Although the start of British summer time doesn’t officially roll out until the 21st June, it was all clear blue skies and scorching heat as the Nevilles marketing team rolled into Brighton, on a glorious Friday afternoon in late May. Having extensively researched and explored the London casual dining, coffee and bar scene in recent years, we were keen to explore another cool city which could boast an equally intriguing and thriving hospitality sector and one that could allow us to showcase some of our latest new products whilst gaining feedback from the hospitality workers themselves. So our mission here was two-fold: gain an insight into Brighton’s more popular trends and to gather professional insight into the latest new Genware products. It proved to be an interesting day…
Our first stop in Brighton came quicker than expected, literally less than a hundred yards from the train station in fact. But when something grabs your eye, and commands your attention, you can’t help but check it out, and sure enough that’s exactly what Café Coho did for us. With its rustic exposed brick wall, scaffold base tables and quirky counter display and mounted wall units, Café Coho was in familiar territory to some of the modern coffee shops found around London’s quirky corners, yet it had a more relaxed feel about it, with customers seemingly in less of a frantic rush to grab and go. And the bright light shining in through the large front window wasn’t harming the serene feel the place was exuding either.
We engaged the friendly staff and struck up a conversation about their most popular beverages and what trends they had observed growing, but it wasn’t long before the talk turned to Genware. Interestingly enough there was already a fair bit of Genware items in use within Café Coho, but they were interested to see our new (and recently launched) products.
First up, juices. Juices are big in Brighton. But not just juices; smoothies and shakes are also big growth areas. Maybe it’s due to the fact that Brighton is a coastal city or maybe it’s simply because the people there are more health conscious, but either way we’d found ourselves in a coffee shop that was just as big on juicing fresh fruit and veg as it was about grinding coffee beans.
Brunch was also a popular area of interest for Café Coho and their food service, served on coloured stoneware, it looked rather appetising. But when it came to the Genware products themselves, the staff at Café Coho
were highly enthusiastic towards the new Milk Bottles and the Coloured Porcelain Coffee Cups, so much so they were keen to serve us our drinks in them. In fact the new glass bottle with a freshly pressed juice was so popular another customer very nearly walked off with it and was a tad disappointed when he’s was in fact served in standard tumbler glass. So after juices, a cappuccino and an espresso, we set off to explore more trends.
One of the more popular areas of Brighton for discerning food and drink enthusiasts is the popular Lanes area; a network of winding streets and alleys housing boutique shops as well as an abundance of food and drink outlets. And it was along Duke Street in which we saw a charming outside terrace area that was crying out to be utilised (well in this glorious weather it would have been rude not to). No.32 is a restaurant/bar/club (yes it covers a wide audience) with a stylish look and feel to it; both easily a tasteful dining venue and yet also a cool cocktail bar.
We chatted with the pleasant waitress who came out to take our order and having been inspired by the good folk at Café Coho, we challenged her and the resident bar staff to make our drinks to match our new Vintage Goblet as well as our Misket Cocktail Glass.
The bar staff at No.32 were happy to oblige and partake in this challenge. We also ordered tempura prawns to be served in our new Galvanised Steel Coloured Buckets lined with Genware Greaseproof paper. Well, why not?
Shortly thereafter we were presented with a Bahama Nectar cocktail and a fragrant G&T accompanied by freshly cooked tempura prawns. The result tasted great, but just as important (if not more so as far as we were concerned with our product hats firmly on) it looked stunning. The bar staff agreed and felt that the Vintage Goblet would make a great regular addition to their glassware and suited their classical stylish aesthetics.
Cocktails and Gin are very popular not just at No.32 but in trendy bars and restaurants across the city. It’s no longer reserved exclusively for clubs or specialist cocktail bars. And on a hot day such as this, cocktails were in high demand. No.32’s Gin menus alone had no fewer than ten Gins available, both big brand names and small batch distilleries alike.
After savouring our respective drinks we decided to head towards the beach front and take in some of the action down by the popular arches that reside next to the famous Brighton pier. Once again we were able to strike up conversations with the staff at several venues along here to discuss their menus and to show them the latest Genware products.
Three of the biggest hitters for us along the seafront were our new White Enamel Bucket, our new Vintage Barrel Mugs and the new Astor Vintage Tumbler. A newly opened bar along the seafront which served a variety of different chips and wedges loved the new Enamel Bucket and Barrel Mugs, happily serving us in them, with the General Manager commenting that they ‘would be very popular among her customers’ and fitting of the scenery. Whilst over at the Ohso Social Beach Bar & Restaurant we nearly started a riot among the staff who were so enamoured by our vintage glassware collection that they were almost at arms with each other to get their hands on some of our samples. And when we were served up a freshly churned Mojito accompanied by a refreshing G&T in them, it only served to showcase the Astor range in all of its glory.
We visited a number of establishments in total during our day in Brighton and spoke with staff at every bar, café and restaurant we entered in order to get their valuable views on popular trends, customer insight and what their take on the new Genware products were.
Certainly freshly prepared juices are a growth area not just in coffee shops but across all areas, whilst coffee, and the various associated add-ons being introduced (such as a choice of different milks) continues to flourish. Small batch distilleries and breweries are now becoming increasingly popular with discerning craft gin/beer lovers and are now frequently more visible on drink menus than ever before. The passion and ‘craft’ that goes into these small batch beverages are clearly valued in Brighton.
Cocktails remain a boom area, with plenty of profit margin available to be had by the venues who serve them, and with no let up in demand, it’s opening itself up to the segmentation of cocktails to ensure that there’s something on the menu to meet all desires. Bar No.32 for example had twenty cocktails on their menu segmented into four categories for a wider appeal. These were broken up as follows: Classic & Elegant, Rich & Sweet, Short & Unique and finally Long & Refreshing. Premium sides continues to show diners a wider choice to accompany their main meal or even to have as a starter, with chips and wedges alone now including a much greater variety.
Brighton definitely has a unique charm and pace for a UK city and the hospitality staff we interacted with were pleasant, knowledgeable and passionate, which alone helps to make Brighton a vibrant hub for the food and drink industry.
Thus the Nevilles on Tour day to Brighton was over though we can testify with certainty that the Brighton hospitality scene is certainly thriving and on the pulse with emerging trends.