A Trashy History
Trash Tiki is an anti-waste punk pop up that is the brainchild of us, bartenders Kelsey Ramage and Iain Griffiths. Launched at the end of 2016, Trash Tiki has become the bartender’s resource for all things environmentally minded.
In The Beginning
Originally planned to be nothing more than an online platform to share recipes, the response quickly lead us to start doing a series a pop ups. The reason we wanted to be nothing more then a bunch of recipes was a simple one, we saw the topic of sustainability becoming increasingly complicated, something that supposedly only the high end bars could attempt to master.
This apparent complication was quite frustrating for us, having already started working on many of the base recipes we continue to feature, we knew that it was quite the opposite and every bar, no matter their size, equipment list or cocktail program, could be tackling the global food waste issue craft cocktail bars are hugely responsible for.
There was no one single 'ah-ha' moment when we created this, rather many a late night in bed, bottle of whiskey by our side, talking about the frustrations we were seeing in the industry. Eventually, as with anything you talk about enough, the fire inside grew and the need to start tackling the wastefulness of the bars we love all over the world took hold.
'Just The One Pop Up Then...'
The response to those initial recipes was a little nuts tbh. It was clear very quickly the food & drink world was ready to have this conversation and we were more than willingly to be a part of it. A late-night agreement to come make our recipes at a small tiki event a few weeks after launching led to an afternoon bartender seminar outside of Birmingham and 6 weeks after we launched this online platform we were in LA on December 5, 2016 in the back room of the glorious Harvard & Stone stressing our nut off, with barely a clue what we were doing, throwing a pop up.
It was bad. The drinks sucked, the music was WAY too aggressive and we opened very late (the latter of these we still won't profess to having mastered). However the turn out from friends was unreal, the blind belief that even though things clearly weren't up to scratch now, they would be, really lifted us and we returned to London to lick our wounds and regroup.
By the start 2017, Trash Tiki had taken off, literally, with us taking sometime off over New Years to plan what it all meant, and concluding with the fact it was time for us to leave London, and in doing so, embark on a 10-month world tour that would take us to 5 continents and over 40 cities to throw pop ups, talk to bartenders about why this is so important, and see just how many people we could get to "Drink Like You Give a Fuck".
Having a strap line such as that, it was pretty clear what Trash Tiki’s mission was from the get go, to inject some fun, honesty and creativity into the dull notion of sustainability. The punk attitude something we've harboured since our angsty teenage years, that tour gave us some many wonderful experiences reaching new communities and a hell of a lot of drive to not rest until we could reach not only bartenders, but also brands, every day drinkers, and anyone else who can help be a part of fixing our pretty fucked up world.
With anti waste practicalities now firmly in the mind of bartenders around the globe, the high energy chaos of those first pop ups has manifested itself into more brands and platforms. Wasteland Paradise is the late night, safe space disco party the duo felt was missing from the many cocktail weeks and conference held around the world. Common Sense, Kelsey’s own platform to bring modern cocktails and environmental practises to the every day drinker with a lifestyle and travel perspective, has launched to great response.
With all these now nestled under the The Trash Collective company, us now calling the very awesome city of Toronto home, and much more to come in the months and years that follow, we're still constantly blown away with how the bartending world has embraced a late-night idea to get us all making better drinks. It's become much bigger than the two us (and we're ok with that, cos we really like having a bed to call home), but most importantly it forms part of the global conversation the food & drink world is in the middle of, that everyone on either side of the bar is participating in.
To have a greater respect for the products we use and consume, end the 20th Century attitude of single use ingredients and do all that with a light hearted, fun and hospitable attitude, that is what Trash Tiki stands for every time we scream “drink like you give a fuck”.