Jigger Beaker Glass returns with a wealth of industry luminaries to explore the themes of creativity, hospitality and productivity – a.k.a. the holy trinity of bartending. We get the lowdown from Rebecca Sides, London and South UK trade ambassador for Bacardi Brown Forman Brands…
The third instalment of Bacardi Brown Forman Brands’ bartender education roadshow Jigger Beaker Glass is very much upon us, and don’t quote us, but it might be the best one yet. Loaded with thought-provoking presentations, interactive sessions and the wise words of a few bonafide bartending legends, the UK-wide tour will make eight pit stops in total across the likes of Edinburgh, Bristol and beyond, beginning in Liverpool on 18 June and concluding in London, Leeds and Belfast in early 2020.
For the unacquainted, the annual roadshow has three core pillars – Jigger, which focuses on skills; Beaker, which covers innovation; and Glass, which shines a light on drink-making. Marking a departure from previous years, for 2019’s event the distinct disciplines have been split across three individual rooms to make the whole thing a little more immersive.
So, who’s on the roster? Joe Schofield – formerly of the Tippling Club and The American Bar at The Savoy – will be taking ‘creativity’; Paul Johnson, formerly of Annabel’s and Chiltern Firehouse, is the ‘hospitality’ wizard, and both Joe Stokoe, founder of Heads, Hearts & Tails, and Joseph Hall, of Satan’s Whiskers, will be channelling ‘productivity’.
As the tour gets well and truly underway, we chatted with Rebecca Sides, London and South UK trade ambassador for Bacardi Brown Forman Brands, to glean a few tips, tricks and takeaways about each theme. Here’s what we learned…
Master of Malt: What are the key tools or traits an ambitious bartender should possess if they want a career in the industry, whether by opening their own bar, becoming a brand ambassador, or simply being known for their creativity or progressive work?
Rebecca Sides: The wonderful thing about hospitality is that it’s an ever-evolving field, and so there’s always something to learn. You see time and time again that those who move fastest or furthest are those who are humble and curious; constantly striving, pushing themselves, self-disciplined and self-motivated.
MoM: As part of the Jigger Beaker Glass 3.0 tour, the Bacardi Brown Forman Brands advocacy team will ‘explore the theory behind the complex world of creativity’. Could you share some tips for unlocking creative potential behind the bar?
RS: As bartenders we don’t tend to work to the usual business hours – which is a good thing! The number one tip for harnessing your creativity is identifying your most creative time. We tend to not listen to our inner clock, but planning a creative session between a meeting and a delivery just because you have that hour free doesn’t really work and won’t result in the best ideas. Figure out when it is, use that time wisely, build your day around it and use the rest of your time for easy tasks.
MoM: There’s also a focus this year on enhancing hospitality for guests outside of direct interactions with them. Could you talk about some of the tips the Bacardi Brown Forman Brands advocacy team will share and how they reflect the ways in which bars are changing?
RS: Good hospitality meets the needs that they articulate; great hospitality anticipates those needs before they are articulated; and the best hospitality anticipates needs that guests are not even aware of. The key is knowing your guest, which is sometimes easier said than done. Without giving too much away, the session takes a pretty scientific approach to how we can engineer atmospheric hospitality. Did you know 75% of the emotions we generate on a daily basis are affected by smell? Or that there are four parts of the brain that interact with music? This knowledge is key to understanding your guests needs.
MoM: Finally, the roadshow will delve into the history, science and psychology of productivity. Could you share some pointers on staying focused and keeping your finger on the pulse in the bar industry?
RS: Staying focused and off Instagram is a constant battle, but did you know that battle is much easier to fight at the start of your working day than at the end? When we have a task to do, we’re often told to just “get it out of the way” and there’s some real science to that. We’ll learn in this session how willpower is a muscle to be trained. For now, the biggest tip to being productive is to start with your hardest task and end on the easiest or most rewarding.