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Wine Bar Company Enters Liquidation After Liquid Nitrogen Cocktail Disaster

By Jon Munnery
1 June 2016

A company that owned a wine bar in Lancaster which served a young woman a potentially lethal liquid nitrogen cocktail has entered liquidation and been put out of business.

The UK’s Health and Safety Executive prosecuted the company, trading as Oscar’s Wine Bar Limited, following the incident which almost cost Gaby Scanlon her life and resulted in her requiring an emergency operation to remove her stomach.

Ms Scanlon, from Heysham in Lancashire, drank a beverage which Oscar’s bar staff had been selling as Nitro Jager cocktails, which were designed to contain a combination of liquid nitrogen and Jägermeister liqueur.

Unfortunately for Ms Scanlon, the drink proved to be highly dangerous and she was left with potentially life-threatening injuries shortly after drinking it.

For Oscar’s Wine Bar Limited, the incident led to its prosecution for having breached health and safety regulations and the company was fined £100,000 and ordered to pay £40,000 to cover prosecution costs.

These and other financial issues led the company to appoint insolvency experts from Begbies Traynor to enter its business into liquidation in late April.

Companies House records show that the company was faced with unsecured creditor claims worth as much as £700,000 when it was liquidated, with £123,000 apparently left owing in relation to fines and costs.

Reflecting on the case which saw Oscar’s Wine Bar Limited hit with its hefty fine, Eileen Blamire from the Lancaster City Council said she hoped that “lessons had been learned from the incident not only for the company concerned but for all other businesses with responsibilities for health and safety of their customers”.

“The council is always happy to discuss with businesses the potential risks that might be associated with a new, innovative or novel product, and hopefully avoid similar mistakes in the future,” she said.

When the case against the wine bar operator was heard in September 2015, Ms Conlon was understood still to be experiencing “episodes of agonising pain” as a result of the Nitro Jager incident.

Andrew Dunn, former director of Oscar’s Wine Bar Limited, said at the time he was “mortified” by what happened and apologised for the errors that led to the incident.

Mr Dunn is now the director of a new company called Oscar’s of Lancaster Limited, which operates a bar at the same location on George Street in Lancaster.

Jonathan Munnery
Insolvency & Restructuring Expert
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