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The week in pictures

As part of its #CIROCStands campaign, vodka label Cîroc has teamed up with Sean “Diddy” Combs and art curator Jordan “Love Watts” Watson to commission a collective of emerging Black artists. The murals were painted in the cities of Miami, New York, Atlanta and Los Angeles, the hometowns of each of the artists involved. Pictured is Tailor to the stars Tehran Jones of Exclusive Game painted by Markeidric in Atlanta. Cîroc has also made a donation to The Black Artists + Designers Guild (BADG) to help support its mission to build a more equitable and inclusive creative culture.

Alcohol-free beer brand Peroni Libera 0.0% has announced a multi-year partnership with the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One team. As part of the deal, the beer will be served at events across the Formula One calendar including in the Aston Martin Cognizant Formula One team motorhome at most Grand Prix. The move forms part of brand owner Asahi’s plan to have 20% of its portfolio dedicated to non-alcoholic products by 2030. Pictured are team drivers Lance Stroll and Sebastian Vettel, who took part in a promotional film where they discussed what inspired them to perform at the pinnacle of motorsport.

Vodka brand Smirnoff has partnered with Washington, D.C.-based fitness studio and Black women-owned small business SideBarre to give drinkers a chance to attend a series of free virtual bar classes. Kicking off on 3 March, the classes will be led by SideBarre founders, Jillian Carter, Maya Dennis and Alexis Miller with actor and producer, Laverne Cox; actor and author, Diane Guerrero; and professional soccer player, Megan Rapinoe, also taking part.

UK vodka brand Jatt Life, which launched at the start of the pandemic, has added MOBO award-winning rapper MIST to its growing list of celebrity influencers. Jatt Life describes its collaboration with the Birmingham-born artist as a thrilling start to an exciting year, and called MIST and “excellent fit for the brand”.

Jean-Sébastien Robicquet, founder and president of Maison Villevert, has become the ninth person, and the first Frenchman, to be inducted into The Gin Hall of Fame today. Robicquet was chosen for his commitment to creating grape-based gin G’Vine in 2006, which claims to be the first gin to be made with grapes.
Joining Robicquet was Lesley Gracie, master distiller of Hendrick’s Gin. Gracie has spent over two decades working with the cucumber-flavoured gin brand. 
Commenting on the award, she said: “It’s hard to believe that it’s now 22 years since Charlie Gordon first asked me to produce a new gin for him and I started playing around with the recipe that would become Hendrick’s Gin. It was an amazing brief, there was total freedom to do absolutely everything differently. We had these two unusual stills and an idea to combine quintessentially British ingredients of rose and cucumber. It was fun piecing the puzzle together and playing with all sorts of flavours and techniques. At the time, it was impossible to even conceive that gin could be as popular and as loved as it is today, no one was really taking it seriously at that time, so it’s absolutely unbelievable the difference there is these days with the abundance of new gins, distilleries, and fans of gin we see today.”

Leicestershire-based gin distiller Brentingby Gin has announced that it will be auctioning a bespoke Swarovski crystal-encrusted 700ml bottle of its London Dry Gin in aid of the Matt Hampson Foundation next month. The bottle is encrusted with over 5,000 crystals and contains the producer’s gin which is inspired by its founder’s South African heritage. 100% of the proceeds will go to charity and the live auction will be held from 10 to 15 March.

Another spirit being auctioned next month is a bottle of rare Cognac engraved with the signature of part-owner Jay-Z. D’Ussé’s Bottle No.1 of the 1969 Anniversaire Limited Edition is to be auctioned at Sotheby’s next month and is predicted to sell for between US$25,000 and $75,000.

Image credit Stenlake Publishing. The Old Quay in Campbeltown was still a busy place in the early 1920’s, with a mixture of steam and sailing ships. Around thirty or forty fishing skiffs can be seen on the right, with a schooner in front of them. The barrels would have been full of salted herring for markets in Glasgow and elsewhere.

One of Campbeltown’s three surviving single malt Scotch whisky distilleries, Glen Scotia, is calling on people around the world to share photography of the west Scotland town during the mid-19th and early 20th centuries, when there were around 30 legal distilleries.

Iain McAlister, Master Distiller and Distillery Manager at Glen Scotia, said: “The contribution Campbeltown has made to Scotch is incomparable and we are proud to continue to fly the flag for the region around the world.

“Whisky was a way of life in our coastal town for over 100 years and over time, all that experience, craft and passion has been poured into Glen Scotia. Now we are looking for photography that will help us uncover what makes Campbeltown the ‘whiskiest place in the world’.”

UK fine wine merchant Lay & Wheeler has submitted plans to build a new head office and bonded fine wine warehouse in Suffolk. The move will bring its fine wine storage under one roof and the 75,000 square foot facility will be owned and operated by Lay & Wheeler rather than an external partner.

Using BREEAM certification as a guide, the new warehouse will be fitted with photovoltaic panels, rainwater harvesting and EV charging points.

Martini maestro, Alessandro Palazzi of Duke’s Bar in St James’s, walked attendees through how to make the perfect Martini during a Procera gin tasting on Zoom this week.

The gin takes its name from its African juniper base, which lends it a nutty, earthy flavour. Grown in the highlands of Kenya, in addition to African juniper Procera is distilled in Nairobi with nine other African botanicals, including Madagascan pink pepper.

Palazzi’s Procera Martini began with a frozen Martini glass and freezer-chilled gin. Coating the glass with Sacred vermouth, he then theatrically poured the gin from a height and squeezed in the essential oils from a twist of Amalfi lemon. If you closed your eyes and took a long sip, you were almost back at the bar….

Meanwhile the team at Ten Locks hosted a 45-strong online tasting session on National Margarita Day (22 February). The session introducing Tequila label El Tequileño to the UK drinks trade for the very first time.

Gary Cann (New World Trading Company) Mike Aikman (Bramble), Ryan Chetiyawradana, Jon Anders Fjeldsrud and Sly Augustin (Trailor Happiness) tasted through all six El Tequileño Tequilas in a session led by third generation master distiller Tony Salles.

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