Yard of real ale is just an illusion as pub party kicks off early

People & Business

Martin Grant, managing director of the Firkin Brewery, celebrated the company's opening of its 100th pub yesterday by "tapping" a beer barrel and then drinking a yard of ale.

Well, not quite. Mr Grant posed for the picture with the yard of ale at nine in the morning, which is a bit early for even the most devout real ale fanatic. The celebrations at the latest pub, the Fitz & Firkin in Great Portland Street, London, went on all day and into the night.

Mr Grant did manage some of the beer in the morning, says a spokeswoman, but not the whole yard. "If he had finished it he might have been struggling for the rest of the day." It's a tough life running a brewery.

Ever fancied ringing up Liz Hurley? Now's your chance, courtesy of accountants Ernst & Young.

The firm has just published a guide to its international fraud network - for detecting fraud, not perpetrating it, I hasten to add. I was fascinated to see that E&Y's contact name for its Jamaican branch is Elizabeth Hurley. Does Estee Lauder know about this, I wonder? And when did the delightful actress pick up her forensic accounting skills?

The E&Y press office fell about when informed of their Jamaican fraud contact. "I don't believe it - that's excellent," was one reaction.

Obviously it isn't the same Ms Hurley. And before you ask, Ernst & Young says it definitely doesn't have any tax partners called Hugh Grant.

Jimmy Goldsmith's Referendum Party continues to attract parliamentary candidates from the business sector, the latest recruit being Christopher Poll, founder and chairman of Micropal, the unit trust statistics company.

Other candidates include Mark Slater of Slater Investments and son of Jim, and Terry Smith, the former enfant terrible of UBS.

Mr Poll declares: "An effective democratic system is the fundamental right of every citizen. This is now under threat from a federal Europe. Britain's democratic heritage must not be forsaken without a full and frank debate. To remain silent would be an act of treason as well as cowardice."

Industry analysts who are men (ie most of them) are feverishly awaiting their invitations to the official unveiling of the latest Pirelli calendar on 19 November. Photographer Richard Avedon did the snaps, and the models involved will attend the launch at London's Natural History Museum. It's all done in the best possible taste, although what scantily clad young women have got to do with tyres I've never been able to fathom.

Philip Yea is Guinness's finance director as well as being in charge of the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire and the company's publishing operations. From 1 January, Mr Yea will be promoted to chairman of Guinness Publishing, which produces the Guinness Book of Records.

This coincides with Norris McWhirter CBE, co-founder of the book 41 years ago, bowing out. Peter Mathews, who edited the book from 1991 to 1995 and, like Mr McWhirter, a non-executive director, is also resigning.

Mr Yea plans to integrate the publishing side of things closer to Guinness's brewing empire, and to this end is bringing in Alice Avis, brands director of United Distillers (the spirits arm of the Guinness group) as a non- executive director on the publishing board.

The company already sells 3 million copies of the Guinness Book of Records, so Mr Yea is starting from a position of strength. He originally trained as a management accountant and joined Perkins, the diesel engine makers, from university.

After a spell at Mars, he joined Guinness in 1984 and became finance director three years ago. At 41 Mr Yea is one of the youngest FTSE 100 finance directors, but he's not a dry figures man - he spent a stint as Guinness's controller of brewing. A heady responsibility.

Here's your chance to act as kingmaker and nominate the Businessman of the Year, thanks to accountants KPMG.

The winner will be announced at a lunch on 5 February held in aid of British cancer charities. The candidates must have "made a significant contribution to their company, community and country". Previous winners include Sir David Simon, Lord King of Wartnaby and Sir John Harvey-Jones.

The judges are an interesting bunch. They include Lord Hollick of United Newspapers and Media, Sir Tim Bell of Lowe Bell, Sir William Purves of HSBC, and Sir David Simon of BP. For a nomination form, ring Marriane Cartier at KPMG on 0171-311 8195.

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