About us

Providing Sales Solutions, Distribution and Advice for Premium Drinks Brands

Nightcap was launched in 2020 amid the Global Pandemic by two colleagues who had been working together successfully for several years in the UK Drinks Industry.

James and Ciaran standing at bar

With experience working for Distributors and directly for Brand Owners, our goal was to provide a new sales solution for Drink Brands that don’t want to (or are unable to) work with a distributor or to hire & build their own sales force. Nightcap seeks to break away from the traditional “Distributor” model and allow brands to have a more targeted and pro-active approach to the market.

We allow brands to retain control over their distribution and everything which comes with it (margin, pricing, marketing strategy) whilst benefiting from the expertise and experience of a team of industry professionals.

We understand how challenging it can be for a Brand Owner to navigate the trade and find the right partner to represent your brand successfully. Therefore, as well as delivering sales goals, we pride ourselves on providing honest advice, regular communication, and transparent feedback.

Our team

Ciaran McNicholas

Founder & CEO

An experienced brand builder, Ciaran has worked in a variety of roles in the Drinks Industry and has worked on over 40 drinks brands, from launching luxury niche spirits to growing larger brands for Globally recognised companies.

Ciaran spent 10 years with leading UK Distributor Mangrove Global, becoming Commercial Director. During that time Mangrove represented brands such as El Jimador & Herradura Tequila, Santa Teresa Rum, Black Cow Vodka, Giffard Liqueurs, Portobello Road Gin, Beluga Vodka, Old Forester Bourbon, and many others.

Most recently, between 2018 and 2020 Ciaran, as Commercial Director, worked directly for a new Brand owner, launching Greenwood Distillers and their associated brands.

At Nightcap, Ciaran is responsible for client relationships, wholesaler management, pricing & sales strategy, key account management, and sales to on-line retail customers, premium & independent retailers, and Grocery.

James Shaw

Co-founder & Managing Director

James has worked in the Drinks Industry for the past 10 years, initially in Wine and then in Spirits. He has a far-reaching network of Customers and Contacts and has a proven track record of winning listings with Premium Spirit Brands across the On and Off Trade.  He was previously the London Sales Manager at UK Distributor Mangrove, where he managed a large account base as well as overseeing the Sales Team in London and the South of England.

Before co-founding Nightcap, James helped to launch Theodore Pictish Gin into the UK market gaining many listings across independents, groups and retailers and contributing to the hugely successful first year of the brand.

James grew up in France and is fluent in French and Spanish. In his spare time, you’ll find him watching his beloved Spurs while enjoying anything Mezcal or Whisky based!

Nightcap Brands Placeholder

Gavin McGowan Madoo

Sales & Marketing Director

Gavin has spent 25 years in the hospitality and drinks business, going from working in pubs to running bars and restaurants in 5 Star deluxe hotels at the Mandarin Oriental and Shangri-La at The Shard, and then onto drinks brand agencies.

After leaving hospitality, Gavin worked at drinks importer Emporia Brands for 9 years as Sales Director. During his time there he worked on and helped launch various brands to the UK marketing including Chairman’s Reserve Rums, RinQuinQuin, Gabriel Boudier Liqueurs, Pere Magloire Calvados, Suze and many more.

When he is not bumping into celebrities in and around his favourite haunt Quo Vadis, you will find Gavin frequenting as many top restaurants as possible, and on the weekends watching his son play football, and going to the Kent coast.

As well as watching as much boxing and as many films as possible, he also occasionally DJ’s with one of his best friends when their schedules allow and venues are brave enough to book them.

Nightcap Brands Placeholder

Julian Howard

Head of Retail

Julian is a career industry professional with over three decades of experience in hospitality, starting when he was 16 years old. Julian has worked in all aspects of the industry, spending the majority in sales and marketing for incredible businesses like Allied Domecq, InSpirit Brands, Mangrove Global and Berry Bros & Rudd. Working with brand owners, agencies and agents he has built brands, built teams and helped lead businesses in sales growth, profitability and development.

With a true passion for all spirit categories Julian continues to search out new and exciting products to bring to consumers, focusing on the Off-Trade. Bringing brands to life for consumers, helping them experience new brands, products, tastes & flavours through educating, adding knowledge and giving them the chance to become engaged and enthused through experience and trying something new.

Nightcap Brands Placeholder

Jack Hanlon

Head of Brand Advocacy & Account Development

Jack’s first working days were in the hospitality industry as a teenager, and he has not looked back. Jack studied Hospitality at Westminster College before leaving to work in all corners of the industry. From working as a Chef, Restaurant manager to Bar manager in pubs, award wining hotels and Michelin Stared restaurants there is not a job in hospitality Jack hasn’t got experience in.

After moving away from working on bars Jack has worked in route to market for Speciality Drinks and most recently for the prestigious Berry Brothers & Rudd as Sales manager for London. Over his time at BB&R Jack oversaw the re-branding of No.3 Gin & The Kings Ginger and successfully launched multiple brands into the UK Market. Jack has grown a wealth of contacts across London’s top bars and bar groups across the UK.

Growing up in the Hertfordshire countryside, on a weekend you will likely find Jack in a country pub with a Guinness or on a golf course trying to find his ball.

Nightcap Brands Placeholder

Luke Miller

Northern Sales Manager

Luke has been working in hospitality for over 15 years, cutting his teeth behind the bar whilst studying at University before managing bars in Leeds City Centre for 7 years. In 2018 he moved into sales working for an independent Gin company covering the North of the country.

Luke then worked for Diageo as an account manager covering various regions in the North. Luke helped the resurgence of Guinness in the North, resulting in Guinness reaching the number one brand in the UK On-Trade. He also had a hand in launching multiple successful brands including Tanqueray Sevilla Gin, Casamigos Tequila, Gordons Gin flavour range and Guinness 0.0.

Luke loves nothing more than seeing and nurturing excellence in the Northern hospitality bar scene.

Nightcap Brands Placeholder

Nik Hannigan

East and South London Sales Manager

Nik began his career in hospitality when he was 15, cutting his teeth as a barista until he realised that being a bartender was way cooler.

Behind the bar Nik realised he had a deep seated interest in spirits and alcohol in general and progressed his career from Bartender to Cocktail Consultant to Brand Educator at Fleure, a non alc spirits brand. From there, Nik became a Brand Ambassador for Brixton Gin.

Nik has taken a fair bit of hospitality with him into the spirits industry and still believes he is helping people drink well and have a good time, albeit indirectly through showing bar managers the top notch Nightcap portfolio.

He has a WSET level 2 in wine.

Get in touch

Want to find out more how Nightcap Brands can help you?

Please get in touch via email: hello@nightcapbrands.com or simply use the form provided on the contact us page. We’ll be in touch as soon as possible.