IDEA LAB winners announced!


From close to 50 entries from individuals, teams and venues, there were twenty shortlisted  finalists across the country!

A panel of judges sat through a ‘shark tank’ style presentation with each finalist on the shortlist,  and then the public  voting round took place – and now we can finally declare the following six individuals, groups and bar teams that will received grants towards their brilliant concepts they put forward to the IDEA LAB only a few short months ago.

A big thank you to all the entries that were initially submitted and the 20 shortlisted finalists who put forward their Idea’s! All we can say is…what a creative bunch this industry is! Now please put your hands together, send a quick text or shower your love ‘on the line’ to the following SIX who will have their idea’s come to life by March 2021, however one merry idea will be live just NEXT WEEK!

Tom Kearney from WA: Arctic Fox Ice Lab 20K

Tom has created an ice company called Arctic Fox Ice Co and has started to supply the Perth market. He realised there was dire need for quality ice available for on-premise, as well as education and training around a key ingredient in most cocktails.

With this grant he hopes to create the Arctic Fox Ice Lab, to expand the knowledge base of Perth hospitality surrounding ice with workshops & training, as well as create unique activations utilizing ice in conjunction with Beam Suntory.

Kaden Pool from WA: COMMUNITY Professional development opportunities for the WA hospitality community‘ GOOD CAUSES’

5K Grant Winner

Kaden’s idea came about from seeing the lack of support for professional development and education to the local hospitality industry in Perth. In his words “I know that’s an easy term to just throw out there, but in WA there are no opportunities for professional or personal development for workers in the hospitality sector”.

Kaden hopes that his ‘not-for-profit’ idea will assist in making professional and personal goals easier to achieve for the everyday worker.

He hopes to work with current training organisations to create workshops relevant to the hospitality sector, at an affordable price.

*This will be in partnership with The Blend program executed in 2021

Daniel from QLD: Celebrating Christmas with a difference *LIVE NOW

10K Grant winner

Let’s be honest, it hasn’t been the best year but why don’t we try and finish it with a BANG! A great BIG CHEEZY CHRISTMAS BANG! What better way to do this than by celebrating Christmas in Australia with a difference. Christmas is a magical time of the year that brings people together. Due to COVID-19, unfortunately a lot of people will not be able to fly home to the USA and Europe to visit their families, friends and experience the true magic of a white Christmas. The live music scene in Brisbane has also taken a massive hit. This idea will be able to help both.

Michael Keogh, Sean Howard, Kayla Grigorious and Jack Brooker from SA: A Community facilitator of events and trainings ‘ Pursuit of Hospitality’

5K Grant Winner

The Collective is the brain child of some of Adelaide’s strongest hospitality professionals; Michael Keogh (Maybe Mae), Sean Howard (Cry Baby), Kayla Grigoriou (Bar Torino & Needle&Pin) and Jack Booker (Yiasou George & Anchovy Bandit). This collection of managers, owners and distillers have a common goal in mind; to help bridge the gap between rookies and mentors, to schedule and create training content pertinent to the industry & the brands we work with and to provide a real sense of career credibility and accessibility.

This Collective will be built on the foundations of the Adelaide hospitality scene and the existing community to bring together groups of likeminded people to network with, support and educate each other.

*This will be in partnership with The Blend program executed in 2021.

Nicola Keating and Ishma Alvi from VIC: Standardised sexual harassment and Assult policies for the hospitality industry ‘ The Consent Blue Print’

20K Grant Winners

The Consent Blueprints are exactly that; a blueprint of consent education and awareness building, that provides a framework that is then tailored to meet your specific needs. Their ideas is uniquely placed in the intersection between a knowledge of the complex space of hospitality and human psychology to meet the needs of your business.

Nicola and Ishma will create the training modules – that will include the identification of SHSW, how it can present and where, how to create safe reporting pathways and what accountability and address systems can be put into place. These will be tailored to the different settings industry businesses engages with, including the different levels of hospitality.

As sub-set of the SHSW policy and practice, they would also create risk assessment and risk management protocols for those occasions and events which may be higher risk in the context of sexual harassment and safety – for example, industry events.

Orion Leppan Taylor and Mitch Bloomfield from NSW: R&D LAB for the bartending community of Wollongong ‘Breakout Bar Woollongong’

20K Grant Winner

The team at Breakout Bar currently have an underutilised space within their venue, that they would like to transform into a hybrid prep/test kitchen, R&D lab, & masterclass venue: The Wollongong Cocktail Lab. They aim to use the grant to renovate the space, installing a small bar, multiple test kitchen style prep islands and open, cage style storage for expensive equipment. They’d also like to invest in some lab equipment that is usable for cocktail preparation, such as centrifuges and rotary vacuums.

During the week, the space would function as a specialised prep space, giving participating bar teams access to unique equipment, and allowing them to speed through their weekly tasks. During the weekends, the space would be used as a masterclass venue, with cocktail classes, spirit tastings and similar events building and strengthening consumer interest in spirits and cocktails.

The goal of this space is to take a holistic approach to elevating the Wollongong Craft Cocktail scene. We want to help bars develop new and exciting cocktails and menus while also cutting costs, and we want to empower the consumer with knowledge and curiosity so that they feel empowered to explore the innovations being produced by The Lab. The Wollongong cocktail scene has always been extremely collaborative, believing that all ships rise with the tide, and this is just another step in that ongoing community.

We thank you all for taking the time to vote, and support our industry.

Watch out for more information on how these idea’s come to life!  The IDEA LAB was an initiative created by The Blend as a result of COVID -19  to restore, rebuild and repurpose the Australian Hospitality industry.