THE MAN NAMED SUPAN! – Matias Supan Interviewed

Updated: June 1, 2007
From starting out finishing in last place at his first Flair bartending competition to a Flair legend and Brand Ambassador… Mr. Matias Supan. He has a fire for Flair and an unbreakable mind set on stage to compete and now on the cover of Flairbar.com, we get to know a little more about Matias and “the man named Supan!” and how this legend is stirring things up in Chile… So sit back, relax and indulge in a Skyy Vodka or Finest Call cocktail and enjoy…

Age? I’m 28 years old.

Where are you from? I was born in Tandil, a city close to Buenos Aires – Argentina.

How long have you’ve been Bartending? I’ve been bartender for the last 11 years of my life.

And Flair Bartending? I really can’t remember exactly how long but I think I’ve been flipping bottles for 10 of the 11 years than I’ve been bartending.

Where do you work? I have two different jobs now, One of them in my own company called MUNDOBAR (bar world in English) it is a Bartenders Academy where all the people can learn how to do Flair in the different levels of exhibition also mixology and we organize competitions, bar seminaries and a lot of things about the world of bartending…

And the other one is for the global company “Bacardi Martini” as the Brand Ambassador, doing all the brand education events around South America with brands like Bacardi, Martini, Campari, Grey Goose and of course SKYY VODKA.    

What got you into Flair Bartending? Some people say to me that if you do a job for 8 hours a day you have to think what got you into the profession and why, but if you do the same thing 24 hours a day, even when you sleep, you just were born for that…

How did you start out learning to Flair? I started by myself for the first 2 years, trying to create our own moves without any example, no videos, no competitions, nothing at all. After that I found a couple of Flair bartenders and I think we grow up together watching videos of some great bartenders like Alan Mays, Ken Hall, Bill Long and a lot more…

Tell us about the Flair Bartending scene in Chile? Flair Bartending in Chile is growing up day by day, a couple of years ago everybody knows that Argentina was the best and the only place to be a Flair Bartender, but now I think the “Flair Concept” has travelled around South America giving the world, people like Diego Dillon from Brazil, Aaron Diaz from Peru, and a lot of Flair bartenders that some people may be never watch in a video but guys… which are really amazing.

I can see this every day in the Flair room of my school and local competitions…

Describe to us your style of Flair? If I have to describe my style of Flair I can say that is a “feeling style”. To be honest I don’t watch Flair videos all the day to improve my style, I always tried to make a good show for the people that are on the other side of the bar, more than for me.

Technically talking I always try to do equilibrated routines where you can find the original Argentinean style with a little bit of every objects combination from the bar, 50% less than two objects combinations & 50% routines with 3,4 or 5 objects.

I would love to do 6 too but I can’t, hehehe

Matias_quote1What makes you stand out from other Flair Bartenders? I really don’t think I’m different or even better than any other Flair bartender but I can tell you that I’ve always been worry about my “overall routine”, every part of it is very important for me, I’m not the fastest man in Flair business, I don’t have the hardest moves or the most beautiful style… I don’t know, I think the difference between me and others Bartenders are that I have a good percent of every part of the Flair routine and I think that I have the gift of being worry about, originality, difficulty, music, variety and of course my overall.

What do you hope to get out of Flair? Between us…, I am going to kill myself if some day I get a position less than 10th in an international competition, that’s the “ego” part of me.

But I can say that while I feel nervous on the stage, and I can keep enjoying been there you’ll hear about me.

Matias_small6What is your favorite Flair Bartending competition and why?  I love every Flair Bartenders competition but if I’ve to choose one of them I think my favourite is Roadhouse. I’ve been in almost 80 competitions in my life and I think that competition makes you feel the crowd too close, they can pick the drink you making and that’s amazing, I really don’t know how to explain that, you got to be there…

Who do you look up to in this Sport?  There are different ways to look up to someone in our profession and it depends of what are you looking for of them, for example if I want to find an idea about style I’m sure that I’m going to watch a Christian, Francesco or Sebastian video (I don’t have to write the last names, do I?) and if I wake this morning trying to get better my technique I’ll choose a Tom, Rodrigo or Mig video; Of course that if I just want to enjoy a video there’s no limit or Flair Bartenders to choose I love to watch every person flipping bottles.

What are your thoughts on the FBA Pro Tour? First of all I want to say that I completely agree with every event if it makes the Flair bartending grow up in the world, congratulations and all my respect for all the people from the FBA who makes every PRO TOUR competition.

Technically, there are a lot of things than we can say to make it better, and I think I only can give an humble piece of contribution to the FBA PRO TOUR and is that’s too expensive for a lot of people around the world travel to be there, I know every event is complicated and expensive to do, but would be an outstanding contribution if we can make competitions in places like Korea, Japan, Argentina, Brazil, I don’t know, countries where we can bring people from borders places.

If we say Flair is a global passion we have to and I repeat – Guys don’t get me wrong it is just a humble contribution to make the FBA PRO TOUR better…

FBC_Video_ButtonIf you could help influence Flair to change our sport somehow, what would it be and why? Maybe one of the most important things to grow up any sport could be TV, all of us can see that in internet there are a lot of diffusion and publicity of our sport but I think that we are carefree sometimes about getting events and competitions into the TV world, I know is too hard but we have a tool that others sports don’t have, this is new for a lot of people and all of them are going to love it when they watch it on TV!

If we are doing it great here in Chile with local comps, why we can’t do the same with competitions bigger then those?

Taking care about that could be a great and fast contribution to our sport, but is just an idea and I repeat I know is too hard and sometimes Very expensive too.

Where do you see the future of our sport? This January my friends Neil Lowry and Neil Garner ask me a question like this and my answer wasn’t optimist, I said than the world of Flair is going down. I don’t know exactly the reason but I’m so sure when I say that if we are keeping carefree about the starting bartenders the Flair will not have a good future, maybe you guys remember some competitions like “Quest for the Best” with more than 100 competitors no more than 4 or 5 years ago…

There are a lot of ways to help the people starting out… supporting Flair schools, rookie competitions, learning videos, and I’m sorry if I repeat the same thing but the “grow up key” of Flair bartending is take care of the rookies and the intermediates bartenders, the Flair old people like me with more than 10 years making Flair knows how to help…

What are some common myths about the profession of Flair bartending? One of the most common myths about our beautiful profession is the “Mixology Vs. juggling” thing. Some people say that we are just jugglers and we are carefree about the drinks we make every day or the service that we do behind the bar. I don’t think it is real but we must to be honest… there are Flair Bartenders like that, but I think that’s a myth ’cause we (the Flair bartenders) are one of the workers who live by the work we do, doing the same thing 24 hours a day, practicing every part of our profession.  

Matias_quote2How often do you practice? Is so hard to me keep training ’cause I’m working a lot, but I can say that I use one hour a day to keep my Flair level alive, obviously when I have a competition I got to train more than that, and I have a “training scheme”; I use every one hour a day to make my routine and 3 weeks before the comp I do it 10 times a day, 300 times, maybe 400 or 500 if I have the time, it takes me no more than 2 hours a day, I think is a good way if you are busy… 

What is your advice to some of the new people wanting to start competing, any helpful hints? I always believe that the secret of winning a competition are in the rules & regulations papers, that’s the communication way between judges and producers of the event, that’s the only way that they have to tell to the competitor what exactly they want from the bartender competing.

A lot of Flair Bartenders train maybe the 80% of the time they flip the bottles only tricks for the difficulty points, knowing… if they read the rules, that the difficulty bonus are maybe only the 20% or 30% of the total, forgetting practice originality moves, variety routines, even the part of moves to make the style better.






Matias_small3Another piece of humble advice could be that you got to keep being yourself and do not have to try to be other Flair Bartenders, people like Christian who got the gift of having an incredible style work so hard to make that style thinking and working about himself and no other, if we take moves from him, Rodrigo, Tom, or another Flair Bartenders we are going to be always one step behind them, if that makes you happy, good for you… but if not, mostly when you start being a Flair Bartender, a good piece of advice is be yourself and always be original.       

Tell us about your first Flair Competition and your experiences there, What were you feeling, Did everything go as planned? My first Flair Competition was a complete disaster, hehe, nothing was like I planned. I had been training like 6 months for that and I thought that I knew how to compete, of course I was wrong. 19 Flair Bartenders competing and guest what?, yeap, I was 19th , hehe, but believe me when I tell you that even being the last one in the list, my feeling was some kind of adrenaline drug that makes me compete until today 9 years after my first disaster, I don’t know how to explain it, I only know that while I can… I am going to be there.


Matias_small2Tell us about your experience moving to Chile and why you left the American Flair bartending competition scene? I like to think that South America is a big country, and I really don’t care if I’m in Argentina, Brazil, Chile or another country here in the South of the world, getting out personal reasons.

The main reason to be here and left Argentina is my work for Bacardi and my own company too. Now I can say that I have one of the most privileged positions that a bartender can get in a global liquors company, I’ve a school that makes more than 250 Flair bartenders per year, I produce events, and every day when I’m going to sleep, I’m happy with the work that I do.

I know it has taken me more than 4 years of my life; even it takes me out of the American competitions scene, one of the personal things than I miss most. I really never want to leave any competition, and I miss all the people I knew there but like you guys already know, in these kinds of jobs we got to think in the future, sometimes more than the present…

But I promise that before this year ends I’ll be there doing my best for you guys!


Do you still compete abroad and if so tell us about your most recent competitions? Of course I’m competing and my lasts competitions were in Sao Paulo – Brazil, and Buenos Aires – Argentina.

The first one is a competition that I recommend to all the Flair Bartenders that enjoy traveling around the world, Diego Dillon and all the flairbrasil.com people organized a beautiful competition, just one day with 30 bartenders, believe me guys, an amazing comp, Christian Delpech won that day and I keep my podium place.

The Buenos Aires competition organized for Sebastian Cao, Rodrigo’s Brother, was great too with almost 20 bartenders from Peru, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil and Argentina I keep my podium place too and I enjoy it more than anything in the last year.

What advice do you have for someone wanting to become an FBA representative? Every person who has the honor of being a part of the FBA has to be proud of it, thinking in the main reason of be a representative every day, “we do this for the Flair Bartending around the world”, remembering that we can’t do a lot of thing for it alone, we need the FBA in the same percent than the FBA need us to make our passion grow up.

If you are or you want to be a FBA representative I’m sure you want to leave a tread in the Flair history, maybe you can’t or don’t want to be a legend on the stage, but you want to be a part of these… believe me, the FBA is a good help to you to help other people in your country get into this beautiful world. You must to be honest and use it as well as you can, a lot of people need your support.

What was it like being part of the first generation of Flair bartenders from Argentina at that time? That’s too hard to explain with words but I’ll do my best… Our Flair world at that time was incredible; the competitions were real battles between bartenders who believe some kind of dream as new as crazy for the other people even bartenders.

You could see Flair Bartenders from I don’t know where, training all day, I can say that sometimes I was training more than a complete day and I wasn’t alone.

There was a competition at 1999 called Rock & Flair where you could see people like Christian Delpech, Rodrigo Delpech, Christian Oldan, Daniel Rossi, Adriano Marcellino, me and a lot of great bartenders, was fu… incredible man.

Those bartenders talent was incredible and we only need another place with others bartenders to compete to grow up and jump to the next level, an unbelievable level…

At November of 1999 we travel to Orlando to “The Quest for the Best Bartender in the World” and believe me guys, nobody could stop our passion to train, compete and win.

I can say that time was so hard, people doesn’t got the recourses to travel but a few bartenders from that generation got the dream of being in a world final. That time was one of the most amazing moments in my Flair life…

Matias_quote3What are your thoughts on the new generation of Flair bartenders from Argentina? I think they are so good, bartenders like Rodrigo Cao, Mauro Garrido, Nicolas Antivero, Juan Pablo Reales and others persons that keeps   the Argentinean Flair on the top, and that’s deserve all my admiration and my respect. I have to say that there is another generation that maybe you don’t know yet, but you are going to hear about…

Are all of those countless hours of Flair practice worth it? Of course the training hours that you stay out of the Flair room makes you loose your technical Flair level, the routines flow even your skill to get difficulty points on a competition.

Being a Flair Bartender isn’t like driving a bicycle, you can be able to do a 5 bottles trick now and if you take an entire week to train a “bottle – tin” routine and you don’t practice it, is possible that you’re going to loose the skill to make it again. You can see that all the time in competitions, 10 or 12 drops, even more than that in 6 minutes on the stage, is all about practicing…


Matias_small4What are your plans now? My plans now are just keep working in the same way for Bacardi Martini, make my school grow up every day to make the firsts 1000 bartenders at the end of this year, of course I’ll be training as always, competing as many times as I can and one of the most attractive things that I’m planning now are to insert me into the global liquor marketing world more than ever ’cause I think is a good way to make a change in our profession.

What obstacles do you see our sport of Flair Bartending encountering in the near future and in your opinion, how can we overcome them? I’ve already wrote about taking care of the Flair students and bartenders starting and that’s great but I think even that’s not enough, we also have to look at the way that they grow up ’cause creating more new Flair Bartenders is great but we also have to professionalize their way to work, their speed behind the bar, accuracy, knowledge and a lot of things that will be our army against a lot of regular bartenders when they say that we are just jugglers.

We can’t stay out of their opinions because the people also hear their commentaries. No longer from today they could be the winners of this confrontation about who is the best behind the bar, and what’s going to happen is that they will have a good point we they say to us jugglers…

Matias_small5If you had the opportunity to convince a skeptical Bar manager to hire a Flair Bartender, How would you go about it? Some of my students said to me “How can I work in a good bar?” And I always said, tell the manager that you want to work a weekend for free, do what you do behind the bar and ask him “What do you think about my bartending?”

That’s work all the time if the bartender knows how to do his work, that means that what we do really works.

I think that’s maybe the best way to convince a skeptical bar manager, showing what we can do, customers, the owners and even him are going to love it, more than this, is an incredible tool to make the Up Selling better, to bring customers and make they come back, just a couple of tips between the million of good reasons we can find to tell him about why is great having a Flair Bartender behind his bar.

What are some common obstacles you face as a Flair bartender opposed to a regular bartender? Nothing at all behind the bar, I think that if we (Flair bartenders) work professionally we don’t have to be afraid about anything ‘because I think that a Flair Bartender can make drinks and any other thing at the bar as well as a regular bartender or even better, but a regular bartender can’t enjoy what is to work flipping bottles.

You only can find obstacles at your work if you do it without professionalism or if you are carefree about your customers stay. More than that… if you don’t love what you do.

Do you think Flair bartenders promote different liquor brands effectively and how so? Between all the walks to do liquor brand marketing one of the most effective and cheaper ways is using bartenders, the reason is too easy to understand, we (Bartenders) can say if the brand have a good performance in taste, purity, even how to mix it to make a delicious cocktail at home to the costumers every day, and they are going to believe us ’cause we are the people who have the knowledge about all these brands.

If any brand want to make one of those marketing stuffs that will be too expensive and hard to do; Using Bartenders for that is good for us, they and of course customers, everyone…


What is your favorite drink? I’m just a little bit classical for the cocktails I drink, some times I prefer just have bourbon on the rocks, a Bacardi & Coke without lemon or a Corona but of course I love some cocktails, for example one of the most is “Zipper Head” with Chambord, Skyy Vodka and club soda also a Blue Hawaiian and almost all the tropical drinks if they have a good flavor balance.



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