This is Max Borrowman, from Vancouver, Diageo Reserve Activation Manager.
Max is 36 years old and is originally from Ontario. He was born in Toronto, moved to London (Ontario) when he was two years old, and lived there until his whole family moved to Kelowna when he was 13 years old. He went to high school there and really got into golfing. He lived on a golf course, golfed every day, became very good and golf became his passion. He won the Junior Championship and was offered a full-golf scholarship in the United States. However, he ended up deciding to do something different and moved to Vancouver Island to study Economics at the University of Victoria. He graduated in 2009 and went travelling in Central and South America. When he came back, he decided to move to Vancouver and has been living there since.
Max started in hospitality at an Earls in Kelowna. He then bartended in Victoria through University. So when he first moved to Vancouver, he thought that finding a bartending gig wouldn’t be so hard. He was wrong. After weeks of hustle, one day Max got lucky. He walked into a random bar and asked to see the manager. Little did he know that he was actually at the Fairmount Pacific Rim and was applying to work amongst some of the best bartenders in the city. After many interviews, he was finally offered a job. The Food and Beverage Director decided to give him a chance, but advised him that he would be working with bartenders that had decades of experience and that he should listen very closely, pay attention and learn from them. Which is exactly what he did.
Max would spend the next two years bartending there until he quit to go travelling again. He went to Europe, Egypt, Ethiopia, Australia, where he met his now wife, and came back to work at the Fairmount upon his return. Eventually, one of the sushi chefs there was leaving to open his own restaurant and asked Max to join the opening team. He accepted and became the Bar Manager at Torafuku. It was also around that time that Max really started to get into cocktail competitions. He had the chance to have great mentors at the Fairmount and did very well. He won the regional Beefeater Competition, went to Toronto and the States for World Class, and ended up making many connections that way.
Eventually, Max left Torafuku to become the Bar Manager at Juniper. And those were his golden years. He wasn’t competing much at that point, but when competing he did very well. He got invited to a lot of brand trips. And also learnt a lot from managing Juniper. However, after a little over two years, Max got to the point where he wanted to work for himself and started his own consulting company. It worked out and he liked it, but then he was offered his current position with Breakthru and took the job in October 2019. It was great timing as much as a great move.
Overall, Max is a good example of someone that has explored many facets of our industry. He got to where he is through hard work and skills, of course, but also by behaving well and making tons of connections in cocktail competitions and brand trips. He is a reminder that we are always ambassadors for ourselves and that we never know when we are going to meet the people that will open new doors for us in the future.
For Max's cocktail recipe, click here.