From being a graduate of Political Science to founding a mobile bar company setting the pace in Warri, Delta State, far away from Lagos – the industry hub, meet Modupe Idowu of Dees Cocktails and More.
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your position, and background.
My name is Modupe Idowu, I am from Ogun state, born and raised in Lagos state; Founder and Head bartender, Dees Cocktails and More, based in Delta State but with a global outlook. A graduate of Ambrose Ali University with a BSc in Political Science.
When did you start making cocktails yourself and when did you get into the business of it?
My cocktail Journey started 7years ago. Professionally 4 years now
What inspired the drive to get into the cocktail business?
I think bartending found me. I was always attracted to bars and bartending and I started experimenting and researching and worked freelance at some bars to learn more. It gradually became a hobby and a part of me.
My drive to start it as a business here was as a result of poor cocktails seen at events here in Warri and it occurred to me that there was a gap in the industry here, so I travelled, got certified, and started out here.
Can you recall your first event? What was the experience like?
My first event, it was amazing. The client wasn’t interested. The CEO of Brad_E Events really wanted me to show I had something to offer to that client and also build my profile, so she convinced the client to hire me. I was paid N20,000 and I accepted it. I love a challenge, so I added my money pulled the event through, and it’s been amazing from there.
You are based in Warri, Delta State; tell us about the cocktail scene over there.
The cocktail scene here is “special”. People didn’t understand the concept when I started. It was difficult, hectic and tough. I cried sometimes, almost gave up. Faced a lot of challenges, from product sourcing to ice cubes (no one produced ice cubes then). But it is better now and I believe It will be a lot better in years to come. It’s a gradual process.
How are you and other players there striving to push things up and get more people to embrace cocktails especially for events?
I educate my clients, I partner with event hosts with my services to create more awareness.
You were here for the Lagos Cocktail Week 2019, was that your first time?
No, LCW 2019 wasn’t my first edition.
How many editions of the event have you attended?
I think it was my 2nd or third. I have only missed one edition so far.
What’s been the hallmark of the event for you?
The hallmark is networking and meeting colleagues beyond the gram.
Since you aren’t based in Lagos, it would have been easy to have put off coming; what drove you to come?
My drive to come, I stir up inspiration from anything and anywhere. Also networking.
What do you see as the future of the Nigerian cocktail industry (say in the next 5-10 years), and where do you see Warri in that picture?
I see the Nigerian cocktail industry in the international scene sooner than later. Nigerians are really creative and the bartenders we have are the most creative I have ever seen. Warri is definitely in that scene also.
Modupe Idowu is the Founder and Head Bartender for Dees Cocktails and More, a cocktail vendor company based in Warri, Delta State. You can check them out on Instagram via @deescocktails.