The world according to… Phil Huckle: Chivas Regal brand ambassador

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Drinks: Drinks
Location: England, Europe
Other: People

Chivas Regal brand ambassador Phil Huckle tells Alice Lascelles about his love of baseball, fear of hot consommé and what he could do for his country


“My first job was at 17 as a waiter for banquets at St John’s College, Cambridge – I served pretty much all the members of the Royal Family, cardinals and politicians, which means now I’m never phased by who I’m talking to. Once, though, I did manage to spill boiling hot consommé down a lady’s open-backed evening dress. ”

“After my A-levels I went to Austin Texas. I love it there – the climate, the music, the lack of crime. I learned to two-step and got my first proper bar job in a bar called The 606, which was the best bar in Texas. I started out as bar back and ended up earning tips that were as much as $300 a night. ”

“I also spent three years working in bars in New Orleans. It’s a city that has a real dark side to it and its history is one long catalogue of disasters, but that also means people live for today, and that’s why it has such fantastic hospitality and culture. ”

“I love baseball – it’s the ultimate blend of skill and strategy, like a game of chess. In the US I used to practice with these machines that fired balls at you at 90 miles an hour and I was pretty good at it. I’ve got really good hand/eye co-ordination. ”

“I’m also quite passionate about politics. The only thing I would leave the drinks world for would be to be a Conservative MP. ”

“I’m devoted to my beloved Tottenham Hotspur. ”

“I’m a big student of military history and Sir Winston Churchill – he’s one of my greatest inspirations. ”

“The state vastly overspends on worthless bureaucracy, when in fact the vast majority of us don’t need our nose wiped from cradle to grave. I see so many talented entrepreneurs in this industry and all the state does is get in their way. ”

“I’m very patriotic, but I’d go back to America in a heartbeat. The UK can be quite critical of the US, but I think they have a lot to teach us about service. ”

“I thought I was going to be a stockbroker or a trader – I’m very good with figures, I can think on my feet and I have a lot of common sense. What I like about the City is it’s not about where you’re from or who you are – it’s simply about your ability. ”

“Being an ambassador is not as easy as people think. People think it’s just about going to bars and having expensive dinners, but you’re also required to do things like hour-long presentations to senior buyers who can have a major impact on your business. You really have to know your stuff. ”

“Fail to prepare, prepare to fail. That’s been my maxim in life. ”

“I think I would do a good job of running the country – a lot of it is about getting the right people around you. In that way it’s similar to running a bar – you’ve got to get the right people and the right philosophy. I’d make a great Prime Minister. ”


CURRICULUM VITAE

1986-1988 – Top table waiter, St John’s College, Cambridge

1988-1990 – Timeshare tout in Lanzarote

1990 – Pub job in Cambridge

1991-1997 – Bartender at The 606, Austin, Texas

1997-2000 – Bartender at several bars in New Orleans

2000-2006 – Bar manager at AKA, London

2007-2008 – European brand ambassador for Stolichnaya 2008-present – UK brand ambassador for Chivas Regal and the malt whisky portfolio.


Editorial feature from Imbibe Magazine – January / February 2010

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