Thursday 29 September 2016

My Big Idea: The Swede teaching Dubliners how to shake and to stir

Published 17/03/2016 | 02:30

Richard Linden
Richard Linden
Richard Linden with his business partner Ronan Rogerson at the Dublin Bar Academy on North King Street.

Swede Richard Linden (36) is co-owner and chief instructor at the Dublin Bar Academy.

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"We launched the company in 2013 on Dublin's Francis Street and moved to our new address at North King Street late last year. We have just held our official opening.

An interesting road brought me to the Dublin Bar Academy. I describe myself as a confused Swede. I came to Ireland aged 19 to work for Francis Brennan's Park Hotel in Kenmare, having trained as a bartender in Scandanavia. Training is not seen as necessary in Ireland but it is very popular in other parts of the world. After that I did stints in the UK and Thailand before moving to the Cliff House Hotel in Waterford.

It was there I hatched plans for the first Irish branch of the European Bar Academy. It is an international brand, but until then had no presence in Ireland.

But the concept wasn't right for the Cliff House so I decided to go out on my own. Then I met Ronan Rogerson, who owns Dublin's Drury Buildings and an events company. He had always wanted to open a bar school. We decided to partner up in 2012.

It has been a fantastic experience but it has not been easy. Winning the franchise from the European Bar Academy was our first success.

We offer a variety of training options, including a month-long full-time bartender course. The European Bar Academy's London branch trains 50 students a month on that programme; we intend to match that number in two years.

We have a lot of students coming to us from abroad. We also run a barista course and a craft beer course.

We have four full-time people working on the business now as well as part-time specialists and instructors. We funded the partly through a loan from AIB, who have been great.

The biggest challenge has been to sell our product both to regular Joes and corporate customers. There is something for everyone.

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