How Mary St Pub Owner Andrew Lewis Went From Cleaning Out Ashtrays to Becoming a Global Entrepreneur

andrew lewis
Mr Lewis’ bar and bistro at the CBD (Photo credit: Leonards Bar & Bistro/Facebook)

Andrew Lewis, the owner of Leonards Bar & Bistro on Mary Street, has come a long way from his early days cleaning out ashtrays at a local pub. After acquiring Singaporean platform JERRY two years ago, the Brisbane-based entrepreneur now runs a booming international e-learning business catering to the hospitality industry.

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Mr Lewis’ company Allara, which he founded back in 2009, has seen revenues spike 240 percent largely due to the addition of JERRY. The acquisition has allowed Allara to expand its reach to over 80,000 new bar and hospitality staff across 25 countries.

Named after 19th century bartender and father of modern bartending Jerry Thomas, JERRY offers short online courses – some as brief as five minutes – to equip hospitality professionals with new skills. 

Allara CEO Andrew Lewis (Photo credit: Andrew Lewis/LinkedIn)

This accessible e-learning approach is helping hotels, bars and restaurants globally upskill their teams and address staff shortages exacerbated by the pandemic.

Mr Lewis with a former student of Allara (Photo credit: Allara Learning/Facebook)

Major hospitality players in over 40 countries such as the United States, United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and beyond are now turning to the rebuilt JERRY platform for training needs. But Mr Lewis has not forgotten his Australian roots, recently enlisting award-winning local mixologists Priscilla Leong, Marco Nunes, and Evan Stroeve to lead exclusive masterclasses.

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The masterclasses allow Aussie bartenders access to world-class mentoring from the comfort of their phones. JERRY provides customisable subscription plans to meet the needs of businesses both big and small, including individual bars up to large corporate enterprises.

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From bush pubs to five-star hotels, the trajectory of Andrew Lewis’ career mirrors the growing sophistication of the hospitality industry itself. His journey from locally-known business owner to international e-learning tycoon is a testament to the power of technology to transform traditional sectors.

Published 29-August-2023