Before becoming a brand ambassador for Amaro Montenegro and Select Aperitivo, Alex Bartfield spent nearly eleven years working for the three biggest distributors in Florida: Southern Wine, Republic National, and Breakthru Beverage. As a brand ambassador, Alex currently maintains a professional relationship with Breakthru Beverage with whom he worked for six years, demonstrating his ability to make meaningful and sustainable connections. Alex is the Brand Ambassador of Florida which means that he is in charge of visiting all the accounts statewide. Alex values servicing his community, meeting new members of the hospitality industry, and being the number one guy to call for all things hospitality in South Florida.
What is your connection to the hospitality industry? How did your journey begin?
I started in 2009. My previous experience is with a distributor. I worked for all three of the big distributors in Florida. I got a chance to experience the retail side and also the on-premise side. I even worked for a distributor on the west coast in Vegas for about a year. That’s been my experience, so coming onto the supplier’s side after being on the distributor side for ten and a half years was a huge change for me.
How does your previous role as a distributor differ from your new role as Amaro Montenegro/Select Italian Liquor’s Brand Ambassador?
I went from selling 10,000 different products, and now I’m selling a handful of products-we sell about three or four products. You have to take the supply on your own. When you’re working for a distributor you’re selling cases and cases. You’re not initially building a brand. You’re there to help out, so there’s a huge difference. My connection to hospitality now is that you have to get to know the person and get in touch with them more. You have to be friends with them. You’re not just going in on a sale’s call or taking an order. Now, you’re part of the hospitality crowd.
What led to your role as a Brand Ambassador for Amaro Montenegro and Select Italian Liquor? What do you enjoy about your brands?
I wanted to get over to the brand side for a while. What really caught my attention for these products is what they are doing in today’s market, it’s versatility. The Amaro Montenegro is traditionally known for being a digestive, an after-dinner drink. It’s low proof and low ABV it works well in various cocktails. It redefines a lot of classic cocktails. It can go into any drink. It’s all about the balance of bitterness and sweetness. It’s becoming very popular. It’s not going anywhere so it drew me in. I love that these products are with my previous distributor, Breakthru Beverage, as well. I grew with that distributor, so it was fun to work with all the same people again. I’m half Greek, and my family always told me that I have to work for a European company because they are the best, they are nice people, they are lovely, they are genuine. That struck me when I began working for this company based out of Bologna. Select Aperitivo is one hundred years old, and it is known for being the original ingredient for the Venetian Spritz. The only difference is that they garnish it with a green olive. The Venetian Spritz is more luxurious, and it elevates the spritz more. This drink is an introduction to someone’s night. It is an aperitivo but the Amaro is a digestivo. Both are versatile in drinks.
What are the key characteristics of being a successful Brand Ambassador?
You have to get in touch with your brand. You have to be yourself. You have to have fun with the brand, get to know it, and also get to know who you will be working with as well. It’s a different world. Now, you’re working on a bartender’s schedule. You’re sitting down with them when they’re starting. You’re asking them questions. You’re engaging with the hospitality people a lot more. You have to be out at night, that’s where people see you.
We all bring different values and skills to the table. How do you differ from other BAs?
Everyone is different in their way. Like I mentioned before, you have to be you. Everyone has a different personality and a different way of bringing that into their products. I would say that my biggest thing is being out in the market as much as I can. Some brand ambassadors love to do videos on camera and interviews. Even throughout Covid, we’re active. Then we have brand ambassadors who get out in person as much as they can and show their faces. That way everyone knows who you are. That is what I have been doing. I’m a street guy at heart. I like to go out. I had to adapt during Covid with the Zoom meetings and being on camera. I like to let everyone know who I am and what I can offer.
What are Amaro Montenegro’s values? How do these values intersect with your principles and standards for yourself as well as for the industry?
Amaro Montenegro, as a company and as a whole, is very familiar oriented. We’re all about liveliness and fun. We do a lot of trips throughout the year. For example, next year I’ll bring my wife with me when I go to Italy. They’ve been able to give us more downtime. This company has given me a lot of life and a lot of value through that.
What is it like to work for Amaro Montenegro and Select Italian Liquor? What do you enjoy the most about your job (education, partnerships, events, etc.)?
You can be you. You can be freer. I like the fact that these brands are versatile, you can work with everybody. That is what I love about this. When I worked for a distributor, I was selling certain goals and certain brands. You really can’t go out of your boundaries as much as you want. I work with the whole state, so I have so many options. I try to work with everyone. That is the most important thing at the end of the day. Being the product that we are, I love the freedom that I have to just go out there and be me. I can bring this product anywhere I want.
What are some challenges of being a BA for Amaro Montenegro? How has COVID-19 impacted the industry?
With Covid for the last seven months, it has been rough on us because we’re a hospitality brand. We’re not a consumer brand yet. In Italy and Europe, we are. In America, we’re still becoming. With hospitality, at the end of the day, these products cater to people.
What’s a significant goal of yours?
I want to make sure that the whole hospitality industry gets to know me and knows that I’m the guy for them. I am there for them. I am the person to call when you need something. I would love to be the person that everyone calls out and have them say hey, Alex, can you support this promotion I have coming up? Hey, do you want to be a part of my Halloween party, my Christmas party, etc.? I want everyone to know me in my backyard. I want to get out there and meet as many people as I can from the top of Florida to the bottom of Florida.
How may we follow your journey?
Follow Alex on Instagram @Alex_bart0520 and on Facebook as Alex Bartfield.
- Images By @Blazinvisualz