26 minutes | Dec 22, 2016
The Dark Side of Hospitality Pt 2 Harassment
Harassment Hospo, we have a problem. The last post I wrote was about the hospitality industry’s reliance on alcohol and drugs to deal with stress (as pointed out and challenged in the comments it’s more stressful for us than being a neurosurgeon). Lots of discussion followed about how it happens and how difficult it is to get support when the stress levels are high all around you. Don’t worry this post isn’t preaching to you about not doing drugs and shots of fernet after a shift. It’s trying to scratch the surface of why it happens. There’s way too many reasons but this is one we, as an industry, seriously fail to address. So yes TRIGGER WARNING (I never expected to write that, I write about cocktails and beer). From the outset I need to state this; what you are about to read is disturbing, will make you angry and only addresses one tiny part of a massive issue that covers all of society. It also only touches briefly on a topic which the female members of our industry suffer all. the. time. Like every second of the goddamn day they are dealing with it. Please don’t think I’m only addressing the male perspective either, just trying to talk about how industry workers as a whole are treated differently than other jobs. I am interviewing some of the best female bartenders and hospitality professionals for a deeper look into this issue in the next post because honestly I am no white knight and my voice isn’t as important as theirs. Set the Scene You’re a mid-twenties cocktail bartender, still shaking off the term “mixologist” while growing your beard and contemplating tattoos. A group of 30 or so show up unannounced late at night, most of them are your friends so it’s no big deal, they’ve just brought people from a business networking night. You’re severely understaffed but start smashing out cocktails, smiling and charming as many at a time as you can handle. Not a single person here is attractive to you and none of that matters because you can’t wait to finish the night, pack down and go home to your partner. Your friend, a businessman you trust and admire, signals to you during a quite period and as you side up to his end of the bar he orders a glass of wine and asks: “Are you alright mate?” “Yeah, great! Why?” “Some of the women were complaining about your service.” This is a bit shocking, plenty of smiles and speedy service in the situation, “Sorry I’m a bit under the pump with everyone. Were the drinks bad?” “No, they just said you don’t flirt with them enough. You’d make more money and tips if you flirted with them more.” He gestures to a group of women all roughly twice your age. “But I have a partner? Even if I didn’t it’s not like I’d find any of them attractive.” “Mate would she really care? This is just business and good service, it’s not about what you find attractive.” Is he right? Pull out like a camera lens right now on me doing a solid impersonation of a goldfish trying to wrap my head around this. Cue time-lapse and days being torn off a calendar while the sun and moon spin around the world a few times (forget physics and facts, post truth society y’all). Zoom back in and it’s a month later, you’re in the coolroom/walk-in grabbing some more limes for the 8 customers still left at the end of the night who really need a margarita. The couple parked at the bar clearly need their friend to leave so they can go back home and get it on in some barely coherent, drunk, white person’s version of Marvin Gaye. The door closes and you spin around in case the chef is locking you in again and he’s off giggling like a schoolgirl next to the fryer. No, it’s not the chef. She’s there. Not the friend, the lady from the couple at the bar. She walks over to you and without warning shoves her hands down your pants, “Kiss me.” “Whoa, wait a minute your boyfriend is just out there. What the hell are you doing?” “Fiancee and who gives a fuck?” “I do, stop it.” She leans in and grips your junk again, “You’re so hot, please fuck me.” “I have a partner, I love them, I’m very flattered but please don’t.” You push her away gently and she looks incredibly confused, a little bit hurt and just leaves. By the time you get back to the bar they’ve skipped their tab and left, their friend hurriedly trying to down the last of their leftover drinks before running out as well. Assholes. Now I know some of you are sitting there like “Is he complaining?” “What a lucky bastard, I’d have hit that then and there.” “What a pussy!” or something similar, maybe you’re even thinking “I have to deal with that all the time, quit bitching”. I don’t think you’re a bad person but Shut. The. Fuck. Up. Ever heard a conversation or read the news about some kind of sexual harassment epidemic and thought “Sure glad I don’t do that and have never seen it. I don’t get why they say it’s a culture anyway, it’s pretty rare from my experience.” I’m not here to talk about that. Just keep it in the back of you mind. OK back into first person mode. Pretend you’re playing DOOM only instead of aliens and guns you’re dealing with beers and shots, it’s two weeks after the walk-in incident and it’s your night off. You’re at an awesome bar with friends and they’re all deep into some conversation about computer programming or the latest Reddit trend. Plebs, why would you work in IT, away from customers, for great pay and regular hours… idiots. So rather than looking stupid you order a drink from the girl behind the bar and smiling, try to be witty and talk about how her night is going. She takes your order with a smile but her eyes make you think she’d rather you stopped talking. Odd… For some reason her responses are getting shorter and it’s clear you’re becoming more annoying than charming. What’s with this? Is it that you’re unattractive to her? Does she prefer roid heads like those douchebags further up the bar? It’s not like you’re trying to have sex with her but she could at least flirt back at little… oh. She finishes making your drink, you pay and tip and she quickly turns around and walks towards the back door. The manager comes towards her and she avoids his eyes and steps around him almost shrinking back from his presence. She mutters something about needing a cigarette and the manager nods to the door and grins giving her a light spank on the ass. “Don’t take 20 minutes like last time.” Where am I going with this? The Reality of the Service Industry In the video at the bottom of this post I go into more detail but here’s a real quick history lesson. The hospitality industry came from two very different parts of society; servants and publicans. One made the lives of the super rich even better by taking care of their every whim and relying on societal rules around what a master could and could not do, these were regularly ignored because, well money. The other sold alcohol and sex to any who had money. These days we still live with the hangover from both of these expectations; that the one who pays us is to be considered our master and that part of this transaction is to be made to feel attractive or desired, possibly resulting in sex. Who is the one who pays us though? Is it the customer? The owner? The manager who gives us shifts? Or the consultant and brand ambassador who comes in hunting for event venues and potential reps? Is the only person who we shouldn’t be considered a master ourselves? For me the very definition of hospitality is making a customer’s life better and more enjoyable for the short period they are with you. You charm them, you joke with them, you convince them to spoil themselves with one luxurious drink just this one time, you make them feel like a lord or lady or that friend you really really like being around. Payment is merely for the drinks and food you provide. Tips, if any, are merely for the entertainment and charm. You make them feel fantastic and rich, or relaxed and cool and they will spend as if they are these things every damn time. They aren’t entitled to it, it’s just what the job is supposed to be. At what point are they supposed to feel desired? Clearly there is a belief that this is meant to be a part of it. After all why do you want the attractive bar person to flirt with you? Why do you want the female bartender to show more skin or the male bartender to act as if he wants you and has no existence outside of that bar in that moment? “Oh but Nick it’s just the alcohol, we all get like that after a few drinks.” Bullshit. When is alcohol ever an excuse for that behaviour? If you think it is then you are literally stating that if you are drunk then it’s OK to treat people like objects who are there for your sexual gratification and ego. “But if you flirt a bit, it’s all in good fun and you get better tips, everyone knows this.” Bugger your tips. What industry other than the sex/stripping/porn industry makes turning someone on and making them think about having sex with you a prerequisite to getting paid? Who talked to you on your first (probably unpaid) trial shift and said: “Oh and part of the job is convincing every customer you want to fuck them…”? “You’re a guy though! You have no right to complain about this stuff.” Right. Here’s a point that needs some serious unpacking. Men have a duality in their potential in life; either you’re successful or a lazy failure. Women have a multiplicity; success, mother, wife, trophy, struggling, not-yet-married etc (notice how many seem to revolve around a relationship that ends up involving sex). Society treats men as one or the other and in order to obtain a partner you must first be successful, women can be successful without a partner yet society still tends to view success as having a partner and not in their career. In hospitality succe
34 minutes | Mar 31, 2016
Podcast – Brewie, iKegger, Beer-wank and Vagina Beer
In this episode we discuss the Brewie home brewing system, iKegger’s uses beyond carrying beer, how some wanker believes going back to 90’s style branding will be less wankery than going all hipster and announcing the worst thing to hit brewing in millennia; vagina beer. No really, a beer brewed with vagina bacteria… Also there’s the big announcement of our awesome new contributors and Leigh admits that home brewing is essentially being a janitor. But onto the news summary: A Polish company called the Order of Yoni have announced an indiegogo campaign to pre-sell beer made with the aid of a Czech model’s vagina. Called Bottled Instinct this beer has all the class of an Eastern European porn kingpin. Expect lacey red underwear, fonts in gold foil and the sort of marketing terms that make you want to shower in bleach after hearing about it. Noam Beer has announced their very serious launch with a ribbed bottle and a claim that it should be considered on par with champagne. Created by a former ADIDAS brand consultant this is a prime example of where craft beer might be leading us, into the deep dark pit of an anti-craft movement. The beer itself is a Bavarian style lager and probably better than your average beer but 5x the price and with the kind of pretentious self-indulgence that suits a Suit McGee type of guy. Last but not least we have new contributors on our site! These awesome “professionals” collectively enjoy alcohol more than the entirety of prohibition era New York City and with twice the personality. Most importantly they all get a share of any of the purchases you guys make through the product links and that ugly Dan Murphy’s banner up the top there. So buy via our links and you’ll help some poor hospo kids get more money that’ll inevitably go to buying more booze to review so you don’t have to roll the dice next time you’re shopping. Mentioned in this episode: Vagina Beer (No I’m not linking to this) Noam Brewie iKegger Tru Bru The post Podcast – Brewie, iKegger, Beer-wank and Vagina Beer appeared first on The Booze Baron.
24 minutes | Feb 29, 2016
Tru Bru and a Craft Beer Growler
A recovered episode diving into the history of Growlers, why they are awesome and reviewing a growler from our favourite Melbourne craft beer growler shop TRU BRU. Basically a growler is a bottle you fill from a keg tap, not exactly inventing the fire wheel but there’s a lot more to them than just that. They’re re-usable and better for the environment, reduce the need for additional sugars for bottle conditioning, allow small scale brewers to get their beer to customers without having to lose money on bottling (bottling rigs are far more expensive than you might think) and give people the chance to get their hands on rare and interesting beers that wouldn’t happen otherwise. The reason we really dig what TRU BRU is doing is that they now utilise the Dan Murphy’s system to deliver Australia-wide growlers and PET plastic sample packs. Effectively they’re the milkman for beer and on this episode you get an insight into Leigh’s beer milkman fantasies. Stay tuned for the month of March as we hit GROWLER MONTH bringing you more episodes and reviews of growlers worth taking into Autumn in Australia and general beer and brewing updates. The post Tru Bru and a Craft Beer Growler appeared first on The Booze Baron.
26 minutes | Feb 27, 2016
Honey, Mead and Berliner Weisse
Honey, Mead and Berliner Weisse. No mead and Berliner Weisse aren’t related in the slightest but this is an archived episode talking about the awesome Flow Hive and one of the best seasonal collaborative brews we’ve seen in a while. Honey and mead making can be incredibly fun but with bees there’s always a hazard of getting stung or causing big problems in the hive structure when you’re harvesting. One other interesting thing about beekeeping is there’s always far more honey than you know what to do with… unless you’re us because then it’s obvious; you make mead!. Berliner Weisse isn’t a particularly common style of beer but it really should be. Unlike your normal craft beers that are a bit like… well we go into that in the episode… Berliner Weisse actually stays light, refreshing and yet really interesting and complex. If you see a craft Berliner Wiesse it’s definitely worth trying out. The post Honey, Mead and Berliner Weisse appeared first on The Booze Baron.
16 minutes | Feb 6, 2015
Surprise Beer Tasting
Oude Geuze Vieille Oud Beersel… We sure butchered the pronunciation on this one today. This is the first of our new episodes introducing a co-host in Leigh Stillard. Leigh has a wealth of knowledge (or in this episode google skills) about the beer and brewing industry. We were left a box of random beers by a good friend and endeavour to get through some of the basics of the style and the brewery behind it whilst tasting and giving some notes on what you could expect form this beer. There was no english on the label but at least we had Google! Expect to see and hear a lot more from leigh as we get into brewing skills, brew styles and follow him on his adventure to set up his own cidery and brewery. Don’t worry there’s still a lot of spirits and distillation to come. To make sense of the Geuze (actually said “gerzer”) style subscribe to the podcast or newsletter and get notified when our upcoming “Booze Bytes” series dives into this uncommonly sour style of beer. As always please comment in iTunez or stitcher and keep up with the ratings! [az_buttons buttonlabel=”iTunes” buttonalign=”textaligncenter” target=”_blank” buttonsize=”button-large” buttoncolor=”default-color” checkicon=”no_icon” icon=”font-icon-phone” animation_loading=”no” animation_loading_effects=”fade_in” buttonlink=”https://itunes.apple.com/au/podcast/the-booze-baron/id959331958?mt=2″][az_buttons buttonlabel=”Stitcher” buttonalign=”textaligncenter” target=”_blank” buttonsize=”button-large” buttoncolor=”default-color” checkicon=”no_icon” icon=”font-icon-phone” animation_loading=”no” animation_loading_effects=”fade_in” buttonlink=”http://www.stitcher.com/podcast/the-booze-baron-podcast”] The post Surprise Beer Tasting appeared first on The Booze Baron.
29 minutes | Jan 30, 2015
Peter Bignell and Belgrove Rye
Belgrove distillery is possibly the most environmentally friendly distillery on the planet. Started by farmer and distiller Peter Bignell they are achieving amazing results from a field to glass approach where every step uses recycled materials and constant energy saving approaches. In Peter’s own words it’s not so much about being green as he hates wasting anything that has a purpose. This was recorded back in 2013 so subscribe and stay tuned for the 2 year check in coming in the next few months. The post Peter Bignell and Belgrove Rye appeared first on The Booze Baron.
26 minutes | Jan 28, 2015
A Great Australian Whisky
The Overeem Single Malt Australian whisky is one of the true dark horses of Australia’s booming craft whisky industry. With an astounding level of quality control for such a small operation Casey Overeem has managed to create a consistently high scoring whisky. In this episode we interview the man behind it all and get a great insight into the process of starting and marketing a successful craft distillery. The post A Great Australian Whisky appeared first on The Booze Baron.
27 minutes | Jan 17, 2015
Good Beer Week 2014 Episode 5
[az_column_text animation_loading=”no” animation_loading_effects=”fade_in”]The final say on Good Beer Wee k 2014 belongs to a brewer that everyone seems to be mentioning in our other interviews. A true craft brewer who focuses more on the brewing and being part of the community of brewers than marketing. As always review, rate mention and comment and if there’s anything you’d rather hear about just comment or send us an email![/az_column_text] The post Good Beer Week 2014 Episode 5 appeared first on The Booze Baron.
24 minutes | Jan 17, 2015
Good Beer Week 2014 Episode 4
[az_column_text animation_loading=”no” animation_loading_effects=”fade_in”]Episode 4 and another awesome brewer changing how Australians drink their amber ale. Good Beer Week 2014! Rate us, comment, and send requests. Also if you want to buy any of these awesome beers just ask and we’ll let you know where you can find them near you![/az_column_text] The post Good Beer Week 2014 Episode 4 appeared first on The Booze Baron.