In 2019, Havana Club launched the Bar Entrepreneur Awards, celebrating the movers and shakers of this fantastic industry. At last year’s first ceremony, many came and shared their stories. They spoke of their successes, their failures, their struggles. We told — and plan to keep telling — their stories here on BarNews. But in the time of Covid-19, the narrative has shifted. There’s one, overarching global theme for our industry. It’s about struggle, resilience, and light at the end of the tunnel. To this end, Havana Club partnered with Difford’s Guide to launch Bar Entrepreneur Frontline. We hope this will prove useful — and if you feel you have something to contribute, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Check out all the Bar Entrepreneur Frontline stories.
The way Bar Entrepreneur Frontline works is pretty simple: if you have something to share you can either send in a story or get in touch with Simon Difford (firstname.lastname@example.org) and he’ll get back to you for an interview. You will get paid for your contribution and an equal amount will be donated to charities dedicated to supporting the drinks industry.
The first entrepreneurial story was shared by our friends from Hope & Sesame, from Guanghzou, China. Their tips covered a very wide range of subjects — from keeping your staff safe to revenue generating strategies and beyond. They have been able to reopen after two months, and they also share tips on how to deal with this crucial step — this is not as simple as just opening your shutters and voilà. Hope & Sesame’s piece is long, but it’s a crucial contribution. We’ve also heard from Camden Hague, based in Shanghai. The city didn’t go into full lockdown mode but businesses were hit very hard and she has some very interesting insights into what comes next. Proof and Company’s Chris Lowder also share lessons from his vantage point as a consultant / educator / distributor.
Each country has its own legislative framework or economical dynamic. Responses to the crisis will vary. With Europe at the centre of the epidemic at this time, stories are starting to come from the continent. London’s Top Cuvée explains how a small neighborhood restaurant / shop turned overnight a courier-based delivery business in order to a/ pay the bills and b/ support a fragile network of suppliers. They’ve since partnered with a few top eastern London bars. DeLorean, from a small town in Finland, share their outsider tale and what they call their ‘beautiful struggle’ to keep their business afloat and stay sane.
It’s not only businesses that are hurt, and the human side to DeLorean’s story is what makes it an essential read. Back in London, Cocktail Trading Co.’s Elliot Ball insists on the need to reconcile heads (because no head means no business) and hearts (because that’s what hospitality’s about). Further afield, in Canada, Kelsey Ramage, in her typical no-nonsense approach, says we are all grieving and need to acknowledge our emotions in order to take control back.
More stories are coming over the next few days. They’ll reach us from some of the worst hit countries and from some that are just getting ready for what’s coming. From those who are, slowly but hopefully surely, seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and from those who are still looking for mechanisms to cope. This is a collective story we are writing. We don’t know where all this is going and we’re trying to make sense of something that just didn’t seem possible a few weeks ago. If you feel you can contribute, please, please do not hesitate to get in touch. We are stronger together, and together, we will get through this. Stay safe everyone!
All Bar Entrepreneur Frontline stories here.