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Alcohol-free beer more acceptable

by Ashleigh 9/1/2014 10:47:00 AM

It is becoming more socially acceptable to order alcohol-free beer at a pub, according to new research out last week.

The survey, commissioned by brewing giant AB InBev, showed that almost half of British adults believe it is more socially acceptable to drink alcohol-free beer now than it was five years ago, while 59% said they would feel comfortable ordering it in front of their friends in a pub, bar or restaurant.

The study also reveals that 43% of British adults and more than half of men (54%) have tried the alcohol-free drink – with key reasons being that they were driving or were curious.

Punters in Yorkshire and Humberside were revealed to be the most willing to go alcohol free with a beer (52%), while drinkers in Scotland (48%), the East of England (47%) and West Midlands (46%) were also all above the national average in terms of trying the beverage.


Brewery installs defibrillators

by Ashleigh 9/1/2014 10:46:00 AM

A brewery is looking at where best to equip its Oxfordshire pubs with life-saving machines.

Hook Norton Brewery is looking at its portfolio, which includes 20 pubs, to work out where publicly accessible defibrillators would most benefit communities.  It comes as the company unveiled a device outside the Red Lion in Chipping Norton after funding from Chipping Norton Lions Club.

The units – which anyone can use to shock the heart back to life – are seen as crucial for rural areas, which ambulances can take longer to get to.

Managing director James Clarke, who is a community first responder in Hook Norton and Banbury, said: “We have a number of pubs that are the focus of the village, so it’s a good place for people to know where they are. They are very important because if someone has a cardiac arrest they may only have a 10-minute window.”


Spooky goings-on in Bolton

by Ashleigh 9/1/2014 10:43:00 AM

Bolton’s oldest pub could about to hit it big in Japan, after a film crew from the country flew to the UK to document ghostly sightings at the historic boozer.

Regulars at Ye Olde Man and Scythe have seen many strange sights over the years - including, some say, ghosts at the haunted public house - but none so strange as the team from Fuji TV who travelled 6,000 miles to try to catch a glimpse of a ghoul.

Fuji TV, one of Japan’s largest television stations, selected the pub in Churchgate as one of its stops in filming a show on paranormal activity in the UK, and producers were baffled as to why the pub still remained popular with locals – despite its spooky reputation.

The pub’s owner Richard Greenwood said: “They just could not understand why we were not bothered about the sightings. They said in Japan nobody would go near the place. It was funny watching their faces as I told the stories, but they were really nice guys and it all seemed to go well.”



Sheep shearers take over pub

by Ashleigh 9/1/2014 10:42:00 AM

Pubs and sheep shearing may seem like a dangerous combination, but the two came together in Kington, Herefordshire, earlier this month to raise more than £1,300 for the Midlands Air Ambulance.

Defending champion Steve Rowberry once again pricked up the top prize at The Oxford Arms Annual Speed Shearing Competition, in front of an audience of around 200 spectators. The full-time shearer drew on all his experience cutting down under in Australia and New Zealand to secure the win in the dramatic event.

James Lewis, who organised the competition, said: “The shearers are under real pressure. They’ve got to hold their nerve up on the stage. But the atmosphere is great.”



Call for ban on e-cigarettes indoors

by Ashleigh 9/1/2014 10:41:00 AM

The World Health Organisation has said that the use of e-cigarettes indoors should be prohibited.

In a new report, the body says the aerosol produced by so-called electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), of which e-cigarettes are the most common type, “is not merely ‘water vapour’ as is often claimed in the marketing for these products”.

The report continues: “ENDS use poses serious threats to adolescents and foetuses. In addition, it increase exposure on non-smokers and by standers to nicotine and a number of toxicants.”

The British Beer and Pub Association’s position, is that it is up to individual premises to decide whether or not they will permit e-cigarettes. A number of managed pub companies have already banned their use on premises, but in tenanted estates and other managed companies it is at the discretion of the licensee or company.


HMRC cancels Machines Games Duty late payment penalties

by Ashleigh 8/22/2014 4:38:00 PM

HMRC is cancelling all penalties issued to date for late filing of Machine Games Duty (MGD) returns and late payment of MGD itself because many of the penalties have been issued incorrectly by its automated system.

HMRC will also refund any penalties that customers have already paid. Where a customer has asked HMRC to review their penalty or appealed against it, the review/appeal is now closed as HMRC has cancelled the penalty.

In a statement, it said: “HMRC wants to provide their customers with good service and for them to have certainty about their MGD affairs, and HMRC are sorry for any worry their mistake has caused. For a short period HMRC will not issue any new automated penalties for late filing of MGD returns and late payment of MGD. HMRC will restart issuing automatic penalties as soon they can be sure that their systems are working properly.”



Noise law changes urged to save live music pubs

by Ashleigh 8/20/2014 4:37:00 PM

The Government must relax noise abatement legislation and pass the responsibility for minimising disturbance away from pubs and on to residents and developers, lobbyists have urged.

The Music Venue Trust (MVT), which was formed in January 2014 to protect and preserve the UK small music venue circuit, has slammed current laws as complex and outdated, and called on the Government to create a clear national framework. It claims current laws depend on local interpretation and place unreasonable demands on local environmental health officers.

In an open letter to three Government departments, the MVT wrote: “The principle is simple: if a venue increases its noise it should make changes to adapt it. If a developer wants to build next to a music venue, they must build to adapt to the noise. If a new occupier moves into a zone where there is an accepted level of noise, they should make changes to adapt to it.”


Hospitality employs 2m

by Ashleigh 8/19/2014 4:36:00 PM

The hospitality industry now employs more than two million people, after creating 118,000 new jobs in the past year, new statistics reveal.
New numbers from the Office of National Statistics show there were 2.043m jobs in hospitality in March 2014, up from 1.925m at the same time the previous year. The hospitality sector (including pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels) has also delivered month-on-month wage growth every month since August 2013.

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers strategic affairs director Kate Nicholls said: “These figures demonstrate our members’ determination to invest in their staff and provide opportunities, which has undoubtedly been helped by measures like the Employment Allowance but is fundamentally possible only because of the incredible work of entrepreneurs in the industry.”


Weekday visits crucial for pubs

by Ashleigh 8/19/2014 4:35:00 PM

Weekday visits are continuing to drive the growth in footfall in pubs, according to research released last week.

The Pub Tracker research, by NPD Group, found that weekday visits to pubs increased by almost 5% in the year to 31 June 2014, compared to a 3.4% rise in the year to 31 March. Weekend visits declined by 2.1% in the year to end of June against a 0.2% rise in the year to the end of March

The study also highlighted the continuing importance of value deals in pubs. The number of visits promoted by deals and promotions grew by 13.4% in the year, with almost one in three visits driven by such initiatives.

Cyril Lavenant, NPD group director of foodservice UK, said: “Successful pubs recognise they cannot bank on the traditional customer coming in for a weekend session for all of their takings.”


A pint with Tom Jones

by Ashleigh 8/19/2014 4:35:00 PM

Music legend Tom Jones was voted the most popular British pop/rock star to have a beer with at this year's Great British Beer Festival (GBBF).  Of the 672 people surveyed, the Welsh rocker received 13 per cent of the votes, beating Robbie Williams by a single vote.

Gary Barlow came third, with 10 per cent of the votes, and in fourth place, and the most popular woman, was Annie Lennox. The CAMRA-commissioned survey followed on from Katy Perry greeting crowds on her tour with a pint of local brew.

CAMRA national chairman, Colin Valentine, said: "It is great to see Tom Jones at 74 years old top the poll, and great that age is not an issue when choosing a drinking partner.  We would be delighted if British pop and rock stars echo what Katie Perry did and greet their crowds with a pint of the regional brew to help raise the profile of British brewing."