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Master of Malt Blog

Tag: International Women’s Day

The Nightcap: 6 March

If it’s booze news in bite-sized pieces you’re looking for, you have done very well indeed in finding The Nightcap, because that’s what it’s all about! We’ve recovered from our…

If it’s booze news in bite-sized pieces you’re looking for, you have done very well indeed in finding The Nightcap, because that’s what it’s all about!

We’ve recovered from our leap day-proved existential confusion with only minor frets of being trapped in a time warp, and we’ve made it to another Friday. No, that’s not the name of the next film in Ice Cube’s Friday film franchise… Wait, have we used that joke before? Wait, are we actually trapped in a time loop incurred by the leap day?! You’d better read the rest of The Nightcap to check and see if all this news is new to you – if not, we may indeed be living this week over and over again until someone somehow breaks the cycle…

On the blog this week we excitedly launched a VIP trip to the home of J.J. Corry, where you’ll get the chance to create your very own bottling with founder Louise McGuane. She wasn’t the only outstanding woman to feature on the blog this week, however. Annie caught up with Jill Boyd of Compass Box and Miranda Dickson from Absolut Elyx before Henry championed the legacies of pioneering bartender Ada Coleman and the Grande Dame herself in the build-up to #InternationalWomensDay. Elsewhere, Jess enjoyed a spiced rum that’s out of this world as Adam tasted the oldest permanent Redbreast expression, had a chat with the man behind The Whisky Baron and suggested some stunning sippers for the new season. Oh, and we also told Dram Club members what to expect from March.

But now’s the time for Nightcapping, so scroll away and get stuck into this week’s helping of boozy news!

The Nightcap

Is that Alexei Sayle on the right? No, it’s Marcin Miller with the team at the Kyoto Distillery

Pernod Ricard takes stake in Kyoto Distillery

Hot gin news has just arrived in our in-tray: Pernod Ricard has bought into the award-winning Kyoto Gin Distillery for an undisclosed sum. Founder Marcin Miller told us: “We remain fully invested in and will continue to run the distillery.” He went on to say: “Our gin has been well received and exceeded our expectations, and at this rate, we’ll exceed capacity at the current site soon. To build a new distillery, especially in Japan, takes time and we needed investment to help us fulfil this ambition. We were approached by a number of interested parties but decided to go with Pernod Ricard. I’ve had a lot of contact with the company over my 20 years in the industry. Everyone I have met has been great. The company culture is wonderful from the head down. Alexandre Ricard, in particular, took an interest in the distillery from the beginning. Looking to the future there are excellent distribution and marketing opportunities in this partnership.” Miller has had an interesting career in the drinks business as a publisher, with his own PR agency Quercus Communications, and the Number One Drinks company, which was set up with David Croll in 2005 to distribute Japanese whiskies. “We were fortunate enough to buy the full inventory of Karuizawa,” he said. A tidy investment when you see how much a bottle goes for today. In 2015, he set up the Kyoto gin distillery with Croll and his wife Noriko, quickly winning plaudits with its ultra-premium gin made with Japanese botanicals. Looks like we won’t be running out of Kyoto gin any time soon. Phew!

The Nightcap

Dewar’s Ilegal Smooth, the first mezcal cask Soctch whisky we’ve tried, it won’t be the last

Dewar’s releases mezcal cask whisky

In June last year, we reported that the new SWA rules now allow for ageing in unconventional casks such as Tequila or mezcal. Well, someone at Dewar’s clearly noticed as well as the firm has just released a mezcal cask whisky. It’s an 8-year-old blend called Dewar’s Ilegal Smooth. No, that isn’t a typo because the casks used formerly held Ilegal Mezcal. Brian Cox, vice president of Dewar’s North American, commented: “We’ve been considering experimenting in the mezcal space for a while and are thrilled to partner with Ilegal for this exciting world first. It’s a fortuitous collaboration as there are many parallels between Tommy Dewar, one of the Dewar’s founders, and John Rexer, founder of Ilegal. They both have grit, wit and passion for creating something new on an ambitious scale – the very best ultra-premium, smooth spirits. Dewar’s Ilegal Smooth pays homage to both of their successful legacies by dispelling myths about what’s possible between whisky and mezcal and ultimately breaking new ground in both categories. The end product says it all,” added Cox. We were given a little sample to try, initially, it smells like a blend with a high-peated percentage but then the vegetal taste of the mezcal comes through strongly. It’s highly distinctive and won’t be for everyone but it’s good to see Dewar’s experimenting. Sadly, at the moment it’s only available in North America. We will let you know when/ if it arrives on these shores.

The Nightcap

Happy International Women’s Day everyone!

Mama Shelter London and Isle of Harris host IWD whisky tasting

This Sunday (8 March) is International Women’s Day (you may have noticed a fair few features about ace women in booze over on the blog this week). A whole bunch of brands, distilleries and venues are hosting celebrations (check out Lyaness and The Artesian if you’re at a loose end on the day itself), and our very own editor Kristiane was thrilled to join Mama Shelter London and Isle of Harris Distillers for Whisky as Told by Women this week! The concept: four women in whisky each give a bit of insight into their careers, life in drinks and why they love whisky, while sharing one of their favourite drams with a room filled to the brim with fellow geeks! We were on board. Also sharing their stories were The Glenlivet’s Kirsty Thomson (accompanied by The Glenlivet 12), The Balvenie’s Alwynne Gwilt (The Balvenie Sweet Toast of American Oak), and The Whisky Lounge co-founder Amanda Ludlow (Jameson Black Barrel). And our Kristiane shared That Boutique-y Whisky Company’s Cambus 29 Year Old! A stellar line-up, even if we say so ourselves. The general consensus was how much the whisky industry has changed, even over the past two years. Women now hold senior positions right across the sector – and folks no longer seem surprised that women (gasp!) enjoy whisky. Has full gender parity happened? Not quite, especially when you think about the harassment many women in hospitality encounter all too often. But we’re proud of the progress that’s happened – let’s raise a dram to that, while pushing for even more equality, right across the board, in drinks and beyond. 

The Nightcap

One of the US’s biggest cocktail competitions has returned!

Stoli gets set for LGBTQ+ Key West Cocktail Classic

One of the US’s biggest cocktail competitions is back for its seventh outing! This week Stoli Vodka announced its bartender contest Key West Cocktail Classic is returning for 2020, honouring the legacy of gay bars and celebrating LGBTQ+ bartenders and their allies. And the prize is pretty epic. As well as scooping US$15k for a hometown charity of their choice, the winner will nab a holiday to anywhere in the world. That’s a pretty sweet deal. The theme for this year is ‘The Stolimpics’, and bartenders initially enter by creating a cocktail that celebrates their hometown. One winner from 14 different cities will bag themselves a ticket down to Key West at the beginning of June for the eight-day final/shindig! “For more than 35 years, Stoli has celebrated gay bars as the original safe spaces for the LGBTQ+ community,” said Patrik Gallineaux, Stoli Vodka national LGBTQ+ ambassador and manager. “We are committed to championing these community centers and the individuals who are central to advancing them. I am thrilled to report that through this initiative, Stoli has had the opportunity to positively impact LGBTQ+ supportive non-profits across North America, with more than $120,000 awarded to LGBTQ+ charities to date.” Good luck to everyone taking part!

The Nightcap

Ahbi Banik standing by his patented Banik Still

Copper Rivet awarded patent for Gin Still 

It’s been quite the week for Kent’s Copper Rivet Distillery! After a three and a half year application, the distillery (of Dockyard Gin fame) has finally been awarded a patent for its Banik Still, named for head distiller Abhi Banik. In the Banik Still, the maceration is performed away from the heat source, with the botanicals’ flavour infused at a lower temperature than most traditional distillations. This, combined with a vapour infusion basket, allows distillers to have more control over how the flavour is extracted depending on the type of botanical, rather than a one size fits all approach. “It was when I was studying distilling, nearly 10 years ago, that I began to wonder why no one had tried to change or improve distillation processes for hundreds of years,” says head distiller Banik. “It took me seven years to design the still, a concept all in theory and CAD drawings, and with no experimental proof that it would work. When the Russell family and I were designing a still for Dockyard Gin, I showed the team my concept and they believed in it enough to give it a try!” What’s more, the new still is also focused on efficiency with increased charge alcohol recovery between 80 to 85% of total charge, compared to 60 to 75% in other more traditional distillation techniques, as well as really getting the most out of the botanicals so, in theory, less will need to be used to achieve the same result. Huge congrats to the Copper Rivet team!

The Nightcap

The Queen’s favourite hotel is going back in time to the 1920s!

The 1920s arrive at the Goring, finally

If you could go back to any time when would it be? It would be hard to beat the 1920s, jazz music, glamorous open-topped cars and more cocktails than you can shake a stick at (though we’d probably miss modern dentistry.) Now you can travel back in time as from 6pm every Sunday starting on 8 March, the bar at the Queen’s favourite hotel, the Goring, will be transformed into The Roaring Goring. Not such a vast change for an institution where the last 100 years could easily have not happened. There will be live music and classic cocktails made by bar manager Tiago Mira including the Hanky Panky (see our latest Cocktail of the Week), Air Mail (Havana Club 3 Year Old Rum, lime, honey, Ayala Champagne and Green Chartreuse) and the Scofflaw (Lot 40 Canadian Rye, Mancino Secco Vermouth, lemon, grenadine and orange bitters). So put on your baggiest trousers, brush up on your jazz age slang, and get down to the Goring for a night to remember. 

The Nightcap

A 3D render of the new micro-distillery set to open in John O’Groats

Planning permission secured for Scotland’s most northerly whisky distillery 

When you think of John O’Groats, you probably think of people doing crazy cycle rides or long walks to there from Land’s End. Well, now the wonderful world of whisky has made its way to the most northerly part of Scotland, with a new micro-distillery set to open in John O’Groats in 2021! The first Scotch whisky distillery in John O’Groats since 1837, planning permission was secured on 2 March for a 32,670 square foot site which will be home to a distillery, visitor centre and bonded warehouse. The distillery is the brainchild of husband and wife duo Derek and Kerry Campbell, and it’ll claim the title of Scotland’s most northerly mainland whisky distillery. Brought to life with the help of £198,000 of funding secured from Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE), with a capacity to produce up to 60,000 litres of whisky each year. “We believe the whisky we will produce will be unlike that from any other distillery, due to our coastal location in John O’Groats and the impact the local climate will have on our spirit as it matures,” says founder Kerry Campbell. “With traditional methods at the heart of our plans and an ambition to showcase whisky distilling in John O’Groats to the world, we are looking forward to opening the doors to our micro-distillery in due course. The support we have received from the local community and business owners to date has been fantastic and we can’t wait to welcome them to our distillery in 2021.” Now those mad folk travelling from Land’s End to John O’Groats will be rewarded with a local dram when they arrive!

The Nightcap

This is incredibly important news and vital work

Early Times is searching for ‘All-American Dogs’ for advertising campaign

Now, we’re a self-proclaimed gaggle of cat-lovers (at least most of us are) here at MoM Towers, though having said that we’re also partial to the occasional office dog (then we find it really hard to concentrate). Our ears pricked up when we caught wind of a fur-tastic advertising campaign from Kentucky whiskey maker Early Times, which has put out a call to arms to find “All-American Dogs” to serve as the faces for its 2020 advertising campaign. “When we started talking about what  being “All-American” means, we immediately thought of the loyalty and dependability that dogs bring to our own lives,” Early Times senior brand manager Dallas Cheatham. “It felt natural to connect with our Early Times drinkers by celebrating their amazing dogs.” Whiskey lovers (over 21) can share a photo of their beloved canine and explain why their pup embodies the “All-American” spirit, and Early Times will select 10 winning doggos. The competition is live until 12 April, and this is actually the second year that the competition is running. Last year there were more than 10,000 entries, but don’t let that deter you and your pooches!

The Nightcap

GlenDronach’s new visitor centre is open for business and looking good

GlenDronach gets a new visitor centre

For our money, Glendronach makes some of the finest whisky on Speyside, and we know you agree judging by the demand for its expressions like the 15 Year Old Revival. Now the distillery has a visitor centre worthy of such magnificent drams. There is a new bar and visitors will have the opportunity to fulfil their wildest dreams by filling their very own bottle of GlenDronach. Don’t worry though, this isn’t some space-age aberration stuck on the side of an old building, the design pays homage to the distillery’s founder James Allardice and the original buildings with natural stone walls with brass, marble and leather detailing. It’s the work of designer agency 1751 working with Ross McNally from Scarinish Studio. Jennifer Proctor from the distillery commented: “James Allardice was both a visionary entrepreneur and a warm and welcoming host. Our vision was to carry forth his hospitality and to bring the traditional craftsmanship of The GlenDronach to life, creating the perfect experience for our visitors to immerse themselves in the distillery’s rich heritage and our Highland single malts. Everything has been designed around the guest experience, from the striking circular table in our tasting room to the comfortable leather lounge area. With a range of tours also available, we look forward to welcoming everyone from the whisky curious to experienced aficionados. . . .” As you can see from the picture, they’re done a great job. 

The Nightcap

The comedian may need to change the name of Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back, on Channel 4 now…

And finally…  Comedian Joe Lycett changes his name to Hugo Boss

The artist formerly known as Joe Lycett pulled off quite the stunt this week by legally changing his name to Hugo Boss by deed poll as part of a comedic revenge mission against the giant fashion brand. Hugo Boss (the brand) has previously taken legal action against small firms using word boss in names, including Boss Brewing, a Swansea-based craft brewery, who were left with a £10,000 legal bill after the luxury designer brand sent it a cease and desist letter when the brewer applied to trademark its name, a process that usually costs £300. A further rebranding process cost upwards of £20,000 after the items had been relabelled and old stock discarded, according to founder Sarah John. She said the comedian’s move was “such a brilliant way of showing support”. A charity called DarkGirlBoss had also supposedly received a legal letter from Hugo Boss when it tried to trademark its name. Hugo Boss (the man), whose Twitter and Wikipedia have been updated to reflect the change, tweeted an image of the deed poll letter, complete with a new signature with an unusually phallic structure along with the following statement: “So Hugo Boss (who turnover approx $2.7bn a year) have sent cease & desist letters to a number of small businesses & charities who use the word ‘BOSS’ or similar, including a small brewery in Swansea, costing them thousands in legal fees and rebranding. It’s clear that Hugo Boss HATES people using their name. Unfortunately for them this week I legally changed my name by deed poll and I am now officially known as Hugo Boss. All future statements from me are not from Joe Lycett but Hugo Boss. Enjoy.” The comedian added that he would be “launching a brand new product as Hugo Boss” and would reveal the details on the new series of Joe Lycett’s Got Your Back, on Channel 4, which takes on big corporations to fight for the rights of British consumers. The German luxury fashion house has responded and said that they welcome the comedian as a member of the Hugo Boss family, but it would appear the pr damage has already been done. Anyone for a Boss beer?

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Five minutes with… Miranda Dickson from Absolut Elyx

As the global brand director of Absolut Elyx, Miranda Dickson is the creative brain behind the luxury vodka expression. You might not know it, but she’s the reason we’re all…

As the global brand director of Absolut Elyx, Miranda Dickson is the creative brain behind the luxury vodka expression. You might not know it, but she’s the reason we’re all obsessed with sipping drinks from its copper pineapples (or is that just us?) Ahead of International Women’s Day, Sunday 8 March, we talk about female empowerment in the drinks industry… 

Not many people could be regarded as a vodka expert on an international level, but Miranda Dickson is unquestionably one of them. Beginning her career with one of Europe’s leading vodka bar groups,she was enamoured with the category from day one. All those hours spent researching the spirit and running educational programmes for her staff at Revolution vodka bar in Manchester that Dickson earned a unique job title, ‘Vodka Princess’, which eventually led her to join the Pernod Ricard group in 2005 as Wyborowa’s global brand ambassador. Dickson was quickly promoted to head of global education and joined the Absolut family in 2010, where she went on to establish the Elyx Boutique, developing super-Instagrammable drinking vessels, barware and apparel made from the brand’s striking signature copper. We took five with the industry legend, below, to talk bartenders in gorilla suits, tiny Martinis, and female empowerment…

Miranda Dixon with Mark Ronson

Master of Malt: Great to speak with you, Miranda! First of all, when and where did your love of all things vodka begin?

Miranda Dickson: Vodka was always my spirit of choice, and in the mid-nineties, everything cool was Absolut. I was introduced to Paul Newman, the Absolut guy in the north west of England. He bought us the coolest Martini glasses to use in the bar I worked in, and we started serving lots of fruity, lurid-coloured Martinis, as was the craze. In 1997, I moved to manage the Revolution vodka bar in Manchester and from there my love grew. We had over 100 different vodkas behind the bar and I took it upon myself to find out the backstory of the brands – a journey that took me to Poland, Finland, Russia, Iceland, the US and, of course, Sweden. Before I knew it, I’d been crowned ‘vodka princess’ by my boss and my role expanded. I curated all the cocktail programming, menu designs, vodka purchasing and educated staff for 38 busy cocktail bars in the UK. I also wrote three books about vodka. 

MoM: What do you love the most about your role as global brand director?

MD: It’s such a privilege to work on Absolut Elyx. The vodka itself is just delicious, it speaks for itself and I’m not just saying that – it really is exquisite. To be part of the house of Absolut, which has such a rich heritage and history in popular culture, and so many really great stories and incredible creative collaborations, is such a pleasure. I have real creative empowerment and freedom with Elyx and have been allowed to explore and test new strategies and ideas with my team which is something I am very grateful for.

MoM: If there was such a thing as a ‘typical’ day at work, what might it look like?

MD: There is never a typical day! My life is sometimes super-glamorous and I travel a lot. Part of my role is to be present in the trade and sample delicious Elyx cocktails, so I spend lots of time on planes. But most of the time my mornings start at 5.30am on video calls with my team, who are based all over the world but mainly in Sweden. The afternoons are spent meeting people and catching up on projects. When I’m not travelling, I try to be in bed by 9pm with chamomile tea and Netflix! 

Absolut Elyx copper pineapple. Snazzy

MoM: When it comes to gender equality, where is the drinks industry excelling?

MD: We are starting to see a real emergence of female empowerment in our industry now. Gone are the days when girls were barmaids and waitresses. Today there are so many incredible female bartenders. Monica Berg – a dear friend, and really a superstar pioneer in our business – has pretty much cleaned up this year at drink industry awards all over the world. The industry is increasingly more observant and open-minded now too, and more supportive around female challenges in the workplace in general.  

MoM: On the flipside, where is there room for improvement?

MD: I think women in general should treat each other better. I don’t think it’s confined to any specific industry, but what I do see is a lot of women who like hanging with the ‘guys’ and aren’t supportive of each other, and that’s a shame. If we stuck together – and I mean really stuck together – we’d be unstoppable.

MoM: What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?

MD: The second year of the ‘Garden of Elyx’ at Tales of The Cocktail in 2015. We were previewing cocktails in copper pineapples, Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale took guests through a curated drinks experience dressed as gorillas… and the general mayhem of Tales. Three people – considered luminaries of the drinks business – said ‘Wow Miranda, what you guys are doing with Elyx is just amazing, I never thought anyone could make vodka relevant again and get people interested. Look what’s going on here – everyone just loves Elyx, you guys are really shifting things up a notch’. It was then I knew our approach to the trade was the right one, and that was a great feeling.

MoM: Tell us about any campaigns or projects you’re working on at the moment?

MD: I’m actually working on Tales of the Cocktail now – in my role I’m also responsible for all the trade and advocacy programming for Absolut Vodka, so [Tales planning] is across both brands. I’m also working on a global ‘On The Road’ education programme for the brands, as well as a new approach to how we host people in Sweden. Then, of course, curating new items for Elyx Boutique and also getting ready to launch the Elyx partnership with [summer lifestyle brand] Sunnylife.

Tiny, tiny Martinis!

MoM: What new cocktail trends have caught your eye right now?

MD: Tiny tini Martinis. The Martini is the undisputed king of cocktails, and we believe one of the most delicious cocktails to enjoy the true character, taste and sublime texture of Elyx. Enjoying them in smaller 85ml serves ensures they stay icy cold and truly delicious throughout.  

MoM: Do you have a favourite bar, and if so, what’s your order?

MD: My favorite place to sip Martinis, soak up the atmosphere and watch the crowd has to be the Chateau Marmont in Los Angeles. It’s the greatest place to start or end an evening – or spend a whole night! My order has to be an ice-cold Elyx Martini: 50/50 with Absolut Elyx and Lillet Blanc, and a generous lemon twist. 

MoM: What advice would you give to anyone looking to get into the industry?

MD: Keep the passion. It is tough, especially if you’re a woman in this industry, but isn’t it tough in many professions? For me, that passion gets me up in the morning and gives me energy. Stay true to what you think, rise above the noise, and most of all, have fun and enjoy it. 

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The Nightcap: 28th February

This week on The Nightcap, you can look forward to stories about brand new whiskies, brand new distilleries and… thievery! There’s a leap day tomorrow, which is always a bit…

This week on The Nightcap, you can look forward to stories about brand new whiskies, brand new distilleries and… thievery!

There’s a leap day tomorrow, which is always a bit interesting. Do you use it to delay things you have no intention of doing by saying “I’ll do it next February 29th!”, knowing full well that it won’t happen for another four years? Do you dread it because it adds another day to February, thus making the warm light of spring seem that much further away? Do you completely forget about it and find it disorientating expecting March but waking up in February again then start believing you’re trapped in a time loop? However you enjoy your leap day, go into it knowing what happened this week in the world of booze by tucking into this edition of The Nightcap!

On the blog this week we launched our Merser & Co. Double Barrel Rum competition as Ian Buxton returned to look into the explosive history of distillery fires. Adam then announced the news that Kilchoman Distillery has opened its new stillhouse and visitor centre before inviting you to broaden your horizons through a delightful selection of world whiskies, before Henry tasted the new special limited edition Ardbeg Blaaack and a single cask Bruichladdich bottled by Hunter Laing for our New Arrival of the Week. Annie, meanwhile, enjoyed a Mediterranean take on a classic for our Cocktail of the Week, the world’s first African-Caribbean rum and then got the low-down on peat from a selection of whisky experts.

But there’s still so much more boozy goodness to enjoy. To The Nightcap!

The Nightcap

Look, it’s the first whiskey from Waterford Distillery: 1st Cuvée: Pilgrimage!

Waterford Distillery launches its first whisky 

Waterford Distillery has announced the release of its first whisky since it began distillation in 2015. 1st Cuvée: Pilgrimage is the hugely-anticipated launch from the famously terroir-driven producer and is a limited-edition commemorative bottling created by head distiller Ned Gahan. The distillery says Gahan has “brought together each of the 36 farms we distilled in our first year, each one location, captured in spirit, a unique Waterford distillate. Together, they make a mind-bogglingly complex and multi-layered single malt – the determined goal of this intriguing journey – a pioneering concept for the whisky industry”. There are just 1,500 numbered bottles of 1st Cuvée: Pilgrimage, which was bottled at 50% ABV and has a retail value of €150. However, getting your hands on it won’t be easy. 1,000 of these bottles have been labelled “I Was There” and will be available to the public, strictly limited to one per individual, at a distillery open day on Saturday 25th April. Waterford Distillery stressed in the press release that the bottles must be collected in person and that it is only for those who “make the pilgrimage”. To provide a festival atmosphere (among all the strict rules and regulations), local food suppliers, brewers and musicians will be in attendance. Tickets for the open day can be bought on Eventbrite right here.

The Nightcap

The brand home will feature drinks and food made using locally-sourced ingredients.

The Kyoto Distillery opens ‘The House of KI NO BI’

The Kyoto Distillery has a new brand home, ‘The House of KI NO BI’, which will officially open on Saturday 28 March in the centre of the historic city. The renovated traditional ‘machiya’ townhouse was built more than a 100 years ago as a timber mill and the Japanese gin brand has retained the original interiors including earthen walls, beams and roof tiles to preserve its heritage. Just as with the distillery’s gins, local materials were used wherever possible, including bespoke handmade furniture by local workshop In Wood and traditional fabrics from the revered textile company, Hosoo, based in Nishijin, Kyoto’s kimono-making area. The interior design was completed by Douglas Kakuda Croll, son of two of the founders and a graduate of the Bartlett School of Architecture at UCL London. The house is open to visitors and will serve classic cocktails and local drinks such as Kyoto Brewing Company beers and wines from the Amanohashidate Winery in the north of Kyoto Prefecture, while the food menu will focus on botanical-inspired dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients. Exclusive items will be available at the Omise no Ma (shop), the exhibition space, Tenji no Ma will showcase information about the history of gin and the botanicals used by the Kyoto Distillery, whilst botanical deconstruction and gin blending seminars will be available at Konwa no Ma (meaning Harmony). Kyoto Distillery’s range of gins, including its classic Ki No Bi Gin, is available here

The Nightcap

The extraordinary Karuizawa 52 Year Old Cask #5627 Zodiac Rat 1960

The Oldest Macallan and Karuizawa ever bottled lead Sotheby’s wines & spirits sales

Sotheby’s upcoming wines and spirits sales on the 18 March is sure to draw headlines as the pre-sale estimate is between £842,420 – 1.6 million worth of rare drink across 87 lots. The Finest & Rarest Spirits selection features some standouts, including the oldest Macallan and Karuizawa expressions ever bottled. The highly sought-after Karuizawa 52 Year Old Cask #5627 Zodiac Rat 1960, is arguably the most coveted bottle from the legendary closed distillery and in 2018, a bottle of this Japanese single malt broke the record for the most expensive bottle of Japanese whisky ever sold at auction, superseded several months later by a rare bottle of Yamazaki 50 Year Old 1st Edition. Macallan whiskies, as always, will draw longing looks from buyers with a range that includes an independently bottled 48 Year Old, an unbroken vertical of The Macallan in Lalique Six Pillars Collection (six crystal decanters ranging from 50 to 65 years old) and the 72 Year Old Genesis Decanter, the oldest whisky to be released from this exemplary distillery. Another highlight is an array of old Gordon & MacPhail releases from previous decades with vintages stretching back to the 1930s, which were consigned to Sotheby’s directly from the Urquhart family. “We are delighted to present such a strong selection of bottles consigned directly from producers as well as from private collections to begin our 2020 sales in London. Among the most exciting bottles in this sale are the Gordon & MacPhail Private Decanters, all of which are numbered 1 of their respective outturn. This is the first time that any number 1 decanter from G&M has been offered for sale rather than kept within the Urquhart Family archives,” says Jonny Fowle, Sotheby’s spirits specialist. “Offering these alongside such iconic bottles as Karuizawa 52 Year old from Cask #5627 and so many Macallan in Lalique decanters showcases the strength of current demand for the very best in the world of whisky.”

The Nightcap

Have you got what it takes to become the ‘Highballer’ of the Year 2020?

Spirited Union announces ‘The Highballer of the Year Twenty Twenty’ competition

Spirited Union has announced that it will kick-off its first Highballer cocktail competition in March to “find the next innovative expression in botanical rum” and the perfect bartender to become the Highballer of the Year 2020. The ‘world’s first’ botanical rum distillery will task entrants initially with creating a unique Highball recipe using its current range of drinks between 1st – 30 March. Those who make it through to the second round will then be sent a sample pack of five single-origin rums and the competitors must choose a rum that they feel best works with their botanical rum concept while also presenting an idea to help Spirited Union further reduce its carbon footprint. The chosen finalists will be invited to Amsterdam for a three-day competition from 5 – 7 June to distil their own rum recipe in the Spirited Union Distillery. The winning expression will then be launched as Spirited Union’s 2020 Limited Edition Rum which will go on sale throughout Europe. The winner will also help “shape the brand’s ongoing ideas and future distillery plans, alongside the opportunity to consult on new launches in their home country”. If you’re interested in entering or want more information, just click here.

The Nightcap

Dr Stravinsky, one of the two brilliant bars that will curate a delightful cocktail menu

Barcelona comes to Soho in two exciting pop-ups 

Barcelona, renowned for crazy architecture, delicious tapas and, of course, its awesome bar scene. It’s home to Paradiso and Dr Stravinsky, two of the world’s best bars (ranked #20 and #25 in the World’s Best Bars, respectively), and now both establishments are touching down in London for the week with two specially curated cocktail menus! What’s even better is that you can find both pop-ups in the same place, Wardour Street in Soho. Running from Tuesday 3 to Friday 6 March at 100 Wardour Street, the wild and wonderful Paradiso, known for its theatrical nature (in its home city, you’ll find it in a speakeasy hidden behind a fridge door) will be bringing its colourful, boundary-pushing serves. A serve that caught our eye was Caribe Italiano, described as a “Daiquiri with an Italian soul and a tropical touch,” marrying Guatemalan rum macerated with banana and Parmesan, coconut water shrub, fresh raspberry and rocket. Consider our interest piqued. Next door in The Den (at 98 Wardour Street), a bar channelling the intimacy of an old drawing-room, you’ll find Dr Stravinsky from Thursday 5 to Sunday 8 March. With the original bar reminiscent of a 19th-century laboratory and many of the cocktail components made in-house, you can imagine the exciting alchemy the team will bring to London. We’re looking forward to trying Truffle Rosita, an umami-forward serve boasting Blanco Tequila redistilled in truffle, Campari, red and dry vermouth and a Parmesan sheet (looks like Parmesan is all the rage is Barca!) If classic cocktails just aren’t doing it for you anymore, then prepare to have your expectations dazzled over in Soho next week!

Posh Spice’s husband enjoying a drop of Haig Club

Haig Club Clubman made ‘official whisky’ of David Beckham’s Inter Miami CF

David Beckham has brought together his love of football and whisky by partnering Haig Club Clubman and Major League Soccer’s newest club. Beckham not only co-owns Haig Club, with drinks giant Diageo, but he’s also one of the founders of Inter Miami, who he co-created once he retired from playing using his option that was put in contract that allowed him to purchase an expansion team at a price of $25 million when he joined the league with LA Galaxy in 2007. Fittingly, Haig Club and Inter Miami CF will officially kick off their partnership on the 14th March when Inter Miami takes on LA Galaxy at its Fort Lauderdale stadium. Cocktails will then be on sale to fans over the age of 21 at the stadium throughout the football season. Haig Club is made at Cameronbridge Distillery in Fife, and matured in ex-bourbon casks to create a light, sweet and versatile profile that’s ideal for mixing. “I’m so excited that Haig Club is launching in Miami. Miami is like a second home for me, it’s a city that has welcomed me with open arms – the energy and the people are all amazing,” says David Beckham. “Launching Inter Miami CF this year is a really proud moment for me and to have Haig Club be a part of that is really special. I can’t wait to see people enjoying Haig Club in Miami”. 

Is Rajbir Singh about to hit his brother Sukhinder in this photo? 

Plans submitted for new distillery on Islay

Islay’s tenth distillery moved a step closer this week as Elixir Distillers submitted its plans (see photo in header) to Argyll & Bute council. The proposed site will include a floor malting, room for 16 washbacks and four sets of pot stills with a capacity to produce one million litres of pure alcohol per year. According to the press release: “The distillery will feature smaller stills, a mixture of modern and traditional yeasts, and longer fermentation times. Modern technologies around distillation and heat reclaim techniques will be used to maximise flavour and energy efficiency and minimise the impact on the environment”. It will be geared up to innovation with a separate still specifically used to create experimental batches. The people behind Elixir Distillers are Sukhinder and Rajbir Singh who will be well-known to drinks fans as founders of The Whisky Exchange and Speciality Drinks. Sukhinder Singh commented: “I wanted to build a distillery on Islay because I have always loved the island, its people and its whiskies. I’ve been a regular visitor to the island for over 25 years and must have tasted close to 3000 different Islay whisky bottlings! From a liquid point of view, we are determined to produce the greatest spirit possible. We want to create something that inspires the people of Islay and our customers and enhances the reputation of Islay as a source of some of the world’s greatest whiskies. Our hope is that our distillery becomes an integral part of the island community, and one of our key priorities is to work collaboratively with the local community to ensure everyone benefits.” Concrete plans to achieve this include eight houses for staff, a charitable fund to help the community and representation from locals in the decision-making process. We’ll let you know how the plans progress. 

The Nightcap

Fentimans wants you to nominate women who have made a difference

Fentimans Launches ‘She Is Fearless’ International Women’s Day Campaign

Do you work in the drinks industry? Do you work with awesome women who you think should be recognised? The wonderful Fentimans has launched a rather marvellous International Women’s Day campaign, dubbed ‘She Is Fearless’! Running throughout the whole of March, the botanical drinks brand is encouraging anyone in the drinks industry (male or female) to nominate women who have individually contributed to making a difference in the world of drinks and hospitality, from all roles including suppliers and bartenders to brand ambassadors and back of house staff. The name of the award (while obviously celebrating badass women) was taken from the Fentimans logo, the Fentiman’s family (and notably female) dog, called Fearless. All nominees will be graced with a Fentimans ‘She is Fearless’ award at their place of work. Follow this link to nominate a fearless woman you work with! 

Jean-Christophe Coutures

Chivas CEO Jean-Christophe Coutures looks casual

Carbon neutral distillery within two years, promises Chivas Brothers 

This week Jean-Christophe Coutures, CEO of Chivas Brothers unveiled some bold sustainability initiatives. These include the building of the first carbon-neutral distillery within two years, to reduce the emission of greenhouse gasses by 20%, ensure all packaging is sustainably-sourced by 2022, make point of sale ‘eco-friendly and finally the slightly less concrete-sounding “roll out sustainable events around the world.” The environmental pledge came with the release of the group’s six-monthly performance which shows net sales up by 4%. Of the group’s big brands, Ballantine’s was up by 5%, Royal Salute by 17% and Glenlivet by 15%, whereas Chivas Regal itself was 2% down in the last six months. Most major markets were growing slowly with the US the standout up 17%, the odd one out was Global Travel Retail which was down by 2%. Let’s see if Chivas can maintain its growth, sustainably, of course.  


The scene of the crime

And finally. . . American woman returns stolen stein after 55 years

We reported last year that at the Oktoberfest there were 96,912 attempted glass thefts prevented by stewards. But even the most stereotypical efficient teutonic guard will miss a glass or two. Once such lapse happened back in 1965 when American tourist Celeste Sweeney was at the Hofbräuhaus in Munich. Speaking to German news agency DPA, she told how she slipped the stein under her coat and smuggled it back to her home in Maryland. Hardly the crime of the century, but it seems that Sweeney has regretted it ever since as recently she spent over $100 sending it back with a note reading: “I took this beer stein from your establishment in the summer of 1965 when I was young, reckless and inconsiderate. I am sorry I did not get it back to you sooner. Hopefully it arrives in one piece.” Wolfgang Sperger from the beer hall was so impressed that he has sent her a replacement mug along with tokens she can exchange for beer. So all’s well that ends well. Now maybe I should do something about that Stella glass that mysteriously appeared in my cupboard one morning in 2006. 


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IWD 2019: Meet our content assistant, Jess Williamson!

Want to get into writing about whisky? On International Women’s Day, we meet our content assistant Jess, who does just that! It’s International Women’s Day! All week, I’ve been chatting…

Want to get into writing about whisky? On International Women’s Day, we meet our content assistant Jess, who does just that!

It’s International Women’s Day! All week, I’ve been chatting to just some of the women who work at Master of Malt, in all different departments across the business. We’ve met Emma, our head of service; Mariella, our PR manager; Rachel, our trade service manager; Laura, our campaign executive; and earlier today, Charlotte, our digital marketing assistant.

Now, wrapping up our Q&A series, we have Jess, the newest member of the MoM marketing team. She joined Content in January 2019 and immediately hit the ground running, helping to research and write about – and, most importantly, taste! – the very many products we get live on the site every day. She also contributes to The Nightcap, the blog, and a whole host of other drinks and words-related things.

Intrigued about getting into drinks writing? Want an insight into content at MoM? Over to Jess!

Tell us about you and your role at Master of Malt.
I’m the content assistant at Master of Malt, so I mainly help with the shed-loads of new products that flood in, and write some (hopefully) witty and informative content for them!

Talk us through a typical day…  
Mostly I’ll be looking through all the new product listings and writing content for those, with some social media content on the side. Occasionally, we have brands come in to show us their products; those days are always educational and delicious. I contribute to The Nightcap posts each week, and if I’m lucky then I’ll also have some tasty drams to write tasting notes for!

How did you get into content and writing?
I graduated from Bristol University with an English Literature degree, so I’ve always loved writing, and have written for online music magazines in my spare time for nearly three years. I also worked in an extensive gin bar for a while (it had 64 gins!), which is when I realised that drinks were really a thing – when I say that, I mean more than just vodka and squash, which happily I shall never drink again. I started temping in another department within the company for a few months, during which time the industry got me hook, line and sinker, and I applied for my current role at MoM!

Jess, who loves music and booze, is our content assistant!

What’s one of the most surprising things about your role?
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was (happily) surprised at how varied it is, and how everyone is happy to pitch in, and for me to pitch into projects. I don’t think I’d quite understood the scale of the industry and the level of discernment involved – I was blind but now I see! Also, three cheers for the hands-on nature of actually tasting the drinks I write about. Yum.

What makes the drinks industry such an interesting place to work?
As someone fairly new to the industry I’ve learnt so much in such a short space of time, and I don’t think that’ll slow down any time soon! Everyone involved is so enthusiastic; there’s such a great combination of tradition and innovation. The whole nature of drinks is so subjective as each consumer is unique, so it feels like the possibilities are endless!

Recommend a drink!
Just one? I’m a big fan of trying any new and exciting cocktail when I’m out, but I love a Bramble. Although if I’m making a drink for myself, then it’ll probably be a Gin & Tonic!

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IWD 2019: Meet digital marketing assistant, Charlotte Gorzelak!

It’s International Women’s Day! All week, we’ve been celebrating by interviewing some of the women who work at Master of Malt. Today, we chat to our digital marketing assistant Charlotte…

It’s International Women’s Day! All week, we’ve been celebrating by interviewing some of the women who work at Master of Malt. Today, we chat to our digital marketing assistant Charlotte Gorzelak, who landed at MoM Towers after working in Germany and LA. Kent is very different in comparison…

8 March is here and it’s International Women’s Day! To mark the occasion, we thought we’d take the opportunity to quiz some behind-the-scenes faces at Master of Malt. Not only have you got to meet some of our dream team, hopefully it’s potentially sparked some drinks industry career ideas, too…

Today we’re chatting to Charlotte Gorzelak, who joined MoM in July 2018 as our digital marketing assistant. Charlotte’s career path so far has certainly been geographically diverse, and she’s also our resident detective with her Criminology degree. Intrigued? Read on!

Tell us about you and your role at Master of Malt…
I’m the digital marketing assistant at Master of Malt, so I do a little bit of everything from pay-per-click, to email and social marketing. I mainly build the social media posts which go out on all channels, and I go to a few events to post stories on Instagram to give our followers an insight into the interesting new things happening in the industry. Most recently, I was in Mayfair for the launch of our new MoMer’s Web Page Gin, and the week after that I was in Covent Garden for an Irish whiskey tasting and book signing with Anne Griffin, the author of When All is Said.

How did you get into digital marketing?
I actually got into marketing by applying for a waitressing role after graduating with a degree in Criminology. They saw I had media and PR experience on my CV, and offered me a different role in the interview. Cue four years of me working in a microbrewery, helping during brewing (read: getting malt in my wellingtons and generally making a mess), making cocktails and serving drinks, and doing marketing for a few drinks businesses. I also did a short stint in Los Angeles working with a film company as their marketing person, and in Germany filming with Audi at the Nürburgring. I then came back to England (and the drinks industry!) to work at MoM.

She might not be a GoT fan, but Charlotte is queen of the Iron Throne.

What makes the drinks industry such an interesting place to work?
It’s varied and fun. It’s such a broad industry. From the making of the drink to the selling and then the serving, you need lots of different skills at each intersection and I think that’s why you get such a mix of people working in our industry. There’s a place for everyone. When I worked in brewing, we used to do the brewing process in these steel vessels next to the bar. I was inside cleaning out the malt one day and popped my head out of the hatch. I totally surprised this couple eating their lunch next to the tank! It was hilarious, and it made their day that they could talk to someone who was really involved in the drink they were drinking at the time.

Tell us about a career highlight…
When I was just starting out at MoM I was asked to go to the Macallan Magnum exhibit to celebrate the opening of the new distillery. It was the first event I attended at MoM. I was able to take an in-depth look at the distillery and chat to people in the industry, while sipping amazing whisky cocktails – and I got to sample the Macallan Magnum expression bottled especially for the opening. I also went to Diageo’s Game of Thrones Johnnie Walker White Walker launch which was amazing, even though I have never seen the TV show! As we were filming, I even made a tiny cameo.

Recommend a drink!
The Penicillin cocktail. Smoke, ginger and sweetness. I’m still yet to perfect it at home but whenever it’s on a menu, it’s my go-to drink.

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IWD 2019: Meet trade service manager, Rachel Matthews!

It’s probably fairly obvious that we love and sell all kinds of delicious boozes here at Master of Malt. But did you know that we also work with the likes…

It’s probably fairly obvious that we love and sell all kinds of delicious boozes here at Master of Malt. But did you know that we also work with the likes of bars, restaurants and pubs? It’s Rachel Matthews and her team who look after this side of proceedings, and in today’s instalment of our International Women’s Day series we’re getting stuck in to all things Trade!

Rachel joined Master of Malt five-and-a-half years ago, and has been instrumental in building the Trade team out. Her hospitality background is a huge advantage, as is a love for the hundreds of new products we see each week. Over to Rachel!

Tell us about you and your role at Master of Malt.
I’m the trade service manager.  What do I do, I hear you ask… well, I’m here to support and help develop the team to provide the best service to our customers that have businesses in the world of booze. We give our on-trade customers a service which is knowledgeable, product-filled and a cut above the rest. And we continue to make Trade a thriving sector at Master of Malt!  Each year we gain more customers through word-of-mouth because of the service we proudly provide.

How did you get into trade service?
I’ve been at MoM for five-and-a-half years; before that, I was waitress at a cocktail bar when I met you (love that song – The Human League!). Sadly, it wasn’t as cool as that – it was a seafood restaurant. I’d worked in the hospitality industry for long period of time after university and I was ready to get out, but I still wanted to continue dealing with customers as I enjoyed that aspect of my work. This is when I decided I wanted to work for MoM, I knew a fair bit about alcohol, but my main love was dealing with customers. I finally, got an interview (after stalking the website daily) with Emma Golds, and they accepted me for a stock assistant role (not what I wanted but it developed my understanding of the company). I quickly transitioned into the Trade department. From there, I grew within the department, continually learning and building my knowledge about how to give our customers the best service possible. I’ve always been a believer that you have to work hard for what you want and always push yourself, learn from your strengths and weaknesses.  

Master of Malt International Women's Day Rachel Matthews

Meet trade service manager, Rachel!

What are the particular challenges to working in Trade?
I love a challenge; it is the only way you learn about yourself. But one particular area I find challenging is keeping up with the constant flow of new products. There are thousands of them, and it is not slowing down! For instance, the gin industry is still booming, and I believe there are 315 distilleries in the UK according to from HM Revenue & Customs figures, and gin drinkers helped category sales exceed more than £1.9bn in 2018. It’s absolutely mind-blowing!

What makes the drinks industry such an interesting place to work?
The industry is ever-changing, you never stop. People said after the EU referendum that the alcohol industry was in danger. Well, I can confirm that Trade is seeing sales climb 65% year-on-year.  People are wanting to spend more on the quality of the liquid, and are more focused on the ingredients and stories behind the bottles. This is great, as we are able to help our customers expand their knowledge on the products available, as well as our own knowledge, too! We are constantly learning, and no day is the same.

Recommend a drink!
Tough question! If I’m needing a pick-me-up then I’d go for an Espresso Martini. If I’m putting the world to right with my friends, then I’ll have a wee dram of the Glenfarclas 15 Year Old.

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IWD 2019: Meet our head of service, Emma Golds!

Our International Women’s Day 2019 interviewee today is Emma Golds, our head of service! Emma leads our trade and retail service teams, is partial to a Japanese G&T, and was…

Our International Women’s Day 2019 interviewee today is Emma Golds, our head of service! Emma leads our trade and retail service teams, is partial to a Japanese G&T, and was also recently featured on a very exciting bottle of gin indeed…

Friday 8 March is International Women’s Day! To mark the occasion, all week we’re giving you a behind-the-scenes peek into the inner workings of MoM Towers and introducing you to different people across the team. Today, meet our head of service, Emma Golds.

Emma joined Team MoM more than six years ago – and you’d be hard-pressed to find a human who cares more about the customer experience than she does. She’s part of the senior management team at Master of Malt, and has an incredibly varied role spanning service (of course!) product, and operations. Over to Emma!

Tell us about you and your role at Master of Malt.
I am head of service for Master of Malt, which means that I’m responsible for managing the Service teams (Retail and Trade) and ensuring that our amazing customers always receive the support and service that they deserve. I have worked at MoM for six years and absolutely love it! I truly believe that our customers are the best in the world and the fact that I get to spend my days coming up with different ways to improve our service delivery and make even more people happy is the greatest.

Talk us through a typical day…
First thing, I’ll have a catch up with our Trade and Retail Customer Service managers to get updates about how their teams are looking and what type of things we have been helping our customers with recently. I want to understand what our customers are asking for and how we can help them better in the future. Listening to our customers and taking their feedback to other areas of the business is something that I absolutely love to do! It really is our customers that drive and shape our business, and I’m incredibly fortunate to work with some amazing colleagues and teams that also love to listen and respond to the challenges that are asked of us.

Then, after a coffee, I’ll continue to test out some of the new systems that we are trialling which will make the customer experience even more seamless. The rest of the day might include more meetings, or knuckling down and working on some upcoming projects. I work very closely with all other areas of the business to make sure that we have complete cohesion in our strategy – from our Fulfilment Centre, to make sure that all of our orders are packed beautifully, to our Stock Replenishment team, to ensure that we have enough stock for an upcoming promotion that our Digital Marketing team will be running over the weekend. The overarching goal is always to make our customer experience the absolute best it can be. 

International Women's Day Master of Malt Emma Golds

It’s Emma!

How did you get into customer service?
I had always worked in customer service but had never really thought about it as a career path – I just knew it was something that I really enjoyed and was good at (I think, really, I just like to chat with people and do what I can to help and make their lives a little easier!). After taking myself off to university and travelling for a few years, I returned home and began working directly with customers again. I found that I was not alone in being shocked and dissatisfied with the customer service I was receiving from companies that I interacted with, and that I was extremely passionate about improving service levels across the board. Fortunately, I found myself joining a business (MoM!) that felt the exact same way, and I began to build and shape a team that puts customers at the absolute forefront of our decision-making.

What makes the drinks industry such an interesting place to work?
I think the fact that it attracts so many different types of people, all with such varied skills but passionate about the same thing. It really breaks down barriers and the opportunities are endless! It is such a fast-paced industry and is constantly evolving. It keeps you on your toes and is so exciting – who knows what trends are just around the corner?!

Tell us about a career highlight…
Being featured on the MoMer’s Web Page Gin label recently has to be a very proud moment!

Recommend a drink!
Easy peasy – Ki No Bi Gin & Tonic with a sprig of rosemary to garnish. Absolutely beautiful (and if you can guarantee sunshine and good company, that is even better!).

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IWD 2019: Meet our campaign exec, Laura Carl!

With International Women’s Day fast approaching, we thought we’d celebrate some of our behind-the-scenes team here at MoM Towers. Today we chat with Laura Carl, our campaign executive, about #WhiskySanta,…

With International Women’s Day fast approaching, we thought we’d celebrate some of our behind-the-scenes team here at MoM Towers. Today we chat with Laura Carl, our campaign executive, about #WhiskySanta, diving, and the joy of bourbon.

Friday 8 March is International Women’s Day! Last year we marked the occasion by interviewing some of the drinks industry’s most exciting luminaries. For 2019, we thought we’d turn our attention to our very own office. Get set to meet more of Team MoM!

As well as getting to know some of the women who work here at Master of Malt, I hope a little behind-the-scenes peek will highlight some of the many varied careers the drinks industry offers. We met PR manager Mariella yesterday, today it’s the turn of campaign exec Laura Carl to talk us through life in the marketing team. She joined Master of Malt in June 2018, and works across all kinds of projects, from #WhiskySanta to our weekly emails. Enough from me, over to the woman herself…

Tell us about you and your role at Master of Malt.
I’m a campaign executive at Master of Malt, our team (big up Jake Mountain and Lois Jõe!) manage the marketing campaigns and all the challenges that go with running them. This includes everything from headline competitions and social media campaigns such as #WhiskySanta, to product selection for the website and managing day-to-day marketing requests.

Talk us through a typical day…
The best thing about this role is that every single day is different for me. We have on-going projects which require constant attention, such as the weekly product email, and then brand new campaigns or ideas which can be turned around in a couple of days. My role includes coming up with design ideas, putting together strategic planning for public holidays or events, analysing results, and acting as a communicator between the many wonderful teams and people we have here at MoM, who make it possible to get the job done.

Laura Carl International Women's Day

Laura spends much of her year liaising with #WhiskySanta while he’s on his holibobs

How did you get into marketing?
My career path seems pretty convoluted; I actually have a degree in marine biology – so obviously marketing was the clear career choice after graduation! I worked in sales for a PR company before running away for two years travelling. In that time, I had a range of roles; most notably I became a dive instructor in Thailand and Indonesia (yeah, I’m pretty cool), and then I moved over to Australia. Over there, I worked in a few bars and managed events for a small craft brewery in Brisbane (check out Aether Brewing with its amazing craft beer and even better people), where I gained a true passion for drinks. Upon my return, I knew I wanted to focus on marketing and I managed to find this amazing role which allowed me to use both the creative and analytical aspects of my personality (as well as my love for all things alcoholic!).  

What are the particular challenges your role?
Clear communication is always key. The easiest way I would explain my role is project management marketing. Making sure every aspect of the campaign is running smoothly and on-time can be a challenge, especially at busy times of the year such as Christmas.

What’s one of the most surprising things about your role?
The opportunity to be as creative as I want when it comes to new social campaigns is amazing; we really do have the freedom to run with what we believe will be effective. MoM has a wonderfully jovial ‘voice’ and working with that kind of marketing image for a company gives you the scope to have a lot of fun when it comes to new campaigns.

What makes the drinks industry such an interesting place to work?
I really am lucky to work in an industry which I’m truly passionate about. It’s constantly evolving, there is such a rich history involved in spirits and, best of all, there’s always something new to learn or try. Everyday people are pushing the boundaries in spirits production, cocktail making and drinks trends, which makes the whole industry innovative, exciting and endlessly interesting.

Tell us about a career highlight…
We recently attended the Gin Magazine Awards (where MoM snapped up Online Retailer of the Year!). We spent the evening sipping the world’s best gins and generally celebrating how awesome we are, which was pretty cool! Also, getting to attend the launch of the ‘A Miscellany of Inventions’ cocktail menu at GŎNG Bar at the top of The Shard was pretty frickin’ awesome. Can I have two? I’m putting two.

What advice would you give to someone looking to get into drinks marketing?
You may not feel like you’re always on the right path but seize every opportunity that falls your way, no matter what your current role. You never know when the skills you pick up may come in useful.

Recommend a drink!
Bourbon is the love of my life, so it has to be an Old Fashioned.

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IWD 2019: Meet our PR manager, Mariella Salerno!

8 March marks International Women’s Day, so this week we’ve gone behind the scenes at MoM Towers to introduce you to some of our dream team. First up: PR manager,…

8 March marks International Women’s Day, so this week we’ve gone behind the scenes at MoM Towers to introduce you to some of our dream team. First up: PR manager, Mariella Salerno!

It’s always fun to have a peek at other people’s lives. I don’t know about you, but this extends to browsing property websites, Instagram, and very definitely drinks cabinets. In a similar vein, Take Your Friend To Work Day should absolutely be A Thing. And with International Women’s Day on Friday, it seemed like a good opportunity to have a nose into the lives and jobs of some of my colleagues here at Master of Malt! (Confused/annoyed by all things IWD? Have a read of this post from last year and then come back. We’ll still be here.)    

International Women’s Day is, at its heart, a celebration of women from all backgrounds in all walks of life. And there are a whole bunch of amazing people at MoM Towers who just happen to be women! From our marketing and service teams to digital, trade and beyond, the drinks industry is full of brilliant people in ace roles (beyond Master of Malt, just check out some of the women who we spoke to last year!)

Whether you’re looking for a bit of career inspo or just feeling nosy, this mini-series is for you. First up, we speak to Mariella Salerno, our PR manager who joined our marketing team at the end of last year, who chats Margaritas, sharing stories and celeb encounters. Over to Mariella!

Meet Mariella!

Tell us about you and your role at Master of Malt.
I am the PR Manager at Master of Malt, which means that I look after all external relations and publicity for the company. Historically, Master of Malt hasn’t really had a PR function, and this is the first year we’ve had an in-house team. This makes me so excited as I have the chance to steer our communications strategy in line with what the whole company is up to!

Talk us through a typical day…
The first thought of the morning is to check social media and see what our brilliant readers and customers are saying about us! People talk about all kinds of drinks and share our blog stories and videos. Then I grab a coffee and sit down in front of my laptop ready to spread MoM joy! The rest of the day I might be meeting with brands or events partners, or visiting venues for future events. Or catching up with journalists, or getting a press release ready to send out. The role is a mix of strategy and creativity, so each day is different.

How did you get into PR and communications?
I landed my first communication job as marketing assistant at sports network ESPN, and my boss at the time said he liked my eagerness to chat so much that he thought I would have plenty to say when the channel launched in the UK and Southern Europe. I then went to gain qualifications from the Chartered Institute of Public Relations in PR Strategy Management and Psychology in Campaign Design, just to make sure I was doing things right!

What’s one of the most surprising things about your role?
You really do have endless opportunities to create stories that can inspire readers and audiences regardless of demographics, background or affiliations. As long as there is a shared passion, you are really free to create new stories that people can engage with.

Tell us about a career highlight…
Dame Vanessa Redgrave walked towards me, asked for my name and toasted to my hard work at the Moët British Independent Film Awards 2011. That was an incredible moment!

What makes the drinks industry such an interesting place to work?
I think the most interesting aspect for me is that the drinks industry really is free from clichés, strict rules and stereotypes – it attracts an enormous variety of people all with different backgrounds and from different walks of life. It means the drinks industry keeps evolving all the time – in doing so, it remains relevant and it’s so exciting to be involved in. In PR you’re always trying to connect with people, and because everyone is welcome, the possibilities really are endless!  

Recommend us a drink!
Simple – a classic Margarita. It never, ever, ever goes out of fashion!

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International Women’s Day with… Anna Sebastian of Artesian

From bartenders and floor staff to hosts and bar backs, women make up more than half of the team at London’s Artesian. To round off our International Women’s Day series,…

From bartenders and floor staff to hosts and bar backs, women make up more than half of the team at London’s Artesian. To round off our International Women’s Day series, bar manager Anna Sebastian reflects back on her first favourite cocktail, delves into the intricacies of the upcoming menu, and reveals what inspired her jump from the Beaufort Bar…

Of Artesian’s 22 new staff members, 12 are female – an impressive ratio that represents the city’s diverse barscape. Tasked with heading up this creative bunch are Anna Sebastian, former manager of The Savoy’s Beaufort Bar – awarded Best International Hotel Bar at Tales of the Cocktail 2015 under her reign – and head bartender Remy Savage of Little Red Door in Paris. The duo collaborated on a preview menu when they took up their posts in November last year, to be followed by an official menu in the coming weeks called Artesian Moments.

If you’re unfamiliar, Artesian is no ordinary watering hole. Under the tenure of Alex Kratena and Simone Caporale, it secured the accolade of World’s Best Bar not once, but four years in a row. It’s known for its experimental, daring menus, magnificent theatrical serves and, above all, for never equating ‘luxury’ with ‘dull’. With imaginative sorts like Sebastian and Savage heading the ranks, who knows what the bar will go on to achieve in the coming years….

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