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Know Your Bartenders: Victoria Taylor

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23/02/2024 Victoria Taylor, Captain at Tre Dita, discusses her journey from accidental bartender to mixologist in a fascinating interview. She talks about basic skills, spirit selection, forthcoming trends, and the value of narrative in bartending.

Meet Victoria Taylor, a bartender from Chicago with over a decade of experience in the food and beverage industry. Victoria discovered her interest in bartending while working part-time at a sports bar in North Carolina while attending North Carolina State University. However, it was her move to a craft cocktail bar in Raleigh that sparked her true passion for the trade.

Victoria is now a dedicated Captain at Tre Dita, where she uses her skills and expertise to provide unforgettable experiences for her customers. Victoria's hobbies outside of the bar are diverse; she is a great pianist, a fan of literature and poetry, and an enthusiastic teacher.

Want to learn more about Victoria's experience and views into the bartending world?

Check out her conversation to learn about her vital bartending abilities, spirit choices, forthcoming trends, favorite TV shows, and much more. Victoria's experience exemplifies the various avenues that drive people to pursue their passions in the hospitality industry. Check out the entire conversation to discover the wisdom she provides from her time behind the bar.

Where do you work?

Tre Dita

Tell us something about yourself.

I play the flute, I love to read and write, especially poetry; I love to learn and I love to teach.

What inspired you to get into bartending?

I started my bartending career by accident, I was asked to bartend at the sports bar I was waiting tables at in North Carolina so I said yes. Eventually, I worked my way into the new craft cocktail bar in the city and that is where my love for the craft began.

What are some of the most important skills for a bartender to have?

Patience, organization, a sense of urgency, and communication.

What do you look for when you plan to buy spirits for your bar?

Versatility and marketability.

What support programs work best for you from suppliers?

I think it is important to treat your suppliers like they are your partners to maintain effective business relationships. A business needs reliable, on-time deliveries from their suppliers; so communicate with your suppliers clearly and set expectations early on. If issues arise, consider solutions that are mutually beneficial and focus on the main cause of the issue.

What cocktails and drinks trends do you see in 2024?

I am predicting an uptick in demand for non-alcoholic spirit-based cocktails. Other than that I am noticing guests are just enjoying simple and elegant classics.

What's the best part of your job?

The best part of my job is that it is different every day and every day is a chance to be better than the day before.

What are your favorite TV shows right now? Or your favorite movie?

If I don't have Game of Thrones playing as background noise I am probably watching a psychological thriller or survivalist show.

If you had to pick one spirit as your personal best which would it be and why?

The Botanist Gin because it is a versatile gin. It goes wonderfully with some Fever Tree Tonic, makes a complex gin martini, and mixes well for a last word or aviation. I am also a huge fan of The Botanist Foundation, which is committed to preserving biodiversity and conservation.

How are you marketing your bar to drive foot traffic?

Word of mouth is king in my opinion.

Any tips for bartenders on how to upsell or cross-sell?

People will buy a story, emotion, or experience before they buy just any other product. Sell a story, not a spirit. How is this spirit or this cocktail going to make you feel? Do you feel like you are sipping a mai thai on the beach or sipping a peaty scotch in a jazz club?

What is an experience or a customer story you thought was funny and that you remember?

Building relationships with regular guests is a huge perk of the job. I don't have a stand-out story off the top of my head but my regulars have made sure every birthday I spend behind the bar is special and they support me when I am down.

Tips for brands looking to pitch to bars? What should they cover in their pitch? What you do not need to know? Give us the best elevator pitch brands can do for you.

I want to know how you are different than what I already have in my bar. Why would making a change or adding a product benefit my business?

Define a good Bartender according to you.

A good bartender does not have to make the best drinks or have the best small talk, or the most rhythmic shake but a passion to make sure the guest has a wonderful experience. A commitment to hospitality is the most important, I can teach you how to be a bartender but I can't teach you how to care.

What's an ideal bar drinks menu? what should it include, and what profit metric should it try and achieve?

I think a bar's drink menu is extremely personal to what that bar is trying to achieve, there is no one-size-fits-all-all.

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