Having been open for just under a year, Kin cocktail bar co-owner Jody Buchan believed they were shortlisted for prestigious industry awards just to make up the numbers.
But he ended up being a double winner at the Scottish Licensed Trade News (SLTN) Awards, taking the titles of Mixologist of the Year and – jointly with business partner Sam Baxendale – Craft Spirits Enthusiast.
The small Barony Street bar has been popular with customers since opening in November last year, but to take home two coveted corkscrew trophies from Thursday night’s awards was special for the pair during their first business venture.
Jody also follows in the footsteps of his wife, Sian, who was named SLTN Mixologist of the Year in 2014.
He said: “A lot of people say they don’t expect to win, but we definitely didn’t with us only being open for less than a year. It is unbelievable to win two awards and it has taken forever for it to sink in. I think we offer something different to other bars in the sense every customer at Kin has been served by Sam or myself since we opened.
“Our motto is come as friends, leave as family. We always want to speak to our customers and build a relationship with them.
“To win the awards is highly exciting and humbling. It recognises that as well as keeping our customers happy we are evidently being thought of by the industry, which is just icing on the cake for us.”
More than 20 trophies were presented to Scotland’s top pubs, clubs, restaurants, staff and operators at the glittering awards ceremony in the Hilton Glasgow.
Becky Smith of Platform 3 in Linlithgow was named Bartender of the Year, while the pub itself won Independent Pub of the Year
The 25-year-old said: “Everyone was ridiculously surprised and is over and beyond delighted to win this award. We are a small local pub with only five members of staff who are all phenomenal and to win against many other big names is quite an achievement. We are community focused because without our customers we wouldn’t be open.
“For me personally it means a lot to be recognised for the day to day work we do. The job is more than just pulling pints and it is an extra pat on the back. I’d like to thank the sponsors for seeing something special in what we do at Platform 3.”
Other winners in the Lothians included The Sun Inn in Dalkeith, which took the Gastropub title while the Best Outdoor Area award was won by the Capital’s Leven Street bar The Blackbird.
SLTN editor Gillian McKenzie said: “Pubs, bars, restaurants, clubs and hotels play a vital role in Scotland – as the heartbeat of communities, in providing a warm welcome to tourists and as major employers, and their importance must not be overlooked.
“The SLTN Awards is all about celebrating the very best of Scotland’s licensed trade and the standard this year really was exceptional. I’d like to congratulate all of our SLTN Award winners and highly commended finalists who deserve enormous credit for displaying the high standards, innovation and entrepreneurial spirit our industry is renowned for.”