London, Edinburgh And Bristol Craft Beer Festivals ‘Raise The Bar’ For 2018

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Bringing together 17,000 visitors and attracting over 125 world class brewers from the UK, Europe and US, this year’s London, Edinburgh and Bristol Craft Beer Festivals are back and aiming to be the biggest series of Craft Beer Festivals in the UK.

Up 60% on last year, organisers and founders of We Are Beer, Greg Wells and Dan Sylvester, will once again bring the world’s finest craft beer, headline music acts and incredible food under one festival roof.

New for 2018 and a first for the industry, We Are Beer is launching ‘Raise the Bar’ – which seeks to find new, up-coming brewers and shine a light on creativity and innovation. In a bid to champion new talent, an expert panel will independently blind taste all submissions. They will then select the top four brewers to attend all three festivals providing them with a platform to showcase their beer to 17,000 people across the UK festivals.

The Raise the Bar panel includes: Jenn Merrick, former Beavertown head brewer and founder of a new community based brewery, Earth Station, Ben Freeman, co-founder and brewer at Pressure Drop, Jonny Garrett from Craft Beer Channel, and alongside Greg and Dan from We Are Beer.

Potential brewers (under 2 years in commercial production) are asked to enter online at https://raisethebar.wearebe er.com/ before submitting some samples of their beer for panel review. Entry deadline for Raise the Bar is Monday 12th March.

Among the first hand-picked brewers to be invited to the London festival are: Mikkeller from Copenhagen, Denmark, Cloudwater from Manchester, England, and Stillwater Artisanal from Baltimore, US. For Edinburgh, the line-up includes: Lervig Aktiebryggeri from Norway, Beavertown Brewery, from London and Tempest Brew Co. from The Borders, Scotland. The full line up of brewers for each location will be announced in the coming months.

Commenting on the festivals Greg Wells, co-founder of We Are Beer, said: “The festivals are an opportunity to celebrate modern beer and brewing culture from across the globe and give beer fans and those discovering craft beer the opportunity to sample a range of beers they wouldn’t normally get the chance to try.

In our quest to champion the incredible upcoming talent we are really excited about the potential for our ‘Raise the Bar’ competition to give young, new brewer’s a platform to showcase their beer on a UK stage,” he added.

Jenn Merrick, founder of community-based brewery, Earth Station and former head brewer of Beavertown and Meantime, said: “I am delighted to be asked by Dan and Greg to be a judge for Raise the Bar. I am a great believer in opening up the industry to a more diverse group of people – so it’s great to see an initiative like this which will support new talent.”

The Craft Beer Festivals will be returning for the sixth time in London, the third time in Bristol and second time in Edinburgh. Dates and locations for the Festivals are listed below:

· Edinburgh – 25th to 27th May 2018, Biscuit Factory, Leith

· London – 3rd to 5th August 2018, Tobacco Dock, Docklands

· Bristol – to be announced

Tickets for the London and Edinburgh Craft Beer Festivals are on sale now: londoncraftbeerfestival.co.uk and edinburghcraftbeerfestival.co.uk with Bristol going on sale from March (bristolcraftbeerfestival.co.uk).

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The Darkest “Hotel” Launches For Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day beneath the tempestuous waves can be a torrid affair, but buoyed with a seasonal kindness rarely seen from the Ocean’s mightiest Beast, The Kraken Black Spiced Rum has delivered the answer many UK couples have been looking for. Seeking out one of the very darkest spots in the UK, The Kraken Black Spiced Rum has crafted the world’s darkest “hotel” – a unique ‘rumantic’ Love Lair draped in black upon black, furnished with imposing midnight décor…And they’re opening it up to couples seeking a wholly particular experience.

Set deep in the depths of the English countryside where even the brightest light struggles to penetrate, The Kraken Black Spiced Rum is inviting the adventurous to the launch of the world’s darkest hotel experience – a unique romantic sanctuary that’s dedicated to the dark, located under one of Britain’s blackest skies. Perfectly positioned in Northamptonshire, one of the darkest parts of the country, the unique accommodation allows you to be fully immersed in the grandeur of nature from the comfort of your own hotel.

But beneath the inky darkness, make no mistake that the benevolent Beast has pulled out all the stops to give you a devastatingly divine VIP Valentine’s treatment. A private bartender will shake up a selection of The Kraken Black Spiced Rum’s finest cocktails at your own personal bar including the Kraken’s signature serve, The Perfect Storm, as well as the sensational Any Port In A Storm. What’s more, a blazing Squid Bite will be served hot to fire up the cockles of our hotel guests.

The Love Lair is decked out with everything you need for the perfect Valentine’s – complete with a fireplace, mini bar, outside decking and luxury throws, everything from the interior to the exterior is delectably dark, decorated with the Kraken’s tentacled touch, this is Valentines the Kraken way…

The Kraken doesn’t discriminate – from best friends to siblings to spouses – those lucky enough to nab a coveted night of stargazing at the Love Lair can stay courtesy of the sea beast itself. The Lair will be hosting guests during the Valentine’s week between 7th to 14th February. A lucky couple will be able to win a night at the Kraken Love Lair via The Kraken Black Spiced Rum Twitter page by tagging their Valentine along with the hashtag #KrakenLoveLair.

Those who’d like to guarantee their dark and devilishly romantic night in the Kraken Love Lair can apply for tickets via The League of Darkness (www.theleagueofdarkness.co.uk/krakenlovelair). Price for one night is £50 and includes dinner and Kraken cocktails specially made by our mixologist in your very own bar. A luxury Kraken Love Lair welcome pack containing delicious treats and Kraken apparel to keep you warm, Kraken mini bar goodies and a night in the luxurious lair are all included. See website for details: http://www.theleagueofdarkness.co.uk/krakenlovelair

The Glenfiddich Burns Night Experiment

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On January 25th, Glenfiddich hosted ‘The Glenfiddich Burns Night Experiment’ at ProVision Studios in Hoxton. In partnership with innovators from beyond the whisky world, Glenfiddich pushed the boundaries of Burns’ Night traditions to celebrate the life of Scotland’s most famous poet.

Experimenting has always been at the heart of Glenfiddich. It is by keeping an open mind that they continue to challenge the rules of single malt – a philosophy which led to collaborating with like-minded individuals to develop the Glenfiddich Experimental Series. This Burns night, Glenfiddich brought the spirit of experimentation to life through collaborations with Adam Handling, Chef Owner of Frog by Adam Handling, and Matt Whiley, founder of cocktail bar, Scout. Adam’s ethos of marrying flavours with mind-boggling culinary techniques created dishes that challenged the assumptions of a typical Burns supper, and Matt’s cocktail menu combined Glenfiddich with his love of foraged ingredients, house ferments and British produce.

The evening was hosted by Stephen Rutherford, Glenfiddich National Brand Ambassador, who brought Robert Burns’ work to life alongside spoken word artists, Loud Poets. The collective of contemporary poets paid homage to Burns whilst showcasing their own artform, which challenges the frontiers of traditional poetry.

Adam Handling commented: “It’s a real pleasure to partner with Glenfiddich to bring a flavour of Burns Night to London this January. I’m loving the opportunity to give my modern British twist to traditional Scottish dishes, using some of my favourite fresh, seasonal ingredients.”

Matt Whiley commented: “Collaborating with others who have such a deep knowledge of their ingredients and craft is always an incentive to take on new projects, and that is why working on The Glenfiddich Burns Night Experiment was a no brainer. I have loved experimenting with the Experimental Series whiskies and I can’t wait to see them being enjoyed on the evening in an unexpected way.”

Stephen Rutherford, Glenfiddich National Brand Ambassador, said: “As the world’s most awarded single malt, Glenfiddich is continuously looking to push the boundaries of whisky making and The Experimental Series is the most recent example of this. Therefore, what better place to bring the brand’s experimental DNA to life than on an evening dedicated to another of Scotland’s greatest traditions – Burns Night. Robert Burns dared to experiment and broke the mould of 18th century prose. An innovator ahead of his time, his work is still celebrated centuries later across the world, just like the single malts of William Grant.”

Gwilym Cooke, Glenfiddich UK Senior Brand Manager added: “Collaboration is intrinsic to Glenfiddich and we’re delighted that we’re able to bring Adam and Matt’s talent together to create a Burns Night like no other.”

William Grant & Sons Distils Innovative Spirit at ‘Hackadram’

hackadram logoIndependent family own distillers, William Grant & Sons, is looking to define the future of the spirits through a ‘hackadram’, its version of a hackathon.

Taking place on the 25th and 26th January at Plexal, a hub for start-ups and enterprises, in east London, the Hackadram will see creatives and specialists from a wide range of backgrounds and industries attempt to crack four business challenges.

The Hackadram will distil some of the best practices from tech and start-ups, capturing their entrepreneurial spirit where problems are solved quickly in novel ways through ‘hacks’. There is a loose format to the two days with intensive, open minded creative sessions and the opportunity for participants to pitch their ideas to a panel of judges.

The judging panel consists of a number of individuals who are renowned innovators in their own fields including one of the world’s leading bartenders and owners Ryan Chetiyawardana aka Mr Lyan, entrepreneur Simon Devonshire OBE, who has co-founded and scaled-up a number of ventures including One Water and Zopa.com, and Ben Southworth, a start-up expert. They will be joined by a number of internal judges including William Grant & Sons Global Chief Marketing Officer, Philip Gladman.

The event features four challenges focusing on themes of ecommerce, bartender engagement, shopper targeting and disruptive drinking experiences. Ultimately William Grant & Sons is looking for genuinely ground breaking and game changing ideas to invest in and commission.

For more information go to http://www.hackadram.com

Bacardi Unveils Sound Of Rum Series

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BACARDÍ® has today announced the launch of Sound of Rum Series, a four-part music documentary which explores the influence Caribbean music has on the world and the intrinsic link between rum, music and the cultures that have combined over time to create today’s the Sound of Rum. The series is the latest iteration of the BACARDÍ the Sound of Rum creative campaign which aims to connect the brand’s island roots to modern music.

The Sound of Rum is a diverse sound and unique concept born from the brand’s partnership with electro/moombahton trio Major Lazer, announced earlier this year. It draws influence from a collection of Caribbean genres including reggae, dancehall and afro beats and fuses them with modern day global influences from hip-hop, trap and grime to create something truly unique. Sound of Rum Series is released to further illustrate and explore this cultural and creative movement.

Sarah Doyle, Vice President of BACARDÍ for Europe, says: “It is important that we continue to create content and experiences that truly resonate with our audience. The Sound of Rum began as something to connect our brand’s island roots to modern music, but Sound of Rum Series goes deeper by clearly defining the concept whilst paying homage to the culture and traditions from which it was born. We are excited to have worked with so many inspiring and authentic artists on this project which, alongside the partnership with Major Lazer, enables BACARDÍ to bring theSound of Rum to life in so many unique ways.”

Each episode of Sound of Rum Series begins with the islands conveying how the Sound of Rum, though born in the Caribbean has traveled and developed throughout the world. Featuring stars such as Major Lazer, Sean Paul and Chase & Status, the series offers musical insights into the scene and reveals how the Sound of Rum has flourished in Europe.

Episode one of Sound of Rum Series can be seen below!

Swedish Victory In The Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai Challenge 2017

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The last two weeks has seen me embrace my favourite rum brand more than ever with a trip to St Lucia for the Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai season. Hosted at Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina, the 5* venue became the hub for a host of international and island based bartenders for several days, welcoming with a Chairman’s Reserve Spiced Ice Tea upon arrival and offering the relaxed and chilled vibes St Lucia is famous for.

The aim of the Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai season is to culminate in a combined final of winning efforts from across the world from the last year, paired with St Lucian counterparts to crown the ultimate Mai Tai team and recipe. Representatives include the United Kingdom, USA, Spain, France, Portugal and Sweden, who each won their respective national heats to earn their way to the final.

After being inspired by a tour of St Lucia Distillers within the Roseau Valley, spiced rum talks from local producers, and an insightful chat on all things tiki by the renowned bartender and owner of Spirit of Tiki, Georgi Radev, culminating in the paired teams having the opportunity to experience the Castries Market in the capital city and pick up some local and home-produced ingredients and vessels, ready for the evenings finale.

Mai Tai

With 5 judges, including myself and Alva Preville (Taste of the Caribbean winning bartender in 2010 amongst his host of accolades), each paired team had to create a twist on the Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai, using their inspiration from their trip so far, whilst also showing off teamwork and producing to us all a display that would be worthy of the top prize!

With magic tricks and crowd chants for showmanship, it all accompanied serves such as the ‘Sop It To Me Baby’ by 3rd place winners Anthony Guaetta (Twin River Casino, USA) and Daniel Francois (Capella, St Lucia) that saw Chairman’s Reserve Spiced mixed with the 6th edition of 1931 rum, a homemade spiced liqueur and Key Lime juice. Second place had the ‘Chairman’s Spiced Intellect’ presented by Andrew Turner (Milk Bar, UK) and Ron Hillar (Capella, St Lucia). They shook up a blend of their homemade spiced syrup, Chairman’s Reserve Forgotten Cask, lime juice, pineapple juice, Angostura bitters and a dash of Chairman’s Reserve Spiced, complete with a pineapple, ginger and rosemary garnish.

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The winning drink though? It was the ‘Culture Paradise’ by Sharam Mohebbi of OGBG Bar & Restaurant in Sweden and his St Lucian counterpart Stephen Peter. Mixing Chairman’s Reserve Original and Chairman’s Reserve Spiced with Caribbean sherbet, ginger spice and passion fruit plus freshly squeezed lime, it won the judges plaudits! Earning them a cash prize, trophies and a trip for Sharam back to St Lucia, and Stephen to Sweden, plus local television coverage, it’s meant a truly well-deserved effort from both the winning team and all participants in placing them on the map when it comes to the Mai Tai cocktail!

Look out for the 2018 Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai season as more countries become involved with the challenge, as well as plenty of opportunities to experience a variety of Mai Tai twists, or indeed you can create Sharam’s and Stephen’s today!

Winning Cocktail
‘Culture Paradise’


40ml Chairman’s Reserve Original

30ml Chairman’s Reserve Spiced
30ml Caribbean Sherbet
20ml Ginger spice & passionfruit
20ml Freshly squeezed lime

Shaken over ice and served within a bowl or goblet. 

For more information on St Lucia, visit here.
Learn more about Chairman’s Reserve by visiting here.
To experience Capella Marigot Bay Resort and Marina, visit here.

© David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog/sites author and owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to David Marsland and Drinks Enthusiast with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

National Calvados Week Returns For 2017

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The Père Magloire National Calvados Week, in association with UK creator Emporia Brands, returns Monday 16th October 2016 until the Sunday 22nd October 2017, taking place within bars and retailers across the UK, including London, Birmingham, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

For some, Normandy’s lush green pastures reach their ultimate expression in the region’s famed cheeses and rich dairy butter. We all know that it’s always been about the Calvados. The magical alchemy that transforms green apples into golden nectar, it produces apple brandy as soft, fresh and pure as the beguiling French countryside from which it’s born. The week long celebration marks the harvesting of the delicious apples for the production of Calvados. During National Calvados Week over 100 bars, shops, supermarkets and independent off licenses, including London based Swift, Merchant House, Baranis, German Gymnasium and Plotting Parlour.

Other venues and highlights for the week include such Edinburgh stalwarts as Panda & Sons, Heads & Tales, Voodoo Rooms, Bramble and The Bon Vivant, as well as Glasgow based The Finnieston, Porter & Rye and Drugstore Social. 45 West in Leicester are also showcasing their serves, as well as Jekyll & Hyde in Birmingham, Alvino’s in Newcastle and Last Chance Saloon in Nottingham amongst others.

Meanwhile, participating Waitrose stores will be running an in-store price promotion for the month of October, seeing Père Magloire VSOP 50cl with 20% off. Scotland are covered by Drinkmonger and Royal Mile Whiskies in Edinburgh, plus independent stores across England including Riddles Emporium in South Manchester, 23 Wine & Whisky in Leicester and Fenwick’s in Newcastle. We’ve also partnered with The Drink Shop, who are offering 20% off all Père Magloire products throughout National Calvados Week.

Highlights of the week involve the Telegraph Aperitifs and Digestifs evening that kicks off the celebration on Friday 13th October, TimeOut London are also hosting an evening of Père Magloire to launch the promotion within MASH London, exclusive for their members, and John Lewis on Oxford St and Soho Whisky Club, both in London, are also getting in on the action with their own tasting evenings.

In addition, Fever Tree, Franklins, Fentimans, Double Dutch and Peter Spanton No.1 Tonic are the principle sponsors for this year’s signature serve, promoted within all participating venues across the UK, the Père Magloire and tonic;

50 ml Père Magloire VS
Topped with chosen Tonic Water
Fresh Ice (at least 4 big cubes)
Slice of Fresh Apple

Using a large wine glass or a tall, slim glass, add the ice first then pour in the Père Magloire VS, followed by the Tonic Water. Cut a full slice of apple and drop into the glass.

A promotional video has also been commissioned by Emporia Brands, the exclusive UK importer of Père Magloire and National Calvados Week, which aims to see people coming together from across the UK to enjoy Calvados. To view the video, head to http://www.nationalcalvadosweek.com/press

The 1800 Studios Come To Shoreditch!

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WHAT:
London’s first-ever aperitivo beauty bar, 1800 Studios, is set to be the ultimate hangout in Shoreditch, where you can step away from the rush and indulge in some personal preening whilst enjoying the latest aperitivo cocktail, the 1800 Blush – a deliciously refreshing combination of 1800 Silver Tequila and Fentimans Rose Lemonade, served over ice and garnished with a slice of pink grapefruit and a sprig of fresh mint.
From post-work to nightfall, this salon turned saloon will offer simple beautifying treatments (choose from an express manicure, arm & hand massage or beard trim/shave) for you and your friends in plush surroundings. Tickets for treatments are just £10 and will also include two 1800 Blush cocktails. A whole host of other delicious 1800 Tequila twists on classic aperitivo cocktails, including the ever popular Negroni, will also be available at just £5 each.
Don’t forget to consult the 1800 Studios concierge desk on departure for tips on where to continue your evening in Shoreditch with partner bars.

WHY: We live in a time-poor world with demands constantly placed upon us throughout the day. Step away from the rush and make time for you and your friends at the 1800 Studios.

WHEN: The 1800 Studios will be open on the following days/times:
Tuesday 10th October 19:30 – 23:00
Wednesday 11th October 17:00 – 23:00
Thursday 12th October 17:00 – 23:00

WHERE: Protein, Studios 3 & 4, 31 New Inn Yard, Shoreditch, London, EC2A 3EY

HOW: Everyone is welcome to enter the 1800 Studios and entry is free.
You can just come to the 1800 Studios for a drink at the aperitivo bar without having a treatment. Appointments for treatments are bookable, although there will be available slots for walk-ins. Advance tickets for the beauty treatments are priced at £10 and can be purchased via: https://feverup.com/m/59644 . The ticket price includes one beautifying treatment (manicure, arm and hand massage or beard trim) and two 1800 Blush cocktails.

The Kraken Black Spiced Rum Launches Screamfest

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The Kraken® Black Spiced Rum has announced the launch of its biggest integrated campaign of all time, Screamfest – a horror movie-inspired campaign which premieres with an immersive Kraken fright night on 13th October while simultaneously rolling out with limited edition POS in over 2,000 venues nationwide.

Screamfest is the biggest single campaign investment across experiential, branding, trade activation, social and PR the brand has ever launched, following off the back of an incredibly successful year where Kraken outstripped category growth for the fourth consecutive year.

Attendees at the Kraken Screamfest launch event will watch the scariest film of all time screened to the scariest audience of all time: an auditorium filled with clowns. Two screenings will take place simultaneously at London’s Dalston Rio Cinema and Leeds’ Everyman theatre.

The immersive events will feature a top horror film professional makeup artist who will transform the audience into Kraken-themed clowns, special Kraken ‘Inked’ pick-n-mix and a host of specially named Screamfest cocktails including The Bride of Krakenstein, The Oceans Have Eyes and the classic, The Perfect Storm, containing The Kraken Rum, ginger beer and freshly squeezed lime wedges.

Bar owners can create their own Halloween themed cocktail menus via The League of Darkness, a website which serves as a platform for members to engage with the Kraken community. Vendors can also receive a free POS kit by purchasing three bottles of Kraken Rum from nominated wholesalers throughout the whole of October.
The POS materials have been designed to help give bars a terrifying Halloween makeover and drive sales of Kraken products. They include a whole host of branding materials including Screamfest guides, promotional posters, table talkers and bar runners, black lollipops, terrifying face cards, t-shirts, make-up kits for staff and
more.

Existing stockists can also benefit from wholesale kits containing A3 Screamfest promotional posters, A5 table talkers, Screamfest face cards, Kraken mason jars, bar runners, chalkboards to list drinks offers and branded t-shirts for staff to get involved in the action.
Specially selected ‘Hero’ venues in Glasgow, Belfast, Leeds, Manchester and London will be taken over by horror-themed sampling teams, competitions and giveaways, plus a scream activated photo booth with which consumers can engage. Each of the ‘Hero’ venues will be visited by iconic Kraken Hunters who will not only engage with customers but will also bring Screamfest to life by adding value and visibility to the campaign. The Kraken Hunters will also actively encourage entry into a competition to win a year’s unlimited movie pass and other Screamfest prizes via the hashtag #ISCREAMFORKRAKEN.

Kraken has partnered with London’s Time Out magazine and Dork magazine in Leeds to promote Screamfest in both cities where the screenings will take place. Kraken is also putting elements of the campaign in the hands of its fan base by crowdsourcing the opinions of its dedicated social followers in order to determine what they think is the scariest film of all time, and this film will then be played at the terrifying screenings.
Tickets will be available from The Kraken Black Spiced Rum Facebook page from the 25th September, with presale available on the 22nd September via The League of Darkness.

Find out more at https://www.theleagueofdarkness.co.uk

Final Five Named In The Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai Campaign

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Spirits innovator Emporia Brands and award-winning Chairman’s Reserve rum of St Lucia Distillers, are proud to announce the final five venues who will be participating in the UK final of the current Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai campaign.

The evening, to be held at The Magic Roundabout, one of the cities iconic pop-up sites in London, will feature five venues from across the UK who have been tasked during July and August to promote their twist on the classic Mai Tai cocktail using two expressions of Chairman’s Reserve. Once gaining a spot in the final, the winning venue are rewarded with a training visit for two to St Lucia as part of the prestige Chairman’s XI programme.

Earning their way to the final on Tuesday 26th September will be last year’s winners Alvino’s of Newcastle upon Tyne, Colonel Porter’s, also of Newcastle upon Tyne, Milk from, Ten Mill Lane from Cardiff and our wild card entry of Panda & Sons from Edinburgh.
The respective bars will now be invited down to Magic Roundabout next Tuesday to re-create their Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai cocktail to the public at the biggest Mai Tai party of the year!

With a secret panel of judges on hand to test out each cocktail too, the winning bar will find out on the evening whether they have earnt their place on the plane to St Lucia later in the year.

Venue: The Magic Roundabout, Old Street Tube Station, London, EC1Y 1BE
Timings: 7pm – late. Open to general public and trade.

St Lucia Itinerary for the winning venue:

Day 1: Arrival in Saint Lucia
Day 2: Visit of Saint Lucia Distillers, local art makers & the Castries market
Day 3: Training session for local bartenders & Friday night in Gros Islet with the SLD Team
Day 4: Local Chairman’s Reserve Mai Tai Competition judged by European winners and guest shift in the evening at Chairman’s Reserve event
Day 5: Day out on catamaran with local bartenders & SLD team
Day 6: Flights back home