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How Abraham John Suyo creates the dream wine list at Galaxy Macau

Abraham John Suyo describes why he wanted to work in the drinks and bar industry and how he puts together the right drinks list for the right venue and his career to date to becoming a head senior bartender at Galaxy Macau.

Can you tell us about your background and how you first got into drinks?

I am currently working as a senior bartender for multiple outlets on one of the biggest casino resorts in Macau. I have been working here for more than six years. I started my career behind the bar in 2012 in the Philippines. It started out thanks to my interest, curiosity and passion for drinking. I have also won a few cocktail competitions that have really helped me a lot with my career.

Why did you want to work in the bar sector? 

It’s all about curiosity and knowing how to make beautiful cocktails. I love the science that goes into making the perfect drinks and the amount of effort that goes into doing so. I also like meeting new people and how you learn and share things and knowledge with them.

I enjoy all the little things around me. I put pride into everything I do, and there is always something new to learn every night and day I work behind the bar. I am also looking to keep up with all the trends and make sure we are as relevant as possible for our guests. Constantly trying to improve my craft as a bartender is what keeps me progressing.

What is involved in your current role and what are your main tasks?

My main focus is the overall bar operation, but because I am working across multiple outlets I also have much wider duties and responsibilities. I also get involved in researching and developing our overall beverage program and I help take care of both gaming and non-gaming events across the casino resort’s property.

Abraham John Suyo

Abraham John Suyo, Senior Bartender at Galaxy Macau

If you were given a bar programme and asked to grow sales where would you start and what steps would you take?

I would look to make it as sustainable as possible by working closely with my team and making sure the program is in tune with market trends and consumer demand to drink more sustainable products. Less waste also means less cost and more profit. It’s all about taking care of our environment at the same time as taking care of our business. To do that you need a good training plan to Educate, Elevate and Recreate.

By that, I mean focusing on our social responsibilities and ensuring we are always using sustainable ingredients that will benefit both the company and our local community whilst at the same time encouraging and helping our staff to be more creative using fewer resources.

What questions would you ask of the owner to know what sort of drinks list to create?

I always ask about the direction and vision of my boss. What type of bar or menu are they expecting and what is the range of our target market. In the resort, we have two types of gaming guests - the travelling guest and locals. The cocktail and drinking culture in Macau is quite unique as it is so diverse.

What do you most look for and want from drinks suppliers to help drive sales?

I am looking for the type of suppliers that are willing to collaborate with you and help market your products and brands so that we both benefit. Marketing is vital when it comes to business. Especially with so much focus now on social media.

Can you think of any good examples of partnerships with suppliers and drinks you have listed as a result?

We are doing a good partnership and promotion with our supplier, Flor de Caña, around promoting “Zero Waste Month”. It is helping to promote what we are doing as part of its wider campaign and is also providing a digital course for our team to take to help them be more sustainable in their everyday work. The thing I really like about it is a mutual interest campaign focused on sustainability.

What does success look like for you from a drinks programme - what are the key ways to show success?

One of the keys for me is how I get my whole team involved so that our service levels improve and any new guests we have to leave the bar as our friends and return as a regular. 

How have you devised the drinks programme in your venue -  what are the key factors about the list that help the bottom line?

The key factor is teamwork. Brainstorming, getting everybody involved and forming a foundation from that. It involves kitchen, bar, and front of house staff and, of course, feedback from our guests.

What do you focus on to be good in your role?

I mainly focus on the people and the things around me and how they can help me be a better person to work with and we can progress and grow together.

What do you see as being the key skills and talents needed to be a good bartender?

First is the attitude and the willingness to learn new things and everything else will follow.

You can teach and learn as much as you want but you have to have the right attitude.

* You can find out more about the Galaxy Macau here

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