In response to COVID-19 and its impact on the hospitality industry, Women of the Vine & Spirits (WOTVS), the world’s leading membership organization dedicated to empowering and advancing women in alcohol beverage industry, announced today the launch of Badass Bartender™. This first-of-its-kind community aims to fill a void for female bartenders to unite, be empowered, support one another, explore career opportunities and network.
Badass Bartender™ is a free, private Facebook group. In addition to the Facebook group, community members will receive access to select resources provided by WOTVS including live Zoom chats, networking, and career pathing resources.
“Women have been disproportionally affected by COVID-19 and it has taken a devastating toll on the restaurant and hospitality industry. I knew it was due time to launch Badass Bartender™,” said Deborah Brenner, Founder & CEO, Women of the Vine & Spirits. “Our female bartenders need a community of support now more than ever, but more importantly, this group provides a place they can call their own for years to come.”
Brenner coined the name back in 2018 with a vision to support and empower women behind the bar, but it wasn’t until Brittany Yeng, Co-Founder of Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey, Diamond Corporate Member of WOTVS and Affiliate Donor to the WOTVS Foundation, approached her seeking further ways to support bartenders, that it all clicked. Brenner shared her idea with Yeng and the two quickly got to work bringing Brenner’s vision to light.
Skrewball is an active ally to the bartending community, given the founders’ history in the bar and restaurant industry. Skrewball is also the fastest growing woman-owned liquor brand. Yeng will join Badass Bartender™ as a Badass Advisor for 2021.
“We started Skrewball to create, on a large scale, the sense of community we had built in the bar that inspired the drink—and that community was at risk as the shutdowns began,” explained Yeng. “We immediately donated over $500k to organizations that support the industry, but we still wanted to do more. Deborah has created an incredible platform for women (and men) to share information and resources in the wine, beer and spirits industry. This seemed like a natural extension for a community that needs these resources more than ever right now.”
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 60% of bartenders in the United States are female. Prior to the impact COVID-19 had on this group, there were 644,100 bartenders in the U.S. alone, equaling 386,460 female bartenders; many of whom are now furloughed, out of work, or have reduced hours due to the pandemic and are seeking support and opportunities.
Additional support will be offered through the Women of the Vine & Spirits Foundation 501(c)3.
On January 19, the Foundation will be announcing a new program to provide qualified applicants a confidential assistance program offering health, financial and legal aid to restaurant and hospitality workers. Through a 24/7 toll-free number and best-in-class well-being portal, enrollees can access confidential assistance with experienced clinicians, financial professionals, and attorneys, as well as leading self-service tools and resources.
Starting February 1, the Foundation will begin accepting applications for its 2021 scholarships, providing awards and monies for education and professional development.