Meet: Brittany Rowe
VENUE: Old Mates Place, Sydney CBD
Brittany Rowe, only new to the industry, but making waves. A young hot talent and one to watch. Rowe, recently was nominated for ROOKIE OF THE YEAR, 2018, as well as Runner Up in The Perfect Blend Competition 2019, Apprentice Category, Grand Finals Bali. We had the lucky chance to interview her to hear what she has to say!
Share with us a little about yourself and when and why did you join the industry?
I’m not sure if it counts but I definitely soldiered through some dodgy Italian/Chinese restaurants in my early teens, purely for tuck shop money. Now as an adult as I’ve come back to the industry, I’ve realised I have a real passion for drinks and the community.
Tell us, where you’re currently working, and your role there?
I’ve been at Old Mates since the beginning, so I’ve seen some blood, sweat and tears in the last 6 months - literally.
You were part of the opening team there, what challenges did you face and what did you learn?
I’ve been here since opening night and boy have we been through a lot. One of the weirder challenges is the simple question of ‘where the hell do I put this now’ with all the things you have. Garnishes? This flute? This softball trophy (it’s in the roof in case you were wondering)?
At the end of the day, I think I learnt that you just have to appreciate the little things.
Last week I got giddy over a new shelf.
What has been your biggest highlight so far in your career?
Defining one thing is hard. I’ve had an excellent opportunity to work at some great bars with very talented people and every time I’m grateful. I’ve also done some competitions along the way and seeing your hard work come to fruition is such a satisfying experience.
Are there any downsides or challenges you face daily working in this industry?
As someone that’s gone through the last 10 years dealing with severe depression and anxiety, bar work isn’t easy. For all the people that deal with mental health problems, we continuously struggle to participate in the industry and take care of ourselves at the same time. The late nights, the lack of sleep, the booze and all the other vices and addictions. Sometimes it feels like everything is working against us. To our benefit, and sometimes saviour, we are a tight-knit community, and at the end of the day, we have each other. So please, don’t forget to check in with your mates.
You are part of this years ‘The Perfect Blend’ competition, why did you choose to enter?
The Perfect Blend is a chance to express yourself and push what your capabilities are, so like many other bartenders across Australia we are tackling that opportunity. However, this year is highlighting something I’m passionate about at home and work which is sustainability. And, I think this is a chance to spread some knowledge about how we need to make simple changes and do our part because at the end of the day we want to #makedrinksnotwaste.
What has been your experience been like so far?
It’s been really supportive and exciting. Meeting all the other bartenders and being able to witness their talent and innovations. I’m always being inspired to better myself.
Who or how do you draw inspiration for your creativity within cocktail creation?
I really enjoy cooking and with a baker for a dad, it’s something I’ve done my whole life. If I ever feel stuck or bored with ideas I take a stroll through the farmers market, grocery store or even the wacky health shops near home and look for a flavour or combination that never occurred to me.
Specifically for The Perfect Blend this year I was inspired by a good friend Alicia who’s got a green thumb, a massive heart and a dedication to sustainability. She’s continuously daring me to be better.
What’s next for Brittany?
I honestly have no idea and that’s half the fun. I’m 23 and mildly directionless but hey, I’ve got good people around me and a passion that’s not going anywhere. So let’s find out together...