By Graeme Murray
FOUR leading trade figures said they are optimistic about the future of Scotland’s hospitality industry after an “amazing” year.
A panel at the BII Scotland AGM, which was held in Glasgow’s Grosvenor Cinema earlier this month, reflected on landmark events of the last 11 months.
James Rusk, owner of Hutchesons and The Butchershop Bar & Grill and chairman of Glasgow Welcomes, said: “2014 has been an amazing year and a massive round of applause for ‘brand Scotland’ for making it what it was.
“Although a lot of the events were based in Glasgow, their success filters out to the whole of Scotland.”
Petra Wetzel of Glasgow bar and brewery West said there had been a massive economic boost following the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup and urged the trade not to rest on its laurels.
She said: ”When I set up there were five breweries here, there are now over 80.
“I think Scotland as a country can really showcase what it has, but Scotland as a whole needs to up its game.”
Scott Gemmell of the LA Group said: “Scotland is finding its voice and identity and really starting to flourish.
“The biggest thing for me is that ideologies have changed and there is broader diversity in the spirits industry.”
Jonathan MacDonald of Ox and Finch restaurant said the craft beer movement had impacted hugely on the trade.
“In some cases craft beer is rivalling wine sales in our restaurant,“ he said.
BII Scotland chairman Stephen McGowan said: “We now have 250 members from all over Scotland and we want that to grow even more.
“2014 has been a stellar year for the food and hospitality industry.”
A trade show followed the AGM.