Story by Ross Blainey, Brand Ambassador – Glenfiddich & Balvenie @ross_blainey
It’s about fucking time! The world needs to experience how good the Australian hospitality and bar scene is. Geographically we’re at the end of the line in Australia. A distant oasis of bangin’ drinks, banter, beaches and bubbles. It takes some effort for the rest of the world to get here, we’re not a travel hub as such and because of this we under-index on the world stage of global awards and lists. I’ve had this conversation with many people around the country over the years and everyone is in agreeance that we have the talent, bars and experiences to be listed more often but we’re just a little far away to get there. It’s not our fault or anyone else’s. It’s just the way it is.
“It’s just the way it is” is no longer an end to that conversation I can sign up for. There’s a problem to be solved and we love a challenge. We’re a family company at William Grant & Sons and that includes the hospo family of Australia. 136 years of family and one of the reasons we keep moving forward is by spotting problems, finding solutions and being bold enough to try something new. From the creation of the single malt category at Glenfiddich in the ’60s, the pioneering of cask finishing at The Balvenie in the 80s, and the instigation of the super-premium gin category with Hendrick’s to name a few. We’re always up for a challenge. This is one of those great opportunities, a great challenge to do something together as a family. Sorry, I know it’s cheesy but I mean it fam.
This year we start making a difference. This year we take the best of Australia and put it on the world stage, and this could be just the beginning.
So, what is the best stage in the world to put our bar family onto? Where can we show the world’s top industry professionals the incredible wares of Australian bars all in one place? It has to be Tales of The Cocktail, New Orleans 2023 – The William Grant and Sons famous Portfolio party.
So, what is the best stage in the world to put our bar family onto? Where can we show the world’s top industry professionals the incredible wares of Australian bars all in one place? It has to be Tales of The Cocktail, New Orleans 2023 – The William Grant and Sons famous Portfolio party. And that’s exactly where we will be taking seven of Australia’s best bars this year (and maybe 2 more).
Caretaker’s Cottage, Above Board, Maybe Sammy, RE, The Baxter Inn, Ramblin’ Rascals Tavern are among the bars we will be taking halfway across the world to represent their bar and their country. This is really the Australian Bar Olympic team, let’s be real about this. Alongside Wee James Macrae our Hendrick’s Ambassador and myself we will team up with our US counterparts and put on a show for over 3,000 people. With two people from each bar, our crew of over 16 people will head across to LA and then New Orleans to quench the thirsts of the rest of the world and put Australian bars at the forefront of the world scene. Where it should be. I might be getting slightly nervous typing this out. Shit, what have we done…?
Each bar will be working with us over the coming months to develop the concept and drinks for each pop-up and each will have a brand from the portfolio that it will focus on. We want to bring the essence of each bar to the party, show what they do best and have as many people see it as we can. After a briefing with each of the teams this week I know we’ve got a brilliantly committed, smart and passionate team coming with us and we share the goal of promoting Australia.
It was an incredibly hard job for Wee James and myself to select the bars, there are so many we love and admire around the country. We wish we could take all of you at once. For some of you who may be disappointed you’re not on this trip, I would just ask for your support and patience in this as well because we are hoping we can make this into a more regular thing. Showcasing Australia to the world more regularly. So, if all goes to plan there will hopefully be more opportunities in the future and your support of these bars in this will go a long way.
We’re honoured at William Grant & Sons to be part of such a talented hospitality family across Australia. It’s time to show that to the world and promote Australia as the powerhouse of hospitality it is. We’re not letting geography get in the way anymore and we’re not taking “that’s just how it is” anymore. Let’s take Australia to the world and show them we got serious game.
William Grant & Sons
is an innovative family-owned distiller and distributor who have a portfolio including brands like Monkey Shoulder, Hendrick’s Gin, Sailor Jerry, Glenfiddich & more. Reach out to your reps to find out more about their brands and the team