Wirtz Beverage Experts Earn BAR Ready Certification

Andrew Pollard and Eric Hay bolster mixology & spirit knowledge, company specialization

Wirtz Beverage Experts Earn BAR Ready CertificationWirtz Beverage is proud to announce Andrew Pollard and Eric Hay have passed the Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR) Educational Program earning the highest distinction a beverage professional can attain in the mixology and spirit categories. The elite certification means Pollard and Hay – experts at the distributor’s Nevada and Illinois affiliates, respectively – are knowledgeable on all aspects of spirit, cocktail and mixological histories and principles. They join colleagues Drew Levinson and Michael Shetler of Wirtz Beverage Nevada who are also BAR Ready Certified.

“At Wirtz Beverage, our distinction lies in our ability to provide top-quality products and also service, education and guidance by passionate experts,” said Danny Wirtz, EVP Wirtz Beverage Group. “Exceptional brands should be complemented and backed by equally exceptional knowledge and talent. We feel that approach has distinguished our company nationwide.”

Participants of the BAR Five Day Intermediate Certificate Program are immersed in a rigorous course which covers the historical, cultural and technical aspects of spirits and mixology. At the end of the program, practical, final written, blind cocktail and blind spirit exams are administered along with a cocktail menu critique. Those who successfully pass prove they are able to mix well-balanced cocktails, explain the history of principal spirits, create cocktail lists complementary to its establishment and even identify how long a spirit has been barrel-aged and in which type of wood. The program is held once a year in New York.

“Years of service behind the bar and devotion to the finer points of the craft, equipped Andrew and Eric for the complex BAR examination,” continued Wirtz. “It’s also made them standouts in their fields and respective marketplaces. We appreciate the hard work and commitment, and judging by the response from our customers and partners, they do too.”

Wirtz Beverage Experts Earn BAR Ready CertificationAndrew Pollard is the Beverage Development Specialist at Wirtz Beverage Nevada. A highly respected professional, he puts his talents to use bolstering the beverage programs for top Las Vegas bars, restaurants and resorts, a job he has done with excellence for nearly 3 years. He specializes in bar training, brand education and cocktail creation. Prior to joining the Wirtz Beverage team, Pollard was Property Mixologist at the Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Pollard is also a Certified Sake Professional.

Joining Wirtz Beverage Illinois in 2011 as Beverage Development Manager, Eric Hay is part of an exclusive niche of beverage connoisseurs in Chicago. A premier mixologist by trade, his behind-the-bar handiwork has received praise and attention from national and local media while his innovative approach to cocktail and beverage development has garnered acclaim from consumers and customers alike. Eric also lends his expertise to brand building and educational initiatives.

Likewise, other Wirtz Beverage colleagues share equally impressive résumés including Master Cicerone David Kahle; Master Sommelier Thomas Burke; Certified Spirit Specialist Kent Bearden; Licensed Catador Kevin Vanegas; Advanced Sake Professional Eric Swanson; and Sake Professional Jack Kramer, along with numerous Cicerone and Sommelier certified talent.

“BAR, for example, is considered the ultimate credential for mixology professionals however, the learning curve is endless. All of our experts are committed to quality and education. And, we will continue to do what we can to support those pursuits,” said Wirtz.

About Wirtz Beverage Group
Wirtz Beverage Group is one of the nation’s leading alcohol beverage distributors with interests in Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada and Wisconsin. With nearly $2 billion in annual sales and nearly 3,000 employees, the company calls the industry’s elite beer, wine and spirit distributors its partners. To learn more about Wirtz Beverage and its partners, visit www.wirtzbev.com and connect with the company on Facebook and Twitter.

About the Beverage Alcohol Resource Program
The Beverage Alcohol Resource (BAR) Educational Program is an educational achievement in the field of spirits and mixology in the spirit of the Master of Wine or Master Sommelier titles. BAR is an independent organization whose mission is to propagate the healthy and responsible use of beverage alcohol products through innovative and comprehensive training programs and seminars. Formed by six of the world’s leading spirits and cocktails authorities, BAR is revolutionizing the way in which spirits and cocktails are viewed, understood, appreciated and enjoyed.