The 2020 pandemic caused many Arkansans to branch out and try new jobs and hobbies. This series will help readers better understand a day in the life of certain career fields, based on an interview with someone in that field.
For this segment of “A Day in the Life,” Arkansas Money & Politics sits down with Abbey Cox, a bar manager and tour guide at Crystal Ridge Distillery (CRD) in Hot Springs. Cox has been in this position for a year.
How did you end up working in this position?
COVID forced a job change. I have a psychology degree, so having experience in that field has made working at a bar a much easier and more enjoyable experience than I expected.
What does a normal day look like for you in this position?
On a normal day, my job consists of spending time doing tours of our distillery, giving tastings of the moonshine we make at CRD or working the main bar, creating craft cocktails and drinks made with the moonshine at CRD. It’s fast-paced most days, but the quiet days are good for team building and crafting new surprises!
What are some skills that someone might need to be good at this job?
You have to be a people person. You have to be able to retain a lot of knowledge, including but not limited to recipes, the history of the building, the process of making moonshine, as well as the flavor profiles of each of the unique flavored moonshine we sell. Having a loud voice and an entertaining personality is very useful as I come across all sorts of individuals from all over the world. You have to have a good sense of taste and be open to trying things that sound outrageous.
What are some life lessons or realizations about people or society or in general that you’ve had while in this position, if any?
Not everybody understands the value of something made local. Most people are generally open to new experiences but are scared of change. A good joke will bring people together, but a bad joke will ruin a good time. I’ve met far too many miserable people who chose to be unhappy. Life is too short not to have a good drink and a good time and to choose happiness. Work for small businesses; I love the owners because they care about their people. I’ve worked for a lot of corporations and I’ve never been treated as well.
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in doing the kind of work that you do?
Brace yourself for the bad days and hold on to the good days. Don’t be afraid to try something you’ve never done before, and work with integrity for people who value integrity. It will come in handy when your motivation is questioned. Try everything!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Ideally, still happily nestled at the distillery, making new drinks and making new friends with customers.
Do you have any final thoughts you’d like to share?
Small businesses are vital. Take the time to focus on loved ones and people that are safe. Your work family is as important as your own family. If they’re not safe, then do not waste time at a job where you are not appreciated. It makes a world of difference when both home and work are safe places.