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Thursday, July 21 • 10:00am - 11:30am
Pay to Play: And What Can You Do For Me?

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How to stay profitable, relevant and still maintain integrity? Brands and bars have long stuck to the traditional sponsorship model in working together whether it’s legal or not. But times are changing. There are many more brands vying for attention and many more tools that brands and bars can use to create value. In a time where craft chefs compete for and proudly list the sources of organic vegetables and sustainably raised animal protein on their menus - the bar programs are rarely following suit. In fact, the craft chefs and craft restaurant owners are more then ready to pay the higher price for quality ingredients and gladly pass it on to the guests, who in turn do not object paying for it. Unfortunately the bar programs are rarely following this trend outside few craft cocktail bars and even fewer are ready to adopt the same reasoning of charging more for higher quality even if it will be only a dollar or two more per drink. When it comes to the beverage programs people are, it seems still asking for a "deal" as if it is somehow someone else's responsibility to make them profitable. There is a widespread idea that 18-19% cost of liquid goods (in the US) that everyone wants to achieve in order to be profitable but how is this influencing the evolution of our craft? Indeed, how are these attitudes and business practices helping our guests have the best possible gastronomical experience? Are we making the best possible drinks or are we sacrificing best possible quality for profitability? This seminar-roundtable will attempt to poke the hornet’s nest by asking panellists and audience questions that are on almost everyone’s mind: Pay to play can be legal but is it ethical? Why is it that the bar owners and bar managers still believe that you can and should get something in return just for buying a product? When and in what circumstances should you expect support? When you are buying quality ingredients - is it still possible to retain 18-19% liquor cost? Do we perceive the spirit companies, suppliers, importers and distributors as bottomless bags of money or are we working together with them as partners in a long chain of moving cases and making the industry better? Join Dushan Zaric (Employees Only & The 86 Co) and his panel of experts, Michael Vachon (Maverick Drinks), Bobby Heugel (Anvil, Houston), Craig Miller (Trade Practice / Training. AZ Dept. of Liquor) and Shervene Shahbazkhani (Bacardi UK) in this really exiting workshop that is intended to create more transparency in the industry at large.

avatar for Dushan Zaric

Dushan Zaric

Porter, The 86 Co
Dushan Zaric is the cocktail mastermind behind world-famous New York bars Employees Only and Macao Trading Co. He is widely recognized as an industry leader and a pioneer in craft bartending; his innovative work behind the bar has revolutionized the art of the cocktail. Dushan specializes... Read More →

avatar for Bobby Heugel

Bobby Heugel

Owner, Anvil Bar & Refuge
Bobby Heugel is an owner and operator of eight bars and restaurants in Houston, Texas through his company, Clumsy Butcher, which partners with talented industry professionals to develop concepts that reflect their personalities. In addition to these establishments, Bobby also consults... Read More →
avatar for Craig Miller

Craig Miller

Industry Trade Practice Investigator, Department of Liquor
Officer Craig Miller has been employed by the Department of Liquor for 20 years.     Officer Miller became pivotal in communications between Arizona liquor industry leaders and the Department of Liquor during a 2012 industry trade practice investigation.  The Department formed... Read More →
avatar for Michael Vachon

Michael Vachon

Head of Brand Development, Maverick Drinks
Michael has been cited as a reference for the craft spirit movement for several major UK on-trade publications, as well as the New York Times. In addition, he has delivered lectures, seminars, and masterclasses on topics including current consumption trends, new market opportunities... Read More →
avatar for Angus Winchester

Angus Winchester

VP Education, Barmetrix
Angus Winchester is a ‘bartender’ of 28 years experience who founded 3 companies, served as the Global Brand Ambassador for Tanqueray Gins and is now the VP for Education & Training for Barmetrix.. In his years in the Drinks and Bar industry he has served drinks to scumbags and... Read More →


Thursday July 21, 2016 10:00am - 11:30am CDT
Queen Anne Ballroom at the Hotel Monteleone