With my entrance to the Thomas Henry Company as Brand Ambassador, I knew that there would be a lot of changes for me. A new job, new tasks and new challenges. To have the House of Thomas Henry as my first and main project was exciting. It was more than exciting – it was an honor and a great pleasure, but still a mammoth task. Numerous individual creatives, six months of preparation, five agencies, two strong and motivated Thomas Henry teams included in one event. WOW! Sweat, tears and the trust of the management as well as the Thomas Henry shareholders made the evenings of May 18th and 19th possible.
If you are allowed to grow up in an industry and scene, like ours, there are so many different events, festivals and parties which you are involved in. But most importantly you are on the side where the drinks are cold.
The brand Thomas Henry looked back on seven successful fiscal years with the responsibility to give something back. It was never the aim to celebrate Thomas Henry as a brand, but all about the idea of a new era – a new era of bartenders. A brand that grows and thrives in close collaboration with the scene naturally understands itself as part of this community. A community we would like to say thank you to. For your patience, feedback and trust over the last seven years.
On top of the “Klassenfahrt” (school trip for bartenders), ice-carving or herbalworkshop – The House of Thomas Henry should be the event of the year. From bartenders for bartenders. Berlin is our “homecourt”. We, the Henries and Henriettas, have grown with Berlin. 20 national and international bars have swung shakers and stirred drinks till dizziness to convince the expert jury of their creations. Also here again WOW! I never saw myself alongside Alex Kratena, Simon Difford and other great names of the scene – to taste drinks from European top bartenders. All the drinks, and yes I was allowed to try them all – had proven their complexity, balance and finesse. Dried leek, jasmine steam and color pallets were just some of the highlights of these 40 creations of liquid art.
An evening full of tingling amusement, fluid art, and an inconceivably elaborate scenery turned into a declaration of love to nowadays bartending. The “New Golden Age of Bartending”. And all this for a good purpose. The good purpose – for me more than a matter of course –to benefit a society that is more important than ever. In difficult times, by hoping for more tolerance, acceptance and altruism, “gastronomy against racism” is the first and next platform to show that Europe does not accept what is happening in Europe right now. Just as our predecessors did not bow to prohibition or territorial separation, we will not be afraid of hate, terror or xenophobia. Quite on the contrary – we will laugh, sing and dance! To become a symbol, that stands for resistance – we are still here and we will not let ourselves down,no matter how hard times will be. One or the other announced to renounce to their pay and salary to support this necessary association. At this point thank you very much.
3,000 thoughts and even more are going through my head. At the same time, a speech for The House of Thomas Henry was needed, that was thankful and motivating on the same time. All thoughts and efforts needed to be put into one little opening speech. I can only thank all friends, partners, colleagues and contributors for a wonderful and festive celebration of bar culture. It was very difficult to put this into words, but I’ve tried:
Opening Speech of The House of Thomas Henry
Good Evening Ladies and Gentlemen!
First of all to all those people from all over the world, that found there way to Berlin City, thank you very much. It will be worth it! Ladies and Gentlemen, please have a look around. What do we see? Some of you might see a room full of great people and delicious cocktails. But what I see is Berlin in the year 2017 – that celebrates the new golden age of our generation! A time when bartenders and mixologist are not only responsible for delicious drinks, culinary adventures and being entertainers of liquid art. They are professors, working as mixologist engaging the liquid field of science. We are now in a time where hospitality, high standards and devotion to our craft is on a never reached summit.
Golden ages and eras are defined by hard times that brought up strong personalities and talented minds. In the time of the U.S. prohibition in 1918 to 1933, people came up with ideas, concepts and opened own markets as a reaction to the enactment of the prohibition law.
In times like today, when purchase, providing and acquisition are easy to handle – people need to be more innovative, creative and motivated. Today we are right where we wanted to be. We are in a place where quality is more acknowledged than quantity, where guest and customers are more aware of their alimentation and are more open-minded for craft and art. This is what today is all about! A truly new golden age of bartending.
The brand Thomas Henry, born and raised in Berlin, grew up with those people. Look to your left and to your right. These people are the aim, Thomas Henry wanted and needed to work with. Yes, I mean you all! We are talking about people, who created and enduced our brand. And after seven years – here we are!
Celebrating with the personalities and identities that formed our industries. Those of you who raised the local value to a next level! Thank you for this.
As it is common for Thomas Henry, our goal is to find products, flavours, tools and workshops that are requested by you. With changing times, techniques and technology the industry is always in progress and in dependency of our community.
This is our stage. Our pool of creative people who have passion and who put all their heart into this place. The result is a gathering of the greatest people and the industry of spirits and liqueurs, that are leading in taste, tradition and quality all over the globe. All this will be found right here and will be represented by 20 national and international bars from everywhere.
Education is one of the pillars that our community is based on. On the top floors you will find a workshop area. Brand Ambassadors and experts of their fields, will lead you through their experience, knowledge and expertise in their respected fields. Upstairs aswell you will find a foodcourt and you will be serverd by Chicago Williams – the best BBQ in town. We tried to fill this house with much life, style and love as possible. Entertainers, artists and musicians are just a small part of our ensemble to discover.
For me as a Bartender, who started with the profession of bartending ten years ago, I was using Thomas Henry since day one. So today seven years later it is a pleasure, no- it is an honuor to stand here in front of you as Brand Ambassador, more a mouthpiece, translating trends, needs and feelings of our community for the industry and backwards. And it is our duty as the industry to explain and illuminate what is happening in our time. What is happening in the world right now. The reason why we are celebrating with all of you here in this very place, is because we say no to hate, no to intolerance and not o rasicm. Keep drinking people because it is for charity tonight.
I am excited and proud to open the first House of Thomas Henry, a house of creativity and happiness, a market of exchange of education and knowledge and a space where you can feel how much effort, passion and tears were put into this project. The same creative effort we put into every project we start. We are here to live and see how barculture is in progress.
And again welcome to The House of Thomas Henry an event as acknowledgment for you! Thank you very much.