Tending bar can be a highly gratifying vocation, but shaking up drinks and standing on your feet late into the night is tough on the body. That’s why Dutch spirits brand Rutte has started a wellness workshop for bartenders. The 10-week pilot program kicked off in New York in February with sessions led by Marcia Polas, an occupational Pilates teacher.
Polas met the 12 participants in two groups weekly, in addition to visiting them individually on the job. Having worked with bartender/hospitality industry clients before, she knew the program could be effective. “Rutte was giving me the opportunity to demonstrate to the community that there are solutions and tools they can manage,” she notes.
In watching the students on the job, “I see how hard their bodies are working and the damage disorganized patterns are causing,” Polas says. “My goal becomes getting them out of pain and teaching them to be effortless behind the bar and to wake each morning feeling good, versus wrecked.”
The program instructs participants on correct body alignment and building muscle tone and strength while increasing balance and flexibility. Polas educates them on how to use their bodies with ease behind the bar and retrains them on basic bar skills, including shaking, stirring and pouring a drink.
“Let’s face it, like chefs, bartenders put their bodies through hell for the gig and notoriety,” says Ben Carlotto, vice president of trade marketing and advocacy for Royal Dutch Distillers. The answer so far has been to treat the symptoms through exercise and diet, “but really it needs to be examined a lot more closely,” he says.
Participants in the pilot program included bartenders from popular New York cocktail venues Death & Co., Pouring Ribbons, The Standard, Saxon & Parole, NoMad and Clover Club. The New York series, which wrapped in April, is the first in an ongoing series of advocacy workshops Rutte is planning for other markets, including Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Portland, San Antonio, San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle.
Royal Dutch Distillers launched Rutte in the U.S. last July. The smallest distillery in Holland, Rutte produces premium gins and genevers. Products available in the U.S. are Rutte’s Celery Gin, Dry Gin and Old Simon Genever.