Wednesday, February 26, 2020
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SLTN Awards 2019

In the Beer Quality Award, Tennent’s and SLTN are looking for those outlets keeping, dispensing and presenting beer to the highest possible standard.

Judges will look for:

  • A full stock of appropriate glassware for each type of beer and knowledge of the impact of incorrect glassware on quality of serve.
  • A good, well-understood, system of glass cleaning, storage and replenishment.
  • Excellence in dispense, good staff knowledge of the pouring and presentation techniques required for the different beers and a consistent delivery of perfectly-presented beer.
  • Understanding of the importance of quality amongst management and staff within the outlet.
  • Excellent cellar management, exemplary cleanliness and appropriate cellar temperature control, including evidence of the processes in place to maintain these.
  • Good staff knowledge of the processes involved in receiving, storing, rotating and changing kegs, etc. for different beers.
  • A well-planned bar area designed to help maintain beer quality and ensure the perfect pour every time.
  • Good use of founts to present the beer range to the consumer.

The SLTN Gastropub of the Year Award will go to a venue that delivers high-end pub food and a quality drinks range to match with first-rate friendly service in a pub environment.

Black Bottle, Bunnahabhain, and Amarula

Judges will look for:

  • A menu which brings a contemporary flavour to pub classics and displays a commitment to quality and the use of fresh local, sustainable produce.
  • A comprehensive drinks range designed to match the food offer, including suggested pairings.
  • A commitment to deliver first-class customer service, reflecting ongoing investment in staff training and development.
  • Surroundings and an ambience to match the quality food and drink on offer.

Does your bar, restaurant or hotel deliver a quality al fresco experience? If so, Magners and SLTN want to hear from you. The SLTN Best Outdoor Area award will go to a venue with an outdoor space which has made a real impact on the business.

Magners Irish Cider

Judges will consider:

  • Design and function
    The outdoor area should demonstrate good use of space, be clean, tidy and well-maintained, and able to comfortably accommodate al fresco drinkers and diners as well as smokers.
  • Innovation
    Smart use of the al fresco area for marketing and promotion through, for example, branded parasols or outdoor TV screens.
  • Success
    The outdoor space should have made a real impact on the business.

Craft beer has taken the trade by storm in recent years and is one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing segments of the beer category. The judges will look for an outlet that demonstrates excellence in craft beer, both in terms of its product range and the level of knowledge displayed by its staff.

Firkin Express

Judges will seek:

  • A strong variety of craft beer brands and styles on draught and in the fridge.
  • A thorough understanding of the craft beer category, and the benefits it can bring to an outlet’s beer range and sales.
  • Staff that are knowledgeable about the beers they sell, and are able to make recommendations to customers.
  • The ability to deliver the perfect serve for craft beers.
  • Evidence that the craft beer range is tailored to the outlet’s clientele.

Open to all bar staff across Scotland, the SLTN Bartender of the Year award seeks to recognise the creativity, knowledge and passion of the country’s best all-round bartender. We’re looking for someone with the skills, knowledge and desire to make a real difference to enhance the experience of their customers. This award will recognise a passion for presentation and creativity in the ways in which beer and other drinks can be served and celebrated in pubs.

The Bartender of the Year will:

  • Display great product knowledge and be able to talk confidently about the brands and products they offer.
  • Delight customers by identifying their needs and making recommendations.
  • Demonstrate a passion for, and understanding of, all things beer – from the ingredients to the brewing process.
  • Understand different beer styles and taste profiles and be able to share these with their customers.
  • Share beer knowledge with colleagues and continue to develop their own knowledge through training.
  • Have a good understanding of what can affect the quality of beers, wines, ciders and spirits in the bar and how to manage these factors.
  • Show dedication to the continual improvement of the standards and service offered.
  • Display a commitment to deliver the perfect serve every time by understanding the fruits, glassware and associated components for each serve.

SLTN has joined forces with Sky to look for the best venue to watch the match in. The judges are looking to find those on-trade outlets where live sports events are used as a way of maximising business. 


Judges will assess:

  • How live televised sports are used to drive footfall and build an outlet’s reputation as a sports viewing destination.
  • The promotion of live sport through marketing activity, including social media platforms.
  • Evidence of commercial success gained through promoting live sport.
  • Food and drink tailored to live sport.
  • The overall sports viewing experience, including screen and audio quality.

The Independent Multiple Operator of the Year will be a business that consists of four or more bars, restaurants, hotels or nightclubs. Skill and ability in identifying a market opportunity, seeing it through to operational reality and handling all the complexities of multiple site management will be the key characteristics of this award winner.

The Independent Multiple Operator of the Year award, presented in association with Smirnoff, recognises and celebrates the spirit of entrepreneurship that defines Scotland’s licensed trade.

Judges will look for:

  • Business development and vision
    The award winner will demonstrate a clear understanding of the marketplace, consumer insights, competitor activity and food and drink trends and have a clear vision for their multi-site operation.
  • Business success
    Judges will look for evidence of a successful, thriving and sustainable business.
  • Marketing strategy
    The judges will look for evidence of creative marketing plans driven from market insight as well as evidence of how marketing campaigns drive commercial success.
  • Staff
    Our winner will have well-trained, highly engaged staff who understand the business and the consumers it attracts.
  • Community engagement
    Our winner will be active in the community and will demonstrate how they work with local groups and organisations.

The SLTN Industry Achievement Award 2019, presented in association with Edrington-Beam Suntory UK, will recognise an individual member of the trade who has made a very special contribution.

The most important influences on Scotland’s licensed trade are the people who play their part in it – as owners and entrepreneurs, managers and educators, activists and innovators. Each year we recognise a very special member of the trade.

The judges will look for someone who has made a very special contribution to the Scottish trade

That may be a lifetime spent at the forefront of the industry or in the drinks retailing service of a single community.

It may recognise a major contribution to the training of young entrants to the industry; to the development of trade bodies; to the promotion and presentation of a local area or of Scotland in general; to the development of an important trade sector, like entertainment, cuisine or visitor attractions; to the significant improvement of standards in the industry; to the enhancement of the image of the trade.

You may propose anyone in the industry who has, in your opinion, made a significant difference – over a full career or over a shorter time.

If you know of someone who has made a major contribution to the development of the industry in Scotland, please play your part in ensuring they receive the recognition they deserve.

Gin has been one of the biggest success stories in recent years – and the category shows no signs of slowing down. There are more gins – including Scottish gins – on the market, more bars stocking a broader range, and more consumers drinking the spirit than ever before.

four bottles of Schwepps mixers

The SLTN Gin Bar of the Year will demonstrate the following:

  • A broad range of gins covering different styles and countries of origin that meets different budgets and tastes.
  • A strong range of tonics and mixers and an innovative range of serves.
  • The use of glassware and garnishes to enhance the taste and presentation of its gin-based drinks.
  • Well-trained knowledgeable staff with a passion for gin.
  • The successful promotion of gin in marketing material and activities like gin tastings and sampling ‘flights’.
  • The use of gin in the development of the bar’s reputation.

Sponsored by Absolut vodka and Barnomadics, the SLTN Mixologist of the Year award will recognise the bartender who displays the best overall knowledge of the premium spirits category and demonstrates innovation and creativity when making cocktails.

Absolut and Barnomadics

Judges will look for:

  • An extensive knowledge of spirits categories, the premium brands within them and current drinks trends.
  • The correct use of glassware, premium mixers, fresh fruit, garnishes and ice.
  • Knowledge of the cocktails sector, its heritage, development and place in today’s bars.
  • Good mixology skills, an innovative approach to developing new cocktails and signature drinks, and a willingness to work with new products.
  • Evidence of pushing the boundaries in mixology.
  • Confidence and style when making and presenting cocktails.

SLTN and Chivas Regal have joined forces to search for the licensed trade’s most inspiring and successful entrepreneur.

Judges will consider:

  • Consumer insight
    The Entrepreneur of the Year will have identified a genuine gap in the market and turned it into commercial reality. That project will have offered a new experience for consumers in its area and be communicated to them through imaginative marketing methods.
  • Risk-taking
    The winner’s approach to risk will represent a balance between intelligent and grounded commercial insight and a willingness to take bold steps to realise goals. Judges will also look for evidence of the ability to remain focused and resilient in the face of difficulties.
  • Decision-making
    Our successful entrepreneur will demonstrate sound decision-making qualities, even under intense pressure. A clear leader, he or she will be a good communicator who is able to inspire others and delegate effectively.
  • Development
    The Entrepreneur of the Year will have excellent project management skills, with the flexibility to reshape a project if and when circumstances dictate. He or she will also be able to react decisively and creatively to unforeseen challenges as a project develops.

SLTN is delighted to embark on the search for Scotland’s Whisky Bar of the Year, in partnership with Glenfiddich.

Scotch whisky is enjoying unprecedented success around the world but the Scottish on-trade remains a vital route to market for the country’s national drink.


The Whisky Bar of the Year will demonstrate:

  • A balanced range of malts, blends and other Scotch and international whiskies that meets a broad spectrum of budgets and tastes.
  • A strong commitment to staff training, with particular emphasis on developing whisky knowledge.
  • The successful promotion of malt in marketing campaigns and activities like whisky and food matching dinners, educational tastings and promotional ‘flights’.
  • The use of whisky in the development of the bar’s reputation, interior design (including space devoted to whisky in outlet) and overall food and drink offer.
  • Successful and innovative promotion of whisky to encourage ideas outside the traditional.

The SLTN Rum Bar of the Year will recognise a venue with rum at its very heart – from the range stocked and serves offered to the passion of the staff who work there.

Glasses of Bacardi Rum Drinks

Judges will look for:

  • A balanced and varied range of rums covering different styles, budgets and tastes.
  • A broad selection of mixers and an innovative range of serves and cocktails.
  • The use of glassware and garnishes to enhance the taste and presentation of its rum-based drinks.
  • Well-trained knowledgeable staff with a passion for rum and the ethos of the category.
  • The successful promotion of rum in marketing material and activities like rum tastings and sampling ‘flights’.

The SLTN Sustainability Award will go to a venue with sustainability at its heart, where the team takes great strides to reduce the business’s impact on the environment. 

Sky Ocean Rescue logo

Judges will look for:

  • A clear strategy to reduce the impact the business has on the environment, which spans all aspects of the operation – from energy usage to drinks.
  • A commitment to sourcing produce sustainably and ethically.
  • An environmentally-friendly waste strategy.
  • A commitment to promoting environmental awareness through marketing and involvement in the local community.
  • A staff training programme to ensure all team members are aware of their responsibilities and use best practice.

Cocktails provide an excellent opportunity to build on the benefits of premium drinks brands. They help an outlet increase both profitability and consumer appeal.

In the Cocktail Bar of the Year category, SLTN and Grey Goose are looking for Scottish bars which make the most effective use of cocktails.

greg goose cocktail and bottle

Judges will look for:

  • A good understanding of the venue’s market and the role cocktails can play in that market.
  • Product knowledge – an understanding of brands, mixers, the development of different cocktails and cocktail styles and the ability to mix classic cocktails well and to innovate and experiment.
  • Commitment to bartender training and development.
  • Excellence in customer service combined with confidence and style in mixing and presenting cocktails.
  • An atmosphere conducive to theatre and style in mixing and presenting cocktails.
  • Good commercial use of cocktails, creative marketing and plans for further development of the cocktail offer.
  • Knowledge of ongoing developments in the cocktail scene.

The SLTN Restaurant of the Year award will go to the venue that demonstrates the highest quality of food and service together with an excellent range of perfectly-served drinks.

The Restaurant of the Year category is split into two divisions.

In the fine dining division we’re looking for restaurants where typically a three course dinner (without drinks) from the a la carte menu would cost £40 or more.

In the casual dining division we’re looking at those where a three course dinner (without drinks) would cost less than £40.


In each division the judges will look for:

  • Quality
    Absolute commitment to the preparation of high quality food.
  • Service
    Consistently high standards of service, reflecting investment in staff training.
  • Drinks
    A comprehensive and relevant drinks range with attention to detail in how they are served to befit a premium occasion.
  • Atmosphere
    Flair, character, ambience – call it what you will – a good restaurant has it.

Catering for families is a significant opportunity. And, as families are more likely to visit higher quality outlets, quality food, leading drinks brands and child-friendly facilities are fundamental to a successful family outlet.

SLTN is looking for outlets that deliver a fantastic experience the whole family can enjoy. The winning venue will have a clear commitment to catering for the whole family – from children to grandparents – and offer a full range of products to suit this broad customer base.

Vimto out of home and Starslush

Judges will look for:

  • Evidence of how families are considered in every aspect of the business, from menu creation and drinks ranges to marketing and communication.
  • A venue with food specifically designed for children and facilities especially for young people. It may also offer additional services such as hosting children’s parties.
  • An outlet which considers the whole family – that could include teenagers, parents and grandparents as well as young children.
  • Effective, imaginative use of space and a well thought out food and drinks offer.
  • Excellent customer service in the venue – including how staff are trained with families in mind.

New businesses and business ideas are the bedrock of Scotland’s vibrant licensed trade. And the trade has seen no shortage of innovative new venue concepts in recent times, with many operators going the extra mile to ensure their outlet stands out from the crowd.

For the New Business of the Year award, SLTN and London Essence are looking for an outlet that has launched in Scotland in the last 12 months – including new venues launched from scratch as well as existing premises relaunched in an entirely new style.

The London Essence Company bottles

Judges will look for:

  • A strong business concept, including the outlet’s food and drink offer and design, and clear identification of a market opportunity.
  • Thorough market research and sound business and financial planning.
  • Good project management throughout the development of the plan from concept to completion and the resolution of any difficulties encountered during the development.
  • An innovative and impactful marketing strategy ahead of the launch/relaunch.
  • Evidence of commercial success since the outlet opened or reopened.
  • A sound plan to grow the new business in the future.

The Craft Spirits Enthusiast award is open to all individuals with a passion for craft spirits in Scotland.

It will recognise an individual who demonstrates in-depth knowledge of this burgeoning category and shows innovation and creativity when creating drinks using small-batch spirits. 


Judges will look for:

  • An extensive knowledge of craft spirit categories, the brands within them and the trends within this sector.
  • The correct use of glassware, premium mixers, fresh fruit, garnishes and ice when serving craft spirits.
  • An innovative approach to developing craft spirit-based cocktails, signature drinks and a willingness to work with new products.
  • Evidence of how you have passed your enthusiasm on in your place of work – have you developed a new drinks list or delivered staff training for colleagues?
  • Evidence of an interest in the category – have you entered cocktail competitions, visited distilleries and extended your reading on the topic?

Atmosphere is key to a late night venue. The SLTN Late Night Venue of the Year award will go to a late opening premises that successfully combines a late night ambience with top quality drinks and excellent customer service.

The SLTN Late Night Venue of the Year will demonstrate business innovation, drinks retail and customer service excellence and an impactful marketing strategy.

The judges will consider:

Ambience and atmosphere
A stylish design which conveys a late night vibe.

Drinks and service
A range of quality drinks appropriate to the late night venue’s clientele served by knowledgeable staff.

Marketing and promotion
Evidence of successful activity undertaken to communicate with
the late night venue’s clientele.

Responsible operating
A sound knowledge of legislation covering late opening premises and evidence of responsible operating in line with legislation.

Licensee of the Year is a category open to owner/operators who hold a personal licence in the Scottish on-trade. We are looking for someone who can look back on the last 12 months with a sense of pride and the satisfaction of a job well done.

Are you (or do you know) a licensee who has worked hard, with the best interests of the Scottish hospitality sector at heart, improving standards and service and running a first class outlet?

Awards criteria will include:

  • Evidence of success
    The winning owner/operator will be able to demonstrate business success in the past year.
  • Knowledge
    The Licensee of the Year will have in-depth knowledge of the marketplace and of their business’s position within the market.
  • Staff
    Training will be paramount to our winner and they will lead by example and show commitment to training their staff.
  • Professionalism and commitment
    More than anything else the judges will be impressed by licensees who apply professionalism to everything they do.

Live music is the heartbeat of many of Scotland’s pubs and bars and can bring real benefits to business – from greater footfall to added ambience and increased sales.

The SLTN Live Music Pub of the Year award will go to an outlet which embraces live music and makes the most of all the opportunities a live music offer brings.

Jagermeister bottle

The SLTN Live Music Pub of the Year will:

  • Demonstrate how it has embraced live music and made it a key part of the business strategy.
  • Be able to show how live music has been incorporated into the design and/or layout of the premises.
  • Show how effective marketing has been used to promote the live music offer in order to reach customers and drive footfall.
  • Demonstrate how live music has impacted positively on the business.
  • Have a drinks offer tailored to the venue’s clientele.
  • Comply with the relevant licensing regime and regulations.

Independent pubs and bars account for a significant proportion of Scotland’s on-trade, and in sponsoring the SLTN Independent Pub/Bar of the Year award, Asahi UK celebrates the vital role which the free trade holds in Scottish society.

Judges will look for an outlet which relishes its independence – a pub or bar which is responsive to its customers’ needs, and is both popular and commercially successful.

Judges will consider:

  • Marketing initiatives.
  • Product range.
  • Recruitment, training and motivation of staff.
  • Investment and reinvestment in the business.
  • Customer service – standards and initiatives.
  • Sustainability against new competition.
  • Financial performance.

For the purposes of this award independent pubs and bars are classified as licensed premises which hold a premises licence, and belong to a free trader who owns and operates no more than three outlets.