Sue Says! Our publisher gives it to you straight

Soho House has always been a trendsetter and now its owners have become one of the first adopters of A Plastic Planet’s Commitment Mark ‘Working Towards Plasticb Free’. Our early adopters include people like Anna Christopherson of Boda, who we mention in our influencers column, and the likes of the Glenuig Inn – Scotland’s Exemplar Green Inn. But every day I hear about another pub or hotel that is adopting greener and more environmentally friendly practices. I think we all need to do our part. But I do think there has to be a re-think of the Returnable Deposit Scheme. More on that next month.

New research has shown that alcohol brands need to rethink how they market to men: many old-fashioned, dated and perhaps toxic views of masculinity are still prevalent among British males, thanks in part to the stereotypes seen in advertising. I don’t think we needed to do any
research to work that one out! But the research by New Macho, the specialist men’s marketing arm of the brand and cultural transformation company BBD Perfect Storm, also reveals that nearly half of UK men (46%) feel that Guinness doesn’t reflect them at all while 47% feel the same about Heineken and 48% about Johnnie Walker. (54%) feel that Gordon’s Gin doesn’t reflect them. 49% say as much about Diet Coke and 54% think that way about Bacardi.
New Macho believes that some of these brands are not helping men cope with mental health issues, saying, “The ad industry has to accept some of the blame for this, as many food and drink brands are still portraying men either as aloof and hyper-competitive or as dorks and figures of fun. It’s all just gender stereotyping, which the Advertising Standards Authority is rightly working to eradicate.” A marketing re-think should be on the cards.

My father has been here and he was touring Scotland with his partner and ended up in Edinburgh. He had been to Skye, Dundee and Loch Ness – not bad for someone in their 80th year. But in Edinburgh, he was staying at The Balmoral and he, unfortunately, tripped while flagging down a taxi and fell. I’d like to say a huge thank you to the staff there who helped him out
considerably. The good news is he only dislocated two fingers and didn’t break them, and honestly, there was absolutely no alcohol involved.

However, I did have a wee toast to Harry Hood the other night. He has been a great friend of the DRAM and of mine and I was so sorry when I was told of his passing. His obituary is on page 25. The trade will certainly be a duller place without Harry in it. But I have a feeling he will be sitting on my shoulder saying “Susan, what about the rates issue?”

I was also shocked to hear about the death of John McQue of The Tartan Arms in Bannockburn, just as we went to press. He is another trade friend. A terrific guy whose enthusiasm knew no bounds. I recall bumping into him in Broughty Ferry when he had his regulars on the annual away visit to another town for a quiz! What a laugh we had. His obituary will be in the next issue.

Our new guide to Scotland’s Top Whisky Bars is now out, and I love it. I don’t often say that, but I do like this publication. We can’t fit every great whisky bar in Scotland in, but we do highlight more than 50 bars to visit. My friends also like it.

I’m off to Islay at the weekend with a gang of whisky enthusiasts and Distell to experience the Feis Isle Festival. I can’t wait.

I am looking forward to getting out and about judging for this year’s awards… it’s only 10 weeks away and we already have 1,500 entries. The deadline for putting someone forward is the 14th June – so get voting.


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