By Bartenders for Bartenders - because doing good tastes better

Sabrina Traubner, bartender and Bar Manager at The Athletic Club in Cape Town
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Aligned with World Bartender Day we focus on Diageo SA's Hand-Up Mentorship Program., which was launched late in 2021. Since then 100 selected bartenders from Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg have been mentored by ten of South Africa's foremost bartending industry experts in the by bartenders for bartenders program.
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In 2021 Diageo SA launched The Hand-Up Mentorship Program. Since then 100 selected bartenders from Cape Town, Durban and Johannesburg have been mentored by ten of South Africa's foremost bartending industry experts in the by bartenders for bartenders program.

Aligned with World Bartender Day (24 February), we thought it fitting to share a few mentors' profiles:  Sabrina Traubner, 24-year-old bartender and Bar Manager at The Athletic Club in Cape Town and Leighton Rathbone, 29-year-old graphic designer-turned-bartender, currently Beverage Manager at the Gorgeous George Hotel in Cape Town's city centre; Haroon Haffajee, Diageo Ambassador and Ryan Duvenage, 37-year-old owner of the Bond Shed in Durban.

Graphic designer turned bartender, mentor Leighton Rathbone

The program is aimed at increasing the skills of entry level bartenders to the point of becoming competitors in Diageo’s World Class competition which has - to date - supported, trained and inspired more than 400 000 bartenders across 60 countries. The nine-month program, worth more than R450 000, took flight in August 2021 and is preparing the mentees for the World Class National in April 2022.

“We are looking at helping create better bartenders so they can have great CVs and can get themselves good jobs,” said Brent Perremore, one of the program founders, World Class 2021 champion and owner of Art of Duplicity.

Durbanite Haroon Haroon gives KZN bartenders a ‘Hand up’

Focus on up-skilling and adding diversity

“We decided to focus on a diverse group of young women and black men bar staff as, every year, the Diageo Bar Academy gets solid entries from them. However, there is a tendency to drop off before the national finals, so they don't make it into World Class. We want to focus on upskilling these bartenders by providing them with stock, equipment and training to practice mixing drinks to help them improve, thereby adding diversity to those working in the bartending industry.”

Durbanite Ryan Duvenage is one of ten South African bar industry experts involved in the mentor program

Giving back to the community

The idea for The Hand-Up Program was born in 2019, when Perremore was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome and left temporarily paralysed. “The community fundraised to help give me fund leg braces. I started thinking of ways to give back and, in tandem with industry players Bradley Jacobs and Cassandra Eichhoff, came up with the idea for a mentorship program for bartenders who need a hand up,” Perremore said.

Mentees were selected from staff at bars that are Diageo SA customers and are primarily female and black. “Our mentors and sales representatives selected deserving candidates, who they believed, were displayed a passion for the industry and a dedication for self-improvement, but who had not yet had an opportunity to take the next step,” he says.

Mentors include Brent Perremore, World Class 2021 champion and owner of Art of Duplicity; Casandra Eichhoff, finalist at World Class 2020; Mish Cherrie Channah, four-time World Class contestant; Haroon Haffegee World Class National runner up; Sabrina Traubner World Class regional finalist and trainer at EBS; Chantelle Horne, former World Class Ambassador; and Casandra Eichhoff, third place finalist World Class 2020 and winner of Mentor of the Year at BAR awards. The program will run in Johannesburg, Durban, and Cape Town, with mentors split between the cities.

“Many low-income people start out doing bar tendering as a form of employment until they find something better, but through the Bar Academy and now The Hand-Up Program, this could become a succesful career path for them.  Those who do well at competitions build their CVs and see more doors opened to them.

“Diageo SA knows that the best performing businesses prioritise inclusion and diversity and we believe it is crucial to create a culture with inclusion and diversity at its heart,” said Diageo SA’s Marketing Director, Zizwe Vundla.

  • By Bartenders for Bartenders – because doing good tastes better
  • By Bartenders for Bartenders – because doing good tastes better
  • By Bartenders for Bartenders – because doing good tastes better

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