The Premium Institute of Bartending

When David and Rikki Phillips first mooted the idea of opening their own bartending school, to find out exactly what was needed to succeed they went straight to the people that matter: the owners and managers of bars, restaurants and clubs, as well as students enrolled in other bartending academies. The Phillips quickly learned what employers require of their staff, and what students should be taught: the end result is The Premium Institute of Bartending.

Established in 2007, in just a few years the Premium Institute of Bartending (PIB) has grown in reputation amongst the hospitality trade. Its first campus, located in the lakeside Texan city of Lewisville, was quickly followed by a second in the southwestern suburbs of Fort Worth and PIB now serves both the greater Dallas/Fort Worth metro area and, as a result of partnering – the only school in the region to do so – with The Professional Bartending Schools of America, the entire United States.

Both campuses are state approved and regulated by The Texas Workforce Commission and the school is not part of a national chain, meaning students are unlikely to just be ‘faces in the crowd’. Hands-on, intensive training is the order of the day and PIB has an especially unique selling point: it is the only bartending school in the Dallas-Fort Worth region that features compulsory ‘real bar’ tuition for students via its exclusive Externship Program – every pupil will spend a minimum of two hours working in a local restaurant or bar as part of the main Bartending/Mixology Program. The school believes this gives everyone the opportunity to experience a busy, working establishment in full flow, practise on computerized POS (Point of Sale) systems, and deal with living, breathing – and sometimes demanding – customers who are eager to try your nascent drinks-making abilities.

David Phillips himself has over two decades of career educational experience, coupled with five years spent tending bar after graduating in 1983 from bartending school in Florida. Passionate about passing on his knowledge and improving the skillsets of working bartenders, he designed the entire curriculum and his school has now successfully trained more than five thousand hospitality workers.

The Premium Institute’s primary course is their Bartending/Mixology Program, a thirty-four hour package of modules at a fully-equipped mock bar and spread over either one or two weeks (during afternoon or evening slots, although flexible scheduling is available) for $599. The program is suited to absolute beginners or those with a small amount of bar experience, and uses a ‘building block’ process where students are taught the fundamental techniques and work their way to free pouring, bar operations, using a real draft beer system, and familiarization/use of bar stations and their equipment – such as soda guns, jockey boxes, store and pours, ice bins and jiggers. Pupils are constantly monitored by the professional instructors and receive ongoing feedback as well as daily tests, and such is the comprehensive nature of the package that they also receive on-site TABC (Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission) Certification, a certificate of completion, local and nationwide job placement assistance, free instruction and advice on job-hunting strategies along with a professional resume, and free lifetime practice and retraining at any of the school’s seventy affiliates across the country.

A more compact version of the Mixology Program is available as a twelve hour, three day ‘Event Bartending Program’ ($250) which is geared towards individuals who wish to work private events or corporate parties, for example weddings, concerts and festivals. The cost includes a registration fee, twelve hours of tuition (essentially a fast-track version of the Mixology modules), placement with the school’s sister company Premium Event Staffing, along with TABC Certification, recipe handbook, access to the school’s job portal and a seminar covering getting work at events. Added to this, credits from this program can be transferred in the main ‘Mixology Program’ should a student wish to move onto the longer course.

PIB boasts a full time Job Placement Director, who can assist graduates in finding work either locally or nationally, with the school having long-standing professional relationships with many bars, restaurants and sports venues who are always looking for new staff. Graduates can also register for free with sister website Premium Events Staffing, and are also likely to find work via the company’s ‘Hire a Bartender’ service.

The Premium Institute of Bartending is so confident that they are the best in the region that they will match or beat any other licensed bartending school’s tuition and fees, and welcome guests who wish to tour either of the campuses and talk to staff, students or graduates before deciding whether to enrol.

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