This is Jean-Sébastien Michel, owner of Alambika
Jean-Sébastien is 38 years old. He is the step-dad of two teenagers. He was born and grew up in Sept-Îles until his parents moved to Mont-Saint-Hilaire when he was 10. He studied Political Science at university. More precisely, he was fascinated by the way societies lived with alcohol and drugs and how it varied according to different places and eras.
After he graduated, he got a job at a wine boutique called Au Plaisir de Bacchus. He started as a cashier and progressively ended up as a manager whose tasks went far beyond the usual managerial tasks. He devoted himself to its success in the perspective that he could eventually buy it. When it became obvious that the owners were not going to sell, he finally left. The investors he had found in the meanwhile were still interested in investing in his project, which eventually led him to open his own boutique: Alambika.
How J-S got into the cocktail world is a story of generosity. He would be invited to more underground bartending events to set up a stand and rather than spending the night trying to sell his products, he would photograph the event and share the pictures with the organizers. In turn, the very few cocktail bartenders of the time would invite him to their events even if he was not properly part of the bartending community. Of course, we know how that turned out.
Jean-Sebastien is now a central part of the cocktail community in Montreal. If his boutique started as a pdf catalogue almost 10 years ago, Alambika’s role now goes far beyond selling pretty much every artisanal cocktail product you can possibly think of. With Alkadémie behind their new boutique on St-Laurent, bartenders now have a space for creating and testing cocktails, tools for pricing them and a bar at their disposition to organize events. More than that, J-S has always been generously donating and supporting many of the very important competitions and community events. He plays a central role in promoting Montreal’s cocktail scene at an international level and the least is to say that our community would not be the same without his many contributions!
A little bit more...
The three words that describe him best – learn / generalist / positive Fun fact about him – He does not get angry. Or…he is a very shy person. He had his first shot when he was thirty, before that he was too shy to go to the bar. Life moto – Don’t be a dick. It’s worthless. Everything is much more pleasant and goes way better if you are helpful and nice to others. One thing he has achieved on his life bucket-list – Jean-Sebastien is inherently a generalist. For him to have found a job that actually fits his very wide skills sets and interests is a great accomplishment. He never thought he would be so happy and find a gem of a job like that, where his professional tasks are basically to apply all of his biggest interests. One thing he has yet to achieve on his life bucket-list – For Montreal to become an international cocktail destination for the good reasons. The most beautiful thing about our community – It’s people. Most people are pretty awesome, willing to give and have their ego under control, with the common goal of putting Montreal on the map. The people in this industry are willing to work together, and it gives you the feeling that you can be generous without fearing to be back stabbed. J-S reminds us that it is very hard in life to be a good lover, a good friend, a good parent and a good entrepreneur all at the same time. So to have a beautiful professional network is a 2 for 1. It is a community that you want to see, not just for the business. And usually business follows. If you’re not a dick.