Bars cannot miss the target with gin

Figures from Scotland’s vibrant industry reveal pub pitfalls to avoid

FEW people can say they haven’t had a drink in a pub or bar that has left them disappointed.

And the last thing operators want, as the trade gears up towards the end of year rush, is unhappy customers on the other side of the bar.

With gin’s popularity continuing to grow, it’s more important than ever for operators to stock a good range.

With that in mind, SLTN asked those in the gin industry what common faults bars should be looking to expunge from their gin offer.

Lindsay Blair, global brand ambassador for Daffy’s Gin, explained what she reckons bar staff should avoid doing when making gin-based drinks.

She said: “When serving a premium gin operators should avoid using poor quality mixers.

“Additionally, customers will have different preferences regarding how much mixer to use, therefore the bottle should always be served on the side so they can mix accordingly.

“A pet peeve is pouring the tonic down a bar spoon to ‘maintain the fizz’ which in fact does the exact opposite.

“Sometimes garnishes can overpower gins and change the entire flavour profile of the drink.

“Operators should research brands where possible and consider using the perfect serve as recommended by the brand so customers can enjoy it as the brand intends.”

Stephen Kemp, managing director at Orkney Distilling, producer of Kirkjuvagr Orkney Gin, stressed the need to show quality gin the respect it deserves.

He said: “Where we aim for a high-end price point, quality must also rise to reflect this.

“Product knowledge, quality of serve, presentation and of course staff behaviour must all be of an equally consistent, high quality.

“A failure in any of these areas can damage the customer experience.”

While many outlets will be keen to offer a substantial range of gin as consumer demand for the spirit grows, Lara Williams, marketing and events manager at Stirling Gin, cautioned against enlarging a gin selection for the sake of it.

“There is a temptation for outlets to try and keep up with the releases of new gins by stocking as many as they can,” she said.

“This can be a mistake as it shows a lack of commitment to brands and often means a new gin will be swamped on the bar a mere month later.

“There is such a thing as having too many gins and this is never more obvious than when a customer is trying to choose a gin from an overstocked bar without enough information to make an informed choice.”

Although serving gin well by getting the fundamentals spot on every time will always earn an outlet pass marks from guests, those who wish to appeal to a greater number of gin connoisseurs should look to develop meaningful partnerships with brands, stated Niall Macalister Hall, managing director of Campbeltown-based Beinn an Tuirc Distillers, producer of Kintrye Gin.

He said: “Many list the product but few will make direct contact after buying it from a wholesaler.

“We are always on hand to offer advice on perfect serve, and what complements our gin.

“In addition, we are also able to help with social media promotion if on-trade venues want us to. We find the best relationships are built by feeding off one another.”