Andy Wren, he’s so much more than just a guy that spends his days on $40million super yachts drinking premium cocktails and playing golf into the harbour. A little bit more unassuming than his loose man bun, unfairly onpoint style and linen suits might convey. He’s a likeable Scotsman with the same expected chat and charm. A devoted husband and father of two young kids. Lover of dogs, his own to be precise. Originally wanted to be a physiotherapist, but the thirst of the world wouldn’t allow it, and he now reigns supreme as the National Premium Spirits Ambassador for Bacardi Australia.
At MTP, we wanted to find out exactly what Andy’s job entails and basically how we could go about getting one. So naturally, we met Andy on a normal day, on a super yacht, drinking Grey Goose cocktails, while playing golf.
All in the delivery
His narrative begins in Edinburgh at a bar called Sygn. “I was lucky that it was owned and managed by a very talented, inspirational and driven group fully committed to developing their staff and the business. I still have my boss’s voice ringing in my ears, helping me to maintain my standards to this day.”
If you’ve learnt anything from previous MTP’s, it should be this; the people that succeed in the hospitality game are the ones that deliver. They deliver on quality, they deliver on charisma and more than constantly deliver on good old enthusiasm. Call Andy Wren the mail man because he’s got those three down pat and he delivers on time too.
“It was a high energy, bar/restaurant delivering great cocktails and food to Edinburgh’s cosmopolitan inner-city patronage. I worked there for four and a half years moving from complete novice cocktail bartender to bar manager. During my time there I would have attended dozens of training sessions delivered by local and international ambassadors. I loved the delivery and the passion they showed.”
Today, Andy loves the fact he can share the knowledge he’s built over the years with the next generation. “I try to deliver in a way that makes practical sense and isn’t massively jargon based.”
Get comfortable with the uncomfortable
There’s a lot of great, flashy things about Andy’s current role looking after Grey Goose and Dewar’s. There’s a lot of variety, and as he describes it, it’s anything but cookie cutter. From all-day summer parties, to supporting big activations, to a 40-person cocktail dinner, to trainings and workshops with bartenders, press meets and interviews – all in one week. A role some would dream of, but it didn’t just land in his lap.
Andy came to Australia in 2009 on a ‘whirlwind trip’. He’s now been here and living in Melbourne 8 years. “After working in a couple of bars I landed at a classic cocktail bar called 1806. A Melbourne institution with a great international reputation.
“We held lots of customer masterclasses and demonstrations which got me comfortable with public speaking to an audience. After 4 years I was approached by Bacardi to become the Brand Ambassador. A great privilege as the ambassadors who held the position before me were world class. My entire working history gave me the skills to hit the ground running.”
Let’s break it down
Outside looking in, Andy’s job looks like a postcard. But, it’s more demanding than it seems. I ask Andy what his friends and family think he actually does and whether it stacks up, because let’s be honest, we all want to know.
“I think my family would consider my job to be luxurious, as I’m based in Australia, an amazing place for a hospitality professional to live. I travel a lot and from the outside looking in, it must look like a great job, which it is! My Grandad worked in the whisky industry so I think he’s quietly proud that I’m following in his footsteps.
But is it a dream job? “I love my job and I think the dream job is all relative to your aspirations. When I was an 18 year old bartender, no doubt what I do now would look ridiculously great! I’m very lucky. I’m really excited by the future and who knows? There may be more dream jobs in the future. Who knows where I’ll be in 5 years.”
Make it happen
And Andy’s advice for you if you’d like to follow in his yacht fairing footsteps.
“If that’s your plan, work to it and share it with people in the industry who could make it happen. Consider yourself a professional and try and develop yourself accordingly. Be a sponge. Research, read and enjoy doing it. Some of the best learnings I’ve had were from sitting chatting to bartenders in bars. Watch their techniques and learn from the best. Working in a bar is like ambassador fitness, your skills become so sharp and slick, take pride in the process of making drinks, it will stand you in good stead. Be curious and don’t discount areas of the industry as unimportant. Things like molecular mixology could really contribute to your career.
“Work for inspirational people who will give you the guidance to excel. Make great connections locally and internationally. TRAVEL – go and work abroad, take in the culinary delights and experience flavour. It’s hard to get inspired if you haven’t taken yourself out of your comfort zone.”
But at the end of the day, Andy says he thinks the job finds you rather than the other way around.
“The way you present yourself and the quality of your connections within the industry will certainly put you in the shop window for prospective employers.”
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