Drinks supplier Matthew Clark is to help licensees tap into the growing cocktail market with a raft of support materials and activities including its first cocktail competition.
It will include a series of country-wide workshops across the UK throughout February to help on-trade outlets to get started or improve their cocktail offering.
As part of an online “advice portal”, it will also offer a downloadable cocktail guide that includes serve advice, visual merchandising and social media support.
The Stir It Up competition has been set up in collaboration with 30 leading spirits brands. It is designed to give aspirational bartenders the opportunity to be experimental and creative and to help on-trade outlets to boost sales and deliver “industry-leading” cocktails.
Matthew Clark customers will be eligible to enter the competition from January 29, with a deadline of February 28, and will be asked to create a 2018 summer cocktail which should be made in under 90 seconds with five ingredients or fewer.
The top 40 will be invited to regional heats across the UK, with the top two finalists from each heat invited to the grand final in London on April 10. The heats will be held at The Voyage of Buck in Edinburgh on March 20, at Near & Far in London on March 21, on The Bristol Packet in Bristol on March 27 and at the new Peaky Blinders bar in Liverpool on March 28.
The winner will receive “hero status” across Matthew Clark summer cocktail communications as well as a five-night VIP trip to the US stopping by Chicago and Louisville, the birthplace of bourbon, hosted by Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam and Knob Creek.
The competition is open to Matthew Clark customers only. However, anyone working in the on-trade is eligible to enter the competition as a “wildcard” entry via social media.
Sponsored by Pernod Ricard UK, this will see four shortlisted entrants compete in a wildcard round in the live final. The finalist crowned the “Wildcard Winner” will win a trip to the Pernod Ricard Bar Academy in Stockholm.
Any UK bartender who wishes to enter the wildcard round now has until March 31 to upload a photo or video of their “Summer 2018” cocktail to Instagram, Twitter or Facebook, tagging @MatthewClarkLtd and using the hashtag #StirItUpWild.
Ceri Lewis, spirits controller of Matthew Clark, said: “As the cocktail market in the UK continues to expand, it is increasingly important for licensees to take advantage of the significant revenue opportunity that this represents, and our ongoing cocktail agenda for 2018 has been created to provide the right platforms, training and education to help achieve this.
“We’re very much looking forward to launching our first-ever cocktail competition and our cocktail workshop sessions, and we hope that our customers will be inspired to get involved.”
The Matthew Clark Cocktail Workshops are open to all experience levels. Customers and prospects can sign up at www.matthewclark.co.uk/cocktails.
Updated March 12, 2018, with deadline extension of wildcard entries.