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Editors Blog

Heineken & Pernod Offer Worthwhile Education

June 13, 2011 By: Donna Hood Crecca

Can an educational program from an alcohol supplier company be unbiased? Absolutely. And while I’m always reluctant to blog about a particular supplier company doing a particular thing – it leaves me open to criticism from the companies not mentioned, and I also worry about readers questioning my credibility (how much is company X spending with VIBE and Nightclub & Bar and is that why she is giving them ink, so to speak?) - sometimes, I’ve just got to step up when I see something worthwhile happening. Currently, there are two supplier-sponsored programs delivering unbiased knowledge that will benefit anyone working in the adult beverage arena.

One is Heineken’s “Passion for Beer” campaign. Hitting several cities this spring and summer – most recently Chicago, Philadelphia and San Francisco – the event involves three sessions, each taught by beer experts and trainers: "Process and Ingredients," "The Perfect Pour" and "Sensory and Descriptors.” Local distributors, bartenders, beer pros and media are invited to attend the one-day program, which is designed to be informative as well as entertaining.

Heineken’s mission is to increase understanding of some core elements of proper beer production and pouring, as well as sensory evaluation among key influencers, who will in turn share that knowledge and “passion” with their colleagues, customers and patrons. Kudos to Heineken for dispelling myths (yes, a draft beer needs a head to taste best; filling to the brim to make it appear a better value actually detracts from the quality) and sharing best practices for beer, but mostly for focusing on education as the special on tap for the day rather than hyping Heineken and its sister brands to their captive audiences.

The other supplier program I always recommend is BarSmarts (I’m BarSmarts Advanced certified, and several members of this newsletter’s staff is BarSmarts Wired certified). This is a great example of a brand marketer, in this case Pernod Ricard, being smart enough to bring in the big guns - BarSmarts involves the five spirits experts behind BAR program: Dale DeGroff, Doug Frost, Steve Olson, Andy Seymour and Dave Wondrich. Registration for the next BarSmarts Advanced program will open this month. Check it out if you or your staff wants to learn the history and production of spirits, as well as gain a command of cocktails, drink-making and bar management.

These are just my current faves. Which educational programs from suppliers have you found helpful for yourself or your team? Or, if you are a supplier, what programs do you offer that give an objective, informative lesson on beverage knowledge, operations, etc.? Let me know by clicking here.

Mastering the basics and best practices is crucial to growing drink sales and revenues for any on-premise operation. If you’re not training, educating and getting your team excited about the spirits, wine and beer you sell in your bars, you’re leaving money on the table. 

See you at the bar!


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