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Cocktail Pros: Don’t Throw In The Towel Yet

how to make money as a bartender during covid 19

While 2020 started with a promise to be our biggest and best business year to date, Covid-19 took us all down a different path, which is now shaping a new economic reality for our company, our partners, colleagues, and followers. Quarantine and social distancing have presented a major obstacle to those of us earning a living in the hospitality domain. While restaurants can still serve food and drinks, but having lost their direct customers, bartenders are finding it particularly hard to make ends meet. 

Becoming a talented professional bartender requires years of dedication, study, and practice and we all know how difficult climbing up that ladder is. However, bartenders and cocktail caterers alike have been forced to find sustainable and alternative ways to make money… 

So the new question emerged…How can we make money without completely abandoning our trade and erasing all the time and effort it took to become a professional bartender? While governments around the globe have dispensed additional funds to individuals and businesses to help cushion the harsh financial impact the virus has caused, this will not be enough and we have no control or say of how long these benefits will last. 

I’m going to be honest, the thought of abandoning cocktails, events, and clients and sprinting to a safe 9-5 office job definitely crossed my mind early in the panicking stages of the virus quarantine! But I couldn’t do it. Instead, my team and I gathered and realized that if we felt these feelings and were having these issues—well then, we’re probably not alone in this. 

In an effort to help others hang-on to their bartending careers during the uncertain days ahead, we came up with a few money-making strategies that can boost your chances of staying in the field. Who knows, maybe something in this message might just inspire you to diversify and branch off post the pandemic. 

Online Workshops

Whether you are an out-of-work bartender, or a professional cocktail caterer—offering online workshops can be a great way to earn some extra cash. With so many people stuck at home coupled with the outrageous number of companies allowing employees to work remotely your odds have never been better for folks eager to join in and experience some interactive learning and entertainment.

As part of our regular service portfolio, we have been offering mixology workshops since 2017 and with the growing amount of companies throwing virtual events, online classes are now a staple for Flair Project. If you need assistance with workshop basics, pricing, and marketing, feel free to drop us a line via the contact section on the website. We’ll pick up the tab. 

alternative ways to make money as a bartender

Teach Bartending

I was shocked to find out the number of people who have been wanting to flex their cocktail making game but never had the time to dive into learning prior to the virus’s shutdown of social life. It seems like everyone I talk to views this time as the perfect opportunity to learn a handy new trade and pick up a different hobby. So teaching bartending is the perfect way to capitalize on this opportunity. 

Depending on what County and State you live in, you can have in-person classes as long as you adhere to local regulations. Here’s a couple quick ideas that you can execute asap… 

Cocktail caterers with a facility could put together “at-safe-distance” small classes and teach the next generation of cocktail makers.

The unemployed barkeep can partner with a local bar or a shut-down restaurant to train friends, co-workers, and acquaintances in the art of bartending. 

When a revenue-less bar, jobless mixologist, and aspiring bartender enter this deal, it’s a win-win-win situation.

Our company started as a bartending academy in 2014 with a fully developed curriculum and course schedule. Email us if you need any help putting a bartending class together. Currently, this consultation is free of charge. 

Get paid to show yourself or your talents off…

Success minded business folks don’t like to waste time, so companies and entrepreneurs are taking advantage of the ongoing lockdowns to make improvements to their business’ and enhance their brands. Get in on this opportunity by monetizing something you can offer. This isn’t consulting per se…but it’s in that category (remember we have to start thinking outside the box and coloring outside of the lines)! 

If you’re a bartender for example, you could get paid to “stage” at photoshoots. Think of how many pictures you see in magazines, on websites where the setting is a bar or cocktails are part of the ambiance…. monetize this. If it’s not cocktails, is there a unique vision you’ve been wanting to share with a company that might intrigue them? All of these are serviceable and worthy of compensation to local photographers, video makers, advertising firms, international influencers, and designers. Contact them directly and let them know exactly what you can bring to their table. 

Sponsored Content 

You don’t have to be a blogger or an advertising firm to earn money from brands. If you happen to have a decent social media following, sponsored content might bring in some serious cash. However, expecting the right brand to come knocking on your door is like waiting for publisher’s clearing house to ring the doorbell. While it’s technically possible—it’s unlikely. So get after it…. Invest some time into research, either online or locally—find the brand that will benefit from your expertise. Reach out with a clear message – this is who I/we are, and this is what I/we can do for you. Attaching visuals of your work will boost your booking chances. If you need assistance with figuring out your pricing, please feel free to drop us a line via the website. 

Temporary Cutbacks

There are numerous offers that can help you outlast the economic impact of the pandemic. These savings won’t be advertised as much as the PPP loans and Disaster Relief Loans—you will need to snoop around for them. Depending on the state of your business and your role in the industry you could save some serious dough. Look at your budget, pull your free credit report and call the credit card companies, call the student loan reps, get on the phone, explain your situation, and ask what can be done. If you don’t ask, you don’t get so always ASK.  

Insurance companies are offering discounted rates and even temporary pauses on workers comp and general liability coverages to retain their clients. Credit card payments and car payments have been deferred, subscription-based services have been paused, companies have offered discounts and even refunds. If you don’t need and/or use a particular service, contact your providers and ask for revisions, updated payment plans, or altogether stop of services. People on both sides of the desk are hustling. Everyone is trying to keep business and pay the bills so don’t be shy and ask. 

Professional Consulting

A badass bartender is invaluable: From creating the perfect cocktail menu, to extensive knowledge of all things alcohol to designing and crafting a sure to impress custom bar for a client at home, to teaching the delicate art of managing clients. An experienced barman can add so much value and life to various projects.

When a local restaurant cuts back on costly management, or a local architect plans an extravagant bar feature for their next home design, an hourly bar consultant might be the perfect solution that keeps operations flowing. Be proactive and reach out! Putting yourself out there will wax your bank account, help your community, and might just create the platform for a newly found career. 

I know times are tough right now, but I am dedicated to preserving what’s so precious for us and for you – our careers. My team and I got your back and if you need any assistance, please feel free to connect with us via Instagram or email. For more ideas and motivation, click the subscribe button and I will see you soon! 


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