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Freddie and Ollie Banks
Freddie and Ollie Banks

Press Release - 13 November 2006

Student business gives cocktail parties a new twist

Cocktail parties could become all the rage in the West this winter thanks to a new business set up by two University of Bath students which takes the hassle out hosting a party.

The ‘V Bars’ service, set up by brothers Ollie and Freddie Banks through their new company Velocity Bars Ltd , will bring a custom-made bar into a home or other venue so that their professional bar tenders can make and serve cocktails whilst the hosts get on with mingling with their guests.

They supply all of the glasses, mixing equipment and drink to make the party go with a swing - and can mix old favourites or cocktails from their specially developed menu.

Ollie and Freddie think their business will appeal to people who want to host a party in their home, and businesses that are looking for something a bit different at their launches, entertainment events or office parties.

The portable bar was designed by Ollie as part of his final-year Mechanical Engineering project at the University - and contains all of the equipment they need to keep the drinks in full flow throughout the evening.

The brothers have spent the summer developing their cocktail service at barbecues, and are hoping the season of Christmas parties will give them even more opportunities to try out their growing business.

“I came up with the idea for Velocity Bars after trying to host my own cocktail party and wishing that I had more time to spend socialising with the people I had invited for the evening,” said Ollie (aged 24) who graduated with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Bath this summer.

“I wished at the time that I had someone who knows about cocktails and could come in and run the bar for me, so that I didn’t have to spend all my time helping keep the party in full swing and making people their drinks.

“During my final year in my degree I had the opportunity to design the perfect portable bar. We have developed a modular system which allows us to combine the different elements that people might need for their party.”

Freddie, who is 20 years old and is studying for a degree in Business Administration at the University of Bath, said: “It has been a great opportunity to do something we enjoy and earn some money that helps me pay my way through university.

“At the same time I am learning a lot about running my own business, which will be a great for the future, and ties in fantastically well with my course

“We hope that once I graduate in 2008 we will be able to work full time on developing the business and the range of products and services for people.

"For example, we already make the modular bar system available for people who want a permanent bar in their home, named the Velocity Bar, which is the flagship product of the companies second brand, Velocity Bars. And have lots of ideas for its future system.”

Both the cocktail service and the bar itself are fully customisable to their customer’s needs – but a typical cocktail party for 20-30 guests over six hours will cost around £1,000.

A three-module bar system, containing a cocktail counter, waste sink and storage unit, will cost people between £2,000-3,000 to buy.

“We use only the best quality spirits and ingredients in our cocktails, so people know they are getting a quality product,” said Freddie.

“The same is true of the bars we produce and use as part of our cocktail service.

“The hosts can pay for the drinks in advance, making the bar available to their guests as a free bar, or set a tab for how much they want to pay for and leave their guests to pay for themselves from there on.”

People visiting the Velocity Bars website can sign up for free e-mail newsletters which contain lots of interesting information about cocktails and recipes for some of the drinks offered by the brothers.

The pair will be running a juice cocktail bar – sponsored by Deloitte – at the Student Enterprise’ 06 conference taking place at the University of Bath next week.

“The Government recognises that the UK economy needs more entrepreneurs to help develop and exploit new markets, not just here but around the world,” said Siobain Hone, Student Enterprise Co-ordinator in the Students’ Union at the University of Bath.

“Students are well placed to take up this challenge because they tend to be very bright, have lots of energy and come up with creative ideas.

“Entrepreneurship is not always an easy career path to follow, which is why we try to support them in these early stages through events like Student Enterprise ’06.”

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