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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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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Best Late Night Venue

in association with Tia Maria

The SLTN Best Late Night Venue 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 Best Late Night Venue 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 withthe 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.

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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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Best Use of Technology

in association with Hungrrr

Technology continues to play an increasingly important role in running hospitality businesses – from ordering apps and customer loyalty schemes to business insight and back office functions, not to mention social media.

The SLTN Best Use of Technology Award will recognise a venue which has fully exploited a range of technology to grow the business.

Judges will consider:

  • The range of technology used in the day-to-day operation of the business.
  • How that technology has improved the processes and efficiency of the business.
  • How technology has been used to improve customer service and engagement, including social media.
  • The role technology has played in growing the business.

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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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Cocktail Bar of the Year

in association with Bacardi Ltd

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 Bacardi Ltd are looking for Scottish bars which make the most effective use of cocktails.

Judges will consider:

  • Product knowledge: A team with strong knowledge of ingredients - spirits, modifiers and mixers (including infusions, fruits, syrups, cordials, shrubs).
  • 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 design and atmosphere conducive to mixing and presenting cocktails with a focus on impeccable service. A venue which provides a menu which is diverse, inclusive and is clearly communicated to customers in venue as well as on social media. A venue which has shown the ability to adapt according to the ever changing social climate.
  • 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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Craft Beer Bar of the Year

in association with Molson Coors

The SLTN Craft Beer Bar of the Year Award will go to a venue with a team that prides itself in delivering a great beer experience for their customers.

Criteria will include:

We are on lookout for the best craft beer experience in Scotland. You could have one tap or ten – what matters is that you deliver for craft beer drinkers, whether they are new to the category and wanting to try their first craft beer, or craft beer enthusiasts who pride themselves on knowing everything there is about the category.

Craft beer is more than just a bottle or can in the fridge, it starts when consumers are planning their visit. We are looking for outlets that are known for great beer. You might be using social media to engage with your customers or run great craft beer events, maybe you curate monthly beer and food matched menus. The sky really is the limit for this award.

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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, they 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. They will also be able to react decisively and creatively to unforeseen challenges as a project develops.

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Family Outlet of the Year

in association with Vimto Out Of Home

Catering for families represents a significant opportunity for bar and restaurant operators – and quality food, leading drinks brands and child-friendly facilities are fundamental to successfully taking advantage of that opportunity. SLTN and Vimto Out of Home are 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.

Judges will look for:

  • Consideration of the family market in all aspects of the business – from menu creation and drinks ranges to marketing and communication
  • A food and drinks offer specifically designed for children and facilities especially for young people
  • An outlet which considers the whole family – from young children and teenagers to parents and older relatives
  • Effective and imaginative use of space
  • Excellent customer service, including evidence that the team is trained with the family market in mind.

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Gastropub of the Year

in association with Distell

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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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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Hospitality Hero Award

in association with Payfacto

Operators and staff across Scotland’s hospitality industry regularly go above and beyond to help others – from colleagues and regulars to local charities and groups.

The SLTN Hospitality Hero Award will recognise an individual in the Scottish trade has gone the extra mile to help those who need it.

If you, or someone you know, has gone above and beyond 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.
  • Gone above and beyond to support their colleagues.
  • Gone out of their way to help their regulars.

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Independent Multiple Operator of the Year

in association with Diageo

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 Diageo, 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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Independent Pub/Bar of the Year

in association with Brown-Forman

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, Brown-Forman 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

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Industry Achievement Award

in association with Edrington UK

The SLTN Industry Achievement Award 2022, 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 Scotland's hospitality industry.

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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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?

Criteria will include:

  • Evidence of success: The winning owner/operator will be able to demonstrate business success.
  • 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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Music-led Venue of the Year

in association with X by Glenmorangie

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

The SLTN Music-led Venue of the Year award will go to an outlet with music at its heart and which makes the most of all the opportunities a strong music offer can bring.

The SLTN Music-led Venue of the Year will:

  • Demonstrate how it has embraced music and made it a key part of the business strategy.
  • Show how music has been incorporated into the design and/or layout of the venue.
  • Show how effective marketing and social media activity has been used to promote the music offer in order to reach customers and drive footfall.
  • Demonstrate how music has impacted positively on the business.
  • Have a drinks offer tailored to the style of venue and its clientele.

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The London Essence Company

New Business of the Year

in association with The London Essence Co.

New businesses and business ideas are the bedrock of Scotland’s vibrant hospitality industry.

For the New Business of the Year award, SLTN and The London Essence Co 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.

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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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 £45 or more.
  • In the casual dining division we’re looking at those where a typical meal (without drinks) would cost less than £45.

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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Whisky Bar of the Year

in association with the Glenfiddich Grand Series

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

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 sampling ‘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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SLTN Awards 2021 competition