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Seminar [clear filter]
Wednesday, July 20


How To Start A Brand Without A Distillery
If you've ever considered starting your own brand (who hasn't?), but don't have the budget to build your own distillery (who does?), this panel is for you. Industry experts will outline the long history of contract bottling; where to get your booze; how to navigate the legal issues; how to manage the distribution; and how to market your new brand. You truly can't afford to miss this seminar.

avatar for Ryan Malkin

Ryan Malkin

Attorney, Malkin Law
Ryan Malkin is an attorney serving the alcohol beverage industry. Ryan is well versed in navigating the federal and state-by-state alcohol beverage laws, assisting clients large and small with industry specific agreements and crafting compliant marketing and sales programs. Prior... Read More →

avatar for Malte Barnekow

Malte Barnekow

Co-founder and CEO, The 86 Company
Malte is acting CEO of The 86 Company, which he founded back in 2010 together with industry peers Jason Kosmas, Dushan Zaric and Simon Ford after graduating with an MBA from top business school INSEAD in Paris, France. Previously, he spent 8 years with Absolut Vodka, where he first... Read More →
avatar for Harry Kohlmann

Harry Kohlmann

CEO, Park Street
Dr. Harry Kohlmann is the CEO of Park Street, a provider of productivity-enhancing and cost-saving back-office solutions, advisory services, and working capital to more than 3,000 alcoholic beverage brands from the U.S. and around the world. The company’s clients range from entrepreneurs... Read More →
avatar for Noah Rothbaum

Noah Rothbaum

Chief Cocktail Correspondent, The Daily Beast
Noah Rothbaum is The Daily Beast's Chief Cocktail Correspondent. He is also the author of the book The Art of American Whiskey: A Visual History of the Nation’s Most Storied Spirit, through 100 Iconic Labels (Ten Speed Press), which was published in the spring of 2015, and the associate... Read More →
avatar for Barry Younkie

Barry Younkie

Sales Manager, MGP Ingredients, Inc.
Bulk alcohol providers to liquor companies.



Say The Right Thing: Mastering New Media
In an ever-growing landscape of bartending as a profession and cocktail culture making strides in the mainstream, the need has arisen to become more aware of saying the right things at the right time in the right places. This seminar will provide tips and advice to the bartender working for brands, and the full or part-time brand ambassador looking to further their career beyond traditional “piece to camera” media items. We will explore branding and communication, social media (Can you promote yourself on social media without sounding like a shill? What makes good content on different social media sites or should you simply cross-post all content?), live presentations (for the camera, consumers, and corporations), online video (it's a lot of work - is it worth it?), traditional print and web media (in the new era in which nobody has time to fact-check after the interview), and one-on-one personal interactions. Led by Jonathan Pogash who is a frequent consultant for brands and appears on television mixing up cocktails on morning shows, our panel will include media mavens Ian McLaren (Director of Trade Advocacy, Bacardi USA), Charlotte Voisey (Director of Brand Advocacy, William Grant & Sons), journalist/social media savant Camper English. They’ll share their expertise on the topic, and provide new and useful insight for the modern day beverage industry professional.

avatar for Jonathan Pogash

Jonathan Pogash

President/Owner, The Cocktail Guru
I am a father of 2, a husband to 1, and a mixer of drinks Jonathan Pogash, “The Cocktail Guru,” is an educator and cocktail consultant for restaurants and beverage brands. With offices in New England and NYC, Jonathan's signature cocktails can be seen and enjoyed in many of North... Read More →

avatar for Camper English

Camper English

Writer, Alcademics
Camper English is a San Francisco-based cocktails and spirits writer and speaker, and is the publisher/writer of Alcademics.com. He has contributed to Saveur, Details, Fine Cooking, Modern Farmer, Popular Science, the LA Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Whisky Advocate, and many other... Read More →
avatar for Ian McLaren

Ian McLaren

Director Trade Advocacy & Training, Bacardi USA
A proud Scotsman, Ian started his career in the alcohol business straight from school working for an independent wine merchant in his home town of Edinburgh. From here his formative years in the On Premise were spent in the late night scene working in more sticky floored nightclubs... Read More →
avatar for Charlotte Voisey

Charlotte Voisey

Director of Advocacy, William Grant & Sons
Best American Brand Ambassador, two times Golden Spirit Award winner at Tales of the Cocktail, James Beard recognition, regular TV appearances including a trip to London to cover the Royal Wedding with CBS News make for exciting times for British born mixologist Charlotte Voisey.A... Read More →

avatar for Bacardi USA

Bacardi USA

avatar for William Grant & Sons

William Grant & Sons

William Grant & Sons

Thursday, July 21


Pay to Play: And What Can You Do For Me?
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 →



Bourbon: Do The Myths Matter?
The most successful whiskey brands realize that they’re in the storytelling business as much as the booze business. The spirits matter, but so do the stories, which create an appealing sense of history and heritage that draw people to brands. That’s why so many of the stories stretch the truth—reality doesn’t always dazzle—but does that hurt or help the industry as a whole? While the mythmaking certainly draws criticism from purists, perhaps there is an argument to be made that is a bonafide part of the industry, and has been an integral part of the business ever since the dawn of modern marketing in the nineteenth century. This seminar looks at how bourbon tales fits in with the great traditions of American mythmaking: Paul Bunyan, Johnny Appleseed, George Washington and his cherry tree. We’ll also examine whether the points where legend diverges from reality—this oft-overlooked space upends our conventional thinking about bourbon to reveal important insights about the drink and its true history.

avatar for Erick Castro

Erick Castro

Beverage Director, Possessed by Spirits
Erick Castro initially built his cocktail empire at San Francisco's Rickhouse and Bourbon & Branch by searching for obscure recipes, methods and ingredients that originated prior to Prohibition. The bartending behemoth has created unique beverage programs that have earned a place... Read More →

avatar for Reid Mitenbuler

Reid Mitenbuler

Reid Mitenbuler is the author of Bourbon Empire: The Past and Future of America's Whiskey (Viking, 2015). His writing has appeared in The Atlantic, Slate, Salon, and Whisky Advocate, among other publications.
avatar for Larry Rice

Larry Rice

Proprietor, The Silver Dollar
Larry Rice, a Kentucky Native has been in the Hospitality industry for over twenty years at all levels. 15 years bar tending, consulting, developing, executing bar programs and finally as a restaurateur with the help of his team, developing restaurant concepts with a heavy focus on... Read More →


Saturday, July 23


How Small Brands Can Play Big
Small suppliers and producers, including imports and craft brands, are able to dominate various markets and accounts even without the huge marketing budgets of the big brands. If you're a small brand and want to learn how it's been done (successfully and poorly) this is a seminar for you. You'll learn what to do and what not to do, and tips and tricks for playing ball when big suppliers generally dominate. This panel will be moderated by Danny Ronen of DC Spirits & also Liquid Kitchen, who spends his time working with small brands and big brands alike, both on a local and global level. Panelists include Dragos Axinte of Novo Fogo, a small brand making a name for itself; Allen Katz, owner at NY Distilling and Director of Spirits Education for Southern Wine & Spirits of NY, who will share stories from the small producer and big distributor perspectives; Ryan Malkin, principal attorney at Malkin Law, PA, who focuses his practice on alcohol beverage law, who will share how small brands can compete within the law.

avatar for Danny Ronen

Danny Ronen

Founder / Director of Education, DC Spirits / Liquid Kitchen
Danny Ronen is involved in beverage development and concept ideation, product innovation and activation, staff training and education, as well as new bar set up and openings. Under his tutelage via DC Spirits and Kathy Casey's Liquid Kitchen, national and international properties such as the Fairmont and Raffles Hotels have honed their beverage programs to incorporate workplace efficiencies, including recycling, composting and energy use, which produce both cost savings and better environmental practices. Many of the... Read More →

avatar for Dragos Axinte

Dragos Axinte

CEO, Novo Fogo
Dragos Axinte believes that nothing worthwhile comes easy. He was born and raised in a communist dictatorship (Romania) where adversity was his best friend, moved to the U.S. with a handbag and a smile, built a consumer product company (ColdHeat) that quintupled its market category... Read More →
avatar for Dan Gasper

Dan Gasper

COO, Distill Ventures
Distill Venture's COO Dan, spent his first 7 years managing the relationship between large and small drinks businesses and a further 6 years working on 40+ small to medium businesses in a variety of different industries. A proud drinks business geek with a love for all the wild and... Read More →
avatar for Allen Katz

Allen Katz

Co-Founder, New York Distilling Company
Allen Katz is the co-founder of the New York Distilling Company in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, where he produces Dorothy Parker – American Gin, Perry’s Tot – Navy-Strength Gin, Chief Gowanus – New-Netherland Gin, Mister Katz’s Rock & Rye…and Ragtime Rye. He is also the Director... Read More →
avatar for Ryan Malkin

Ryan Malkin

Attorney, Malkin Law
Ryan Malkin is an attorney serving the alcohol beverage industry. Ryan is well versed in navigating the federal and state-by-state alcohol beverage laws, assisting clients large and small with industry specific agreements and crafting compliant marketing and sales programs. Prior... Read More →



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