How Tales of the Cocktail® Supports Members of the Beverage Industry

For many in the drinks industry, it’s the most wonderful time of the year. From July 23 to 28, over 25,000 beverage professionals flocked to New Orleans to learn, explore, and celebrate one another’s achievements.

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s® annual conference and Spirited Awards® exemplify the foundation’s around-the-clock mission to educate, advance, and support people who work in hospitality. The focus of the conference, says Claire Warner, a board member at the foundation, “is to be the global voice of the global drinks industry.”

Tales of the Cocktail was first launched in 2002 in New Orleans and has since become a gathering for bartenders, mixologists, distillers, brand ambassadors, journalists, and more. Attendees have the opportunity to learn from industry experts, discover new trends and techniques, sample a variety of spirits and cocktails, and engage in discussions about the craft of mixology. With over 60 unique seminars covering topics like business, culture, wellness, methodology, and more, Tales of the Cocktail continues to uplift the communities it touches.

Land of Opportunity

For those looking to get their foot in the door of the industry, Tales of the Cocktail is a great place to start. Through the Cocktail Apprentice Program, bartenders ranging from industry newcomers to seasoned veterans can apply to become a member, otherwise known as a CAP, to support the conference and grow their skill set.

The 70 CAPs spend the week side-by-side as they work the conference and what could very well be the largest cocktail service they’ll ever experience. By the end of it, CAPs have an expansive network of beverage pros to lean on, as well as a refined skill set they can take home to their respective communities.

The Spirited Awards

Since 2007, the Spirited Awards have recognized beverage professionals, products, establishments, journalists, and media across every facet of the spirits and cocktail community on a global scale.

With accolades like “Bartender of the Year” and “World’s Best Cocktail Menu” up for grabs, the awards show has the power to galvanize careers and bring well-deserved attention to establishments.

“Tales of the Cocktail completely revolutionized my career,” Warner says. “For me, it represents everything I love about our industry. It represents community, collaboration, inspiration, education, and I’m so delighted to have been part of it, but also that it’s been so instrumental in helping me shape my own career.”

Thanks to Tales of the Cocktail’s commitment to educating, advancing, and supporting the beverage industry and everyone involved within it, Warner’s story is just one of many — with plenty more to come.

‘Beyond the Bar’

For Warner, an industry veteran and longtime advocate for health and well-being in the beverage space, the emphasis on holistic well-being that’s become increasingly important to the trade is a welcome change. To account for the interest, Tales of the Cocktail has expanded its seminar topics, with offerings like “Transcendent Hospitality” and “Bartending with a Body: An Ergonomic Resilience Lab.”

“It’s wonderful to see how much this part of our business has grown and developed over the last 10 years,” Warner says. “Having an educational committee that is fully devoted to ensuring that many different voices are heard is critical.”

This facet of the conference explores all of the “human” elements that are involved within the drinks industry. “As a foundation, we were noticing that more and more people wanted to have these conversations, conversations about mental health, physical health, intersectionality, sustainability, and more,” Warner says.

If you missed this year’s festival, follow Tales of the Cocktail Foundation on Instagram to get an inside look at what went down. And don’t worry — there’s always next year.

This article is sponsored by the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation.