Skip to main content

An interview with Alex Jump: Beverage consultant, F&B industry advocate & co-founder of Focus on Health

Alex, thanks for taking some time out with us! How is life looking for you right now? 

Currently life looks a bit calm for me, which I am grateful for. Since I transitioned from working in bars to being fully freelance I’ve been able to enjoy more time at home with my partner and dogs, cooking meals, spending quality time together. I don’t have much work travel in the first quarter of the year, so I’ve been focusing a lot of my energy on wedding planning and maintaining some of my New Year’s goals.

Tell us about your background in bars, what led you to this point in your career?

I started working in bars and restaurants when I was 16 as a hostess at a local restaurant in Chattanooga, TN, where I grew up. I continued to work in the hospitality industry through college and ultimately fell in love with bartending right after I turned 21. Facing the option of applying to Grad School or pursuing a career behind the bar, I ultimately decided that I had found my calling and dove head-first into the world of bars as I graduated from college. I moved to Denver in 2017 pursuing more opportunities to learn and grow in my career, which lead me to becoming the opening Bar Manager at Death & Co’s Denver location in 2018. I worked there for 4.5 years until I ultimately decided to pursue freelance work through both my consulting agency, Dim Lights Hospitality, and the company I co-founded with Lauren Paylor O’Brien, Focus on Health. 

Focus on Health – tell us more! What are the challenges facing people working in the industry? 

Focus on Health (@fohealth) is an agency that advocates for the health and wellbeing of the hospitality industry through storytelling, events, programing, and education. It came about from myself and LP’s shared experiences of struggling to maintain our wellbeing while working in this demanding field. Ultimately we realized that there was such irony in the fact that hospitality workers give so much to their customers while ultimately putting their own needs last. We know that so many in our industry suffer silently, feeling alone like there is no way to get help. Focus on Health works to remove that stigma by openly sharing our experiences and providing trainings and activations that help make this industry a better place to work. Our current offerings are the No/Low Tour, The Professional Development Scholarship Program, and the no proof Podcast hosted by Joshua Gandee. 

What has been your greatest achievement with Focus on Health to date and where do you go next?

Our scholarship program has been the most rewarding part of my career thus-far in this industry. In 2023 we brought 12 bartenders from across the United States to Tales of the Cocktail. The scholarship provided them with lodging, tickets to TOTC, access to mentorship and career coaching, professional headshots, and a lot more. Similarly we replicated the program for Portland Cocktail Week and were able to bring 9 bartenders to PDX for the same kind of professional networking + growth opportunities. For both scholarships we focused on bartenders from marginalized backgrounds and those who live in tertiary markets that often don’t get equal access to resources that other bartenders usually receive. Our next focus of FOH is to develop training programs focused around harm reduction and suicide prevention. 

Tell us more about your passion project…

I’m very passionate about harm reduction. Hospitality workers suffer from some of the highest rates of substance use and substance use disorder than any other workforce. Developing a harm reduction education program that is specific to our workers and uses language and examples that they can understand and relate to is my current passion project. 

Finally, your top three – The Who, The What, The Where.

Give us your ones to watch…

Who = Joshua Gandee, host of the no proof podcast.

What = Khesed Wellness, a nonprofit based out of Denver, CO that provides both affordable and pro-bono mental health care, and they also have a large focus on hospitality employees.

Where = Wild Child Kansas City, a bar that has a big focus on low and no cocktails. 

In Denver and looking for some non-alc magic?

You can find Three Spirit at Death & Co., Lady Jane, Traveling Mercies and many more bars and restaurants. Search our store locator for more 🔍 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.