When McLeod started Zest Mixology in 2011, there was very little competition – there were some pop-up bars in London, but nothing up in the North of England. Hardly surprising then that the company saw huge success pretty much immediately, hosting 500 events in the first year of launching.Fast forward to 2016, and Zest has the resources to serve groups of 500 in a marquee at a wedding, or 1,000 people at a business conference – it supplies everything needed, from the bar to the glassware. The clients can choose from a whole range of pop up bars. Talking me through Zest’s offering, McLeod listed: “LED bars that light up to suit party environments and warehouse parties, very elegant mirror bars that reflect the beauty of their surrounding for glamorous weddings, rustic wooden bars that we use when we’re doing VIP enclosures in festivals. “We pride ourselves on creating bespoke, themed bars for individual event. If a client wants a bar entwined with ivy, we can make that happen. If they want a bar painted red and white to match their football colours, then we can do that for them.” Nowadays there is a larger appetite for pop-up bars, which is great for a growing business but brings challenges of its own: “In the last five years there’s been a vast increase in companies offering pop up bar services, from Inverness to Portsmouth.” Every city has suppliers at some level, but McLeod positions his company as a leader in the sector, offering a truly national service. Zest regularly operates across the UK, from central Scotland to London, and as of January 2017 he claims it will be the only pop-up bar business with physical warehouses in both the north and south of the country.
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