Its 2018 cocktail package will include a series of country-wide workshops, an online ‘advice portal’, as well as its inaugural cocktail competition ‘Stir It Up’ aimed at increasing the accessibility of the cocktail category for the on-trade.
The competition has been organised in collaboration with 30 leading spirits brands, and is designed to give aspirational bartenders the opportunity to be experimental and creative while also helping the on-trade deliver industry-leading cocktails and boost sales.
Matthew Clark customers will be eligible to enter the competition from 29 January, and will be asked to create a 2018 summer cocktail that should be made in under 90 seconds with five ingredients or fewer.
Five-night US trip
The top 40 will be invited to regional heats across the UK in March, with the top two finalists from each heat invited to the grand final in London on 10 April.
The competition winner will receive a ‘hero status’ across Matthew Clark summer cocktail communications, as well as a five-night VIP trip to the US, stopping in Chicago and also Louisville in Kentucky – the birthplace of Bourbon – hosted by Maker’s Mark, Jim Beam and Knob Creek.
The competition is open to Matthew Clark customers, but anyone working in the on-trade will be eligible to enter the competition as a ‘wildcard’ entry via social media. Sponsored by Pernod Ricard, four shortlisted entrants will compete in a ‘wildcard round ’in the live final. The finalist crowned the ‘Wildcard Winner’ will win a trip to the Pernod Ricard Bar Academy in Stockholm.
'Significant revenue opportunity'
Matthew Clark spirit specialists will also be running workshops across the UK throughout February to help outlets get started or improve their cocktail offering. A downloadable cocktail guide will also be launching on the Matthew Clark website, which includes serve advice, visual merchandising and social media support.
Matthew Clark’s spirits controller Ceri Lewis said: “As the cocktail market in the UK continues to expand, it is increasingly important for licensees to take advantage of the significant revenue opportunity that this represents, and our ongoing cocktail agenda for 2018 has been created to provide the right platforms, training and education to help achieve this.
“We’re very much looking forward to launching our first-ever cocktail competition and our cocktail workshop sessions, and we hope that our customers will be inspired to get involved.”