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The week in pictures

The 20th Annual SantaCon brought hundreds of festive revellers to New York last Saturday, 8 December. Attendees, who all dress as Santa, braved the freezing temperatures as they took part in a citywide bar crawl.

The Saint Nick themed merrymakers made stops at five dozen bars, pubs and karaoke spots as they made their way from Hell’s Kitchen, through Midtown and Chelsea before finishing in the East Village.

Love Island fans (and if you aren’t one, you’re lying to yourself) travelling through Waterloo station were in for a treat on Wednesday as unlucky in love finalist Laura Anderson started handing out 200 free samples of Echo Falls’ new Prosecco next to a massive blue and pink waterfall.

Our student readers will know all too well that Accolade Wines launched a ProsEcho Falls (I’m sorry) earlier in October to meet Christmas demand. They will also remember that, in a stunning feat of identity alliance, the wine label sponsored ITV’s Love Island this year.

Marketing director David White said: “27% of Echo Falls’ shoppers drink the brand for a special celebration, so it was the perfect time to engage thousands of Waterloo commuters in the run up to Christmas.”

The installation, and Ms Anderson, are in Birmingham today, so keep your eyes peeled.

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Monday night saw designers, models, A-list stars, and A-list models and designers make a beeline for the Royal Albert Hall for The Fashion Awards 2018. Bird in Hand Winery, the official wine sponsor for the awards, joined the celebrations, keeping guests watered throughout the night.

Winery founder Andrew Nugent, seen here having a laugh with his old pals actress Brooke Shields, Victoria Beckham, David Beckham and filmaker David Furnish, supplied serves like the 2017 Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc 2018 and Bird in Hand Shiraz 2016 during the sit down dinner along with Bird in Hand’s ‘House of Holland’ Sparkling Pinot Noir.


In dubious science news, researchers from New Zealand and the UK have published a study in the Medical Journal of Australia’s Christmas issue which they say proves that Ian Fleming’s fictional character James Bond has “a severe chronic alcohol problem”.

The “scientists” from the University of Otago and Oxford University engaged in the taxing pursuit of watching 24 James Bond films in order to describe the patterns of alcohol use.

Charting the change over six decades, the report noted that Bond has a total of 109 ‘drinking events’, with a mean of 4.5 events per film. This, they noted, meant that his blood alcohol level was around 0.36 g/dL, which is “sufficient to kill some people”. His peak binge totalled 24 units of alcohol which equated to 6 vesper Martinis, shaken not stirred.

To be fair, it’s a stressful job.

O, lit-mas tree, O, lit-mas tree….

Genesee Brewing in New York State has built a giant, 27ft Christmas tree which is made out of 520 empty beer kegs and adorned with 20,000 lights, marking the fifth consecutive year that the brewer has constructed its ‘keg tree’.

Some producers already have summer on their minds. Mallets, the brand from the Drinks Company Formerly Known as Brothers (The Showering Cider Mill) has secured an exclusive four-year partnership with Glastonbury Festival.

Mallets will be available on draught and in 440ml cans at 110 bars during the five-day festival. “We have been part of the festival for more than 20 years, having introduced Brothers cider to Glastonbury back in 1995, so the festival holds a special place in our hearts,” Managing director Matthew Showering said.

While everyone else is fattening up for winter, 28 teams of adventurers from 12 countries around the world have set off on the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge on Tuesday.

The troops set off from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, and will row 3,000 miles across the Atlantic Ocean to finish in Antigua.

The 2018 fleet includes team Row for the Ocean who are campaigning to turn Exeter into one of the UK’s first plastic-free cities, a pair from Denmark, team Wolfpack, who will be live streaming their ocean row, the first Antiguan all-women’s team, Team Antigua Island Girls; The Blue Rower, a soloist attempting to be the first New Zealander to ever row across the Atlantic; and Oar Inspiring, who are lifelong pals from the UK.

Wine educator Jimmy Smith and Julien Camus of the Wine Scholar Guild celebrate the West London Wine School’s first annual WSET and Wine Scholar Guild alumni party at the school’s HQ in Fulham. Just this week Camus announced that the Wine Scholar Guild will be launching a Spanish Wine Scholar programme for students keen to get under the skin of the Spanish wine industry.

Meanwhile, up north, the founders of a new craft distillery in Yorkshire exploited a legal loophole to promote their first batch of spirits before their license to sell came through.

Chris Taplin, 51, and Barry Mageean, 23, registered Tapling & Meegan Distilling on Companies House in August this year, and since then have spent their time converting a 200-year-old railway building at Wensleydale Railway into a still house, but still hadn’t received their license to sell alcohol.

Mageean used a technicality he discovered while completing his personal licence course, which states that the law does not apply to trains that are in motion, to promote his gin while he waited for the paperwork to come in.

“There is a maze of licensing and and paperwork to get through when it comes to making/selling alcohol so it made sense to make the most of the railway in our distillery,” Mageean told the drinks business.

The pair held a pre-release tasting debut on a vintage steam train parked at Wensleydale railway station on Friday 7 December before taking paying guests on a 2 1/2 hour gin masterclass once the train was in motion.

This meant that for the duration of the masterclass the carriage was effectively “engaged on a journey,” Mageean said.

Smart move.

What better way to follow the drinks business Christmas party, than to drink more Champagne. db‘s Phoebe French headed to the Royal Albert Hall on Sunday to watch the Champions Tennis, sponsored by Champagne Lanson. With the fizz flowing, players such as former British number one players Tim Henman and Greg Rusedski as well as doubles star Jamie Murray, Thomas Enqvist, Mark Philippoussis and Xavier Malisse took to the court for a dazzling display, packed with lightning-speed volleys. 

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