Alex Dahlenburg is starting a new role as Group General Manager with Barrelhouse Group which will see her over seeing operations at The Barber Shop, Duke of Clarence and the new Hickson House Distillery and Bar, it’s a match made in heaven.
Having recently left Speakeasy Group, the opportunity to be involved with bars she has frequented regularly as a punter, and in particular to be involved in the exciting project that is Hickson House, with its new stills, was too good to turn down.
“The fact we have diverse venues,” is one of the things Alex told Bars and Clubs excites her most about the new role.
She added: “The Duke of Clarence is my favourite little Guinness drinking spot with a roast, I’ve got my happy Martinis and sitting outside at Barber Shop, but the biggest thing is what I call that #coppercontact at Hickson House and the stills there, it’s all so exciting.”
And will she be getting on those stills?
“Of course, I don’t think Tim Stones will be able to keep me off them. But my main job will be looking after the hospitality of all the venues, across all three.
“I’ll be looking at overall operations, contracts, all the fun stuff, working with all the cool companies again. Each venue has a wonderful bar manager in who is responsible for all the drinks programs and I’ll be working with them, which I’m really excited about.”
The Hickson House venue will include a distillery, event space as well as hospitality venue and Alex said: “I’ve always been a big fan of Tim, so be working with him is really exciting.”
The excitement for the role and joining Barrelhouse is clear when speaking to Alex, and she told Bars and Clubs: “I’m really looking forward to working with the great service and awesome teams that are already in the venues. They are a wonderful family and I just can’t wait to take that to the next level.
“My experience of diverse venues from pubs, nightclubs, restaurants and cocktails bars is definitely going to come into play, and then the experience I have had in flitting around wonderful distilleries in Australia, Scotland and America will definitely help making sure we have the experience right at Hickson House Distillery.
“I seriously feel like this role is tailor-made.”
She added: “There was a big career crisis for me, about what I was going to do, or what I was wanting to do moving forward from leaving Speakeasy. I felt like ‘do I go into Ambassador work, do I go into distillery work, do I go be a Distiller’, what career path was I going to take.
“When this role came up it was just everything all in one. I was everything I love about hospitality, so the events, working with brands and activations, marketing and working with GMs and venue staff and delivering that amazing experience.
“And getting that copper contact, because you know #whiskytookmehere. I’m over the moon.”
Alex starts in the new role next week and with Greater Sydney still in lockdown the initial focus will be back of house at Hickson House, so the supplier contracts there and then the challenge of recruiting staff for the venue and hopefully making the place busy and successful.
“Then I’m really looking forward to growing with this company,” Alex told Bars and Clubs. “The guys of got a really great ethos and some of the work they are doing with the Sydney Historical Society and the indigenous programs they have, it’s just a wonderful ethos of wanting to look after people and that sits really well with me.
Director of Barrelhouse Mikey Enright said: “We are thrilled to welcome such a well-loved and respected manager as Alex, not to mention her depth of spirits knowledge. She’s going to drive us to keep pushing the boundaries of both service and creativity.”
Barrelhouse has also brought in Jordan Berger as Head of Sales to drive Hickson House’s sprits sales on both on and off trade, and ex-Stitch manager Raphaël Redant to run the ambitious Hickson House bar and kitchen.
Co-founder of Barrelhouse Julian Train added: “Constructing a major new venue inside a heritage building, now with lockdown added, has been both challenging and exciting, but we’ve used the time to refine every element, and now we have the right team in place to help Mikey and I bring our vision to life and write Barrelhouse’s next chapter.”
With the issues around lockdown the opening of Hickson House has been slightly delayed but is now firmly slated to open in September and all of us at Bars and Clubs are looking forward to that.