DRINKS ON YOU
Maintaining balance in the bar industry.
WRITTEN BY MICHAEL MOBERLY
ILLUSTRATION BY SATOMI RICHARDSON
You are in a busy bar, a glass breaks, and the crowd goes wild. For a guest, this is a fun little tradition. But if you’re the bartender and this is the eighth glass you have broken that week, it could mean your job. For most service industry employees, the stagnant minimum wage and rising housing costs in Northern Nevada have created a perfect storm. Time for self-care is trumped by the opportunity to take an extra shift in order to save money. All of this has created a new kind of conversation in our industry about a subject that’s important for both a cocktail and its creator: balance.
The service industry often requires its employees to be the center of attention, and in many ways the masters of celebration. This feeling of always being on, coupled with long hours and little sleep, can lead to a culture of self-medication. It is easy, and sometimes necessary, to go out after a shift with your co-workers and spend those hard-earned tips. According to The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the service industry has the highest rate of substance use disorder among full-time employees ages 18 to 64.
Conversations about mental health are being had all over our region. Jack Beisel, manager at See See Motor Coffee in Reno, tells his employees, “I think it is as important to serve yourself as well as you serve our guests. This is an industry of pouring out; sometimes you have to pour back in.”
Beisel encourages his employees to travel and take time off when needed, knowing that time to see the world can put things into perspective.
Honest conversations about how you’re feeling and the reality of your mental state can be equal parts difficult and rewarding. Recently, I went through a bout of loss, a two-week period during which both my grandfather and a good friend passed away. I felt broken and scattered. But when I asked for help, when I needed it most, our amazing community was there, coming together to support me when I needed them, helping me sweep up the pieces and get back behind the stick, aiding me in becoming focused and strong enough to say to them and to every guest at my bar, “How can I help you?”
Michael Moberly is the spirits program director for Whispering Vine Wine Co. and a local spirits educator. His 10 years in the industry have been spent learning, loving, and imbibing with some of the best minds in the industry, both locally and nationally. He also is good at wearing hats.
Photo by Candice Vivien
Looking for help?
The University of Nevada, Reno’s Center for the Application of Substance Abuse Technologies has resources for all industries. For details, visit Casat.org.