Summerhall Drinks Lab - BII Scotland Best New Initiative Award finalist.
Why We're Needed:
Summerhall Drinks Lab is a dedicated centre for the hospitality industry; an environment to learn and create, and to share skills, knowledge and ideas between trade staff, industry experts, and consumers.
The number of people employed in the hospitality industry continues to rise, and coupled with the growing number of brands on the market, and an ever increasing interest in these by consumers, means there's never been more need for training within the industry. While training companies and facilities exist, nowhere in Edinburgh provides practical, hands on, industry-wide training in a dedicated space.
What We Offer:
The Drinks Lab is built on three core tenants - drinks education, training innovation, and industry collaboration, and exists to serve a number of functions:
- To deliver training programs for the licensed trade; courses developed by us, or in partnership with other established training providers. Our flagship courses will be our own Gin & Whisky Lab Sessions - practical, bartender focused programs to develop confidence, skills and knowledge in talking about and selling the best of Scottish gin & whisky. More info at www.summerhalldrinkslab.co.uk/training.
- To be hired out by brands or companies looking to host their own sessions, such as Edinburgh Ice Co's Ice Masterclasses. We've had a few of these sessions for bars already, such as Hoot the Redeemer - check out the video below. Who wouldn't want to mess about with beautiful big blocks of ice and flamethrowers?
- To collaborate and discuss issues affecting the licensed trade, such as health and wellbeing and sustainability, through regular trade sessions. We'll invite the best and most inspirational speakers, as well as open it up to those who are new to the industry to try and break down potentially intimidating barriers for those starting their hospitality career. Our program of events begins on 14th May with TOX, a free, real life wellness and accessible life-balance session for hospitality, freelancers and the curious, in collaboration with Happy Sense.
- To provide consumer events such as gin tastings and cocktail classes, ran regularly either as public ticketed sessions, or private events such as birthdays or corporate days. Our consumer events are all about drinks education; we aim not only to give our guests the best quality drinks we can, but entertain and inform about the provenance, history and story behind each glass of wine, whisky or gin they get. We also like to have tactile, tangible elements to our tastings. Guests will get to feel and smell botanicals, peat samples, or flavours they might find when tasting, all to enhance and consolidate the learning experience, all while having a great time! More info on our website at www.summerhalldrinkslab.co.uk/education.
What We Need:
The Drinks Lab is open for bookings, and we continue to hold training sessions, however we need funding to cover various set up fees and running costs for the next 12 months, such as:
- Licensing - in order for us to provide any alcohol on public events, the space must be granted a Premises Licence. This involves architect and solicitor fees of several thousand pounds to make the application to the licensing board, and to cover any extra work the premises requires to grant the licence.
- Rent & running costs
- Stock - It's very important to us to stay independent of any one brand, in order to make any sessions we provide as unbiased and honest as possible. Unfortunately this means no free booze! Your money will go towards providing enough gin, whisky and other ingredients to make our guests delicious drinks.
- Decoration - Our education offering doesn't stop at the classes we provide. Our aim is for the Drinks Lab to be a versatile learning environment, this means well stocked bookshelves, window boxes to grow herbs for garnishes, or a composting system for learning about sustainability.
- Furniture & equipment - We're starting off fairly bare bones, with some worktops and tables to provide the sessions we currently have booked, but investment will allow us to afford to build a proper bar, source an espresso machine for coffee training, a glasswasher (to save Jamie doing all the dishes!), and other bits and pieces that we require to expand our repertoire. A rotovap is probably out of the question though...
What You Get:
Of course, we wouldn't ask anyone to pledge without some kind of reward, so here's some of the great things you can expect for helping us along our journey:
- £10 - A thank you card with one of our favourite cocktail recipes on the reverse, and a mention on our website.
- £18-£28 - A thank you card and cocktail recipe, and exclusive Summerhall Drinks Lab branded merch. Choose from a t-shirt, glencairn glass or boston cocktail shaker. Collection only.
- £50-£240 - A thank you card and cocktail recipe and 2, 6, or 12 spaces on any of our consumer tasting events over the next 12 months (saving up to £10pp).
- £150 - A bespoke cocktail creation day for two - spend a half day in the lab and create your own unique cocktail that'll be immortalised in our Backers Menu. A perfect unique gift for a drinks lover.
- £500 - Gin or Whisky Lab training session - This one's for the trade: Bring up to 12 staff for a whole day dedicated to learning all about gin or whisky. Get hands on tackling either category, discussing and sampling different styles, and experimenting with different mixers, garnishes and cocktails to learn more about how to talk to customers and upsell.
- £1000 - Corporate Day Out - Bring up to 12 staff or colleagues for the best possible Summerhall day out! Lunch at the Royal Dick, a gin tour at Pickering's, brewery tour at Barneys, then finally a cocktail masterclass at the Drinks Lab.
The Drinks Lab is borne from the desire of co-owners Jamie Shields and Martin Duffy to provide high quality training and events in Edinburgh and the rest of Scotland, after years of experience in the hospitality trade.
Jamie is a qualified trainer with years of experience delivering accredited qualifications such as SCPLH and Professional Bartending, bespoke training courses for businesses, and practical training for the Diageo Learning for Life program with Springboard UK.
Jamie is also an accomplished host, through the extremely popular Juniper Cruise gin tasting events on the Union Canal, and an Edinburgh Fringe show Scotch Egg Club Presents: Whisky On Water in 2017, and various tasting events of gin, whisky, and wine throughout the country.
Martin Duffy's experience within the hospitality industry in Edinburgh and the UK is vast, spanning various roles, competitions and awards. Martin owns Solid Liquids, an events and consultancy business based in Edinburgh and will provide support and wisdom where required. (He made me write that - Jamie)
The Summerhall Drinks Lab is a culmination of years of delivering training and tasting events around the country, now consolidated into one premises. The grand plan is to expand the offering to provide a wide variety of training and events, eventually employing Drinks Educators to assist.