Newport-born Andrew O'Gorman was elected elected treasurer of the Bartenders Association of Ireland at their AGM in Dublin at the start of this month.
Andrew, who has been in the pub trade since 1959, is an honorary life member of the Bartenders Association of Ireland (BAI) since 1975 and was elected president in January, 2010.
Though born in Newport, he spent most of his early life in Emly, and is a brother of Fr Pat O'Gorman.
He was was Head of Department Bar and Meat Management at the School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology, Dublin Institute of Technology, Cathal Brugha Street, Dublin up to 2009.
He has published a number of books relating to the licensed trade and has acted as a judge at various competitions nationally and internationally. He has attended the International Bartenders Association (IBA) World Cocktail Competitions and Congress in various countries since 1979. He will travel this year with the Bartenders Association of Ireland delegation to the World competitions in Tokyo, Japan.
“My, first job as a bartender was in 1959 at Bourke Bros. Lower Grand Canal Street, Dublin (now Becky Morgans). My wages at the time were 19/6 per week (€1.20 approx.),” he told the Tipperary Star.
“There have been huge changes in the pub trade since the 1950s. Until the mid-1980s it was the norm for customers to come in at lunchtime and consume three or four pints of stout or ale and a cream cracker and cheese and maybe a sandwich if the pub was serving them,” he recalled.
Over the years he has seen great changes in drinking patterns and the development of food in most pubs.
“An increasing awareness of the social responsibility of driving a car with drink consumed has shown a downturn in publican’s turnover. To counteract this shortfall, they increasingly looked towards developing a food business to increase their profit levels,” he said.
On a lighter note, Andrew recounts that, in the early years when a customer looked for water it was usually to mix with whisky and was served in a half-pint glass.
The trade began to be more prfoessional from the early 1960s when, in 1963, the first formal courses for bar apprentices took place at the School of Commerce and Retail Distribution on Parnell Square, Dublin. These courses continued until 2010 at the School of Culinary Arts and Food Technology, Faculty of Tourism and Food, Cathal Brugha Street, Dublin.
“I led the development of a BSc Bar Studies Honours degree course which commenced in 2007,” said Andrew.
He been a member of the Irish Guild of Sommeliers since 1975, having held the positions of chairman, secretary and technical director.
The pub trade has survived many recessions and will no doubt survive this one, but it needs to look at gaps in the market, he said.