Ayrshire siblings take top trade trophy

Founders of Buzzworks Holdings, with bars across Ayrshire, presented with SLTN Award for Industry Achievement for 2016

The three siblings behind one of Scotland’s most dynamic bar and restaurant groups were presented with the top trophy at this year’s SLTN Awards.

Colin, Kenny and Alison Blair, owners of Prestwick-based Buzzworks Holdings – the firm behind Ayrshire venues Lido, Scotts and Elliots – were joint winners of the SLTN Award for Industry Achievement at the 21st SLTN Awards, which is run by the Scottish Licensed Trade News (SLTN). The trio have worked together for nearly forty years.

Buzzworks has blazed a trail in the Scottish licensed trade, being an early adopter of both cocktails and quality food across its estate. The company owns and operates nine venues, with the business poised to move outside its Ayrshire heartland for the first time when it opens its tenth unit in the near future.

The company’s 450 employees are a source of pride for the Blairs and, in addition to quality venues, the business has built a reputation for the training and development of its staff.

Presenter Paddy McGuinness handed out the gongs at this year’s SLTN Awards, which took place at Glasgow’s Hilton hotel on Thursday (November 3), presenting more than 20 awards to Scotland’s best pubs, clubs, restaurants, staff and operators in front of an audience of 700.

This year, winners hailed from as far afield as Dornoch, Kirriemuir, Aberdeen, Dunkeld, St Andrews, Glasgow and Edinburgh.

The Blairs were not the only individuals honoured on the night.

Nic Wood, owner of Signature Pub Group, was named Entrepreneur of the Year; Callum Neilly of Lebowskis West End in Glasgow took the award for Bartender of the Year; Nick Gordon of Aberdeen cocktail bar Orchid was named Mixologist of the Year; and Helen Kallstrom of Kilmarnock’s Braehead Bar took the award for Unsung Hero.

Other winners included Dornoch Castle Hotel, which took the trophy for Whisky Bar of the Year; the Airlie Arms Hotel in Kirriemuir, which won the Beer Quality Award; The Finnieston in Glasgow, winner of Cocktail Bar of the Year; The Atholl Arms Hotel in Dunkeld, winner of Best Outdoor Area; Aberdeen bar and restaurant No.10, which was named New Business of the Year; and Sportsters in Falkirk, which took the Social Responsibility Award.

SLTN editor Gillian McKenzie said: “The 21st SLTN Awards is a major milestone for us and the standard of entries this year really was exceptional.

“From hotels and restaurants to pubs and bars, and from the central belt to the Highlands, this year’s winners encapsulate the very best of Scotland’s licensed trade.

“Congratulations to all of our winners and finalists; every one of them deserves credit for helping to make the licensed trade one of Scotland’s most dynamic and innovative industries.”