It was clear from the start that the Corona pandemic would also impact the catering and bar scene. However, with the accompanying legal closures, it quickly became a real threat to the existence of many. Since THE DUKE distillery is closely linked to gastronomy, an important part has been lost for us. And so both we and the bar scene had to look for ways to get through this time as well as possible.
In our bartender portraits we have already introduced you to various bartenders in detail - we have now spoken to them again and asked what they are doing during this difficult time in quarantine. There is also a little insight into the alternative processes that THE DUKE distillery is currently challenging.
Every week we expand this blog with another bartender who we have already introduced to you in detail in our bartender portraits.
Guy Irmhof-Britt – THE DUKE distillery
You already know our brand ambassador Guy Irmhof-Britt From Our Barkeeper Porträt #3 or have seen him behind the bar mixing at various events. He usually works mainly in the catering industry or provides you with fresh drinks at events. Due to the measures taken as part of the Corona pandemic, his area of operation has now been 100% eliminated. Anyone who knows Guy knows how difficult it is for him to keep his feet still, so he took a two-week vacation and used a large part of his free time to support the Münchner Tafel support. He helped with the food distribution and organization at the wholesale market with other volunteer bartenders and students and of course kept everyone in a good mood (as you can see in the picture). It was important for him to be able to use the time wisely and make a supportive contribution during this difficult time.
After his “vacation” he spent a month overseeing internal projects at the distillery. New drink recipes were refined and collaborations were expanded. The result, for example, is the Tasty Baron” with Salbeyer or the LION’s Mondino Mule and the Bavarian Negroni with our friends from Mondino.
We also pushed ahead with the expansion of our THE DUKE Bar, a new bar directly in our distillery, which we hope to be able to open soon.
Since there is always enough to do for everyone in our small distillery, our guy was once again able to demonstrate his flexibility and quickly take on new projects. Nevertheless, we and he can hardly wait for normality to gradually return to the catering industry and for Guy to be back in his usual territory.
And a lot else has happened at THE DUKE distillery since the Corona measures began. After a month of 50% short-time work, all employees are back at full strength and our distillery shop has also been open again for a few weeks. This means you can once again purchase our entire product range from us in Aschheim without any detours - it couldn't be more direct.
But we have also continued to develop online and have significantly expanded our online shop. With a total of 30 different Bundles everyone can now find the right tonic for their gin. We are also proud to offer the “Support Your Locals” Stoffmasken from Unfair Athletics here.
In addition, we have reduced the distillation of spirits somewhat or changed production a little and have been supporting the SaniPlus pharmacies in the production of disinfectants since last week.
Unfortunately, we had to cancel our popular distillery tours indefinitely. However, we are currently working on being able to offer online gin tastings as soon as possible in order to make up for this loss for all gin fans.
Use biocidal products carefully. Always read label and product information before use.
Patrick Metzger – Bar School Munich
We metPatrick Metzger in January of this year and interviewed him about his work at the Barkeeper Porträt #6 zu seiner Arbeit in der Barschule München In a phone call he gave us an update on the current situation and told us what measures were being taken for training at the bar school in order to resume operations as soon as possible without endangering the health of lecturers and students.
THE DUKE Destillerie: Dear Patrick, please tell us about the status quo of the bar school!
Patrick Metzger: Anna and Matthias (editor's note: the owners of the bar school) were also at the bar school during the lockdown. The two are married and so it was “legal”. Meanwhile, I was in my home office.
Since May 4th, vocational courses have been allowed to take place again, of course with particularly high hygiene measures: wearing face masks and gloves, maintaining the necessary distance, no group work, no exchange of work equipment, no physical contact, etc.
Masterclasses are currently not taking place.
That sounds like an unusual situationWhat other ideas did you come up with ?
We are busy and are currently working on various online projects in order to be able to position ourselves even more broadly in the long term. We will continue to expand our online seminars. For example, we want to offer masterclasses at home in the future - handouts and spirits are sent and the participants log in online. This should go online soon.
What about the collaboration with the bar landscape? Are you in close contact to support each other?
It's a difficult situation for everyone and sometimes really demotivating because you just didn't know when or how things would continue.
The idea of solidarity was there immediately and is very nice despite the current situation. It was also great to see how many things were implemented incredibly quickly and creatively. For most restaurateurs, standstill is simply difficult to endure.
That's probably true. Were you able to take any lessons you learned for the future from the current situation?
We are using the time as best we can and positioning ourselves even better and more broadly in the future.
Have you also discovered new hobbies for yourself?
I'm currently celebrating cooking because of my history. (Editor's note: Patrick's parents had an inn where he grew up.)
We are pleased to hear that you are making the best of the situation and wish you all the best! Thank you for the interview!
If you are interested in courses at the bar school, whether professionally or to gain some cocktail knowledge privately, it's best to take a look at the Website You can find two sensational cocktail recipes from the professional himself under Drinks: Patricks “Global Club” mit Wanderlust Gin und seine “Löwenmilch” mit LION’s Vodka.
Eric Bergmann – Jigger & Spoon
We interviewed Eric Bergmann in detail in his Jigger & Spoon for our last Barkeeper Porträt A few weeks later he also had to close the safe doors to his bar. We spoke to him on the phone and asked what measures he took to respond to the difficult situation.
THE DUKE Destillerie: Dear Eric, please tell us what the current situation is at Jigger & Spoon!
Eric Bergmann: The Jigger & Spoon has been closed since Friday, March 13, 2020. However, we were prepared for the situation and already had the plans in place. This meant we were able to react quickly. We turned the whole bar inside out, did a general cleaning and then put the place into a deep sleep.
That sounds like a lot of work. What exactly did these measures look like and what other ideas did you come up with ?
We are using the lockdown period as effectively as possible to optimize the bar so that we are better off afterwards than before. For example, we cleaned the back bar and then completely wrapped it in foil, took apart and cleaned the cooling drawers, and renewed our entire network and sorted it by color. We also renovated our laboratory and much more.
At Jigger & Spoon we have an internal database for our spirits, like a kind of little Wikipedia (Editor's note: “Bergipedia”) to which every employee has access so that they can read something at any time. I have been collecting documents, legal texts, books, operating instructions, etc. for years and have now entered them into the database. This means our employees can continue their training even during the lockdown. We are also currently working on the new drinks menu.
We are excited to see the Jigger & Spoon shine in new splendor. What does the rest of the bar landscape look like? Are you in close contact to support each other?
We are well networked through my position at the German Bartenders Union. We are currently talking a lot on the phone, exchanging ideas and holding small digital workshops with other bartenders from other countries such as China or England.
We would be very happy about a “reboot day”, the day on which the catering establishments reopen. It would be nice if all stores opened on the same day across countries so that we could celebrate the day together.
We are really looking forward to this day! Were you able to take any lessons you learned for the future from the current situation?
Always trying to make the best of the situation. Use the opportunities you have to optimize and position yourself even better.
Have you also discovered new hobbies for yourself?
My inner Monk has already implemented some great projects both professionally and privately. The highlights include, for example, scanning documents, high-pressure cleaning the terrace, gardening, scarifying the lawn... I've also started exercising again and play Playstation with my girlfriend.
We are pleased to hear that your measures are managing to maneuver the Jigger & Spoon through these difficult times and thank you for the interview!
If you would like to experience Reboot Day at Jigger & Spoon directly, it is best to follow the bar via Social Media. A visit to Eric is not only recommended for Stuttgart locals and if you would like to mix a signature drink from Eric himself, you can find the recipes for his hier die Rezepte für seinen Drippin’ Beetroot und Lion’s Homemade Gimlet.
Johannes Möhring – Ménage Bar
THE DUKE Destillerie: Dear Möhri, first of all, congratulations on being mentioned in the Michelin Guide! Back then everything seemed to be going well for you and now the entire catering industry is in lockdown. What is the current situation with the Ménage Bar?
Johannes Möhring: Thank you very much! Fortunately, we have business closure insurance. This applies if our companies have to close for reasons of the Infection Protection Act. Of course, not the entire loss is covered here, but at least a small part. This insurance has been checked over the past few weeks. During this time we waited and kept our feet still so as not to endanger the test.
That sounds like a sensible insurance policy. But what additional measures did you take to get through this difficult time with the ménage?
We have now received the green light from the insurance company and since Tuesday, April 21st we have also been offering our delivery or takeaway service with the food and cocktails that our Ménage Bar is so well known for.
Excellent! When and where can you get your fine creations?
We are open for our takeaway customers from Tuesday to Sunday from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and our delivery area includes the old town, Glockenbachviertel, Au, Haidhausen and the Dreimühlenviertel.
We are very pleased that we don't have to do without you completely! How do you perceive the general cohesion within the bar scene?
There is great local support among each other! We exchange ideas a lot and share our ideas and experiences.
Were you perhaps able to take something positive for the Ménage Bar from the current situation AFTER Corona?
Shortly before the crisis and this gastronomic lockdown, we received our biggest award to date and would like to pick up the slack again after Corona. That's why we didn't become sluggish despite the closure and continued to meet three times a week and work on new recipes - both cuisine and drinks - so that the content didn't stand still.
And how are you dealing with the quarantine privately? Have you discovered any new hobbies for yourself?
I'm turning into the perfect wifey. (laughs) My kids are at home 24/7 and need to be entertained. At the same time, I discovered baking. My last creation was a homemade six-layer chocolate raspberry buttercream cake that I spent six hours crafting.
If you don't want to go without the Ménage Bar even in Corona times, you can easily use the delivery or takeaway service - here's the menu for inspiration. Also the opinion of the Michelin Guide, which we can only agree with. The take-away drinks are vacuum-sealed and taste great even at home. Cheers!
Philipp Fröhlich – Trisoux
Philipp Fröhlich from Trisoux at the beginning of the year for our Barkeeper Porträt #5 Here is our conversation from last week.
THE DUKE Destillerie: Dear Philipp, please describe your current situation in Trisoux to us!
Philipp Fröhlich: We haven't had any income for four weeks, but of course we still have ongoing costs such as rent, electricity, insurance, etc. However, we have decided not to lay off any employees, but to put all employees on 100% short-time work. The Trisoux is currently in “hibernation” and all necessary applications such as emergency aid and short-time work benefits have been submitted.
We are sure that you are also looking for possible alternatives to bar operations. What additional measures have you taken? Did you already have creative ideas?
There are currently so many different concepts and platforms that it's almost confusing. We therefore wanted to give our guests an easy way to support us. With a graphic designer friend, we created T-shirts that we offer in our specially built online shop. Each shirt also comes with two drink vouchers that can be redeemed as soon as Trisoux is open again.
In this way, the guests not only support us, but are also constantly reminded of their “Favorite Bar” by wearing the T-shirt. (laughs) With the voucher, as soon as the situation returns to normal, you will be the first to come to our bar to redeem your drink vouchers. The campaign is very well received.
That's our pleasure! What is it like in the bar scene in general – do you stick together or do you see more egoism instead of solidarity?
We have also made the concept accessible to restaurateur friends and established contact with graphic designers, printers and online shops. Because we are all in the same boat, there is a lot of exchange. For example, we also have a common WhatsApp group in which all experiences are recorded and shared. Everyone tries to include and support everyone.
Were you perhaps even able to take something positive with you from the current situation for the time AFTER Corona?
We are considering keeping the online shop even after it reopens in order to be able to offer merch items nationwide.
And how are you dealing with the quarantine privately? Have you perhaps even discovered new hobbies during the gastronomic lock-down?
I cook and bake a lot and am actually spending less time on drinks these days. In the catering industry, you basically never have time to eat - you just eat something quickly in between all too often and the food is usually just a means to an end: getting full and getting through the evening without being hungry. It's even nicer now to take the time to try out recipes and enjoy the meals you've prepared yourself in peace.
Thank you for the conversation and all the best, especially during this difficult time!
Of course you can also support Philipp and the Trisoux by purchasing a “Support Your Favorite Bar” T-shirt including a voucher. Click here to go to his online shop: trisoux-bar.myshopify.com
Zum Abschluss noch eine wichtige Anmerkung: A significant part of the income in the restaurant is the tips from the guests. Please keep this in mind, especially during these times and of course especially when you can pay for your fine drinks in the bars again. Thanks!
THE DUKE distillery
The catering industry no longer needs our spirits because it is closed. The shop at our distillery was also not open for weeks and tours and tastings at the distillery have been canceled for an uncertain period of time. The employees for whom this is possible have been working from home for weeks and the online shop is currently pretty much the only channel through which sales can still be made. However, most buyers are currently focusing on pasta, soap and toilet paper rather than gin, vodka or liqueurs. This also affects our sales, because our field service, which otherwise looks after supermarkets, for example, is currently banned from visiting them. These are unusual times for us too and we are faced with major challenges.
So we distilled less, while at the same time there was a huge demand for alcohol nationwide. Not to make spirits from it, but to produce disinfectant for clinics and hospitals, which is urgently needed there. Therefore, it was quickly decided to counteract this imbalance and use our alcohol where it is currently most needed. We were able to supply pharmacies all over Germany with our pure alcohol in a very short time and are very happy to be able to support the people who are currently fighting for our health with the greatest possible commitment. They are currently working countless hours of overtime every day to ensure that as many of us as possible stay healthy and for this they deserve our highest appreciation and gratitude.
Production at the distillery is at a standstill. Instead, our distillers fill ethanol from the tanks into smaller canisters, which are delivered to pharmacies across Germany.
We are also pleased about the very pleasant cooperation with the pharmacies.