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HOW TO BE TOP OF THE CLASS

What’s your dream? Making the best cocktails? Owning your own bar? Being the top bartender on your team? The possibilities are limitless. We catch up with Jane Opia, who made her dream a reality.

The best way to achieve your goals and progress in your career is to evolve your skills. Whether that is learning to create the perfect drink or provide a better customer experience, constantly improving your skills is vital for progression in this industry. At the Diageo Bar Academy, we provide courses that teach you new skills, maximize your potential and put you in touch with industry experts. We can assist you in becoming a more skilled and confident bartender and help you pursue your dream.

A great example of someone who took charge of their dream and sought out the skills to achieve it is bartender Jane Opia. Jane dreamed of one day being crowned Master Bartender in her home country of Uganda. Jane enrolled in the African equivalent to Diageo Bar Academy known as the Master Bar Academy and started learning and enhancing her skills. In October last year, Jane achieved her dream and was crowned Master Bartender 2015, making her the first female bartender to emerge as winner of the Master Bar Academy program (MBA).

We caught up with Jane to find out how it feels to win, her plans for the future and what advice she would give to any would-be bartenders out there.

Congratulations on winning the Master Bartender award 2015! How does it feel to win?

I am so excited to have won this competition because mixing drinks is my passion and I love it. I participated as a waitress in the last three competitions of the MBA. My boss noticed my passion and promoted me to bartender and now his faith has paid off.

You have entered the competition before. What do you think made you stand out this time?

I think this time around what made me stand out was my passion for bartending and my consistency.

You are the first female bartender to win this award in Uganda. Do you hope it will encourage more women to become bartenders?

Yes, it definitely will encourage more women to be bartenders. In fact, it already has. Since I won in October a lot of female bartenders have been approaching me for help and guidance on how they can improve and build their career. So, yes, it will definitely motivate them.

Have you enjoyed being part of the MBA? What skills has it given you?

Yes,I have enjoyed being part of the Master Bar Academy team. It means so much to me career-wise. It has given me creative skills, such as knowing how to develop my own drink recipes, and entertaining skills in terms of free-pouring and flaring.

What do you enjoy about being a bartender?

I enjoy creating my own cocktails and seeing people enjoy them. It is great when my creation gets approved and it goes on the drinks menu. It just feels so incredible.

What advice would you give to anyone wanting to be a bartender?

To anyone who wants to become bartender, I would tell them to love their job and dedicate their time to perfecting their skills with passion and consistency.

Now you have won this award, what are you plans for the future?

My future plans are to inspire and help young bartenders. I would love to become a global trainer and a brand ambassador. I believe it will all come true.