The big challenge put to international drinks competitions from the producers they want to enter is what do they do to help promote the products that pick up medals and trophies in their awards? With so many global drinks competitions how does my end consumer even know which products have done well? That is why the London Drinks Competition (covering wine, beers and spirits) has launched the online London Drinks Guide platform to help promote the drinks and producers that win and the venues selling them.
We look at what the London Drinks Guide can now offer wine producers and suppliers entering their products into the 2021 London Wine, Beer and Spirits Competition that are all open for entries.
On paper it looked like very bad timing when the Beverage Trade Network, the publishing and networking business behind the separate London Wine, Beer and Spirits Competitions, launched a new online hospitality platform on May 1 at a time when the whole of the capital’s bars, restaurants and pubs were in lockdown.
But now six months on and the London Drinks Guide is quietly making an impact on those drinks enthusiasts who are keen to find out more about the wines, spirits and beers they like to drink – and then go out and discover them in the right bars, and restaurant in London.
The stop, start effect of the various Covid-19 lockdowns, restrictions and now Tiers 1 and 2 regulations on London and the wider UK on-trade is clearly not helping anyone in the drinks and hospitality sectors.
That, though, does not mean new ideas and innovations have to be put on the back burner. Going out to eat and drink is now far more than a special occasion that it was – and it also needs to be planned.
It’s also clear from all the on-trade figures that people are happy to spend more and treat themselves when they do go out. Having a dedicated online website to help them discover the stories behind their favourite bars, restaurants and the drinks they sell has been long over due.
Long term strategy
Sid Patel, chief executive of Beverage Trade Network and founder of both the London Drinks Competitions, says launching the London Drinks Guide is very much part of a long term strategy to find the most effective and efficient way to work with producers, brand owners and suppliers entering the separate wine, beer and spirits awards.
“We talk to the producers who enter our awards all the time. We ask them what they would like us to do more of and the number one request has been to help them better promote the products that win medals and trophies both with the outlets they want to sell them in and the consumers they want to buy them. The London Drinks Guide has been created to do just that and we are delighted with how it has been received and the impact it has already made.
He added: “Although we did not plan to launch during lockdown it was actually a good time for us to produce the right content, test and trial it with our target audience and ensure we have the right mix of wine and brand stories with profiles and insights into the restaurant and bar scene.”
People, Places and Drinks
The London Drinks Guide’s strap line is ‘Where Drink Culture Lives’ is broken down into a number of sectors including People, Places and Drinks. It can therefore carry interviews with sommeliers, bartenders and restaurateurs about the trends they are seeing in their outlets. It is also a chance to go behind the scenes in those venues to give potential guests an idea of the kind of experience that awaits them.
But most of all it is about promoting and talking about the wines, beers and spirits they are selling. How and where they are made and by whom. The nuggets of information that drinks enthusiasts often can’t find without going to the extra trouble of seeking out a producer’s own website where they can often be left disappointed.
The fact they have independent bar and restaurant staff eulogising and talking about the brands and drinks they sell is arguably even more powerful than the gold, silver or bronze medal they might have won in the competition.
How the competitions work
The award winning products in the London Wine, Beer and Spirits Competitions have an even better chance of success in London’s best bars and restaurants – for many of the people serving and selling them were also involved in the judging and making them award winners in the first place.
The London Competitions are judged by those with direct buying and decision making responsibilities across the hospitality sector.
What’s more the judges are even keener to list and sell the winning drinks because they are chosen in the same way their customers are likely to buy them: the quality of what they taste like; are they good value for money; and do they stand out on the back bar and look like the kind of drink you want to buy.
Those are the criteria by which the London Wine, Beer and Spirits Competitions are judged with more weighing given to the quality of the drink.
How to enter
Entries are now open for the 2021 competition. Producers and suppliers that act now can take advantage of early bird pricing up to November 30 of £95 versus the full price of £110 which runs from December 1 to February 20, 2021.
- To find out more and how to enter the London Wine Competition click here.
- For London Beer Competition click here.
- For London Spirits Competition click here.
- The Buyer is media partner for the London Drinks Competitions.