by BEVERAGE TRADE NETWORK

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The Judges

Thomas Aske

Founder at Blank Canvas Collective

Thomas is the founder of Blank Canvas Collective, Black Rock and Surfside. He has spent over twenty years working in the hospitality industry having worked in every role available behind the bar. Thomas spent five years working for Diageo as a brand ambassador for London, his accounts were defined as the capitals top 50. The brands he worked with include Jose Cuervo, Johnnie Walker and Tanqueray. In 2009 Thomas co-founded Fluid Movement, a breakthrough events and consultancy company for the hospitality industry. Fluid Movement consulted in markets all over the world including Thailand, China, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and the middle east, specialising in a modernist approach to drinks. Thomas has conducted seminars and consulted for some of the industries biggest operators including Marriott Hotels, Diageo, LVMH and Hilton. In 2010, Thomas co-founded acclaimed cocktail bar Purl. Purl was quickly announced as runner up in the Time-Out bar of the year awards and is widely regarded as bringing molecular mixology to the masses.

In May 2011 Thomas opened their second bar The Worship Street Whistling Shop, a modern interpretation of a Victorian Gin Palace. The Whistling Shop again received huge press coverage winning the Time Out bar of the year in 2011. The Whistling Shop’s laboratory inspired libations have meant that it has twice been included in the world’s top 50 bars according to the Independent (placed 38 in 2011 and 33 in 2012). In 2013 Thomas opened Surfside. Located on Polzeath beach in Cornwall, Surfside was recently voted as the UK’s number 1 venue for al fresco dining by the Times. In 2016 Thomas and Fluid Movement opened whisky bar Black Rock with an aim to demystify the category. Black Rock includes flavour profile displayed whiskies from around the world and a one of a kind interactive 18ft long English oak ageing system.

In 2017 and 2018, Black Rock was awarded best specialist bar by Class Magazine four years running from 2017 to 2020. It was also awarded best single focus bar by Time Out in 2017. In 2017, Thomas also launched Whisky-me, a dedicated whisky subscription business aimed at simplifying the whisky category. Whisky-Me currently has 2500 members and is growing. The mission of Whisky-Me is to simplify the category and get amazing whisky onto the lips of as many people as possible. In 2019 Thomas founded Blank Canvas Collective, a creative agency to assist with entry into the hospitality sector. Services include concept and interior design, food and drink design, marketing and finance. 

Thomas has a passion for gin history and flavour. He has written chapters on innovation in cocktails for GQ’s cocktail book and is also a regular contributor for Spirits Business magazine and Diageo Bar Academy. He specialises in flavour and the modernist approach to drinks.