The Highest Proof: Tales of the Cocktail

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Tales of the CocktailIt’s pretty basic to add the term ‘community impact’ to a mission statement, but in our industry, the proof is in the cocktail.

Every year, the city of New Orleans transforms into the mecca of mixology when the world’s elite beverage professionals arrive for ‘Tales of the Cocktail’. Since 2002, this confluence has gathered the international spirits community together for the world’s premier cocktail festival. ‘Tales’ is not just about cocktails. This conference proves that the whole of the industry is greater than the sum of its parts.

‘Tales’ is powered by the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, a non-profit organization created to educate, advance, and support the global hospitality industry while also creating lasting community impact. The brightest in beverage never hesitate to head to New Orleans in the height of summer, so it should be no surprise that even Tropical Storm Barry couldn’t stop this party. 

‘Tales’ isn’t just six days of drinking in July. After Puerto Rico experienced a hurricane that devasted the island, ‘Tales’ and the hospitality industry acted, resoundingly. In March, Tales on Tour 2019 Puerto Rico Special Edition launched as an effort to rebuild the Commonwealth through support, attention, and empathy for the local spirits community. TOTCF continues to stand for and alongside hospitality establishments still recovering. Just last week, the organization announced they will be returning next spring to continue to support a community of kindred hurricane victims.

These efforts are reinforced by the camaraderie felt in New Orleans. This year’s event was honored with the theme ‘Cultivate’; “a reflection of the Foundation’s ongoing commitment to actively engage partners and participants through meaningful thought leadership.” This felt like a natural evolution after last year’s conference, which took place during a pivotal and transformative year for the spirits community.

  • DAVO by Avalara
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • Easy Ice
  • Day & Nite
  • RAK Porcelain
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Atosa USA
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • Imperial Dade
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • McKee Foodservice

William Grant & Sons (WGS) captured that zeitgeist with a bold marketing endeavor. Choosing to focus on responsible consumption, their headlining reception was spirit-free. Beverage professionals were exposed to the creativity that temperance can add to a beverage program with twenty unique concoctions, each featuring signature flavors from WGS portfolio brands.

This soiree has become my unofficial kickoff of ‘Tales of the Cocktail’ each year, setting the tone for the week, and effectively, the entire industry. A year later, the paradigm has shifted. Spirit-free and low-proof cocktails are undoubtedly present on bar menus around the world, and we’re still talking about this bold act of genius and marketing.

Charlotte Voisey, Director of Brand Advocacy for William Grant & Sons, had quite a bar to reach, then, when planning this year’s event. It should be no surprise that she enlisted The Chef’s Garden to prepare the food for a reception tasked with bringing a humanitarian motive to real life. Just last year, ‘Cultivate’ was the theme selected for the annual Roots Conference hosted at The Chef’s Garden, where WGS provided all spirits.

At ‘William Grant & Sons – In Real Life’ (#WGSIRL), the scene was set by a farmer and wheelbarrow. Almost two thousand influencers were served harvested potatoes from a shovel, with ‘dirt’ made from olives and portabella mushrooms. An apiarist in a beekeeping suit offered beeswax bonbons of green tea and honey straight from a reclaimed hive. Lemon curd with cucumber blooms were quite literally hanging from lemon and cucumber trees, ripe for the picking. No trees were harmed and neither plates nor silverware were needed. Compostable cups were used in each of the portfolio brand’s social media forward activations to showcase ambassadors and their respective spirits personalities IRL.

“Often, we’re so busy talking about our ideals and motivations that we forget to let our colleagues know precisely what we’re trying to do,” says Seth Godin, marketing motivator and inspiration speaker. Whether in New Orleans, Puerto Rico, or at one of their satellite events, ‘Tales’ and TOTCF are raising voices, taking action, and making change.

We’re honored to feature meaningful causes and leaders in our community, especially the ones truly making a ruckus! Visit LMTprovisions.com to see how we’re disrupting the model of foodservice distribution by personalizing the conversation. We stand beside the mixologists, chefs, and industry leaders breaking the mold and even more grateful to call them our customers.

  • Imperial Dade
  • BelGioioso Burrata
  • Day & Nite
  • AyrKing Mixstir
  • AHF National Conference 2024
  • Cuisine Solutions
  • RAK Porcelain
  • McKee Foodservice
  • Atosa USA
  • T&S Brass Eversteel Pre-Rinse Units
  • Simplot Frozen Avocado
  • DAVO by Avalara
  • RATIONAL USA
  • Easy Ice