JWN's Class Of 51

Friday, December 15, 2017

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Expect something ambrosial and piquant at a bar near you.

J Wray & Nephew Academy in partnership with the University of Technology (UTech), last Tuesday, at the spirit brand's headquarters in New Kingston, graduated a total of 51 bartenders and mixologists.

It happened over an evening that was spirited but bar-cosy.

Experts and enthusiasts, divulged wisdom and guidance to the country's next class of bartending and drink-making pundits.

This was first delivered by Jacopo Borsa, marketing director of J Wray & Nephew (JWN), who explained that a bartender's work does not end with drink preparation.

“A bartender is not just there to provide cocktails; they are there to deliver an experience,” he noted.

“This is the most important thing [...] That's why we say it's not only important to know how to mix or create a cocktail but to understand what is behind one: the characteristics of the lid [and] the story of a cocktail.”

According to the expert, much work is required by these professionals to succeed, and surety of knowledge ensures that.

“We conducted research all over the world and the researchers say that 68% of consumers do not know what they want to drink until they get to the bar. So it doesn't mean that they'll come to you but you can certainly influence the choice of this 68%.

“Remember bartenders that are remembered are the ones that investigate the consumer brands [...and] not just replicate recipes, but interpret it and create new cocktails.”

General manager of the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, Peter Hilary, who amassed his knowledge of the profession through years of direct and indirect work, spoke to the importance of work ethic and the lucrativeness of the profession.

“When you are at the bar, you are onstage. You own the bar [...] I owned two bars in New York and one of our bartenders there, earned in excess of $16,000 in cash tips every week and he did so by remembering all his guests' names, their drink [and] what they liked,” Hilary said.

He also made clear that with the acceleration of technology, today's bartenders must preserve their individuality but not be outpaced by it.

“Don't be a drink dispenser. If you are one, one of these days you will be replaced by an automatic vending machine. That is the way the world is going. The way for you to stop it, is for you to be a personality,” he advised.

Senior Manager for JWN Academy & Appleton Estate Rum Experience Debbian Spence-Minott also expressed delight in graduating her class of 51.

“We have come a far way. We started in 2015. Our first cohort consisted of about 15 persons and to see that we are now at 51, it's amazing and shows that persons in this field are interested in advancing their careers and we're happy they have selected us to help them along that journey,” she remarked.

Spence-Minott also noted that the information acquired by the graduates, with certification grades over 60%, will help them transition seamlessly into the alcohol sales and distribution industry.

“Knowledge bolsters your confidence, and if you are selling a product you must know about it. It gives you that added advantage, and when you speak with the customers, when you sound like you know, persons tend to believe you and acknowledge your credibilty,” she said.

At the end of the thought-provoking ceremony all speakers expressed their hopes for continued success for the graduates and academy for the coming years.




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