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New dawn for on-trade training

Published:  07 December, 2018

It’s been a good year for education in the on-trade, with a number of new initiatives being launched in the UK recently.

Among the more high-profile new programmes is Jerry, developed by Singapore-based Proof & Company, and brought to the UK by Maverick Drinks. This online subscription service offers beverage education for both teams and individuals, targeted at pubs, hotels, cocktail bars and more. The platform is accessible from any device, and provides managers with a way to track the progress of their employees, as well as customise training content.

The coursework itself has been developed by industry figures around the world, and consists of over 50 courses covering a broad spectrum of the hospitality industry, such as essentials of beer, wine and spirits, bar technique, ethics, specific spirits categories and more. Subscribers also have access to a database of classic cocktails, as well as learner discussions.

“For managers it’s a great assessment and management tool, especially in big businesses with lots of staff. On the bartender side the benefits are big too, such as flexibility, easy revision, new learning and just all-round development,” said James Goggin, Maverick Drinks brand advocacy manager, who is in charge of Jerry in the UK.

“We already have some big accounts signed on in the UK. The type of customer we are getting wins with currently are medium-sized bar groups, large-sized bar groups and large hotel groups. We expect to see the smaller individual side grow in the new year with the global launch happening a few weeks ago.”

Meanwhile, William Grant & Sons enlisted its UK brand ambassadors for its own industry training initiative recently. Unwrapped: The Other Side of Bartending consisted of a day of talks and events put together to help bartenders “find their legacy within the industry and equip them with tools, knowledge and insights beyond jiggers and shakers”.

The event launched in Edinburgh, with William Grant’s various brand ambassadors presenting on a variety of subjects such as “the power of storytelling”, “the tips and tricks to opening your own bar”, “how to train your nose” and “exploring the link between nature and creativity”. The talks were followed by an hour of brand experiences, after which the ambassador team took over The Voyage of Buck for the evening, with proceeds going to UK mental health charity SANE.

The more traditional option for drinks training, the WSET, has made some changes to its offering recently that have the potential to make it a more relevant resource for the on-trade. Most importantly, its five-day Level 3 spirits course launches in August 2019, which WSET Spirits Educator Hannah Lanfear confirms will have a particular focus on the on-trade.

“It’s going to be an absolute game changer in raising the expected bar of spirits education, not just in the UK but internationally,” said Lanfear.

As evidence of this greater commitment to spirits training, the WSET’s wine courses will no longer include a spirits component.