Brixton launch for bid to break down drinks industry barriers

people celebrating
Sana Barclay (left) and Rachel Blake (right) who were presented with bottles of Johnnie Walker Black Label as part of their prize, with Tim Philips-Johansson

Brixton was chosen to launch a ground-breaking programme designed to break down barriers facing people from marginalised backgrounds who want to work in hospitality.

Johnnie Walker, the world’s best-selling Scotch brand, announced a year-long partnership with Equal Measures, a charity committed to greater equality in the drinks industry, and its first ever “community day.” It will drive participation in the charity’s education and mentorship programme.

Johnnie Walker says it will support Equal Measures students who are over 18 with engaging social events knowledge from a key industry player, and ensure that students who may have faced entry barriers into the bartending and cocktail industries are helped into rewarding careers.

Its first community day was launched at Hacha Bar in Brixton Village.

It celebrates the achievements of current and future students of Equal Measures’ education and mentorship programmes.

Local communities and young adults considering careers in the hospitality sector came together to enjoy a friendly competition to create a Johnnie Walker highball. The idea was to embody the atmosphere and energy of Brixton.

The contest took place under the watchful eye of Tim Philips-Johansson, global ambassador for Johnnie Walker, who was there to give students an understanding of the nuance of the drink and its brand.

Each entrant was given cash to buy ingredients for their creation from the Brixton market. Winners got vouchers to spend at Hacha Bar and other local restaurants.

group picture
Launch participants at Hacha in Brixton Village

Johansson explained: “We are proud to support Equal Measures as part of a long-term initiative that will help marginalised groups into the on-trade.

“We hope to impart knowledge and encourage growth within the students of Equal Measures programmes and build long-lasting and sustainable careers for all those enrolled.”

Following the launch, Johnnie Walker will collaborate with Equal Measures on a community day every month at Brixton’s Hacha Bar, as a chance for all to come together to learn from experts in the field.

Themes this year include food pairing masterclasses, panel discussions and management coaching to provide insight and training for students of the education and mentorship programmes, and members of the public, while also shining a light on the importance of supporting diverse local businesses.

Deano Moncrieff, founder of Equal Measures and owner of Hacha, said: “We are grateful for the support of a major player, Johnnie Walker, to help lift the first of these community days off the ground.

Man mixing drinks
Equal Measures student Michael Yishak

“Equal Measures is founded to support anyone who feels marginalised and faces entry barriers into the wider world of hospitality.

“Our intention is to create a regular, open for all, series of events where we can celebrate the local community.”

The Equal Measures programme is available to anyone who works in the drinks industry from marginalised backgrounds and over the age of 18.

Applicants are encouraged to apply through the Equal Measures website (equalmeasuresuk.org). Successful applicants will be paired with a leading industry figure from Johnnie Walker or other brand sponsor, who will take an interest in their professional development and offer mentorship for a minimum of three months.

Equal Measures was founded to support marginalised groups and individuals and enrich possibilities for people from Black, Asian, and other minority ethnicities, as well as other marginalised groups, such as queer and gender queer persons, those who are neurodivergent, or who face systemic barriers to their progression.

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