This week’s exclusive Diary includes Admiral’s Paveley on pub trade egos; YO! Shushi eyeing America; Andrew Pern getting public support after the removal of his Michelin star; and which family brewer is pondering a merger? Family brewer looking for M&A suitor? Revived activity in the pub and restaurant mergers and acquisitions market means this might be a good time for people to test the market. There’s a rumour doing the rounds that a well-known regional family brewer, with an estate well-positioned in geographic terms, could be flashing its metaphoric ankles. Diary has heard the story a couple of times now so it could even be true. Brewer laments wine time TV With nearly everyone else applying political pressure on the BBC from time-to-time, it was about time a brewer had a go. Step forward little Hardknott Brewery, based in Millom, Cumbria. Its owner Dave Bailey has lodged a complaint with OfCom over the BBC’s lack of coverage of beer stories. He says wine, primarily an imported drink of course, gets “all the coverage” in the media, including the BBC’s food-related programmes. Dave Bailey said: “I know of many well respected beer writers who have approached the BBC to try and raise awareness of this country’s great hand-crafted beers, brewed not just in Cumbria but nationally. However, time and time again it is only wine that gets given airtime.” Britvic shuffles staff Personnel changes, Part 34. This time it’s Britvic ringing the changes. Paul Linthwaite, who had led “On Premise” for the company since 2007, is to leave the company at the end of September as the company slims down from four channels to three - “Grocery” and “Impulse” survive while “Food Service” and “Licensed” are merged into a single “Leisure” division. Andrew Boyd, who has been at Britvic for six years, takes over the merged department. Paveley blasts trade egos Admiral Taverns executive chairman Jonathan Paveley was the star turn at yesterday’s Tenanted Pub Company conference, organised by M&C Report. There was good news on debt reduction, estate development and the future for Admiral. It acquired 190 pubs formerly owned by Piccadilly Licensed Properties at the end last year - former Marston’s pubs acquired by Active Asset Investment Management (aAIM) and managed by Scottish & Newcastle Pub Company. Like-for-likes have gone from minus eight per cent to ten per cent up in just three months. But Paveley, former director of strategy at Punch Taverns, was also remarkably forthright about recent history in the pub trade. He argued that a lot of “pub deaths” have been due to “self-harm caused by the way companies have been run”. Admiral had been forced to sell some pubs because they were too far gone because “they had been neglected by up to two decades by previous owners”. He described the style of management at Admiral as “honest and non-egotistical” and contrasted that with recent history in the pub trade. “One of the real problems of the last 15 years, I think, is that we’ve had pretty big egos playing out across this industry and we’re still paying the consequences and picking up some of the pieces.” Who can he mean? There were a number of nominations over beers in the pub when the conference concluded. Pern’s pub will be a star again Diary calls in on the superlative Star Inn, in Harome, north Yorkshire, which held a Michelin star for seven years until it was taken away at the start of this year. Harome is now known locally as “Pernshire” on account of the addition of two hotels, a bakery and shop to the mini-empire in the village operated by chef and owner Andrew Pern over the years. He was a finalist on the BBC’s Great British Menu where top chefs competed to prepare a dish for the People’s Banquet - his “Celebration of Yorkshire Rhubarb” narrowly missed a place on the final menu. Not surprisingly, Pern could be found hard at work in his kitchen during Saturday lunchtime service. He tells Diary that he’s been told that Michelin has had a large number of complaints about the removal of his star - and Michelin inspectors were back at the Star Inn very recently to re-inspect. Diary has a tenner on the return of the star to the Star next January. YO! goes west Diary has high hopes for YO! Sushi in making inroads within the American market - it plans to have five to ten locations operating within the United States by the end of 2013 through the franchise route. YO! Sushi boss Robin Rowland sends Diary a copy of the company’s franchise brochure. Fascinating thing, franchising. American franchisees will have to commit to opening at least three restaurants - total cost for building a YO! Sushi is put in a range of between $727,000 and $1,390,000. The marketing literature states: “With strong systems and a proprietary Epos system to help managed production and wastage, it is no wonder that our managers and chefs refer to YO! Sushi as ‘the easiest restaurant you will ever run’.” At last, a restaurant that’s comparatively easy to run! America’s legal madness strikes again Out-of-control litigation in the States, Part 37. Double amputee Zoltan Hirsch has filed 87 lawsuits against New York businesses in the past year to make them more accessible to disabled people. But the devout Hasidic Jew has targeted at least one restaurant he is unlikely to use - a non-kosher crab restaurant. He demands $500 in damages to compensate for suffering ‘an injury’ by being denied access. Hirsch, who lost his legs in a car accident seven years ago, also asks for legal fees for his lawyer, Bradley Weitz of Florida, who has filed dozens of similar claims in that state. Fees can top $15,000 a case with costs racking up to cover document requests, payment to experts or travel reimbursements for Weitz. Hirsch, 31, sued Sanctuary Tea in SoHo last month - one of 36 writs he filed in May - claiming he couldn’t get in the door. Owner Dawn Cameron reports that there are two steps to reach her restaurant, and she said wheelchair users are helped inside. Madness.