They play a vital role in getting your perfectly executed drink out on time. They’re the first to arrive and the last to leave. Barbacks are the unsung heroes of the bar – but they won’t be unrecognised for much longer if Tincup American Whiskey has its way.
Named after an old Colorado mining town, Tincup Whiskey is a celebration of the pioneering, hardscrabble miners of the 19th century who sought their fortunes in the state’s gold rush. In honour of this hardworking spirit, Tincup is championing the efforts of barbacks across the UK.
That’s why Tincup has declared 2017 the Year of the Barback and is leading a nationwide search for this year’s backbar hero moment.
Enter the Tincup Barback Committee: The Cocktail Trading Co’s Elliot Ball, Gareth Canny of London Union and Disrepute’s Chris Dennis. This panel of bartending legends is on the lookout for displays of aptitude, teamwork, enthusiasm and impressive barbacking skill.
‘The barback is an important stepping stone in the industry, and if we highlight its importance, that will inspire people to start from the foundations and work their way up. It encourages people to walk before they can run,’ Dennis explains.
‘Right now, because of the importance of the barback role, all my bartenders take turns to barback,’ he adds. ‘It’s a classic chef example – when you’re in the kitchen you should be able to do everything. Our head bartender barbacks once a week.’
'I don’t think you ever really stop being a barback if you love working in this industry, you should never forget where you came from. I probably spend more time working with my barbacks than my bartenders,' says Canny. 'This is true especially in high volume establishments they’re the life blood of the business and I believe it’s crucial to facilitate their work and push them to their full potential.'
‘The Tincup Barback Committee has worked with a lot of barbacks in the past,’ Ball says. ‘People who share the belief that the barback should be more recognised for the valuable role they play towards the team. A barback is an evolution of bartending. It goes without saying that without an effective barback, a venue would fall to pieces,’ he adds.
To enter, you need to nominate your barback’s ‘hero moment’. If it impresses the Tincup Barback Committee, your barback could be one of 12 finalists selected to compete in the ultimate barback challenge. A trip to the Colorado is up for grabs for the winning barback and bartender team.
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