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About The Pinnacle Guide

Words by Jane Ryan

Perhaps, the drinks industry's answer to Michelin.

For years the bar industry has bemoaned its lack of a recognition system that rates and rewards truly excellent venues in a way consumers can understand. Where the restaurant world has the famed Michelin stars, the drinks world had nothing to compare. The Pinnacle Guide proposes to change that.

Conceived by a trio of talented drinks professionals; Hannah-Sharman Cox, Siobhan Payne and Dan Dove, The Pinnacle Guide will rate outstanding bars in PINs, one, two or three. If you're unfamiliar with their previous work, Hannah and Siobhan are the duo behind Hands London and have run London Cocktail Week since its inception, while Dan is the owner and operator of Global Bartending and has previously held high profile ambassador roles for prestigious spirit brands.

Here at Difford's Guide, we're lucky to have worked with all three, and indeed Hannah and Siobhan were once our colleagues prior to our selling London Cocktail Week, and always will be part of the unofficial Difford's family. They are well experienced to drive this – however, it's not just in their hands. The first stage of launching The Pinnacle Guide is deciding what qualities define an exceptional venue and what makes and maintains excellence in hospitality and bars? That's something Hannah, Siobhan and Dan are asking you to help with.

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Siobhan Payne, Hannah-Sharman Cox and Dan Dove

So what is The Pinnacle Guide, how will it work and how can it benefit the drinks industry?

What is it? The Pinnacle Guide will give out PINs and just like the Michelin Guide, bars can receive 1, 2 or 3 PINs. There is no limit to how many bars can be awarded them.

How will it work? Bars will be graded by anonymous reviewers based locally to them. These reviewers will judge the bar within a clear set of published parameters, that will be used consistently across the globe so that a bar in Sydney is guided using the same standards as one in London and one in Buenos Aires.

How might this help the drinks industry? In several ways. By establishing a reliable and trusted recognition system for bars, based on published and clear criteria, there will an easy way for both consumers and trade to understand what qualifies a venue to be considered in the top 1% of bars worldwide.

The Pinnacle Guide also aims to, through its review process, gather insights into these top venues, giving bar owners everywhere a window into what it takes to be a PINed destination.

Lastly, the criteria on which bars will be judged will be decided by consultation with the bar industry, hopefully resulting in a guide that not only consumers recognise but which trade can wholeheartedly support.

When and where will the first PIN be awarded? not till 2023. There will be eight countries in year one and the goal is to be reviewing in 50 countries by year three. For now, The Pinnacle Guide is launching to the drinks trade only for its consultancy phase. Hence, if you're interested, you can have a say in just how The Pinnacle Guide will measure excellence in bars.

The consultancy phase includes a series of fortnightly open forums and panel discussions to finalise the format, alongside one-on-one video calls. Anyone with an opinion is welcome to have their say and anyone with an interest is welcome to watch the discussions.

The full schedule and links to sign up to these sessions will be available on ThePinnacleGuide.com

Once all the guidelines are finished, reviewer training will begin and we'll see the launch of PINs in 2023.