By Michelle Anzaya

Jack Daniel’s yesterday hosted the first day of its Tennessee Campus 2022 Kenya edition at the Nairobi Serena Hotel. With bartender registration at 100% it was a day filled with learning, thought elevation, and thinking beyond boundaries to embrace individual entrepreneurial spirit.


The 360’ educative experience featured heavy weight industry experts including: Leonard Mudachi, Chairman of RETRAK (Retail Trade Association Kenya),  Brian Owango, Managing Director of Aqueous and Maryanne Mumbi, President of Women Who Whisky Association Kenya Chapter.


Key themes for the session included: Industry Versatility, the Business of Bars, Consumer Expectations as well as ‘What’s Your Brand Mixology’.

Understanding the challenges the hospitality industry has experienced through the pandemic Jack Daniel’s believe now more than ever mentorship and guidance are required to enable the Kenyan bartender to embrace the new norm and step into the light with experiences that wow the consumer.


Speaking during the morning session Leonard Mudachi reiterated this by noting, “Trust that you know a lot already. What else can you do to extend these skills and knowledge? Develop an interest in the nuts and bolts of your industry – in what it takes to run a bar operationally. And then ask yourself how can I add value by improving the functionality, efficiency and guest experience?” Noted id Leonard Mudachi, speaking during the morning session. 


The ethos of mentorship and innovation is at the heart of the Jack Daniel’s brand dating back to 1866. It is through the foundation of mentorship that a young Jasper ‘Jack’ Daniel built a thriving whiskey enterprise on. Today, it is one of the world’s biggest whiskey brands still enjoyed in ‘Pubs’ and ‘Fine Establishments’.


Echoing this spirit, Brian Owango brought to life the concept of making ‘bank’ with Jack Daniel’s.

“It all begins with the right mindset. Considering yourself a business partner. What value add are you bringing to the business you work at? Are you crunching the numbers and proving to your boss you know how to make the business money?” He said.


Tennessee Campus is spearheaded by David Mwangi Mutunga, Jack Daniel’s East Africa Brand Ambassador. Bringing to life the spirit of innovation and passion that is the Jack Daniel’s way through his insightful guidance.

“Seeing the passion each of our attendees brought today only reinforces our belief that Kenyan bartenders have a lot to offer to the global hospitality scene – through their ingenuity, local appreciation, and commitment. As the Jack Daniel’s team, we are excited to see what will unfold and are delighted to be walking this path alongside them for the next chapter in their careers,” said Mr. Mutunga, commenting on the days events.


The day’s session ended with a social evening of Jack Daniel’s cocktails, networking, and friendship.


Reflecting on all the learning and sharing bartenders had their own comments as well.

“My personal goal is to own my own restaurant and I hope that we can elevate more African homegrown brands that showcase the richness of our culture – it’s time to tell our own story. From today’s session the biggest takeaway for me is the practicality of balancing your finances and how you can be versatile as a bartender,” highlighted Arnold aka ‘Blondie’, Freelance Bartender.


“I come from a family where the men worked in this industry. As a result, I’m passionate about seeing this change and seeing more women (in our industry). It was motivating to learn from Maryanne Mumbi, a female who is pioneering in this space.  From Tennessee Campus I am now challenging myself to think-outside-the-box and look at how I can make a different impact with all the knowledge I currently have,” shared Elise Monsana, Bar Supervisor.


The next phase in the 2022 edition of Tennessee Campus will be unveiled later in the year.


Jack Daniel’s reminds its friends to drink responsibly.


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