Charles Roche: Young Intellect

30 April, 2019

Shay Waterworth meets early starter Charles Roche, the mastermind behind Liquid Intellect.

SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE ARE often the ones who make bold decisions and commit wholeheartedly to them. In seven years of bartending, Charles Roche has made several big decisions and stuck with them, and now he is reaping the rewards.

He got his first taste of hospitality at 16, pouring pints in a local pub in Nottingham, UK, and two years later he was working nights in a nearby club.

“Those were some of the best days of my life because a lot of my friends would be in there, I was starting to learn a bit of flair and I was a cheeky chappy.”

After moving to Leicester to study at De Montfort University Roche got a job at Natterjacks bar, where he learned the basics of professional bartending.

On his first shift the guy who hired him also gave him a little book to research classic cocktails and come up with his own interpretations.

“I turned up with six pages of research on what I thought was a revolutionary cocktail, which turned out to be a Strawberry Daiquiri.”

Roche was also given the opportunity to work at House of Coco Tang in Nottingham and later manage Hockley Arts Club.

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“After a couple of years I was getting frustrated that I’d got to a level where I wasn’t learning anything new and, because I’m a practical learner, I decided that the best way for me was to get out there and go travelling.

“I was going to leave with a one way ticket and not come back. I’d even begun selling my belongings.”

On Valentine’s Day he took his girlfriend to London for the day and, after tagging himself at a bar on Instagram, he received a message from Scout owner Matt Whiley, asking him to meet up to discuss a new role.

“I looked at my phone and thought, ‘who the bloody hell is this guy?’”

Roche was waiting at the train station having a glass of wine with his girlfriend, who encouraged him to go and meet up with Whiley at Peg + Patriot.

“Once I have my mind set on something I usually go through with it, but my girlfriend told me that if I didn’t take this opportunity I’d regret it for the rest of my life.”

Roche then moved to London to work at Scout but struggled with the costs of the city, only affording to eat Pot Noodles in a basement flat.

“My time at Scout was the most educational year of my career. I believe I learned more in those 12 months than I had in the previous seven years.”

During his time at Scout, Roche set up Liquid Intellect, a consultancy company, and while working on what is now Bar Hercules in Soho, he came to an agreement with the owners that he could work as bar manager while using the basement as the home for his business.

“Since moving in here we’ve been busier than ever with consultancy, which has funded our bottled cocktail business.”

His ready-to-drink bottled cocktails (pictured) have just launched to the market, but aside from Liquid Intellect, Roche has another dream.

“The ultimate goal for me is to open my own bar one day, but London is so competitive in every way and right now the focus is on Liquid Intellect.”

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