M&C Report previews all the latest City & Business gossip from Morning Advertiser editor Paul Charity. Sykes for Richards at ALMR? Beds and Bars chairman Tim Sykes is set to step down as chairman of the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) later this year after a three-year stint. But who will replace him at the top of the ALMR tree? Diary hears that there’s very short odds on Novus boss Steve Richards. R&LP came close to sale last year Retail & Licensed Properties (R&LP), the 207-strong Robert Tchenguiz vehicle primarily made up of former Enterprise Inns pub in Scotland, went into administration a fortnight ago. Diary hears, though, that the estate was the subject of a sale process last autumn that very nearly had a successful outcome. But who was the buyer that came close to snapping up the estate? An edgy private equity player perhaps? The industry grapevine suggests Iona Pub Partnership, the G1 Group’s tenanted arm that is 25% owned by Scottish & Newcastle, was in pole position. Alas, price-chipping became the sticking point. Local beer for local people Talking of R&LP, word is that its bank Barclays Capital has already taken a few operational decisions. Quite a few of the Scottish pubs in the estate have a very solid barrelage. The thinking is that replacing one or two Scottish & Newcastle products with more local products, like Tennent’s Lager, can only help barrelage. Taking the Tetley How’s the transfer of Tetley production away from Carlberg’s Leeds brewery going? Coors is brewing Tetley’s Smootyhflow in Tadcaster and has been busy gearing up with a new malt silo and mastering Carlsberg’s tricky tamper-evident caps. Diary hears brewing started early last month as part of a five-year contract to brew 170,000 barrels a year. Reasonably pleased at lap-dancing clubs There’s been talk of lap-dancing clubs suffering badly during the recession. Doesn’t seem to be the case at For Your Eyes Only, the seven-strong chain owned by the Ladhar family and run by Kiwi Glen Nicie. Companies House accounts for the 17 months to 31 October 2009 turnover of £10.9m and Ebitda of £2.3m. Profit before tax was £209,775. The companies’ directors report they have been “reasonably pleased” with trading performance since. Safe as houses (or pubs)? Here’s fresh evidence that the pub property market is cyclical. Twelve years ago Mark Barron-Reid sold the Kent Cricketers in Hawkhurst, Kent for £260,000. Last week, Mark and his wife Lucy, now award-winning licencees of the Bull Inn, Benenden, bought the pub back from Admiral Taverns for, er, subtantially less than it fetched more than a decade ago. The couple will re-open the pub at the end of next month at the Black Pig at Hawkhurst with an exclusively Kent and Sussex food and drinks offer. Peach goes forth and multiplies Award-winning Peach Pub Company, with its hippy ethos, is like the summer of love in corporate form. Now the love is getting spread around. Lee Cash’s sister Leanne Langman opened the Eight Bells in Saffron Walden as the first venture of a new company which is called Cozy Pubs, last month. A second pub, the Cricketers, Rickling Green, which has ten bedrooms - it’s six miles away from the first pub and 12 minutes from Stansted - opened at the weekend. Diary hears the company’s aiming for five sites. Among those serving as directors are Tim Doyle, a buddy of Peach founder Lee Cash, and Leane’s boyfriend Paul Cutforth, former Peach operations director and currently on the board at Orchid, who appears to been delighted by the first week’s “awesome” takings according to the first pub’s Facebook wall. Both sites are Punch leased pubs and the team is thinking about putting in an offer for the freehold of the Eight Bells. Langman tells Diary: “We’re applying the same culture as at Peach - such as the importance of training and local suppliers.” Mulholland gets punchy By Diary’s reckoning it’s round ten or so in the spat between MP Greg Mulholland and Enterprise Inns boss Ted Tuppen over the Black Horse in Otley. It’s clear, though, that Mulholland has landed a blow over Tuppen’s claim in November last year that tenant Barrack Inns and Enterprise could make a go of the site with Irish theming and an appropriate moniker, O’Malley’s. Tuppen reported two months ago that Barrack had “provided a significant quantity of memorabilia and bric-a-brac to help demonstrate the provenance and pedigree of the concept” and “all early indications are that their ideas are proving popular with the locals” with the “best week of trading for a very long time”. Well, two months on and the Irish theme has been ditched and the pub now closed pending a refurbishment. As for the Irish theme, Mulholland notes, in a letter to Tuppen: “The Irish pub concept you praised turned out to be no more than a few posters on the wall and large and inappropriate banners outside the pub”. Spending the family inheritance You’ll remember Hall & Woodhouse tearing up the conservative family brewer rulebook by spending £6.2m on opening a single site, eponymously-named Hall & Woodhouse, in Bath in late spring last year. How’s it doing? A total of 115 reviews on one well-known website average a four star rating for the venue. This review is typical: “Fun and vibrant atmosphere. Original decor, good downstairs in the huge bar area for informal groups or if you want a glitzier scene then book a meal upstairs. We had to book two months in advance for a Friday evening table!” Come on, you family brewers.