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To Russia with Love: Hughes Distillery secures export deal with Russian drinks market

To Russia with Love: Hughes Distillery secures export deal with Russian drinks market

Hughes Craft Distillery in Lisburn, County Antrim, distiller of RubyBlue Premium Vodka, Ireland’s first potato distilled vodka, has secured its first export deal with the Russian drinks market.

The small-batch spirits business, run by husband and wife team Barbara and Stuart Hughes, has risen to international acclaim in recent years bringing home awards including Global Vodka Master (Gold), New York World Wine & Spirits (Silver) and International Liqueur Master for their array of bottle-aged liqueurs. This new contract win, is another fantastic milestone for the business.

Barbara Hughes, Commercial Director for Hughes Craft Distillery, which premiered RubyBlue Premium Vodka in 2015, says:

“Selling an Irish vodka to the Russian market is a marvellous boost for our home-grown distillery and considered by some the equivalent of a Russian trader pitching us the Ulster fry!”

The deal comes after Russian importers approached the Hughes Distillery team at the Alltech Craft Brews & Food Fair in Dublin in February this year. Originally overlooking the small-batch distiller, doubtful of Ireland’s potential to produce a quality vodka capable of competing in the Russian market – a region synonymous with the spirit – the Russian team were stunned by the unexpected smooth finish and purity of the Lisburn distiller’s RubyBlue Premium Vodka.

“We’ve been encouraged by these recent developments and are taking steps to begin importing our full range of spirits including RubyBlue Whiskey Cask-aged Vodka and our four premium fruit liqueurs which are all ideal for sipping, mixing in cocktails and even adding that extra culinary flair”, Barbara added.

Stuart Hughes, Managing Director, adds:

“Initially we suggested working with the Russian team to create some distinctive RubyBlue cocktails for Russian bars, but they were quick to inform us that Russian’s don’t mess with good spirits; a compliment to the quality of our small-batch range that we were overjoyed to hear from such an esteemed team. With stock now in Belgorod we’re keen to build on this new relationship to grow throughout the region and wider Russian market; firmly establishing Ireland as an exporter of quality spirits.”

Already trading in key markets including Europe, Australia and the Middle East, the Lisburn-based craft distiller has been experiencing a period of significant growth and recognition locally as their range of spirits are now available in supermarkets including Tesco, Asda and Supervalu. As well as an ever-growing list of restaurants, bars and independent retailers throughout Northern Ireland, the RubyBlue range, which is hand-crafted is small, limited batches, is also available through online retailer Amazon, at Belfast International Airport and Dublin Airport.

For more information or to view Hughes Craft Distillery’s full range of award-winning spirits, visit www.rubybluespirits.com

Frankie and Benny’s Big Community Throwback

Frankie and Benny’s Big Community Throwback

Located conveniently off the M1 at Northern Ireland’s most spacious shopping centre, Sprucefield, Italian restaurant chain Frankie and Benny’s Lisburn venue is taking massive strides over the next three months to give back to local businesses and communities in the Lisburn and surrounding areas that have supported them throughout the years.

The chain’s jolly mascot, Sketch, who can be seen regularly in the restaurant entertaining and participating in birthday celebrations, will be stepping up his efforts to support local schools, charities and community groups by joining in events where he will be frantically handing out balloons, goody bags – some with lucky golden tickets for free meals! – and restaurant vouchers.

The chain is also providing exciting opportunities for local children and schools to not only become mini Frankie and Benny’s chefs for the day making their own delicious pizzas, but also invaluable, first-hand experience in food preparation, hygiene and healthy eating options.

Geraldine McKenzie, Manager at Frankie and Benny’s, Sprucefield, said:

We are delighted to be able to offer such a robust selection of promotions and incentives for our surrounding businesses and communities. We want to make sure that we have something for everyone, that’s why we here at Frankie and Benny’s Sprucefield are increasing our efforts for local schools, community groups and summer schemes with the help of our mascot, Sketch, as well as supporting local businesses and their employees as they continue to serve the community.”

Speaking on the varied menu available for families with kids and the chain’s signature ‘Pizza Parties’, Ms McKenzie added:

It’s the Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink 2016, so never has it been more important to set a precedent for our children in food preparation, hygiene and healthy eating options with fresh ingredients. And what better way to do that than have them become the chef at our restaurant!”

The centrally located and easily accessible Sprucefield branch of Frankie and Benny’s is also offering significant discounts on meals, complimentary lunches and an unlimited cocktail hour in friendly, relaxed surroundings for local businesses to meet, collaborate and flourish together.

Over 20 local businesses have already benefited from this fantastic selection of offerings including Sprucefield Shopping Centre, Disability NI and Lisburn Visitor Centre. Over the next three months Frankie and Benny’s Sprucefield will continue to award three local businesses with weekly VIP vouchers to claim in-store.

Allan Ewart, Chairman of Development Committee, at Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council (LCCC), commented on the community throw back:

“With Lisburn experiencing one of its most significant periods of growth and investment in recent years, we are delighted by the announcement that Lisburn venue Frankie and Benny’s is also willing to invest back into the community. With local business supporting other local businesses and communities, the Lisburn and Castlereagh area will further establish itself as a hub for thriving entrepreneurship and community spirit.”

To enquire about Sketch the mascot, make a reservation or get more information on local promotions you can contact the Sprucefield restaurant directly on 02892 671435 or email the team at sprucefield@frankieandbennys.co.uk

New restaurant Beef and Bird hatched in Lisburn City Centre

New restaurant Beef and Bird hatched in Lisburn City Centre

Local restaurateurs husband and wife team, Bronagh and Anthony Campbell have opened the doors of their new eatery, Beef & Bird in Lisburn Leisure Park. The new eatery is an exciting new venture for the couple, who have gained a reputable status in the local area, following the phenomenal success of steakhouse, Del Toro, over the past six and half years.

The new eatery is a casual dining experience for those visiting the Leisure Park and offers a delicious range of dishes, with plenty of choice and variety for customers. With over 120 seats and all dishes made to order,customers can enjoy a fast-paced environment with real hearty food. Menus available include; breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dishes include; Beef and Bird gourmet beef burger & buttermilk fried chicken goujons, SIGNATURE bird platter buttermilk chicken (mixture of wings, thighs, goujons), corn on the cob, mac and cheese, sweet potato fries, white BBQ and Korean ketchup, Beef & Bird stack 8oz minute steak, chargrilled chicken, choice of champ or potato wedges with pepper sauce, tobacco onions.

Throughout the restaurant, the retro and contemporary look will have heads turning and will spark conversations with the quirky feature walls, table settings and restaurant design. The owners have taken inspiration from London restaurants and carried out extensive research, in order to develop something different for customers visiting Lisburn city centre. They have developed a fun scrabble board and play area that caters for families with young children, to enjoy some play time during their visit at Beef and Bird.

Bronagh Campbell, owner of Beef and Bird said: “We are delighted to announce the opening of our new restaurant, Beef and Bird, a different type of eatery from what we are known for. Primarily, our reputation has been for our traditional Steakhouse, Del Toro and we now want to expand this product offering to a new customer base. Beef and Bird is a fast casual dining experience that will give customers delicious fresh food whilst shopping or enjoying some of the entertainment outlets in the Leisure park.”

Chairman of Development Committee, at Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council (LCCC), Allan Ewart commented on the new restaurant opening; “With the announcement of another eatery opening in the local council area, this broadens the excellent offering Lisburn has readily available for the local community and visitors to the city. The opening coincides with the NI Year Food and Drink and is a celebration of the fantastic talent we have in Lisburn and Castlereagh. Beef and Bird will contribute to the local economy as it has created 30 jobs. We wish the team the very best of luck with their new venture.”

Open 7 days a week, from 9am until late, all dishes served are freshly made using local produce, including Draynes Farm, Elmore Fish and North Down Fruit and Veg.  Enjoy a bite to eat at the new Beef and Bird restaurant located in Lisburn Leisure Park, only ten minutes from Belfast.

Book your table on 028 9260 7306 or, simply call into the restaurant. To find out more information, and view the full menus, log on toFacebook www.facebook.com/beefandbird or check us out on Twitter @Beefandbird.

8 Things You Need to Know About The Gobbins

8 Things You Need to Know About The Gobbins

 

1) The Gobbins was the brainchild of visionary Berkeley Deane Wise, pioneering Chief Engineer of the Belfast and Northern Counties Railway Company. An early pioneer for tourism, Berkeley Deane Wise built The Gobbins order to encourage people to use the train and travel to places like Islandmagee.

2) Often regarded as one of the early Twentieth Century’s most striking feats of engineering, The Gobbins was originally opened to the public in 1902. After its closure in 1954, a £7.5m restoration project of The Gobbins cliff path took place and has seen the coastal walk return to its former glory as one of Northern Ireland’s top tourist attractions following its grand reopening in 2015.

3) One of The Gobbins’ most unique features is known as ‘Wise’s Eye’ – a narrow entrance chiselled through the winding cliffs that gives visitors access to the most visually spectacular stretch of the original coastal path.

4) A giant of the tourism industry in Northern Ireland, Wise’s original tubular bridge for The Gobbins became the destination’s most iconic sight. Unlike the original bridge which was winched into place, the replica was lowered into place in 2014 from the cliff-side some 60 metres above.

5) The tubular bridge stretches 20 metres out from the cliff path leading to the Man O’War stack – an outstanding rock formation aptly named for its striking resemblance to the great battle ships.

6) A scientifically significant site, The Gobbins is rich with biodiversity offering rare access to a rich selection of plants, ferns and grasses as well as Northern Ireland’s only mainland colony of colourful Puffins.

7) The original Gobbins was constructed by railway company employees who received no safety training and were lacking in appropriate safety equipment and clothing compared to the standards of today. Despite this, under that watchful eye of Wise, there were no recorded injuries during the perilous construction of The Gobbins.

8) The ever-intriguing Smuggler’s Cave was once home to Thomas McCartney. Known as a hedge teacher, McCartney taught and slept in barns before settling in Smuggler’s Cave. To the right-hand side of the cave’s entrance is a wall cavity known as the ‘Schoolmaster’s Bedchamber’ where McCartney lived.

LIMITED TICKETS, DIE FAHRKARTE, DES BILLETS FOR EDDIE IZZARD SHOW AT THE MAC

LIMITED TICKETS, DIE FAHRKARTE, DES BILLETS FOR EDDIE IZZARD SHOW AT THE MAC

 

One of the biggest names in comedy, Eddie Izzard, is taking to the stage next Tuesday 10th May, at the MAC, Belfast to host his only Irish showing of the critically acclaimed Force Majeure. Running for one night only and over three hours, the comic, writer and actor will perform three shows in three languages – German, French and English.

Tickets for his English language show sold out within 30 minutes of going on sale, setting a new record as the Belfast venue’s fastest selling show to date.

Limited tickets are still available for the German language show taking place at 7pm, and the French language show, commencing immediately after at 8pm. Tickets are available from www.themaclive.com or you can contact the box office on 0289023 5053.

A PLAY THAT DOESN’T HORSE AROUND (TOO MUCH)

A PLAY THAT DOESN’T HORSE AROUND (TOO MUCH)

The MAC isn’t foaling around when it issues a job ad seeking a willing local horse for new show!  No prior acting experience necessary.

‘Surreal’, ‘moving’ and ‘extremely funny’ are just some of the critical reviews that characterise award-winning actor, artist and comedian, Kim Noble’s one-man (and a horse) show. You’re Not Alone, is the Perrier award-winning artist’s show that comes to the MAC on Tuesday 3 May.  Part of the Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival, the show won a Total Theatre Award at Edinburgh Festival in 2014.

To star alongside Kim, the show needs a horse and not just any horse at that.  One that has an even temperament, is used to the bright lights of fame and preferably, is chestnut brown.  If you know any such horses, please contact the MAC via tickets@themaclive.com. The horse’s agents will be offered complimentary tickets in return.

You’re Not Alone is provocative, moving and darkly comic. It chronicles one man’s attempts at connection, friendship and employment at B&Q. Noble takes the audience on a journey through tower blocks, supermarkets and Facebook, seeking an escape from the loneliness of modern society.  One half of BAFTA nominated art-comedy duo, Noble and Silver, and with TV appearances on shows like Channel 4’s The Mighty Boosh, Noble’s award-winning show has since travelled internationally to 45 countries and now comes to Belfast for the first time.

*only suitable for those 18 and over

END

Notes to editor:

Event Information

Tickets for Kim Noble ‘You’re Not Alone’ which will show on May 3 at 8pm are on sale now at the MAC priced at £12; https://themaclive.com/shows/kim-noble-youre-not-alone

Produced and presented by in Between Time in association with Soho Theatre, Written, performed and directed by Kim Noble, Co-Directed by Gary Reich, Technical manager: Mishi Bekesi, Lighting design: Martin Langthorne

For press tickets, please contact me by return.

*Discretion Advised

At your discretion, you may wish to make audiences aware that the show does contain:

  • Highly explicit sexual content
  • Very strong language
  • Full male nudity
  • Audience participation
  • Sensitive/adult material that some audience members may find offensive

You may wish to suggest that the show is only suitable for those 18 and over.

Press quote on Kim Noble

‘Kim Noble is a genius’ –Time Out

One of the most hypnotically involving pieces of theatre I’ve ever seen.” * * * * Telegraph

 

Credits

Produced and presented by In Between Time in association with Soho Theatre

Written, performed and directed by Kim Noble

Co-Directed by Gary Reich

Technical manager: Mishi Bekesi

Lighting design: Martin Langthorne

Image Credits: Kim Noble

THE GOBBINS OPENS TO HIGH DEMAND

THE GOBBINS OPENS TO HIGH DEMAND

Mid and East Antrim Borough Council is delighted that The Gobbins reopened its doors  and welcomed visitors from across the world, during the Bank Holiday weekend.

Speaking on the reopening, the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough, Councillor Billy Ashe said: “We are thrilled to welcome many new and returning visitors this weekend, to this unique and one of a kind attraction. It is fantastic to see such strong booking numbers already, with tours nearly sold out for the month of May.

“As we approach this new season for The Gobbins, visitors will be able to experience first-hand the changing environment and explore the amazing birdlife and flora of the cliffs. The team has been working hard putting in place new exciting tour programmes, meeting with local and European tour operators and developing comprehensive school’s programmes.

“Whilst the closure was regrettable, I want to thank the public for their patience and it is great to hear that the demand for tickets hasn’t been quelled. I would urge people who wish to explore The Gobbins to book in advance to avoid disappointment.

“The Gobbins is an important asset to the Northern Ireland tourism sector. Creating 40 local jobs, it will continue to be an economic driver for the local area.”

For more information on The Gobbins and to book your tour, please visit www.thegobbinscliffpath.com

End

New restaurant Beef and Bird hatched in Lisburn City Centre

New restaurant Beef and Bird hatched in Lisburn City Centre

Local restaurateurs husband and wife team, Bronagh and Anthony Campbell have opened the doors of their new eatery, Beef & Bird in Lisburn Leisure Park. The new eatery is an exciting new venture for the couple, who have gained a reputable status in the local area, following the phenomenal success of steakhouse, Del Toro, over the past six and half years.

The new eatery is a casual dining experience for those visiting the Leisure Park and offers a delicious range of dishes, with plenty of choice and variety for customers. With over 120 seats and all dishes made to order,customers can enjoy a fast-paced environment with real hearty food. Menus available include; breakfast, lunch and dinner. Dishes include; Beef and Bird gourmet beef burger & buttermilk fried chicken goujons, SIGNATURE bird platter buttermilk chicken (mixture of wings, thighs, goujons), corn on the cob, mac and cheese, sweet potato fries, white BBQ and Korean ketchup, Beef & Bird stack 8oz minute steak, chargrilled chicken, choice of champ or potato wedges with pepper sauce, tobacco onions.

Throughout the restaurant, the retro and contemporary look will have heads turning and will spark conversations with the quirky feature walls, table settings and restaurant design. The owners have taken inspiration from London restaurants and carried out extensive research, in order to develop something different for customers visiting Lisburn city centre. They have developed a fun scrabble board and play area that caters for families with young children, to enjoy some play time during their visit at Beef and Bird.

Bronagh Campbell, owner of Beef and Bird said: “We are delighted to announce the opening of our new restaurant, Beef and Bird, a different type of eatery from what we are known for. Primarily, our reputation has been for our traditional Steakhouse, Del Toro and we now want to expand this product offering to a new customer base. Beef and Bird is a fast casual dining experience that will give customers delicious fresh food whilst shopping or enjoying some of the entertainment outlets in the Leisure park.”

Chairman of Development Committee, at Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council (LCCC), Allan Ewart commented on the new restaurant opening; “With the announcement of another eatery opening in the local council area, this broadens the excellent offering Lisburn has readily available for the local community and visitors to the city. The opening coincides with the NI Year Food and Drink and is a celebration of the fantastic talent we have in Lisburn and Castlereagh. Beef and Bird will contribute to the local economy as it has created 30 jobs. We wish the team the very best of luck with their new venture.”

Open 7 days a week, from 9am until late, all dishes served are freshly made using local produce, including Draynes Farm, Elmore Fish and North Down Fruit and Veg.  Enjoy a bite to eat at the new Beef and Bird restaurant located in Lisburn Leisure Park, only ten minutes from Belfast.

Book your table on 028 9260 7306 or, simply call into the restaurant. To find out more information, and view the full menus, log on toFacebook www.facebook.com/beefandbird or check us out on Twitter @Beefandbird.

FOUR TIMES THE CHARM

FOUR TIMES THE CHARM

Since opening in 2012, the MAC has gone onto cement itself as one of the leading arts venues in Northern Ireland. Attracting hundreds of visitors weekly, a phenomenal 1.1million people have attended the venue, since its inception, to see its world-class exhibitions and shows plus use the facility for corporate hire and family day outs. The MAC welcomes 250,000 visitors annually, smashing its annual visitor target of 170,000 year on year.

The MAC has hosted more than 3,000 live performances, 25 visual art exhibitions and hundreds of family workshops and activities, with 73,520 people taking part in its learning and outreach programme. It currently employs over 35 permanent staff, with 100 MACtivists volunteering their time at the city centre venue.

Celebrating the fourth anniversary, Anne McReynolds, Chief Executive of the MAC, said:

“The MAC’s achievements in just four years has been simply phenomenal, and we are proud of the contribution we have made to Northern Ireland’s cultural life. It’s been a hugely successful time for the organisation that we are very proud of. There is no doubt we have continued to deliver on our mission to be a centre of artistic excellence that makes a positive difference to people’s lives. 

“We know that there are lots of people who use the MAC as their hub in the city. For our amazing exhibitions, live theatre and bustling family room, to those who see the MAC as an office away from the office, that was always the vision for the MAC.  We also know that there are lots of people who have yet to visit and I’d like to offer them an open invitation to come along and see what we’re about.   

“Looking forward to the next phase, there is still much for us to achieve. As a young and ambitious organisation we are absolutely up for the challenge.”

Noirin McKinney, Director of Arts Development, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:

“Happy birthday to the MAC.  The award-winning venue’s welcoming atmosphere, world-class facilities and impressive arts programming, has led to it fast becoming one of the region’s leading arts and cultural venues since opening its doors four years ago.  It continues to be a major driver for the local economy and cultural tourism of Belfast, attracting locals, visitors and tourists alike; bringing great art within the reach of everyone.”

With shows such as Puckoon, Ventoux and Pinocchio coming up plus the hugely talented Eddie Izzard, choosing the MAC as his only Irish venue for his ‘Force Majeure’ tour – there are lots of opportunities in the coming months for visitors to experience the MAC at its best.

The MAC is a cultural powerhouse that is artistically led and commercially driven. It has been cutting edge, seeking out new artists, across a spectrum of genres and has several initiatives in place, such as its Hatch programme designed to enable local new and emerging artists to play their part in developing the creative energy at the heart of the MAC.

The MAC is for everyone and last year, the venue launched its unique MACtile Tours ‘theatre in a box’ with long-term partners Ulster Bank, designed to enable young people with Austism Sensory Disorders the opportunity to experience theatre for the first time.  It’s a project that the MAC team is extremely proud of and plans to build upon this year.

Testament to the MAC’s success in just four years is that the organisation was shortlisted as one of six finalists for Art Fund Prize for Museum of the Year in 2015.

 

END