Bartender Welfare

Words by Sammy Hemmings

The Tahona Society Collective Spirit invites bar staff to submit their concepts for sustainable improvement for the bar industry and community. With an opportunity to make a difference, and travel to Mexico to win $50,000, this competition is bold, inspiring and innovative.

Bartender Welfare, the first category we explore in this superb competition, incorporates everything from happiness to health to wellbeing. We challenge you to submit a concept. Find out more here.

How can you make a difference to the welfare of bartenders? Well, it could involve the monitoring of yours and your colleagues' mental and physical health. Think guidance on nutrition and wise drinking, including sharing information that can improve our awareness and passing it along. So, communicating ideas can go a long way.

Bartenders can help one another, through connecting on social media, talking to one another, and finding out about change for the better. And the notion of improving physical health in the bar community is critical too. Translate that to healthy life seminars or yoga sessions and perhaps find your bar staff revitalised, and on track for a better lifestyle.

That said, it isn't just about a healthy lifestyle. Fair employment conditions are key in determining bartender welfare, which ties in with improving working life as well. Establishing equal opportunities in the drinks industry, and bringing female bartenders to equal footing, can bring about stability and equality. And caring for employees in the hospitality industry has recently gained global attention, partly because of the fast-paced and hardworking lifestyle which can be extremely stressful and demanding.

And change starts with you. Watch the video and read below to see how these breakthrough stories could inspire your approach towards welfare in the industry.

Pilot Light Campaign

Mental health awareness has recently taken centre stage, giving many the chance to speak out about their own experiences. The Benevolent, the UK's drinks industry charity, reported that 1 in 4 will experience health issues this year. And with a phenomenal figure like that, isn't it about time we all start talking about our mental health.

Andrew Clarke, chef director at Brunswick House, and creator of Pilot Light Campaign, is an advocate of mental health within hospitality. Andrew is at the forefront of the Pilot Light Campaign which is working with Mind, the UK mental health charity, to encourage more to get involved and get talking.

The campaign all began after Andrew revealed his struggle with depression on an Instagram post. He said, "My family and friends helped me through the darkest of times... Don't suffer in silence. Talk to someone." Sharing his story gathered an overwhelming response. It was a leap in mental health awareness for those in hospitality. People began to join in and share their own experiences.

Andrew has since created a social media campaign aiming to remove the stigma of mental health issues within the hospitality sector. If you're got the flu, or you've got depression, we should be looking after our health and not feel ashamed to talk about it. Breaking down those barriers has been a vital part of the campaign.

Andrew did not stop there. He created a community of chefs to support each other through tough times, hosting industry dinners and supportive get-togethers. His continuous support shows others they're not alone in this either.

But igniting the conversation is only the beginning in this campaign to bring about change.


Equal opportunities in the drinks industry has gained momentum in recent years, as has the rise in support for women's rights. Uniting female bartenders for a cause close to home has been the answer for two women seeking to fan those flames.

Introducing Speed-Rack, the cocktail competition founded in New York by Ivy Mix and Lynette Marrero. Since 2011, the annual competition has captured worldwide attention because of the values at its heart. Created by women for women, aiming to shine a light on female bartenders. With a shake, pour and garnish, these ladies take cocktail making to the next level.

Speed-Rack's challenge calls female bartenders to go head to head in judged and timed tasks. A great opportunity to showcase superb cocktail making skills, but also, to focus on strong women in the drinks industry.

Under the spotlight, these women not only compete for the title of champion, but they come together to raise money for charity. Taking strides, the competition has raised a whopping figure of $700,000 to date, which goes towards life-changing breast cancer research, prevention and education.


Feeling inspired? Then take a look at Tahona Society Collective Spirit's 2018 competition. You'll find details on how to submit your concept and be in with a chance to win $50,000.

For those still curious, take a look at our coverage of the five categories of the competition.

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