Beverages: Black Tap's Eric Ballard crafting quality
Black Tap's Eric Ballard talks about misconceptions, pet peeves and industry longevity
How did you get into bartending?
I started my hospitality career at 15, but it was joining Provocateur in 2014 that opened many doors for me. When I was offered the opportunity to work for Sunset Hospitality as group beverage manager, it gave me the chance to expand my skill set. Today, as group beverage manager of Sunset Hospitality, I have the chance to conceptualise and implement beverage programmes for a diverse collection of outlets.
What are some of the most challenging aspects of your job?
It has to be when you are juggling your existing workload alongside opening a new outlet — it is always a sink or swim situation. Training in time management recently helped me to cope with the busy demands of the job.
What’s the biggest misconception about your job?
That it’s a party job! It is, in fact, very hard work, where you must develop strong time management and people management skills. Working with Sunset Group, it’s very exciting as we are always busy curating, creating and moving on to the next big thing.
Do you have any pet peeves?
Perhaps people who don’t take craft beer seriously! The flavours are just as complex, if not more so, than wine and the possibility of flavours in beer are endless.
What do you love most about your job?
My role is always evolving, never routine. Recently, my favourite aspect of the role has been working on bringing some of the best craft beers from around the world to the market. As a Coloradan, we love our craft beer, but there is so little of it available here. I’m stoked that at Black Tap we are working closely with our suppliers to bring new and exciting beers into the region. Some of which you can only find at Black Tap.
What tip would you share with someone in your industry starting out in the F&B industry in this region?
Longevity in a company can be a huge advantage. Given the right opportunity, make the most of it as long as you can, and progress within that company as far as you can. New venues open all the time and it is easy to see a pay increase as a reason to move. Weigh out your options and be hesitant before jumping out of a good role with a good company for for better money. Loyalty pays off well in our industry, and you could be surprised who’s quietly noticing.