The Oakham Brewery has collected over 4,000 signatures on a petition against
its demolition as part of the Queensgate redevelopment. The branch organised
a successful visit to the brewery on 7th October.
The Earl Soham Brewery is expanding into a new brewhouse.
Adnams new porter, Fisherman, has proved popular - it's supposed to replace the much-loved Extra.
Mighty Oak are moving from Brentwood to Mauldon by February.
Old Chimneys (Market Weston, near Diss) is moving to new premises and trebling capacity.
It's launched three new bottled beers: Brimstone Lager (6.5),
Redshank Strong Ale (7.2%) and Good King Henry Imperial Stout (9.6%).
Locally, Milton Brewery's
Sandpit, brewed by N. Herts CAMRA, was well-received, as was Pharos, the latest
in the Seven Wonders of the World series. Other news beers recently included Babylon (a stout), Zeus,
Colossus and the special MM edition of Mammon, aged a year. ("Mmmmmm...")
Meanwhile City of Cambridge Brewery is about to move
to larger premises near Ely.
Lidstones Brewery had planned to move the brewery plant into the cellar of the Kingston Arms (Cambridge)
but this is on hold for 2001.
In December Scottish & Newcastle released
interim results for the half-year to the end of October
[as posted on the Motley Fool].
As one of the big pub & brewery operators,
its thinking as to pubs and beer brands is important.
Amongst all the financial froth,
there are some interesting statements and omissions:
Follow-up reports in the media said they're closing 500 pubs in their heartlands of Scotland and the North-East
GK's interim results
[as posted on the Motley Fool]
for the half-year came out the day after S&N's.
- Our Retail Division, in future, will be focused on the key growth sectors.
(They'll give up on pubs they don't know how to run well)
- In UK Beer, growth continues in the off trade but the performance of the on trade market
continues to be below our expectations.
(They're not competing well)
- In a market where volumes declined by an exceptional 3.6% the strength of
our brand portfolio and further improvements in customer service levels saw
our volumes fall by only 1.1% with resulting market share gains. Volume sales
of our key brands increased by over 4%, including a 23% increase in the very
successful Kronenbourg 1664 brand. This volume growth in premium brands
converted into a growth of over 6% in their sales value, underlining the
success of our value strategy.
(Lots about brands - what about quality?)
- In support of the value strategy, net spend on brand advertising was
increased by 13% with a particular focus on Foster's, Kronenbourg and John Smith's.
(Marketing as a substitute for quality products)
- In recent times the pub retailing market has seen substantial change
driven by both the significant investments made by all major pub retailers over the
last few years and changing consumer behaviour. As with other operators, these
factors are producing an increasingly divergent performance between
different sectors of our estate.
(Trendy, short-lived themes eat up cash then go out of fashion)
- However, a substantial proportion of our estate is still experiencing
significant like with like decline in sales. This decline, coupled with
cost pressures associated with minimum wage, working time directive and rising
property costs, is resulting in pressure on unit profitability. Although
performance in Quarter 2 showed some signs of recovery we do not believe
that this decline in profit can be addressed by management change or by
(We've lost touch with what people really want)
- We are carrying out a unit by unit review of our total Retail estate. This
review, the details of which we will announce in January after appropriate
internal communication, will result in the disposal of all units that fail
to meet defined growth criteria.
- Our future estate will be predominantly focused on:-
- Chef & Brewer and family dining
- Premier Lodge
- High quality traditional pubs
- Branded pubs and bars
(No place for community boozers)
- As a consequence of the restructuring that we plan, we anticipate that our
managed estate will require a reduced level of investment and generate an
increasing level of return on assets.
(We can't be bothered to pump lots more money in to keep up with fashions and hope marketing will do the trick)
- In UK Beer we have invested £42m, mainly in support of projects to
increase productivity in the areas of packaging and distribution.
(No significant investment in quality products)
The Cambridge & District Branch needs to declare an interest at this point:
we hold shares in GK so as to have a say, no matter how small.
As GK loom so large hereabouts, it's worth a look at their thinking.
The landlords forced out of their pubs by rent rises
will probably find this particularly interesting.
ALE Winter 2000 No. 300
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Cambridge & District CAMRA