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Sue Says July 2017

July 15th, 2017 | Posted in: Sue Says

Marketeers keep talking about how people want experiences these days. It’s not enough that the food is good, but the whole experience has to be memorable. Well that was certainly the case when I was invited to dine in the sky hanging above George Square in Glagow. The invite from Murray Thomson the GM at The Blythswood Hotel was much appreciated. Although I have to confess I didn’t really pay any attention to the detail until my colleagues asked me why I was wearing a dress! They then pointed out I would be eating dangling above George Square. Yes, the dinner table was 100ft up, and Chef Zoltan Szabo from The Blythswood cooked at the table… actually it was a great experience, and we were only up for an hour! I’m not sure I would have paid to do it, but certainly I would have bought the experience as a present for someone who wasn’t scared of heights!

Oh the power of social media. We have picked our doggy judges for Dog Pub of the Year. They are Walter and George, unfortunately Rolo’s owner was so disgusted and unbelieving that her dog came second, that she withdrew! Honestly. This bit of fun turned into a social media debate with around a reach of 7,000 – which added the to the original reach of around 50,000 – makes it one of the most widely talked about award categories ever! It just goes to show folk are passionate about their dogs. Of course my two are in a huff that they weren’t even considered as judges!

The great straw dilemna – to put one in or not? Personally I hate straws – I usually take them out, particularly these wee fiddly ones in cocktails that float about the drink. But instead of the suggested 5p levy why not just train bar staff not to automatically put them in drinks. They could a) ask the customer if they want a straw, and b) use a paper one if they do. What is the issue? That seems to me like commonsense.

I was invited by Scotland Food and Drink to a Seafood and craft beer evening the other night. The chef, Andrew Cumming, cooked up ‘Street Food’ which was matched to a range of beer – his main challenge was cooking on the Tall Ship…the food was great. I was sitting beside Fyne Ales boss Jamie Delap who has a passion for beer in all its forms – it was most educational – even for a non-beer drinker! My favourite was Drygate’s Mango beer… but all the beers were very tasty, even for my uneducated palate.

What a great response to our Wm Grant Bar Apprentice Programme. We now have the full compliment of Apprentices who will not just benefit from training across disciplines including Champagne, rum and whisky but will also get an overnight visit to Glenfiddich Distillery. This year there are apprentices from Gleneagles Hotel, Manorview, Buzzworks, Montpeliers, The Big Red Teapot, The Pot Still, Crieff Hydro and others.

We are doing our telephone Supplier Survey at the moment and we have found a lot of licensees have changed supplier over the last year. More so than in any other survey we have done. The biggest complaint is that price lists are given out and then the price changes. Licensees say there has been no continuity. Now this is probably partly due to increased costs being incurred by suppliers, but there is definitely an issue out there that needs addressed. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top this year.

Lastly what a shame for Brockman’s Gin World Cup winner Sebastian Stanczyk of The Spiritualist in Glasgow – he however won’t be able to take up the prize of a 5-day trip to New York as the US wouldn’t grant the Polish born bartender a visa!

Why do so many menus in pubs and restaurants have the expression ‘home-cooked’. Obviously the food is not homecooked! So why not use another adjective? Perhaps Chefs own Steak Pie? Just a thought!

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Susan Young
Susan Young is a journalist who has spent the last 20 years editing the DRAM. Prior to that, she spent a decade working in Public Relations and Events dealing with clients as diverse as Cumbernauld Development Agency and James Burrough Distillers. Her knowledge of the Scottish licensed trade is extensive and she also instigated the first ever Scottish licensed trade awards which have evolved into the Scottish Bar and Pub Awards.


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