Sue Says: Our editor Susan Young has her say on the industry this month.
This time of year it is all about the awards … and over the course of the last few weeks I have driven 1,000’s of miles. But I have loved every minute. It’s great seeing and experiencing new places and this year it has definitely been all been about the experience. It used to be that we were judging on quality of the drink, service, and welcome, toilets etc, but today so many bars do all the aforementioned and what it comes down in many instances is the whole experience. So a big thank you to all our mystery shoppers, our doggie judges and most of all to you guys who make it all worthwhile. Roll on the 15th August!
During the course of the last month I met the new 2017 Bar Apprentices who, this year for the first time, came under the tutelage of Wm Grant & Sons who have taken over the sponsorship of this category. What a great job they made of their inaugural course. And the feedback from the apprentices who came from all over Scotland and from establishments which ranged from Gleneagles Hotel to the Pot Still. Apprentices also came from AKVA, Boclair House, Lido, Scran & Scallie, Rabble, Crieff Hydro, Jute, Anchorline and Boda. I joined them for dinner at the Dowans Hotel in Aberlour and they were all in great form, as was Mark Thomson, Glenfiddich’s Brand Ambassador – who managed to blind taste/smell some 12 malt whiskies and nearly got a 100% score! No wonder he looks delighted.
Glasgow City Council have been trialling a new waste pick-up scheme which they say has been well-received by everyone they have surveyed. They have obviously not spoken to the same people I have! While licensees support the idea of not having bins at the front of premises, or in lanes, all day – the timings of pick up between 7am and 9am is simply not working. I work in Finnieston and I have never seen so much rubbish distributed all around the place. They say they have consulted businesses, well I’ve not been consulted and I don’t know anyone that has been consulted. If you are in Glasgow and have please get in touch. I get a FOI request coming up.
Duncan Frew from Badaboom, as all who know him will attest, is not exactly a shy and retiring person. But even he blushed when he and his team took part in the Red Bull Soapbox event at Alexandra Palace in London last month. The charity event saw them come in 43 out of 69, but it was the final crash that did it for the team. Duncan, wearing a kilt, crashed and he tumbled over – legs askance! You can guest the rest. Duncan said, “I nearly fainted…” So did the poor ladies on the receiving end!
TRNSMT Festival at Glasgow Green proved to be a great success. Could this partly be due to the fact that the organisers weren’t shy about issuing festival goers, beforehand, plenty of guidance about what was allowed, and what was not allowed! It was very clearn that there was a total Zero tolerance to drugs! As a result it seemed to go very smoothly. They have already announced next year’s event. The PR was certainly a far cry from last year’s reportage on T in the Park. Progress indeed. Well done.
Talking of festivals I can’t keep up with all the drinks ones on the go from Cocktail weekends, to Drinks Festivals, Gin Festivals and Whisky Festivals… it’s all about educating consumers and of course bar staff too.
The Giovanazzi family have sold their West End Restaurant La Parmigiana after 39 years. My family have had many special occasions there over the years not least and my brother celebrated his engagement there. Sandra has retired and his son decided to move onto other ventures. Now La Lanterna will open in its place… an end of an era, the beginning of a new one.
And finally… Sebastian Stanczyk of the Spiritualist who couldn’t get a visa to New York to enjoy his Brockman’s prize… is going after all thanks to a timely intervention from The Sun newspaper. Hallelujah.