The Newsroom’s Arthur Mustard talks to The DRAM about the evolution of the well-established Edinburgh bar and restaurant and how HEINEKEN has supported them through the years.
Edinburgh’s The Newsroom, situated just off Princes Street on Leith Street, and owned by Merchant Leisure’s Jim Tullis, has always been a city-centre establishment worth keeping an eye on.
Three years ago the venue went through a massive revamp and since then an on-going programme of subtle upgrading has allowed The Newsroom to reincarnate itself.
Arthur Mustard, Operations Manager of Merchant Leisure stresses that keeping the bar fresh is down to the unwavering support of the venue’s loyal supplier – HEINEKEN.
HEINEKEN has traded with The Newsroom owner, Jim Tullis, for the best part of a decade and has always had a collaborative relationship, being involved in any refurbishments they have planned and new business ventures.
Of course, there have been obvious changes to the venue, as can be seen by the revamp of the bar that is no longer the vertical style that previously occupied much of the floor space. Instead, it is now a horizontal bar that allows more room for space and seating on the floor.
However, the real innovation comes from the relationship with HEINEKEN’s. The Newsroom is the first permanent outlet in Scotland to install the Krusovice tank offering.
The Krusovice tank, which was installed in January of this year consisting of two stainless steel tanks in the middle of the bar, one on top of the other, which have 500 litres of beer in each tank.
This has helped them to stay top of the game in terms of their retail offering in Edinburgh. Arthur explains, “The installation of the Krusovice tank right at the front door of the bar is an amazing feature for us. It is a quality product and a great thing for us to talk about as a business.”
He continues, “Our customers are essentially drinking the beer 100% brewery fresh. A big oil tanker goes to the Krusovice Brewery in the Czech Republic, fills up with beer, drives to Scotland, and the beer is transferred to our tank. It then goes from the tank to the bar, coming out of the tap exactly the way it is supposed to. It is essentially a bit like filling us up with petrol!”
This creative innovation from HEINEKEN is certainly converting to sales, as Arthur explains, “Heineken® and Amstel have always been our best selling draught beers. However, now Krusovice is third behind them, which considering we didn’t sell it until the start of this year, really shows that the tank is a selling point and customers appreciate real quality.”
HEINEKEN’s investment in quality and sustainability is consistent not just from this example, but also from the installation of SmartDispense systems in both The Newsroom and its sister site, Burgers and Beers Grillhouse.
The SmartDispense unit is a fully integrated, sealed unit replacing traditional keg dispensing systems with creative technology to reduce waste, mess, time and ultimately producing a better quality pint.
Arthur says, “The whole cellar used to be really messy, you had to scrub down every day, you had to clean your lines every week, and there was quite a big cellar job going on.”
“Having to clean the lines every week would cost us not just a large amount of money and time – but also had an environmental impact in terms of wastage. Now, we still clean the lines, but they are only cleaned once a month and a technician comes in to do it for us. I have 25% less waste and none of the labour – meaning a very happy manager.”
“Also, because it is a sealed unit, the beer never gets warmer than 3°. before, there were a few areas where the beer was exposed to upper temperatures – maybe 10-12°. Now, it never gets a chance to form bacteria.” This temperature control feature also has major benefits for the sister venue, Burgers and Beers, which has limited cellar space. Arthur said, “The cellar at Burgers and Beers is more like a cupboard. The SmartDispense can work from 20° ambient down to 2-3°, so it is perfect. It is the ideal solution.”
Arthur concludes, “Heineken’s support is unyielding. They’re just great with innovation. Whenever there is anything new coming up they always give us a shout and even vice-versa. We work really well together and are a great team. It’s all about growing together.”
John Gemmell, Trading Director for HEINEKEN UK, comments, “Our relationship with Merchant Leisure is a great example of how Heineken can help our customers to build and develop their businesses. We’re immensely proud of the innovative approach we’ve taken with the Newsroom and the collaborative effort that has been put in. I’m delighted that the Krusovice tank and SmartDispense units are making such a difference to the company, as these are products that are exciting and provide a real point of interest for the consumer.”