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Ian Burrell

Ian Burrell
Global Rum Ambassador

Website: Ian Burrell

The total number of years spent in Hospitality?
30 years.

What do you most enjoy about this industry?
There are a few things, all walks of life are brought together working within the hospitality industry, which can alleviate ignorance. I have personally got to meet different types of people that I had not previously, which has really opened my eyes and made me a better person. I love the camaraderie too, a real family atmosphere, and this extends to globally not just London.

What does a typical day look like for you?
It changes depending on which particular project I am working on, which country I am in or which rum brand I am working with. I do remember on one occasion I was preparing cocktails for a live TV show early that morning. In the taxi, on the way to the studio, I had to do some online "rum research" for a new rum brand that I was helping to create later on that week. After the TV show, I had to race to the airport to fly to the Netherlands to host a Rum tasting that evening. After the tasting session, I had to visit a few bars as a guest of my rum sponsors, and then finally I headed back to my hotel so that I could catch an early morning flight to New York for a Rum festival for which I was the master of ceremonies for. Sometimes it can be crazier than that!

Tell us something we might not know about the sector?
That being a rum ambassador is not only about drinking rum, what people do not see, is the hours of learning, and work put into producing a 45-minute presentation or talk. The communication is a really important part of promoting the rum category, and I position what I deliver as “edutainment”, with the aim being to entertain and educate. I like to make people laugh and smile, but education is the most important thing, to enable the rum category to grow to the levels of other spirits.

What has been the single most important piece of advice given to you?
It doesn't matter what you say, it's how you make people feel. You can share information as an expert, but if you don’t make people feel that they are part of the topic or narrative, they leave having attended just another talk.

Three dinner guests of your choice?
Barack Obama, Confucius and Stan Lee, I would give my place at the table up for Michelle Obama!

The last documentary watched and book read?
The last book I read was 'The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano’, he is one of the most important people within Black British, African and Caribbean history, and he inspired the abolition of slavery.
I am also bringing him back to life in the form of a rum Equiano, which launched earlier this year and has already won 4 international medals.

Finish the sentence, the future in hospitality is……..
The constant willingness to evolve, sustainable practices and a global vision that incorporates old school values with the new.
Sustainability is so important, and how we look to have a positive impact on the environment. By old values within hospitality, I mean everything is about the guest/customer, which has in some ways become lost.