Business people: Raising a glass to savvy student

AN ABERDEEN University student is toasting a website hosting deal with Glasgow-based Iomart Group, which he hopes will keep his whisky site up and running.

Blair Bowman created World Whisky Day last year, and hopes its success will continue. Picture: Contributed
Blair Bowman created World Whisky Day last year, and hopes its success will continue. Picture: Contributed

Blair Bowman, 23, launched World Whisky Day last year to celebrate Scotland’s national drink, but his website was swamped with interest from overseas.

“We had people in Canada, Cambodia, Australia and New Zealand, even Uzbekistan, all trying to get on the website to promote the events they were holding, but the server crashed and when I rang up the hosting company in America they couldn’t even find my details,” Bowman says.

Blair will be hoping that this year’s event on Saturday 18 May will go off without a hitch – because he has to sit his final exams in Hispanic Studies on the Monday morning after.

His creation has already been chosen to be part of Homecoming Scotland 2014 and Bowman is in talks with whisky brands and marketing companies in the hope of turning what started out as a bit of a diversion from his studies into a fully-fledged business when he graduates.

Miracle makeover for The Melville

Two friends have bought The Melville in Edinburgh’s West End – a popular drinking hole in the capital for many years before it fell into decline and closed.

Malcolm Gray and Jon Eastwood acquired the bar from the receiver and have since given the William Street property a £250,000 makeover.

Malcolm said: “When The Melville went into receivership, my business partner and friend Jon and I realised this was our opportunity to create our very own local, just as we wanted it.”

Malcolm and Jon have more than 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry between them.

Under their Wood and Gray business operation they are the driving force behind the Earl of Marchmont bar, the Rocpool apartments in the capital’s West End and The Atholl, one of Edinburgh’s most luxurious hotels.

A weekly classic to clear the stress

NEWS of something that should appeal to any musically-minded culture vulture. Classic Album Sundays – described by organisers as a “communal and audiophile listening experience” – is hosting its latest gig on Sunday 19 May in Edinburgh.

The staff at audio retailer Loud & Clear will be clearing space in store to spin up Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring and The Firebird, works credited with changing the course of 20th century composition.

The afternoon session will be introduced by Grammy-winning recording guru John Dunkerley and refreshments are promised. Sounds to us like the ideal way to unwind before another hectic working week.

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Minto enjoys view as Peploe exhibition attracts impressive 30,000 visits so far

HOT on the heels of Bonhams Auctioneers raising nearly £1 million on the sale of paintings by S J Peploe, Bruce Minto, managing partner of law firm Dickson Minto and chairman of the National Museums Scotland (NMS), has also been admiring the figures attracted by the artist.

Not the sale value, but the attendance figures at the wildly popular exhibition of the Scottish Colourist’s work at Edinburgh’s Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, which has attracted more than 30,000 visitors so far - and is sponsored by Mr Minto’s firm.

Mr Minto, who took over the NMS role from Sir Angus Grossart last year, said he was “very pleased indeed with the visitor numbers”.

Gill heeds his customers’ wishes

HE MAY be one of Scotland’s best-kent millionaires, but that does not mean Charan Gill MBE is unwilling to listen to business advice from his customers – however young. So when 11-year-old customer Sam Heaney emailed the Quay Complex in Musselburgh to explain that he was a fan of its new World Buffet and planned to visit for his 12th birthday, but would really like to see some Mexican dishes, Gill immediately took his advice to heart.

In addition to the restaurant’s range of dishes from around the world, special guest Sam will launch the new Mexican counter featuring fajitas, tacos and enchiladas and other dishes on his birthday this week.

Gill said: “Listening to customers’ wishes is the key to success for any restaurant – indeed any business – and I have Sam to thank for reminding me of that fundamental fact.

“And I hope that our prompt response to his request helps show that I’m not yet too old to be told what to do.”