Brandywine Bartending School

Founded in 2012 by brothers David and Geoffrey Mott, the Brandywine Bartending School may be a new kid on the block but its owners are confident they deliver the goods – so much so that they guarantee to have students job-ready in two weeks or will train them further for free.

Based in downtown Vancouver, their premises is a modern, 1100 square foot training facility with a classroom that contains a long bar and 11 teaching stations. Specialized equipment, internet resources and state of the art iPad point of sale (POS) systems are used, and coupled with a relaxed yet thorough and hands-on instruction style, the brothers – both of whom have many years’ experience in the industry – believe their training packages are unrivalled in the city. Budding bartenders undergo a comprehensive set of lessons and classes, and Brandywine is Vancouver’s sole bartending school where students learn and experience service behind a mock bar.

The courses Brandywine offer are numerous, and can be grouped together, fast-tracked and accelerated – there is flexibility for all-comers to learn the arts of working behind the wood and serving customers. For people seeking a fun evening or if they just want to dip their toes into the world of bartending, the company offer a handful of standalone seminars which typically last two to three hours: Serving It Right certification – compulsory for anyone working with alcohol – is $65, while Wine Tasting Level 1 ($100) allows students to hone their skills in tasting, serving and discussing different wines. The International Cocktails ($100) workshop covers mixology, flavour balance, and creation of your own cocktails, and finally for $200 the Flair Seminar is taught by Vancouver’s leading flair bartender Colin MacKay, who will show you the tricks, bottle throws and spins that will wow customers.

For its main spine of programs, Brandywine boasts five comprehensive training packages which vary only slightly but offer tailored training for people wishing to specialise in, for example, flair bartending. Their ‘Essentials Program’ is a standard two week bartending certification class, and for $399 students receive instruction in topics such as mixology, cocktail knowledge, shooter layering and mastering the basics of iPad Point of Sale systems. On top of this they will learn about liquor infusions, how keg systems operate and the preparation of fresh drinks garnishes – all designed to give first time bartenders a complete grasp of the basics of the job.

For $529 the school offers ‘Industry Certified’ training, where a curated suite of programs – the aforementioned Essentials, Wine Tasting Level 1, Serving It Right and International Cocktail Mixology – are packaged together for all the tools required to work anywhere in the industry; meanwhile its ‘Premium Flair’ program ($649) bolts on the $200 ‘Flair Seminar’ to the ‘Industry Certified’ package, meaning a saving of up to $265 for a comprehensive and intensive period of instruction which will equip its graduates with all the skills and abilities Brandywine can teach.

Its final two programs are further variations on this package theme, with the $429 ‘Bartending Techniques’ providing the minimum requirement for working with or around alcohol in Columbia – upon graduation you will receive the ‘Essentials’ bartending certificate and have Serving It Right certification – while the ‘Pro Program’ ($489) gives students the opportunity to earn ‘Essential’ Certification, along with Level I Wine Tasting and Serving it Right. The training programs typically run for two weeks, either in the evening or afternoon Monday to Thursday; however fast track versions are available where students can train in one week (again via evening or afternoon sessions), and for those busy during weekdays a weekend scheme can be joined, which runs every Saturday for five weeks.

With each of these main packages, students receive a free Martini Kit (consisting of a mixing glass, strainer and cocktail tin) for use during class or for practice at home, and all graduates have free job placement assistance, with Brandywine offering the chance to be listed on the company’s roster for industry events. Résumé coaching and interview hints and tips are offered free of charge, while for those who have no interest in learning any bartending skills, Brandywine will do the job for you – they also offer a comprehensive bartender hire service where professionally trained bar staff will attend your private or corporate event.

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