The Georgian Barman Association was first established in 2002 by its current president, Jako Jorjadze (pictured). Jorjadze got active in the bartending profession as a young man in the 70s, spending over 45 years of his life in the Georgian bartending community. He currently teaches Tbilisi International School of Hotel Management.
Georgia is traditionally a country where the wine culture is tightly bound with culture and the Georgian national religious heritage. It is daily practice for families throughout Georgia to grow their own grapes and produce wine spirits. Wine lovers around the globe have a lot to thank Georgia for, as it is widely believed that this the country where wine production first began, over 8000 years ago. In fact, the word “wine” is derived from “gvino,” the Georgian word for wine. Archaeological remains suggest that as early as 8000 BC pressed grapes were being placed in quevri (also known as kvevri), underground clay jars in which the grape juice was fermented during the winter. The Georgian wine culture offers over 500 species of grape today , a larger diversity than anywhere else in the golbal wine culture, with around 40 of these grape varieties being used in today’s commercial wine production.
During a recent encounter with Jako Jorjadze in Fenbruary 2019, in the Black Sea resort Batumi, reps from CocktailBook were able to interview Jako Jorjadze.
How would you like to see bartending in your country improve?
The demand for bartenders in Georgia depends on their skills and knowledge, but being skilled and experienced alone is no guarantee for delivering professional bartenders. There must also be a demand from Georgian entrepreneurs to select the best professional bartenders in industry. Accordingly, the work should be adequately paid. That’s what we would like to see in our country, dedicated employers co-operating with professional bartenders.
How is your guild working to improve the standard of bartending?
Till 2002 there were no training facilities for young bartenders in Georgia. It was a long and challenging way to establish the culture of the bartending profession in the Georgia hospitality-industry. Today the occupation of the bartender is taught in GBA’s School of Bartending. As a result of collaborating with the Ministry Of Education and Science of Georgia the profession is now shown in three colleges across Georgia with ex-students now teaching young bartenders. Participation in competitions and similar events with our colleagues from neighboring countries like Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, and Ukraine motivated me some years ago to seek co-operation with the International Bartenders Association.
GBA joined IBA during the its annual Congress of 2015, in Sofia. Our membership provides my members with an opportunity to witness international bartending events all over the globe, and it’s a huge motivation for our local bartenders to progress.