This year Bacardi is continuing in its tradition of looking after the interests of bartenders through a series of invitation-only Bacardi Bar Academies, in conjunction with Shaker Bar School.
The aim of these presentations is to recognise young South Africans who are serious about making a profession out of bartending, and helping them hone their skill. But the focus isn't only on the technical side of things.
Kevin Snyman, the South African Brand Ambassador for Bacardi, has many years' experience behind the bar, and his enthusiam for the vocation is most evident as he shares some of the things he's learned along the way. Aside from the necessity of making consistently high quality drinks, he touches on the importance of presentation, dealing with difficult customers correctly and having a positive attitude.
Of course much of the workshop is spent running through the story of Bacardi Rum, but the history of this 150 year old brand is so dramatic and interesting that the time flies by. [I can see a movie on the horizon starring Arnie as the exiled Facundo Bacardi - "Hey Fidel, I'll be back!"]
There will be a series of these workshops throughout the country, with the format differing markedly from region to region. The images in this post are from the Cape Town Bar Academy, but the ones in JHB and Durban will provide the invited bartenders with completely different experiences. What will remain unchanged is Bacardi's commitment to uplifting the bartending profession in SA. The way they see it, if more bartenders do the little things well, everyone wins: happy customers come back, bar staff make more tips, Bacardi sells more rum and the SA cocktail industry spirals upward.