86945 Affiche + Set table 40x30 beaujolais-nouveau-2012-italie_0Hennessy-xo-cognac-extra-old-mid

Do the Bartender Olympics have anything in common with Beaujolais Nouveau?  Sort of, it all started at T.G.I.Friday’s in the early 80’s. Beverage alcohol consumption was on the decline. Fancy way of saying people were drinking less. This was for a variety of reasons but it was having a negative impact on our business. To compensate for  the trend of drinking less we focused on educating the consumer to drinking better. We started introducing our customers to fine wines, cognac’s (we became the largest seller of Hennessy XO) and the most fun wine event of all the annual race to be first with Beaujolais Nouveau. We had always wanted our bars to be entertaining. We  had the best bartenders and they were always entertaining (sometimes too entertaining!). We now put more  focus on what was then called flair and went on to turn it into an event. Hence, THE BARTENDER OLYMPICS! (we did all of  this without focus groups!)

The Beaujolais Nouveau race was a huge success. To introduce the event I brought the wine over on the Concord and had Tony Randall as our spokesman at a black tie event in NYC. The next year it was a reward trip for our best mangers, a race to see who could get the wine back to their store first. The third year we FedEx’d a DC 10 full of the wine and did a photo op with the company plane nose-to-nose with the DC-10 in Memphis. The event was greatly anticipated by our customers and liquor retailers praised it’s impact on their business. The fourth year I was off sailing so someone decided to use California Beaujolais Nouveau instead of the traditional French wine.  There was no fifth year. Hmmmmmmm!

Bartender Olympics have become a world-wide event. It’s origins obscured by what it has become. While a great event, we were focused on our customer, today it is less about the customer but still a great publicity event. Mike Werner ‘Magic Mike’ and  Jimmy Skeadas were instrumental in the creation of flair and then the Olympics. They have a business today called SHOWTENDERS which is the best in bartender training both on the showman side and business side as well. Yes, this is a plug! If you know me,  you know it’s all about being the BEST and they are!    www.showtenders.com




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