I think the camaraderie amongst women in the industry is really important. I think its important to have allies and I think its only natural for women to gravitate towards each other and say, non-verbally that you know we're in this together - I'm here for you."
Erin Ashford has been a part of the Austin bar and restaurant community since 2008 after moving from Florida to attend Texas State University. During her time at Texas State, she held positions at two Austin institutions: Threadgill’s, where she was introduced to Austin’s rich history and solidified her love for southern hospitality and Stephen F. Austin’s Bar in the Intercontinental Hotel.
It was at Stephen F. Austin’s Bar where she truly fell in love with cocktails and bar culture. In addition to working at the bar and continuing her studies, Erin filled her schedule with non-profit work as Communications Coordinator for Fresh Chefs Society, an organization that helps build a network for foster care youth through the culinary arts.
After graduating in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies, Erin decided to focus on her love of hospitality and bartending. In April 2015, Erin seized an opportunity to work at the acclaimed bar at Qui and eventually became the bar’s creative leader, earning the opportunity to create the restaurant’s seasonal cocktail menus.
In the spring of 2016, Erin was tapped to become the Bar Manager at Olamaie — Austin’s celebrated vintage-inspired southern restaurant. Under her leadership, she formally established the bar as a key creative element and extension of the ingredient-driven kitchen helmed by executive chef and James Beard finalist Michael Fojtasek.
During her time at Olamaie, she has created critically-acclaimed seasonal cocktail menus and cultivated a space rich with warm southern hospitality. In the spring of 2019, she was promoted to Beverage Director and Assistant General Manager.
Outside of her work at Olamaie, she has gained recognition in numerous competitions and publications. Erin has competed as a finalist in Cochon 555’s Punch Kings tournament for the past three years, as well as in the “Diplomatico Rum World Competition” where she won in her hometown of Austin and went on to New York and Las Vegas to compete amongst some of the world’s best bartenders.
Erin has been published in the “Southern Foodways Alliance: Guide to Cocktails” book which was released in the summer of 2017, and she has been featured in local publications such as; Time Out, Eater and Culture Map. Most notably she was named “Austin’s Best Bartender” by Culture Map in 2018. Erin’s cocktails have also earned national recognition and featured in Imbibe, PUNCH and Somm Journal.