Fords Gin, the cocktail gin, has appointed Máté Hartai as a Brand Advocate. Based in Austin, Texas, Hartai will oversee Fords Gin growth in Texas and neighboring states while also supporting sister brands in The 86 Co. portfolio (Tequila Cabeza, Cana Brava Rum and Aylesbury Duck Vodka). Hartai brings nearly 15 years of bartending and hospitality experience to the role where he will drive gin education among trade and consumers, assist in sales and key account management, participate in national trade events and host Fords Gin activations, among other responsibilities.
Prior to joining the Fords Gin team, Hartai served as a bartender at Dallas’ Midnight Rambler and at Black Swan Saloon, where he worked shifts simply due to his love of honest hospitality. Hartai recently spent three years as corporate beverage director for HG Sply Co. and Standard Service where he led cocktail creation, staff education, and decreased pour costs while increasing drink quality and service style.
“As Fords Gin continues to expand its presence across the globe and garner greater attention among consumers and bartenders alike, we are forming a new brand advocacy and education team that will spread the gospel of all things gin and gin cocktails,” said Jason Kosmas, co-founder of Fords Gin and The 86 Co. “Máté’s stellar track record of educating countless bartenders on classic cocktails coupled with his knowledge of gin and his passion for the industry makes him an ideal addition to the team.”
Hartai began his career at Bavarian Grill in Plano, Texas absorbing all he could about beer at the 30-tap imported beer bar. He then began working at Dallas’ Libertine Bar as a barback and over the course of five years rose the ranks from bartender to bar manager. During his tenure, Hartai launched one of the first draft cellar programs in Dallas, built a solid classic cocktail foundation that evolved into a seasonally driven eclectic menu, and developed a training program that resulted in increased staff retention.
Hartai’s industry knowledge and expertise has been called on for projects including the openings of Dallas’ The Chesterfield, Bar Smyth and Shoal’s, as well as large-scale events such as Bare Knuckle Bar Fight at Tales of the Cocktail, Julep Houston Derby Day and Triggers’ Toys charity event. In April 2012, Hartai founded the craft ice company The Cold Standard. Rounding out his personal bartending growth, Hartai has staged at some of the world’s leading cocktail bars including: Denver’s Williams and Graham, and London’s White Lyan and Dandelyan, among others.