We recently got to catch up with Dean Spencer, who as far as we are concerned, has possibly THE best job ever! Dean is the On Trade Sales GURU for Truman & Orange – he spends his days creating yummy cocktails with the Truman & Orange products, as well as training bar staff on how to best serve their products at their bars. Cool, right?
Truman & Orange opened it’s doors in 2013 with the single-minded mission of offering increasingly sophisticated South African drinkers alternatives to the mega-brands that used to own the space. On their catalogue – Malfy Italian Gin, Aviation Gin, Tito’s Vodka, Fortaleza Tequila and many many more.
Dean – you have quite the enviable job, how did you wind up in this field?
I have been in the hospitality industry for close to nine years in different positions including Bar Manager, Events Manager and General Managers at a number of Restaurants and Bars. When the opportunity to work with Truman & Orange’s range of discovery brands came up, I grabbed it for two reasons:
1. Truman & Orange is doing something different in the SA liquor industry providing drinks across different categories and price spectrums based on consumer demand. It’s a very dynamic company that moves faster than any other liquor distributor I know which really gives us the cutting edge! For example, people are loving Italian drinks at the moment, so we offer Mionetto Prosecco, Malfy Italian Gin and Mazzatti Birra Superiore, a premium Italian beer from a 100-year old brewery in Northern Italy. Who wouldn’t want to sell brands like those?
2. Each of the Truman & Orange brands has its own story and my job involves telling the stories either through business development so that retailers list our brands or training people who sell our brands. My prior work experience means I love telling a good story!
What does your average day consist of?
My early-morning admin involves planning which areas I’m going to focus on for the week. Then I head out to secure new product listings as we are always adding to our diverse portfolio of drinks. I also conduct a lot of training for outlets that sell our drinks so that they can tell our stories too.
What is your fave cocktail right now and why?
I’m loving the Aviation Raspberry Gin Fizz… just look at it and you’ll see why!
Aviation Raspberry Gin Fizz
50ml Aviation Gin
25ml raspberry shrub
15ml beetroot juice
20ml lemon juice
20ml egg white
Top with tonic
Hard dry-shake, wet-shake and strain
If you had to choose the hippest and chicest spot in Jozi to enjoy a cocktail, where would that be and why?
Saint JHB for sure. It’s a very new outlet that offers a great experience and then tops it off with an incredibly-designed cocktail.
Your ideal day off would be…?
… spending time with my 2 boys that are my whole world.
What is the one thing or aspect that you love the most about your job, and by that token, dislike the most?
I love telling stories, and my job really involves educating people about liquor and Truman & Orange’s brands, all of which are backed with great stories.
For example, Fortaleza, is not just a tequila, it’s a hand-crafted, 100% blue agave tequila from Jalisco, Mexico, produced by the fifth generation of the Sauza family and other such cool stories about many of our products.
The dislike… well, anyone who has worked in the hospitality industry knows that dealing with people can sometimes be tricky!
If you did not do what you currently do – what would you do instead and why?
I would be a chef as I not only enjoying creating drinks, but I also love creating food.
Fave item of clothing in your cupboard right now and why?
That would be my suit jacket. If I’m going to sell premium brands and tell their stories, I need to look the part!
Cool tip/hint for the summer drinks scene that we should know?
Nowadays, it is all about colour. Summer is all about colour and we generally make decisions about what to buy or enjoy drinking with our eyes. Find something that has colour and enjoy it!