Extreme Bartending the Flair Bartenders Guide to Jokes, Quotes and Mixed Drink Recipes
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So much more than flipping bottles

Author: Ingrid Paulsen
Source: City Wide Weekend Edition

Founder of the company Extreme Bartending, Scott Young says the movie Cocktail can still be both a blessing and a curse for his business.


“It showed the world bartenders being entertaining, that it can be more than just ‘here’s your beer’,” he says from a seminar in Calgary.


“But on the negative side, it also showed a lot of spillage and waste so managers of bars would say ‘I don’t want that.’”


Young’s team of instructors focus on the business aspect of performance bartending.  The flipping bottles do not let drops fall and breaking glasses is a sure sign a rookie needs to step back a few lessons.


Young’s business web site www.extremebartending.com is now the busiest bartending web site online.  He started his business nine years ago and suggests there are multiple factors putting his company in world-wide demand.


“We are having fun and teaching customer service excellence,” he says, “We’ve taken the flare or performance bartending business to the extreme.”


He says the performance aspect is only one part of what his company teaches in a seminar like the one this weekend in Victoria.  “You do the tricks in burst.  It is a business tool, not the be all and end all – it is to get attention.”


He runs into a spiel of introductions for a customer coming to his bar.  “Good to have you, did you hear the one of the camel and the rabbi…?  Here’s a good one, I’ve tot three straws…There are so many things to make people feel comfortable.”


Young taught himself some behind the bar tricks after taking a course that didn’t satisfy his drive.  He wanted to work behind the bar of the Roxy, and he needed to stand out from the crowd to do that.


“I built a couple of bars in the back yard and taught myself.  I completed in a contest and came third after only six weeks of practicing,” he says.  Young was soon sought out by the Roxy and was the first new bartender hired there in three years.  He still works there, but he says only about once every two months.  He’s too busy travelling North America, Europe and the Caribbean teaching his craft.


“If you try to be exceptionally good, things will happen,” he says.


Young says his favourite drink has become the health shake and he has no favourite to make, because you can make them all look good if you know what you are doing.


He is fully aware of the serious side of his business as well, considering both the injury factor while instructing and the legal and moral responsibility.


He considers the risk in throwing bottles and suggests newbies should start out chucking the limes or straws until their eye hand coordination is dependable.


“My lawyer gets upset when I teach people to blow ten foot flames, so I don’t do that,” he laughs.  He plays with fire himself but doesn’t teach those tricks.


But speaking of playing with fire, he tells a tough story of legal implications (never mentioning government officials).


“In Canadian law, both the bar and the bartender can be held responsible for letting a person drink and drive.  Many people are not aware of that.”  He tells a tale that was eventually overthrown in Supreme Court where a man drove drunk away from a dinner theatre and crashed, killing one passenger.  The driver sued everybody and the first court proceedings found the driver 89 percent liable, the establishment 10 percent liable and the waiter one percent liable.  It was a $2 million case.


“We teach with two points in mind.  First, we let people know their legal responsibilities and second, I believe we have a moral responsibility.  We know what happens when people drink.”


Young encourages participants in his seminars to think of customers as guests in their home and he gives tips on how to attract customers, but also how to deal with problem situations.


Young’s team is being brought to town Feb. 1 and 2 by the Points West Restaurant Group, but there is some space for the public to attend.  The seminar will run from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Saltaire Lounge - #100-407 Swift Street.  The seminar price of $225 includes 12 hours of, a course manual, Extreme Bartending Certificate and two training videos.  To register, call Extreme Bartending (604) 879-1036.

Date: April 8th, 2005

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Scott Young, President and Head Instructor Bar Smart Inc.