Competition for The Best American Brand Ambassador award at this year's Tales of The Cocktail was fierce, and when the dust settled it was Jacques Bezuidenhout who was on top. We caught up with Jacques to get his thoughts about what it takes to be an award-winning brand ambassador.
First off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? About how you became the brand ambassador for Partida, and what you were doing before becoming an Ambassador?
I was working at a Tequila Bar and Restaurant here in SF that I helped to open as Bar Manager called Tres Agaves. The owner of Partida was a regular and was in the process of launching the brand in California. We became friends and he spoke to me about being their Brand Ambassador, which I accepted.
You took home the much-coveted Best American Brand Ambassador award at this year's Tales of The Cocktail. What impact does that win have on your career and what do you think was instrumental in you winning it?
It was great to be recognized by my bartender peers in the industry and that is what made it most rewarding. I think just working hard and spreading the knowledge of Tequila and Partida around the country helped me win.
What qualities make a great brand ambassador?
Knowledge of the category and the brand. To be able to work alongside bartenders. Stay out late nights and still get up for regular business hours.
What are some of the pitfalls that some brand ambassadors fall into that should be avoided?
Enjoying ones brand too much in a venue and getting sloppy drunk. This will send a bad message to the venue and the bartenders.
What places has being a brand ambassador taken you? Which are some of your favorite?
All over the US. It has also taken me to London. I would have to say London and New York are a couple of my favorite cities.
As a brand ambassador for Partida Tequila, what is your favorite way to introduce people to your products?
First, by tasting the product neat in proper glassware and talking the tasters through the process of how it is made. Then, afterwards, through cocktails.
Do you have a favorite Partida drink?LA PERLA
Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with aLemon Twist Duke's Style
Which do you feel are the great tequila bars in the US?
You were an early graduate of the BAR program. How did that impact your career?
It is the best course you can take as a bartender or spirits person. It really taught me a lot and inspired me to keep on learning.
What advice would you give to bartenders who want to become brand ambassadors?
Work for a brand you believe in, so when you talk about it your passion shows. Also, it is a business where office hours are part of the job so sleeping in till noon after being out all night does not work. You have to be comfortable talking to groups and many different personalities.
What's your favorite thing about being a brand ambassador?
Being able to work and learn from so many great bartenders around the country.