Industry news round-up: September 1, 2014

grey goose VX

Our regular round-up of industry news, for August 28 to September 1, 2014

UK plan for Grey Goose vodka and cognac
The new Grey Goose VX – vodka blended with cognac – is to be introduced into UK bars in spring next year after launching in the travel trade. The new spirit has been created in Cognac in France, the home of Grey Goose, by adding cognac made from Grande Champagne grapes, regarded by many connoisseurs as the finest of the six crus in the region. The recommended serve is on the rocks in a balloon glass.
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Hotels shortlisted for AA spirit award
The Merchant Hotel in Belfast, Blythswood Square in Glasgow and Cedar Court Grand Hotel & Spa in York have been shortlisted for a new AA award for spirits in the hospitality industry. It has been introduced to recognise the professional promotion, education and service of spirits and is sponsored by The Balvenie whisky.
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Liverpool bartender wins Chase Cup
Ben Hills from Browns in Liverpool has been declared the winner of the Chase Cup international cocktail competition. He triumphed in the final at the Rock the Farm festival at the Chase Distillery in Herefordshire on Sunday. Entrants were asked to devise a recipe using Chase Vodka or Williams Chase Gin plus ingredients from a “mystery box” sourced from within 12 miles of the distillery.
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Visionary ideas help bartender to win
Carl Brown from Dishoom in London has won a competition challenging bartenders to create a twist on a vintage cocktail and a “visionary” recipe. His two drinks were a Senior Service Julep and Mother’s Fix, which used a homemade tangerine shrub that was smoked and then aged. The Vintage to Visionary competition was a collaboration between The Bitter Truth and Hayman Distillers and run by Love Drinks, UK distributor for the two companies.
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Bartenders win trip to Kentucky and New York
Josh Reynolds from Hawksmoor Spitalfields in London will be heading to Kentucky and New York after winning Wild Turkey bourbon’s 2014 UK cocktail competition. He triumphed over 10 other finalists at Manchester’s Cane & Grain bar, creating a cocktail called The Black Feather which combined Wild Turkey 81 with Punt e Mes vermouth and a homemade smoked salted pineapple syrup. He will be joined on the trip by runners-up Michael Sharpe from Hyde & Co in Bristol and Ali Reynolds, also from Hawksmoor Spitalfields.
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Operators advised on new licences in York
Operators seeking licences in York’s Cumulative Impact Zone have been advised to focus on outlets that are “family-friendly” rather than encourage “vertical drinking”. John Walker, senior partner and licensing specialist at York-based solicitors Guest Walker & Co, has issued the guidance in the light of increasing curbs on licensing by the local council.
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Record fine for showing Sky Sport illegally
Hogan’s Bar in Doncaster has been given a record fine after it was caught showing Sky Sports illegally. Simon Barnett and Anthony Ball of Hogan’s Bar and Doncaster Balls Limited were found guilty in their absence at Doncaster magistrates court and ordered to pay £22,600 in fines and costs.
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Bourbon master classes launched by Spuntino
London restaurant Spuntino is championing bourbon with a new series of cocktail master classes alongside flights of whiskey. It is launching The Bourbon County Cocktail Trail this month, featuring sessions every Sunday at midday from September 7 onwards.
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Bartenders join Love Drinks team
Bartender Dean MacGregor, previously at Trailer Happiness in London and Sahara in Reading, has joined Love Drinks as part of a number of new appointments at the drinks company. He is looking after accounts in north and east London and Essex, working with Sara Nixon who has been promoted to key account manager. It has also appointed two part-time brand ambassadors to assist Stefanie Holt, El Dorado rums’ brand ambassador: Samantha Fish, from Mojo bars in Leeds, Manchester and Liverpool, and Dan Redman-Hubley.
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Bath Ales links with Bath Rugby
West Country brewer Bath Ales has become official partner of Bath Rugby in time for the start of the new season. The two-year agreement, which starts immediately, is the biggest partnership deal the brewer has ever committed to. As part of the new relationship, Bath Ales’ branding, featuring its Gem beer, will be included on the team’s shorts throughout the season. The West Stand at the Recreation Ground will be Bath Ales branded, and in-stadia advertising and regular product sampling will take place through the season.

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