Bartender in the Making

Last Wednesday, I started Principles of Beverage Service, I did not have any negative or positive expectations of the course, I honestly did not have any idea what sort of course work and discussions this class would involve. I heard from several students who had already taken the course that I would learn some bartending techniques and participate in a guided tasting of wines and beers… well those activities certainly do not fill up nine days of class.

This course combines several elements related to bar management — SerSafe Alcohol education, product identification, mixology, tastings, and my favorite aspect — case study discussions based on real scenarios that our instructor personally experienced or has read/heard about throughout his extensive career in the hospitality management.  Our first discussion debated the Darm Shop Liabilities Law, that is whether or not a bar/restaurant/alcohol retail establishment can be held responsible for wrongful damages cause to a 3rd party by a patron of the establishment. In other words, if an intoxicated patron leaves my bar and decides to drive home, but on the way home hits another car and hurts that 3rd party driver, that victim can and most probably will, file a civil suit against my establishment. This brings up the issue of where responsibility is drawn. Clearly, I cannot control the personal choices of that patron to drive home but I must prove that I exercised reasonable care in preventing the patron from leaving in an intoxication state. Some of those actions include training the serving and bartending staff to recognize signs of intoxication, keeping count of the patron’s drinks, offer a cab or to call for someone to pick the patron up, and most importantly recording in an incident report the attempts to prevent the patron from leaving without reliable transportation home.

Today, we had another interesting conversation about “Ladies Night” promotion utilized by bars and restaurants to increase their patronage. The issue posed was whether or not these promotions were gender discriminatory. Until today, it had not dawn on me that, well technically on legality terms yes, it is discriminatory. But the issue is fairly minute based on  what our current culture deems is socially acceptable. It serves to benefit both the establishment’s sales and the patrons — ladies get discounts and gentlemen will most likely be in the outnumbered company of ladies. Of course, that’s is not sound reason. During discussion, I raised the point that no business establishment today would ever have a race-specific promotional…so is gender any different? My curiosity about this issue sparked some research — some states such as California, Maryland, and Pennsylvania recognize this promotion as unlawful gender discrimination while other states who have seen the suits do not. Some creative way establishments have circumvent this civil issue is having promotions like “Lipstick Night” and “High-Heel Night.”  What are your thoughts?

In my next post, I’ll share the mix drinks and techniques I have been learning from behind the bar!

-A

P.S. My biggest pet peeve is drunk driving. It’s illegal. It’s irresponsible. It’s dangerous for you and those in your community. I don’t care if you”sobered” up for the past few hours. Call someone, they will come get you at 4am. 

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