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SB Voices: Thanking the on-trade

Hospitality can be a tough and challenging career – but there are some brands rewarding and supporting the on-trade with interesting initiatives and events.

Glenfiddich Festival Experiment opened its doors to 700 bartenders across the UK

Can we just take a moment to appreciate the hard work that bartenders put into making our drinks and providing a welcoming experience? Whether it’s a late-night club, a swanky hotel bar, or an all-day drinking and dining destination, the on-trade puts the hard graft in at all hours of the day.

More brands than ever are showing their support for the on-trade, with some of them spending their time and money on education.

Bombay Sapphire is achieving success with its Glasshouse Project, a bartender brand advocacy initiative that is now being taken global. While Maker’s Mark is doing something similar with its bartender engagement programme across the UK. Last year, Bacardi Brown-Forman Brands launched Jigger, Beaker, Glass – a UK-wide tour comprising workshops and seminars with talks from noted bartending experts.

There are also brands that are finding a way to reward the hospitality industry with fun-filled activities at no expense. One example is William Grant & Sons-owned Scotch whisky Glenfiddich, which this week hosted the Glenfiddich Festival Experimental #2 opposite its Speyside distillery as a way to thank the on-trade. The event, which initially launched last year for the Scottish on-trade, opened its doors to the bartending community across the UK for the first time this year.

On Sunday, I, along with 700 bartenders landed in Dufftown for two days of live music, whisky tastings, and distillery tours. The free event provided drinks and food tokens for pop-up Scottish vendors, whisky cocktails and a first-hand tasting of the new Glenfiddich Fire & Cane – a smoky Scotch whisky finished in rum casks.

The packed programme included a lengthy list of Scottish music acts along with headliners Razorlight, Twin Atlantic and Example, comedy acts, silent discos, and yoga sessions.

A number of free tours of the Glenfiddich Distillery were also held throughout the event, taking in the warehouses, stills, bottling hall and culminating in a blending masterclass.

The festival was a great way for likeminded individuals, both experienced and new to the industry, to come together and celebrate after a hot summer of slinging drinks and ahead of the usual busy Christmas period. William Grant & Sons plans to make the event an annual pilgrimage for the industry – and other drinks companies may well follow suit with similar events.

While showing its support and gratitude to the industry, the event is also an extremely effective way to get bartenders talking about the Glenfiddich brand and encourage them to promote and use it at work.

It’s not just the brands that need to thank the people behind the drinks. A bit of appreciation for the industry by saying a simple thanks or giving a tip for excellent service can go a long way.

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