villages and towns, with Exeter and Plymouth circa 30 minutes’ drive away”.
INDUSTRY EVENTS 2019
Speciality & Fine Food Fair
1st–3rd September 2019
“The centre of excellence for the high-end food and drink world.”
Great Taste Golden Fork Awards Dinner
1st September 2019
InterContinental London Park Lane Hotel
“The Great Taste regional awards and the Great Taste 2019 Supreme Champion will be announced at this prestigious event.”
The 2019 Global Cheese Awards
12th September 2019
West Woodlands Showground, Near Frome, Somerset
“One of the oldest, most respected industry events in the country; celebrating producers and retailers of all sizes from across the globe.”
Taste of the West Awards Ceremony Lunch
12th September 2019
The Great Hall, University of Exeter
“A fantastic networking opportunity for anyone involved in the South West’s thriving food and drink industry. The Champions of each product, hospitality and retail category, the 2019 Supreme Champion Product, the No. 1 Place to Go and the South West Producer of the Year will be announced at this event.”
HABC L3 Food Allergy Training Course by Food Allergy Aware
17th September 2019
Haskins Garden Centre, Southampton. SO18 3HW
“This qualification is aimed at individuals responsible for the purchase, delivery, production and serving of food in the catering industry and is also suitable for those who own/manage a small catering business.”
For more information and to book, visit https://www.fatc.co.uk/events/highfield-habc-level-3-award-in-food-allergen-training-management-sept/
Hospitality Design Show
18th-19th September 2019
“The Leading hospitality event for design trends, ideas and innovations.”
18th-19th September 2019
“The UK’s Leading Hospitality Event Dedicated to Improving Your Hotel Profitability.”
Hotel Facilities Management Expo 2019
18th-19th September 2019
“Transform the way you manage your hotel facilities.”
Hotel & Spa Tech Live
18th-19th September 2019
“Connecting hotels & spas with the technology of tomorrow.”
19th–20th September 2019
“A unique trade show that brings together the entire food-to-go industry under one roof.”
The Restaurant Show
30th September – 2nd October 2019
“A unique trade event that brings together the best of the hospitality industry.”