Monday, 5 March 2018

Generation Z

[This article previously appeared in Barlife Magazine.]

by Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown

They say the young generation doesn’t read. As publishers, we wonder about the hardbound books purchased as decorations for bars today. They seem to sit pristine on backbars around the world. 

However, this doesn’t mean the younger generation has turned away from reading. They just read differently. They have embraced far more populist and rapid media: social media. Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter and the others have become the platforms for instantaneous, interactive, internationally-oriented information dispersal. (Say that after three Martinis!). 

This active reading is the secret to the success of Generation Z. Today, you don’t need to wait for a book to come out—much less wait for it to come out translated into your preferred language. The apps have translation buttons. We can communicate as easily between Prague and Buenos Aires as we can communicate with each other tête-à-tête in a coffee shop. 

Some say too much time on the internet is unhealthy. It steals time away from more productive pursuits. This is true if the bulk of your time is spent watching cute dog and cat videos (or porn). However, if you use social media as a tool for learning and sharing ideas, it is the greatest knowledge accumulation and development tool in the history of our species. Social media is one of the main reasons this has become the Golden Age of the Cocktail, the Cocktail Renaissance—or rather because the industry has so thoroughly embraced social media. 

Does spending time online make you anti-social? This has also been said many times. And when you’re sitting with a group of people who are all staring at their phones rather than talking it feels anti-social. However, it is more the case that we are alternatively social today. We are no longer bound by geography to socialise with those people around us. We can seek out people who share our interests wherever they are. We may never even meet them in person but they can become our closest friends. This has spawned interest groups focusing on everything from classic cocktails to bitters to flair bartending to bartenders’ fashions. Got a particular interest? There’s probably a group out there already, waiting to share ideas and critique ideas with you. 

It is essential to keep reading, to stay on top of the developments, to find the innovators to follow their work. Equally essential is sharing your own work. While it might be tempting to keep secret recipes secret, imagine if Joërg Meyer had kept the Gin Basil Smash a secret, or if Sam Ross had refused to share his Penicillin Cocktail recipe? The world would never have gotten to try these drinks. Their creators would never know how far their creations could and have circumnavigated the world. 

If you’ve made it this far, then you have a better than average chance of success in this business for the simple reason that you are reading. Cheers!

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