Friday 18th March 2016
We take a brief look at interesting news stories in the leisure and hospitality sectors from the last few weeks.
Starbucks will be rolling out the sale of alcohol, including craft beers, in new “Star R” branded locations across the UK. The idea of coffee shops serving alcohol is not new. But it does represent a change in offering for the global brand which has a dedicated band of followers. It will be interesting to see whether this new concept lures drinkers away from the traditional pubs, bars and restaurants. Especially so, given the loyalty craft beer drinkers seem to have to the independent brands.
Poor hop harvest likely to hit small independents (subscription required)
The “craft beer revolution” in recent years has seen an explosion in the number of microbreweries. A product of this explosion has been a supply crunch. The FT has recently reported that the 2015 hop harvest was one of the worst on record, making the shortage of this key ingredient worse. A lot of smaller, newly established breweries will buy their ingredients on a spot basis, rather than on contract. Increased competition in the market will most likely hit them harder than the established breweries who purchase on contract.
In return for a grapefruit, BrewDog is offering drinkers at its bars a half-pint of its new grapefruit infused beer (strictly limited to one beer per customer). We’re not sure this payment method will be a long term rival for the new contactless based payment systems out there, but the brewer does seem to have come up with a clever way of sourcing product for its new IPA!
The National Living Wage (“NLW”) will be introduced from 1 April. Is your business ready? Employers have got used to annual minimum wage increases, but the NLW represents a hefty one-off hike. Whilst NLW is good news for certain employees, it is expected to hit businesses in the leisure and hospitality sector hardest.