Bartending consists of a variety of disciplines, and those people who have taken our International Bartender Course are intimately familiar with the “flair bug”. Once you get going, priorities like eating and sleeping gradually move to the background, as you are hell bent on improving your level and taking your skills to the next level. Tom Dyer wrote the blog below, detailing his affair with flair and how it grew from a hobby to a serious profession:
So what is it like to be a professional flair bartender?
Going back 14 years, when I attempted my first hand stall, I never expected to be able to sculpt a career from this, and flair was something I did to spice up my bartending. But as the years passed by, I started realizing that flair is one of the most visible skills a bartender can have, making it a great way to showcase your skills and travel the world while you are also getting paid.
But from my first trick to finally winning a competition, a lot had to happen first. With bruised forearms and hours upon hours of practice, I often felt that I would learn so much faster as long as there would be someone telling me what I was doing wrong and right, and where I should really improve to master the more difficult tricks. Even so, the satisfaction of learning everything myself was immense and it was worth every second, and I love it just as much today.
I made steady progress, allowing me to travel all over the world to compete in competitions, perform shows and give trainings to other flair bartenders.
The competition scene already grew steadily along with the prize money, which a handful of us kept winning. Since the community of flair bartenders is a relatively small one, this did allow me to make a nice living of it. At one point we figured out that if you won all the major competitions in one year, you could easily earn close to a quarter of a million dollars, that’s $250,000. Placing consistently in the top three even allowed you to go home with a considerable package every year.
Looking back at the highlights so far, I have to mention flairing on the Las Vegas Strip to thousands of people, getting regular upgrades on flights because of my frequent flyer status, staying in luxury hotels, being dropped to a flair competition by helicopter, visiting over 70 countries, all the while mixing it up with the rich and famous and the whole time getting paid to do so.
The industry has slowly came to the realization that flair is here to stay, and so the WFA (World Flair Association) came into existence, establishing WFA Gradings helping flair bartenders quickly establish their proficiency in Flair. Currently, EBS teaches the first level on our 4-week International course, and the second level is taught on the advanced course. Our advanced Flair course was created to give EBS students who are into flair something a bit more beefier to bite into, allowing them to get on the showcase circuit and travel wherever a flair bartender is needed for brand presentations, luxury weddings or a commercial shoot. And for those who are desperate to compete, additional levels are waiting to be unlocked.
Flair is becoming mainstream
Nowadays you can find flair in the most unexpected places and it really is about to go mainstream as more and more well-known brands feature some sort of flair in their TV-commercials or product presentations. Flair also regularly pops up in programs like “Got Talent” in Romania, UK, Poland and in Finland, a Flair team took home the grand prize. This means opportunity, as the advertising industry is always looking for talent to link to their products, and flair is exceptional in the sense that it connects well to social gatherings before- and during product presentations.
Make a name for yourself
Once you have your flair routines dialed in, make sure potential clients will know how to find you. Either have multiple agents, or make sure you are connected to a variety of event agencies. You’d be surprised how many companies are dying to add you and your flair to their repertoire. Give them a call, tell them what you do, maybe send them a showreel? The world belongs to the bold, remember that!
To me, flair has developed into something of a lifestyle, and whenever people ask me what the downside has been so far, I have never been able to give them a proper answer.