As bourbon brand ambassador, Ray Daniel is living the dram
When Ray Daniel applied for an after-school job at an unremarkable “country pub” in his native Ireland, he didn’t realize he was walking the first steps of his career path—after all, he was only 14 and his dream was to be a musician. But Daniel has since learned to expect the unexpected. He didn’t intend to settle permanently in Canada either, nor did he anticipate that a long tenure at an Irish-themed Toronto bar would eventually lead to his becoming brand ambassador for Beam Suntory’s American whiskey portfolio. Yet every development has been borne of the same impulse: a love of learning.
‘Knowledge is meant to be shared,’ says Bacardi’s Kevin Brownlee
Countless bartenders have arrived at their profession from unlikely origins, but Kevin Brownlee doesn’t consider his career trajectory odd. He believes he simply traded one education role for another. A former public-school teacher, he transitioned from sitting behind a classroom desk to standing behind a bar after realizing his greatest love is hosting, as well as constantly improving his knowledge of spirits and cocktails. Honing his skills in revered Vancouver dining rooms such as West, Pourhouse and AnnaLena, he subsequently won multiple awards, including first place in Grey Goose’s Pour Masters competition. Brownlee is now Portfolio Ambassador for Bacardi.
How Reece Sims shares her love of the water of life
When Reece Sims graduated from the University of Victoria, in 2009, with a Bachelor of Commerce, she thought she might go on to become a lawyer. Instead, after tenures in marketing for the fashion and architecture industries, a part-time bartending job at a Vancouver pub led to a multifaceted career in which she shares her love of spirits, wine and beer. Under the name the Whiskey Muse, Sims provides accessible education about “the water of life” to curious consumers (especially women) in their 20s and 30s—a demographic typically overlooked by distillers in favour of deep-pocketed older men. Most recently, she launched Stave+Still, a whisky-themed jewelry collection.
In our new column, Kelowna bartender Harry Dosanj reveals how his unlikely career was born
Harry Dosanj is a multiple-award-winning bartender who has twice ranked among Canada’s best bartenders in the Diageo World Class competition. His accomplishments are especially impressive given that before moving to Canada from Southampton, England, with his family in 2009, his interest in alcohol didn’t extend beyond an occasional beer. Here, Dosanj—who recently celebrated his second anniversary at Kelowna’s Hotel Eldorado—shares the story of his unlikely entry into the bartending profession.