Say Hi to Mark
Shake paws with our BrewDog bar project manager...
2012 – year of the dragon, year of the Olympics, year of the end of the world (apparently) but most importantly year of the BrewDog bar. Last year we added to our growing fleet with the opening of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Camden. 2012 will be no exception with craft beer haunts springing up in more locations – some disclosed, others currently top secret – over the coming months.
This means one thing – aside from the fact we'll be bringing top notch craft beers closer to your doorstep, that you'll be able to enjoy discovering even more brews with your mates and that there will be plenty of craft beer-themed events to attend. OK, maybe the opening of our new bars means lots of awesome things will be happening but one thing for sure is that we'll be on the hunt for tons more craft beer passionate scamps to run them.
We're super lucky to work with some of the country's most kick ass bar staff, including the likes of Mark who we headhunted from the first bar to stock BrewDog – Blackfriars - in Glasgow. So what's Mark's story? Here's more from the man himself -
“Hi I'm Mark and my role is helping BrewDog to conquer the UK bar scene – from project managing the build of new bars to working with the likes of Bruce to find the right teams to run them, our goal is to create the best beer bars around.
“Originally I worked in Blackfriars – one of my all time favourite bars. We were the first place in Glasgow (maybe even Scotland) to stock American craft beers and also the first bar to stock BrewDog.
“It's because of this that I've seen the BrewDog story unfold from the very beginning. I remember when James and Martin would deliver the beer themselves and normally give me a cheeky bottle or two for free! I was an instant fan and it's funny to see them driving down Camden High Street in a tank these days instead of a beaten up van full of beer. “
Similar to craft beer wench and project manager Rebecca, Mark's role sees him traverse the country in a bid to open up the latest BrewDog bar on time, on budget and to standard; leading him to acquire the self proclaimed nickname of the 'craft beer gypsy':
“My role is essentially project management but with more of a focus on building up great teams to staff the bars. I spend a few weeks showing new recruits how to interact with customers and hopefully pass on some good craft beer knowledge in the process. I'm a bit of a craft beer gypsy because I have no bar to really call my own. Aberdeen was the first bar I worked on so I will always feel at home there and I also love the Camden one, but really I'm pretty nomadic at the moment living out of a suitcase which is mainly full of beer and records.”
An old hand at the pub trade and – more importantly – doing it properly, Mark's been able to ensure all BrewDog bar staff are trained to the one of the highest levels of craft beer accreditation available – craft beer wizards, also known as 'beer geeks'. Don't let this put you off however, as Mark and the team have managed to balance this level of knowledge and expertise with a dash of banter and supreme friendliness which make BrewDog bars a fine place to dabble in craft beer for the first time or evenbecome a regular.
“The main difference between our bar staff and those you'll find in regular bars is the level of knowledge we have. It’s important all our staff understand how beers are created and the importance of malt and hops in creating these immense flavours. You're lucky if there’s one person in other bars with that knowledge where all our staff will be trained to a high level. And obviously that has to be accompanied by a warmth and friendliness that makes us approachable to newcomers and beer geeks alike.
“You have to be open and friendly and never ever pretentious or condescending if someone asks for a generic lager. For me that what it’s all about. I love getting a total novice and seeing their face when they have a sniff of punk IPA, they can’t believe beer can smell like that. Give them some 5am Saint, Trashy, then hit them with a Tokyo or Hardcore. People are genuinely astounded that beers can be so flavoursome and varied.”
Don't get the wrong impression though. Mark isn't all nicey nice as this blog may have lead you to believe, in fact there are plenty of things that grind his gears; mainly things to do with the misrepresentation of beer across the UK scene:
“When it comes to the problems within the UK beer scene don’t get me started! I could rant for hours and offend almost every industry related group or authority. But to sum it up, it's a complete and utter lack of understanding. From the government to the Portman group to CAMRA. All they see is an ABV of 5% and above and they fly into some dim witted draconian reaction which inevitably punishes forward thinking, innovative and exciting brewers and their fans.
"Meanwhile, the big corporate brewers make the cheapest and nastiest inoffensive shit and pump it out through supermarkets and high street pub chains at rock bottom prices, destroying the industry and drinking culture of the UK in the process. Rage!”
Right, now that Mark's got that out of his system he can get back to creating more awesome bars. Want to join Mark in a rant about the UK beer industry or even think you've got what it takes to join our superstar bar teams up and down the country?
All you have to do is say hi to Mark at Mark@brewdog.com