We've actually written about the many different ways bartenders got their jobs, but the story of Eric Bergman seems almost unbelievable at first glance. From the German Yo-Yo Master to your own bar - what initially leads to skeptical and questioning faces almost makes sense again when you take a closer look. But it's best to let Eric tell it himself. One thing is certain: that Jigger & Spoon in Stuttgart was brought to life not only by an excellent bartender, but also by a very kind person.
THE DUKE Destillerie: Dear Eric, you are the owner of this fantastic bar, you have drinks catering, you are an IHK bar master, 2nd chairman of the German Barkeeper Union eV Baden-Württemberg section and Mixology Award winner 2019 (New Bar of the Year). You also moderate the European and World Yo-Yo Championships and were also the first chairman of the GYYA (German Yo-Yo Association eV) until last year. Um… please tell us how you manage it all and, above all, how it came about!
Eric Bergmann: I'm originally from Ravensburg and started playing yo-yo at the age of 16 - really by chance and, to be honest, relatively late. I was in a kite shop that had various gadgets, juggling utensils, etc. and there was a yo-yo competition where you could earn extra money if you mastered certain tricks. That was crucial for me to teach myself the various tricks. I also won the first regional competition I took part in – the South German Yo-Yo Championship. I then went to the German Championships and gradually grew into the scene. And so I started making money with yo-yo. Three years later I won the German Yo-Yo Championship and then I went international.
We've already seen that you're a genius at the yo-yo, but where is the connection to the bar world?
After graduating from high school, I worked in sales for a sports toy manufacturer and was therefore traveling all over the world. That's how I got into bottle throwing (editor's note: flair bartending ) an art that wasn't really known in Germany at the time, let alone a trend.
When I was 22, I started studying computer science and also worked in a student bar. (Editor's note: anyone who knows Eric knows that he never travels without a “survival suitcase” and always has all the gadgets such as charging cables that you might need with him - often in several colors and designs)
At my first flair bartending competition in Switzerland I met Anna and Matthias Knorr (Editor's note: Founders of the Munich Bar School - see and tasted blood. I developed my skills and then did the whole thing professionally, spitting fire and throwing bottles in cocktail bars and clubs. So I gradually slipped into the mixologist scene and dealt more and more with spirits, glasses, ice cream, etc.
In 2012 I founded a drinks catering business and traveled a lot with it. At the same time, I was given the opportunity to implement my own bar concept - Die Bar Bergmann - which was very successful. However, there was no long-term option here as the building was planned to be demolished and so I had to close in 2014 and have been looking for a suitable location ever since. And one day Mark Tzschoppe, a former regular of mine and now my business partner, came with the location of the vaults of a former bank around the corner. Together with Uwe Heine we implemented the project and here we are now. (laughs)
Now everything makes sense. Tell us briefly what your dream career was as a child!
detective or actor.
And what do you enjoy most about your current job in the catering industry?
Here I can bring all my skills and passions together perfectly and incorporate them. I can't do that better in any other job than here: I like chatting with people, I can use my IT skills from my studies, I can experiment a lot and bring together and use my knowledge from many areas. I love optimizing processes and setting new standards. (laughs)
What has been your biggest success so far?
Professionally, actually the Mixology Bar Awards “New Bar of the Year 2019” award. Simply receiving recognition for our Jigger & Spoon and accepting the award with the entire team was good.
And what could you not do without in your life?
On my cell phone! On the one hand, of course for business, but also to keep in touch privately, it is essential for me..
Why is THE DUKE Gin and LION's Vodka in your back bar?
Because I already had the Duke in the Bar Bergmann in 2011, as one of ten gins. A very, very nice product, very likeable boys and now also girls (laughs) and an honest and cool, regional company, which is therefore absolutely worth supporting.
Tell us your favorite drink that always works for you personally!
Champagne! And Cuban country wine spritzer.(Editor's note: For all non-bartenders - here's the perfect serve: 4 cl Light Cuban Rum, 12.5 cl soda, orange zest )
And what do you like to get up early in the morning for?
When I fly somewhere again to a so-called “brand home”. Again, this has to do with the job, but I love it!
It's no secret that you work a lot, but what does a day off look like for you?
What's that? (laughs) WhatsApp, emails and social media are checked first thing in the morning and if there is no shitstorm to avert, the day can begin. Depending on what my fiancée has planned, we'll go to the cinema to watch the latest Disney film. We are both huge Disney fans and our next vacation is going to Disneyland in Paris.
I also still moderate the Yo-Yo World and European Championships and still enjoy traveling a lot for that.
If you had one wish for the bar community, what would it be?
Please don't take yourself too seriously! The guest should be the focus and ultimately ensures that we can live out our passion. Unfortunately, many colleagues generally take themselves far too seriously. And please never say that you are the best. Work on being the best! Or as a very esteemed colleague once put it succinctly: “Don’t be a dick!”
Please talk a little more about what's going on. What is your craziest gastro story?
I have countless! But 99% of it should NEVER be made public!
I once had a guest shift at a swingers club where the guests copulated on my bar... so my inner hygiene monk had to pull herself together not to constantly spray the counter with the disinfectant spray.
Nobody has ever pooped in front of my bar, but it actually happened to a colleague of mine in a well-known hotel bar. But please don't write that either, otherwise someone else will get the idea. (Editor's note: Sorry Eric, but we couldn't let that out. )
If you have a final request for your guests - now you can get rid of it.
Please accept if we no longer want to serve you alcohol. And please don’t forget the words “please” and “thank you”.
In any case, we would like to first say “Thank you!” for this entertaining and interesting conversation! Of course, the interview was accompanied by culinary delights at the highest level, as we had Eric's two signature drinks with us THE DUKE Wanderlust Gin und LION’s Vodka stand in front of us. Of course, the likeable Mr. Bergmann will also tell you what exactly is behind his Drippin' Beetroot and Lion's Homemade Gimlet - here are the recipes for mixing.
A visit to Eric Bergmann at Jigger & Spoon should always be at the top of the to-do list for Stuttgart night owls anyway, but all other fans of the sophisticated bar culture should also have a drink in the former vaults of the hospital district when traveling to Stuttgart highly recommended. We'll definitely be back soon!