Bartenders or Brainiacs?

Boy, you people sure know a lot.

Sure, I’m relatively knowledgeable on where to place a comma, and I’m a stickler for correct grammar. But after finishing the BarSmarts Wired course just minutes ago, I think I’m beginning to understand what fills your minds. It seems that tasting an improperly made Sidecar might irk you just as much as seeing someone use the wrong version of your/you’re bothers me (or it’s/its, their/there/they’re — trust me, the list goes on and on). Or that watching someone tap a Boston shaker to break the seal might grate your nerves like reading an article that uses more than/over interchangeably does mine. Or that there are a bevy of other rules of the trade integral to a bar’s success but not always understood by the average customer like myself.

I knew you bartenders, managers, owners and operators were busy people, and I knew you had to have a keen business sense in order to make it in this cutthroat industry. I knew there were specifics to making a good cocktail, and I knew there were optimal ways in which to deal with customer issues. I knew all of that. But it’s only when I sat down to really read about it, really learn about all of the ins and outs and then be tested on it that it hit me: That’s a TON of information you folks have up there in your brains.

A bartender’s job is so much more than just pushing Rum and Cokes across the bar. Beyond just the knowledge of how to handle customers and provide optimal service, there are the intricacies of how to set up the bar from a design standpoint, how to maintain pars, how and when to properly engage with the guests and, of course, how to create a perfect, well-balanced cocktail.

But do you know how to do all of this properly? If not, I recommend taking the BarSmarts course from Pernod Ricard or some other training module (registration for BarSmarts closes at the end of September; you have 30 days to finish from the date of registration). And I recommend you have your employees do so as well. My knowledge grew exponentially, and I’m not even in a position to put these skills into practice (well, of course, except for my mastered skill of stirring, which I fully intend to employ at my home bar this weekend).

Training is key for growing a business. After all, if your bartenders know how to engage with their guests, handle the business side of the bar and shake a mouth-watering Mojito, you’ll have guests staying longer during their visits and coming back for more. Plus, when you invest in training for your employees, they know you’re invested in them, leading to employee retention and loyalty.

And is there anything more powerful than knowledge? Not in this industry, that’s for sure.

For more information on BarSmarts Wired, visit

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