The first cocktail school will open in November at the Casa Hotel in Chesterfield a £20m scheme being developed by Global Brands owner and entrepreneur Steven Perez. A national roll-out of the schools targeting budding mixologists would follow, said Global Brands MD Derek Mackey, although plans were at an early stage.
The schools would raise awareness of the upmarket spirit brands Global had gained through its acquisition of premium drinks agency Inspirit Brands last month, said Mackey.
These brands would also be targeted at the multiples, he said, as the trend towards consumers making cocktails at home was "one of the main reasons" for buying spirits such as Myer's Rum, Opal Nera sambuca and Frangelico.
"We aim to grow our turnover from £79m to £100m within three years through bringing our great on-trade brands to market in the off-trade," said Mackey. "With consumers going out less, spend has shifted to retailers. We will continue to invest in the on-trade, but the off has become more important for achieving organic growth."
With sales of gold rum leaping 29% to £35m and dark rum up 8% to £57m [Nielsen 52w/e 20 March 2010], Mackey recognised rum as an exciting growth area for Global Brands, which also landed the El Dorado and Bundaberg rums in the Inspirit deal.
"Awareness of rums and Cachaça from Brazil has grown and will only accelerate after people travel to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014," he said.
Kate Waddell, MD of consumer brands at Dragon Rouge, said the roll-out of the cocktail schools was timely.
"The Heston Blumenthals of this world are encouraging us to be experimental with flavours and ingredients," she said.
"Global Brands' cocktail schools are part of a phenomenon of pro-skilling, with people subscribing to courses in everything from butchery to cheesemaking, to wine tasting."