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Its head is creamier than Guinness’s, but does it taste as good?

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Head brewer PJ Tierney makes a lot of beer and cider. At the Heineken brewery in Cork he is responsible for Heineken, Coors, Orchard Thieves cider and a few other brews, as well as Murphy’s and Beamish, stouts dear to the hearts of all true Corkonians. So, why is Heineken releasing Island’s Edge, a third stout?

 “We wanted to expand the category, to rejuvenate it and offer the consumer a new style of stout.” Paula Conlon, marketing manager for stout at Heineken told me. “The market had no innovation and was really quite stagnant. We wanted to offer something different to consumers, to appeal to people who hadn’t considered stout before.” The branding is light and colourful and should stand apart from the traditional black and white of other stouts. 

 “We asked ourselves ‘what is it about stout that people find difficult’?” Tierney told me. “The feedback we got was they can drink one pint but not a second one, or they don’t like the bitter aftertaste, or it’s an acquired taste, or that they felt full afterwards.”

Aimed at the 18-35 year-old market, Ireland’s Edge certainly has a few unusual ingredients. Heineken spent two years, working with Kerry Foods, using tasting panels along the way, developing a quite different stout. It still has the core ingredients according to Tierney, those chocolate malts, the roasted coffee, but two ingredients were key to the more refreshing style of Ireland’s Edge – tea and basil.

Tea apparently takes out the bitter finish associated with hops, without removing any of the other flavours. “You are not getting the tea flavour coming through on the stout, but the sensory panel found the bitter aftertaste you associate with stout had gone. About 20 or 30 seconds after you sip a stout you get a bitterness from the hops. Whatever the tea is doing inside the beer, it kills it.” They are still not sure why.

And the basil? It gives it a freshness that comes through on the finish. “We add a hint of basil; it gives a very subtle minty aftertaste; when you are halfway through the pint, the basil has a slightly cooling, refreshing effect,” he says.

“We also found that people found stout heavy, so the third thing we did was bring up the body of Island’s Edge to make it very smooth and creamy.” It has the same acidity and alcohol as a regular stout.

I tasted it this week in a Dublin pub, against a freshly poured pint of Guinness. Neither beer had the intensity of flavour you would get from a craft beer. But Island’s Edge had the same creamy head, in fact creamier, than Guinness. On the palate it certainly had some of that roasted, toasted coffee and chocolate; where it really differed was on the finish where it was dry but didn’t have the characteristic bitterness you get from a stout. Instead at the back of the palate there is a moreish, brisk, thirst-quenching note. I suspect it won’t please regular stout drinkers (although they might enjoy it in sunny weather) but then it isn’t really aimed at them. 

Island’s Edge will be rolled out in 300 pubs around Dublin over the next month, followed by the off-trade and the rest of the country in the coming months.

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Homes near Elizabeth Line see asking prices double in a decade

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Asking prices for properties for sale near stations on London‘s new Elizabeth Line have more than doubled in a decade, new research has revealed.

Many areas near stations on the capital’s new high-speed line were previously less well connected to key commuter hubs, such as Liverpool Street or Paddington stations.

But they have seen a surge in property asking prices amid new interest from homebuyers and tenants due to the better transport links that the Elizabeth Line provides.

REVEALED: The asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

REVEALED: The asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Elizabeth Line hotspots: This two-bed flat in London's Windmill lane is o.2 miles from Maryland station and is for sale for £395,000 via Filtons estate agents

Elizabeth Line hotspots: This two-bed flat in London’s Windmill lane is o.2 miles from Maryland station and is for sale for £395,000 via Filtons estate agents

The new figures from Rightmove revealed the extent to which asking prices have risen in local areas around Maryland, Abbey Wood and Stratford stations.

Maryland Station in Newham, which provides an additional option for those commuting near well-connected Stratford, has seen the biggest jump in asking prices.

They have more than doubled compared to ten years ago, rising 108 per cent from £233,480 to £486,235.

This compares to the London average increase over the past ten years of 55 per cent.

About half a mile from Abbey Wood station is this two-bed flat for sale for £235,000 via Your Move estate agents

About half a mile from Abbey Wood station is this two-bed flat for sale for £235,000 via Your Move estate agents

Rightmove has identified the asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Rightmove has identified the asking price hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Meanwhile, Rightmove revealed that total buyer demand has risen the most in western areas, while prices and competition has risen most in eastern areas.

Twyford, at the end of the western section of the line and the next stop along from Reading, has seen the biggest jump in the number of buyers contracting estate agents.

Numbers have more than tripled compared to 10 years ago, up 245 per cent.

Those looking to buy near Abbey Wood station, at the end of the South East section of the line, face the stiffest competition from other buyers.

Competition in that area has soared more than nine times and is up 869 per cent.

Rightmove has identified buyer demand hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

Rightmove has identified buyer demand hotspots around the new Elizabeth Line stations

The increase in buyer competition compared to ten years ago around the new Elizabeth Line has been revealed

The increase in buyer competition compared to ten years ago around the new Elizabeth Line has been revealed

Near Custom House station: This two-bed house is for rent for £1,700 a month via Outlook lettings agents

Near Custom House station: This two-bed house is for rent for £1,700 a month via Outlook lettings agents

The rental hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line station have been revealed

The rental hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line station have been revealed

It is a similar story along the Elizabeth line for tenants as many look to balance their commute into London with where they can afford to rent.

Average rents in London have reached a new record of £2,195 a month, up 14 per cent compared to this time last year.

Southall has seen the biggest increase in the number of tenants contacting letting agents compared to ten years ago, more than quadrupling, up 372 per cent.

However, asking rents near Southall station are lower than nearby Hanwell or Ealing.

Asking rents have increased the most in western stations Slough, up 44 per cent, and Burnham, up 43 per cent, while those looking to rent near Custom House station face the most competition from other tenants.

Slough is among the asking rent hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line stations, with the average asking rent up 44 per cent during the past ten years

Slough is among the asking rent hotspots along the new Elizabeth Line stations, with the average asking rent up 44 per cent during the past ten years

One of the new stations built for the Elizabeth Line - Custom House - has seen competition increase 3270 per cent compared to ten years ago

One of the new stations built for the Elizabeth Line – Custom House – has seen competition increase 3270 per cent compared to ten years ago

Custom House, one of the new stations built for the Elizabeth Line and benefitting from significantly lower travel times into Central London, has seen competition increase by a staggering 33 times, up 3270 per cent compared to ten years ago.

Tim Bannister, of Rightmove, said: ‘As the Elizabeth Line opens, it does so with a backdrop of record rents in London, a rising cost of living and a shortage of available homes.

‘Areas further out from central London that have lower asking prices or rents, but are now more easily commutable will be attractive to new buyers and tenants in search of somewhere affordable to live near the capital.

‘Not only this, but new working from home patterns since the pandemic started two years ago will have many people weighing up whether they are prepared to commute from further away if they need to do so less often.’

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National Maternity Hospital decision is a welcome sign of the Government’s backbone

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The Government’s decision to proceed with the building of the new National Maternity Hospital is a welcome sign that the Taoiseach and his Ministers are willing to face up to the Opposition, the social media mob and assorted objectors on an issue of major national importance.

One of the weaknesses of the Coalition since it took office in June 2020 has been a tendency to run scared in the face of contrived outrage, usually fomented by a combination of Opposition politicians and vested interests, often mistakenly portrayed as representing public opinion.

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URW rolls out Westfield brand to three new destinations

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Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) unveiled plans to rebrand three flagship centres, rolling out the Westfield brand to Parquesur in Madrid, Taby Centrum in Stockholm, and Galeria Mokotow in Warsaw this fall. The rebranding continues the expansion of the Westfield brand in Europe as the company drives new revenues through media advertising and brand experiences, turning its huge footfall of 550 million visits across its European assets into a qualified audience, while also leveraging the Westfield brand’s significant value to retailers, who see over 20%2 higher sales at URW’s centres even when compared to other A-category malls.

 

The flagship destinations share a number of characteristics in addition to being among the most important retail centres in their respective markets: they are set in excellent locations with unrivalled transport options, have distinctive architectural and design features and a best-in-class approach in terms of customer experience, community engagement, and sustainability practices. To celebrate the launch of the Westfield brand at these assets, each destination will host festive consumer events which will be announced later this year.

 

Caroline Puechoultres, Chief Customer Officer of URW, said: “The rebranding of these centres continues our strategy to expand Westfield to Flagship European destinations in the wealthiest cities and catchment areas. The significant opportunity afforded to both retailers and brands by this increasingly digitally linked network of destinations is unparalleled – through Westfield our partners can reach tens of millions of European consumers, driving new possibilities in advertising, brand marketing and retail.”

 

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