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Richard Siddle: comment May 4; seeing the world through Boris's eyes..

Published:  04 May, 2012

Here's a topical anecdote to mark the seemingly never-ending London mayoral elections that took place on Thursday.


Here's a topical anecdote to mark the seemingly never-ending London mayoral elections that took place on Thursday.

I once had the pleasure of hearing Conservative candidate, Boris Johnson, in full flow giving an end of dinner speech at a trade event in his pre-Mayor days. When he was asked who was the one political figure he has most admired many of us in the room were expecting him to pick out Margaret Thatcher or a Nelson Mandela perhaps.

But were left open mouthed when he cried out: "The Mayor in Jaws! Yes, any politician with a strong enough personality to keep the beaches open when there is a man, woman and child eating possessed shark on the loose is a man with great leadership. And the people of Amity Island were very lucky to have him."

So what's the canny drinks connection, I hear you ask? Well, in the increasingly competitive, yet homogenised sector we operate in, how often do you genuinely see that level of leadership, individuals or businesses willing to stand out from the norm, be different and stand by their convictions regardless of the difficulties they come up against.

Well this month's London International Wine Fair will potentially see a whole array of Boris-style "Mayors from Jaws" striving for attention and recognition.

As well as the normal stands there are a couple of unique opportunity that drinks companies and wineries have of gaining listings through LIWF through two different Dragons Den-talent-style initiatives.

First off we have Tesco inviting prospective suppliers to come and talk to them about new wines and ideas on their very own stand. Then there is the intriguing and breakthrough Wine Stars event that gives wineries, not currently in the UK, the chance to pitch live for potential listings at interested multiple, independent and on-trade customers.

Then we have on the first night of LIWF the results of our very own Harpers Awards where we will be recognising and rewarding those companies and individuals we think are standing out in the trade and whether they particularly want to, are following in the footsteps of Boris and his Amity Mayor.