Billy Lowe wins Lifetime Achievement

What a feeling!’ as Scotland’s bars scoop top awards!

Edinburgh pub entrepreneur Billy Lowe got an extra birthday present when he scooped the Lifetime Achievement Award at Tuesday’s Scottish Bar and Pub Awards, formerly known as the DRAM Awards, on his actual birthday! The award recognised his 35 years at the top of the licensed trade.

Said DRAM publisher Susan Young, “Billy Lowe is arguably Scotland’s most successful licensed trade entrepreneur. Having created three very successful pub companies and operated more than 30 pubs over the decades, he still remains at the helm of Caledonia Inns, which includes the award-winning Black Ivy.”

The latter also won the Drinks Express Best Outdoor Area award.

He received his award in front of more than 600 industry peers at a glittering 80s Film themed awards ceremony at the Doubletree Hilton in Glasgow.

Following his win, Billy said, “It was a complete surprise, and I was delighted that the whole family was there to see it! For me, to be recognised alongside the deserving people who have won this award before, people that I truly admire, was such an honour.”

The event saw 30 awards presented to both venues and individuals from all around Scotland spanning from Our Place in Annan which picked up the Media World Casual Dining Award, to Inverness-based Prime which grabbed the ARO Procurement Customer Service Award.

Organiser Susan Young said, “The Scottish licensed trade is full of successful entrepreneurs and as a result we have some of the best pubs and venues in the UK.  These awards recognise and celebrate the efforts of the owners and their employees that give Scotland a hospitality industry that is worth shouting about. I take my hat off to all of them.”

Now in their 28th year, the awards are a highlight in the hospitality industry calendar and this year over 100 finalists attended the ceremony at the Double Tree Hilton Glasgow Central – making it the biggest event yet!

Aberdeen were big winners on the night as Malones scooped the Sunday Mail Pub of the Year award! The celebrations continued for the city as Scott Anderson of Siberia Bar & Hotel won THE DRUM Digital Innovator of the Year, Adrian Gomes of The Tippling House won Campari Mixologist of the Year and Bryony Baxter of Meraki Bar and Restaurant was named as William Grant & Sons Bar Apprentice of the Year.

In Edinburgh there was a double celebration for the Tipsy Midgie and owner Colin Hinds who took home both Benromach’s Whisky Bar of the Year and the Deanston Whisky Guru gongs!

Hey Palu was named the Makers Mark Cocktail Bar of the Year, Stramash as Pernod Ricard Best Late-Night Venue and Brewhemia as Molson Coors Scottish Bar of the Year!

A special mention went to The Original Rosslyn Inn who were honoured with the Golden Jubilee Award for Hospitality to celebrate their 50th year of business.

Meanwhile, in Glasgow winners included local favourites St Lukes & The Winged Ox for Hi-Spirits Best Live Music Venue, the WORQ Group for Premier Card Services Independent Operator of the Year and Graham Chalmers of Radisson RED who won the inaugural Edrington UK Giving More Award for his amazing charitable contributions.

Gillian Kirkland of The Piper Whisky Bar was deservedly crowned Inspirational Woman of the Year, Rory McGinley of Two Fat Ladies at The Buttery was named HOSPO Manager of the Year and Sportsterz Pete Harvey was stunned to receive his Bar Personality of the Year award!

A special ‘Heart of Hospitality’ award was also given to Bucks Bar owner Michael Bergson for being such a great voice for the licensed trade industry.

The Lisini Pub Company were recognized for their amazing sustainability work, winning the Flor de Cana Rum Sustainability Award and Baillieston’s The East End Fox snapped up the trophy for Kopparbergs New Bar of the Year.

In Ayrshire, industry giants Buzzworks took home the Hospitality Employer of the Year gong, the Fox and Willow won Inverarity Morton Scotland’s Best Drinks Offering and Brandon Van Rensburg, owner of the Tempura chain, walked away as Buzzworks & Montpeliers Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year.

Other winners from the west included Great Scots Bar in the Cameron House that were awarded Molinari’s Hotel Bar of the Year, The Oak Tree Inn in Balmaha that won Hotel Scotland Family Business of the Year, and Aberfoyle’s The Forth Inn that scooped the prize for Sheep Dog Whisky Dog Friendly Pub of the Year.

Falkirk’s Brian Flynn, owner of Behind The Wall, was named Licensee of the Year and The Scottish Hospitality Group awarded its Special Recognition Award to Caroline Louden of TLT LLP.

The full list The full list of winners are here along with pictures of them picking up their awards on the night and you can browse some more pictures below.

Important Dates

Voting Voting Open
Voting Closes 15 June 2024
Judging July/August 2024
Award Ceremony 27 August 2024

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