LA Group ready to rock and roll

Media division is final piece in jigsaw for Glasgow-based consultancy


LA Group, the combined, drinks wholesaling, training, events and multi-media consultancy, is hosting a drinks expo at its Glasgow HQ later this month.

The event, on August 14, aims to showcase the specialist spirits, liqueurs, tonics and bitters brands it currently supplies to the trade in Scotland, as well as potential additions to the portfolio.
Keynote speeches from bar and hotel operators, bartenders and brand ambassadors will also feature.
The expo comes shortly after the group, founded and headed by Scott Gemmell, simultaneously celebrated its fifth year of operating at its Kingston base, and seventh year in business.
With its premises now offering a 12-bar training school, wholesale drinks division and events and multi-media facilities (film, photography, graphic design and social media) under one roof, Gemmell said his vision for the group had finally become reality.
“Everything we do is aimed at innovation and progressing the trade,” he told SLTN.
“This is what our ambition has been and why we have built so many aspects into the company – so we can communicate, train and teach people what we’ve learned over the past ten years.
“It would have been great for me to have found somewhere like this when I was 18 years old to find all the theory and practical bar skills I needed.
“And it’s really rewarding doing it. We’re placing a lot of kids who have come through bronze and silver [courses] in jobs; some are now working for us on the events side.”
Gemmell said establishing the wholesale division has been a key development, explaining that it has given operators access to a broader range of ingredients, allowing them to create original drinks lists.
“The expo is an exciting phase for us,” he said. “It will allow us to engage with new brands, develop sponsorship, showcase what we’ve been doing on the media side,” he said.
“It’s a great opportunity to celebrate with people who have come with us along the way and others we intend to work with. We’ll have a couple who make tonics down in London, a guy that makes ‘super cherries’ and someone who makes this phenomenal wheat-based vodka, called Konik’s Tail – these are the sort of people we’re engaging. But we’re also engaging people like Burn Stewart, Speciality Brands and Emporia.
“We’re not making huge amounts of money from these people [independents], but it allows us to create menus that no one else can.”
“Our flavoured tonics will go into [the new] Cup lounge in Glasgow.
“People will be able to have a choice of tonics with their gin and that’s fabulous, you can’t do that at home. It’s a drinking experience now and that’s what it’s about.”
LA Group’s clients range from drinks firms like Edrington, Dewar’s and Angostura to operators like Radisson, Dakota and Blythswood Square.

Image: Scott Gemmell (third right) and team before Scotland’s tallest gantry at the LA HQ.