Colors: Green Color
Colors: Green Color

 

 

Things may look a little different this weekend, if you're venturing out beyond the living room after months of lockdown.

An easing of coronavirus restrictions means cinemas, bars and restaurants can reopen on Saturday, 4 July.

But it won't be all futuristic plastic pods, bubble booths or robot waiters, as your social-media feed might suggest.

New government guidelines say people from different households or "support bubbles" should stay 2m (6ft) apart indoors, where possible, but can come to within 1m of each other if they follow certain measures to reduce the spread of the virus - what the government calls "1m plus".

And that, of course, poses significant challenges to those catering for people wanting to spend a night out together.

From 4 July in England, multi-screen cinemas will stagger film start and end times, to avoid congestion in foyers.

There will be hand-sanitising stations and - don't tell the kids - pick 'n' mix stands will be removed.

Film-lovers will also find a number of empty seats or rows between themselves and other groups, depending on the size of the cinema.

Admit One, which provides ticketing services for cinemas and multiplexes, says it can automatically enable socially distanced seating, creating "bubbles" of empty seats around groups when they book.

And some cinemas may not let customers choose where they sit, as this could affect their ability to reach maximum capacity.

The average seat in cinemas is about 60cm (2ft) wide and 97cm deep, Admit One says.

So to meet 2m distancing rules, cinemas would have had to block out 12 seats around a single cinemagoer, or 16 around a couple.

Allowing "1m plus" gives the option of other configurations.

But many cinemas may still be able to accommodate only about half the normal number of customers.

Carol Rennie, owner and operator of Keswick Alhambra Cinema, in Cumbria, says she'll be able to fill 25% of the seats, at best.

The 107-year-old cinema, which can hold up to 248 in the stalls and balcony, will be open to a maximum of 60 cinemagoers, including 35 in the 150 seats in the stalls.

 

"We will get more people in if they come in groups but most will be in couples," Ms Rennie says.

"Most of the year, we operate at about 20-25% capacity and a lot of the time it is quiet.

"But when we get to the school holidays, we expect at least 50%.

"So now, our maximum capacity will be our usual average-to-low.

"So there will be a big economic hit."

Customers will queue outside.

And there will be a one-way system through the foyer into the auditorium, with people leaving through the fire exits.

That said, the Alhambra is taking a cautious approach to reopening and has decided to wait until 24 July to welcome back customers, as many of its regulars are in the older, more vulnerable age range.

British Film Industry chief executive Ben Roberts says many cinemas will need support to reopen after months of closure and the additional costs of implementing social-distancing measures.

Restaurants, pubs and bars will also have to meet the new guidelines.

Many in the hospitality industry thought it would not have been viable to open under the 2m distancing rules.

But, Jonathan Neame, of the Shepherd Neame group, says, the change to 1m plus, in England, will make it "more operationally and financially viable" to begin reopening some of its pubs from 4 July.

Some temporary changes will include:

 

  • seated, table service only
  • screens between seating or tables
  • no standing at the bar
  • one-in-one-out system for toilets

Customers are also being asked to book in advance and order food and drink direct to their tables through smartphone apps.

Inside, people from only two households or "support bubbles" can sit together.

Outside, up to six people from a greater number of households or "support bubbles" can meet but must remain 2m apart, where they can. If not, they must keep at least 1m apart, while taking steps to reduce the risk of transmission such as wearing face coverings or not sitting face-to-face.

Some chains are limiting bookings to groups of six or eight, even if the household or social bubble group is larger.

At Toby Carvery, for example, there will be a maximum of six to a table and buffets will no longer be self-service but served by a chef to diners in a socially distanced queue.

Lockdown has taken its toll on major names in the food industry, pushing some well known companies into administration, while others have been able to survive serving takeaways.

Jack Applebee says his Applebee's Fish restaurant, in London's Borough Market, will reopen, as the market itself is transforming into a Mediterranean-style plaza in the evenings, once the market traders have finished.

Tables in the covered market will be set at least 1m apart, floor markers will tell customers where to stand and staff will be wearing masks, even though face coverings are still compulsory on public transport only.

Mr Applebee says the market has allowed the restaurant to extend its outside space.

And even though he won't have as many tables, it will be more manageable than reopening indoors.

"I personally think outside is a lot safer," he says.

"I wouldn't want to ask staff to work inside if I don't feel comfortable inside.

"And it's the summer - everyone wants to be outside."

Other restaurants have been installing Perspex screens between dining tables to create a physical barrier between patrons.

The lengths people go to to reopen will of course depend on location, budget, and staffing, among other factors.

Indeed, some restaurants have decided not to reopen until much later in the year.

And for fine diners, Michelin-starred chef Jason Atherton has suggested there may be changes needed to the way table service works.

He told the Evening Standard's The Leader podcast there may be no more wine lectures at the table from sommeliers, until we have a coronavirus vaccine, and diners may even have to - brace yourselves - pour their own wine and water.

In Northern Ireland, holiday accommodation reopened for business from 26 June, and pubs and restaurants can open on 3 July.

Decisions on hospitality and holidays in Wales are expected in early July.

In Scotland, it is hoped all holiday accommodation can open up from 15 July, along with indoor areas of pubs and restaurants and hairdressers and barbers. Beer gardens should be able to reopen from 6 July. But if you're longing for music gigs, comedy nights or live performances at the theatre, you're going to have to wait a little longer, as these are still banned under the lockdown restrictions.

There's always bingo.

Lidl GB has confirmed that its new supermarket on Warstock Road in Highters Heath, has opened its doors for the first time.

In response to the need to provide access to food supplies and essentials at this time, Lidl is delivering on its commitment to serve local communities, despite unprecedented circumstances.

The store, which has created approximately 40 new jobs, is open between 8am - 10pm Monday to Saturday, and 10am – 4pm on Sunday, providing customers with Lidl’s offering of fresh, quality and great value produce.

The new store also provides surplus food to local charities Betel Birminham who support those affected by affected by drug and alcohol addiction, and Zaika WN:WN which provide hot meals to the homeless and vulnerable locally. This is delivered through Lidl’s Feed it Back scheme in partnership with Neighbourly, working to help some of the vulnerable in society access high quality food.

Lidl GB’s Regional Head of Property, Jeremy Lee, commented: “We remain committed to feeding the nation at this time, and continue to see incredible demand for Lidl stores across the country to provide essentials. We look forward to offering our quality products and incredible value to shoppers in and around the local area.  

“We would like to thank all those who have played a part in bringing this new Lidl store to fruition. It is great for us to be able to create more jobs and investment opportunities in the area, and we are proud to be able to serve the local community at this time”.

Lidl has introduced a range of social distancing measures to help maintain a safe store environment for both colleagues and customers. These include positioning designated team members at store entrances to manage the volume of people entering at one time, and clear communication, including floor markings, reminding customers of the importance of maintaining a two-metre distance from each other when shopping. We have been rolling out dedicated cleaning stations at store entrances for customers, including hand sanitiser, disinfectant and wipes, for them to use on their trolleys and baskets.

Additionally, the supermarket has installed protective screens at checkouts along with the introduction of protective visors and masks for colleagues to wear if they wish, and is continuing to encourage customers to pay by contactless payment methods where possible.

The new supermarket forms part of the company’s £1.45bn investment in its expansion across Great Britain in 2019 and 2020. With a total sales area of 1325m², the new store also includes 120 parking spaces, and features facilities such as an in-store bakery and longer-style tills with dual packing.

As Covid-19 shows no sign of ending anytime soon, and restaurants are among the hordes of businesses that were forced to close their doors since lockdown began, one particular food outlet have decided to remain providing food – but not for their regular adoring customers.

Based on Broad Street, in Birmingham, Dilbar Restaurant, which provides the best of quality Indian cuisine, is providing its freshly made food and donating it to hospitals and other medical-related centres in the city and the wider West Midlands.

vijay1

Co-owner and Managing Director, Vijay Bulsara, along with fellow co-owner Pam Bassi, for the past few weeks have been donating some of Dilbar’s favourite foods to NHS staff and key workers as a way of saying ‘Thank You’ for their heroic and on-going work in the face of the relentless pandemic that is coronavirus.

“With Coventry being my home city”, Pam says: “I felt it my duty to make enquiries about the possibility, and then began delivering food to Coventry University Hospital Dialysis Centre.

“All of the staff there was hugely overwhelmed by the gesture and incredibly grateful for what Dilbar (Restaurant) did for them.

Not content with that, both Vijay and Pam hit upon the idea of providing their sumptuous food to other hospitals and medical centres local to their restaurant.

vijay3

“It was something that both Vijay and I felt was the least that we could do”, Pam says, “by way of showing our appreciation and gratitude to the work carried out, day-in, day-out, by our National Health Service and other essential services”.

She goes on: “We then decided to offer food to staff at Dudley Hospital Dialysis Centre before then the Sandwell Doctor’s Surgery centre.

vijay5

“The NHS has always done fantastic work under whatever circumstance. But, under the present pandemic Vijay and I felt that we really had to give something back.

“We take our freshly-made food to wherever ourselves – fully p.p,e.’d – and the feed-back has been nothing but ‘outstanding’.”

And that is nothing more than you would expect from one of Birmingham’s leading restaurants – OUTSTANDING!

When the chips are down, it appears Brits turn to good old-fashioned grub as fish ‘n’ chips is revealed as the most popular takeaway food during lockdown.
 
The sales data from online takeaway delivery platform, Foodhub, reveals the traditional dish has doubled in popularity with a massive 208% uplift in fish n chips orders since lockdown as uncertainty calls for familiar comfort food.
 
This is followed by Quarter Pounder Burgers (158%) and Donner Kebabs (156%) as Brits look for ways to satisfy their taste for fast food.
 
Other foods on the up since lockdown include Chicken Nuggets (146%), Sausage and Chips (152%), Chicken Burgers (147%) and Garlic Bread (148%).
 
Pizzas are also included in the top 10 most ordered foods with Hawaiian proving the most popular, followed by Pepperoni.
 
Desserts have also increased in popularity since lockdown proving our love for sweet treats when things turn sour, with Cheesecake the favourite up 129%, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream up 113% and Chocolate Cake also up 113%.
 
Philip Mostyn, Foodhub spokesperson, said: “For many of us, takeaways have provided us small moments of joy and a break from the monotony we’re all experiencing in lockdown. It’s interesting to see how, as a nation, we’re turning to the old favourites and seeking comfort in familiar nostalgic foods, such as Fish ‘n’ Chips.”
 
Overall, orders through Foodhub have increased over 50% since lockdown.
 
Foodhub is an online food website and app launched in 2017. There are more than 12,000 takeaways currently featured online at foodhub.co.uk and through the apps available for iOS and Android.
 
Foodhub is unique in that it does not take a commission from the food establishments for each order placed. This enables them to offer better prices and deals to customers than other online food platforms.
 Top 10
1. Fish n Chips (up 208%)
2. Quarter Pounder Burgers (up 158%)
3. Donner Kebabs (up 156%)
4. Sausage and Chips (up 152%)
5. Garlic Bread (up 148%)
6. Chicken Burgers (up 147%)
7. Chicken Nuggets (up 146%)
8. Cheesecake (up 129%)
9. Pizza (up 115%)
10. Chocolate Cake and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream (up 113%)

A staggering 91% of Brits now claim that mealtimes have become an essential family occasion during lockdown, and they’re loving it!

Half of British households (49.2%) confess that family mealtimes were either rare (39%) or never happened (10%) before lockdown according to new research.

The research, conducted by pizza brand Chicago Town, polled 4,227 households across the UK in May 2020 and shows how families have been brought together by the global pandemic; some positive news against the backdrop of worrying times.

As well as eating together at mealtimes, households are playing together too – with family and friends games’ nights, using popular video chat platforms, now high on the agenda.

Over three-quarters (77%) of UK families are now playing games regularly together since lockdown began with 41% dialing-in players to get around social distancing.

Almost a quarter (23%) of families claim gameplay is a totally new pastime for them, admitting to never having played as family previously. And they’re taking part in regular scheduled games’ nights (25%) playing board games, video games or games.

The research also revealed the top 5 most popular lockdown meal choices for a family games night or an evening in front of the TV:

1. Pizza (45%)
2. Chinese (21%)
3. Curry (15%)
4. Pasta (10%)
5. Fish & Chips (9%)

Rachel Bradshaw at Chicago Town said: “It is great to hear that so many families are making the most of mealtimes together since the start of lockdown – a positive takeaway from the restrictions. And what better way to bond than over a gooey, messy pizza and games night!

“We’re delighted, of course, that pizza is at the centre of many of these family occasions and we’re looking forward to seeing this trend of virtual extended family get-togethers continue way beyond lockdown.”
 

Online searches for cream teas and afternoon teas to be delivered have surged since the UK went into lockdown, search data has suggested.

Afternoon tea treats topped the list of most increased searches for "delivery" queries in the UK, analysis of data from Google Trends showed.

Other popular terms included TGI, Nando's, takeaways and cakes, as people looked for a "pick-me-up" treat.

People have also been trying to make sure Royal Mail delivered.

Claire Dinwiddy, from Brewood in Staffordshire, had a cream tea as a surprise treat for her 40th birthday after other celebrations had to be cancelled.

"It was really nice. We were meant to be away with all my family for a long weekend glamping, but obviously it's all not going ahead so my friends did it to cheer me up," she said.

"A cream tea is something I've never had before as a birthday gift and it's really lovely not having to make anything yourself.

"It was proper party food: cakes and sandwiches; the weather was lovely so we sat out in the garden with a parasol and drank champagne."

Kerry Real from Shropshire said her husband ordered a cream tea as a "nice pick-me-up" in the middle of home schooling, working from home and a new baby.

"We like to go to National Trust places, normally we'd have a cream tea while we're there," she said.

"It is one of those nice things we just miss, so we thought, why not do it at home?"
She said the treat was from an independent, Lily's Secret Vintage Pop-up Tearoom, and it felt good to support them.

"I think with lockdown, a lot of things are returning back to supporting local businesses; it's important, it helps them to survive as well."

One of those small business owners is Homemade by Victoria, run by Northamptonshire 23-year-old Victoria Austin.

The former young chef of the year said afternoon teas were now her bestsellers as people rang up and placed orders for friends and family nearby whom they were unable to visit.

She said the deliveries were helping make up for losses from cancelled catering for weddings and other events, and now instead of serving up teas on presentation china, it was now a simple box for hygienic delivery.

"I started doing a few boxes here and there just to see," she said. "They've always been quite popular but never as popular as this. I don't know why it is such a big thing but everyone's loving it."

Students throughout the land are being urged to spend their summer holidays working on farms to help keep Britain fed during the coronavirus crisis.

At present, farmers are struggling after the lockdown led to a mass shortage of regularly used migrant workers.

Sixth-form, college and university students have been encouraged to help pick fruits and vegetables.

A “student land army” is now needed to bring in the harvest according to the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

80,000 seasonal workers are needed from the end of May to help bring in the UK harvest on farms right across the country.

Students are the primary target market this year - especially due to their six-week summer break.

Sarah Louise Fairburn, chair of the food board at Greater Lincolnshire LEP, said: “The food sector in Greater Lincolnshire employs up to 56,000 people produces a quarter of the country’s vegetables and is nationally important in keeping our nation fed.

“Because of the current travel restrictions put in place to combat the coronavirus, our farms are struggling to recruit the workers needed to bring in the harvest this year.

“Therefore, a student land army can have a significant impact on the national effort to overcome the pandemic emergency and will give students a chance to earn an income while they are not studying”.

The leader of the Farmers Union (NFU) has warned that the UK could face a potato shortage following the failure to drench rivers had led to recent mass flooding.

NFU president Minnette Batters said that; “The water has been managed in a disgraceful way.

“Up to 50 per cent of this year’s crop is rotting in the ground because farmers have been unable to harvest”.

She added: “I have never seen so little winter planting in my working lifetime”.

With the UK entirely self-sufficient in fresh potatoes, a shortage can mean rises in costs and it disappearing in supermarkets.

Furthermore, a shortage of seeds for spring planting could mean that the shortage could last well into next year.

Added to flooding issues, cold weather and poor lighting in sourthern Europe is said to have created the ‘perfect storm’ of growing condititions.

Ocado has said that “more normal shopping habits are back” after there was a huge jump in demand amid the coronavirus lockdown.

Its customers are now purchasing fewer items that at the peak period of demand, with the balance between fresh and long-live food returning to normal.

The online grocer has made changes to increase the delivery slots available, including suspending the delivery of mineral water.

Its revenues in April were up more than 40% from a year earlier.

The retailer said: “At the beginning of the outbreak demand increase significantly, almost overnight”.

It limited the number of items on sale initially in order to stop customers from panic buying.

Ocado said that these limits have since been rolled back as the number of items that shoppers are putting in their baskets “appears to have passed its peak but remains high”.

Group chief executive, Tim Stein, said: “We are facing quite a difficult challenge as we scale feeding the nation”.

The supermarket has been criticized on social media as customers faced being one of thousands in a virtual queue who are placing food orders.

Stein added: “Ocado remains in a strong position and we should be grateful that our current challenges are around growth, expansion and increased demands”.

One of the UK’s leading food companies, Premier Foods, have said that sales of Super Noodles and the instant potatoes, Smash, as well as Lloyd Grossman’s sauces have increased sharply a people are making effort to stock up their cupboard with relevant items as the coronavirus-due lockdown continues.

The brand’s owners have said that demands for its Cadbury and Mr Kipling home based kits were also up on sale figures.

Premier Food credited the “exceptional” demand last month to more meals being eating at home.

After the updates of the trading figures, share in the business jumped 17%.

According to consumer analysts, Kantar, in March the average UK household spent an extra £62.92 on supermarket goods, which is the equivalent of five days’ worth of groceries.

Teachers’ unions in the UK have welcomed a government decision which declares that families who are eligible for FSM (Free School Meals) will be able to continue to receive financial support to buy food throughout the coming Easter holidays.

Ministers said that qualifying families could claim shopping vouchers of £15 a week – per child – during the term time.

Now, the scheme will be extended in England over the coming two-week holiday.

The unions said that the move would help to prevent children from going hungry, as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Over the weekend, Cabinet Office Minister, Michael Gove, confirmed that the vouchers would continue to be paid over the Easter holiday.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT

Union said he was pleased to see the government “taking action to support some of the most vulnerable children.

“We know that for many children, school lunch is often their only hot meal for the day and, in some cases, their only meal – full stop.

“The government is doing the right thing in stepping up and making sure that all children can continue to access the food they – in many cases, desperately – need”

Families are being issued with either an electronic voucher or gift card worth £15 to spend in M&S, Asda, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose.

 Nothing sparks as much debate as the quintessential afternoon treat, the scone – particularly the order in which to apply accompanying condiments. The Cornish method being to go for jam then cream, while the Devonshire fashion is to layer the scone in cream before adding jam.

Fortunately, the question has been put to the nation by the independent French restaurant group Bistrot Pierre, which has 25 nationwide bistrots, to coincide with the launch of its new afternoon tea menu this week.

The matter has been settled once and for all through a survey of more than 2,000 people, revealing that a whopping 76% enjoy their scones jam first and the remaining 24% choose the cream first option.

Arpita Anstey of Bistrot Pierre said: “The biggest debate when it comes to the humble scone has, of course, always been the order of cream and jam. So, we decided to put it to the nation and settle the debate once and for all.

“Et voilà – the people have spoken. And just over three quarters of them agree with the Queen, reaching for the jam before the cream.”

Those living in the north of England are most likely to apply their jam first, with four in five choosing the popular method. Whereas people are more closely divided in the south, where one third of people opt to layer cream before their jam.

Arpita continued: “The statistics show that the further north you travel, the more likely you are to opt for the Cornish method of jam first, followed by cream. The north east is the biggest champions of the jam-first approach, with 84% of diners marking this as their preference, followed by 81% of people in the north west and Yorkshire.”

Bistrot Pierre’s afternoon tea is served with a selection of mini baguettes and a range of French patisseries including chocolate eclairs and vanilla millefeuille. Topping it all off will be the classic fruit scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, served with a choice of hot drinks for £11.95 per person.

Arpita continued: “And if our customers wish to make their afternoon tea session ‘pop’, they can order our sparkling afternoon tea, which includes a glass of our elegant Veuve Devienne sparkling wine for £15.95 per person.

“It simply wouldn’t be an afternoon tea without scones served with jam and cream – all you need to do is decide which comes first!”

When open, Bistrot Pierre’s afternoon tea menu is available in all 25 bistrots every day between 2.30 and 5.30pm.

Region

Jam First

Cream First

UK

76%

24%

North

81%

19%

Midlands

79%

21%

South

66%

34%

Wales

79%

21%

 

A British Heart Foundation (BHF) survey suggests the average person from the West Midlands could eat around 6,870 chocolate bars, 2,110 slices of chocolate cake and 7,580 chocolate biscuits in their lifetime.
 
The survey also found on average people from the West Midlands could indulge themselves with around 2,850 mugs of hot cocoa, 130 Easter eggs and up to 2,860 miniature chocolates over the course of their life.
 
The figures have been released ahead of the BHF’s annual Dechox campaign. The nation’s favourite heart charity is challenging chocolate lovers to put their will power to the test and give up chocolate for the month of March to raise funds for its lifesaving work.
 
Galaxy topped the poll as the region’s favourite chocolate bar, beating Snickers by a narrow margin. Crunchie came in third place followed closely by the classics KitKat, Flake and Wispa.
 
Jo Pullin, Dechox Campaign Manager at the British Heart Foundation (BHF), said: “We know that chocolate isn’t an essential part of a healthy diet but is a much-loved indulgence in the UK.
 
“Whether it’s in cakes, biscuits, a tasty dessert or a chocolate bar, there are so many options available it’s easy to lose track of how much chocolate we’re consuming.
 
“It can be difficult to break our chocolate habits but Dechox is the perfect way to help cut your chocolate cravings whilst raising money for a good cause.”
 
The survey also revealed that two-fifths (40%) of people from the West Midlands claim chocolate is their favourite food, and nearly the same percentage (39%) confessed to being chocoholics.
 
It seems that the regions love of chocolate is undeniable with 47% admitting they haven’t and wouldn’t try to give up the sweet stuff. Of the 20% who HAVE attempted to take a Time Out from chocolate, they have managed to last an average of 19 days before caving to cravings.
 
Jo Pullin added: “We know we’re a nation of chocolate lovers and that’s why we’re calling on the nation to put their will power to the test this March for a fantastic cause.
 
“Anything with cocoa in it is off limits ‐ from the sprinkles on your cappuccino, to that 3pm chocolate bar. We know the people of the West Midlands are up to the challenge.
 
“It might be a rocky road but Dechox is a great way to help curb your chocolate cravings and fund the British Heart Foundation’s vital research into heart and circulatory conditions, which around 660,000 people are living with in the West Midlands.”
 
Since Dechox began in 2015 more than 100,000 people have ditched the sweet stuff and taken part. Their Aero-ic efforts have raised over £4.5m for the BHF’s vital research into heart and circulatory diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke and vascular dementia, and the risk factors that cause them, like diabetes. The charity is now calling on even more people take a (chocolate) break and get involved this March.
 
Each year, in the UK around 170,000 people lose their lives to a heart or circulatory disease – that’s one person every three minutes. By joining the thousands of other Dechoxers, you can help the BHF keep more hearts beating and blood flowing.

The BBC Good Food Show Winter is heading back to the flagship Birmingham NEC  bringing together the UK’s greatest chefs and experts, plenty of festive shopping and inspiration, exciting live entertainment in the unique Big Kitchen and on numerous stages across the Show.

It will provide the perfect opportunity to get into the spirit of the season with a fantastic line-up of chefs and experts, you can feast your eyes on hundreds of artisan producers, pick up the perfect stocking fillers, get hands-on in masterclasses, and so much more – all the ingredients for the ultimate foodie day out.

Packed with seasonal produce, ideas for al-fresco dining and hundreds of exciting producers and brands to shop from, there will be all the summer inspiration you need by soaking up expert masterclasses, live demos from the seasonal stages and much more.

Plus, there will be the chance to join Mary Berry, Tom Kerridge, Michel Roux Jr, Nadiya Hussain, Raymond Blanc, the Hairy Bikers, Ainsley Harriott and Rick Stein as they cook up a summer feast in The Big Kitchen.

Again, at this year’s BBC Good Food Show Winter (November 28 – December 1), there will also be the widest variety of food, drink and cookery products from over 450 exhibitors, including great brands and a vast range of independent and artisan producers.

And, as always, it promises to be the biggest and tastiest day out in the UK.

Belgium celebrated Saint Arnould, the Patron Saint of brewers by blessing a barrel of beer in a cathedral in Brussels.

Dressed in costumes and accompanied by a band, the knights of the ‘Brewer's Paddle’, or Belgian Brewers' Guild, marched from the city's iconic Grand Palace to the altar where the consecration ceremony was held.

According to the tradition, Saint Arnould was the son of a brewer and therefore learned the secrets of brewing at an early age.

Michel Tasnier, a member of the ‘Knighthood’ for 27 years, said: "It's a great moment of conviviality. Knights meet there, we forget about competition.

"The key word of this is the quality of beer, produced with knowledge and drunk with wisdom."

Production manager at Chimay Brewery, Xavier Pirlot, also spoke highly of the event, saying: "It's the day, the D-day of my year, of my brewing year," said Pirlot. "It's the opportunity for me to meet my colleagues and to celebrate our beer."

The ceremony was followed by ‘Beer Weekend’, an event gathering all brewers on the Grand Place to get the public to discover Belgium's best brews.

A new activity bar is set to open in an up-and coming area of Digbeth, Birmingham on Friday July 12.

Dropshot’s entertainment and multi-use activity bar which features music, Olympic grade table tennis tables and deck shuffleboards among its many attractions, also offers specially prepared pizzas cooked in a wood fired pizza oven, especially imported from Italy, as well as a range of craft beers, bar food and some amazing cocktails, both classic and modern.

The licensed entertainment venue, which can cater for up to 250 no of people, is situated 50 yards from the custard factory, in the heart of the redeveloped area of Digbeth Birmingham.

Sanj Basra, entrepreneur and managing director at Drop Shot said: “My family has over 30 years history in the manufacturing trade. We have owned and run several businesses and currently export globally to over 30 countries. I have personally been a local businessman for 12 years.

“Being entrepreneurial I have been recently exploring for ways to enter new markets so that I could diversify my business portfolio, and converting this building that we have owned for over 15 years into an activity bar is opening a new chapter and opportunity for me. One that I am very excited about.”

General Manager Jake Murphy said: “I have worked in several industries since the age of 19, but my passion for hospitality and entertainment has never really gone away. I am keen to provide a safe and engaging multi-use entertainment venue where anyone of energy and enthusiasm can congregate, exchange ideas and thrive. Working alongside Sanjeev, opening Dropshot enables me to do that and being in such a prime location is a bonus.”