To answer, let’s take a look at a couple of other ways you could learn:

The Internet

Although it is easier than ever to access a wealth of knowledge on bartending and coffee making, the countless information available on the internet can be a double-edged sword: you can’t trust all the information on the internet.

Our educators, with a combined industry experience of 60 years, are constantly looking at new trends and ideas from around the world.  They have read countless books, engaged with some of the best bar and barista minds in the world, and have a rich wealth of experience that you just cannot replicate through online articles and YouTube videos. They are on hand to explain any questions in detail and with focus and to sift through any ‘smoke and mirror’ myths available on social media or other resources. They can also tailor their approach for specific students and assist those with learning disabilities or language barriers.

What experience also teaches you is what not to do as much as what you should do. Our educators have made many embarrassing mistakes along the way so that their students do not have to.

The other upside to a bartending or barista course is that all the fresh ingredients, liquor, glassware, ice and tools you will need for a course such as the IBC and ABC are available immediately. Purchasing everything yourself would set you back at the minimum R40 000.00 before you have all that you require to practice at home.  Professional coffee machines also cost hundreds of thousands so having one at hand isn’t possible for every person, especially those just starting out.

Our educators are also still heavily involved and respected in the hospitality industry and have access to many tools not available to many South Africans such as hard to find liquors.

The internet also doesn’t hand out certificates. Whether doing the International Bartenders Course (IBC), Advanced Bartender’s Course (ABC), professional Barista (Prof Barista) courses, graduates will have a SCASA and WSET internationally accredited certification that will be recognized by employers around the world.

Basically: employers aren’t too concerned about your internet browser history.

Learning on the job

Something we hear often is: “In the hospitality Industry, you can learn on the job”.

This is most certainly true; however, you are at the risk of losing that job should you make too many expensive mistakes. A bar school is a safe environment where you can make mistakes and learn without doing irreparable damage to a working business as well as your reputation. Many employers have also become less willing to hire applicants with no experience or education.

Actually, the potentially biggest pitfall of only learning on the job is what happens to many bartenders, chefs and waiters: they generally will only learn how that particular establishment does things, which can create an education that is somewhat blinkered and shut-off from global trends and standards. The best in the world take influence from all the establishments they may have worked in. At Shaker Bar School, we are able to condense our decades of experience into the key areas within a few days, ensuring our students get a positive head-start into an ocean of knowledge to explore.

So, a bartending course is a great way to get ahead of the crowd: You get the dedicated attention of experienced bartenders, who are fully focussed on teaching you. You get access to equipment and ingredients you wouldn’t otherwise have. You get the space to learn and make mistakes without the pressure of a job on the line.

To get your head-start with Shaker, you can check out our courses here.