Q&A : Who made an impression on you in 2017 and why? Pt 3

THIS MONTH WE ASKED SOME OF THE KEY PEOPLE IN THE TRADE TO TELL US THEIR PREDICTIONS AND VIEWPOINT ON THE YEAR AHEAD. THANKS TO:

Andrew Morrison, Sales Director, MAXXIUM UK; John Gemmell, Commercial Director, HEINEKEN UK; Stuart Ellis, UK Sales Manager, Gordon & MacPhail; James Byrne, Retail Development Manager, Molson Coors; Steve Anand, Sales Director, Inverarity Morton; Alan Hay, Sales Director On-Trade, Tennent’s; Peter Risk, Senior National Account Manager, Diageo; Harry Greenhalgh, On-Trade Category Manager, William Grant & Sons UK Ltd. This is what they had to say:-

WHO MADE AN IMPRESSION ON YOU IN 2017 AND WHY?

ANDREW MORRISON:Compass Group in Edinburgh, a small independent group who have been around for a number of years but growing in the last few years with more outlets coming on board…..they are competing in the capital alongside some established operators, National chains and more recently some high profile London based MOs….. what they do is simple – quality food, great surroundings, great drinks and really know the target consumer and how that differs per venue – they also confirm what there is still room for independents.

JOHN GEMMELL: Really impressed with what Punch Taverns have done. They have significantly changed  how they have been perceived in the trade. They have become much more professional and have embarked on some excellent capital expenditure projects, which shows a real commitment to the On Trade in Scotland. From February onwards many of those pubs will join together with Star to form a unique and progressive pub company committed to great Scottish pubs.

STUART ELLIS: I would say Wetherspoons with their pricing policy which (particularly within city centres) encourages a meeting place for after work drinks etc. having a fair price that is not premium encourages consumers to start their evening at these establishments.

JAMES BYRNE: Brewhemia : A spectacular arrival on the Edinburgh Scene and Rabble : Brilliant and exciting refurbishment.

STEVE ANAND: The Citizen, Glasgow has impressed. An ambitious plan to deliver a differentiated concept on the door step of one of your existing outlets is a brave move but the Citizen has captured drinkers and diners imagination without cannibalising existing business. Six By Nico has also really impressed me this year with amazing food and wine offering, engaging and original themes changing every eight weeks.

ALAN HAY: Given C&C Group’s new relationship with Admiral, I’m looking forward to working with the team at Admiral in the year ahead to maximise the combined capabilities of our businesses for the benefit of Scottish drinkers

PETER RISK: I would flag up Lisini ( pictured) as a standout for their efforts with Angels in particular. A complete rebrand spending a substantial amount of investment on a refurb to bring it in line with any top city centre venue. Moreover the attention to detail that went into the project has really impressed me. The venue is packed every day and it’s clear to see why. From day one they put a strong emphasis on the importance of brand partnerships. It had to be the right brands for their venue and consumers. They employed the services of LA Consultants as well as taking on board advice from the likes of Diageo, BBF and HUK. Staff training and quality was top of the agenda and it really shows. Everything from the layout of the rooms, to the ergonomics of the bars, from glassware to drinks menus, is of the highest quality, and has been carefully planned to maximise the consumer experience.

HARRY GREENHALGH: Manorview Hotels due to their rapid growth in recent years and the amount of work they do for charity. They recently raised £19k for a sports charity for kids from deprived areas. Also the recently launched profit share scheme for their staff (HeartCount) is a fantastic way of motivating and rewarding their staff. Macmerry 300 Ltd in Dundee (Phil Donaldson). They have gone from a one venue operator at the end of 2016, to a 4 venue operator, with further future openings planned. They have been disruptive in their thinking with the venues, bringing Dundee its first speak-easy, Draffens, and have been quick to react to Dundee’s ever growing, and increasingly diverse market. Stuart McCluskey (Bon Vivant Group) and Mike Aikman (Bramble Group) for being hugely influential in bringing Tales of the Cocktail to Edinburgh in 2017. This really highlighted the cocktail expertise of the city and helped put Edinburgh globally on the map for having best in class cocktail bars and mixologists. Mark Fraser and Mike Spink (Compass Group, Edinburgh) for the fantastic growth of their Chop House Restaurant concept and more recent opening of the White Horse Oyster and Seafood Bar in November 2017. Mark and Mike first opened Sygn in 2004 and have grown to 6 Edinburgh based venues in 2017 with a further Chop House in development for 2018.

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