During his course at EBS Kos last year, Andrew’s life took some pretty amazing turns, eventually landing him a job at renowned spirit manufacturer Beams Suntory as their Brand Ambassador in Northern California.
Read Andrew’s story below.
Hi Andrew, how did you learn about EBS and why did you go to Greece?
I remember I was sitting at home one day after work. I was looking out the window at the Irish rain when I came across an EBS video on my computer. I was blown away and saw myself doing it as well. I rang the next day and got all of the details. I quit my job and went for it.
I remember wanting to go to either Thailand and Kos, but when I discovered Thailand was going through the monsoon season, I went for Kos instead.
Looking back, what did you enjoy the most?
Too much to tell really, the course brought so many positive experiences into my life. I met the most amazing people from all around the world we still keep in touch to this day! I loved meeting those new people and hearing their stories about travelling. There is no better course for meeting people and making friends for life.
Aside from the friends I made, the bartending experience is insane!! I loved every bit of it and would go back to experience the course again in a heartbeat.
We know you found a job as brand ambassador for a whiskey brand. How did that happen?
I was already approached during the course, and once the course had finished, I was given the opportunity to work for Beam Suntory. This is the third-largest drinks company in the world, so I said yes straight away. Today, I am their Irish Whiskey Ambassador for Northern California. This means I get to deal with bartenders every day, developing new cocktails for their menu and happy hour specials. And if it weren’t for the course I wouldn't be able to handle myself. But now, I can discuss cocktails and share some of the stuff I learned on the course.
Tell us a little bit about your job. What does your day look like?
I’m laughing to myself here because I still can’t believe how exciting my work is.
My first month I was flown to Vegas to familiarize myself with our whiskeys and a month later I was doing a whiskey tasting-session at a Facebook staff event on a cruise around San Francisco Bay. I plan a day, and usually 20% ends up going as planned, the rest is just take-it-as-it-comes and involves a lot of events, backstage passes and meeting VIP’s.
Did EBS help in getting you that position?
Well, I applied personally, but if it weren’t for the course I would just be one of the thousand resumes they received. What made me stand out is how I was able to talk about the bartending industry at ease, knowing what I had learned at EBS.
So you’d recommend EBS to others?
If you like to travel – Go do it!
If you like to meet people – Go do it!
If you want a change in career – Go do it!
If you want to stand out at a party by showing some flair moves – Go do it!
What was the hiring procedure like exactly?
I had submitted my personal details to the Ibec Export Orientation Program, which is this talent pool for Irish Nationals. They match graduates with internationally operating companies and they work with some very big spirit manufacturers as well. I chose their food and drink sector given the fun experience I had at EBS, and during the first week at EBS Kos I received a phone call from Ibec telling me both Beam Suntory and William Grant & Sons were interested in meeting me.
This meant taking some days of the course, and while I was hesitant to fly back to Ireland for an interview, I made the decision to go. Their main concern was how I would approach the role of brand ambassador in the US to promote specific brands: For William Grant & Sons the brand was Tullamore D.E.W and for Beam Suntory it was 2 Gingers Whiskey.
An initial presentation by me on each brand quickly changed into an ask & tell session where I was grilled about my course at EBS. Both companies were fascinated by the details of the program and it turned out it’s what made me their perfect candidate. So within 12 hours after the interviews I received another phone call to say I was offered both Jobs and that I’d have to be based in California.
Sounds awesome Andrew. Do you have an American passport?
Unfortunately I don’t have American citizenship, I am working on that with Tinder, trying to find that special one. In the meantime, I am on an 18-month trainee visa which is called a J1. Ibec is essentially a government organization, and through the embassy I got a J1 visa by going on this program. I have to report back to Ibec through reflective diaries and some assignments. For Beams, this program is an excellent way to “test” new employees and they are now looking at sponsoring me and gradually transfer me into the role of account specialist. Essentially I’d be assisting accounts with cocktail menus, events, training etc.
This is what dreams are made of and I am so grateful for this opportunity. So EBS I thank you! I will hold onto those skills and memories for life!
Do you want to work in the bartending industry too?
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