Check out West Africa's Bartending Revolution with Barman TV
Tales Global Attaché member Caesario de-Medeiros is the show creator and head judge of a series highlighting West Africa's bartending scene.
This July, a new series premiered online called "The Barman," a bartending reality TV show set in West Africa. The series follows along 20 bartenders living and working in West Africa through six weeks of intensive training, with a weekly elimination to ultimately reveal one winner. The prize? An all-expenses-paid trip to the European Bartender School in London. Caesario de-Medeiros is the show creator and head judge of Barman TV, and also one of Tales' Global Attachés. Here, he shares with us his story and his inspiration behind Barman TV.
Can you share a little bit about yourself and your bartending background?
I am a marketing professional, so in the course of my corporate career, I worked to build several iconic global brands. My bartending journey started as an entrepreneur when I invested in a cocktail bar. At the time there were no trained bartenders in Nigeria, so I had to employ bartenders from abroad to deliver the quality that I wanted. This was eventually too expensive to sustain and we had to close down as our overheads were ridiculous and we were well ahead of the times.
But it was already too late for me — I was in love with the bar. So on the back of this failure, I decided to dive deeper into the craft with a vision to set up the first bartending academy in West Africa. So I took a year off and went to wine school in London and trained to become an educator. I got some hands-on experience during this time and came back to establish the academy in 2008. Now I run a spirits advocacy, distribution, and marketing agency that operates across West Africa.
What is West Africa's bartending scene currently like?
It is evolving rapidly, the cities are very cosmopolitan, and the craft bar movement is catching fire. I am personally driving the use of indigenous African fruits, herbs, and botanicals, and incorporating this into our training and development work. You can get any classic cocktail in almost every bar, however, we have a leaning towards Tiki-style drinks.
What was your inspiration behind Barman TV?
I wanted to create a platform that would be a source of aspiration towards the craft, a source of pride for the women and men behind the stick, to raise respect for what we do by showing our guests how much work goes into it, and most importantly, to put the spotlight on Africa — her rich flavors and all she has to offer.
What do you hope to gain from Barman TV?
I want it to be a catalyst for growth for the entire industry. For bartenders to see that if they put in the effort, they too can be flying first-class around the world spreading the gospel of flavor. It should challenge local distillers to get their act together, as we will only work with the best ingredients. It should challenge consumers to demand a better experience, because once they watch the show, they now know they could be drinking much better.
There is also a huge educational impact for contestants who make it to the bootcamp. They're challenged to learn a range of new skills or build on old ones.
How can the Tales Attaché program help share your story?
Tales already has brand equity in the region and is looked at as a leading voice in the global cocktail community. My goal as a Tales Attaché is to use this equity as a morale booster by creating opportunities for Tales to share African content with its fan base.
Watch a promo of the first season below: