India has long been a conservative, patriarch culture where socialising over drinks in a family is known to be substandard. Women openly talking or even thinking about it is considerd a BIG taboo.
Though tea and coffee are very popular beverages to the Indians but Alcohol drinking is examined as evil.
But lifestyle has evolved, the statistics show how people in India have adopted the new culture of drinking. The Indians have neglected the old taboos concerning alcoholic drinks. They have adopted the global culture of drinking, drinking now is a habit to almost every person.
Now mostly all social activities are centred around alcohol, and alcohol is seen as a quick and easy social lubricant, and when everyone is doing the same thing, it does not seem like a problem. It’s a norm.
We had a very exciting conversation with Ms. Shatbhi Basu, India’s first woman bartender and founder of Stir Academy of Bartending, Mumbai, India. To understand the present scenario of the Indian Bartending Industry and necessary actions that should be taken to improve the situation.
- How to encourage more women in a Bartending/Mixology career?
I think this is all a matter of time and evolution. As women get more confident in themselves and are passionate about the work they do, we should see that change happening. I don’t think it is about taboo anymore. It is still about the structure of the family and our close ties and the influence of the extended family in our lives. It is also about social structure and arranged marriage that are still a very important part of our system.
As women educate themselves and become more independent, their ability to walk the path they choose will become easier. And so i look forward to young women being inspired by some of us who are here to lead the way and be there for counseling those who need it
- What steps can be taken so that parents are happy to let their child choose a Bartending career or girls can feel proud opting this career in India?
The most important step is creating awareness of the profession of bartending showing the depth of knowledge and skill that makes a great bartender. Also talking about how safe it is working in a bar. The hospitality industry too needs to create safe working practices and facilties for late night travel. And to get women who are already in the field to discuss and debate and create platforms for others to ask qustions and show their families what a great experience it is.
I think as people travel and see the world, they realize that women are a big part of the food & beverage industry, both in front of the house and behind. There are great chefs, bartenders, sommeliers that are women. There are wine makers, master distillers, brewers and blenders that are women. Heads of alcobev companies that are women. We need to highlight these facts.
- What is the current mindset of people about bartending career in India?
Travel and TV have changed the way people think about bartending. As more and more bars open up, they see what a big difference a good bartender can make to an experience at the bar. They see the knowledge behind the skills, the work behind the flair. It is not just acceptable but is a sought after career option
- Is it still considered as a blue collar job in India? How can we make it to the Global spectrum? Making it a prestigious job/career.
I think again, it is just a matter of time. It is changing already and i see the demand there is for those who are good at what they do. I think the onus here is also on us as an industry to constantly upgrade ourselves, better our communication skills and build ourselves to stand as examples of what someone should aspire to. That is what evolves society, makes change happen.
I think women make great bartenders. And so if that is where your interest lies, then pursue it. Not because you want to be different but because the knowledge for the world of alcobev occupies your mind. If that’s want makes you happy every day you wake up, then go for it. You are stronger, more multi-skilled than anyone else. Women are naturally good at hospitality, have more sensitivity towards flavours and palate, can multitask with ease and can also communicate better across age barriers. So be the best that you can be. Not better than others, but better than yourself, every day. That will reflect in your body language and will make you stand out.
5. A little excerpt about you, the way you thought and entered into bartending…and the journey so far.
Present Men to Women
Bartender Ratio in India - 95:5
(SERIOUSLY! we need a reform)
We also interacted with Syaqila Adalynn from Indonesia who is working as a Sr. Bartender in Dubai. She mentioned some really interesting things about the culture that persist in 3rd world countries like hers.
Not long ago women didn’t dare to damage their image by showing the world that s.
Now women pour and fill their glasses with more than just lemon water and juice. Wine, beer, whiskey, vodka or a cocktail; women have come to love their drinks.
There is curiousity to know more, explore more among people.
Good to find lot of new bars, pubs & clubs opening every year.
Craft Brews and Beverages are flourishing.
Opportunities are unlimited.
We look forward to see more women Bartenders / Mixologists / Sommeliers / Craft Brewers / Distillers in next few years. CHEERS!!
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