Following another incredibly impressive 12 months which has included launching the pioneering Love Well initiative to promote a happy and healthy hospitality industry, Love Drinks’ founder Kirsty Loveday has been named Woman of the Year at the Drinks Business Awards 2019.
Announced at the London Wine Fair at Olympia on Tuesday 22nd May, under Kirsty’s direction Love Drinks has continued to grow, lead and develop categories through its exciting NPD with recent launches including Four Pillars Barrel Aged Gins, a Pink Gin and a Tiki Lovers Pineapple Rum from the Bitter Truth and a Goslings Dark ‘n’ Stormy Ready To Drink can.
Her vision has been to take craft to the masses and this has been proven by recent listings such as The Bitter Truth’s range of cocktails bitters featuring in All Bar One and Stonegate sites and in retail.
With one eye always on the future, Kirsty continues to scour the world for the coolest, highest quality drinks that share the same values and in the last few months Love Drinks has secured the distribution rights to the exciting Brighton Gin and El Bandarra Vermut brands.
Passionate about promoting health and wellbeing in the hospitality industry, Kirsty also launched the far-sighted Love Well initiative in October 2018. Through her direction and energy, Love Well now offers a wide range of health and wellness activities to staff working in the On-trade. This has included the running of nine free fitness sessions, a Wellness Wednesday seminar and an Invest in Rest workshop.
Patrick Schmitt MW, editor-in-chief of The Drinks Business, said: “We were thrilled to name Kirsty Loveday our 2019 Woman of the Year, which was an accolade awarded in recognition of her energy and creativity in the competitive world of drinks. She is the latest in a line of high-achieving woman in the drinks industry to gain this annual award, from Banfi’s Cristina Mariani-May to Krug’s Maggie Henriquez, and we are delighted to add her name to a list of impressive achievers in this business.”
Kirsty Loveday commented: “It’s a massive honour to receive this award in front some of the industry’s most influential people. I wouldn’t be anywhere without the support of my team and the extended Love Drinks Family or Brand partners, so this is as much for them all as it is for me.”
Kirsty Loveday, Founder & CEO, Love Drinks
Beginning her working life in hospitality as a pot washer in her parent’s pub at the age of 11, Kirsty has come along way – now holding a British Empire Medal for high impact work and services to the drink industry, which was awarded in the Queen’s birthday honours in 2006.
She first found and started learning her craft working for Budweiser, Allied Domecq and Castle Brands. At Castle she single-handedly launched Goslings Rum in the UK and was voted Class Brand Ambassador of the Year but soon found herself being made redundant.
With the spirits market dominated by big brands who put the emphasis on the marketing as opposed to the quality of the product, Kirsty decided the way forward was focussing on the smaller, family owned, craft producers which were beginning to pop up. Deciding enough was enough, at the age of 28 she set up Love Drinks in 2007 – an independent import, distribution and marketing company for premium quality, spirits, liqueurs and craft beers.
At the time, she knew she was a passionate and award-winning sales person but had no idea what it entailed to run an import and distribution company – even more so as the recession had just hit. Looking back, she thinks she must have been mad but 12 years on Love Drinks now turns over circa £6million.
The Drinks Business Awards
Now in its 17th year, the Drinks Business awards have become the most authoritative, internationally respected badge of achievement in the alcoholic drinks industry. Engineered to reward top performers across the global drinks industry, this year’s Drink Business awards winners drew attention to the rising importance of sustainable packaging, the strength of the English wine sector, and the importance of investment in staff training, market research and product development.
Unveiled each year at the London Wine Fair, the awards offer a chance for outstanding companies and individuals to win high profile recognition in front of some of the industry’s most influential representatives.