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Food waste – money down the drain

On 18/06/13 by Daisy Blench (Policy Manager - Responsibility)

Waste isn’t a sexy subject. In fact, sometimes, trying to engage pub operators in talking about waste is a bit like me trying to drum up some interest in a discussion about the complex rules of cricket.

But once you start talking about margins and profitability it suddenly all becomes more relevant. At a time when licensees are under more and more pressure, and when consumer spending is increasingly squeezed, it has never been more important to look at where to make savings and where to avoid waste.

WRAP, the Government’s waste reduction body, estimate that every tonne of food waste that a business produces costs it around £1,800 a year. Out of that waste, some is obviously unavoidable but a great deal isn’t and good waste management is therefore important to help businesses save money.

WRAP have recently published new research on out of home food waste. This shows that in pubs around a third of customers leave some of their meal on their plate and the majority of these believe that portion sizes are to blame for this. Whilst pubs are rightly known for being great value for money, reducing portion size slightly, having a range of meal sizes or asking customers if they need extra chips or vegetables rather than automatically providing them can be a good solution and can avoid unnecessary food waste. This short film shows the monetary cost of plate waste in a very effective visual way!

Plate waste is one area that pubs can tackle to improve efficiency and margins; however, before the food even leaves the kitchen there is an equally large opportunity to prevent waste. A good chef will already be trying to use ingredients as efficiently as possible but even they might have been surprised and inspired by the demonstration at the Unilever ‘United Against Waste’ event of cooking with leftover beetroot, herb stalks, fish skins and salmon bones. Although this might sound unappetising I can vouch for the fact that the end result was absolutely delicious!

Unilever have a variety of resources available to help make kitchens less wasteful and more profitable including a tool kit with tips and advice and a ‘Wise up on Waste’ app to help kitchens monitor and track food waste.

This week is Recycle Week and there will be a range of activities going on across the country to remind people of the need to ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’. With £722 million a year of possible food waste savings across the hospitality industry, it’s time for pubs to get involved and claim their share. Turn yourself into an expert on food waste and reap the rewards!

Daisy Blench
Policy Manager - Responsibility


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Visit to Fullers by the All Party Parliamentary Beer Group and Save the Pub Group

On 17/06/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

The All Party Parliamentary Beer Group (chaired by Andrew Griffiths MP) and the All Party Parliamentary Save the Pub Group (chaired by Greg Mulholland MP) visited Fullers brewery in Chiswick last week. Some sixteen MPs and two members of the House of Lords were there too, for what you might expect was a fascinating brewery tour and some very generous hospitality. The group comprised MPs, including the Shadow Business Minister, Toby Perkins; and Gavin Williamson who introduced the adjournment debate on the beer duty escalator.

Michael Turner as Chairman (celebrating 35 years with Fullers) and Simon Emeny as Group Managing Director (becoming CEO in 19 days time) both spoke about the history of Fuller, Smith and Turner and their values. Employing nearly 4,000 people, they have a long term focus; a culture of style over fashion; a passion for quality; premium products (both pubs and beer) and pride in their brands and people. They have 386 pubs, an estate which has grown by 70% in the last ten years, doubling the number of people they employ. Of these more than half (207) are tenanted pubs, tied for beer, wines and spirits.

They emphasised their tenants as business partners and how the tie offered a huge incentive to help tenants develop their business. Help comes in many forms: maintaining all dispense equipment; technical support; group purchasing deals; rating advice; wine, coffee and menu support, Fullers signage, capital investment (last year £1.8 million), free BII membership, mystery shoppers; business development managers and the offer of a variety of courses for training. As they pointed out, 80% of this is offered by all pub companies. The last 20% makes Fullers more competitive to attract the best tenants.

Simon Emeny talked about a number of free of tie leases in their managed estates – pubs which they rent from ‘faceless’ landlords and including three leases which have become commercially unviable since the recession. They have tried speaking to the landlord; they wanted help. However, there was no response, so sadly the pubs are now boarded up and 75 jobs were lost. There was simply no incentive for the landlord to help. The tied model he said gives the landlord (whether a pub company or family brewer) every incentive to help the tenant; the free of tie has no oversight, no support and will eventually lead to more closures like the three tied pubs that they have been forced to board up.

Fullers will create 300 new jobs this year, helped hugely by the cut in beer duty, but Simon Emeny hates to think how many jobs will be lost if companies like theirs stop supporting tenants with the tie. He ended with the statistics that Fullers had, in the last 10 years, sold 26 tenanted pubs as pubs; all went free of tie; only 7 are still trading.

As one would expect Greg Mulholland took issue with much of what was said and tried to drive a wedge between family brewers and pub companies, but all were united in watching the film of ‘It’s Better Down the Pub’; and with an excellent tutored beer tasting by Fuller’s respected Head Brewer, John Keeling, and wonderful, imaginative, pub food it was a very successful evening which showed the beer and pub sector at its best.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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Expanding the export market

On 14/06/13

Britain rightly has a global reputation for the quality of its beers and has been brewing beers to send around the world for centuries. India Pale Ales and Russian Imperial Stouts are some of the most famous beer styles designed for overseas markets. These are still brewed today for consumption in the UK and as part of the burgeoning export market.

To build on this great export history, the BBPA (along with BFBi) has begun working on a new ‘beer export strategy’ with the UK Government. Working with partners at UK Trade & Investment the industry has begun to identify key focus markets where significant growth can be achieved. Steps are also being taken to improve the amount of information available to brewers about overseas markets and to challenge trade barriers that are seen to hamper growth.

In 2012 around 6.5 million hectolitres (4 million barrels) of beer were sent for export from UK brewers, worth just short of £600 million. The volume of beer exported has more than quadrupled in twenty years. However, some of these ‘exports’ need to be taken with a pinch of salt, as they include movements between the UK and Ireland for packaging and some movements to the near Continent - brought back into the country by ‘booze cruisers’.

North America is the largest non-European destination for British brews, with more than one in five heading over to the US or Canada. Closer to home, Ireland, France and Belgium are our biggest trading partners – although the earlier ‘cruise’ caveat obviously applies here too. Italy, Spain and the Scandinavian countries also consume significant amounts of our beer. The growth nations of China, Russia and Brazil are currently only a tiny fraction of UK beer exports but there are ambitious plans to gain traction in these markets.

Expanding the scale and scope of UK beer exports is a critical step in demonstrating the industry’s commitment to growth in the UK. Following the abolition of the beer duty escalator and the one penny per pint reduction in tax, the industry needs to demonstrate it is contribution to economic growth.

The BBPA and BFBi are planning to launch the export strategy alongside the Government in the autumn of 2013, showcasing the best of British beer. If any brewers want to learn more about the work being done in this area please get in touch.


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Beer culture

On 14/06/13 by David Wilson (Director of Public Affairs)

Stoke Newington, or ‘Stokey’ to the locals, is cool. Last weekend saw hundreds of trendy literary types converge on the bohemian Hackney urban village to enjoy a brilliant array of writers, journalists and cultural commentators plugging their books at the culmination of a week long literary festival billed as ‘eclectic, amusing and inspiring’ by festival director, Liz Vater.

Liz and her husband, the brilliant beer writer Pete Brown, are long term Stokey residents and beer and pub enthusiasts. As a result, beer was at the heart of the Festival’s appeal. Great beers, properly served, were available at most of the readings. Sponsors Budweiser Budvar provided a beer marquee outside the Stoke Newington Town Hall where ‘fringe’ music and poetry events took place all weekend.

A festival beer echoing the feminist theme of this year’s – ‘Mary Wollstonedraft’ brewed by the Redemption Brewery up the road in Tottenham – added to the enjoyment and further exemplified the integral link between beer and British culture.

Another Redemption beer ‘Trinity’ was served at a lively ‘London’s Brewing’ event in a Church Hall on the Saturday afternoon. Other smaller producers, led by Duncan Sambrook (a relative ‘veteran’ with five years brewing and trading history at his eponymous brewery in South West London), including Byron Knight from Beavertown Brewery, Ed Mason from start-up Five Points Brewery from Hackney Downs and Sam Smith from Stoke Newington based brewery with his ‘Stokey Brown’ beer brewed under a railway arch at Hackney Central, joined a panel with Pete Brown and journalist Will Hawkes, author of Craft Beer London.

Part brewery history, part tutored tasting, this sell-out event drew a young crowd of beer enthusiasts who would not have looked out of place in an Oregon craft beer convention and demonstrated the widening appeal of beer to a new generation of social drinkers. The explosion in beer styles, the rediscovery of London classics like porter and a willingness to experiment with new approaches, were all discussed. What struck me was the passion for their product and the commitment to quality that must be good for the whole beer category.

As Will Hawkes reiterated, this rediscovery and reappraisal of beer is part of a wider movement to value food and drink more in this country, a renewed focus on provenance and a passion for quality and craftsmanship that many of the smaller Stoke Newington independent shops are a testament to.

In these tough economic times ‘Stokey’ is leading the way and beer is at the heart of the regeneration.

David Wilson
Director of Public Affairs


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Brigid Simmonds appears at BIS Select Committee: Pub companies – a note

On 12/06/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

Brigid Simmonds, 9.30am, 11th June 2013

I gave evidence to the BIS Select Committee yesterday and although you can watch the session online, I thought the below note covering my responses would be useful for members to have to hand.

Brigid Simmonds told the Committee that self-regulation is working, and while the implementation of Version Six of the Code had taken time, meaningful change had been incorporated. She quoted previous Minster Ed Davey who understood the industry’s concerns and had not proposed intervention.

On the 500 pub threshold proposed by the Government, Mrs Simmonds said it should include leased and tenanted pubs only, as otherwise, pub companies with managed estates would be paying for an adjudicator they could not use. Free-of-tie companies should not be covered, she said, as their relationship with their tenant was no different to other landlord/tenant relationships, and franchises should also be excluded.

She agreed that smaller companies should not be covered, as long as the 500 threshold did not distort competition. Asked if companies might seek to undermine the threshold by dividing their estates between new companies, Mrs Simmonds said this would not be easy to do, and no discussions had taken place with BBPA members on this.

Mrs Simmonds was questioned on delays in the introduction of Version Six of the BBPA code. She said it needed to be right and not rushed, and explained how this was being implemented. Adrian Bailey however suggested that it was industry foot-dragging that had precipitated Government action.

There was a discussion over the legally binding nature of the Code, with some committee members raising concerns that both Punch Taverns and Enterprise Inns had disputed this point in legal proceedings. Mrs Simmonds was absolutely clear the code was legally binding.

On the consultation proposals, she said she accepted the principle of fairness which had been enshrined in Version 5 of the BBPA code. On the principle of 'no worse off' for tied tenants, she said that needed to be done to explain the benefits of a tied tenancy.

She went on to set out the main concerns arising from the difference between current self-regulation and the proposals. On free-of-tie, there was a concern over what would replace industry buying power. On guest beer provision, current beer choice in the tied sector was already huge, and on the gaming machine tie, there were concerns that its removal would remove the expertise needed to maintain its profitability. On flow-monitoring, she said that it was a useful management tool and should not be banned simply because the technology had not existed before.

Asked about the new arbitration services set up under self-regulation Mrs Simmonds said it was a great system and it was moving forward, with a new governance board. While funded by BBPA members it was completely independent and low-cost. She pointed out that inquiries through the system should be resolved without coming to either PIRRS or PICAS, and that was how the system should work. The BBPA would continue to operate the system even under an adjudicator, though there were issues with funding, and there were concerns that the adjudicator would replicate the current system. She went on to say that the whole of the high street was currently suffering, and more free-of-tie pubs were closing than tied. While there were historic problems, you could obtain a pub for as little as £30,000, and pre-entry training had been introduced.

Mrs Simmonds was asked about ALMR benchmarking which indicated that tied pub rents were greater as a percentage of turnover. Mrs Simmonds said she had not looked at this, but that SCORFA was worth between £6,000 and £10,000 per pub. She also referred to investment in capital infrastructure, and there was further indirect financial support through discounts and rent reductions. There were concerns this would not be forthcoming from banks. We would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater if we ditched the tied system, she said.

On levels of rent, Mrs Simmonds said they had come down, 6% in the last year. She agreed to provide recent average increases/decreases from rent reviews.

Asked if pubcos were properly sharing information to tenants before they take on a lease or tenancy, Mrs Simmonds said that the code was hugely comprehensive in this respect and not much more information could be given.

On pub closures, she was asked if she supported comments from Ten Tuppen and Jonathan Paveley including that thousands of pubs were at risk. Mrs Simmonds said she agreed there was real concern that pubs would close, due to guest beer and free-of-tie options. She was pressed to provide the evidence and said that while some information on this was commercially sensitive, the BBPA would be submitting evidence on this to DBIS.

On licensee incomes Mrs Simmonds said the BBPA had written to CAMRA and asked for details of their recent survey.

She was asked to respond to comments from Ted Tuppen that a legal challenge to the proposals in the European Courts could take place. Mrs Simmonds said that he had been misquoted, and while there were no plans and no BBPA discussions had taken place, this could not be ruled out. The BBPA wanted to work with the Government and had meetings scheduled with the Government.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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Campden BRI Day 2013

On 10/06/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

Over 500 people attended the Campden BRI Day this year. This included 20 members from brewing companies, thanks to the persuasion and persistence of Tom Falcon from Shepherd Neame who spoke passionately about the need to support this event at a recent dinner in Brewers Hall. It was my first visit to the Chipping Campden site of Campden BRI, now fully merged with BRI at Nuffield where much of the brewing research is undertaken, and whilst a 5.15 am start made it a rather long day, it was certainly worthwhile!

The guest speaker was Michael McCain, CEO of Maple Leaf Foods in Canada. He spoke about our world food crises, the need to increase yields, accept technology as a friend, to ensure we reduce waste and accept that there is "no good food or bad food, just good diets and bad diets".

I was given an excellent tour of the site and of the many services offered by Campden BRI which are applicable for both brewing and pubs by Martin Hall, the Director of Science. The use of 'forensic' science techniques in identifying and tracing contaminants are services many members already use, but there is so much more we could use. Is your packaging fit for purpose and how might changes to your product interact with the container in which it is sold? Consumer and sensory science panels allow products to be compared against each other by expert consumer groups. For instance, how premium chocolate compares with a competitor's product could be extended to how your fish and chips might compare with a similar dish sold in another pub! Do you want to offer homemade bread; Campden BRI's bread making training centre The Millennium Bakery was demonstrating artisan and sour dough bread production and courses are available for members. And these are just a taste of the technological services that are available!

But it's not all science and laboratories - between the Nutfield and Chipping Campden sites, Campden BRI also offer a diverse variety of information and advisory services and training in areas that include food production, quality and safety, understanding and implementation of regulation and legislation and food labelling. Members are also encouraged to attend Member Interest Groups (MIG) which have a direct impact on the research that is undertaken at the Chipping Campden site. The announcement of the Brewing and Fermented Beverages MIG, which will allow brewing members to have a similar input, was announced at Campden BRI Day and will begin in September with a seminar to be held at the Nutfield site.

It will certainly be worth looking at how the services at Campden BRI might be used to the benefit of both brewers and pub owners...from grain to glass and beyond! However, the services are particularly important in light of recent events where we may be missing a trick if food issues are not considered just as important as brewing issues.

If you would like to listen to the lecture in full, it is available to stream here

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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Inspiring the caterers of tomorrow

On 07/06/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

I attended the Nestlé Toque d’Or Awards Dinner, to congratulate those high achievers being presented with awards as a result of the catering competition, which is celebrating its 25th Anniversary. The competition has a reputation for challenging and inspiring chefs and front of house teams of the future. Anton Mosimann was its first winner and still plays an active part. One part of the prize is to spend a week at his establishment. The winners this year came from South West College, Dungannon Northern Ireland.

With the huge increase in food now served in pubs - who now serve one billion meals a year and more food than in restaurants - the ability to attract good chefs and food and beverage specialists is hugely important. There is a need for us to do more with catering colleges; enthusing the chefs of the future with the ability to run your own business or premises in a pub. This year M & B provided one of the judging challenges which was to make a sweet for a pub meal. The teams are tested not only on their cooking and presentation skills, but also on costs, profit margins and the commercial skills which are, of course, so very important.

Nestlé are Associate Members of the BBPA and have worked with a number of members, particularly around coffee and the professional services they offer. They are also interested in environmental services, particularly around waste.

The awards were inspiring and hugely enjoyable. They epitomised the sort of standards we are looking for in the future and hopefully more pubs will be interested supporting the Toque d’Or awards in future.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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The awards season is upon us...

On 06/06/13 by Gareth Barrett

After a hugely successful 2012 launch, this year’s BBPA Industry Awards are just around the corner! The BBPA is very keen to reward member companies who seek to celebrate and champion our industry.

The awards categories:

The Beer Champion, Pub Champion and Heart of the Community awards all aim to reward a positive company ethos and excellence in innovation– those members who in their every action look to improve, support and build not only their own interests – but the sector as a whole.

The achievements of last year’s worthy winners serve to remind other members of the opportunities available to them to recognise their own successes.

The Beer Champion 2013 award looks to highlight companies which have successfully sought to promote, improve and celebrate beer as a category. Whether by pioneering a new method of dispense or creating an innovative product design, or crafting a memorable advertising or marketing campaign – we really are looking for that special something setting you apart from the rest of the pack in 2013. The Liberation Group were the inaugural winners – with an entry that showed a real dedication to beer. They encouraged Ale Trails, informed customers on the science of brewing, whilst also promoting its natural basis, they seek to educate on variety, style and more. Their beers offer real diversity in terms of styles, presentation and innovation.

Britain’s pubs are one of the nation’s greatest assets, and the Pub Champion 2013 (sponsored by BT) award seeks to reward companies that have worked to make sure they remain a national treasure for future generations. Last year’s winner, Daniel Thwaites, sought to set the standard in tenant support and business partnership, proving to be a company that sets high expectations and met them. Their success came about through the innovation behind their WayInn initiative, their high quality PubTalk magazine, their motivational company competitions, the commitment to investing in challenging pubs through Project 11 and the efforts in menu development.

The final company award looks for members that, through their own corporate initiatives or leading-edge partnerships, have demonstrated a proven commitment to their local community. This award the Heart of the Community Award, looks for that broad ethos and commitment and will seek information on the actual impacts made. The first winner, Joseph Holt, has for the long term committed itself to making a difference. They differentiated themselves in that everyone from the brewery to the boardroom, cellar man to chairman, engages and seeks to make a difference. They illustrated a proven commitment to their local community, with long standing partnerships to both the Christie Hospital and homes for those on low incomes.

The question is now – can your company do better? Every day the team at the BBPA see excellent examples from our members – now it’s your opportunity to be rewarded for those efforts.

To find out more about the Awards and information on how to enter please click here or email

Gareth Barrett


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A view from Europe

On 03/06/13 by Brigid Simmonds (Chief Executive)

Brewers of Europe (BoE), holds quarterly meetings of ‘Secretaries General’ (my equivalents). Last week, they met in Luxembourg and on Friday this was followed by the General Assembly which was also attended by BBPA Chairman Jonathan Neame.

Key issues of interest included previous studies undertaken by Ernst & Young on the economic contribution of beer to the European economy, which are about to be updated. Members raised the importance of the on-trade for sales of beer and the (relatively high) cost of production of beer, both of which were key components of our UK Budget submission. The next report will be more journalistic in tone, but will continue to provide key data from all states which make up the BoE membership.

Considerable time was spent discussing calorie and nutritional information. The current derogation for alcohol, which permits the voluntary declaration of calories and nutritional information, is due to expire in 2014 and members discussed a more front-foot approach to the Commission for on-pack and on-line. However this will be considered against a mandatory approach in 2014 by the Commission. Ultimately, it will be up to individual states to see how this might be implemented at a national level, but if voluntary information is to be provided, it will have to follow the rules for voluntary labelling per 100 ml.

Henri Malosse, the President of the Economic & Social Committee will be speaking at the Beer Serves Europe event at the end of the year. The ESC has become more important in recent years as a consultative committee within the EU.

The Brewers of Europe is taking an administrative complaint to the European Commission about duty rises in France, and is also working on combating proposals to ban the use of caramel in malt beverages. Discussions continue with OECD (which is undertaking a report on alcohol) and the World Health Organisation which has an alcohol strategy.

These are among the many issues where the Brewers of Europe provides eyes and ears across Europe, allowing us to share best practice on responsibility, economic and social issues on all or our agendas.

Brigid Simmonds
Chief Executive


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