Andrew Friedman of Liberty in Seattle is Running f...

Andrew Friedman of Liberty in Seattle is Running for USBG President

Source: Seattle Magazine

To paraphrase Bill Cosby, I did that last post so I can do this one. I just reviewed the bar Liberty, in Seattle, Washington, and focused on how it is the sort of craft bar that not only is a magnificent example of the art, but also a model of market sustainability for the craft cocktail industry. Liberty’s founder Andrew Friedman, a smooth, elegant beast behind the stick, would like to run for the presidency of the United States Bartending Guild. I won’t puff up myself by making a “formal endorsement” of Andrew, but if you are a USBG member like me, supporting him would not be a mistake.

This may be difficult, of course. I went searching for information about USBG national elections, and found… nothing. Except for a blog post welcoming the current officers to a two year term that appears to have expired last month. This is not unusual for still essentially nascent organizations like the national USBG, especially ones that are largely volunteer, and still run by their founders. That said, elections like this are important to determining how (and if) such groups mature and flourish or wither on the vine, so I’d suggest fellow USBG members pay attention when they do get around to having this one.

Through our Ohio USBG, I received a letter from Andrew about his hopes for moving the the national USBG forward and improving both its fun and its utility for members, and I’m reprinting it here below for you to read. There is a lot of good stuff here that needs doing regardless of who is the next USBG President. You can read more of what Andrew thinks the USBG needs at Liberty’s website.

The United States Bartenders’ Guild:
A Bartenders’ Guild for Bartenders

As president of the Washington State chapter of the USBG, I want to thank the previous administrations for taking us to where we are today. When bartenders get together, what is created is an unmistakably apparent insta-family and it’s time to encourage these relationships. So, now is the time to move forward from where we are today, making the USBG what it really can and should become – A Bartenders’ Guild For Bartenders.

Four years ago, when we started the Washington State Bartenders’ Guild, we started with a mission to promote community & education for our membership. For the last four years as President, together, our guild has chosen to value education over brand indoctrination and community over competition. We have a progressive, tight-knit & growing community, and I’d like to work nationally with all of you to help the USBG become a larger extended family and not limited to what some think that has become: marketing blocks for large distributors & liquor companies.

There are three main directions that we’d like to see the USBG move towards in the next few years:

  • Education
  • Community
  • Communication

Here in Washington State, as I imagine in your community also, we hold a higher value for education over brand indoctrination, and I would like to start a program to work between our guild to replicate successful educational events that each of us has done and share these model for these successful events between our guilds. There’s no reason that we cannot learn from each others’ successes, and education should be one of the first priorities of the USBG.

For many of you who have been able to go to regional and national events where bartenders are able to meet & learn from each other, it becomes unmistakable that THESE are the kinds of events, such as an official Bartender Exchange Program, which will be truly valuable & important for all of us. I would like to create a framework of connection between our organizations to allow these events to not just happen more often, but to allow for follow-up between members afterwards.


Right now, inexplicably, there is no organized communication between our guilds. This is incomprehensible to me, as it obviously is to many of you that I have spoken with, and the first thing that we will work on together is to create this framework for communication between our guilds. For instance, the Northeast chapters hold regional meetings a number of times a year – this is an outstanding example of what we could do if there were leadership which helped create a framework to promote great ideas like this and have a leadership who will work together to take these kinds of events national. Immediately, we should have a forum available on the website in order to allow all paid members to easily communicate.

In speaking to many of your chapter’s representatives in the last week, it’s become obvious that there are many things which we need to work together to do in order to improve the USBG in the upcoming, two-year term of the next president, so I am guaranteeing my commitment to the USBG and to each and every one of you, so let’s move forward and continue the kinds of actions that our guilds have have taken individually – but this time as a community.

There’s so much more information that we would need to talk about in order to really discuss which candidate’s policies mesh best with your idea for where our guild could go, but candidates only have one page to express their opinion for where the WSBG guild should go. If you’d like to read more information on where together I think that we can take our community, please go to

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