Australian Bartender Magazine’s David Spanton lifts the lid on 20 years of bar stories

David Spanton is the man behind the only monthly bar magazine in the world – Australian Bartender. Dave’s published the magazine for 20 years and over 260 editions since 1999, as well as established and run the country’s biggest bar show, Sydney Bar Week, since 2002.

It all began with the short-lived Bite Magazine in the late 1990s, which was initially aimed at the entire hospitality industry and, as Dave puts it, “tried to be everything to everyone.” But bars were Dave’s passion and what he knew best, so it only felt right that he home in on them full-time. Fortuitously, it turns out, the drinks companies and other potential advertisers agreed.

Fast forward two decades and you won’t find a good bar without the current edition floating around somewhere either front or back of house (or the very back of house, in the case of Hains & Co!). We shoot the breeze with Dave about all things from the editorial policy, the days of flair bartending to current trends he sees taking off.

You can find Living Proof on Apple PodcastsSpotify or Player FM.

And of course, with year’s instalment of Bar Week just around the corner (September 14-18), we cast an eye towards some of the must-see events and masterclasses.

Underscoring our conversation is an analysis of how the bar business has changed in Dave’s time covering it and a recognition of the role he’s played in positioning Australia’s as the most powerful pound-for-pound bar & cocktail industry in the world.

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