The Top Seven: Blue Label Bartending

Blue Label Bartending served seven events in 2007, its first year of operation. In 2008, it served 76 events and expanded to Oklahoma City.
This year, the business is on track to serve somewhere between 250 and 300 events before Dec. 31.
Founded by Garrett Blackwood, Blue Label Bartending provides bartenders for private events, such as wedding receptions, holiday parties and class reunions. The customer supplies the alcohol and location, and Blue Label supplies experienced and knowledgeable bartenders, as well as ice, cups, napkins and other bartending tools.
When he entered his business into the 2009 Tulsa Entrepreneurial Spirit Award, Blackwood planned to grow Blue Label by franchising his private event service.
With the Spirit Award? coaches?advice, Blackwood is instead building a ?artending empire?in Tulsa. He?l grow his business by adding services, then he?l consider franchising, he said.
Blackwood hopes to launch the new services ?bar consulting and providing temporary bartenders to local establishments ? by next summer.
Through bar consulting, Blue Label will help new restaurants set up their bars by determining how much alcohol to buy, how much to charge for it and how to set up the bar.
?here? about 40 to 50 hours?worth of work that goes into actually getting all those details set up for the bar,?Blackwood said.
Providing temporary bartenders would allow bars to call Blue Label when a bartender is sick and can? come in to work.
?ecause I already have bartenders on staff, I have the school where I can train bartenders and we have a constant flow of people coming through, what I view is broadening my scope to kind of a bartending empire,?Blackwood said. ?asically, anything involving bartenders, whether it? consulting, knowledge or staffing, we can do.?br>The school, which operates as a separate entity from the service business, was already in the works when Blackwood entered the Spirit Award and just opened this month on Brookside at 3303 ?S. Peoria Ave.
? had this in the works as a way to earn extra money, not as a part of my overall company strategy,?Blackwood said. ?ow, in talking with the judges, I realize this is something I can have as a packaged deal.?br>Blue Label Bartending offers a 32-hour program, which can be taken in one or two weeks, that teaches students how to make mixed drinks, operation of bar equipment, knowledge of the state? liquor laws and liability and customer service skills.
The school can accommodate six students per class, and Blackwood said he expects to serve between 150 and 200 students per year.
Blackwood said he is going to shelve his ideas for out-of-state expansion until his local empire is running smoothly, then he?l determine which aspects of the business he should franchise.
If Blackwood wins the Spirit Award? $30,000 first-place prize, provided by SpiritBank, he?l put that toward developing his company? new services.
When asked how his business would be different had he not participated in the Spirit Award, Blackwood responded, ? don? think I would have been as open to the idea of expanding my services. What I like about the Spirit Award is there are people who are experienced and that are giving me instruction before I hit a do-or-die moment.?nbsp; 

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