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Heleen Välba: In cooperation everything is possible

What can a barkeeper add to your event? Cheers? Laugh? Quality? High class? Heleen Välba, manager of EBA (Estonian Bartenders Association) Training Centre, shares her own view.


- Why are barmen so important at different events? What do they do for creating atmosphere?

Having a cocktail catering service with a professional bartender hosting your event makes the whole event looking complete. No matter what type of event is happening, the service has to be excellent. Food catering is usually offering great service but limited opportunities for drinks. Cocktail catering can go crazy with the cocktail menu- colourful drinks, garnishes, fancy classes, many ingredients combined into a cocktail according to the customer taste. And not just alcoholic cocktails but a variation of non-alcoholic as well for those who have chosen not to drink alcohol, but who deserve special drinks as well, not just table water. Bartender is an entertainer. From the moment, a customer comes to the bar till the moment the customer leaves with the most amazing cocktail, a bartender has to read the customer like a psychologist- ask the right questions, choose the manner of talking to the customer, answer all question that the customer may have about the drink or the process. It is a process that has to be attractive and create the atmosphere.

- What may barmen add to the good idea and to the good realization of event?

In cooperation of the event manager and bartenders, everything is possible. Only limited by imagination and the budget of the event. It is possible to arrange the bar and cocktail list to follow desired theme, for the theme example fairy-tale, glow etc.


- What is the mission and the main focuses of your Association? What do you do for your barmen?

Estonian Bartenders Association main focus is, of course, on bartenders. Our organization was established in 1994 and since then we have improved the profession of bartenders in Estonia, also organized Estonian Championships in Bartending and all kind of other competitions for bartenders. We belong to International Bartenders Association and take part of the meetings. In 2018 we are honoured to host The World Cocktail Championship in Tallinn for 1000 people from all over the world.

In 2014 Estonian Bartenders Training Centre was founded, which is focused on bartenders training. We have many short and long courses for the beginners and for the professionals, including international lectors and students. Training centre is not only for the bartenders, everyone is welcome to come and learn the art of cocktail making. It is very popular to spend evening with colleagues or friends learning how to mix cocktails and enjoy them in our cosy environment. Training Centre is also offering cocktail catering service.

- Why the existance of the Association is good for customers and for event market itself?

As I mentioned earlier - bartending is entertaining. Event marketers are often looking something for their customers that gives emotions. Bartender is not just a guy behind the bar that serves you a drink - it can be much more than that.

- What were the best latest projects where barmen were one of the most important features?

In springtime, we have two of the most important events for bartenders. Recently we had Estonian Non-Alcohol Cocktail Championship and in the end of May we will have Estonian Cocktail Championship and also there is a special category for flair bartenders. The winners are going to present Estonia in Denmark in The World Cocktail Championship 2017. One of the last event we were ask to offer cocktail catering and a training was actually a kid’s birthday party. We had a smoothie bar with many different flavours. We gave ideas for the kids how they can make healthy drinks at home under the supervision of an adult. Kids were allowed to make smoothies behind the bar in a workshop style, use their own favourite ingredients, and choose the colour of a straw. In this event a bartender was the guy that every kid wanted to be a like.


- Why did you decide to participate in Baltic For Events Forum?

It is fantastic opportunity to introduce event marketers the world of bartenders. Drinking culture has improved so fast in the near past. Peoples knowledge and interest of what they are drinking is getting higher and higher. We believe that our customers are worth much more than just an ordinary rum and coke. We would like to see that event marketers agree with us and offer professional bartenders with proper cocktail menus in the future for their customers.


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