Sue Says – January 2017

January 6th, 2017 | Posted in: Features

I see that the Sunday Mail has brought back Pub Spy – I grew up with it, because it was my dad when he worked for the newspaper, that thought it up. And although many presumed the first Pub Spy was a man, in fact it was a couple of women who had gone into a pub in Ayrshire and were so horrified with the toilets that they reported back, and thus Pub Spy was born. I look forward to seeing the results of the new updated Pub Spy.

I had lunch with Harry Hood of Lisini, just before Christmas, and he briefed me on his view with regard to forthcoming rating evaluations and the fact rating assessors are hardly independent because they are employed by Councils. He also raised the issue that there have been two increases in the minimum wage in under a year. He told me, “The licensed trade is one of the biggest employers and gets no thanks.” He’s right – on all accounts. The trade around the country should be hitting their MSP’s and getting them onside. The trade definitely deserves a break.

Of course the licensed trade could act as one unit and refuse to pay the new rates… if every licensee in the country withheld their rates payments it would cripple councils and become an immediate priority for government. Just saying…

I had a coffee with Paul Crawford of Kiltr who very kindly demonstrated their app which has been designed in order to allow pubs to offer free wi-fi to their customers. The idea is that the pub can sell space on the app to brands and taxi co’s etc, because customers have to flick past the ads to get to the free wi-fi. It’s a good idea, and one that has already been taken up by a few of the more pro-active licensees.

Talking of people that are pro-active Bob Taylor (aka Uncle Bob) is threatening to make me one of his projects and train me for a cycle ride… as he is the Scottish Amateur Vet Champion cyclist I am a tad worried. So if anyone has a project that they would like him to do… please get in touch, you would be doing me a huge favour! Bob who has been working for Rekorderlig for the last few years, has now completed his task for Molson Coors. He told me, “The brand is in good hands.” However he still is not ready to hang up his boots. “I love the trade, and the folk in it, this is more of a hobby for me now.”

Congratulations to one of my favourite chefs Derek Marshall, Chef Patron of Glasgow seafood restaurant, Gamba, who has just launched his second cookbook, ‘Gamba – A Seafood Cookbook’. It showcases many of Derek’s popular Gamba recipes, including Fish Soup and a number of Gamba cocktails, alongside some new twists on traditional dishes. Gamba is arguably Glasgow’s best seafood restaurant, and Derek has been at its helm since day one. It’s not easy keeping a restaurant at the top of its game for years and years, but he and his team manage it. It’s award-winning and has two AA rosettes, but no matter how I try to replicate his famous soup, it’s never quite the same. Maybe with his new cookbook I’ll manage it. Here’s hoping!

Congratulations to Greene King, owners of Belhaven who saw group revenue rise to more than a billion in the 24 weeks to last October, a record high! Pre-tax profit rise 9% to £92.5 million. However the group has warned that 2017 could be more challenging with the impact of the National Living Wage, National Minimum Wage, and proposed increases to business rates, which are expected to have an impact on costs and margins this year. They are liaising with trade bodies to see if the Government will come up with plans to offset these initiatives. Greene King employs around 43,000 people and operates around 3,029 pubs, restaurants and hotels across England, Scotland and Wales so here’s hoping the Government will listen to Rooney Anand’s concerns!

The following two tabs change content below.
Susan Young
Susan Young is a journalist who has spent the last 20 years editing the DRAM. Prior to that, she spent a decade working in Public Relations and Events dealing with clients as diverse as Cumbernauld Development Agency and James Burrough Distillers. Her knowledge of the Scottish licensed trade is extensive and she also instigated the first ever Scottish licensed trade awards which have evolved into the Scottish Bar and Pub Awards.

Wetherspoon’s preliminary results show a healthy sales growth but Martin slams remainers

Fri 16th March 2018

J D Wetherspoon’s Preliminary results (For the 26 weeks ended 28 January 2018) show an increase in revenue of 3.6% to £830.4m, with l... Read more.

Three in a row for Buzzworks as it makes The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work for 2018 list … again

Wed 14th March 2018

Congratulations to Buzzworks Holdings who have once again made it into the The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work for 2018. It’s ... Read more.

Positive news from Tennent’s as market share and revenues grow

Wed 14th March 2018

Tennent’s owners C&C Group has revealed that Scotland’s best selling lager has grown market share in the Independent Free Tr... Read more.

Design Focus: A new era for The Kirkhouse in Shettleston

Thu 8th March 2018

There is a little corner of Shettleston that will probably forever be associated with the Healy family – who since taking over The Kirkhou... Read more.

Design Focus: Malones Irish Bar Edinburgh

Wed 7th March 2018

There is nothing nicer than going to a pub in the middle of the day to find it buzzing and that was the case when I visited the new Malones... Read more.

Maxxium UK rebrands to Edrington-Beam Suntory and relocates to Glasgow

Wed 7th March 2018

Spirits company, Maxxium UK, the UK sales, marketing and distribution company owned by Edrington and Beam Suntory, will be known as Edringto... Read more.

Six by Nico gets set for Edinburgh launch

Thu 15th February 2018

Chef Nico Simeone is set to introduce his successful dining concept ‘Six by Nico’ to Edinburgh this April. ‘Six by Nico&#... Read more.

Hanoi Bike Shop: Dog lovers urgently required for First Dates

Wed 7th February 2018

Vietnamese restaurant Hanoi Bike Shop, in Glasgow’s West End, is set to host its own version of popular Channel 4 show ‘First Da... Read more.

Buzzworks celebrate 9.2% rise in profits as turnover hits £14.8m

Tue 30th January 2018

Buzzworks, the award-winning Ayrshire-based hospitality group, owned by Kenny, Colin and Alison Blair, celebrated a rise in turnover of 15.6... Read more.


Fri 26th January 2018

Edinburgh Gin is making it easier for romantics just in time for the 14th February with its revamped 2018 Valentine’s limited-edition ... Read more.

Strong performance from Diageo but Smirnoff see sales dip

Thu 25th January 2018

Diageo has reported a strong performance with operating profit up 6.1% on net sales of £6.5bn. ... Read more.

Top 5 Malt whiskies to celebrate Burns Day

Thu 25th January 2018

Malt whisky accounts for 16.1% of all whisky sales, while blends account for 61.7%. Top 5 Malt whiskies Glenfiddich 12 year old Glenmorangie... Read more.

Burns didn’t die of alcohol, more matters of the heart

Thu 25th January 2018

People have speculated that Burns died of alcohol excess and possibly a sexual disease, but that was probably just the view of his biographe... Read more.

Scotland rules!

Thu 25th January 2018

Scotland’s most famous man is Robert Burns. But there was a somewhat murky side to our famed poet. It’s well documented that he had 13 c... Read more.

Burns painting turned out to be a bargain!

Thu 25th January 2018

Stephen Barnes bought a painting of Burns for less than £1,000 and when he got the painting authenticated, he found out it was actually wor... Read more.

Isle of Arran partners with Burns Unbroke

Thu 25th January 2018

Isle of Arran Distillers is sponsoring Burns Unbroke, a brand new multi-arts Robert Burns Festival. The event which takes place at Summerhal... Read more.

Whyte & Mackay sponsors 2018 Glasgow Comedy Festival

Wed 24th January 2018

Whyte & Mackay is sponsoring the 2018 Glasgow International Comedy Festival. The long-running festival is the flagship event of the Glas... Read more.

A gin that celebrates Byron

Wed 24th January 2018

Speyside Distillery – which is better known for its single malt Scotch whisky – has launched a new limited edition gin with bota... Read more.

What are your predictions for 2018?

Tue 23rd January 2018



Tue 23rd January 2018

The Tree House in Ayr re-opened at the end of last year after a £400,000 transformation by owners Buzzworks. The restaurant, which has been... Read more.