Ballantine’s Announces The Winner Of The Bar Project

Ballantines The Bar Project - winning concept

“L’Epicerie”, a grocery-themed bar designed by Moroccan-born Abderrahim El Afsar, will be brought to life by Ballantine’s in the heart of Paris this autumn

Ballantine’s, the world’s No 2 Scotch whisky, today announced the winner of The Bar Project; an innovative and entrepreneurial challenge that took place in France earlier this year, offering consumers the unique opportunity to devise a concept for their own dream bar. The Bar Project by Ballantine’s saw more than 100 bar concepts submitted – via Facebook – by the French public. A jury including Simon Baldeyrou, CEO of Deezer in France and Laura Leonard, a renowned interior designer, selected their top three entries, which were then put to the public vote, with “L’Epicerie” achieving almost 50% of the overall votes cast.

The winner of the challenge, as voted for by the public, is Abderrahim El Afsar – more commonly known as “Abdou” – whose Moroccan-inspired, grocery-themed bar concept will now be brought to life by Ballantine’s this September, within famous Parisian club “Le Chacha”.

Abdou’s unique cocktail bar concept “L’Epicerie” enables the customer to select their own fruits, vegetables, herbs and spices, with these ingredients then forming the base of their own sophisticated and delicious cocktail. Infused with plants, spice jars, fruit baskets and bouquets of fresh herbs, “L’Epicerie” evokes the sense of a Moroccan ‘night food market’. Customers will be able to browse the bar’s inviting shelves, filling their shopping basket with the finest ingredients of their choice. The experienced mixologists behind the bar will then create an innovative whisky cocktail with these ingredients, selecting the most appropriate expression from the Ballantine’s range to match, which customers will be able to drink around the large host table that forms the centrepiece of the bar.

Abdou El Asfari, the winning designer of this impressive concept, was born in Morocco and went on to become Head Bartender at several well-known bars in the country. He moved to France in 2013 to continue to practise his passion in luxury hotels and at private parties, always staying true to his Moroccan roots and taking inspiration from the country’s opulent spices, fresh fruits and vegetables.

Abdou commented: “I have always dreamed of creating my own bar and, thanks to The Bar Project by Ballantine’s, it’s finally come true. I have learned so much through the whole experience, and I can’t wait until the grand opening of my bar this September!”

Peter Moore, Global Brand Director for Ballantine’s, added: “The Bar Project has been a hugely successful pilot initiative for Ballantine’s in France, and we were pleased to see such high quality entries from across the country. L’Epicerie is a hugely innovative concept and one that reflects Abdou’s own Moroccan heritage and back-story. We hope to now see some of our other Ballantine’s markets continuing the success of the campaign and launching The Bar Project in their own country, giving our customers around the world the chance to participate.”

“L’Epicerie” will open its doors to the public on the 4th September 2014, on the first floor of Le Chacha, situated in Paris’s first district.

For more information about The Bar Project by Ballantine’s, visit http://www.ballantinesbarproject.fr.

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