Catering for style and substance

Diverse range of perfectly-presented drinks the key to craft products

woman smiling holding cocktail

PROVIDING a diverse range of well-presented drinks is said to be the best way to make the most of Scotland’s growing selection of craft products.

From small-batch gins to craft beers, Scotland has no shortage of quality craft products for pubs, bars and restaurants to choose from.

When selecting which of them to stock, variety is the spice of life, said producers.

“Our advice is to make sure that, whether you stock a vast range or just a handful, that your back-bar contains spirits with different profiles to meet a range of tastes and to make them suitable for an array of different serves,” said Jo Jacobius of Dunnet Bay Distillers, producer of both Rock Rose gin and Holy Grass vodka.

“From the simple G&T, Negroni or Martini to more complicated cocktails.”

Variety is equally important on the beer front, according to Jo Stewart, co-founder of Stewart Brewing.

She said a “diverse range and one that changes is key in the on-trade”.

“We recommend that operators have a selection of permanent favourites on offer accompanied by some ‘guest’ lines which change regularly,” she said.

Quality, said Stewart, “is paramount”.

“We suggest selecting a variety of reputable brewers who have a diverse range of flavours and styles,” she said.

Within craft beer, Stewart said IPAs and pale ales are continuing to perform well in bars and pubs.

And, despite brewers experimenting with a variety of different processes, ingredients and fermentation styles, “it’s hard to see any one of these styles gaining the same level of popularity as pale ales over the coming months”.

Quality is, of course, one of the big selling points of any craft range. But that doesn’t stop with the liquid itself.

The way a craft beer or spirit is served is a quintessential part of the experience – as well as part of the justification for the higher price tag.

Stewart said it is “hugely important” that craft beers are served and presented in the best way.

Jacobius, at Dunnet Bay Distillers, agreed.

“If a cocktail calls for ice, be generous: the most beautifully made cocktail falls flat if it’s not served at the correct temperature and in a chilled glass,” she said.

“And people drink with their eyes first of all. The glass should be pristine; it should be well-chosen for the drink; and a beautiful garnish makes all the difference.

“Even in a busy bar, garnishes can be pre-prepared so that every drink is wonderfully ‘dressed’.”

The key to ensuring a high standard of serve every time will always be a venue’s staff and Stewart stressed the importance of having a knowledgeable team behind the bar.

“Bartender knowledge has a big influence on the drinker’s choice so ensuring bar staff are knowledgeable about the beer, its flavours and how to serve the drink will allow them to make recommendations to customers and encourage them to try something new,” she said.