Portland bartender is national ‘Speed Rack’ finalist


Caitlin Hooker is the bar manager at Jacqueline in Southeast Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A national competition is shining a spotlight on top female bartenders in an industry once dominated by men. 

Two women started the competition called “Speed Rack” in 2011 to celebrate women thriving behind bars across the United States — all while raising money for breast cancer research. So far, it’s raised $1 million. 

One Portland bartender made at least the top five this year. 

Caitlin Hooker is the bar manager at Jacqueline, a Southeast Portland restaurant known for its intimate setting and quirky artwork. She earned her spot at the competition back in February and hopes to be crowned the 2020 champion. 

“I would say it’s still pretty much male-dominated but women are working their way in there — there’s a lot of us and we’re all amazing,” Hooker said of the industry. 

And the phrase ‘love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life’ seems to ring true for Hooker. 

“I think the fact that I thoroughly enjoy what I do really helps me at work because I get behind the bar and I’m like this isn’t work, this is what I love to do,” she said. 

Speed Rack had three more stops scheduled before the final national competition would have taken place in Chicago at the beginning of May. There was no clear winner this year due to complications caused by the pandemic. Speed Rack shared the following statement with KOIN 6:

“Ultimately, the events are on pause but we’ve been focusing on participating in virtual events (tip jars for Speed Rack through quarantine happy hours for example) wherever possible!”

Some of the non-profit groups partnering with Speed Rack to raise money for breast cancer research are The Pink Agenda and Bright Pink.

KOIN 6 News anchor Jennifer Hoff’s series, Women Crush Wednesday, highlights women who are crushing it. Who do you know breaking the glass ceilings, inspiring others, doing good?  Send a message to Jennifer Hoff.

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