Cheers to drinking at work?

Drinking while working!

– what is the opinion amongst the industry regarding this theme??

After reading this article by New Orleans barowner T. Cole Newtons and participating in a seminar by Simon Ford last year at Tales of the Cocktails about health behind the bar, where drinking during work of course was on the menu as well, I find it interesting to hear the opinion in the Danish cocktailscene.

Here you can hear what Sasha Petraske, who was known as a pioneer in the industry, thinks about drinking behind the bar.

I myself have had the pleasure of working at different bars in Denmark under different politics. Some places like Ruby or Duck and Cover a few shots with the rest of the staff is ok, other venues ”encourages” you to get a drink or have a beer during your shift. You also have the ”stereotype” bartender that can´t get enough – drinks while he works, drinks whenever he´s off and goes to comps and gets drunk, you know the type.

Now there is several aspects of this:

  • is it responsible/professional to drink while serving others and doing your job?
    1. Arguably some bartenders work better with a little buzz and simply handles it better than others
  • Where is the line between having a shot with you team once or twice a night OR simply drinking too much??

I have seen collegues that had 2-3 shots during a shift (with the rest of the staff working) and then had 2-4 beers after close down. Now some of these where professionals and really knew their way behind the bar and had knowledge beyond what I will ever reach. But they also worked fulltime meaning that they did this 3-5 times a week.

Quick math, this adds up to between 12-25 drinks a week without them even thinking about it.

In my bartender career I have had phases where I didn´t drink. What I found was that it was really hard for some bartenders to understand and it seemed as if they got a bit offended by me not wanting to have a toast with them. As I see it, it can mean one of two things:

1) they simply don´t understand why I worked with spirits and cocktails when I wasn´t drinking. How can you bartend without drinking seemed to be the consencious.

2) they knew somewhere inside of them that drinking too much isn´t good for them and a collegue that didnt drink reminded them of that fact and how they maybe should turn it down a bit themselves.

Anyway these are just some thoughts on a subject that is rarely discussed however it is an important issue as it has something to do with both health in the industry, ethics and professionalism with many different attitudes towards this subject. Especially considering that the being a bartender has become a career choice for many today. It is no longer “just” something that you do along with your studies until something better comes up, a lot of people are in it for the long run. That´s why I think this should be taken seriously.

What do you think??

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