At Club Soda, we’re proud to support everyone involved in the alcohol industry. Whether you’re a problem drinker, a venue who wants to stock alcohol-free products, or a bartender looking to up their game with knowledge of low and no alcohol drinks, we’re here for it. In this week’s podcast episode, we revisit a conversation between a long-time friend of Club Soda, Camille Vidal of La Maison Wellness. She talks to three bartender guests about how we can build a more sustainable hospitality industry. If we all work together, we can help more of us to drink more mindfully.
Who are our bartender guests?
Camille Vidal is the founder of La Maison Wellness, a platform that promotes drinking well with a whole host of delicious cocktail recipes that focus on wellness. She is a globally recognised bartender and drinks expert turned mindfulness and yoga teacher. Some of you may recognise Camille as a regular guest bartender at our alcohol-free off-license earlier this year.
I mean, the first job in the restaurant that I got, I was 14 years old. I think that because we started super, super young we were not really equipped with what balance means. You don’t really understand the impact of drinking too much on your body and your mind.Camille Vidal
Claire is a brand development ambassador at Pernod Ricard. She has had a whole host of experiences in hospitality from working at Burger King to being a bartender at some of London’s most revered cocktail bars. Claire talks candidly about her experiences as a bartender who overindulged with alcohol.
The whole time of being in hospitality, I don’t think there was even the suggestion to myself of ‘maybe you should take it easy, maybe you should have some balance’. It was either that I was really good and I would exercise and drink loads of water or I was really bad.Claire Best
Desi has managed some of the top bars in London such as Callooh Callay and LAB. But life as a bartender hasn’t always been like his favourite film, ‘Cocktail’. Long shifts in understaffed bars have often created a toxic environment for Desi. It’s seen him struggle with depression and a need to balance his alcohol consumption.
When you’re working in a bar, you’ve got that temptation all around. Yeah, it’s always there….it’s always super, super hard right at the beginning as a bartender. But as soon as you hit that first target, it’s a small step. So set small goals for yourself.Desi Yatigammana
Alex from the Artesian Bar at the Langham reminds us that it’s easy to get caught up in the party culture that surrounds being a bartender. As a bartender working in hotel bars with high service standards, not being allowed to drink at work is a breath of fresh air that Alex appreciates. It’s given him the opportunity to maintain a level of professionalism not always afforded to him in other roles.
I realized what I was doing was I was getting drunk at work. Leaving work and going for a drink. Going home and waking up an hour before work, then going to work. And it’s just a constant cycle. I wasn’t really doing anything with my life. So I kind of decided to reform myself. I went to the gym, went for runs, ate healthily, and only drank one or two days a week. I think the downfall is when you can drink at work as well that, whilst you are respectful of it, sometimes you do go a bit overboard. That’s the difference between a bartender and other roles, I think.Alex King
Are you a bartender who’s struggling with their drinking?
Having worked with venues across the UK and beyond, we understand the unique challenges of changing your drinking when you work professionally with alcohol. If you work or have worked in the drinks industry in the UK – anywhere from pubs to production – you could benefit from our partnership with The Drinks Trust. Secure a fully-funded place on one of our in-depth online courses.
If you want to make your venue a more inclusive place for people who aren’t drinking, as well as those who are, discover our Creating a Mindful Venue course for managers and the complementary Creating a Mindful Venue course for your staff.
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