March 7, 2024

Lucille Rose’s journey from bartending to brand advocacy

From bartending roles at Rosie Campbell’s and Employees Only, to opening her own country music bar Jolene’s, Lucille Rose has spent the last six years of her career connecting with Australian drinkers and creating meaningful experiences.

Lucille Rose’s journey from bartending to brand advocacy

The following article is by Molly Nicholas via Bars & Clubs posted on March 6, 2024.

In her first role outside of bartending, Lucille was William Grant & Sons’ National Brand Ambassador for Sailor Jerry and Monkey Shoulder, and it was in that role that she began to realise the depth of her knowledge. Now, as Brand Advocacy Manager at Swift + Moore, Lucille says she owes so much of what she knows now to those early days bartending.

“I learned everything from the ground up, from how to make cocktails, how to price cocktails, how to balance flavours between spirits and juices.

“I used to attend a lot of brand masterclasses where I learned about different distillation processes for spirits, and I even learned public speaking through cocktail competitions for different brands. Having a bartending background has really helped me so much now with brand work, as I understand how liquor brands can really make impactful differences to a bartender’s career.”

Speaking about the switch from bartending to her role as a National Brand Ambassador, Lucille admits that the transition to a corporate environment was a tricky one to navigate initially.

“It was difficult adjusting to an ambassador role, it’s partly marketing, partly event planning, partly hosting events, interviews, photoshoots, and more. It’s a big change from bartending and it took me a little while to find my feet.

“Unfortunately, I think being a woman in the hospitality industry has also been difficult at times. I’ve worked in bars as the only woman bartender, hosted whisky events where I’m the only woman in the room. It can be intimidating standing your ground in a male dominated industry.”

Undeterred by the shakeup of the world she knew and loved, Lucille has gone on to achieve great things, and today she shares some of her most memorable moments with Bars and Clubs, including a national bartender advocacy program she created for Sailor Jerry, which saw her travel the country and hold tenpin bowling tournaments with up to 50 bartenders in each Australian state.

“It was a fun way to engage the on-trade with the brand and give back to bartenders for all their hard work in the industry,” she says.

“Another highlight was sponsoring and attending 10 different music festivals across New South Wales and Victoria. I love live music, so it was awesome being able to combine my passions and engage our brands with the live music scene.”

After more than two years with William Grant & Sons, Lucille made the move to Swift + Moore where she now acts as Brand Advocacy Manager, and she says the transition was much easier the second time around.

“Brand advocacy is something I’ve always done and had an interest in. One of my favourite things about it is that there isn’t really an average day. Some days I’m on the road and in venues, having meetings with bar managers about our portfolio and products, other days I’m creating brand presentations or cocktail manuals to help guide our brand development managers. Soon, I will also be hosting talks and events as part of my usual work week.”

Through each of her various positions in the liquor and hospitality industries, it is Lucille’s passion for collaboration and appreciation of bartending that has shaped her outlook, and still does today.

“My goal for Swift + Moore is to create meaningful experiences between bartenders, consumers, and the brand. Swift + Moore is a family brand, with an exciting portfolio of products. We’re not a giant corporation, we can genuinely take the time to build relationships between brand and bar, and I think that makes us a lot more relatable to the hospitality industry,” she says.

From brand advocacy by day to operating her own Nashville-inspired bar beneath the streets of Sydney’s CBD by night, Lucille believes that she gets to experience the best of both worlds, while continuously learning about the industry.

“My time behind the bar has taught me so many dos and don’ts for brands, like turning up to a bar at 5pm on a Friday and expecting to meet the manager. It sounds like common sense, but it still happens. I also know what the on-trade truly finds useful from brands, such as sponsoring and supporting experiences in venue, like live music or prize giveaways for patrons.”

The hospitality industry is an environment where knowledge and expertise are gained on the job, there is no textbook approach to bartending, and this is what makes the industry so diverse. For Lucille, it’s the friends, managers, and mentors she’s met along the way that have had the biggest impact on her career.

“The hospitality and liquor industry is filled with so many amazing people. It’s such a collaborative and supportive industry,” she says.

“Whenever I’ve found myself stuck or unsure, I’ve also found myself surrounded by people who truly want to help, most notably Michael McShane, Swift + Moore CEO. His knowledge is remarkable and his generosity in sharing it is without bounds.”

Wanting to impart some of her own wisdom on the future generation of hospitality leaders, especially women who are looking to pursue a career in the industry, Lucille shares some of her own advice for navigating the space.

“You are capable of achieving anything you want to do. There are so many different and exciting opportunities in this industry.

“Every woman in the industry will tell you it can be tough, myself included. I’ve had male patrons wait for the male bartender to question them about whisky when I’ve been the most qualified and knowledgeable person behind the bar. It happens. My advice would be to find your voice, and not be afraid to use it. Change happens when we speak up.”


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