Setting The Bar High, Rise Of Women Mixologists In India
Read this exclusive interview with Ishrat Kaur, Trade Ambassador - South India, Bacardi on how the men vs women dynamic are taking a new turn in the alco-Bev industry in India
For years, the alcohol-beverage industry in India has had an uneven ratio of men vs women- from a professional as well as consumption perspective. However, that is changing today, as we are not only seeing more women coming up in the sector but also the rise in the rate of consumption of alcohol by women.
BW Applause and Everything Experiential spoke to Ishrat Kaur, Trade Ambassador - South India, Bacardi to understand this new dynamic in the alco-Bev industry, here are some excerpts from this exclusive interview.
AlcoBev and drinking have traditionally been seen as male-dominated industries. What inspired you to charter this road less travelled?
When I started my career with hotels, I instantly developed a liking for the food and beverage industry and knew that I wanted to do something in this space. Eventually, I gravitated towards beverages, developing an immense love for the cocktail culture and just the sheer excitement of creating art in a glass. I am extremely grateful to my parents who have always been very supportive of my career choices, without imposing any gender biases towards what I wanted to do – and that is what inspired me to charter this exciting path all while challenging the pre-existing stereotypes in the space.
What are some challenges you faced in such an unorthodox career choice?
I think the biggest challenge that I have faced as a woman mixologist is proving my competence at work. I had to put in a lot more effort, score the highest in beverages, lift heavy boxes around and really prove to my manager that I could manage a bar. There is also a lot of misconception about the profession being illegal for women in India – this rule was discontinued in 2008 and does not hold true anymore. It is from these experiences that I can say that there has been a lot of irrational stigma about women choosing this career. However, I am very glad that we have started this discussion today to initiate an important conversation, educate more people on the subject, and hopefully eliminate this stigma over the coming years.
What are your key learnings and how do you imagine the future of mixology for women?
I think it is important to stay humble when managing a restaurant or a bar. No one is too big or small to be wiping glasses or doing clearances and most importantly, humility is key when you’re working in this space.
At the same time, it is important to stay assured of your skills and competence, no matter which industry you are in. To me, the future of mixology for women looks very bright since a lot of them have come out of their shells and are breaking stereotypes every day. Over the coming years, I would also love to see more and more women come out to participate in programs like the GREY GOOSE House of Change, which is an initiative in supporting purposeful bartending careers in the country. It is a platform that refines you in every way beyond just the actual skills of bartending.
What is your career advice to youngsters who are exploring opportunities in this field?
I think the younger generation today is way more experimental and unorthodox when it comes to making career choices. In that sense, this generation has been more open to following their heart and passions. For all the youngsters out there, I would say the same thing – follow your heart, simply because it is more fulfilling than a life filled with regret and ultimately, there is nothing more satisfying than knowing that you at least gave it a shot.
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