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Chapter Leader Spotlight - Fred Yarm
Frederick Yarm, USBG Boston Chapter Secretary
14 years in the industry
When you have a last name of Yarm, there isn't a real need for a nickname. At one restaurant, some of the servers and the chef would make puns on my last name like "Yarmageddon" and "Yarm to table", but none of those stuck for longer than a laugh or two
What are your current USBG volunteer roles?
USBG Secretary for Boston, member of the National Education Committee
What do you enjoy most about being a USBG chapter leader?
I love the feeling of working together as a team to get programming done instead of waiting passively for it to come to me. There is also a great joy in seeing a seminar or event going from an idea into fruition as a successful learning, socializing, and/or networking moment
Where did you grow-up, and what was it like there?
I grew up in Milford, Connecticut. The town had a semi-suburban feel mixed in with coastal and vestigial farm influences back in those years. One of Milford's pride and joys is having the first Subway Sandwich shop in the center of town near the Metro-North train line stop
Favorite childhood memory?
I loved fishing in the various ponds and old mill lakes around my house, especially for large-mouth bass, pike, and pickerel
Where do you work and what do you do there?
Currently, I am the Whiskey Guardian for Angel's Envy here in Boston. Earlier in this year, I was still tending bar here in town with my future behind the stick put on pause for the moment
What is the most rewarding part of your career?
The brand ambassador role is great, for I enjoy American whiskey (both drinking and learning about its history and lore) and teaching others about it. Before that, I was quite happy to appreciate and learn about Bourbon for free
What is your favorite bartending moment?
While I have had many amazing guests and entertaining moments through the years, my time away from bartending the last few months has me missing being on a good bar team where you are all helping each other out often without the need to ask for assistance. Things like a bartender swooping in, pulling glassware, and prepping garnishes for the service bartender before returning to their station
What do you do to relax outside of work?
Vegetable gardening, cat herding, jogging with my wife, and cooking. Lately, I've been getting into fermenting things like lactic-process pickles and homemade vinegars
Tell us about your dream vacation:
All too many of my trips are to great places with distilleries or a bartending convention, so a true vacation would be free from that. I know my wife has wanted to see Hawaii for quite a while
Advice you could offer to others:
Empathy is the best tool for a bartender as well as a human being. It allows for one to anticipate needs and provide for others in ways that they sometimes cannot put into words. Combine that with some knowledge and technique, and the result is a bartender that people will return to time and time again
Who do you look up to and why?
One of my early bar mentors (who I never directly worked for) was John Gertsen. I met him when I was a blogger and an enthusiast and he was dressed as a Carthusian monk at a Chartreuse event in 2007. Through the years, he taught me to appreciate the classics and how to improve on them, about curiosity and teaching, and how what was happening at the moment was just as important as what was in the glass
Tell us something unusual or unique about yourself that we might not know.
Despite being on the thinner side (before my dad bod recently set in), I have portrayed Santa Claus seven times in my life. Once for disadvantaged kids with a high school community service organization and the rest in cabaret acts in a nightclub as "Kung Fu Santa". Maybe an 8th time as "Divebar Santa" during a December bar crawl one year, but that was mostly for a photo opportunity
What does the future hold for you?
That is a challenging question given the circumstances. I hope to keep my part-time brand job and my cocktail writing going while looking out in the world to figure out how to prosper in the changing circumstances. The Magic 8 Ball says, "Ask again later."
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