3 C Sunday!

by Jason Bran on October 4, 2012

in The Shitlist

For quite a while now I have been working to put together a stand up comedy show that is for and by bartenders…well, I can finally say that I have done it!

Proud to announce that the first show will be Sunday, October 14th in the back room at Bar Lubitsch. Very happy with the team of comics set to perform and hoping that if you are in LA you can join us! If you aren’t in LA, I will be working on posting a podcast. But no firm date on that, I still have a lot to learn about it.

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The Cost of Indifference

by Jason Bran on September 16, 2012

in Droppin' Knowledge

A common practice in the restaurant and bar industry is to train the staff to upsell. Meaning that when asked for a vodka tonic, the server suggests a brand or asks the guest to specify a brand. If the server prompts the guest to spend an additional dollar or two per drink the final check will be higher. $6 may not seem like a lot but per person, per night, over the course of a week, month, or year it adds up.

Upselling is by no means a malicious practice. The financial benefit to the business is undeniable, however it is done for more than just increasing numbers. People have specific tastes yet don’t always call for them. Within every spirit category there is an ample amount of variety. How the spirit is made, flavor, even price point. It’s reasonable for a server to inquire further in order to insure that their guest will enjoy their drink as much as possible.

As a bartender when I ask my guests to specify a brand, the most common response I hear is “I don’t know”. As the guest scans the shelves, scrambling for an answer, they often say the first brand they can think of, or happen to make eye contact with. This seems normal, but brands being called for based on visibility and recognition creates an opportunity for businesses to take advantage of unsuspecting consumers.

Are you an unsuspecting consumer? Have you ever answered, “I don’t know” when asked to specify a brand? Better yet, after specifying the brand have you said, “will do” or “I guess”? If these scenarios apply to you, chances are that you are spending more than necessary on our nights out.

Based off of a national survey of bartending friends from various types of bars I determined an average price for the commonly accepted pricing tiers of liquors. Of course it is an estimate, depending on where you live it may vary. But for the sake of illustrating a point these numbers will suffice.

If you are a consumer of premium liquors you could save 18% of your annual drinking budget by switching to a call brand. If you are fortunate to patronize bars with decent well liquor programs, and consume cocktails that taste the same anyways, you could double your savings and save 36% per year.

If you spend $10,000 a year on drinks, saving $3,600 is a lot of incentive to stop and think about this. Furthermore if you are young and have your prime years of going out and drinking ahead of you, consider the savings over a 5-year period? How about a 10-year period? It adds up to a car, decreased student loan debt, a down payment on a house, something tangible that has much more value than a blurred memory you may have overpaid for.

So how can you start saving money? Ask yourself these questions:

What does your drink of choice cost?

What is it made/distilled from?

Where is it made/distilled?

Once you know a bit about your drink of choice, enlist the help of a local, professional bartender. This bartender should be able to talk to you knowledgably about the recently researched spirit you prefer, and be enthusiastic about your desire to explore substitutes in order to qualify for the job. Explain to him or her what you like, how you drink it and see what they can share with you. With the investment of a little free time and an open mind not only can you save some money, you will always enjoy the benefits of knowing what you like. Raise a glass to yourself and try to resist grinning when you hear people around you order “I don’t know”.


Bar Rescue

September 12, 2012

I had the privilege of working with Jon Taffer and his crew for season 2 of Bar Rescue. I’m a fan of the show so really happy I got to be a part of it! Here are the first 12 minutes of the episode which can be seen on Sunday 9/16 at 9 pm PST. […]

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The Do’s and Don’ts of Becoming a Bartender

August 21, 2012

Bartending jobs can be elusive. If you are someone that has a strong desire to get behind a bar but aren’t sure where to start, here are a few tips that I find myself dispensing often. DO Ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this?” If you think that you have industry changing cocktail […]

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Cocktails in the Clouds

June 4, 2012

A good cocktail can improve many situations, and traveling on an airplane is certainly one of them. Unfortunately the airline offerings are pretty slim, so imagine my delight when I saw Erick Castro pack a bar kit, some mint, and limes to make a Southside on his flight! It was brilliant! I have never seen […]

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April 20, 2012

Recently a friend of mine posted a photo of a cocktail menu onto his facebook because he found a particular concoction to be funny. However upon viewing this photo, another item on the list caught my attention. This disclaimer posted on the bottom of the menu: “Specialty cocktails may take more time to prepare during […]

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April 6, 2012

The work of a bartender is under constant scrutiny and eligible to be written about anywhere in any context. Writers and bloggers seemingly have more influence on this industry at times than the bartenders themselves. I appreciate and respect the professionals who perform this job with caution and care. However I feel that there are […]

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An Open Letter to Bartenders

March 30, 2012

Dear friends, I recently teamed up with some friends to produce a video that you may have seen called “Sh*t That People Say to Bartenders”. I apologize if it has congested your facebook newsfeed but it was more popular than I thought it would be. It’s success taught me a lot. Most importantly I realize […]

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Sh*t People Say to Bartenders

March 26, 2012

So it seems that a few people are taking this video the wrong way. This video was not made to insult anyone or portray any stereotypes. Myself and all people involved with this production LOVE what we do. We are not bitter nor disgruntled. People say things far worse than portrayed in this video regularly […]

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Hollywood Cocktail Co.

March 25, 2012

I am very proud to announce the formation of my company, the Hollywood Cocktail Company! Hollywood Cocktail Co. seeks to increase the value of proper bartenders, cocktails and spirits in Los Angeles and beyond. As a way to familiarize myself with video production and editing, I wrote and produced the following video, “Shit People Say […]

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