One bartender won $5,000 to help create ‘a healthy mind and a healthy bar’.
Good Causes is the name of the program Kaden Pool is establishing to offer training and professional development, as well as an information hub for resources to support people in hospitality.
“[It’s] a collection of online tools, workshops, tips, tricks, recipes, reviews, recommendations and pretty much anything in the hospitality space that I think could help someone” Pool says.
Designed to help support the Australian bartending community rebuild and innovate after a terrible 2020, The Blend’s IDEA LAB competition put $80,000 in grants up for grabs to bartenders around the country. Nearly 50 entries from individuals, teams and venues were received, before they were narrowed down to the 20 best across the country. Each entry underwent a Shark Tank-style pitching process, with six winners announced late last year.
“The legends within the Team at The Blend, Beam Suntory have just been clicking with everything I’ve been saying and I think we are all together onto something that could be a real winner and an initiative that can actually help a lot of people” says Pool. “That’s what this is all about right?”
Below, Pool shares his journey in hospitality, how he thinks Good Causes will help WA’s bartenders, and why loves what does.
Why do you do what you do?
I’ve been in the industry long enough that I remember how the toxic ‘old days’ used to be, and gosh darn it you better believe your bottom dollar I’m making sure the new generation doesn’t have to go through any of that.
I love my day-to-day job which helps a lot also, just knowing that I can wake up and step into the venue and it’s always going to be a positive day, really makes a difference.
Having the additional fuel of this grant from IDEA LAB also lights a big ol’ fire up my a*s to always be wanting to make positive actions in this industry.
It’s pretty a pretty good gig, I won’t lie.
What’s your current role and where do you work?
I’m the beverage director for the Palace Arcade venues in Perth. We currently have two venues - Northbridge and Vic Park, with a third venue in Fremantle just weeks away. I run the socials, events and oversee the trainings and consistency. Pretty much any liquid that goes in our cups I make sure it’s as tasty as possible also.
Can you explain what Good Causes is all about?
There are two core parts to Good Causes, the trainings/workshops/events and the resource base.
Trainings/Workshops/Events: I’ll be working with the experts who are registered training providers helping them curate specific trainings/workshops/events for people in the hospitality industry to help them gain knowledge for personal and professional development.
They are all based around basic skills that will be useful for all workers. Anything from stress management to waste management, to make sure you have a healthy mind and a healthy bar.
Resource Base: This will consist of a website and strong social media presence providing a hub of information and resources for people in the hospitality industry to access. A collection of online tools, workshops, tips, tricks, recipes, reviews, recommendations and pretty much anything in the hospitality space that I think could help someone. Free to access of course.
Where is the WA bar scene at right now? How will your initiative help?
The WA bar scene is humming at the moment. It was always on a rise but due to the lack of extreme COVID shutdown we are back bouncing bigger than ever. Hence why we are opening up our third venue immediately post covid as it’s such a roaring time to shine, especially in the very buzzing area of Fremantle.
WA in the past was always seen to be a step below other states. It might have been the lack of overall population or in the past just not having the resources, but right now we definitely are showing we are a big player in the whole Australian bar scene. So because of our past we haven’t exactly had a lot of resources at our disposal, but now with the absolute boom of amazing bars, restaurants, wineries, venues, events, and festivals we need to have a good backing of support that helps personal development, as we are in a young stage now and the entire WA scene will be firing forward at such pace that they deserve as much support as possible. So my initiative will just give as many people as much support as they need, simple as that.
How long have you been working in bars, how did you get into it? Are you a lifer?
Eight years? Nine years? 10 years? It’s all blurred into one amazing career so far. Definitely a lifer, I couldn’t think of another industry to be in. Insert generic I’ve-worked-all over-the-world chat, but I truly have. Melbourne, Scotland, Greece. And Perth is definitely were I see myself, at least for the foreseeable future.
Tell us how you feel about winning the grant and the opportunity it provides?
So amazing and well and truly humbled by the experience it’s been so far. The legends within The Blend at Beam Suntory have just been clicking with everything I’ve been saying and I think we are all together onto something that could be a real winner and an initiative that can actually help a lot of people. That’s what this is all about right?
What’s it like to collaborate on this with The Blend team?
My last answer I guess explains that. They are all just such angels, and I actually get a little excited every time I have a Zoom call with them, and hope they do too because no doubt I’ll say something stupid and put a smile on their faces.
Their core ethos aligns perfectly with what I want to do and ever since day one we have like been in sync with all our thoughts, so I really believe Good Causes and The Blend, Beam Suntory will have a very happily ever after story.
When do you plan to have everything up and running?
Finalising the design stage now, getting it all looking super pretty and fancy ready for launch next month. After launch I’ll have a few weeks hype and lead time to whet everyone’s whistles, then I’ll be releasing the first round of events. So stay tuned!