I'm Chris Beaney, a Tales Attaché and President of the Bartender's Guild in Ghana. Around 6 years ago Ghana didn't have much of a cocktail scene. I was brought over from a cocktail bar in Notting Hill, London to train and develop staff prior to opening one of the first bars focused on classic cocktails. Hospitality, at this time, was one of the lowest paying industries, and bartending wasn't seen as much of a profession. I took a cleaner from a sports bar and 6 other students and taught them in all aspects of the cocktail in preparation for a new bar launch.
That cleaner, Tapatheo (Theo) became so good at his role, Absolut Vodka invited him to Sweden to see how their distillery, and then offered him a tv show to produce cocktails to a live audience! This inspired viewers and people wanted Theo to offer the same mentorship he had received from me. He began training from his house and found that there was a demand for this new skill set. This was the turning point for Ghana's entire cocktail industry. Theo had never left the country before, owned a passport or flew on a plane and now his profession was recognized and allowed him to do so. It also encouraged more bartenders to achieve at this level. In 2016, Theo was accepted to Tales' Cocktail Apprentice Program (CAP)
. I am also privileged to have had another student, Patience, represent Ghana as the first African female in the Cocktail Apprentice Program.
The demand for training became so huge, and the Accra skyline flourished. More and more bars were offering beautifully mixed creations and more staff were being mentored in the city. We are now at the point where the city is truly flourishing and is one of stronger cocktail communities on the continent. Ghana now has a bartenders guild and west Africa has its first reality tv show (created by another Tales Attache, Caesario de-Medeiros) highlighting the talents of these professionals: The Barman TV
The most beautiful thing about living and working in Ghana, is watching the industry continuing to grow and flourish. EVERY idea you bring to the table seems fresh and exciting. The market still isn't over-saturated and everything seems possible. Making a cocktail in this environment becomes so much fun.
Being an Attaché is the perfect platform to highlight the countries flourishing cocktail landscape, keeping the global community informed about what we have to offer on this side of the planet. I shall be sharing interesting stories, keeping you up to date with the movers and shakers, popular cocktails, standout mixologists and flavors indigenous to the motherland.
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