Sue Says! Straight talking from our very own publisher

Research from Rotary Great Britain claims that more than half of all UK adults are lonely, particularly when they get home from work. Perhaps the trade needs a new marketing campaign – Get local, not lonely! Rotary has suggested that people seek out new groups or volunteering opportunities as a way to meet new people and have the opportunity to socialise within their local community. Nothing beats a good local, which caters for and attracts the local community. But the at the end of the day it needs to be good, even if it is local – with great food, good service and a good offering. I am hoping to get one where I live soon!

Having been involved in this industry for the last 25 years (seems like yesterday), I have met lots of people, some of whom have moved on to different roles and different parts of the country. One such man is Stephen Crawley, former MD of the Caledonian Brewery. A press release popped into my inbox the other day revealing that Love Lane beers took home a Gold and a Bronze in the at the SIBA National Independent Beer Awards, and its founder and Chief Executive, is Stephen. We once did a Caledonian Calendar with lots of naked rugby guys – a career highlight! Anyways, congrats Stephen. I get a lot from various drinks companies on their diversity programmes and, certainly, they do give themselves a pat on the back for being inclusive and having a diverse culture. However, I think some HR departments forget that this also applies to ageism and I certainly think that issue is going to rear its head, sooner rather than later.

It’s very brave of Johnnie Walker that the team behind the brand has come out and said they’re going to create the ‘Best Bar in the World’ in Edinburgh. Greg Klingaman, global reserve retail director at Diageo, said they were not “shy about their aspirations.” He also said that their visitor attraction would be the “best brand attraction in the world”. So Edinburgh watch out. He obviously doesn’t live by the adage – “Under promise and over deliver!’ Greg can definitely ‘talk the talk.’ Here’s hoping in that Johnnie Walker tradition the bar will ‘walk the walk.’

The Kingshouse Hotel, Glencoe

I have been to a couple of places recently which I have been very pleasantly surprised by. First up was the Kingshouse in Glencoe. Despite my initial reservations regarding the look of the building, it certainly delivers on quality, and the architects and designers have done that rare thing – combine modernity and functionality with a warm and inviting building. They didn’t create the view down the Great Glen but they have made the very most of it. Fabulous.

It was great to catch up with Jonathan Gillbanks – you may know him from his Whyte & Mackay days as Commercial Director, but he has now joined the hospitality industry full-time having bought the Cairn Lodge in Auchterarder. It has just re-opened and what a tremendous refurbishment it has had. It’s definitely a five-star establishment and the job that Jonathan and his team have done is tremendous. And in a nod to his former career, he has bronze stags, reminiscent of the Dalmore stag, on his bar. Definitely worth a visit. There have been quite a few meetings with licensees and hospitality industry professionals with regard to the rates issue. If anyone else would like to get involved, let me know. You can email me at