Yesterday we published an article about the re-opening of The Arches in Glasgow, inferring that the G1 Group were partly behind a new Innis and Gunn bar and brewery within the venue. We have since learned that while G1 and Innis and Gunn do jointly operate some bars in Scotland, this is not the case at the Argyle Street Arches and we are happy to clarify this fact and apologise to those involved.
We are leaving this page up for reference but have removed all references to G1’s involvement with Innis and Gunn’s independent operations at The Arches – which is why the article doesn’t make much sense any more.
On 10th June 2015, The Arches went into administration. For 24 years it had been one of Glasgow’s leading cultural venues, but after closing its doors that day, it would never reopen. The city lost not only an important club and concert space, but also the wide-ranging arts programme the charity which ran the venue supported.
It came weeks after the Arches was stripped of its post-midnight alcohol license by Glasgow City Council, jeapardising its revenue model which relied on an ability to run commercial club nights. It was a huge, and entirely preventable, loss to the city’s arts scene. The closure came as the result of a long running and vindictive campaign by Police Scotland, with the death of a young clubber in early 2014 ultimately proving to be the final straw. Conveniently, it also paved the way for construction to start on a “£22 million hotel” located yards away from the club venue.
The venue itself, in the cavernous arches underneath Central Station, is owned by Network Rail. It took more than two years to find a new tenant. Perhaps inevitably, it was a coffee shop and “street food” market which filled the gap, a template imported in whole from other European cities.
On Friday, a further tenant was announced. “Craft beer producer Innis & Gunn has brought its new brewery and bar to Argyle St Arches,” an excitable Glasgow Live revealed. “Innis and Gunn has invested a six figure sum in the space, occupying the entire arch in what is a significant expansion in the continued evolution of the venue.”
Now, you probably won’t read this in their press releases any time soon, but the bar operations of Innis and Gunn – makers of sickly sweet craft beer and a fairly average lager – are not all that they seem. In fact, Innis and Gunn Hospitality Group Ltd isn’t even registered – like the rest of their group – at their Edinburgh headquarters. Instead, its offices are listed as a building in the west end of Glasgow. The same building that is now the swish headquarters of controversial Scottish entertainment giant G1 Group? The very same!
The reason for this is – Companies House fans – because Innis and Gunn’s expansion into running bars over the last few years has been as part of a joint venture with Stefan King’s G1 Group. This includes “Beer Kitchens” in Glasgow’s Ashton Lane, Lothian Road in Edinburgh and in Dundee. However, we are happy to clarify that this it not the case with the new bar in the Arches.
There is mounting concern over the direction of the city centre at the moment, with Sauchiehall Street’s CCA reportedly now under threat. Another important arts centre, it has been closed for several months following the GSA fire (redux) in June.
G1, headed by Stefan King, claim to be Scotland’s “largest and most diversified” enterainment group and own over 50 venues across Scotland. They are no strangers to controversy or to readers of this blog.
Last month, five former G1 workers in Glasgow, represented by the Unite trade union, won an employment tribunal for their claims of unfair and wrongful dismissal. The company had initially tried to deny their employees access to union representatives and an earlier tribunal similarly found the company in the wrong for its claims that unions represented a “significant threat to the safety of senior management”. In 2016, G1 made national headlines after they were outed by the UK Government as having underpaid their workforce by more than £45,000, which they had illegally deducted from wages to cover training costs and uniforms. They have since ended this practice. In 2015, this blog revealed the company was attempting to silence its own staff, advising them to tell any enquiring reporters that “g1 group is a good company to work for and nothing else”.
In 2013, they caused a national furore over their installation of a ‘spy mirror’ in women’s toilets in Glasgow’s Shimmy Club . There was also the firm’s legal wrangle and eventual payout to a disabled couple who were refused entry to the Polo Lounge, as we covered at the time.
The company’s accounts in 2016 noted that they have “moved laterally with a number of joint venture projects, engaging the skills and innovation of like minded businesses.”