The Spirit Lab – professional training created by bartenders for bartenders

spirit lab


The Spirit Lab provides professional bartender training that is raising standards in the industry

After a successful career working in bars in Australia and the UK, Emanuele Mancini identified a need for bartender training that was focused on the individual. At the start of last year, he set up The Spirit Lab to offer top-quality professional training to help bartenders develop the skills to be world-class, whether they are new to the industry or already have some experience.

To deliver the courses, he has brought together a team of talented tutors – all with over 10 years’ experience working in high-end bars, private members clubs or luxury hotels around the globe. Based at its school with a fully equipped four-station bar in Shoreditch in east London, they offer basic and advanced courses. The foundation course, called international mixology, is aimed at beginners and developing bartenders while the professional course, called the advanced molecular course, is for bartenders with solid experience of three years or more.

They both run for a full week, leading to a professional diploma, and equip participants with the level of mixology needed for a career progression or simply to expand their knowledge and skills. “All these elements aim to mould professional bartenders with the skills and confidence to work in the best establishments in the world,” Emanuele says.

The Spirit Lab also provides assistance with gaining job placements and on-the-job training after completion of the course. The academy is an approved partner of the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, offering the WSET Level 1 Award in Spirits.

The team also provide consultancy to drinks brands and bars, from menu design to full in-house training and recruitment. They offer a bespoke service for projects of all sizes, customised on a case-by-case basis.

Emanuele came up with the idea for The Spirit Lab after 12 years working in hospitality, starting at Maxwells Restaurants Group in the UK. After moving to Australia, he worked in bars in Sydney including Hugo’s in Manly, the Park Hyatt Sydney hotel and Reno Sweeney’s but returned to the UK for the relaunch of the Café Royal hotel.

He says he spotted a gap in the market because owners and managers often do not have time to provide enough training and education to their bartenders. At The Spirit Lab, they put the bartender’s needs first. “We provide a personal and consultative approach from start to finish. We look after every single student and have classes of no more than eight in order to spend time with every single one of them.”

Emanuele continues: “The Spirit Lab was set up to raise bar standards throughout the world and get back to the glorious past image of bartending by leveraging the never-ending fundamental component which is the bartender. With a string of alumni who have gone on to secure jobs in leading bars and hotels, The Spirit Lab is increasingly becoming the standard that bars and hotels look for when hiring bartenders and managers.”

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