Unwrapped – The Other Side of Bartending

WGS_Unwrapped_Plain

William Grant & Sons’ UK Brand Ambassador team will be hosting the first ever Unwrapped: The Other Side of Bartending event in Edinburgh on 29th October. This event, exclusively for bartenders, features a series of talks aiming to support modern bartenders find their legacy within the industry and equip them with tools, knowledge and insights beyond jiggers and shakers. This will be followed by immersive brand experiences and an evening bar takeover where all proceeds will go to charity partner SANE.

Unwrapped’s focus is centered on Brand Ambassador-led talks, designed to be thought-provoking, engaging and specifically relevant to the on-trade; providing attendees with new skills and perspectives, as well as the opportunity to network with like-minded peers and old friends. Sessions will cover subjects ranging from how to keep up team morale and the power of storytelling, to exploring the link between nature and creativity. Following the talks, Alessandra Brugola from the drinks industry charity, The Benevolent, will introduce their latest campaign #notalone.

Unwrapped will be held at Assembly Roxy, and will include immersive brand experiences in the afternoon – from entering the miniscule yet momentous world of Hendrick’s Gin Tini Martinis to making and photographing Monkey Shoulder’s Lazy Old Fashioned.

On Monday evening, a full William Grant & Sons bar takeover at The Voyage of Buck will take place, where the entire UK Brand Ambassador team will get behind the bar to raise money for SANE. The charity partner was chosen by the Brand Ambassadors due to its focus on mental health – a key topic within the bar industry.

Cocktails on the night will include:

The Disaronno Cherry Apple – Disaronno, fermented cherry, 30/40 and soda. Created by Three Sheets, London.
The Balvenie Pina Colada Specs – The Balvenie Caribbean Cask, Coco Lopez, pineapple Juice, cream, milk and a dash of Angostura bitters.

Fabiano Latham, Reyka Vodka UK Brand Ambassador says: “Unwrapped is a great opportunity for all the brand ambassadors to share experiences and insights from the industry, as well as the passion we have for our brands. We want to create a benchmark for industry training programmes by delivering an engaging and interactive event where on-trade teams can come together and truly benefit in years to come.”

Lachlan Rooney, Manager at The Voodoo Rooms Bar says: “The William Grant & Sons team is coming to town with what looks to be one of the most incredible series of seminars to grace the city since Tales on Tour. Bartenders best bring a notepad and pen for the series of talks and activities that could truly make a tangible difference to a career and the local bar community. From practical engagements to empathetic advice on building yourself as a brand, the event covers every aspect of bartending that you’ve never even thought about. With free food, drinks and transport alongside priceless career advice it’s not one to miss out on.”

Unwrapped agenda: Monday 29th October

UK Brand Ambassador Talks 11:00-15:30

Mark Thomson, Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador to Scotland presents: The power of storytelling
Fabiano Latham, Reyka UK Brand Ambassador presents: Adventurivity – exploring the link between nature and creativity
EmmaLi Stenhouse, Sailor Jerry UK Brand Ambassador presents: How to be your world’s best bartender
Alwynne Gwilt, The Balvenie UK Brand Ambassador presents: How to train your nose
John Wayte, Monkey Shoulder UK Brand Ambassador presents: /bar:ography/
Sasha Filimonov, Hendrick’s Gin UK Brand Ambassador presents: How to be newsworthy
Calum Fraser, Premium Spirits Specialist presents: Keeping good spirits in good spirits
Rod Elsamieh, Disaronno UK Brand Ambassador presents: From bartender to bar owner – the tips and tricks to opening your own bar
Stephanie Rainbow, Tia Maria UK Brand Ambassador presents: The courage to be happy
Alessandra Brugola from The Benevolent will introduce their new campaign #notalone

Brand Experiences 15:30-16:30

To attend, please email wgsuk.events@wgrant.com or speak to one of the BA team

Takeover at The Voyage of Buck, 19:00 till 11pm

WG&S Takeover with the UK Brand Ambassadors behind the bar with all proceeds taken over the course of the evening being donated to charity partner, SANE. The party is open to everyone, 18 years old and over.

Advertisements

New Look and Refined Taste for Ailsa Bay Sweet Smoke Whisky

AilsaBay_700ml_Whisky_Front

Independent family-owned distiller, William Grant & Sons, today unveils a new design and modified liquid for Ailsa Bay, its peated single malt whisky.

The new contemporary look takes its inspiration from the creativity of science, which reflects the boundary-pushing technology at the distillery situated at Girvan in Ayrshire. The Innovation team at William Grant & Sons has taken the opportunity of the pack re-fresh to refine the liquid, whilst staying true to the original, award-winning signature style.

As with the technology at the distillery, the liquid profile is constantly evolving; giving Brian Kinsman and the team the opportunity to use some of the older stock to develop the flavour profile of the whisky further. The result is a liquid that is more mellow and complex with a similarly unique balance of smoke and sweet. This change is expressed in a change of SPPM (the unique measure of Sweetness Parts Per Million) of 19 up from 11 and a change in PPPM (the measure of Phenol Parts Per Million in liquid form) to 22 up from 21.

These changes mark the first step in a global brand re-fresh for this innovative whisky that aims to discover new flavours in whisky. A fresh marketing campaign to accompany this brand evolution, with the theme “whisky for the inquisitive”, will follow later this year when the new brand variant will launch in the UK, Australia and Travel Retail in the UK.

Ailsa Bay originally launched in 2016 as a single malt that brought whisky craft and innovation to a whole new level through scientific precision at its state of the art distillery at Girvan, which opened in 2007. This radical approach is driven by a collective of whisky visionaries and scientists including family member Peter Gordon whose vision led to the building of the Ailsa Bay Distillery, Malt Master Brian Kinsman, Projects Director Conn Lynch, Technical Leader John Ross, Distillery Manager Stuart Watt and more recently, Whisky Technologist Kelsey McKechnie. The aim was to develop a new style of peated whisky that delivers the unique balance of smoke and sweetness.

“The first release of Ailsa Bay was about trying to create a very heavily peated whisky with all of the sweetness and smokiness we could muster, but also dial down some of the medicinal notes that characterise some peated whiskies,” says Peter Gordon, Director of William Grant & Sons and great grandson of William Grant.

Using this as the starting point, the Team at Ailsa Bay have plans to develop this further in pursuit of new flavours. Stuart Watts, Distillery Manager at William Grant & Sons said “No other whisky is made with this much science. Using data points to adapt the flavour and applying modern engineering alongside our family’s traditional approach, is truly innovative”.

“The Ailsa Bay distillery continues to allow us to develop incredible whisky through its ability to create different styles under the one roof” says Master Blender Brian Kinsman. “This new expression has allowed us to evolve the flavour notes and push the balance in taste, without compromising on the quality of the liquid”.

The new Ailsa Bay bottle and liquid will be launching across both the on-trade and off-trade network from the beginning of September in Australia, Dufry Stores in GTR, Finland and selected UK stockists with a RSP of £55.00. Limited numbers of the original Ailsa Bay launch pack will still be available for a short period from stockists such as the Whisky Shop and Whisky Exchange in the UK. Ailsa Bay has an ABV of 48.9% per 70 cl bottle.

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

William Grant & Sons Appoint John Wayte As Monkey Shoulder UK Brand Ambassador

John Wayte

Independent family distillers, William Grant & Sons UK has today confirmed that John Wayte will take on the role of UK brand ambassador for Monkey Shoulder.

As the face of the UK’s most exciting Scotch whisky, John’s role will see him support Monkey Shoulder’s continued growth and take it to a wider audience than ever before. He will work extensively in the brand’s on-trade heartland alongside Global Brand Ambassador Joe Petch and bartenders across the UK to affirm Monkey Shoulder’s position as the world’s top trending Scotch.

John’s wealth of experience has included previous ambassador work in Poland where he built brand awareness and advocacy, and delivered brand stories to the on-trade, consumers and the media.

John Wayte commented: “It is a huge honour to be joining such an exciting and dynamic brand. Monkey Shoulder is a whisky I have always admired and one that has never been afraid to break with convention. It’s great to be part of a team with such a passion for Scotch and with a very exciting vision for the brand.”

Asmita Singh, Senior Brand Manager said: “John’s energy and enthusiasm for the industry combined with awesome interests such as filmmaking and extreme sports make him the perfect fit to break down preconceptions of scotch whisky. I am excited to see his open approach in action with bartenders and consumers to bring even more cocktail lovers into the cheeky world of Monkey Shoulder.”

Follow John’s Monkey Shoulder journey on Instagram @_barmonkey.

New Peated Single Malt Showcases The Balvenie In Entirely Different Way

The Balvenie Peat Week Aged 14 Years
The Balvenie, the most handcrafted single malt Scotch whisky, reimagines a classic Speyside style whisky with the release of an exceptional peated expression – The Balvenie Peat Week Aged 14 Years (2002 Vintage), available initially in a select number of markets.

The Balvenie Peat Week is the product of trials undertaken by The Balvenie’s Malt Master David Stewart MBE and Ian Millar, former distillery manager and current Prestige Whiskies Specialist at William Grant & Sons.

At a time when very few Speyside distilleries were using peat in production, The Balvenie distilled a batch of heavily peated malt, which was laid down to mature at the distillery in Dufftown, Scotland under the watchful eye of the industry’s longest-serving Malt Master. Since this pioneering moment, the distillery has dedicated one week each year, named Peat Week, to using only peated barley in its production, in order to craft a different style of The Balvenie liquid with enhanced smoky notes.

The result of the initial experiment is a classic honeyed whisky enriched with a delicate, sweet and lingering peat smoke that unlocks flavours unexpected from a Speyside distillery and showcases The Balvenie’s truly innovative and forward-thinking nature.

The Balvenie Peat Week (2002 Vintage), released in September 2017, is a single vintage bottling, limited and rare by nature. This non-chill filtered expression, bottled at 48.3% ABV, will launch exclusively to the USA, UK, Denmark and Sweden in September. The liquid was matured solely in American Oak casks, giving the final spirit a velvety and round taste with the peat smoke balancing oaky vanilla and honey.

Commenting on the release, David Stewart MBE says: “Being able to experiment with different elements of whisky making and stock management is one of the most exciting and important parts of my job. The new Peated Week bottling is a result of our continued efforts to innovate and trial flavours not typically associated with The Balvenie. The expression is testament to the freedom we enjoy as a family company, and shows The Balvenie in an unexpected way, yet still remaining true to the distillery style our drinkers enjoy.”

The new release pays special homage to a time when peated whiskies were commonly produced by distilleries across Speyside, including The Balvenie, who utilised locally sourced peat throughout the 1930s, 40s and 50s to dry barley processed at the distillery’s traditional malt floor, which is still in use today.

Ian Millar, says: “When we first started the experiments it was an incredibly exciting time as very few Speyside distilleries were using peated malt in production. Along with cask type, there’s nothing quite like peat to change the flavour profile of a whisky, so it was great to have the chance to undertake these experiments and lay the foundations for future peated malts.”

Alwynne Gwilt, The Balvenie UK Brand Ambassador added: “For anyone who thinks that Scotch is a staid category, this new release from The Balvenie will make them reconsider. Behind the scenes at whisky distilleries like ours, experiments are always going on and almost 15 years ago, we started exploring what it would be like to peat the malt that goes into our gorgeous honeyed liquid for one week each year. The result is something wonderful and will give The Balvenie lovers a chance to see this delicious whisky in a different light.”

The release follows the June release of The Balvenie Peated Triple Cask Aged 14 Years, exclusive to travel retail. Both bottlings will be permanent additions to The Balvenie’s existing range.

The Balvenie Peat Week will retail for £60 RRP and is available from September.

William Grant & Sons Appoints Stephen Rutherford As Glenfiddich UK Brand Ambassador

Glenfiddich UK brand ambassador_Stephen Rutherford
Independent family distillers, William Grant & Sons UK has today confirmed that Stephen Rutherford will take on the role of UK brand ambassador for Glenfiddich, with immediate effect.

Stephen’s new role will see him focus on generating brand awareness, building brand advocacy and bridging communication between the brand and consumers, bars & restaurants, retailers, distributors and press.

Stephen will take over from Mark Thomson who is moving north to focus on Glenfiddich’s home territory as the new Scottish brand ambassador.

Mark said: “I couldn’t be happier about Stephen taking on the national role as I move north to concentrate on Scotland. His joining of an already strong global team of ambassadors puts us in an enviable position within the industry but also offers a modern point of view for the whisky consumer. Plus, he has a great sense of humour- so I know he’ll fit in just fine!”

Stephen said: “I am extremely proud and honoured to be appointed as UK brand ambassador for Glenfiddich. It is a truly exciting time to be getting involved, with some fantastic projects coming up, and the opportunity to work with the amazingly talented team. I can’t wait to get out and about and start spreading the Glenfiddich love.”

William Grant & Sons UK Appoints Fabiano Latham As Reyka Vodka UK Ambassador

fabiano-headshot
Independent family distillers, William Grant & Sons UK has today confirmed that former Chotto Matte Bar Director, Fabiano Latham, will take on the role of UK ambassador for Reyka Vodka, as of January 2017.

Fabiano’s new role as the Reyka UK ambassador will see him focus on generating brand awareness, building brand advocacy and bridging communication between the brand and consumer, bars & restaurants, retailers, distributors and press.

Gwilym Cooke, Brand Manager at William Grant & Sons UK said: “With his vast experience and exceptional reputation in the on-trade, Fabiano is the perfect candidate to take on the role of UK ambassador for Reyka. His innovative nature, creativity and passion for the industry will be key for the work he does with the team and our on-trade partners.”

Fabiano said: “I can’t wait to work with Reyka for so many reasons; it’s a truly unique product within the vodka category and like myself, an inventive spirit. I am fascinated with the provenance of brands and also the art of flavour pairing. The story of Reyka’s production and the versatility of the liquid itself suits this passion perfectly.”

Fabiano will take over from Joe Petch who has held the role since 2013. Joe will be taking on a new role as Global Brand Ambassador for William Grant & Sons UK brand, Monkey Shoulder Triple Malt Scotch Whisky.

William Grant & Sons UK Appoints Alwynne Gwilt As The Balvenie UK Ambassador

alwynne-headshot
Independent family distillers, William Grant & Sons UK has today confirmed that whisky specialist, Alwynne Gwilt will take on the role of UK ambassador for The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch whisky, as of January 2017.

Joining William Grant & Sons UK in January 2016 as Whisky Specialist for the Ancient Reserves portfolio, Alwynne’s new role as The Balvenie UK ambassador will see her focus on generating brand advocacy and bridging communication between the brand and whisky drinkers, bars & restaurants, retailers, distributors and press.

Jonathan Cornthwaite, Head of Whisky at William Grant & Sons UK said: “Alwynne has a deep passion for whisky and the way it is made, which is why she is the perfect person to take on the UK ambassador role for The Balvenie, the most handcrafted single malt. With her wealth of unique experience, Alwynne will play a crucial role as the face of one of William Grant & Sons UK’s core brands. Alwynne will lead from the front to develop key relationships and initiatives to further enhance The Balvenie’s excellent reputation with whisky novices, enthusiasts and connoisseurs alike, as well as with on-trade partners.”

Alwynne Gwilt said: “Many years ago, when I was just beginning my journey in whisky, The Balvenie distillery was one of the very first ones I visited. And because all of the processes are done on-site, it was the first time I really, truly ‘got’ whisky, the first time I understood its underlying heartbeat. I was utterly hooked! As such, I’m thrilled to be coming back to these early roots, to be able to speak about and share my love of this beautifully hand-crafted product with whisky lovers far and wide.”

Alwynne will take over from James Buntin who held the role since 2014.

William Grant & Sons UK Hosts Pilot ‘Winner Takes All’ Regional Cocktail Challenge Championing Bartenders

WTA winners

William Grant & Sons UK held an event at Reading based cocktail bar RYND last week, encouraging up and coming talent, outside of the capital, to showcase their skills. This first national Winner Takes All cocktail competition showed some amazing bartending talent whilst at the same time saw some of the William Grant & Sons UK portfolio of brands featured in original and inventive cocktails.

38 bartenders, grouped into 12 teams showcased their cocktail making skills and were judged by William Grant & Sons UK brand ambassadors from spirit brands: Sailor Jerry, Monkey Shoulder, Reyka and Disaronno. They were judged on the quality of their cocktail making skills from accuracy, to creativity and style. Participating bars competed for a complete back bar of spirits from the William Grant & Sons UK portfolio.

The competition focused on four unique challenges: The ‘Speed Sour’ led by Disaronno ambassador Rod Eslamieh, the ‘Twisted Martini’ hosted by Reyka ambassador Joe Petch, the ‘Saturday Night Simulator’ concocted by Monkey Shoulder ambassador Grant Neave and the ‘Sailor Jerry Tiki-Off’, presented by Sailor Jerry ambassador EmmaLi Stenhouse.

Congratulations to the winning team: Matt, Matt and Colette from B@ONE in Reading, took home the entire back bar full of the William Grant & Sons UK portfolio. With the winning team based in Reading, where the competition was hosted, the prize didn’t have far to travel.

Joe Petch, William Grant & Sons UK Reyka Brand Ambassador, who led the competition, commented: “I started my career in Reading so for me this competition was really an opportunity to bring together like-minded bartenders from around the country – away from the usual capital city focus – and showcase some great up & coming talent. We saw some genuine originality from the participants using some of the William Grant & Sons UK brands: Monkey Shoulder, Reyka, Sailor Jerry, and Disaronno.

“The competition was a great success and was thoroughly enjoyed by competitors and spectators alike. This is an event we will definitely be doing again.”

William Grant & Sons Unveils The Girvan Patent Still Single Grain

securedownload

UK exclusive with the launch of 25 Year Old Single Grain Whisky

Today marks a significant landmark in William Grant & Sons’ history as it breaks with whisky conventions and releases The Girvan Patent Still Single Grain 25 Year Old Scotch as a UK only exclusive.

For whisky lovers looking to experiment, this innovative new expression offers something genuinely delicious and different due to The Girvan Patent Still’s unique distillation technology which delivers a pure and intensely rich spirit.

The original Girvan Patent Still, known affectionately as “No 1 Apps”, a distillery term for apparatus, was built in 1963 under the stewardship of Charles Gordon, a whisky production pioneer and the great-grandson of William Grant. Fifty years later, William Grant and Sons is proud to launch its first ever single grain whisky under the emblem of the very first Girvan Patent Still.

John Ross, Master Distiller, said: “The Girvan Patent Still Single Grain 25 Year Old is a new style of Scotch whisky which is born out of Charles’ spirit of innovation and perfected by time.

“The Girvan Patent Still continuous distillation method takes the finest cereal grains to produce a very pure, fruity and clean-tasting grain spirit, which is lighter in aroma and character than most malt whiskies. It is then matured in first-fill American White Oak which adds flavour, character, colour and complexity. Time mellows the whisky, amplifies the aroma and enriches the taste. Characterised by vanilla, toffee, honey and caramelised fruit notes, the whisky delivers a taste that truly reflects William Grant & Sons’ pioneering distillation heritage.”

The packaging of The Girvan Patent Still Single Grain reflects a whisky that breaks with convention. The tall, slender bottle has a light, elegant feel to it, just like the whisky inside. It is available in a rigid box with a ‘picture frame’ to show off the bottle and a metal badge on the side panels for a truly premium edge.

The Girvan Patent Still Single Grain 25 Year Old Scotch whisky is available as a world exclusive in the UK only from selected outlets from November, RRP £250.