Author: Rick Barcode
Source: Face to face at Legends Bar and Grill
Rick Barcode interviews Scott Young, President & Founder of www.extremebartending.com at Legends Bar, May 1st 2001.
How long have you been in the industry?
Where are you from?
Born in Acron, Ohio. Grew up in Vancouver, Canada.
Where do you reside?
Mainly in Vancouver.
When did you start competing?
I ended up taking an advanced Bartending course and I paid (coughs) $425. They taught me 3 moves, showed me cocktail and said "GO!" I knew nothing. I then got a partner, built a bar in my backyard and practiced. We practiced for about 6 weeks before my first competition.
When was that?
That was 1991.
When did you stop competing?
I became third in the city after that. After 6 weeks. I entered 3 or 4 more but they were all canceled due to lack of competitors. In the beginning I wanted to compete, but they weren't out there. By the time I finally found some, I didn't like the rules. I didn't like that bartenders could juggle for 3 minutes with out making a drink and that was O.K. By the time I started my company it was a conflict of interest. I wanted to be the best teacher in the world rather than the best bartender.
When did you start Extreme Bartending?
Eight years ago. 1994.
When was the first time you judged a competition?
It was my own competition. 1995. 3 months after I started the company.
What is the hardest thing about training bartenders?
I guess that depends on what your goal is. My goal is to teach them how to make more money behind the bar. Have passion for their jobs, take exceptional care of their people, and have all sorts of style. Also, to be able to use that style. Whether it's busy or slow, work that style into working flair. Now, my idea of working flair is not as limited as some people's. Working flair and competition flair are not as different as people think and we are starting to see the two merge together. I'm very happy about that.
What do you think the future of flair is?
I think we have a real challenge on our hands, in the sense that we're always entertaining because look at the fancy circus guy, that's really cool it's kind of a novelty. Right now we're sort of a backwater underground society. If you look at all the numbers of all the bartenders in the world that's what you'll see. We have an extremely strong passionate following, and we love it we believe in it. Luckily we are evolving. But if we want it to evolve to where it can be, we have to show case it as good business. And we all know this is good business, us smart people know.
From what I understand the whole flair Bartending community wants to see the sport showcase like an extreme sport, like extreme skate boarding or bike riding. Do you see our sport achieving that level?
I don't agree with calling Flair a sport.
I define a sport as something that spectators enjoy watching.
I think calling flair a sport is forgetting that flair is our business I love being a flair bartender. I am a full package bartender. I love being able to do all these things to make my customer happy. I hate when people say, "Well you can flip a bottle, you're just a circus act." That's just not true. I hope that every flair bartender never forgets that this is our business. The bottom line is that we make drinks. In competition we forget that our primary goal is to make drinks. If you're flipping a bottle around and your not finishing your drinks in a competition, that's forgetting our main goal which is to entertain our guests while making and serving drinks.
Do you think that the fact we deal with alcohol that this will be a stumbling block for us getting more media attention, like the X-games?
I think so. Those are the kinds of things that kids of all ages watch. And flair is only for the people of age. I don't think America will accept that.
Do you think we can overcome that?
I give full respect to the people that run these competitions. But if you look at the numbers, the amount of skilled flair bartenders not competing vastly out number those that do. If we can bridge that gap by presenting a full package to the masses, I think it will be accepted more and more and more opportunities will come. If we make it a sport, it will get into the amazing 4 bottle juggling and 3 bottle patterns moves,but we'll forget the business.
What lasting impressions will you have of legends 3?
I like the fact that we're showcasing better business. Before we saw this and thought no way. The smart ones and good ones are doing it in bursts. 2,3,4,5, moves BOOM! pour. One of the rules in our competitions is the excessive flair rule. Make the drink. I'm not saying don't do the juggling. I'm just saying make the drink with it. And I also loved the Tandem. The tandem was wicked! Just sick. Everyone had fun and presence. Very solid. Those were the 2 biggies. The A & E too. This was the first time we had T.V. publicity.
Do you think that we should have a global set of rules for competitions?
I like the variety that we have. I also think there are different goals. For bartenders and for competitions. Do you're own thing. I have a set of guidelines available from my web site ready for download if you want to hold your own competition. Use all of it use none of it, but it's there for free. I don't think you can find a world champion bartender. How do you define that? I like Toby Ellis' quote, "It's not so much the piece of the pie I get, let's all make the pie bigger." Let's get the message out to the masses.
Thank you Scott! Get some sleep.
Date: May 1st, 2001