BarLifeUK has learnt of news from Monkey Shoulder that throws the future of their Ultimate Bartender Championship into major doubt.
Last week we brought you news of Monkey Shoulder Brand Am-badass-ador, Grant Neave, receiving his final warning following a meeting with Head of Whisky Mark Collins (read the full story here).
Our source yesterday contacted us with news that the situation has evolved, with disturbing consequences.
The issues with Grant Neave revolve around the Monkey Shoulder Ultimate Bartender Championship (UBC), in particular the overall prize for the winners, which consists of a pop-up bar at London Cocktail Week. During the pop-up all the money that is generated (last year rumoured to be in the region of £12.5K) is kept by the winners, despite all the stock being provided for free by Monkey Shoulder, a fact that has upset the powers that be.
The latest development has seen Grant ‘falling off the radar’ with no-one within the company being able to contact him, the phrase that is apparently being used in head office is that Grant has ‘gone rogue’ in an attempt to run this years UBC without restrictions.
A Helping Hand
In another intriguing development our source revealed that they believe Grant is getting assistance from within the company, which is allowing him in to stay one step ahead of the efforts to track him down, and stop him.
The obvious candidate for aiding Grant is Monkey Shoulder Global Brand Ambassador Dean Callan, who is known to be a long time supporter of Grant’s ‘unusual approach’ to whisky promotion. This would come as a shock to those at Monkey Shoulder however, who have put their faith in Dean even sitting him alongside Mr Collins at this weeks press conference where he claimed to ‘neither condone or support’ Grant’s running of UBC and to ‘not know the whereabouts of Grant Neave’.
Further investigation by BarLifeUK has managed to confirm that, not only is Grant continuing with his plans to run the Monkey Shoulder UBC this year, but is expanding the format. This will see 12 cities across the country hosting heats, with the final being held at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans before the winners, once again, get the controversial pop-up at London Cocktail Week.
There is also a rumour floating around that a video exists showing Grant & Dean colluding, although Dean has claimed that, if this video actually exists, it has ‘been falsified’.
The scale of this years UBC is sure to infuriate the hierarchy, and Mr Collins in particular, even further as is the news that Grant has all the passwords to the UBC website, ensuring that it remains up and running allowing bartenders from across the country to enter.
We will continue to bring you breaking news as we uncover it, in the meantime here is a video of the Press Conference mentioned above:
*For those who weren’t sure, this article is entirely fictional. UBC is indeed coming back to the UK and is fully supported and run by Monkey Shoulder. Watch the video and all shall be made clear!