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Diageo Empowers 1000 Nigerian Bartenders

By Bemigho Awala
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Lagos, Nigeria: (6th August 2015) - Diageo, parent company of Guinness Nigeria Plc and the world’s leading premium drinks business has kicked off its 2015 Master Bar Academy Programme in Nigeria. Through the Master Bar Academy Programme (also known as MBA), Diageo aims to help Nigerian bartenders learn world class bartending techniques they need to build successful careers. The programme also highlights viable career prospects bartending offers Nigerian youths who wish to pursue a career in the field.

The Master Bar Programme is the brainchild of Mark Barrett, Spirits Capability Manager for Diageo Africa, who created the academy after visiting bars and clubs in Africa and constantly getting the incorrect serve or bad service. To help address this skill gap in Africa, Diageo launched Africa’s largest bartending programme -The Master Bar Academy. Since its inception, this Academy has helped to train more than 26,000 bartenders across 14 African countries. Thanks to the Master Bar Academy Programme, 1,000 Nigerian Bartenders have also been equipped with world class skills they need to improve their service and build successful careers as bartenders.

As part of the programme, each bartender is enrolled in a three month course consisting of three modules covering core bartending themes like: customer service, the art of bartending, tools of the trade, bartender secrets, drink categories, spirit production, brand knowledge, perfect serves, counterfeit spotting, up selling and responsible serving.

The success of the Master Bar Programme in Nigeria and Africa has been a tremendous inspiration for the founder of the programme, Mark Barrett, who says the response has been amazing across all countries we have visited. “It is very encouraging to note that this programme has helped to raise the standards of bartending in Africa. I have been struck by the passion and energy participants of the Nigeria MBA programme have shown and I trust that this training will equip them with the skills they need to raise the bar behind their respective bars".

The Diageo MBA programme also underpins Guinness Nigeria’s broader skills acquisition initiative which has helped many Nigerian youths to build valuable skills they need to enhance their employability and improve their livelihoods. Guinness Nigeria currently runs a scholarship scheme which supports undergraduates studying in Nigerian Universities. The company has also awarded scholarships that enabled many young Nigerians to study in reputable technical institutes where they gained valuable engineering and technical education.

The 2015 MBA programme was launched with an advanced one day master class programme (MBA 303) organized for beneficiaries of previously organized basic and intermediate programmes. At the end of the advanced programme, five highly skilled bartenders were selected to compete in a live finale which tested the cocktail skills of the contestants. At the end of the closely contested finale, Michael Toriola emerged overall winner of the competition winning $1,000, an iPad loaded with cocktail apps, as well as MBA cocktail set.

While presenting the prize to the winner, the General Manager, Diageo Brands Nigeria, Mr. Neil Comerford said: “We are proud of the part we are playing to celebrate exceptional bartending skills. We are recognising our winner today, but at the same time, we are helping to build the skills of all participants. In the coming days, we look forward to giving more opportunities to an additional 1, 000 Nigerian bartenders”.

The overall winner of the MBA bartending competition, Michael Toriola, will be tutored to qualify and represent Nigeria at the World Class Bartending Competition which will holds in South Africa later this year.




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