MEET THE AMBASSADOR SERIES: ALASDAIR SHAW
It’s an absolute pleasure to introduce you to the newest member of the Arbikie family, Alasdair Shaw! Alasdair has joined Arbikie as our UK Brand Ambassador. In the first of a three part series Alasdair talks about all things alcoholic!
How did you get involved in the drinks industry?
I was studying at the time in Glasgow, and I had already been involved in hospitality industry working in kitchens, but felt working in front of house would be better suited to me.
What’s it like working in the drinks industry?
It’s very rewarding; I really enjoy getting creative for customers and being an integral part of peoples evenings.
What’s your favourite bar?
The State Bar in Glasgow, it has a fantastic range of beers and generally a fun bar to drink in.
What makes a great cocktail?
Every cocktail needs balance, it can turn an OK drink into a classic, but can also ruin one so easily.
What are the emerging trends in the industry?
With Gin having boomed over the last 2 years, bespoke mixers are now coming to the fore, but I do feel other spirits are beginning to follow suit in using ‘craft’ methods to give their product a unique selling point.
What’s the best part of being a brand ambassador?
Getting the chance to meet so many new people, and being able to travel places I wouldn’t otherwise be able to do if I were in another job.
There is a growing desire from consumers to know what they are drinking and what ingredients are going into their spirits. What do you think about this?
I think this will only help, consumer knowledge is key to the drinks industry, and while it may catch a few producers out, in the long run it will end up forcing the big brands to be honest and produce a truer, better product.
What one piece of advice would you give to any new bartender out there? Don’t be afraid to try new things, and be open minded when it comes to brands.
What was the worst cocktail you ever made?
I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad cocktail, everyone has different tastes and it’s up to us as bartenders to use our knowledge to make the correct drink for consumers.
Any advice for bartenders looking to make a move to being a brand ambassador?
It’s not just about turning up and drinking with people, there is a great deal of work behind the scenes, and to be organized and prepared for that.
Who has been the most influential person in your career so far?
My old mentor Peter MacLeod, he trained me as a bartender and is the reason I became so passionate about the industry.
Which ‘mixologist’ do you admire the most?
Dale DeGroff, the methods and techniques he was doing during the “Dark Ages” of cocktails are simply inspiring, and really has driven me to be better at what I do.
What advice would you give to people wanting to make great cocktails at home?
Not to worry about having all the equipment that bartenders have, yes its handy but not essential. Some of the best cocktails are made by putting them into a glass, giving a quick stir and serving. It’s all up to you in how/what you want to drink. I always look to classic food/flavor combinations when looking at creating new cocktails, it makes life so much simpler!
What makes a good brand ambassador?
Organization, the ability to embrace other people’s opinions and a great smile!
What makes Scotland such a great place to distill alcohol?
We have such great resources, not only in terms of the crops we grow but also the water we have. We’re lucky it rains so much!
If you weren’t in the drinks industry what would you be doing?
I honestly have no idea, it’s been such a major part of my life for so long now. I’d probably be teaching Mathematics as that is what I studied at University.
Why did you decide to join Arbikie?
From the minute I learned about Arbikie I fell in love with the brand, and what it stands for. Not only are they truthful about everything they do, the products themselves are great!