Professional Bartender Schools have been around for a long time. In the 1960's and 1970's, two of the largest chains were the American Bartenders School, and the National Bartenders School. The American bartenders school claims to have started in 1933, although they probably acquired a school from another owner, which had been started back then.
Jack Tiano owned the American Bartending School, and trained Professional Bartenders for many years. The bartenders license was a great way to have fun and make money. Jack had schools across the country, in most large cities. In the early 1960's, the economy was doing well, and more people were getting out and meeting other people. The singles scene was growing, and Professional Bartenders were in demand. Jack was able to start schools across the country, then he was able to get approved for government financing for the programs, and at that point, he became ultra successful. He used the income from his schools to invest in California Real Estate, and it is rumored that at one point he was in the top 10 richest people in California.
Jack owned all the schools, except the school in Phoenix, AZ, as he had given the AZ market to his brother. After a successful run, Jack's brother sold off the school in Phoenix, and it has changed hands several times in the last 30 years.
Mr Redondo opened the National Bartending School, and he had schools across the nation as well. There is talk that Jack and Mr Redondo worked together, even though they were competitors.
Once the government laws on educational grants changed, the bartending schools started to have problems. The income from the schools was mostly cash, and hence it was difficult to manage a large number of schools without having employee theft. Also, competitors popped up to train students for the Professional Bartending License, which cut into profits as well. Most of the American and National Bartending schools have been sold or closed, although they are still around in some cities.
The International Bartending School is a franchise, and owners of the franchise are able to get information on how to run their business, as well as promotional materials. The franchises have done well in some areas, but success of the school is really based on the talents of the franchisor.
In the 1970s, a few groups started working on stopping drunk driving via bartender and server education. In the 1980's the term bartender license came to mean a bartender that was trained in responsible serving of alcohol. Responsible serving means, that a bartender should ensure their customers get home safely, either by making sure they do not drink too much, or by ensuring they have a safe ride home.
In 1999, the first online training company taught students in bartending. With the internet still running at speeds of 14.4 kb/s, the school distributed CD ROMs, then the CD ROMs would communicate with the internet, and store all the student scores in a database, hence tracking student progress.
In 2010, there were several states that moved from live training requirements (for the bartender and server license), to allowing online training. Online training has advantages for short certification courses. For example, someone can get a job in the morning, go online and take their 4 hour course, and start work that night.
Online tools for teaching ID checking, and virtual bartending have allowed students to get a quality education online, and make excellent money as a Responsible Server or Responsible Bartender.