Lois Kerr on the women kicking goals in bars

If you’ve ever been to a Sailor Jerry event, there’s a pretty good chance you encountered their ambassador Lois Kerr. She’s got an impressive bar resume — her training from her time with the Match Bar Group from the UK is still evident if you want to get into a knowledge showdown (they really know how to train bartenders).

We spoke to Lois for this issue to get a sense of how her career has progressed, and given that she gets around to a lot of bars thanks to her job, we wanted to know who are some of the standout women plying their trade in bars today.

Can you tell us a bit about where you’ve worked before Sailor Jerry?
I’d hustled and slung drinks in cocktail bars here in Melbourne, and before that, in London. I worked for the Match group in the UK, the cocktail training and product knowledge I’d gotten with them was excellent. Things got even more sweet when they offered me a job in Melbourne, with a few months in their bar in Ibiza en route.

How did you come to take on the role of Sailor Jerry ambassador?
I’d worked with Louis, who was, by the time I got to Australia, Global Sailor Jerry Ambassador, in London. We got along really well (he’s a bloody legend), so when they were seeking a BA over here, he recommended me, which was just lovely. I beat some really tough competition to the role, and here I still am, five years later.

Who are some women that the rest of the country should know about?
So many. Jenna Hemsworth is a total doll and an absolute gem to work with. Priscilla Kinezaki is a gun; fast, precise and knowledgeable. And gorgeous. Hannah Keirl is also incredible. She’s just come back from a couple of years showing the bar industry in India how it’s done, working her way up the ranks while always keeping a smile on her face, and having a kind word for those who cross her path.


Who is doing a lot to improve things for women in bars more broadly?
Tash Conte should be an inspiration to everyone, no matter what gender. She shows that you don’t have to be an egotistical dickhead to make waves in the hospitality industry. She’s made Black Pearl the best cocktail bar in the country, and one of the best in the world, all while being an amazing mama to both Chloe and the bar team. And all while being an absolute sweetheart to everyone.

Is there one assumption or misconception about women working in bars that you like to never have to hear again?
None that I’ve heard. Surely we are all enlightened enough these days not to be separating bartenders by gender? But maybe that’s because I’m a scary badass bitch and nobody would dare say it to my face.

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