Minister for hospitality debate after 150,000 sign petition
16 December 2020
Review of the year and challenges ahead
16 December 2020

JDW completes £30.4m Dublin development 

As reported by The Morning Advertiser’s​ sister title MCA Insight​, JD Wetherspoon (JDW) has made the largest investment in its 41-year history in the development of Keavan’s Port pub and hotel in Dublin.

The operator completed the Camden Street Upper site in Dublin city centre having invested €33.4m (£30.4m) in its acquisition and development.

The 9,000 square foot site spans two floors and will feature 89 bedrooms alongside a 3,800 square foot garden across two courtyards.

JDW intends to hire 200 full and part-time staff at the pub, which is named after an ancient highway into Dublin of which Camden Street formed a part.

While no official opening date has been set thus far, subject to a license being granted JDW hopes to launch on 15 January 2021.

Keavan’s Port will be managed by Fillip Mordak, who has worked for JDW since 2007 and previously managed two of its sites in Ireland.

“We are delighted to have completed the development of Keavan’s Port,” JDW chief executive John Hutson said.

“We believe that the pub and hotel will be a great asset to Dublin and will hopefully act as a catalyst for other businesses to invest in the city.”

New bar group to list on AIM after London Cocktail Club acquisition

A new company led by hospitality entrepreneur and ex-Dragon’s Den investor Sarah Willingham, has unveiled plans to float on AIM after agreeing a deal to acquire the London Cocktail Club’s bar portfolio. 

According to an announcement on 13 December, Nightcap will work with the existing London Cocktail Club management team and shareholders to expand the business from 10 sites to a portfolio of 40 across London and other major UK cities in the next five years. 

Founded in 2010 by Sarah Willingham alongside JJ Goodman, Raymond Blanc, David Moore and James Hopkins, London Cocktail Club has grown to 10 sites in London and Bristol.

Nightcap CEO Willingham, will lead the new business off the back of sector experience as co-founder of London Cocktail Club and in roles at PizzaExpress, the Bombay Bicycle Club and Clapham House Group plc. She is also currently an investor in Tonkotsu Group, where she chairs the board. 

The new bar operator’s executive team will also include Toby Rolph – previously of Be At One – as chief financial officer, alongside founder and executive director Michael Toxvaerd, who previously co-founded and led AIM-quoted NeutraHealth plc.  

Read more here

SA Brain ‘up for sale’ 

Welsh brewer and pub group SA Brain is reportedly up for sale, recruiting advisers to “navigate this period of uncertainty”.

The family-owned firm was established in 1882, founded by Samuel Arthur Brain who bought the Old Brewery on St Mary Street Cardiff and the Albert pub with his uncle Joseph Benjamin Brain. The group now has 150 pubs across Wales. 

The Sunday Times​ reported the pub group and brewer has brought in advisers Evercore to invite investment offers or sale to a trade buyer.

A statement from the company said: “Given the impact of Covid-19 on the entire hospitality sector, Brains with its advisers Evercore, is working with all stakeholders to navigate through this period of uncertainty.” 

Read more here

Cumbria-based operators purchase Daniel Thwaites site  

Pub operators Joshua Macaulay and Chris Moss have taken on their third venue in the Cumbrian town of Kendal after adding the Gateway Inn to their growing portfolio. 

Macaulay and Moss also operate Ye Olde Fleece Inn in Highgate and The Duke of Cumberland in Appleby Road.

Owned by brewer and operator Daniel Thwaites, the Gateway Inn boasts a bar area, a restaurant with about 70 covers, a conservatory area, nine letting rooms and landscaped grounds.  

“The Gateway stood out as a site with fantastic potential and we thought we could make something really special there,” Macaulay told the Cumbria Crack​.  

“The Duke of Cumberland is a mighty, traditional, local brewhouse-style pub. The Fleece Inn is our gastro-pub and town centre bar,” Macaulay continued.  “The Gateway Inn is our most premium offer and is a fine dining, special occasion type of place. 

“It is the perfect site for that kind of establishment. It is in a really iconic location and is a lovely, old, imposing building. 

“We are keen to grow and expand while people still want to come to our pubs and enjoy them and have a good experience.”

Halewood to open £1m Black Country distillery

Halewood Artisanal Spirits has announced a £1m investment in the opening of a brand-new distillery at the Sadler’s site in the Black Country.  

The new facility, which will house four state of the art Arnold Holstein stills, will become the main production site for Sadler’s award-winning Peaky Blinder spirits range, which includes Peaky Blinder Spiced Dry Gin and Black Spiced Rum – each of which is named after an infamous character from the Peaky Blinder gang which inhabited the area in the 1890s. 

“After months of planning, we’re very pleased to share our plans for the Sadler’s site in Lye,” James Stocker, marketing director at Halewood Artisanal Spirits, said. “As we’ve continued to see strong sales for our Peaky Blinder spirits via our eCommerce channels, both in the UK and globally, this felt like the perfect time to bring production back to their rightful home. 

 “The move also forms part of our ongoing strategy to create a range of artisanal spirits with provenance – and with this state-of-the-art equipment and significant investment in the site, our goal is to put the Black Country on the map as an area synonymous with quality spirits production – all under the strength Peaky Blinder name.” 

Estimated 2,500 pubs lost in 2020

More than 2,000 pubs have been lost this year, over double the number in previous years, it has been estimated.

The lockdowns and restrictions have meant pubs have closed for long periods of time and then had to operate with strict measures in place when reopening.

During an Instagram Live on Tuesday 8 December, The Morning Advertiser’s​ editor Ed Bedington, British Beer & Pub Association chief executive Emma McClarkin and celebrity chef and pub operator Tom Kerridge highlighted the plight of pubs amid the coronavirus crisis.

Kerridge asked how many pubs had been lost due to the pandemic so far, to which McClarkin estimated it was about 5%.

“It would be really tough to put an accurate number on that right now but we estimate 5% of pubs have probably already closed for good,” she said.

“Of course, we are hoping we can change that by making the Government give us what we need to see us through the pandemic or looking at creating a less restrictive environment for us to trade in.” 

Read more here

Tokyo Industries unveils new £3m venue 

Bar operator Tokyo Industries has made its biggest investment to date after pumping £3m into the opening of its second Impossible venue, in York – creating around 200 jobs.

The Impossible WonderBar and Tea Rooms, which features a bar, restaurant and cafe and cocktail bar, recently opened on the site of a former Carluccio’s restaurant in the city’s St Helen’s Square.  

The landmark project also includes the transformation of a neighbouring site into a boutique 18-bedroom hotel with another restaurant inside that is earmarked to open in September 2021. 

A Tokyo Industries spokesman told The Press​: “Impossible York brings a totally new drinking and dining experience to the city, set across its three floors in York’s St Helen’s Square. 

“Located in the historical Terry’s of York building, Impossible York breathes new life into the incredible property, complete with ground-floor tea room and brasserie and opulent first-floor cocktail bar.”  

The new site’s general manager Stephanie Powell added: “This will include a restaurant bar and tea room – with a British-Bavarian food menu for the restaurant, and an exceptional tea room experience that uses local providers.  

“As well as a beautifully crafted central island bar where classic cocktails have been rejuvenated with added flair.” 

Oakman Group launches £4.5m share issue as it aims to double in size

The independent owner and operator of 27 pubs across southern England and the West Midlands, the Oakman Group, is seeking £4.5m to accelerate plans to double its estate by 2026. 

The £44m turnover Group, which employs in the region of 1,000 staff members and has been ranked in the top 30 of The Sunday Times 100 Best Companies to Work For five times, will shoot for a £4.5m target by selling shares at £2.75 each, with a minimum investment of 350 shares – or £962.50 per person.

While the Oakman Group has raised capital from an extended network of individual investors and word-of-mouth recommendations to fund its expansion over the past 13 years, its board now believes the time is right to open this up.

As such, from 11 December, the Group plans to offer its customers, regulars and communities the chance to own part of the business.

Read more here

Davenports grows stable with Stratford-upon-Avon pub 

West Midlands-based brewer and pub operator Davenports has has taken on the lease of the Lamplighter in Stratford-upon-Avon, which will be renamed The Coach House under new ownership. 

While the 475-year-old pub is currently closed in order for a wholesale refurb to take place, it is expected to reopen in January according to reports in the Stratford-upon-Avon Herald. 

The Coach House will be Davenport’s first managed pub in the town since The Old Tramway in Shipston Road in the early 1970s.  

A spokesperson for the Stratford Town Trust, said: “Stratford Town Trust are delighted to see the work to repair the gable end wall of this historic building has been completed with cooperation from a number of parties. 

“We understand that the tenant has paidfor the works under the terms of their lease and are planning a relaunch and name change as part of a more extensive refurbishment plan.

Deltic faces administration, 52 sites at risk  

Britain’s largest nightclub operator, the Deltic Group, has filed a notice of intention to appoint administrators.

The operator of 52 sites across the UK under its Pryzm and Bar & Beyond brand has been seeking a rescue deal after announcing its intention to sell in October. 

While reports have claimed that Deltic has run the rule over bids from as many as 20 private equity firms and ten industry rivals in recent months, as well as pushing the Government for a seven-figure monthly bailout package​​, the Group has been unable to secure a buyer thus far. 

Despite reported interest from interested parties including Shoreditch Bar Group, private equity firms Greybull Capital and Aurelis​​, as well as Scandinavian bar operator Rekom Group. 

Rekom has emerged as a preferred bidder in recent weeks through a pre-pack administration, but it is understood any deal could see the permanent closure of some of its 52 sites.  

The news follows the late-night operator’s warning to landlords that it could collapse​​ if a sale isn’t agreed soon. 

As reported by The Morning Advertiser,​​ the 52-strong group has already announced plans to cut 10% of its 4,000-strong workforce​​ and reopened some of its clubs as bars in an attempt to weather the crisis.

The Deltic Group’s sale was also discussed in October 2018, however Revolution Bars Group walked away​​ from a potential acquisition following initial talks. 

Read more here

Rent moratoria extension ‘welcome respite’ for businesses 

Pub operators will be protected from eviction until the end of March 2021, the Government has revealed.

Communities secretary Robert Jenrick announced an extension to the lease forfeiture and debt enforcement moratoria, giving businesses three months to negotiate unpaid rent with their landlord.

This comes as welcome news to the hospitality sector, which has been pushing on Government for an extension to help businesses amid a tough trading situation under the new coronavirus tiers.

The Government has said businesses should pay any or all rent where they can.

Commercial landlord and tenant legislation is to be reviewed, following concerns it is outdated for the current economy. 

Read more here

To find out more about pubs for sale, lease and tenancy visit our property site​​

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