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Kopparberg bottles

Licensee of the Year

in association with Kopparberg

Licensee of the Year is a category open to owner/operators who hold a personal licence in the Scottish on-trade.

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.

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Mixologist of the Year

in association with Absolut and Barnomadics

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.

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.

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Beer Quality Award

in association with Tennent’s

For 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.

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Barperson of the Year

in association with Smokehead

Open to all bar staff across Scotland, the SLTN Barperson of the Year award seeks to recognise the knowledge and passion of the country’s best all-round barperson.

This award will go to a barperson with a real passion for pubs, who has the skills, knowledge and desire to make a real difference to enhance the experience of their customers.

The Barperson of the Year will demonstrate:

  • A real passion for hospitality and a dedication to the continual improvement of the standards and service offered.
  • A commitment to their own training and development and a willingness to share their knowledge with colleagues.
  • A commitment to keep up to speed with developments in the broader trade and drinks industry.
  • A thorough understanding of – and the ability to talk confidently about – the brands and products stocked.

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Edrington Beam Suntory range

Industry Achievement Award

in association with Edrington UK

The SLTN Industry Achievement Award 2021, presented in association with Edrington UK, will recognise an individual member of Scotland's hospitality industry 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.

The SLTN Industry Achievement Award will recognise a very special member of the trade.

That may be a lifetime spent at the forefront of the industry or in 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 licensed 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.

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Best Venue to Watch the Match

Best Venue to Watch the Match

in association with Sky

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 attract customers 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.

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Gastropub of the Year

in association with Distell International

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.

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.

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Vimto Out of Home

Best Soft Drinks Offer

in association with Vimto Out of Home

Soft drinks is an increasingly important category due to a rise in consumption of nonalcoholic drinks in the on-trade. There’s a growing choice for operators as the market adapts to the trends of craft and artisan soft drinks, so it’s important to select the right products to make your offer as profitable as possible.

SLTN and Vimto Out of Home are looking for an outlet with a clear commitment to offering a full range of soft drinks to suit a broad customer base.


  • For kids
  • Adult premium
  • Frozen
  • Post mix
  • Mocktails

The winning venue will demonstrate a consideration for both families and young adults in every aspect of the drinks offer – from providing a range of fruits and flavours, to menu creation, promotions and communications. The drinks range will also be geared towards the family market, with a strong soft drinks offer to cater for all age groups and which takes account of current trends in the soft drinks sector – such as drinks catering for the health conscious consumer and designated drivers. Consideration of stocking a healthier range of products will also be admirable.

The winning outlet will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of having depth of range, presenting soft drinks in a way that entices the customer and drives engagement together with the importance of stocking premium products in 2021.

Do you go the extra mile with your soft drinks offer?

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Independent Multiple Operator of the Year

in association with Smirnoff

The Independent Multiple Operator of the Year will be a business that consists of four or more bars, restaurants, hotels or nightclubs. Handling all the complexities of multiple site management and fostering strong team spirit 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.
  • Team: Our winner will have a well-trained, highly engaged team who understand the business and have a passion for hospitality. Career development and support for all team members will underpin the business.
  • Community engagement: Our winner will be active in the community and will demonstrate how they work with local groups and organisations.

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Bibendem restaurant image

Restaurant of the Year

in association with Bibendum

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 a typical meal (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 typical meal (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.

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Blue Moon Beer

Craft Beer Bar of the Year

in association with Molson Coors

Craft beer is one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing segments of the beer category.

The SLTN Craft Beer Bar of the Year award will go to an outlet that demonstrates excellence in craft beer, both in terms of product range and the level of knowledge displayed by the team.

Judges will look for:

  • Outlets with an understanding of beer styles and brands, both on the bar and in the fridge. A team which is passionate about beer and demonstrates care for the products served.
  • A team with the ability to navigate consumers along the journey of selecting a beer, and which delivers a high quality experience. A venue which is known by its customers for great quality craft beer – this could include running events, beer of the month promotions or food matching.
  • A strong social media presence, engaging consumers around craft beer serves, new products and events.

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Gin Bar of the Year

in association with Schweppes

Gin has been one of the biggest success stories in recent years. 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.

The SLTN Gin Bar of the Year will demonstrate:

  • 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, including lighter/ zero sugar options, 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.

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Cocktail Bar of the Year

in association with Bombay Sapphire

Cocktails provide an excellent opportunity to build on the benefits of premium drinks brands. They can help increase both profitability and consumer appeal. In the Cocktail Bar of the Year category, SLTN and Bombay Sapphire are looking for Scottish bars which make the most effective use of cocktails.

Judges will look for:

  • Product knowledge: A team with strong knowledge of ingredients - spirits, modifiers and mixers (including infusions, fruits, syrups, cordials, shrubs etc).
  • Drinks Knowledge: Team members with thorough knowledge of national and global drinks and cocktail trends.
  • Training: Commitment to bartender training and development.
  • Venue & Service: A venue with a design and atmosphere conducive to mixing and presenting cocktails with a focus on impeccable service. Provide a menu which is diverse, inclusive and is clearly communicated to customers via service points and personal touches as well as on social media. The venue has shown the ability to adapt according to the ever changing social climate. How much has this changed the service in the venue over the past twelve months and beyond?
  • Commercial Viability: Cocktails are a key part of the business and the team has a strong understanding of the commercial importance of cocktails.

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Best Outdoor Area

in association with Magners

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 makes a real impact on the business.

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 customers.
  • Innovation: Smart use of the al fresco area for marketing and promotion through, for example, branded equipment or outdoor TV screens.
  • Success: The outdoor space should have made a real impact on the business.

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BACARDI lifestyle picture

Rum Bar of the Year

in association with Bacardi

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.

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.
  • Successful engagement with consumers about rum via promotional and marketing activities such as menus, tastings and ‘flights’.

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The London Essence Company

New Business of the Year

in association with The London Essence Company

New businesses and business ideas are the bedrock of Scotland’s vibrant licensed trade.

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 18 months – including new venues launched from scratch as well as existing premises relaunched in an entirely new style.

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.

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Chivas Regal

Entrepreneur of the Year

in association with Chivas Regal

SLTN and Chivas Regal have joined forces to search for the hospitality industry’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.

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Whisky Bar of the Year

in association with Glenfiddich

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.

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Hospitality Hero Award

When COVID-19 took hold in Scotland and pubs, restaurants, nightclubs and hotels were forced to close, people across the hospitality industry thought of others – from their staff and regulars to local charities and groups – and went the extra mile to help those who needed it.

The SLTN Hospitality Hero Award will recognise an individual in the Scottish trade who went above and beyond to help others during the pandemic.

If you, or someone you know, went the extra mile to help other people we want to hear from you!

Judges will look for someone who has either:

  • Gone the extra mile to support charities and/or local groups during the pandemic
  • Gone above and beyond to support their staff during the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • Gone out of their way to help their regulars during the pandemic.

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Independent Pub/Bar of the Year

in association with Brown-Forman

Independent pubs and bars account for a significant portion of the Scottish on-trade. This award will celebrate the vibrancy of the free trade and the important role independent pubs and bars play in Scottish society.

Judges will look for a pub or bar which makes the most of its independent status, and which is both popular and commercially successful.

For the purposes of this award, an independent pub or bar is an outlet with a premises licence which belongs to a free trader who operates no more than three outlets.

Do you operate a great independent pub with an understanding of, and strong connection to, its market? If so, we’d like to hear from you.

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.

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