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Acorn winners 2016: Joshua Cowan, 24

01 July 2016
Acorn winners 2016: Joshua Cowan, 24

Bar manager, the Luggage Room, the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square

Nominated by Rachel Matthews, director of human resources, the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square

Proudest career moment

Greatest inspiration "The history of the bartending industry - knowing that you are part of an industry that for 200 years has been striving to innovate and inspire patrons."

Ambition "Eventually, to either own a bar and to creatively expand it, or to be in a position to creatively improve this industry in some way."

Belfast-born Josh Cowan honed his bartending skills under globally renowned bartender Jack McGarry. By 2011, Cowan had won the Jack Daniels Taste of Tennessee Award, but was too young to compete in the World Finals.

After a stint as head bartender at Belfast's Merchant Hotel, in 2013 Cowan slipped behind the bar at the Luggage Room in London as assistant manager. It wasn't long before - at the age of 24 - he was made bar manager with a team of 12 and revenue of nearly £600,000 a year.

In his first year, he was named the Beefeater London and UK champion as well as a global finalist. The Luggage Room - which prides itself on serving hand-crafted cocktails - also won Best Bar at the Mayfair Awards 2013. Meanwhile, Cowan's business acumen has resulted in revenue growth of more than £50,000 per year since taking over.

One of the most recent and exciting initiatives driven by Cowan is the launch of an exclusive own-label rum for the exclusive use of the bar. He is also introducing schemes to generate revenue when the bar is closed - offering the luxurious space for high-profile photo shoots has brought in £10,000 and counting. Recently, he has also introduced afternoon tea.

His forward-thinking business style means he has been asked to sit on Marriott's Restaurant & Bar Advisory Board for Europe to help shape the future of its bars.

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