Chesterfield mobile horsebox bar business scoops wedding industry awards after 'difficult' year of cancelled events

Despite the Covid-19 pandemic forcing thousands of couples to cancel or postpone their big day, a Chesterfield mobile bar business has scooped two wedding industry awards.

Thursday, 6th May 2021, 11:58 am
Updated Thursday, 6th May 2021, 2:12 pm

The Horse & Jockey Mobile Bar, which is based in Walton, was named as the Best Events Mobile Bar Company in the UK, back in March at the 2021 Global Wedding Awards run by LUXlife Magazine.

Last week, the business which launched in 2017 and operates out of a converted horse box was also recognised as ‘Outstanding’ in the The Wedding Emporium Wedding Industry Awards 2021.

After a difficult past year due to the ongoing Covid-19 crisis, director Helen Miller explained how it felt to be recognised with the two awards.

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Helen Miller set up the mobile bar business in 2017.
Helen Miller set up the mobile bar business in 2017.

She said: "I'm absolutely over the moon with them.

"We try and offer a really, really unique service and for us, weddings are hard work and they are long days.

"A lot of the weddings we do are in marquees or in teepees or in a field so it's not the easiest environment to be working in.”

The mobile bar provides both indoor and outdoor drinks services at weddings, festivals and parties and previously worked functions for Ashgate Hospicecare, Chesterfield College and Derbyshire Food and Drink Fair, among others.

The Horse & Jockey Mobile Bar, based in Chesterfield, recently scooped two wedding industry awards.

But business ground to a halt when the nation was plunged into the first lockdown on March 23 last year.

Only one of the mobile bar’s scheduled weddings and two other events went ahead in 2020, leaving owner Helen in a position to try and diversify their business model to ensure the company’s survival post lockdown.

As the The Horse & Jockey Mobile Bar is based at the director’s residential home, but travels to events across the country, the business did not qualify for any government loans while they were unable to work.

She added: "It was incredibly difficult, I worked full time for the business so it was my only source of income and then it had literally all gone.”

Helen is eager for weddings, festivals and public events to return as coronavirus restrictions begin to ease.

After months of no money coming into the business, Helen set up The Curious Cocktail Company which provides delivery boxes of bar-quality ingredients to enable customers to recreate their favourite drinks at home.

The idea for the new enterprise, which aims to work alongside the mobile bar at events this summer, came from the popularity of the gins and cocktails previously served at The Horse & Jockey Mobile Bar.

"We launched it in November, about six weeks before Christmas and it just went absolutely crazy”, the owner continued.

"If we'd not done this, it would have been difficult for me to carry on putting the effort into the businesses as I would probably have had to go and look for [another] job.

The director said diversifying her business was key to surviving lockdown.

"And it is then difficult to go on with running a business, particularly one that has financially has basically lost all its income for an entire year.”

Helen is hopeful that if restrictions are lifted from June 21 in line with the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown – both her businesses could still have a promising year.

She added: “Everyone is ready to party.

"There are a lot of events which have been put on hold and I think there are a lot of people who just want to get back some sort of normality.”

Helen and her staff working at an event.

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With almost all of her 2020 events cancelled due to Covid, the director launched the The Curious Cocktail Company to offer cocktail kit deliveries.