Aaron Lilley from The Cardan, Lisburn, has been crowned Heverlee L’Apprentice 2016, winning an amazing £5,000 trip for two to Belgium, home of Heverlee, the Premium Pilsner Lager.
Aaron emerged victorious from an exclusive group of around a hundred ‘Heverlee Protégés’ who were trained earlier this year by renowned draught master, Michael Stewart aka Le Principal. Armed with bespoke training in the delivery of the celebrated Perfected Pour, uniquely associated with the authentic premium Belgian Lager, the Protégés returned to the trade to implement Heverlee promotions and passed on what they had learned to their colleagues.
Their new-found accomplishments were put to the test in a series of mystery shopping rounds, with six finalists battling for glory in the Grand Final at Tennent’s NI headquarters recently.
The other five Protégés selected for the final were: Elaine Allardyce from Groucho’s in Richhill; Kieran Devlin from The Pavilion, Stormont; Mark McConville from The Swift in Carrickfergus; Charlie McClelland from Malone Rugby Club in Belfast; and Rebekah Magowan from Gowdy’s in Lisburn.
At the Final each of the finalists delivered a presentation on what they learned and demonstrated how they train staff in their own venues. They also faced some tough questioning from an expert panel made up of Michael Stewart; Tennent’s NI’s Customer Marketing Manager, Paula Colhoun, Sales Director, Jeff Tosh and Regional Sales Manager, Connor Magill.
Crowning the first winner of the new accolade, Paula Colhoun from Tennent’s NI, said, “I’ve been delighted at how enthusiastically the licensed trade of Northern Ireland received and got behind our new Heverlee L’Apprentice competition and we have a supremely worthy winner in Aaron! All of our Protégés were keen to learn and were quick to demonstrate the same passion and respect we have for this Heritage-based product. Aaron however went far beyond anything we might have expected in the implementation of promotions and in motivating his colleagues to share his love for Heverlee.”
About winning, Aaron Lilley from The Cardan, said, “I am thrilled to be the very first Northern Ireland Heverlee L’Apprentice in this inaugural contest and I’m very grateful for all the expert training that I enjoyed throughout the competition. I’ve taken on board a lot of useful tips and knowledge and I know it will all stand me in good stead as I progress in my career. Customers may take the perfect pour for granted but, from our side of the counter, we bartenders know that there’s a lot goes into getting it just right! Heverlee’s supreme serve is in fact a six step process – complicated but, armed with Le Principal’s superb training, we have it mastered! I’m now a truly devoted fan of the brand and I look forward to sharing my appetite for a perfectly served Heverlee with my colleagues and our customers. I’m also looking forward to raising a glass or two of Heverlee in the home of the brand in Belgium!”