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18 Sep 2023

HRC Partners with Mr Gin for the launch of the 2024 Mixologist of the Year Competition

HRC Partners with Mr Gin for the launch of the 2024 Mixologist of the Year Competition

Are you a budding mixologist looking for your next break? HRC, Hotel, Restaurant & Catering is thrilled to announce a new partnership with Mr Gin to launch the 2024 Mixologist of the Year Competition.

Stirring up a storm, and celebrating the best of the best in mixology, bartenders and mixologists from across the UK will battle it out for the ultimate shake-off to create, inspire and deliver a signature cocktail fusion using Mr Gin’s premium products, with the final round to take place at HRC 2024.

HRC caught up with Amar Tanna, Managing Director of Mr Gin to shed some light on the ‘Mr Gin’ range, and Mixologist of the Year Competition.

How has the ‘Mr Gin’ range reshaped the Gin market?

The ‘Mr. Gin’ collection was created with the idea that gin can be enjoyed by all. Taking away the old ‘mindset’ surrounding gin, we are bringing it into the new age, creating fusions that work neat, on the rocks, with mixers, or ‘in amazing cocktails’. With the mindset that you do not need a huge range of products, but rather an exclusive range of high end products that scream quality, The Smiling Pub Company is working out of the box to create perfection in a bottle.

How has the Gin consumer market changed in recent times, and where do you see it heading onwards into 2024 and beyond?

According to some in the industry, the sales of gin have passed their peak and become more sluggish in recent times. But, this challenge in the trading environment is what has driven many to sharpen their focus on quality. The Smiling Pub Company has developed the 'Mr Gin' range with quality as its primary objective, giving the product and brand, the opportunity to surpass this trend.

What is it about Mr Gin’s product range that establishes them as a premium product for bartenders and mixologists?

From its simple beginnings as a wet-led community-driven public house, The Smiling Pub Company has developed its 'Mr Gin' range with ground level experience. The concepts, ideas, flavours, branding, usability and everything else related to the brand comes from front line experience. We as a team understand what consumers like, we also understand what businesses need. And, in current market conditions, the ability to take a Gin product that is catered for the mass market, not just Gin drinkers is a winning concept.

Why have you decided to launch the Mr Gin Mixologist of the Year Competition?

The 'Mr. Gin’ Mixologist of the Year Competition has been created to showcase the versatility of 'Mr Gin'. Traditionally cocktails are primarily produced with Vodka and Rum. We believe the reason this has happened is because for years the Gin industry has tried to create a certain image for gin. We simply want to make the product fun. It’s not all about the botanicals, it’s not all about the advertising; it’s about the experience of trying a product that is not just targeted at core gin drinkers. "Gin can be fun".

Who should enter the competition and why?

The 'Mr. Gin’ Mixologist of the Year Competition has been created so that mixologists, bartenders or anyone who would like to have a go can showcase their skills of cocktail making. 'Mr Gin' is the only mandatory ingredient that has to be present in your creation, the rest is all up to the contestant. Remember, you can go traditional with our Signature Smooth, get some sweetness with our Strawberry, Lime and Black Pepper or keep summer alive with our Caramelised Pineapple and Ginger flavoured Mr Gin.

As an applicant, you will need a venue to represent, and this way the registered venue will be able to purchase the ‘Mr Gin’ range at on-trade price, rather than retail.

What prizes are on offer?

The 10 final cocktails in the shortlist will be featured in the ‘Mr Gin’ Cocktail menu, this will be distributed nationally to all sites that have registered interest or taken part. Each cocktail will have the creators name as well as details of the venue they represent. 

The overall winner will be winning the venue that they represent a £1000 spending voucher to spend on The Smiling Pub Companies online shop.

The winning cocktail maker themselves shall win a trip for two to Lisbon, flights and accommodation included.

What qualities will you be looking for, for this year’s Mixologist of the year winner?

We are looking for this year’s winner to not only show us what they are made of but to have fun while doing it.

What are you most looking forward to for the overall competition experience?

Creativity is something we cannot wait to see. We look forward to this being an opportunity where great minds and come together to showcase their skills.

What was your experience exhibiting at HRC 2023 and what are you most looking forward to about HRC 2024?

As a project that started during lockdown and has taken almost two years of development, we made sure that we checked all our boxes regarding recipes, supply chain, logistics, brand development, marketing, and everything else in between. However, the best thing we did was actually launching at HRC 2023, the exposure that this has given our brand is phenomenal. Collaborations and partnerships which came about following the event, with export companies, marketing leaders, and influential partners including Schweppes has been incredible.

HRC 2024, honestly the most we could ask for is a repeat of 2023's success. As for the Cocktails, we cannot wait to see what people come up with.

The Mr Gin Mixology Competition is now open for entries. First round entries can be submitted until 1 November 2023.

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