With bars closed, Fairport distillery creates website to help local bartenders


FAIRPORT, N.Y. (WROC) — Bartenders can’t make a drink in-person. But for now, they can show you how on the web.

The COVID-19 outbreak has left many bartenders unemployed after statewide bar closures. Iron Smoke Distillery in Fairport, in conjunction with Rochester-based Managed Services Team, launched a website to help bartenders and service industry workers in need.

“I think it’s been really tough, because we’re not used to not working,” said bartender Amanda Sciacca.

“The hope is that when someone sees that profile, it might support local,” said Iron Smoke founder Tommy Brunett, “or it might support that bartender.”

Here’s how it works: log on to the website, watch a bartender’s video or read a recipe, and leave a “tip,” done using Venmo, a payment app.

“You can go online, get an awesome idea when you’re trying to create a drink at home,” said Brunett. “You can also tip the bartenders and members of the community that really need help.”

“I’m used to serving so many people a week, so this is like I’m serving someone, said Sciacca. “But with the tipping, it helps me get a wage that I’ve lost.”

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