Some of the biggest names in Scottish hospitality are teaming up this March to launch The 100, a new collective designed to increase the clout of Scotland's restaurants, pubs and bars. The initiative, which has already garnered the support of Scots including drinks writer Dave Broom and Michelin chef Tom Kitchin, is the idea of Stuart McCluskey (The Bon Vivant), Andy Gemmell (The Drink Cabinet consultancy), Mike Aikman (Bramble, pictured) and Graham Suttle (Kained Holdings).
'We were getting frustrated with the lack of media coverage given to Scotland's often award-winning food and drink, both at home and abroad,' says McCluskey. 'We thought it was time to take things back into our own hands, by bringing together the best minds from our industry to see how we can bang the drum a bit more, and increase our influence.'
The first '100' will be a mix of bartenders, sommeliers, brand ambassadors, chefs, café owners and publicans selected by McCluskey and his co-founders with the help of industry representatives from Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen. A further 100 will then be appointed each year thereafter by the previous intake. Membership is free and will include networking opportunities, invitations to panel discussions several times a year and the chance to vote in an annual awards ceremony held in January.
'By organising ourselves like this, we also hope to increase our lobbying power at a local government level on issues such as licensing, sugar tax and minimum pricing, and exert a greater influence over how our industry's projected in sectors like tourism,' says McCluskey.
The 100 will launch in Edinburgh (venue tbc) on 9 March, with a panel discussion featuring Dave Broom, Tom Kitchin, Duncan McRae (William Grant & Sons) and Daryl Haldane (Edrington Group). For more details keep an eye on social media, and check out the May-June issue of Imbibe for the full story.