Among the throngs of tourists on St. George Street, barkeep Jason Gustavson creates distinctive cocktails (like the Coral Kiss featured herein) for locals and out of towners alike at downtown St. Aug’s ultra-hip, nostalgia-themed bar and restaurant Prohibition Kitchen. And he does so with skeptics point of view.
“People all too often associate the word ‘craft’ with quality,” Gustavson told us when we interviewed him for our Drink Issue back in July. “However, there is no definition or regulation on how ‘craft’ can be used on a label for an alcoholic beverage.” Ultimately, though the waters may be muddied with craft imposters (craftposters?), Gustavson sees the trend as purely positive, pointing to the economic benefits of the craft movement.
“[It’s] creating many jobs all around the country for people who are trying to follow their dreams.”
Here’s six questions for Gustavson about his dream gig at Prohibition Kitchen.
What do you love about your job?
Let me start by saying that working for the Sheltra family [owners of Prohibition Kitchen] has allowed me to find my place in this industry. Very few jobs will allow one the freedom to infuse passion and sarcasm as tools to achieve guest satisfaction. People come to the bar for an experience and it has always been a point to emphasize that mindset to the bar staff.
You’re inside the bar and it’s burning down, you have enough time to save one keg of beer. What is it?
None, I could get 20 bottles of bourbon out faster than a keg of beer.
What drink do you hate making the most?
Anything that has a seasoned or flavored rim on the glass. I can just pour salt in your margarita.
What’s the greatest single item you should have for a home bar?
Simple. A wine key.
Best hangover cure?
Another drink, and then a fried egg and cheese sandwich.
How do you think the word “craft” has impacted the industry?
Let’s start with the negative. People all too often associate the word “craft” with quality. However, there is no definition or regulation on how “craft” can be used on a label for an alcoholic beverage. Secondly, this answer can be seen as a positive or a negative. There are so many so-called craft products that customers have seemingly unlimited choices. However, owners and managers see the market as being oversaturated. Lastly, a positive is the economic benefit of all these new companies. They are creating many jobs all around the country for people who are trying to follow their dreams.