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    People: On-Trade
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    Daniel Sylvester: world’s best at London Craft Beer Festival

    For years it was the US that was at the heart of the craft beer revolution, but times are changing and slowly the UK is being seen by brewers as the place to showcase and sell their craft beer. Which is good news for the London Craft Beer Festival, an event that has built such a reputation since it started six years ago that its organisers, Daniel Sylvester and Greg Wells, personally invite the brewers that are able to attend.

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    Harry Crowther on taking wine training direct to bartenders

    Walk into any high end bar and you can be pretty much guaranteed the bar staff can tell you anything you want to know about the 100s of bottles of spirits they have on their back bar. How they are made, where they are made and which combinations work best together. But ask them about wine and the conversation is likely to be a little shorter. Which is why wine consultant, Harry Crowther, is staring a new wine training course to help even the best bar staff get more knowledgeable and excited about wine.

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    Boutique luxury is the story at Grand Ferdinand in Vienna...which is an excuse to have a bath in your bedroom.

    Hotelier Geoff Andrew: good storytelling starts with ‘WHY?’

    Regardless of what type of industry you are in the challenge for any business is to be able say, or at least, claim what they are famous for. The key values, attributes or achievements your company, be it a drinks producer, distributor, retailer or restaurant have that mean your customers want to spend money or do business with you. Here leading hotelier, Geoff Andrews of WorldHotels, explains why good, genuine, relevant storytelling is vital to every one of its hotels’ success.

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    Why we need to be ‘M-indful’ of our staff’s mental health

    Andre’ Mannini, operations director for the M Restaurant Group, explains why he hopes its new ‘M-indful Days’ initiative will help its staff better manage their own stress and any potential mental health issues whilst working in what is the demanding environment of a high-end premium dining restaurant, whilst also giving them some time away from those daily pressures for the benefit of the team and their customers.

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    Margot’s Andre Cunha is Bellavita’s Best UK Sommelier

    Sommeliers from some of the country’s top Michelin restaurants went palate to palate, spittoon to spittoon last week at the Bellavita Expo in London, dedicated to showcasing the best in Italian food and wine, in a competition to find the UK’s Best Sommelier with the greatest knowledge of Italian wine. To do so they needed to show their blind tasting, writing and service skills in a closely fought event…

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    Frescobaldi and IWSC give sommeliers unique opportunity

    If you stripped back any wine list to its core, best selling lines, then Italy would have to be one of the go to countries. Push a little further into Italy and then Tuscany would also come to the top. If you had to pick out a handful of producers within Tuscany, then the Frescobaldi family would come to the fore. Which is why the new Sommelier prize from the IWSC in partnership with Marchesi Frescobaldi is expected to be in big demand.

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    Top sommeliers go head-to-head in Best UK Sommelier finals

    We are well and truly into awards season with seemingly gongs being handed out for everything from wines, to global song contests, to footballers of the year. Today it’s the turn of sommeliers and the finals of the Best UK Sommelier competition organised by, who else, the UK Sommelier Association in association with Villa Sandi. Leading sommeliers from all over the country will be competing to find out who is going to walk away with the overall crown.

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    English

    Sue Jones on the commercial potential of English wine

    How is it best to promote English and Welsh sparkling wine in a restaurant? Do you align it with champagne? Serve it as an alternative to prosecco? Are the prices seen as too high by the customer? All these questions and more are answered by Sue Jones co-owner of Michelin star restaurant The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, that has regularly won awards for its innovative and extensive wine list. In charge of the wine list and front-of-house team at The Harrow, Sue, together with husband and chef Roger, has been an early adopter of English and Welsh sparkling wine.

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    Stir It Up

    Stir It Up: the battle to be top of the summer cocktail shaker

    With the dust settling on the financial woes of Conviviality, it is back to business for both Bibendum and Matthew Clark, the latter unveiling its business goals in the on-trade cocktail market. Victor Smart witnessed the final of Stir It Up, a cocktail competition that, along with countryside workshops and an online advice portal is spearheading the company’s summer cocktail communications.

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    The larger than life world of Camino’s Richard Bigg

    Richard Bigg is such a larger than life character that even his name could have been dreamt up by some Hollywood talent agency. Which is quite appropriate as his life would make for one of those cracking biopics, such are the wide and varied things he has done in what is still only a relatively short career. We might all know him as arguably kicking into life the whole Spanish and tapas dining scene in the UK, with his Camino group of restaurants, but, as Richard Siddle discovers there is so much more to who on the surface seems so quiet and unassuming.

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    Roux

    All roads lead to Hedonism’s Hide Restaurant for Roux Scholars

    Winning the prestigious Roux Scholarship is a road to international stardom. For the 2018 winner Martin Carabott it is a route that follows last year’s winner Lucas Selby into the much-anticipated Hide restaurant, Ollie Dabbous’ new joint-venture with Hedonism Wines that is promising the “world’s largest selection of wine” at your fingertips. Our own Michelin Star chef Roger Jones was at last week’s event.

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    High & Dry

    Roger Jones ditches wine off menu of new, second restaurant

    Our roving Michelin star chef has announced plans to open his second restaurant in Wiltshire with the contemporary twist of it being totally non-alcoholic. With a working name of The High & Dry, the new eaterie will be combining the Michelin-star cuisine of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn with fruit juices, cordials and soft drinks, in one case even using Irun-Bru in the cooking. Please note this story was written and published on April 1.

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    Vermouth

    Mike Turner on Vermouth bars: Why do old boys have all the fun?

    Can the spirit of a Catalonian Vermouth bar ever be recreated in North London? That’s the question wine expert Mike Turner asks. He recalls his first experience of a Vermouth bar in Barcelona, gets enthusiastic about it in his customary way, then wonders whether he can recreate the drink and the atmosphere in La Ferme, a new restaurant he has opened in North London’s Primrose Hill district.

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    MW, MS, MBA, MSC and World Sommelier award: Basset's career grand slam

    Gerard Basset recognised with top French honour

    Gerard Basset MW MS has been putting his mark on the UK hospitality industry ever since he first came to this country as a fresh faced culinary student in the early 1980s. This week it was the turn of the French to recognise all the achievements he has made promoting his country’s wines in the […]

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    Roger Jones puts South African sparkling up against the world

    There are Michelin star chefs renown the world over for their excellence in what they can put on a plate, but few have the interest, let alone the commitment and drive to challenge themselves to understand the wines they can match with them. Roger Jones is a breed apart as he reports from South Africa on the sparkling wine competition he set up that pitted local sparklers up against the best of the rest of the world.

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    Edinburgh gets taste of Italy with opening of Wine House Hotel 1821

    Edinburgh has such a rich choice of restaurants and bars it can be hard for any new opening to stand out, but, as Helen Arnold discovers, premium Italian wine company, Zonin, hopes to make a difference with the launch of a new hotel dedicated to wine in a new venture with local celebrated chef, Sep Marini, called The Wine House 1821, the year Zonin was founded.

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    South Africa trounces California in latest Tri Nations Challenge

    South Africa, Australia and New Zealand are used to pitting their wits against each other with the annual Tri Nations rugby tournament. Michelin star chef Roger Jones decision to re-invent a Tri Nations Challenge for the country’s wine producers is equally as competitive. Even more so when a guest country is introduced. Here he reports back on the recent South Africa vs California winemaker challenge he hosted at The Vineyard Hotel at Stockcross.

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    How Rioja is at the heart of Abel Lusa’s Cambio de Tercio group

    When tennis star, Rafael Nadal, is looking for some home comforts whilst competing in London he heads to Cambio de Terco, widely respected and coveted for creating some of the most authentic Spanish food in the city. That’s all thanks to Abel Lusa who has been pioneering the Spanish food and wine scene in the UK since he first arrived from his native Rioja in 2003. So who better to receive the “Outstanding Contribution” recognition at the recent Rioja Recognises awards from Wines of Rioja.

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    Rioja wines are a key part of the wines lists across ETM's 14 pubs like the White Swan in Fleet Street, London

    Guillaume Mahaut: why ETM’s pubs take Rioja so seriously

    When you tell friends that you basically buy and sell wine for a living it’s hard to get sympathy for the long hours and hard toil that involves. Which is why it’s always nice to be singled out and rewarded for your efforts. Which is what the Rioja Recognises initiative is all about. Celebrating individuals and businesses that are going the extra mile to support the region. In the first of a series of interviews we profile each of this year’s winners starting with the on-trade operator award that went to the ETM Group and its group wine buyer, Guillaume Mahaut.

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    Douglas Ankrah opens up on LAB Bar, Pornstar and current trends

    Douglas Ankrah has always been at the cutting edge of the London bar scene, opening up LAB bar in 1999 and later Townhouse. Ankrah was also the inventor of the Pornstar Martini, of course, a drink that he launched as a ready-serve earlier this year, and which he still wants to set the record straight about…like, there is nothing sexual about it. At all.

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