This New Year felt like a big one. Not only was it the end of another year, it was the end of a decade, the twenty-teens. Personally, it was one of my toughest, yet it finished with some real positive momentum, with more people talking about the health of our industry than ever before.
Yet we lost too many good friends during the course of 2019. Gary ‘Gaz’ Regan has an ardent fan, not only of our work at Healthy Hospo, but of the passionate work of all bartenders around the world. We can’t think of another man who was more positive about our industry and gave so much, while only ever asking everyone to buy him a drink, or stick his finger in their Negroni.
We also said goodbye to Ben Carlotto, a man who selflessly gave his all to others and left a huge, motorbike-shaped hole in our industry. Rocky Yeh left us as well, a man so loved by those who met him that they organised unofficial conferences with the sole purpose to get him to visit their city.
It’s with the memory of these amazing people that we go into 2020. After launching in 2018 with the aim of changing the conversation around health and wellness within the hospitality industry, 2019 was the year that Healthy Hospo truly went global.
We kicked off the year with our biggest and best event yet, our signature Wellness Workshop in London, with a stellar speaker line-up. The programme included the world’s foremost sports sleep coach, Nick Littlehales; champion of mindful drinking and founder of Club Soda, Laura Willoughby; plus, a dynamic Viking clap during an entertaining presentation by Fabiano Latham and Claire Warner.
We hosted events around the world, including a Wellness Workshop in Finland, and a five-city tour of Australia. We launched a ground-breaking program in New Zealand with Lion NZ, hosted numerous programmes in the US, from training sessions to yoga classes, and began a big nationwide project in Ireland with Diageo.
In July and August, our founder, Tim Etherington-Judge, raised over £10,000 for mental health in the UK’s drinks industry by attempting to run 42 marathons in 42 consecutive days. It began with the first-ever marathon at Tales of the Cocktail, and ended in a London hospital 23 days later with a fractured shin. Things didn’t stop there, though. bartenders from as far and wide as Puerto Rico, Sao Paulo, St Petersburg and Australia laced up their shoes and pounded the pavements to complete the missing marathons and champion fitness as part of a healthy lifestyle.
One of the highlights of the year was supporting the wonderful Martini Racing Ciclismo programme, and the passionate work of the Martini team to get bartenders riding bikes for fitness and community. Culminating in 50 bartenders riding 300km across Italy from Florence to Rome, arriving to a hero’s welcome at the inaugural Roma Bar Show, it’s a great example of a brand building advocacy while promoting health and fitness.
And with all that action, you may have noticed that we’ve been quiet for the past few weeks. We haven’t slacked off for Christmas, stuffing our faces with mince pies and delicious roast vegetables (although we have eaten a shed load of them). We’ve been working hard building Healthy Hospo 2.0, a first of its kind digital learning platform that will take our education programmes that we deliver in-person and put them into a tool that can be accessed 24/7 anywhere in the world.
So, if 2019 was the year of Healthy Hospo going global, 2020 will be the year we go digital, and truly accelerate our mission to create a healthier, happier hospitality industry.
We sign off with sending love and hope to everyone in Australia and pray that conditions ease over the next few days, and to everyone else around the world, we look forward to seeing you for a healthy and happy 2020.