Monday, March 30, 2009



In 1999 IPB opened threw open theirs doors and a groundbreaking concept in drinks training and cocktail consultancy was born. Created by bartenders for bartenders, IPB stood at the forefront of the UK cocktail renaissance, which continues to grow and flourish to this day.

To mark their 10th anniversary and continue the pioneering spirit with which they were shaped, IPB are expanding with the launch of IPBrands, IPBars and IP PR.

What have IPB achieved in the last 10 years?

IPB Bartender of the Year – The most rigorous and prestigious bartending competition in the UK, if not the world, now in it’s 5th year.

UK RumFest – principal co-ordinators of the London’s annual festival of Rum now into it’s 3rd year.

Brand consultancy – with Diageo as their first client, created a brand building consultancy, training ambassadors and driving an unrivalled quality of training for brands globally.

Event Mixology – brought professional mixologists and the very highest standard of cocktails to a huge range of events. Raised the Bar and elevated expectations at high profile events around the world, opening the door for swathes of event companies such as Shaker and Squeeze.

Training – created the ‘Every Serve Perfect’ program for Diageo, which has evolved into the ‘perfect serve’ training concept now accepted as industry standard.

Publishing – The UK’s first true celebrity mixologist Ben Reed has a canon of best selling cocktail books for professional and consumer alike, which continue to make the world of the cocktail bartender aspirational and accessible. Paul McFadyen launched Flavour magazine, one of the first industry magazines to properly address the bartending industry.

West 11 cocktails – created and launched a range of top quality pre-mixed cocktails in 2008. Cocktails without compromise, now selling well in Waitrose, Sainsbury’s, Harvey Nichols and other leading independent stores.

The IPB Legacy

Throughout it’s 10 years IPB has been home to some of the industry’s best known and most respected movers and shakers:

Tai Altman – founder of IPB and now an independent industry consultant in Scotland.
Alex Turner – Legendary drinks expert and now head of training for Bacardi Brown Forman
Alex Kammerling – Brand Ambassador for grey Goose Vodka
Liam Davy – former bartender of the Year and now Brand Ambassador for martin Miller’s Gin

The next 10 years

IP Brands

Concept, design, liquid, brand DNA, marketing tools, distribution both on/off trade in the UK and Globally. Marketing/PR strategy. IPB can now offer a ‘one stop shop’ for all elements of brands consultancy.

IP Bars Bar Assessment

IPB now presents IPBars, an operational consultancy utilizing their unrivalled industry expertise to provide an in depth analysis of the operational efficiency of any bar and team member. Reporting directly to senior management IPBars will establish every area of potential improvement throughout a bar operation and supply a targeted program of training and functional best practice. The only consultancy to offer this level of assessment, IPBars is designed to positively impact on the bottom line at every stage of the process.


IPB are the industry experts in terms of outlets, distribution, retail and both trade and consumer PR. IPB can now offer a comprehensive PR service for all elements of a brand from launch, driving distribution and maintaining market share.

The Space

IPB are home to over 1200 different bottles of spirits across all categories, its one of the most comprehensive collections of spirits in Europe.

IPB also have an extensive library containing 800 books and 2000 journals on all things drinks related. IPB will be opening their space for several events at the end of April to showcase their services.

If you require access to the library for research purposes or to their extensive drinks selection please telephone the IPB office to arrange an appointment.

The space is available for seminars, training sessions, meetings, tastings and events.

Trends Lab

IPB will be regularly hosting and chairing forums on all lifestyle trends within the food and drink arena, IPB have been responsible for setting trends in relation to where and how people drink cocktails for the last 10 years.

Bespoke tailor made training programmes for brands, sales teams, outlets, bartenders and training teams.

Rum Fest – 3rd year of this successful trade and consumer show

Who are IPB?

Ben Reed,Co Director, IPBartenders

Ben pioneered celebrity mixology and bartending in the UK, he began his career working with Sir Terence Conran to become head bartender of Mezzo but what really put him on the map was his three year stint as bar manager at London’s Met Bar bat (where he won cocktail bartender of the year in 1997). which was one of the first of the wave of ‘style bars’ in the UK.

Ben also wrote a column Barfly for the Saturday Times magazine for two years and his first book Hollywood Cocktails featured in the Times and the Telegraph newspapers top ten purchases for Christmas 99. His own book Cool Cocktails published in 2000 sold out in both the UK and the US in just four months and has currently sold 500,000 copies worldwide. Three more books, The Cocktail Hour, The Martini, and The Margarita and other Tequila cocktails were released in 2002. In 2003 he wrote The Art of the Cocktail to great acclaim. 2005 saw the release of three more books; Sunshine Cocktails, Party cocktails and Hangover Cures and his latest book "The Bartender's Guide" has just been released by RPS.

Apart from the 13 episode series that Ben presented (Shaker Maker for the BBC), Ben has a regular on the Carlton Food Network and has made appearances on; This Morning, GMTV, The Gloria Hunniford Show, UK Style, UK Food and Granada Breeze.
These days Ben is the brand ambassador for Wray and Nephew/Appleton rums, 
the spokesperson for Funkin' Fruit Purees and a regular trainer for IPB's other bar and brand clients. Ben and IPB are the authority on the rum category within the UK.

Paul McFadyen, Co-Director, IPBartenders

Paul comes from a drinks-media background beginning a decade ago, on the The Publican Newspaper and as Publisher of Flavour Magazine, a monthly cocktail bar trade magazine he launched in 2000. Paul joined IPBartenders as Commercial Director in 2003. Since then he has developed training and bartending projects with all of IPBartenders top clients including Diageo, Bacardi Brown-Forman, Mitchells & Butler and Coca-Cola.

Paul and Ben took 100% ownership of IPBartenders in August 2006 and act as Co Directors. In 2007, IPBartenders and Ian Burrell launched the UK Rum Fest, now entering it's third hugely successful year, a partnership that is wholly owned by IPB and Ian.

In demand for his media and drinks knowledge, Paul is acknowledged as a leading rum expert and presenter, delivering training and seminars for the West Indies Rum and Spirit Producers Association in UK, Spain and Italy, as well as various shows and events from Miami to Moscow.

Nick Wykes, Events and Training Manager – IPB Bar Assessment

After ten years tending and running bars around the world for over 15 years Nick brings an experienced eye and a polished professionalism to the IPBartenders team.

From the landmark bars of Oxford, Browns, Savannah, Maxwells and Mertons via the Channel Islands and an award winning brasserie group to bespoke bars everywhere from Miami, Shanghai, Rome, Cannes and Barcelona Nick has been in constant demand wherever he lays his tins.
After rejoining the Maxwell's group in 2003 as head bartender and overhauling the bar training programmes, menu's and internal protocols Nick joined IPBartenders in 2004 as bartender trainer and events manager. Now organising global cocktail events and parties and delivering professional training and running cocktail classes Nick can also be found propounding his wisdom within the pages of Imbibe Magazine.

Emma Davis, IPBrands/IP PR – new divisio

Emma brings 17 years of experience in the sales and marketing of wines and spirits including most recently 7 years launching and building the highly accoladed Martin Miller’s Gin both in the UK and globally.

Emma is an expert in distribution and marketing in the UK, US and other global markets.

She has also worked on many famous wine brands including Torres, Guigal, Jean Luc Columbo as well as Janneau armagnac, Chartreuse and other spirits.

Emma started her career in the in-house PR at Berry Bros and Rudd and will also be heading up with IPB, IP PR as collectively they are media savvy and have extensive contacts within the UK and globally.

Chairman of LUPEC UK, this is the first international chapter of LUPEC outside of the US. LUPEC UK will be a mentoring and advisory body for women in the industry.

Emma also contributes to Drinksology, Class magazine and some other on line media.

For more information on IPBartenders services and fees please contact

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Connoisseurs Club - Jeff Berry

Let me introduce you The Connoisseurs Club for those of you who haven't had the pleasure of attending. The Connoisseurs Club was created by Steven Pattison and Sean Muldoon on 2nd October 2007, the ethos behind it is to create regular seminars that educate and inform the bar tending and brand community. Since its conception it has welcomed 2000 visitors and 20 guest speakers from all over the world.

It is free to attend a seminar, you just have to find your way over to The Merchant in Belfast, which is a beautiful spot and is home to one of the best bars I've ever propped up.

I've been to 4 of the seminars at The Connoisseurs Club and each time the no of people in attendance has grown. The speakers are not paid, but each seminar is sponsored by a different brand. Jeff Berry's seminar on the history of Tiki Cocktails was sponsored by Bacardi.

I was excited about learning the history of Tiki cocktails as so far my research had included drinking my fair share in Trailer H and Mahiki. 

We all met at the Merchant hotel for a large rum and coke and were then ushered on to a double decker bus to a secret venue, the venue turned out to be the music hall at the Queens University, a very majestic setting for such a wonderfully interesting and historic subject. I had never met Jeff Berry before but was instantly dazzled by his amazing Tiki themed jacket, it put the other Hawaiian style shirts to shame.

This is some of what I learnt before the Tiki effect took hold. Tiki drinks were originally exotic of faux tropicals invented by bartenders in Hollywood in the 1930's, the first Tiki period was the 1930's to the 1970's, the Tiki bartenders were the molecular mixologists of their time, Tiki has been enjoying a bit of  a long overdue renaissance for the past few years. 

Imagine Hollywood in the 1930's, the glamour and decadence, bars were built like film sets, in fact art directors created bar design back then.

It was Don the Beachcomber that really put Tiki on the map, he was a legendary mixologist and one of the first pioneers of 'farm to glass'. Don was born in 1907 in New Orleans, his father owned a hotel but at an early age Don travelled the world particularly focusing on Polynesia, Don's grandfather had been a rum runner. Don opened his first Beachcomber bar in Hollywood in 1934. Don created many Tiki cocktails including The Zombie, Don's Daquiri and
 the Mai Tai (although there is much debate as to the true originator). 

Don married Sunny, a model from the mid west, she was the business brain behind Don and turned his bar into a big restaurant, it was the Spago of his day and patronised by Howard Hughes and Charlie Chaplin amongst other big stars.

Of course with any new successful trends, competition became rife and other Polynesian style restaurants started to pop up all over Hollywood, Don's bartenders started to get poached and his cocktail recipes stolen.  Don started to code his recipes, Tiki bartenders all had little black books which were their recipe bibles.

10 years later Victor Bergeron opened a chain of restaurants called Trader Vics, he claims to have invented the Mai Tai although Don claims to have invented this in 1932.

Don moved to Waikiki in Hawaii after World War II and opened another restaurant he also built an elaborate houseboat, the Marama, a prototype for what he hoped would be a floating housing in Hawaii, he eventually shipped it to Moorea where he lived out his retirement.

I am now on a quest to learn more about Tiki and have a new found respect for it. One of the first books I will be reading is Don's very own Hawaii Tropical Drinks and Cuisine.

My evening ended early as I had forgotten how very strong Tiki cocktails are, so I sent myself to bed with the my best Irish Goodbye yet! This was unusual for a Connoisseurs Club, the last one ended in a Country and Western night at The Spaniard.

The next Connoisseurs Club is in June.