Sue Says: April 2017

April 9th, 2017 | Posted in: Features

It seems like I am now famous for championing dogs – in pubs, hotels – you name it – if you could just see the volume of press releases that I now get. There is a new dog hotel in Linlithgow called the Dogchester, while beer companies are bring out beers for dogs. BeerHawk have the attractively named Bottom Sniffer, a 0% ABV speciality beer for dogs from Woof & Brew, while I understand Snuffle Dog Beer is going down a storm too. I can’t wait to start judging Dog Pub of the Year… or at least my canine companions can’t!

I wouldn’t mind having Neil Morrison as a boss… he runs a staff incentive every year which sees workmates choosing the most deserved employees of the year. This year they were Eilidh Daroch from the Lochside and Rebecca Armstrong from Macgochans who were chosen. They won a trip to Miami. The only downside was boss Neil Morrison travelled with them… (only joking). A great time was had by all.

The recent Scottish Tourism Alliance Conference was a bit of an eye-opener for me. Not least because I, and the other delegates, discovered that in America some hotels are now rating their customers, in the same way that Uber get drivers to give feedback on theirs. I think this could get interesting. Time and time again I hear the licensed trade say that people complained only in order to get something off their bill. This could put an end to that. Apparently some hotels in the States are also offering incentives to encourage good behaviour. I bet right now you are all thinking of customers that fit both scenarios!

So the Prime Minister Theresa May has triggered Article 50, and our First Minister is planning a new Referendum. As one publican said to me “We were facing two years of uncertainty, and now we are facing two years of increased uncertainty! More reason for us all to go to the pub more often! But seriously, nobody knows what is ahead, we are all sailing in unchartered waters and anyone that tells you different must be gazing into their very own crystal ball.

The rating issue, we cover fully in Annabelle Love’s piece on pages 10 and 11, really it is a scandal. The fact that all this energy now has to be utilised to fight these unfair valuations, when in fact the trade needs to focus on their businesses and building them. The Scottish Government claims to support Entrepreneurs – let’s see it. And let’s have some transparency when it comes to how the assessors have come to their conclusions.

Donald MacLeod of The Garage fame has just purchased, at auction, the original Trainspotting Bar and sofa. Mind you he needed a seat after buying two of its iconic panels too, as there was a bit of bidding war. Donald told me “There was a publican in the North East bidding too, which really pushed the price up. The good news is that folk are already calling me trying to rent the bar, but I’ll be putting it to good use in The Garage during Freshers Week and for special occasions.” The mind boggles!

People ask me what I love most about this business and I always tell them the same thing…the people. Interviewing people who are passionate about what they do always is invigorating. This month was no different. Our licensee interviewee Giovanna Eusebi was a real pleasure to talk to. She is passionate about her business and about people. I also caught up with Calum Ross, the new GM at the Hilton Glasgow, for our new magazine Hotel Scotland. He too is a dynamo and focussed on excellence. He brings a wealth of experience to his new role. Of course there were a few catch up meetings too with Steve Graham of Manorview – I don’t know where he gets his energy. He has no sooner finished one project than his company is onto the next! The same goes for Billy Lowe – it’s been a long time since I have heard him so enthusiastic about the trade. It was also good to meet up with Hans Rissman and his wife Lydia. Congratulations to the two of them on their new hotel The Strathaven in Strathaven. I look forward to seeing its progress.

Iain Pert of PG Taverns has written to Lasse Burmester at the Mergers at Competition and Markets Authority backing Star Pubs & Bars acquisition of 1900 Punch Pubs. He believes it is great news for the industry, Punch licensees and pub goers. Iain, who currently leases a number of pubs from Star Pubs & Bars says in his letter, “We have a strong working relationship with Star and have seen real improvements over recent years to the range of business support they offer. Many of us have worked closely with Star on major investments which have transformed pubs that had seen better days into vibrant community hubs bringing in more customers and helping us grow our businesses together.” It’s good to get another side of the story with both the Scottish Licensed Trade Association and CAMRA looking on the deal negatively. See his full letter online at www.dramscotland.co.uk

You have heard the story about how Victor Kiam, the man who said he liked Remington razors so much that he bought the company, well how about the former Belhaven employees Frank Cogan and Martin Mackay, of Bozzco Inns, who like their former boss Jim Young so much that they bought a pub that was named after him… the former JD Wetherspoon pub in Bathgate called The James Young! However a name change I understand is imminent, so no bust of the bold Jim behind the bar. I understand names in the frame include The Stuart Ross and The Bill Hughes. Frank assures me he is only joking!

Good luck to father and daughter team Stephen and Ally Gilmour who have set up a new drinks wholesale company called Triana Drinks. They already have Spanish beer Cruzcampo, Larios gin, Licor 43 liqueur, the Faustino range of Rioja wines and quite a few other brands too. Ally, who has a business management degree is only 21, but has been working in bars since she was 16… and she is the person driving the business. She certainly has got plenty of energy.

And finally my brother owns a advertising and marketing magazine called The Drum… (I know, I know). Anyway, during Ad Week in London recently they took over a bar and ran it as The Drum Arms. Unsurprisingly he took to it like a duck to water!


BUZZWORKS LAUNCH BONUS BONANZA FOR CHARITIES

Fri 14th April 2017

Buzzworks Holdings, one of Scotland’s leading hospitality groups, has launched a pioneering new initiative to provide a boost to local cha... Read more.

New App brings history of Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery to life

Fri 14th April 2017

Visitors to Dewar’s Aberfeldy Distillery in Perthshire can now utilise a specially created app to bring the historic archives of the dist... Read more.

Scottish Bar and Pub Awards 2017 – RENOVATION OF THE YEAR

Fri 14th April 2017

RENOVATION OF THE YEAR There has been a host of excellent refurbishments over the past few years and this year for the first time the Scotti... Read more.

Design Focus: Smokin’ Fox

Thu 13th April 2017

The location of the Smokin' Fox near Glasgow’s Central Station – now seemingly known as Glasgow’s financial district - is Signature Pu... Read more.

Scottish Bar and Pub Awards 2017 – THE PUB SPY AWARD

Thu 13th April 2017

THE PUB  SPY AWARD Pub Spy returned to the Sunday Mail in November last year after a hiatus of some 40 years and now, for the first time, a... Read more.

Scottish Bar and Pub Awards – WEE DRAM WHISKY BAR OF THE YEAR

Thu 13th April 2017

WEE DRAM WHISKY BAR OF THE YEAR Whisky is Scotland’s national drink and we know that there are some great whisky bars out there. The Wee D... Read more.

Design Focus: MacSorley’s

Thu 13th April 2017

A £250K makeover has given Glasgow pub MacSorley’s a new, modern look but the original layout, bar and many original features remain.... Read more.

Scottish Bar and Pub Awards 2017 – MOLSON COORS CRAFT BEER OF THE YEAR

Wed 12th April 2017

MOLSON COORS CRAFT BEER OF THE YEAR. The judges of this category will be looking for a bar that has an excellent range of quality beer and C... Read more.

Scottish Bar and Pub Awards – COUNTRY PUB OF THE YEAR

Wed 12th April 2017

COUNTRY PUB OF THE YEAR It’s never been more difficult to attract people to your pubs and it is even more difficult when customers have to... Read more.

Scottish Bar and Pub Awards – DRAM DOG FRIENDLY PUB OF THE YEAR

Tue 11th April 2017

DRAM DOG-FRIENDLY PUB OF THE YEAR The Scottish Bar & Pub Awards are hunting for a pub that provides a welcome for pet dogs. Do you know ... Read more.

Boost for Loch Lomond Distillery

Tue 11th April 2017

Loch Lomond distillery is raising awareness of its brands following the appointment of a public relations consultancy the Big Partnership. T... Read more.

Glenmorangie Pride 1974 Revealed

Mon 10th April 2017

The most prestigious Highland single malt ever created by Glenmorangie has been revealed. Glenmorangie Pride 1974 is the Distillery’s olde... Read more.

SCOTTISH BAR AND PUB AWARDS – GORDON AND MACPHAIL AWARD FOR SUCCESS

Mon 10th April 2017

GORDON AND MACPHAIL AWARD FOR SUCCESS Success stories deserve to be recognised and celebrated. Do you know a licensee/proprietor that has gr... Read more.

SCOTTISH BAR AND PUB AWARDS – NEW BAR OF THE YEAR

Mon 10th April 2017

NEW BAR OF THE YEAR New bars, restaurants, and hotels have been opening at a great rate of knots over the last 12 months and this Year there... Read more.

Scottish bar and Pub Awards – KOPPARBERG INDEPENDENT BAR OF THE YEAR

Mon 10th April 2017

Kopparberg is on the lookout for Scotland’s top independent bar. The Kopparberg team is looking for a bar that has proved to be a success ... Read more.

Distill Partners Stock Spirits

Mon 10th April 2017

Distell has announced a new distribution partnership in the UK with Stock Spirits, which will take effect from 1 June 2017. Distell already ... Read more.

Design Focus: The Swan Inn

Mon 10th April 2017

The Swan Inn Inn which has graced the village of Eaglesham since 1832, is now being run by Lauren Mooney and helping her on a consultancy ba... Read more.

Scottish Bar and Pub Awards 2017 – INVERARITY MORTON WINE BY THE GLASS AWARD

Sun 9th April 2017

Do you have a great range of wine by the glass or do you know a bar, pub or restaurant that does? If so it could be eligible for this Award.... Read more.

Hot Stuff from Hop Stuff Brewery

Sun 9th April 2017

London Brewery Hop Stuff has launched a new line of canned craft beers. Inspired by the view from the Royal Arsenal, the home of Hop Stuff, ... Read more.

Sue Says: April 2017

Sun 9th April 2017

It seems like I am now famous for championing dogs – in pubs, hotels – you name it – if you could just see the volume of press... Read more.