Wall, NJ February 11, 2014 – Ray and Jackie Foley are a typical New Jersey suburban couple — they split household chores, take care of their son, the lawn & garden, and vacation at the shore. But there’s nothing ordinary about them. Unlike most of their neighbors who scurry off each morning to their respective jobs, Ray and Jackie go upstairs to their home office and together publish the largest on-premise magazine in the world, BARTENDER® Magazine.
The popular magazine, which Ray and Jackie started 35 years ago, far out sells and has long out-lasted numerous rivals and out and out copy cats. Over 150,000 bartenders and restaurant professionals around the country read BARTENDER Magazine for its cocktail recipes, feature articles about new products and industry news, profiles of people and bars, jokes, trivia, special offers, and the Foley’s unique brand of clever humor. And as if that wasn’t enough, Ray and Jackie also manage a thriving book publishing business.
To uncover the recipe for Ray and Jackie’s successful publishing empire is to first examine what makes for a successful marriage. Ray and Jackie met in 1980 while both were bartenders at The Manor, a 1,500-seat restaurant in West Orange, NJ. Brought together by their mutual love of cocktails, spirits and bartending, they soon married, and together embarked on their journey to becoming thriving publishers and made-in-heaven business and life partners.
“If not for Jackie, I never would have gotten this far,” Ray says. “Not only did she work three jobs to support me and the magazine when we were first getting started, she has always been my biggest champion and my motivation for everything I do. Everything about BARTENDER Magazine is truly a love story.”
From the moment the first issue of the magazine was published 35 years ago, Ray and Jackie together have aggressively sold advertising, written content, developed the subscriber list and managed production of the magazine — and they still do to this day.
“BARTENDER Magazine was the first true magazine for people who work on-premise, who have daily direct contact with their customers, and better know what to suggest when they’re asked what’s good or if they’ve heard any funny stories lately,” says Ray. “It was the first time that a magazine recognized and championed the hard work of pouring professionals, and people in the industry sincerely appreciated that and supported the magazine.”
In 1983, after 20 years as a bartender and restaurant manager, Ray left The Manor to devote his full efforts to BARTENDER Magazine while Jackie held numerous jobs to financially support their budding business, and to learn skills she’d need as a magazine publisher. Together they grew the magazine from a little-known quarterly publication with an initial circulation of 7,000 copies, to a respected glossy, quarterly magazine that today, with a circulation of over 150,000 copies, is the largest on-premise magazine in the world, out-selling and out-lasting numerous rivals.
“People ask us all the time what it’s like to live together and work together. For us it goes hand-in-hand. There’s simply nobody I’d rather spend my days with than Ray,” says Jackie. “We love each other and we love what we do.”
In 1995 Ray and Jackie started www.Bartender.com which now receives between 600,000 and over 1 million hits per month .
In recent years, Ray Foley has become a book author and publisher and today has 14 popular cocktail and bartending guides to his credit, including: Bartending for Dummies™ (5th edition), Running a Bar for Dummies™, Spirits of Ireland, The Book of X-Rated Drinks, The Ultimate Little Shooter Book, The Ultimate Cocktail Book, The Ultimate Little Martini Book, The Ultimate Little Blender Book, The Ultimate Bartender’s Guide, Tequila 1000, Rum 1000, Vodka 1000, Beer Is The Answer – I Don’t Remember The Question, and God Loves Golfers Best. Jackie’s books are Skinny Cocktails, The Pink Drink Book and Girls Night Out.
“People are always interested in learning cocktail recipes and how to properly mix drinks,” Ray explains. “Through BARTENDER Magazine, and my own work as a bartender for so many years, I’ve learned just about everything you can know about cocktails and pouring, and I thought writing books would be a great way to share my knowledge with a wider audience. Not to mention, I have a lot of fun doing it!”
While fun truly is the name of the game in the Foley’s business, they also acknowledge the serious side of bartending and have taken lead roles in helping address important issues affecting the industry. Ray and Jackie have long been involved in responsible drinking initiatives and seminars to educate bartenders about the dangers of excess drinking and promoting moderation in alcohol consumption.
“I love what I do,” says Ray. “And to think, back when I left my bartending job to become a magazine publisher, Jackie was the only person who thought it would last — and she was right…