More than a mainstay: Marcel Baumann

by Peter Eichhorn



"Call me Baumann" is written on the homepage of the artist Marcel Baumann. "This has taken on such a life of its own;" Marcel reports "an incredible number of people, even those who have known me for a long time, call me Baumann. Nobody calls me Marcel. Sometimes people ask me: what is your first name? They just don't know."

Well, so that's how we speak to Baumann. Bartender, Bacardi brand ambassador, artist, rye whiskey lover and world champion fisherman. Many people think of the passionate Hamburg resident and suit-wearer in terms of tequila and the exciting time when he was part of the opening crew of Jörg Meyer's "Le Lion" bar in 2007, which had grown out of "Le Bon Lion" across the street.

Baumann looks back on his gastronomic career to date with a smile: "I left school early and was already training as a hotel manager at the end of 15. Then followed 17 years at the bar. The cornerstone was Le Lion. Before that, I was a Flair bartender. It was the time of "Sex on the Beach" and plenty of caipis. The Flair act was very successful at the time. We formed a group of seven guys and mixed at events and for show. We were successful and even became quite famous. Together with David Wiedemann, I had a column on Flair in Mixology magazine at the time.

After two years, Flair bartending was over, because then I discovered Le Bon Lion and was fascinated by the classic style of cocktail. Later, Eberhardt's in Hamburg was an important stop. Achim F. Eberhardt was a bar legend with his "Old Fashioned Bar." Then he turned it into "Eberhardt's" and I took care of the management, thus expanding my scope of activities and gaining new experiences. It was great and we were immediately nominated as the best "Newcomer Bar". Unfortunately, the bar was sold by the owner after only nine months for private reasons. Then I got my first brand ambassador function for St. Germain and together with Fabio Haebel I started my own business with 'Barwerk' as a bar school for events and training."


Baumann at Bacardi

Baumann then joined Bacardi almost six years ago and began his mission as brand ambassador for Patron Tequila. Before that, he always had close contact with Bacardi through Thorsten Husmann and Karim Fadl. When a brand ambassador position for the Bacardi and Bombay brands became vacant, the company invited Baumann to its Hamburg headquarters. The statement was then, "We can't give you the job!" Baumann stumbled briefly. But the explanation followed on its heels. He had answered the question about his favorite spirit with "rye whiskey". Well aware that such a spirit is not part of the Bacardi portfolio. So he followed up with, "And second place goes to tequila." And that's exactly what Bacardi wanted him for, as they wanted to activate their Patrón brand more strongly at the time. Germany seemed to be ready for tequila. Experts like Sven Sudeck and Tom Jakschas had paved the way for Tequila to develop from a drinking ritual distillate into a liquid delicacy. Baumann was happy to be on board.

Along the way, Marcel was always immensely busy and describes himself as a 'caterpillar never-ending': "I always needed something in addition to my job. A balance, a challenge. In the beginning it was flair bartending, then cI explored wakeboarding. When I do something, I really throw myself into it. On a drunken evening, I had the idea to get a fishing license. This resulted in the "Stickleback Fishing e. V." with 20 members and a job for a fishing magazine. Then, together with Jan Hrdlicka, I participated in a competition in the Netherlands and suddenly we were world champions in street fishing, a discipline where you fish from the shore with light gear."

The tequila stayed. For three and a half years, bartenders in Germany, Austria and Switzerland were able to experience Baumann as a passionate tequila ambassador. He likes to think about the time: "I had so much fun working with this brand. It was so exciting, because with tequila you don't knock down open doors everywhere. You have to do some convincing."

Then a whole new position was created for him, where he was targeted to help specialty retailers. Then disaster struck. A serious slipped disc prolapse knocked him off track.



Art born out of necessity

After the operation, the doctor recommends that Baumann rest his back for three months. But not lying down. Some exercise, but not too much. Baumann reports: "There was a free wall in the apartment where we actually wanted to hang a large painting. My wife and I found one we liked, but we didn't have the 30,000 euros to spare. Then I bought two canvases and said: I'll try it myself. The picture was hanging on the wall and friends who saw it said: 'That's really good. Who painted that?' There were also quickly the first prospective buyers. Painting was fun and I painted through whole nights. Then I posted a first picture on Instagram and sold it the very next day. Then I built a website and soon the first online galleries came forward to represent me. Now I'm looking forward to the summer. That's when the first big exhibition should take place at the Lazy Agentur in Munich."

For Bacardi, he now looks after the north between Bremen and Sylt as Trade Ambassador. For art, he now has his own studio, where he lets off steam with his canvases, acrylics and jute, and the apartment at home remains clean. The space is also needed, because in the apartment is planned new. The 37-year-old will become a father in two months.

Still busy and yet a little quieter. Sometimes at the cradle, sometimes at the easel. And yet his motto is: In the end, everything ends at the counter. And it should stay that way.

Whether art, whether man. Always: a real Baumann. An original!