Red Bull Flair Champion Tom Dyer Interview

Tom-Dyer Flair Beaumont SA

Beaumont SA had the pleasure of interviewing Tom Dyer, Bartender Extraordinaire, Red Bull Flair Champion, business owner and WFA Grading’s Co-ordinator for the World Flair Association. Here’s what Tom had to say:

What is your position and what do you do?

Tom: “I have several positions these days, but I still call myself a bartender.  I don’t get to bartend so often anymore, but I do the occasional event which brings me back to my roots.  Now-a-days you can find me at one of our European Bartender Schools in London, Manchester, Milan or Paris.  I also have an importing company (86 Importers) and am WFA Grading’s Co-Ordinator for the World Flair Association.  You can also find me performing shows or seminars at different events around the world.  Or if you want training from me, then you need to come to Flair Camp in Portugal which happens every September.”

What is your experience?

Tom: “I have been in the bar and restaurant trade since I was 16.  That’s nearly 17 years.  Working from bar back, up to managerial positions, and now running my own businesses.  I have been involved in bar openings, menu design, writing courses, including some of those for the European Bartender School, which I am also part of the Board of Education, with the likes of Marian Beke.  I have trained thousands of bartenders worldwide in flair and bartending in general.  Competed in hundreds of competitions worldwide, winning over a third of them including world titles and 12 undefeated UK titles.  I pride myself on my bartending first and foremost, and my flair second.  Someone once told me many years ago, to focus on my bartending first and flair second.  A great piece of advice for any other budding flarers out there.”

Tell us about the challenges that barmen face with inefficient pour spouts?

Tom: “When you have bad pour spouts, you can have a frustrating shift at work.  If your spout is leaking because it is poorly made, then you can end up with alcohol dripping everywhere and not going in the glass.  I have also seen, and have also had happen to me: a pour spout drop out of the bottle into the glass followed by the entire contents of the bottle which fill up the glass very quickly.  You will find some bartenders putting napkins around the cork to hold spouts in place, or accidentally pushing in the spout of another bottle when they miss the rail. And finally, the rubber cork.  Folded up rubber wings, or corks which are designed all wrong and leads to the spout not sitting in the bottle snugly enough.”

Behind a bar.  The money is in the bottles

Why is it important for a bar or restaurant owner to ensure that barmen are quick and efficient in their pouring?

Tom: “Behind a bar.  The money is in the bottles. Imagine looking at a back bar and just seeing all the profits sitting there.  If that is wasted, then the profits will become less and less until eventually, there will be no profits.  Also, as the old saying goes, time is money.  Wasting time using bad equipment or not being a good free pourer will cost your bar lots of money.  Some people may say “That’s why I use jiggers“, well I’m not a fan of jiggers.  When you work behind a bar, there is normally a busy period.  This is the time when you have to be as quick as possible to get the most amount of cash in the tills.  But you also need to be accurate with your pours.   I have seen many bartenders time and time again pour into a jigger, and then pour a little more into the drink, or use the jigger too quickly and spill it everywhere.  Even if you use jiggers very carefully there is no guarantee that you are pouring the exact 25ml marked on that jigger because the way liquid “bulges” up slightly means you may be pouring 26, 27 or 28mls for example.  A good free-pour bartender can be just as accurate as this, but at the same time serve a lot more quickly.”

What is flaring?

Tom: “Flaring is a bonus to your bartending.  It shouldn’t be in place of your bartending.  Flair is a term that sends some people running scared, but used in the right way it can really boost a guest’s mood in the bar and provide entertainment to your guests.  Imagine it like this.  You can have bartenders that are not so good at making cocktails or have bad ethics behind the bar, well there are some people that are not so good at flair and also have bad ethics and make it about themselves and not the guests.  We must also remember that there is lots of different types of flair.  Like it or not, every bartender has some type of flair.  That doesn’t mean they have to be throwing a bottle behind their back, but maybe it is the way they stir their spoon, use a jigger, or hold a bottle, pour from a shaker, shake, or even just the way they talk.  Flair is so diverse and can be interpreted in so many different ways, and we see lots of bartenders doing it behind their bars these days.

In a nutshell, flair is a style of bartending that should bring a little bit of entertainment to guests when they are watching you work.  Bartenders are on show all the time, and they should treat the bar as their stage.  As a bartender if you can add to the good times your guests are having by providing a little bit of entertainment whilst making great drinks, why not? It is only going to bring people back for more and get you more tips. That’s the whole reason guests go to a bar to be entertained in one way or another.”

How do you work with Beaumont to produce top quality products?

Tom: “We are both very much in the thick of the bartending world and are always listening to other bartenders and bar owners about the problems they may be having with equipment.  Also by having the bar schools we see bartenders making drinks all day long, and we notice the troubles that some new and old bartenders have with their tools.  Once we figure out how we can help bartenders worldwide, we go to work developing a product that is just right.  We then test it out at our bar schools, or by giving prototypes to bartenders around the world to test out.”

a little fun fact for you, the code in the name has a meaning. 105 = 1.05 seconds, 30 = 30ml.

Tell us about your signature TD-105-30?

Tom: “The TD 105-30 is the first product that Beaumont and I have come up with.  Looking at the problems stated above we decided it was time someone produced a spout that would help fix all these issues.  So we came up with a spout that fits more bottles, is a lot more durable, is consistent and very well put together to ensure it lasts as long as possible.  And a little fun fact for you, the code in the name has a meaning. 105 = 1.05 seconds, 30 = 30ml.”

“It takes approximately one point zero five seconds to pour thirty millilitres with the TD 105-30.  And for those of you who want to test it out.  The way you do this is by starting the pour off first into a cocktail shaker, and then sliding from the shaker into a measuring device, timing it until you get to 30mls.  I went through thousands of pours to get to this number.”

What inspired the creation of this product?

Tom: “We noticed a lot of cheap pourers out there breaking and rusting, meaning bars were buying new pourers every month and wasting a lot of money.  We realised that coming up with something completely different wouldn’t work.  It had to be recognisable to the bar world, so we took the basic pour spout design and made it better.  There is a lot of secrets in the design of this pour spout.”

What makes the TD-105-30 an extra special pour spout?

Tom: “This is a pourer that is going to last.  It is designed for bartenders by a bartender.  A lot of factors have been taken into consideration with this pourer and we believe it is the best pourer in the world.  It is the highest selling pourer in the UK at the moment, and is slowly making its way around the world.”

What materials are used to make the TD-105-30?

Tom: “Brass then dipped in chrome.  The cork is actually a durable plastic that doesn’t crack or split and retains its shape easily. It’s not the same as most Indian or Chinese plastic.  We’ve been testing on some select spirits known to degrade pourers.  We pour a full bottle every day and wash the spouts every week in soapy warm/hot water. The result is a perfect looking pourer that doesn’t rust.”

Who is the TD-105-30 built for?

Tom: “This pourer is designed for any bartender that uses pour spouts.  It’s not a flair pour spout, it is a bartenders pour spout.”

If you had some advice for South African bartenders using the TD-105-30 what would it be?

Tom: “There is no advice needed for this pourer.  They will know exactly how to use it.  So I’d just like to say. Thank you very much for choosing the TD105-30.  I hope it improves your bartending experience!”