I’m Eric, and if you’ve come into the Alberta Beer Exchange (affectionately known as ABX) within the last month we have probably met! I am the newest full time member to the ABX team and I couldn’t be happier joining such an awesome group of people.
I am a professional actor, turned cocktail bartender, turned professional drinker. Which seems like a pretty good fit here at ABX. I am also a proud Sunalta community member, so, living minutes away from work doesn’t hurt either.
My background is largely spirit based from bartending in restaurants for the past eight years. But it was about five years ago, when my wife and I moved to New Zealand for a year, that I found a love for cocktails and cocktail bartending. We moved there on working holiday visas and found jobs bartending and serving in the very hip Ponsonby area of Auckland. I cut my teeth in the cocktail world when I began serving at a restaurant by day/lounge by night bar called Mr. Toms. The bar manager at the time opened my mind to the world cocktail creation and educated me on so many new spirits, liqueurs, and syrups. After learning the chemistry of alcohol, citrus, sugar, and bitters, I was hooked. I loved creating new cocktails, experimenting with unconventional flavours, and re-imagining classic recipes.
Fast forward a couple years. My wife and I moved back to Calgary, we bought our first home (in our favourite neighbourhood: Sunalta) and I floated around to multiple restaurants bartending and managing, mostly just keeping myself employed between my acting gigs. After NZ, I always viewed bartending as my “joe job”, the work between the gigs. But as time went on, I started getting less acting work and the restaurants soon became my full time job.
I loved working in the restaurant industry and over the last couple of years I had also fallen in love with the craft beer industry in Calgary. New breweries were popping up everywhere. I would spend my days off biking through the Barley Belt trying to hit a new brewery every time. And with so many breweries constantly putting out unique and interesting beers I realized that my tastes in cocktails and spirits were similar to my tastes in beer. The bitterness of an Amaro reminded me of the IPA’s I enjoyed, the sour bite of a Kettle Sour would remind me of a sours cocktail. These similarities between beer and spirits/cocktails were a jumping off point for me when I decided to leave the restaurants and join ABX.
I am hoping to bring my cocktail and spirit knowledge to ABX to help guide and educate beer drinkers. To open the door to a whole new world of spirits using the information on what kind of beer a customer enjoys. I love being a part of this local, community-driven business. And I look forward to chatting with all of you when you come into ABX!