Highly Commended Winner 2017 of Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight

We are delighted to have been given a highly commended award for our efforts at promoting Scottish Food & Drink during the recent Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight 2017.  The initiative encouraged businesses of all shapes and sizes to change just one thing to promote Scottish produce.  As members of Scotland’s Food & Drink we championed local producers and suppliers via our social media channels.

Speaking at the official prize giving at the NorthLink Ferries terminal in Aberdeen, Fiona Richmond, Head of Regional Food at Scotland Food & Drink, said:

“Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight takes place every year and it’s a fantastic way of celebrating our growers, producers, chefs and restaurateurs’, as well as our vast and delicious Scottish larder.”

Main Sponsors of Fife Whisky Festival

INAUGURAL FIFE WHISKY FESTIVAL ANNOUNCED

The first ever Fife Whisky Festival will take place on Saturday the 10th of March 2018, at the Corn Exchange in Cupar.

Justine Hazlehurst, founder of Kask Whisky, and Karen Somerville, founder of Angels’ Share Glass, joined forces earlier this year to organise the festival and bring whisky back to the Kingdom of Fife. Karen said: “After many years of attending whisky festivals around the world, drinking the water of life in the name of research, Justine and I are both delighted to be able to bring this exciting new event to Scotland.”

The inaugural Fife Whisky Festival, which is sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, will showcase the renaissance of whisky-making in Fife, bringing together whisky connoisseurs and beginners with the best whisky producers from Fife and beyond. With over 25 different exhibitors, including the Kingsbarns Distillery, Morrison and Mackay, Glen Moray, Isle of Arran and the Glasgow Distillery, there will be a huge range of whiskies to try.

Vince Fusaro, of the famous Luvians Bottle Shop, the festival’s official retailer, said: “From Friar John Cor in 1494 to, amongst others, farmer Francis Cuthbert in the present day, whisky certainly has come home to Fife. I’m immensely proud to be in the whisky world and to be playing a central part in the Fife Whisky Festival.”

Fife-based musical duo The Coaltown Daisies, famous for producing The Whisky Song for World Whisky Day earlier this year, are sure to get everyone’s toes tapping as they enjoy a dram or two.

Commenting on the sponsorship, Graeme Dempster at Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, added: “We are delighted to support Fife’s first Whisky Festival, this sponsorship is one of a number of whisky event initiatives that Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers support. The whisky industry has complex insurance needs and we specialise in delivering tailored solutions to distilleries. We also insure private whisky collections so this really is a great opportunity for us to support an exciting new whisky event, which will be a huge success whilst raising awareness of what we do in this field.”

 

Cllr Margaret Kennedy, welcoming the Fife Whisky Festival to Cupar, said: “This is fantastic news for the town. Given, in Luvians, we have an outstanding local business with very sound knowledge of the product it is very fitting that Fife’s first Whisky Festival should be in Cupar. “I wish the festival organisers well with the event and look forward to hearing many cries of ‘Slàinte’ ringing out.”

To buy tickets and for more details about the Fife Whisky Festival, go to www.fifewhiskyfestival.com

:: For more details about Angels’ Share Glass unique products for whisky-lovers go to www.angelsshareglass.com

:: For more details about Kask Whisky, go to www.kaskwhisky.com

Cycling can be a risky business!

With our Corporate Ambassador, Mark Beaumont now back in one piece (broken tooth and fractured elbow aside!), from his World Cycle, we have considered the potential hazards of this ever-growing sport.  Before we embark on a cycle or car journey most people undertake a mental Risk Assessment without even realising it. Things to do, things to take with you, things to avoid!

From a cycling point of view Hazards can include:-

Traffic

There are many other road users out there – cars, vans, trucks and other cyclists.  In the event of a cycling race controls could include route planning to avoid heavy traffic/ large vehicles etc.

Wearing the right kit is essential.  Should there be an incident having a qualified First Aider available with appropriate Fist Aid kit would be required. On any distance event, falls are inevitable and plans must be in place on how to deal with these, patch up the rider and get them back in the race.

 

 

Weather

We can’t control the weather or avoid it however tyre choice, appropriate waterproof clothing and changes of clothing being available can make a big difference to performance. Aerodynamic equipment, helmet, cycle frame, wheels etc will reduce the drag of head winds.

Mechanical Failure

The condition of a bike is critical to performance.   Appropriate tyres for the road surface of the stage or journey, available spare wheels to deal with punctures as quickly as possible, spare brake pads, lubricants and tools should all be available to make adjustments.  Daily servicing of the cycle will ensure the optimum machine reliability.

Fatigue

When fatigue sets in mistakes happen and there is an increased risk of falls / collisions. Nutrition and hydration are key.  Mark had to take in 9000 calories per day to ensure he was able to perform at the top of his game.   In cycle races on closed roads food and water can be passed from a car window. On public roads that is very dangerous so passing energy drinks / food to the rider by a support pedestrian as the rider passes at an agreed location is much more manageable.

In addition, good communication systems are required to get feedback from the rider as to how they are feeling. Planned breaks must be built into the journey and assessed as the trip continues to ensure they are effective.   Companion riders can be brought into the ride at appropriate times to help pull the solo cyclist along.

Injury

As with any sport it is critical to maintain peak physical condition.   Warm up at the beginning of a journey and warm down towards the end or after a stage. Whilst you may not be cycling 18,000 miles (!)  you may be taking part in an endurance event so having physios available for massage and treatment every day would be an important part of the regime.

For further information on our Risk Management services, please contact our Risk Management Consultant, Nick Morrall – 07977 559504 or [email protected]

Farming Insights – Post Brexit Funding

Farm funding

Jean Arnott-Glennie, our Farming and Estates Account Executive was recently invited to a seminar hosted by Shepherd & Wedderburn Solicitors where Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy & Connectivity, Fergus Ewing SNP MSP was the keynote speaker.

The discussion began with a reminder as to why the Common Agricultural Policy was originally set up under the Treaty of Rome 1957.

**The objectives of the Common Agricultural Policy were stated as:

  • To increase agricultural productivity by promoting technical progress and by ensuring the rational development of agricultural production and the optimum utilisation of the factors of production, in particular labour
  • To ensure a fair standard of living for the agricultural community, in particular by increasing the individual earnings of persons engaged in agriculture
  • To stabilise markets
  • To assure the availability of supplies
  • To ensure that supplies reach consumers at reasonable prices.

*** Michael Gove MP recently agreed that the current level of support to Agricultural Industry should be maintained until 2020.  He also suggested that the Agricultural Industry should only receive support payments if they agreed to protect the environment and enhance rural life; and that farm subsidies will have to be earned rather than just handed out in future.

The move is part of what he referred to as his vision for a “green Brexit”. Mr Gove described Brexit as “a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reform how we care for our land, our rivers and our seas, how we recast our ambition for our country’s environment, and the planet”.

This demonstrates a clear move away from food production and food security being at the top of the agenda. The suggestion being that more environmentally friendly activities should not just be rewarded but required, in order for future support being provided by the various government bodies.

Mr Ewing continued the discussion with looking at the steps that the Scottish Government had introduced since his tenure began including:

  • Retaining BSE free status for Scotland
  • Introducing 1st phase of the Beef Efficiency scheme
  • Women in Agriculture Conference
  • £10m Funding to Scotland Food & Drink Industry
  • £20m Funding to SRUC for advice services to the Agricultural community

He commented further that the Scottish Governments objective, put simply, was to drive forward Rural Development whilst protecting Environmental Concerns.

Also discussed during the seminar was the current split of EU funding within the UK home countries and the Scottish Government’s plans for this for the future.

An interesting Q&A session touched on food security in Scotland; Seasonal Labour supply post -Brexit; Devolved powers to Holyrood; The CAP IT system; How Support would be defined in the future and Penalties for infringements.

As is always the case when processes and systems are in the evolutionary stage, there were more questions than answers.  The future discussions between The Scottish Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy and the UK Government Environment Secretary will make for interesting reading and many further debates.

For further information please contact Jean Arnott-Glennie on 07881 093485 or  email [email protected]

Sources:

** https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmselect/cmenvfru/671/67105.htm

*** http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-40673559

Gap Insurance – Are you covered?

September is one of the busiest months of the year for the UK motor industry with the launch of the new registration plate

Jackson Lee* has advised that in September 2016, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 469,696 new cars were registered.  Similar numbers are expected this year with around 80% of new cars being purchased on finance.

What is GAP insurance and why do I need it??

If your vehicle is stolen or written off due to an accident it is likely that your motor insurer will only pay the current market value for your vehicle.  This amount could be less than what you originally paid for your vehicle or even less than what you still owe on finance.  With 70% of consumers leasing and financing vehicles this is a financial risk many consumers face.  Universal GAP insurance is designed to protect you against this financial shortfall.

My motor insurance policy offers a new replacement vehicle whilst in its first year of registration. You may not be eligible for a new replacement vehicle if:

  • Your vehicle is pre-registered, i.e. new to you but has already been registered to the dealer to reduce VAT
  • Your vehicle has exceeded a certain mileage
  • You are not the owner/registered keeper of the vehicle. Consider lease agreements.
  • If current production is no longer available. Often insurers will then revert to the market value which will be significantly lower than their obligation under replacement vehicle cover.

Why should I buy GAP cover from a broker?

  • You are charged 12% insurance premium tax (IPT) opposed to 20% through a motor dealer
  • No need to cancel your GAP policy if you change your vehicle and you can change your vehicle as many times as you wish
  • In the event of a claim, Jackson Lee will assist you with verifying the value of your motor insurers claim settlement
  • No more paying for cover you don’t use. The product is annually renewable should you choose, eradicating the need to pay a lump sum upfront for a 3 year policy and runs in line with your current motor insurance
  • You are covered no matter how and when the vehicle is purchased. Motor dealers will only sell GAP at the point of sale and customers generally cannot return several months later to purchase GAP.
  • You are covered for the £250 excess in the event of a fault claim
  • Competitive pricing across all car makes, models and derivatives – available for new or used vehicles.
  • Just 3 policy exclusions and only 2 ½ pages of policy wording

You can now purchase GAP insurance for your vehicles from us at Bruce Stevenson.  Please contact your account handler or call us on 0131 553 2293 | email [email protected].

Underwritten by Jackson Lee Underwriting who have been accredited as the BIBA Approved Scheme provider for GAP since 2012.

 

Farming Insights – Harvest

It is safe to say it’s been a challenging season.  The mild winter resulted in little frost to kill off any malingering weeds and bugs. This was followed by a fantastically warm and dry spring and talk of an early harvest. However the 6 week drought impacted on the spring sown crops as well as the straw required for autumn livestock bedding.

As we headed into Agricultural Show season we faced rain and thunder storms. There was rain on St Swithin’s Day and true to form so far we have had the 40 days of rain that this predicts.

There is a saying that “Harvest will be when Harvest is”. The theory is that Mother Nature knows when we should be harvesting our crops for the autumn. In the 10 years I have been directly involved with day to day farming, the date that we start our spring crop harvest each year, has only varied by 7 -10 days – albeit that the silage crop start and finish date has fluctuated more with the changing weather and resultant grass quality and quantity.

Crops this year are, so far, looking reasonable. Those who were early with their sowing do not appear universally to have secured a premium yield, as the dry spell in the early spring resulted in slow germination in some locations – especially in sandy soils. Those who were later in sowing their crops appear to have attained higher yield and straw length than was previously predicted.

By the end of July AHDB reports that 50% of Winter Barley had been harvested alongside 27% of Winter Oil Seed Rape in Scotland. They further report that *“The better yields [9.5 t/ha] are tending to come from heavier soil types, whilst on lighter land, yields as low as 5.5 t/ha have been reported for the more water stressed crops”.

The AHDB Supply and Demand report ** noted at the end of July that the UK is forecast to be a net importer of wheat in 2016/17 and enters the new marketing season with a relatively lower level of stocks. They also forecast that Barley exports set to fall by 50% year on year, to the lowest level since 2012/13.  In addition the increase in Biofuel demand has increased the consumption of domestic maize this season.

However the annual steady increase in the demand for milling oats has continued.

What does this mean to the individual farmer? The lower stock of wheat being retained from last year means there may be a higher demand for purchase of wheat. This could affect the trading price in a positive direction, for those not already in contract. Those who are in contract, may see more leniency in terms of acceptability limits if the market price rises higher than the contracted premium per tonne.

Malting Barley export reductions possibly reflect the increased domestic demand for brewing and distilling and the call for “Scottish” ingredients for their geographically sensitive products.

 

 

The continued interest in renewable energy in the form of Anaerobic Digesters and Biomass/Biogas plants is resulting in higher use of maize and silage, rather than it being used in food production.

The Milling Oats Market seems still buoyant.  There are several types of interested purchasers for various manufacturing products and thus most quality standards of oats are being sold or contracted for purchase later in the season.

And once harvest is complete, the rush is on to prepare the land ready for the next crops to be sown – and so the cycle continues.

Sources:

ADHB (Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board)
*https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/markets/market-news/2017/july/21/gb-harvest-progress-2017-report-1.aspx
**https://cereals.ahdb.org.uk/media/1257945/21-June-UK-cereals-SD-final.pdf

Countdown to Spirit of Speyside: Distilled!

If you’re looking for beer that promises to be – in the words of a Speyside brewer – a refreshing change from “mass produced mouthwash” or cool ideas like adding a slice of apple, rather than a wedge of lemon, to enhance a gin and tonic, then Spirit of Speyside: Distilled is the place to be.

Keith Brewery and Caorunn Gin feature in the 30-strong line up of exhibitors taking part in the two-day celebration of the region’s gastronomy on September 1 and 2 at Elgin Town Hall.

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled offers the chance to meet the producers – like the chocolate maker from Favour-it Flavours who is isn’t afraid to experiment with new tastes, with crushed Oreo, caramel biscotti and jelly bean being among the most recent trials, and she’s never short of volunteers to help with a spot of new product sampling.

Find out the best cuppa to start the day, with Cairngorm Leaf and Bean and discover how Macleans Highland Bakery add a twist to their oatcakes offering ranges that have a touch of chilli, haggis, seaweed and black pepper or vanilla.

Whisky Maturation - insuranceBartenders, baristas, brewers, whisky makers and foodies will be there so expect to find samples and tastings, demonstrations, food and drink pairings, storytelling and masterclasses.

It’s the second of the new-breed event celebrating the vibrancy of Speyside’s food and drink producers, from artisanal operators to the globally renowned drinks brands.

It seeks to show the region’s wide range of gourmet delights with surprising flavours from alternative producers who, alongside the region’s well-known whisky brands, are keeping the region at the fore of the Scottish food and drink scene.

The craft producers join the big hitters and they all have one thing in common – people passionate about making great tasting food and drink.

The two-day pop-up festival is being delivered by the team behind the world-famous Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.

Festival chairman James Campbell said: “A new generation of people want to seek out artisanal products while enjoying the produce of pioneering businesses that placed the region on the food and drink map.

“What makes Distilled stand out is that food and drink producers come together under one roof. There are so many great food and drink companies operating in the region and this event is a good way of highlighting that diversity while making it easily accessible to visitors.

“It’s a chance to discover new tastes and products, and to try some punchy tastes and flavours, some of which may be familiar and some which will be new. Tickets are selling fast and places are limited so pre-ordering them is the best way to ensure you don’t miss out.”

Distilled is sponsored by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers and runs over four sessions, from 1-5pm and 6-10pm on both the Friday and Saturday. Tickets are priced at £20 and this includes entry, six vouchers for tasting samples of gin, whisky or beer, a lanyard and a Glencairn crystal nosing and tasting glass.

All whisky, gin, beer and foods on offer will have a Speyside provenance and there will be the chance to purchase products from stand holders. Festival merchandise will also be on sale.

For more information and to book tickets, visit www.distilled.scot

Distilled is active on social media at www.facebook.com/distilledscot on Twitter and Instagram @distilledscot. Follow the festival at #distilled17

Platinum Sponsors of Spirit of Speyside: Distilled

BEER, BEETROOT AND BERRY-FLAVOURED GIN THE PERFECT BLEND FOR SCOTTISH BROKERS

Leading insurance brokers confirmed as headline sponsor for Spirit of Speyside: Distilled

One of Scotland’s largest insurance brokers Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers is getting into the spirit of Speyside as the headline sponsor of Spirit of Speyside: Distilled – an innovative event bringing together a blend of the region’s best food and drink producers next month.

Niche producers such as Simpson’s Ice Cream, Berry Good Gin, rum distillers Beach Craft Spirits, Spey Valley Brewery and chocolates from Favour-it Flavours will set up alongside globally renowned brands including Baxters, The Glenlivet, Walkers Shortbread and The Macallan for the two-day event.

Spirit of Speyside: Distilled, which is staged in Elgin Town Hall on September 1 and 2, is an off-shoot of the popular annual Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival. Now in its second year, Distilled, sponsored once again by Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, aims to showcase the region as a true foodie paradise offering so much more than whisky.

Bruce Stevenson is Scotland’s second largest insurance broker with offices in Glasgow, Edinburgh, the North East and Scottish Borders.  The Firm, which opened in 1981, provides first class insurance broking and specialist risk management services for both private clients as well as businesses.

Graeme Dempster, Account Executive from Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers, said: “The Spirit of Speyside; Distilled event is a great fit for our brand. The food and drink sector is specialist when it comes to its insurance requirements and one which we actively support, in particular distilleries, manufacture and production, with policies offering tailored protection and enhanced cover. Last year was a superb event with a plethora of visitors and producers represented.  This year’s event looks set to be even bigger than before with new exhibitors as well as all those companies who attended last year.”

Festival chairman James Campbell highlighted that the fact that Distilled blends together household names with small one-man operations proved to be a real talking point at last year’s inaugural event, and organisers are delighted to introduce new exhibitors this year.  He said: “It is only when so many food and drink producers are gathered together under one roof that people really begin to realise how many fantastic companies we have operating right here on our own doorstep.

“The feedback we got from visitors last year was that they really enjoyed being able to wander around, sampling cocktails, gin, whisky and beer and getting a taste of the food that has also put Speyside on the map.

“And, of course, it is a great opportunity for them to come face to face with the people who are critical to our food and drink industry – the master distillers, distillery managers and innovators – which is also a hallmark of the main Spirit of Speyside Whisky Festival.”

Bruce Stevenson Sponsorship Spirit of Speyside

As well as producers, visitors to the event will be able to enjoy the products served up by some of Speyside’s best bars and eateries. The Copper Dog – part of the Craigellachie Hotel – will be re-created in the hall’s Supper Room and will have cocktails flowing, live music and food.  The Station Hotel, Rothes, will have a team of mixologists on hand to pour its signature range of whisky and gin cocktails – including the specially created ‘Distilled’ in honour of the event – while Elgin-based bar The Drouthy Cobbler will be giving visitors a taste of what it provides along with some Speyside-themed street food.

And – showing that Speyside is not all about hills and glens – the team at Harbour Lights in the coastal town of Lossiemouth will be showing off local seafood by serving up smoked salmon canapes and other treats.

In addition to the wide number of exhibitors, there is a programme of masterclasses giving visitors the chance to enjoy rare and cask strength drams, learn how to pair food, and discover more about Speyside’s other drinks producers. Tickets for masterclasses must be bought in addition to entry tickets.

Distilled will run for four different sessions, one from 1-5pm and one from 6-10pm on each day. Tickets are priced at £20 which includes entry, six vouchers for tasting samples of gin, whisky or beer, a lanyard and a Glencairn crystal nosing and tasting glass.

All whisky, gin, beer and foods on offer will have a Speyside provenance and there will be the chance to purchase products from stand holders. Festival merchandise will also be available to buy.

For more information and to book tickets, visit www.distilled.scot Distilled is active on social media at www.facebook.com/distilledscot on Twitter and Instagram @distilledscot. Follow the festival at #distilled17 or visit www.brucestevenson.co.uk.

Farming Insights – August 2017

What a difference a year makes! This time last year we were looking at one of the wettest summers and very difficult conditions in the run-up to harvest. In addition we had to contend with the uncertainty caused by Brexit and the weakened pound.

12 months on and although there has been occasional flooding and very heavy downpours the weather has been much better in the North East. Other areas in Scotland have had too much of a good thing and crops have been stunted due to drought conditions. This could potentially lead to a shortage of straw post-harvest and lower yields being recorded.

Farming Update Bruce Stevenson Insurance Brokers

The Brexit issue is still rumbling on and although there has been a promise of Support payments post Brexit, it is not known what these will look like. In addition there is still no solution to the problem with the system for processing applications or indeed whether subsidy payments will be made on time to all farmers.

The supply of labour from the EU is now under threat with no guarantee that EU workers will return after Britain leaves the EU. The number of foreign workers coming into the UK for seasonal agricultural work has already reduced due to improved working conditions in their home country and the impact of the UK exchange rate on their income.

The ban on Glycosphate was postponed in 2016 and is due to be decided upon in December this year. In the meantime Syngenta, along with other organisations, have instigated independent testing as to the impact of nicotinoids on the bee population in UK & EU. The results of 3 years of testing are still being analysed but it is looking likely that the ban will come into effect with no viable alternative available.

Recent arable crop trials have resulted in a few new varieties now being licensed. Potentially this gives farmers more choice and allows them to find the product most suitable for their growing plan for the coming year. However, it still requires co-operation from the maltsters in sourcing competitive markets for these.

The red meat market is still looking strong, with exports playing their part and the pig market is also looking positive in Scotland, with profits being recorded in both sectors.

If the crop harvest can be filled with heavy yields and buoyant premiums then hopefully farmers will feel more positive about the industry.

Home Security – Protect yourself

At Bruce Stevenson Private Clients we seek to advise clients on the best way to protect their home.

Evident physical security measures are a must, but perhaps less obvious is being aware of what you are posting on social media.  Photographs posted on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter of you on holiday can be hacked or viewed by undesirable prying eyes, alerting them to the fact that your home is unoccupied.

Andrew Davies, senior risk surveyor at AXA Art Insurance Limited always says treat security like an onion – starting with the outer perimeter layer (your boundary) then the layer around the house (locks and alarms) with further layers (safes, panic buttons, valuables such as cash distributed evenly around the house) until only finally do you reach the core. The more layers an intruder has to overcome, the harder it will be to break in, which will take longer and therefore they are less likely to try.

Layers of security:

Perimeter /Boundary of your property

  • Make it hard to penetrate, even hedges can be thick, prickly and thorny.
  • CCTV
  • Gated entry with video phone and security lighting

1st Inner layer – the garden

  • Don’t leave things like ladders lying around, or bins that can be used to climb up to access windows.
  • Keep outbuildings locked so thieves cannot access tools and implements that could be used for breaking into your home.

 2nd inner layer – exterior of the house

  • Visible intruder alarm box on the exterior of the house.
  • CCTV and security lighting
  • Double glazed windows, window locks, minimum 5 lever mortice deadlocks on accessible doors

3rd inner layer – in the house

  • If you are planning on being away, make the house look occupied. Use lights on a timer, alert neighbours, friends and family and arrange for them to check the house from time to time, clear post away.
  • Use a housesitter.
  • Make sure alarms are set.
  • Use a door viewer and a door chain.
  • Use a safe for your valuables ensuring it is adequate for the values contained within it and try not to keep large sums of money in the house – if you must, make sure it is well dispersed around, but check your money limit on your insurance policy.
  • You can use a UV marker pen to place an invisible imprint of your postcode and house name or number of your possessions.

Remember:

  • 36% of all burglaries are crimes of opportunity, with burglars letting themselves in through unlocked doors or windows (Association of British Insurers)
  • You are 10 times more likely to be burgled if you don’t have basic security (Association of British Insurers)

If you would like some help with the security protections of your home we can help you.  Please contact your account handler or call us on 0131 553 2293 2293 | email [email protected].