Five ways bartenders are changing the world

26th November, 2018 by Nicola Carruthers



Speed Rack

For decades, the ranks of the world’s most decorated bartenders consisted mainly of men, with women notably under-represented in top bars and competitions.

One competition carrying the message of female empowerment is Speed Rack, an all-female contest that puts women up against the clock while raising money for breast cancer charities. The competition focuses on creating quality cocktails with speed of service and will this year head to Canada, Australia, the US and the UK.

“It’s always good for us [women] to get together,” says Lynnette Marrero, who co-founded Speed Rack in 2011 in the US with Ivy Mix. “There should be spaces for us all to come together and talk about how we deal with things like #MeToo, and what are the next steps beyond where we started. How do we come out of the community and change things for good? We’re just starting to get there, but I do think these initiatives are really important.”

Marrero also notes that there are “very few women owners” in the 50 Best Bars and 50 Best Restaurants. “We need more women who are established and who have vested interest, not just working for someone else. I think the next step is figuring out access to capital, not just for women, but for minorities and a lot of others who are marginalised.”

The issue of discrimination is not just limited to women. Jake’s Bar in Leeds, UK, hit headlines earlier this year after it reportedly turned away a man because he was not “in a mixed-­sex couple”. The venue later said it welcomed guests of “all sexual orientations, races, genders, religions and cultures”.

The Equality in Pubs Accreditation (TEPA) aims to eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia in UK pubs. The initiative supplies venues with window stickers and certification that show they have a zero-tolerance policy on abusive behaviour. To keep the accreditation, staff are required to act on any instances of discriminatory behaviour on their premises.

Founder Jessica Mason has worked in partnership with the British Beer and Pub Association and the British Institute of Inn Keeping to launch a website dedicated to the accreditation, as well as organising a training scheme for staff working at pubs that wish to apply.

“I’ve always believed that pubs are for everyone,” says Mason. “There isn’t always a solution to people being horrible to each other, but there is potentially a way for decent venues to become recognised.”

One Response to “Five ways bartenders are changing the world”

  1. Hello Nicola,
    Thank you for this article. For so many years there has been a stigma associated with bartending responsibly. Alcohol promotes many behavior changes. First inhibitions are lowered. We over serve our customers and they become vulnerable to suggestions and sadly, predators. The creativity, attention to detail and rise of the activist bartender is refreshing. However, the conflict with management directives to ring up the cash register for the almighty dollar grab may interfere. I hope not.

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