When Jeremy LeBlanc noticed just how many things can go wrong behind the bar, he set out to find a solution. Having a ton of experience behind many different bars, and years of training new bartenders under his belt, Jeremy, along with his business partner Chad Berkey, noticed that even the most talented bartenders were over-pouring and providing guests with inconsistent cocktails.
Truth be told, a lot of components go into each and every cocktail, and in a high volume bar with many eyes on the bartender at any given moment, balancing the precision of ingredients, along with the hospitable nature of the job, can bequite a difficult feat. “With 10 people watching you, you’re trying to be a good host, you’re trying to be a good bartender, pumping out cocktails left and right,” says LeBlanc. Factoring in that the average establishment loses 25-30% of inventory to waste, it becomes clear that the system is flawed.
And so Jeremy and Chad sought out to fix this issue. “It was really about creating a system of bartending, but the idea grew. We took it a step further and made a prototype,” says LeBlanc. And thus Tin Play was born, a streamlined set of bartending tools strategically designed to fix the exact issues that go on behind any bar.
There are many factors that go into the efficiency of these bar tools. First and foremost, consistency, “we wanted to make cocktails more efficient, putting out consistent cocktails everything single time,” says LeBlanc. Using Tin Play’s patented ‘high speed reference line’ which is a metal pin centered inside of the 32 oz. Precision Pour Shaker Tin, a bartender can simply scoop ice to the top of the pin, add liquid ingredients, “as soon as that liquid hits the top of the pin, it’s the perfect pour—perfect martini pour, perfect rocks pour—every time.”
Beyond efficiency, the shaker itself is designed to enhance showmanship through its design. Tin Play’s shakers are clear with stainless rims on the bottom and top for an aesthetic ode to the old-school shakers. The goal here is to create an experience where customers get to watch the art of layering a cocktail. “It’s not just about being a great bartender but a great ‘showtender,’” says LeBlanc, “When you say the word ‘flair’ people think of throwing bottles up in the air and spinning them around, but it means a whole bunch of things. It’s about going the extra step, being all you can be behind the bar and creating that experience that goes from one person to the next so that people are telling others how they had a great time and felt involved in the process of making drinks and watching cocktails be made.”
There are other benefits to the transparent design, “you can’t see well into a traditional shaker, so a lot of waste can happen either in the alcohol itself or the mixers.” The bartender is able to easily visualize the precise pour, keeping consistency in the balance of cocktails. Managers can also keep an easy watch on their team to ensure that the liquid levels are going right up to the pin, eliminating over pour and even theft.
Tin Play quickly evolved beyond the shaker, next introducing its Ultimate Muddle Tool, a 4-in-1 tool (all Tin Play tools are multi-use)— a muddle, bottle opener, can opener, and jigger all in one sleek design. The jigger has a range from .25 oz to2 oz, and is again clear, ensuring efficient alcohol pours and keeping pour costs in mind.
Simply flip the jigger the other way and it becomes a muddling tool that envelopes the pin inside the shaker and has a jagged tooth edge for crushing and grinding fruits and herbs, and again, involving the patron to watch the process. The opposite end of the tool is a bottle opener and can opener, “the bottle opener has a half moon to open up cans so it doesn’t uproot your fingers, bringing bar rot down.”
The 16 oz. Cheater Tin, made of the same materials as the shaker, is another complementary component to the line, “when you scoop ice with it, it’s the exact amount of ice you want to use, putting all the ice to the top of the shaker’s pin.” Combine the Cheater Tin and shaker to create a strainer.
After a full year of development and putting the line to the test, Tin Play took in some feedback to perfect the designs. Now with five patents on their products, a whole bunch of bars in San Diego using the tools, and a sales presence on Barproducts.com as well as Tinplay.com, Tin Play is ready to take on the market full force. “We’re forming strategic partners with wholesalers and distributors and gearing up for a busy 2016,” says LeBlanc, who sees endless possibilities for Tin Play.
Thanks for the chat, Jeremy! And looking forward to seeing you in March at the Nightclub and Bar Show.