Professional bartender stirs up Yangon’s cocktail scene

Twenty members of the Myanmar Bartenders Association (MBA) received training in Yangon on April 8 from Brandon Grusd, a finalist in the 2012 Bacardi Legacy Cocktail Competition.

The training, aimed at improving the skills of local bartenders, was held at Hummingbird Latin American restaurant in downtown Yangon.

“It’s great to have the opportunity to train bartenders in different countries and get an idea of what’s going on around the world,” Mr Grusd, who works as a professional beverage consultant, told The Myanmar Times.

“I was actually very surprised when I trained the Myanmar bartenders. I didn’t think their level would be good, but they are very passionate. They want to learn more, study and research, which is a great way to reach the international level.”

U Pung San Raydam, the owner of Hummingbird, said Mr Grusd picked five participants from the training to compete against each other in a bartending competition held on the same evening as the training.

“It was good practice for the bartenders to improve their skills, even if the competition was just for fun,” he said. “We need such trainings and small competitions because we need many more qualified bartenders for the local bar industry.”

MBA founder U Tun Tun Aye said the local cocktail scene is currently in flux: While an increase in tourist arrivals has helped fuel a small business boom for some bar and restaurant owners, the industry is being held back by problems with liquor imports, lack of qualified bartenders and the relatively low number of local cocktail consumers.

“Many qualified bartenders from Myanmar work in foreign counties because the salaries are higher overseas,” he said. “Also, bar owners here have difficulty importing liquor, and many bars are the same because everyone copies each other’s cocktails. Bar owners need to maintain their services and control their quality to satisfy customers.”

Source: Myanmar Times

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