Lauren Mote: Central hotel – Drinks International

I don’t believe in luck. I think it’s about recognizing the opportunities and working hard to exploit them. Those are the words of industry star Lauren Mote, who had already taken 10,000 steps ahead of a brunch-time interview in New Orleans’ French Quarter. With 26 years already in the hotel business, the Canadian still has the energy of a young ‘tender bursting onto the scene.

Now one of the industry’s most respected figures, Mote first entered the business in 1996 at a singing burger bar, where staff did everything to song, reciting orders to their guests like if it was the opening of Starlight Express. And even in a liberal place like NOLA, heads still turned when the Canadian burst into a chorus about Mr. Mayonnaise Man.

“I very intentionally went into hospitality because that’s the kind of person I am,” says Mote. “When I was growing up, I had an equal influence of restaurants and hospitality from my mother’s side, and artistic and creative flair from my father.”

Speaking of metrics, Mote doesn’t do things by halves. With a backlog of injuries from football, beach volleyball, cycling, powerlifting, boxing and just about any hobby you can think of, she still finds time to express her flair. artistic.

“I still make time to paint, although when I started the house was littered with artwork, I can get quite obsessive.” But to achieve what Mote has in 26 years, obsession is necessary.

Having worked everywhere in Toronto from Starbucks to independent bistros in the early 2000s, Mote moved to Vancouver in 2007 where she was bar manager at Lumiere, one of Canada’s most respected restaurants at the time. However, it was his work at The Refinery cocktail bar that began to shape his career, devising new menus that worked with local produce. As general manager, her award-winning cocktail program put the venue on the map and while championing local produce was common practice today, 15 years ago it was groundbreaking.

In addition to building his reputation at The Refinery, Mote also formed the basis of his brand of bitters, Bittered Sling.

“I met my husband Jonathan and after six months we had opened a business together. I had already selected flavors for a bartender’s palate, with no added sugar or coloring, and passed them on to Jonathan, who rounded out the edges from a chef’s perspective.

WORKING WITH GOVERNMENT

A recurring theme during the hour-long conversation with Mote is that everything she thinks about is a hit, and this year Bittered Sling is 10 years old and available in markets around the world.

“At the time, the Canadian government did not consider bitters to be a product that could be marketed and sold unless they were alcoholic beverages, so it would have been taxed to the max.

“From 2009 to 2012, my husband and I worked with the government to ensure that we could turn what would later become Bittered Sling into a commercial product that would be affordable and accessible to both commerce and consumers in Canada. In the past, bitters were used with added sugar and coloring to transform classic drinks into, for example, a quintessential red Sazerac. But we wanted to take the idea that bartenders are obsessed with designing classic cocktails and give them exceptional bitters to elevate them.

It might be hard to believe, but in addition to running his own brand and advising the Four Seasons in Canada and San Francisco for seven years, Mote also worked for Diageo, leading its World Class program. . In July 2017, the Canadian was named Diageo’s “global cocktailian”, a role that ended at the end of last year.

“It was an incredible experience and a unique role to play. Diageo really understood the direction the industry was taking beyond mere ambassadorial roles. Although I’m not sure by now people have understood what “cocktailian” means.

Earlier this year, Mote was named Global Program Excellence Manager for Patrón, which sees her once again flexing her advocacy muscles. “Because I have so much energy to give, I give time to any interested bartender to elevate. On the other hand, my advocacy and business knowledge means brands want to work with me. But I have to know the brand I’m working with thoroughly and be passionate about the story and its production – I wouldn’t just walk into a bar with international spirits and tell the bartenders what to drink, people already do that.

To truly experience all of Mote’s work over the past two decades, we’d need an entire magazine, and it’s his constant dynamism that makes his success more fate than luck.

“I’m exactly where I expected to be,” adds Mote. “I always knew this was going to happen because I was very careful in my decisions and in the past I took most of the opportunities that came my way so I could learn what I loved, but also what I was doing ‘t.

And after being asked about the future, her response came as no surprise. “I’m not done. Jonathan and I have so many ideas going on. You can sleep when you’re dead.”