A Day in the Life… Patrick Crowley, managing director of Shake Mix Muddle
WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ROLE?
I am the owner of Shake Mix Muddle, an international bartending school which I set up 18 months ago. We’re an educational service to provide qualifications to the hospitality industry covering everything from bartending, cocktail services, wines and spirits to coffee.
WHAT IS YOUR BACKGROUND?
For over 16 years, I have been involved in the hospitality industry, working most jobs in the venues from glass collecting to venue management, right the way through to today where I own and run both a cocktail bar and nightclub as well as Shake Mix Muddle.
WHAT ARE THE BEST/WORST PARTS OF YOUR JOB?
The best and the worst part of the job is actually the same thing for me and that would be the travel. It is amazing to be able to see so many places the world over and get to meet so many keen and skilled students but, at the same time, spending time away from family and friends is always a hard part of the job.
WHAT DO YOU FIND MOST CHALLENGING ABOUT THE SECTOR?
That’s a good question. I always like a challenge and you find that you improve as a person when challenged. There’s no denying that the hospitality industry is challenging too, with styles and tastes going in and out of vogue all the time. Staying ahead of this curve is a hard challenge, but luckily I am motivated by wanting to work with the latest technology, the newest products and brands, while at the same time catering for the needs of the public. If you don’t listen to what your customers want then you’re on a slippery slope, so paying attention while not compromising your beliefs and ethics will go a long way to relieve those challenges.
OUTLINE A TYPICAL DAY
A day for me is almost like two 9-5 jobs. During the day from 9am to 5pm, we will be working with students on different courses, which could be anything from learning cocktail flair skills, to teaching about the history of alcohol or what type of ice belongs in what drink. Then in the evening, if I am at home, I will be in either the bar or nightclub I own, working with the staff there from opening till close.
PROUDEST MOMENT OF YOUR CAREER TO DATE
I know it sounds cheesy, but when our first students passed their courses with us at Shake Mix Muddle. I’m so privileged to be involved in the hospitality industry and seeing other people wanting to learn these skills and adapt to them so well was a great feeling. It makes me proud to know that the industry will be improving because of these students.
BEST THING ABOUT BEING INVOLVED IN THE LOCAL SECTOR
The great thing about travelling with the job is getting to see lots of local communities the world over, but nothing beats being able to return home to Ireland and work with people that in one way or another you’ve either directly or indirectly known your entire life.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO TO UNWIND AWAY FROM WORK?
Away from work (if such a thing exists) I like unwinding by watching movies. I’m a big fan of all the current blockbusters and try whenever I can to get to the local cinema to see the latest films, or watch them on catch-up on Netflix. I do find myself travelling a lot with the job and so, if I get the chance, I do enjoy sourcing local small-scale vineyards, breweries and distilleries and visiting them to get a real appreciation for the craft of boutique products.
TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOURSELF NOT MANY PEOPLE MAY KNOW
I once got tricked into ordering a chicken Phall in an Indian restaurant not knowing how spicy it was, I won’t ever make that mistake again! I was raised in Donegal, and my parents and aunts/uncles are all from the north of Ireland. My earliest childhood memories of being around a pub is visiting my aunt and uncle in Ballerin, near Garvagh, and a real treat was sitting on a high stool in the Hecklers Bar sipping a coke and feeling very special! After all, none of my friends were that lucky! I had no idea at that stage of my life that owning my own bars would end up being my career.
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