When a person is unfamiliar with a beverage, the last thing you want them to feel is shame for not knowing what it is. It’s a phenomenon that should go without saying, but in reality, it often feels like a lot of people who work in the drinks business let their egos get the best of them. A conversation that could introduce a customer to their next favorite spirit often devolves into a long-winded, didactic spiel. We’ve seen it play out in the sommelier sphere, but these days, is it becoming pervasive among bartenders as well?

In most industries, exclusivity draws people in. But in food and drink, people don’t always want what they can’t have. In fact, the intimidation and standoffish nature that comes with exclusivity often winds up being more of a deterrent than anything else.

Perhaps this is due to a discrepancy between how industry workers talk among themselves and how they interact with the public. Not everyone knows everything about amaro, and that’s OK. Curiosity and questioning should be encouraged, not condemned. Plus, whenever you let your ego get in the way of making customers happy, you’re leaving money on the table.

On this episode of the “VinePair Podcast,” Adam, Joanna, and Zach discuss whether bartender snobbery is a real issue, and if it threatens the ascendency of cocktails in the American drinking firmament. If we concede that sommeliers, and the entire culture around them, turned some drinkers away from wine, will bartenders do the same? Tune in for more.

Zach is drinking: Western Cider Strawberry Dolgo
Joanna is drinking: Sage Rat Ramato
Adam is drinking: Clos des Bretèches “Les Belouines” Anjou Blanc

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