SLTN and Halewood join forces for spirits tasting

Global brand ambassador Devin Tomlinson to showcase spirits portfolio at virtual event

SLTN and Halewood Artisanal Spirits have joined forces to stage a special tasting of some of the brands in its portfolio.

Part of the SLTN Trade Tastings series, the virtual event – at 7pm on 20th September – will see global brand ambassador Devin Tomlinson host a tasting of Whitley Neill gin, Dead Man’s Fingers spiced rum, JJ Whitley vodka and Crabbie’s Yardhead single malt.

Operators and bartenders can sign up for the tasting here: 

Ahead of the event, SLTN caught up with Devin for the lowdown on what the tasting will cover, his role and all things Halewood.

Q: Which drinks have you chosen for the SLTN Trade Tasting?  

A: We’ve chosen a mixture of our best-selling spirits brands, focusing on the original expression for each one: Whitley Neill London Dry Gin, Dead Man’s Fingers Spiced Rum, JJ Whitley Artisanal Russian Vodka and Crabbie’s Yardhead (our no age single malt). We selected these original expressions because we wanted to demonstrate how versatile our spirits can be – whether that’s for serving over ice, with a simple mixer, or even for a range of impressive cocktail serves. 

Q: What can bartenders expect from the virtual tasting?

A: We’ll run through each of the brands – go through a short bit of history of each, overview of the range, and then have a bit of fun with a some suggested serves and pairings. 

Q: How do you think spirits will perform over the coming months? 

A: Over lockdown a lot of people spent time learning more about spirits and making cocktails at home, and this increased interest in spirits and serves is definitely going to be reflected in the on-trade. People will be looking for a strong core spirits range, as well as interesting new flavoured expressions which can be enjoyed with a range of mixers, or for putting a twist on a classic cocktail. 

Q: What are the main considerations when deciding what to stock? 

A: It’s really important to know your customer base. For some venues, there will be customers who like to stick to their favourite spirit and mixer and won’t veer too far away from this, so it’s important to have the core range of spirits covered – perhaps with a small number of flavoured variants or new expressions. For those with a more experimental customer base – whilst the core is still important they’ll be looking out for the latest products and keen to try new things, so it’s definitely beneficial to stock up on the likes of our limited edition Whitley Neill flavours and new Dead Man’s Fingers rums. It’s also important to ensure that you have a good, better, best approach to your core spirits, providing the opportunity for customers to trade up and ultimately increase total spend at the bar. 

Q: What do you think your company’s portfolio offers?

A: Our spirits portfolio offers a great range of fast-growing and incredibly versatile spirits across the vodka, rum, gin and whisky categories, which lend themselves perfectly to the on-trade environment. 

  Q: How long have you worked in your role?  

A: I joined Halewood in 2015 as Whitley Neill brand ambassador, so have been with the business for about six years now. I’ve always been interested in the bar scene and learning about mixology. I started my career working in bars in Durban and then Cape Town, then moved into drinks companies, firstly as a regional sales manager and then to brand ambassador. In 2015 I graduated from the Shaker Bar School Advanced Mixology School and after that I secured the role with Halewood.  

Q: What’s the best bit of the job?  

A: For me, the best part of the job is getting to meet so many different people from all corners of the world, share in their passion for the industry and be able to introduce them to such a varied and exciting portfolio of brands.  

Q: What’s your favourite drink?

A: The Gimlet – a classic, gin-based cocktail. It’s simple to make but also really easy to ruin if not done correctly. I find it’s also a great way of grading a cocktail bar when I’m on the road looking at international markets.

Q: If you could have a drink with anyone, who would it be, what would you drink and where?  

A: Person would be the fantastic Kelsey Ramage. Drink would be a French 75 and it’d be at her amazing cocktail bar, the Supernova Ballroom  in Toronto.