The drinks industry is to launch a concerted recruitment drive to fill what it says is a ‘crippling shortage’ of workers by taking literally anyone.
Walter Ripov of the Alcoholic Retailers Society for Work, Employment And Trade (ARSWEAT) said that the initiative was long overdue.
‘A lot of people in the booze trade were laid off during Covid,’ he told Fake Booze, ‘and since they’ve realised that they were no worse off financially once they’d stopped working, most of them haven’t come back.’
Removing all barriers to entry would, he said, allow the industry to ‘make itself better by making itself worse – just like thousands of drinks do on a daily basis.’
We need you!
‘Whether you’re tagged, dysfunctional or borderline psychotic, we want to hear from you!’ he went on.
Only MPs need not apply.
‘The industry might be desperate, but we still have some standards,’ said Ripov.
Freebies not pensions
It was, Ripov admitted, ‘quite hard’ to entice people into a profession that offered long hours, next to no noticeable career progression and the same salary as a shelf-stacker.
‘Essentially,’ he told Fake Booze, ‘we’re looking for people who think that the odd free glass of booze makes up for things like health insurance, gym membership and a solid pension plan.
‘And since most of them are already working in the industry, it’s harder than you might think.’
According to ARSWEAT there are lots of attractive jobs in the drinks world.
‘If you like meeting people and lying to them you can become a rep,’ said Ripov, ‘while if you’ve considered teaching as a career but don’t want the responsibility of doing anything that matters you could become an educator.’
For those with no experience at all of drink, he said that a job as a supermarket BWS buyer was ‘always open provided self-respect isn’t important to you’.
Pete Freeloader joined the drinks world three months ago and, having already risen to become a deputy assistant shop manager, is happy with his new work environment.
He told Fake Booze he’d acquired all manner of transferable skills, such as passive-aggressive tutting, creative bullshittery and hangover minimisation.
‘Plus my new WSET Level 1 qualification is probably worth about the same as a degree,’ he said proudly, ‘and could definitely get me a job in the City if I wanted to.’
The low salary was, he admitted, a challenge, but he was surviving on a diet of tasting crackers, and drinking like a millionaire by opening ‘tasting samples’ of Krug shortly before closing time and forgetting to leave them out for the public.
In the red (trousers)
However, not everyone’s experience has been so positive.
Madge Estic joined the trade last year and has been disappointed with what she’s found.
‘I thought it would all be polite men in red trousers and bow ties, pontificating about soil types and food pairings,’ she said.
‘But it turns out it’s awful men in red trousers and bow ties pontificating about soil types and food pairings.’
Retailer Oddbins, she said, was accurately named, ‘because the pay is so low that’s where you end up foraging for food.’
Polly Sofficer of the global drinks enforcement body, Interpol Roger said that Ms Estic’s experience should act as a warning to others.
‘The drinks world might look glamorous and hedonistic to outsiders, but it’s not all large formats and Zaltos,’ she said. ‘For footsoldiers the day to day reality is often grubby, sordid and – if you’re drinking natural wine – dangerous.’
People, she said, needed to ‘go out, get a proper job and remember that wine doesn’t pay.’
Click here to read about the drinks trade’s decision to demand tasting fees to turn up for tastings