What do you get when you bring together 10 global ambassadors for some of the biggest international spirit brands for a Spirit Summit?
A fantastically engaging and entertaining morning of opinions and insider stories that had the audience hungry for more.
It was evident that they had all spent a considerable amount of time together previously as the conversations were fluid and, although they could be considered as opposition in the spirit world, they were respectful of each other’s brand and knowledge in the market.
The first set of ambassadors included the charismatic Konstantin “CoCo” Prochorowski from Hendrick’s, who flew in from Berlin, and Simone Bodini of Stoli from his home-town of Rome providing entertainment during the first session.
The Hendrick’s, Monkey Shoulder, Stoli, Sailor Jerry and Bols representatives discussed trends and innovations in the cocktail world, with Daniel “Gravy” Thomas from the USA pointing out the importance of humility and sustainability in the industry.
The only woman on the stage, Malika Saidi, who is also the trainer at the Bols Bartending Academy, touched on the emphasis of atmosphere and attention to detail that make the difference to the whole cocktail experience.
As a relative newcomer to the market, Joe Petch touched on his experience as a bartender and the innovative style of his brand. Then it was time for the Whisky boys and the lone Whiskey representative, John Quinn from Tullamore Dew.
The ever-present banter between the Scottish and Irish ambassadors rippled through the second session and was highly amusing. Mitch Bechard of Glenfiddich, Danny Dyer of Grants, Freddy May of Drambuie and Henry Philip of Naked Grouse presented their strong characters and accents on the stage. Luckily, the audience seemed to grasp the essential points and differences between the Whisky and Whiskey brands.
The Spirit Summit was an invitation-only event that took place on the second day of the Algarve Trade Experience held in the old beer factory in Faro, where Garrafeira Soares hosted an excellent two-day exhibition that focused on entertainment and engaging the senses.
Previously held at five-star hotels like the Conrad, EPIC Sana and Tivoli Anantara, this year’s experience had more of a party vibe and was also open to the public. The decoration and atmosphere were fabulous, and the venue was packed with happy revellers.
By SARAH YOUNG