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by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

A New Empress Lays Claim to the Gin Throne

A New Empress Lays Claim to the Gin Throne

by David Klemt

The award-winning Empress 1908 Indigo Gin and Elderflower Rose Gin are welcoming a new addition to the Empress 1908 Gin portfolio, just in time for summer.

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin is here to take a shot at the gin crown.

Inspired by afternoon tea, Cucumber Lemon pulls the flavor threads tighter, tying the portfolio together. Indigo, the first expression in the Empress 1908 lineup, is a balance between citrus and warm, earthy, herbal tones. This gin also made a splash due to its use of butterfly pea flower, not only imbuing the liquid with an enticing hue but shifting colors when interacting with different mixers.

Released last year, Elderflower Rose plays citrus against rich floral notes. On the palate, this expression also delivers subtle sweetness and spice.

That brings us to Cucumber Lemon. Whereas Indigo can be characterized as herbal and Elderflower Rose is floral, the newest expression is bright and energetic. Citrus is the star here, but cucumber, jasmine, and understated spice ensure the drinking experience is a balanced one.

Below, six cocktail recipes that showcase Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon’s unique flavor profile. Scroll even further to learn more from the press release announcing this new expression’s release.

Cheers!

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin Cucumber & Tonic cocktail

Cucumber & Tonic

  • 2 oz. Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin
  • 3 oz. Premium tonic water
  • Thyme sprigs to garnish
  • Lemon wheels to garnish
  • Cucumber slices to garnish

Fill a copa glass with ice, add Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin and premium tonic water. Garnish with cucumber and lemon slices and thyme sprigs.​

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin Jasmine Sour cocktail

Jasmine Sour

  • 2 oz. Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin
  • ¾ oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. Jasmine syrup
  • Egg white
  • Dried jasmine blossoms to garnish

Add all ingredients to a shaker tin and dry shake (without ice). Add ice to tin and shake again to chill. Double strain into cocktail glass and garnish with dried jasmine blossoms.

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin Gherkin Martini cocktail

Gherkin Martini

  • 2 oz. Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin
  • 0.5 oz. Dry vermouth
  • 0.5 oz. Gherkin brine
  • Lemon twist to garnish
  • Gherkin to garnish

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Express lemon oils over the cocktail and garnish with a twist and gherkin.​

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin Lemon Spritz cocktail

Lemon Spritz

  • 1 oz. Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin
  • 1 oz. Limoncello
  • 0.5 oz. Lemon juice
  • Dry sparkling wine to top
  • Soda water to top
  • Lemon slice to garnish

In a copa glass filled with ice, add gin, limoncello, and lemon juice, and top with sparkling wine and a splash of soda water. Give a quick stir to combine and garnish with lemon slice.

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin Little Saigon cocktail

Little Saigon

  • 1.5 oz. Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin
  • ¾ oz. Lemongrass ginger syrup
  • ¾ oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 2-3 Mint and basil leaves, each
  • 3-4 Bird’s eye chili slices (optional)
  • Lime yuzu soda to top
  • Cilantro sprig to garnish
  • Bird’s eye chili to garnish

Gently muddle basil and mint with syrup and lime juice in shaker tin. Add gin and chili slices, and shake over ice. Strain into Collins glass filled with ice, top with soda, and garnish.​

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin Cantaloupe Smash cocktail

Cantaloupe Smash

  • 2 oz. Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin
  • ¾ oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • ¾ oz. Simple syrup
  • 4 Mint leaves
  • 3 Cantaloupe cubes
  • Mint sprig to garnish
  • Cantaloupe balls to garnish

In a shaker tin, muddle cantaloupe cubes with the liquid ingredients. Add mint leaves and lightly press to express oils. Shake over ice and strain over crushed ice. Garnish with mint sprig and cantaloupe balls.

EMPRESS 1908 GIN RELEASES CUCUMBER LEMON GIN

MAY7, 2024 (VICTORIA, B.C.)–Empress 1908 Gin, the fastest growing and #1 ranked ultra-premium gin in the U.S., today announces the U.S. launch of Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin. This premium, handcrafted gin is produced in small batches and distilled in copper-pot stills by Victoria Distillers, one of Canada’s oldest artisan distilleries.

The refreshing new expression is crafted with eight unique botanicals including juniper berries, lemon, jasmine, star anise, cucumber and fresh lemon zest. Inspired by traditional afternoon tea, Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin boasts lively citrus notes and bursts with extraordinary flavor.

The fusion of vibrant lemon zest and crisp garden cucumber beautifully complement the juniper, a subtle hint of cardamom spice and the delicate aroma of jasmine. Empress Cucumber Lemon Gin elevates the palate with its refined flavors, offering a delicate and refreshing finish.

“We always strive to create balanced, high-quality blends that inspire creativity and offer inviting flavors. Following the overwhelmingly positive reception of our Elderflower Rose Gin last year, we leveraged our Master Distillers’ extensive botanical expertise to introduce our next innovative flavor: Cucumber Lemon,” said Eric Dopkins, CEO and Chairman of Milestone Brands. “We are excited to see Empress Cucumber Lemon Gin support Empress Gin’s mission of creating the most distinctive cocktails.”

This new, ultra-premium expression joins the Empress portfolio ininviting consumers to join the Empress GINeration: The most distinctive gins, making the most distinctive cocktails. Other expressions include Empress 1908 Indigo Gin—the fastest growing and top ultra-premium gin in the U.S.*—and Empress 1908 Elderflower Rose Gin, which climbed to #4 in the ultra-premium gin category within just six months of its release. With the addition of Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin, the Empress portfolio expects to top 250,000 9L cases in North America this year.

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin is best enjoyed in the signature Cucumber & Tonic cocktail, served with premium tonic water and garnished with a fresh cucumber slice and a lemon wheel to enhance the botanicals in the gin.

Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin is 42.5% ABV and is available nationwide in select retailers for a suggested retail price of $39.99 for a 750ml bottle. For more information on Empress 1908 Gin and its portfolio of products, visit www.empressgin.com and follow on social media @Empress1908Gin.

About Empress 1908 Gin

Handcrafted in small-batch copper-pot stills, the portfolio of award-winning Empress 1908 Gins are made by Victoria Distillers, one of Canada’s oldest small-batch spirits companies located in Victoria, British Columbia. Founded in 2017, the distillery has been recognized for its excellence by New York World Wine & Spirits Competition 2017, World Gin Awards 2018, Canadian Artisan Spirits Awards 2019 and Beverage Dynamics’ Spirits Growth Brand Awards in both 2021 and 2022. The Empress 1908 Gin spirits portfolio is crafted by Master Distiller Phil Lecours and comprises Empress 1908 Indigo Gin, Empress 1908 Elderflower Rose Gin and Empress 1908 Cucumber Lemon Gin. Empress 1908 Gin is the perfect combination of exquisite taste, delicate aroma, soft texture, and remarkable presentation that provides the perfect base for a new aesthetic of cocktail creation and enjoyment. Please visit www.empressgin.com for more information.

Empress 1908 Gin is a part of the family of Milestone Brands LLC, a premium spirits company based in Austin, Texas, that was founded in 2016 by two local entrepreneurs and veterans of the beverage and spirits industry, Eric Dopkins, former CEO of Deep Eddy Vodka and Chad Auler, creator of Savvy Vodka and co-founder of Deep Eddy Vodka. As a national spirits supplier, acquirer, innovator and marketer of alcohol beverage brands, Milestone’s portfolio also includes Dulce Vida Spirits, Campo Bravo Tequila, Naranja Orange Liqueur, and American Born Whiskey.

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor KRG Hospitality received compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this post.

Main image: Kyla Zanardi. Recipe images: Empress 1908 Gin

Bar Nightclub Pub Brewery Menu Development Drinks Food

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

TOTC Announces 2024 Agenda

Tales of the Cocktail Announces 2024 Agenda

by David Klemt

Tales of the Cocktail 2023 Jack Daniel's event with Julie Reiner

Tales of the Cocktail has revealed the 2024 agenda, and it’s absolutely loaded with incredible networking, health and wellness, and educational opportunities.

There’s an array of activations and special events lined up for this year. For example, the New Orleans Spirits Competition returns to Tales of the Cocktail for its third edition. To learn more about this event—including why people who want to participate need to line up early—listen to episode 115 of the Bar Hacks podcast. (Apple Podcasts link | Spotify link)

Of course, one of the biggest events is the 2024 Spirited Awards ceremony, taking place Thursday, July 25.

Truly, Tales is coming out swinging for 2024. For more information, please review the official press release below.

Cheers!

NOW LIVE: TALES OF THE COCKTAIL® 2024 CONFERENCE AGENDA AND TICKETS

TOTC returns to New Orleans from July 21-26 with an inspiring lineup of educational seminars, tasting and networking opportunities, wellness initiatives, awards programming, and much more

 

NEW ORLEANS, LA (May 13, 2024) — Tales of the Cocktail Foundation (TOTCF) is pleased to announce that today, on World Cocktail Day, the Tales of the Cocktail® (TOTC) 2024 conference agenda and tickets are now live via the Foundation’s website. Toasting its 22-year legacy of honoring the craft, culture, and business of the global cocktail community, TOTC returns to New Orleans from July 21-26, offering an immersive experience created to “Inspire” both industry professionals and cocktail connoisseurs alike.

Beginning today, a variety of daily and weekly passes, discounted bartender passes, individual event tickets, and the all-new $10 Wellness Week Pass are available for purchase on a first-come, first-served basis. Complete details about TOTC 2024 ticket options can be accessed on Tales’ ticketing platform.

“It’s an honor to unveil the 2024 Tales of the Cocktail agenda, and with it, invite the cocktail community to join us in New Orleans for the 22nd annual conference,” said TOTCF CEO Eileen Wayner. “Our dedicated team, along with the invaluable TOTCF Committees, Board of Directors, and partners have meticulously cultivated a conference agenda that’s brimming with educational programming, wellness and networking opportunities, tastings, awards celebrations, brand showcases, and more. The 2024 agenda guarantees an unparalleled week of discovery, connection, and above all, Inspiration, as we explore this year’s annual theme.”

TOTC has long been a love letter to New Orleans’ cocktail culture and a celebration of the rich tapestry of global cocktail traditions—both new and timeless. The 2024 conference lineup is no exception, featuring another stellar slate of curated educational seminars; Beyond the Bar activations; Brand-Hosted Events; Day of Service; Meet the Distillers; New Orleans Cocktail Tours; the annual Spirited Awards®; Tales Catalyst; and more.

Educational Seminars, Panels, Q&A Sessions, and More

Tales of the Cocktail will feature more than 65 educational sessions, including seminars, workshops, and tastings across Tales’ three educational streams—Business, Culture, and Beyond the Bar—which will be presented by 175 industry leaders. Chosen from more than 380 impressive proposals, the 2024 seminar lineup was hand-selected via a rigorous process by the Tales of the Cocktail Education Advisory Committee. This year, the TOTC seminar schedule is proudly led by over 48% women presenters, 30% BIPOC presenters, and over 33% international presenters from countries including the Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, the UK, and more.

Highlights from this year’s seminar schedule include:

Business

  • Contemporary Employee Relations: Centering Dignity by Laura Louise Green with John B. Reyna, Andi Ryan, and Irene Shiang Li
  • More of the Same: Expanding Your Bar Concept by Meaghan Dorman with Indra Kantono, Gates Otsuji, and Laura Torres
  • Pouring Foundations: Financial Planning for Bar Upgrades and New Constructions by Matt Edgar with Hannah Cash and Johann Moonesinghe
  • Up Your Probability of Profit: Consumer Insights to Operate Smarter not Harder by Adrian Biggs with Rodrigo Leme, Nikki Hueckel, Andrew Hummel, and Simone Ventura

Culture

  • Akvavit 101 by Bex Almqvist
  • H2Know: Water in Cocktails 101 by Kate Gerwin and Martin Riese
  • Harmonies in Mixology: Exploring the Relationship between Music and Cocktails by Xavier Herit with Michael Aredes
  • In the Weeds: Wild Flavors Behind the Bar by Olivia Cerio with Danny Childs, Ektoras Binikos, and Tama Matsuoka Wong
  • What’s Cooler than Cool? Cocktails and Temperature by Jessamine McLellan with Dave Arnold, and Michael Capoferri

Beyond the Bar

  • Branding Up for Yourself: Strengthening Community and Equity in Brand Relations by Michael Holiday with Sullivan Doh, Phëlix Étienne, and Kapri Robinson
  • Flavors of Immigration by Alan Ruesga-Pelayo, Julio Cabrera, Faye Chen, Ignacio “Nacho” Jimenez, Roberto Núñez Moreno, and Eric Vanbeek
  • I’ll Have What She’s Having: The Five Cocktails Defined by Women’s Right to Booze by Nicola Nice and Greg Benson
  • Mixing Motherhood: Navigating the Cocktail of Challenges in the Drinks Industry by Vivian Pei with Paula García, Carina Soto Velasquez, and Tess Posthumus

TOTC is pleased to present the inaugural “Futures Lab” series on Tuesday, July 23, which will immerse participants in short-format, thoughtful discussions on the future of the drinks industry, and all-new, curated Networking Sessions which will take place throughout the week of TOTC.

Futures Lab

  • The Future of A.I. and Hospitality – Gary Gruver, Director of Global Beverage Operations, Marriott International
  • The Future of Drinking the Planet Better – Stephanie Jordan, Avallen Spirits & Drinking Out Loud, Founder
  • The Future of Food & Beverage – Kat Kinsman, Food and Wine, Executive Features Editor and Host of Tinfoil Swans Podcast
  • The Future of the Industry – Matt Molino, Chief Strategy Officer Partner, NVE Experience Agency
  • The Future of Ingredients – Monica Berg, Tayer + Elementary, Muyu Liqueurs, Director, Owner
  • The Future of THC Beverages – Rachel Burkons, Smoke Sip Savor, Feast & Flower, Founder

Networking Sessions

  • First-time Tales Attendees
  • Journalists and Bartenders, Presented by Stray Dog Wild Gin
  • Meet in the Middle – Lessons in Distribution for Producers and Buyers, Presented by Independent Distributor Network
  • Parenting in the Industry

Marquee Programming: Brand-Hosted Events, Meet the Distillers, New Orleans Cocktail Tours, New Orleans Spirits Competition, Pig & Punch, Speed Rack Championship, Spirited Awards®, Tales Catalyst, Toast to Tales, and TOTCF Day of Service.

  • Brand Hosted Events: TOTCF’s brand partners are back in New Orleans dazzling guests with their legendary parties and activations in venues across the city and at the host hotel, The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans. Inviting guests to be awed and inspired by the creativity and festivity of some of the world’s leading brands, TOTC 2024 will feature more than 240 brand events across an array of Tastings, Happy Hours, Guest Shifts, Day Events, headlining Night Events, etc. Spirited Dining & Drinking events will feature partner brands immersed with New Orleans’ renowned food and beverage scene, highlighting local talent and guest bartenders.
  • Meet The Distillers: TOTCF’s signature trade show, Meet the Distillers (MTD), offers guests an up close and personal experience with their favorite spirits brands. Attendees will taste samples, meet the makers, and get a firsthand account of more than 20 distillations from across the globe. This year, MTD will be held on Thursday, July 25 from 10am-5pm, and is available to all with a Thursday Tasting Room wristband.
  • New Orleans Cocktail Tours: In collaboration with Wayne Curtis, the New Orleans Cocktail Tour series offers attendees a series of eight educational walking tours that provide a wealth of knowledge and keen insight into the city’s history and cocktail scene. Enlisting special guests to help guide the tours, Wayne (Author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails and frequent spirits contributor for The Atlantic, Imbibe Magazine, PUNCH, The Daily Beast, and Garden & Gun) and co. will lead a series of tours, including:
    • Absinthe Tour
    • Bourbon St. & How it Got that Way
    • Hunting Down the Sazerac
    • The Big Gay Bar Tour
  • New Orleans Spirits Competition (NOSC): The New Orleans Spirits Competition, an international spirits competition bringing wider recognition to fine spirits from top-flight producers across the globe, is presented in partnership with TOTCF, with nearly three dozen prominent members of the spirits community serving as judges to determine a suite of awards categories, including Double Gold, Gold, Silver and Bronze Medals, Best of Category, Whiskey of the Year, Brandy of the Year, Gin of the Year, Baijiu of the Year, Vodka of the Year, Agave Spirit of the Year, Specialty Spirit of the Year, Liqueur of the Year, Best New Product, Best Craft Spirit, Packaging Excellence, and Distillery of the Year.
  • Pig & Punch: The 13th annual Pig & Punch presented by The Bon Vivants is thrilled to be heading back to New Orleans for a one-of-a-kind party for charity to close out Tales of the Cocktail! New Orleans holds a special place in the heart of Pig & Punch, infusing the event with its distinct brand of fun and energy. This year, TOTC is excited to bring the party to a fresh venue, The Broadside, promising an unparalleled experience. True to the spirit of Tales of the Cocktail, The Bon Vivants reaffirm their dedication to giving back. Proceeds will support New Orleans KIPP Charter Schools, The Bon Vivants Scholarship aiding first-generation college students in San Francisco, Hogs for the Cause, and the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. This party is all about community and camaraderie!
  • Speed Rack Season 12 National Finals: In partnership with Ivy Mix and Lynnette Marrero, TOTC will host the high-speed, high-octane Speed Rack Season 12 National Finals on Sunday, July 21 from 3pm-7pm at Republic NOLA. This vibrant competition raises funds and awareness for breast cancer, all while promoting equity in the spirits industry. The finals will be a can’t-miss event as the 20 women+ semi-finalists from across the country come together to compete in a timed, tournament-style cocktail-making event. 100% of proceeds from the event are donated to national breast cancer philanthropies.
  • Spirited Awards®: Established in 2007 to honor excellence in the drinks industry, the Spirited Awards® has grown into one of the most internationally prestigious recognitions, celebrating individuals, products, establishments, media, and industry luminaries from around the world who continue to inspire the global cocktail community. Guests are invited to get dressed to the nines and celebrate the 18th annual Spirited Awards® winners at the Fillmore Theater in New Orleans on Thursday, July 25.
    • *The Top 4 Spirited Awards Nominees will be announced and Spirited Awards Ceremony tickets will go on sale on June 17.
  • Tales Catalyst: Tales Catalyst (formerly Catalyst Luncheon) will be held on Tuesday, July 23 to celebrate this year’s Tales Catalysts Honorees–a title that recognizes those who are working for the accessibility and equity of the drinks industry. This year, TOTCF transitioned the Tales Catalyst program to a presentation-format, TED-Talk-style event to give the Catalyst Honorees a unique platform to speak to an engaged audience. This ticketed event invites guests to join in celebrating the two 2024 Tales Catalyst Honorees and enjoy refreshments along with awe-inspiring speeches.
  • Toast to Tales: Join the TOTCF Board of Directors and leadership team to kickstart Tales of the Cocktail® 2024 with a toast, live brass band, and remarks from TOTCF leaders! Taking place at 10 am on Monday, July 22 in the beautiful Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans courtyard, all attendees are invited to toast to another spirited year of Tales.
  • TOTCF Day of Service: TOTCF and Edrington welcome participants to the annual Day of Service on Sunday, July 21 in partnership with Green Light New Orleans and The Water Collaborative. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s sustainability initiatives, the history of water and justice in New Orleans, and paint rain barrels that will be distributed to bars throughout the city. The TOTCF Day of Service will take place from 9am-1pm, and those who are interested in participating may sign up here. This is a free, community event that’s open to all TOTC attendees.

Beyond the Bar®

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is proud to share the continued expansion of its health and wellness sector, Beyond the Bar® (BTB). Beyond the Bar® is the physical and creative space for Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s global community to explore themes beyond traditional spirits education. Created in 2018, BTB provides a platform to address challenges and opportunities within the global drinks industry including mental and physical health, intersectionality, substance use, sexual harassment, diversity, equity, and sustainability.

Beginning this year, select BTB programming is included in the $10 Wellness Week Pass, which includes access to 20 onsite workshops, networking sessions, and fitness classes, in addition to the daily Beyond the Bar® Lounge presented by Lyre’s. Proceeds from the Wellness Week Pass will help fund year-round Beyond the Bar® programming, including grants, scholarships, policy initiatives, and education. The Wellness Week Pass is included in all ticket types or may be purchased individually.

Highlights include:

  • Beyond the Bar® Wellness Workshops
    • Career Readiness Workshop by Alex Jump
    • Promoting Wellness in the Workplace: Addressing Addiction and Supporting Employee Success Workshop by Mickey Bakst
    • Road to 2030 Sustainable Bar Workshop by Sean Finter and Ali Fitzpatrick
  • Beyond the Bar® Fitness Activations
    • Bartender Bodyshop with The Healthtender by Amie Ward
    • Longevity Behind the Stick: Breath and Mobility Workshop by Allie Phifer and Hai Nguyen

The Beyond the Bar space will host additional programming throughout the conference for attendees to enjoy, including:

  • Beyond the Bar Lounge: The Beyond the Bar Lounge presented by Lyre’s will be located in Baronne and available for attendees to sample N/A beverages, enjoy respite with the cozy lounge furniture, access phone chargers, and rest in between sessions.
  • Ben’s Friends: Ben’s Friends is a community of chefs, bartenders, line cooks, servers, sommeliers, hosts and hostesses, GMs, and owners who have found or are seeking sobriety. Their mission is to offer community, hope, and a path forward for those struggling with substance abuse and addiction. At its core, Ben’s Friends are hospitality workers who have found connection and the tools to seek and maintain sobriety while managing careers and lives in a sane and purposeful way. Ben’s Friends will host private meetings in the Beyond the Bar Space on Monday and Tuesday from 4:30 pm-6:00 pm.

A special thanks…

Tales Partners

TOTCF would like to recognize the generous partners who help bring a premier experience to New Orleans and beyond. TOTCF is pleased to present the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation 2024 Medallion and Diamond Tier Partners: Bacardi USA, Brown-Forman, Campari, Diageo, Pernod Ricard, Rémy-Cointreau, William Grant & Sons, and the TOTC2024 Official Water Partner: Perrier.

Tales Media Partners

TOTCF is proud to partner with esteemed media outlets to share the stories of our beloved cocktail community. This year, Tales is pleased to partner with Food & Wine, Forbes, Imbibe, Pre Shift, Provi, The Advocate, The Spill, and Wine Enthusiast.

ABOUT TALES OF THE COCKTAIL FOUNDATION:

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is a non-profit organization that educates, advances, and supports the global hospitality industry and creates lasting impact in our host communities. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is the global leader in spirits education and a platform to tackle issues facing the industry. The pillars of the Foundation are to Educate, Advance, and Support the hospitality industry through programs that benefit individuals and organizations in the community and to make a lasting impact in communities that host our events. This year, TOTCF hosts its 22nd Tales of the Cocktail® (TOTC) conference in New Orleans from July 21-26, 2024, and celebrates the theme Inspire.

Image: Cory Fontenot

Bar, Pub, Nightclub, Nightlife, Feasibility Study

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Meet Your Next Love: Amante 1530

Meet Your Next Love: Amante 1530

by David Klemt

Ana Rosenstein at a table watching a bartender shake up an Amante 1530 cocktail

A beautiful new luxury amaro from Italy is committing to becoming your nextand bestlover, whether you enjoy it straight up or in a fabulous cocktail.

Produced in Tuscany, Italy, at the Il Palagio 1530 estate, Amante 1530 hits a multitude of sweet spots.

Whereas Aperol comes in at 11-percent ABV and Campari hits between 24- and 29-percent ABV, Amante 1530 rings in at 15 percent. Further, this amaro has less sweetness than the former and less bitterness than the latter.

I sat down with Ana Rosenstein, the brand’s CEO, for an episode of the Bar Hacks podcast. Declaring herself a nerd, she explains that Amante 1530 falls in between Aperol and Campari, and can serve as an aperitivo or a digestivo.

Notably, the team behind Amante 1530 isn’t out to replace Aperol, Campari, or other well-established amari on the market. During our conversation, Rosenstein shares that she believes the brand speaks to an amaro consumer that hasn’t, until now, found the product that truly speaks to them. (You’ll also gain some invaluable insight into succeeding with investors during this episode.)

Below, four recipes that highlight Amante 1530’s key flavor notes of citrus, ginger, and honeysuckle. That said, I think you’ll find that Rosenstein’s recommendation of enjoying it neat or on the rocks with a slice of Amalfi lemon delivers an elegant and refreshing experience. Cheers!

 

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The Last Lover

  • 1.5 oz. Amante 1530
  • 1 oz. Blanco tequila
  • 0.5 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 2 oz. Quality soda water
  • 4 cucumber rounds
  • 1 barspoon Agave nectar (optional)

Muddle the cucumber rounds in a shaker, then add ice and the first three ingredients. As an option, you can add a barspoon of agave nectar. Shake, then strain into a Collins or highball glass. Top with soda water.

Moonraker

  • 1.5 oz. Gin
  • 0.75 oz. Amante 1530
  • 0.75 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 0.5 oz. Green tea simple syrup
  • 3 Cucumber rounds
  • 2 Cucumber ribbons to garnish

Muddle the cucumber rounds in a shaker. Fill shaker with ice. Add gin, Amante 1530, lemon juice, and green tea simple syrup. Shake well, then double-strain into cocktail coupe. Garnish with ribbons/lengthwise slices of cucumber, and serve.

Amante 1530 Amante Spritz cocktail

Amante Spritz

  • 2 parts Amante 1530
  • 3 parts Prosecco
  • 1 part High-quality soda water
  • 1 Amalfi lemon wedge to garnish

Prepare a stemmed balloon glass or goblet by adding ice. Next, add the Prosecco to the glass, followed by Amante 1530. Top with soda water, then squeeze the juice from the Amalfi lemon and drop in the wedge to garnish.

Amante 1530 Palombo tequila cocktail

Palombo

  • 1.5 oz. Reposado tequila
  • 0.75 oz. Amante 1530
  • 0.25 oz. Fresh lemon juice
  • 0.25 oz. Fresh lime juice
  • 0.5 oz. Simple syrup
  • 3 oz. Soda water
  • Lemon wheel to garnish

Prepare a Collins or highball glass by adding quality ice. To a shaker filled with ice add all the liquid ingredients except the soda water. Shake, then strain into the prepared glass. Top with the soda water, then garnish with the lemon wheel and serve.

Disclaimer: Neither the author nor KRG Hospitality received compensation, monetary or otherwise, in exchange for this post or podcast appearance.

Images: Amante 1530

KRG Hospitality Start-Up Restaurant Bar Hotel Consulting Consultant Solutions Plans Services

by David Klemt David Klemt No Comments

Your Most Underused Feature

The Most Underused Element of Your Business

by David Klemt

AI-generated image of a cathedral inside a suitcase

What, you’ve never seen a cathedral inside a suitcase with a glowing interior before?

There’s a part of your business that you see and use every day, and yet it’s very likely the least leveraged element of your bar, restaurant or hotel.

If there are couple (or more) areas of your business running through your mind right now, that’s a bit of a red flag. For now, I want you to focus on a specific feature of your venue: the name.

When you were developing your concept, did it have a different name than it does now? Are you proud of the name? Do you think it pops and demands attention?

During his 2024 Bar & Restaurant Expo session, Michael Tipps posited that most operators are averse to attaching an abstract or enigmatic handle to their concept. That is, in his opinion, a mistake.

“The name is the most under-utilized element of a bar or restaurant,” he said plainly.

For context, this is a man who has proudly affixed the monikers Shoo Shoo, Baby and Mama Foo Foo to concepts in Los Angeles and Daytona Beach, respectively. I’m not going to provide more examples since some concepts are yet to be revealed officially, but there’s more label lunacy in the works.

The word “works” is a segue for addressing the fear or being too “out there.” As they say, it isn’t crazy if it works. Part of making sure the name and thematic elements work is developing a concept’s identity. With that achieved, marketing will be far more effective.

Make an Impact

As we tell KRG Hospitality clients, concept development is the fun stage of project planning. It’s a collaborative effort that gives everyone involved the opportunity to be creative.

Moreover, an effective consultant will help their client swing for the fences rather than stay too grounded. The concept development stage shouldn’t be about dumbing down and saying no. The right consultant-client relationship will be about asking, “How can we get to where and who you want to be?”

Tipps, co-founder of Maverick Theory, will tell you that our F&B world is a social experiment. Guests really aren’t coming to buy food and beverages; they’re at your venue to socialize, connect, feel valued.

“It’s not about what you’re doing, it’s about what you’re being while you do it,” he says. So, I think it’s safe for me to say that he would ask why someone would want to be mediocre. Why would they want their concept to blend in rather than stand out?

As he said during his BRE session, “Everyone who wants to build a concept that’s original and blows people away also includes people who build mediocre, cliche restaurants and bars.

If your concept doesn’t make an impact on a guest and make them curious enough to step through the doors, that’s not a great start. Yes, outstanding service is crucial; it converts one-time guests into repeat visitors. However, they need a reason to become a guest in the first place.

Logically, that means the name, signage, and exterior design need to be impactful.

“Steven Spielberg didn’t make a scary shark movie called Scary Shark,” observed Tipps.

Why, then, do people continue to put “restaurant” or “bar” in the name of their business? Fear.

Stand Up and Stand Out

I doubt that a significant percentage of hospitality operators have said the following during concept development: “I’d really like to fade into the background.”

Combined, according to 2023 data, there are more than 810,000 restaurants and bars in the US alone. Add hotels and motels and that number jumps to well over 900,000.

The last thing that will help any of those businesses make money and keep the lights on is to become white noise. Saddle your concept with a boring name and that’s exactly what it will be, from the jump. Why do that to yourself?

As I said in the preceding section, fear. And Tipps would agree with my conclusion.

“You want to do something special but you also don’t want to do anything too esoteric,” said Tipps during his session. That’s the reason we see “restaurant” and “bar” on restaurant and bar signs.

There’s also the fact that things get very “real” for some people when they first open their doors to the public. They’re now in the spotlight, and the pressure to lead their business to success can be overwhelming.

It’s fair to theorize that some owners second-guess their name and branding when their nerves get the better of them. How will they ever live up to a bold, irresistible bar or restaurant name? What if people won’t come to the business if they aren’t 100-percent certain they know it’s a restaurant or bar?

Which would you rather visit? Mama Foo Foo Neighborhood Restaurant and Bar, or Mama Foo Foo? Which has more impact and sparks your curiosity? Which name would make you feel like you’ve arrived somewhere?

What’s in a Name?

Tipps didn’t title his BRE session “How to Name Your Restaurant or Bar.” Instead, his session was called “Cathedral in a Suitcase.”

Does that session title communicate the topic directly? Not exactly, but it certainly had an impact. And that was the point.

Rather than wonder how to name a restaurant or bar, Tipps (and the KRG team as well) wants operators, current and future, to consider different approaches to developing their concepts.

Certainly, we don’t need to label restaurants and bars as restaurants and bars. Further, as Tipps pointed out during his session, we don’t have to make them feel like restaurants and bars. I promise you, people will intuit how you intend for them to use your space.

Per Tipps, and once again, we agree, your restaurant can feel like a movie. Your bar can feel like an album. You can decide, while eschewing stereotypical elements, whether your venue is masculine, feminine, or neutral.

“Creativity is intelligence having fun,” said Tipps, so have fun with your concept in the development stage. That will translate to a fun, engaging venue (with the right systems and standards in place, of course).

From there, collaborate with a designer to transform your concept from vision to brick and mortar that creates connections. For example, add texture, because speaking to our sense of touch elicits a visceral reaction. Give careful consideration to lighting, because your guests want to look good. Make sure every element relates to the name and the theme.

So, what’s in a name? The future of your business.

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

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3 Operators Address Surviving a Downturn

3 Wise Operators Share Tips for Surviving a Downturn

by David Klemt

AI-generated diorama-style image of woman behind bar using a tablet

I have to say, AI-generated, diorama-style images look rad.

During a standout session from the 2024 Bar & Restaurant Expo, a panel of three successful and highly respected bar operators answered an important question.

This year, BRE brought together an operator supergroup: Erick Castro, Nectaly Mendoza, and Travis Tober. The trio drove home the importance of becoming a student of the industry; being curious about business; understanding the need to nail the fundamentals; and operators knowing their numbers.

Castro summed up the path to becoming a successful operator rather succinctly: “You need to follow the fundamentals to make money.”

Of course, making money is just part of the success equation. Banking that money so it can work for an operator is another. Again, Castro put it simply, urging operators to live within their means when their bar or restaurant starts making money.

Taking it further, Mendoza pointed out that trying to project an image of success is foolish. As he explained, some operators and bartenders are projecting an image of prosperity and expertise, but it’s nothing more than an illusion.

Tober, who understands this business like few others, drove home the need to understand that really, operators are in the entertainment and relationship business. He, his business partners, and his teams are committed to giving guests a reason to visit their concepts and spend their money.

Toward the end of this incredible session, an audience member, to the benefit of every attendee, asked the trio for advice everyone could take back home to improve their operations.

Tighten Up

When it comes to appealing topics of discussion, most people want to shy away from economic downturn. However, ignoring the possibility of a recession doesn’t prevent it from becoming reality.

In fact, Tober said operators need to prepare now for things “to get rough for the next two or three years.” So, he advised the roomful of operators to tighten up their P&Ls.

For future operators this means making it non-negotiable to understand every aspect of their business. Systems must be in place and standards developed before the first guest ever steps through the doors.

According to Tober, operators who are aggressive and savvy can set themselves up “for life” in the next five or six years. We all know what that means, and it’s one of the reasons an operator need to re-invest in their business.

Adding to Tober’s thoughts on the next few years, Mendoza advised the audience to be prepared to attack opportunities when they present themselves.

On the topic of becoming a sharp and successful operator, Mendoza said to “overkill” the books. “Put the same attention into your books as you do your bar team and menus.”

Put simply, operators who know their numbers and the importance of reinvesting funds have chosen the path toward success. This also relates to hopeful operators. They’ll have the opportunity, if they follow their instincts and wait for the right location to become available, for a strong start over the next few years.

Fortuitously, that fits with Castro’s advice: Make sure you’re actually starting a business, not creating a job for yourself. Also, ensure pour costs, food costs, and labor costs are dialed in because they’re the variables over which operators have the most control. Lastly, aim for low turnover.

Takeaway

If we at KRG Hospitality didn’t agree with Castro, Mendoza, or Tober, we wouldn’t share their advice or insight.

The naked truth is that bars and restaurants are going to close. It happens every day.

Mendoza addressed this reality directly. Looking around the room, he said, “Look, some of you motherfuckers ain’t gonna make it.”

While it got a laugh, it was also true. However, one can improve their odds of success by putting the right systems in place; being curious enough to want to know everything about their business and the industry; hiring people for passion, and committing to mentoring and treating them well; and hiring people who will, as Mendoza said, make stress and pain points irrelevant.

It has been said plenty of times that we can hire for passion in this industry, and train for skills. What I hadn’t really heard until Mendoza said it is that we should also hire people who won’t cause an operator’s headaches. About midway through their session, Mendoza advised the room to ask themselves if the person they’re interviewing is going to be a problem or a good fit.

Another truth is that one operator’s failure represents another operator’s future success. However, that’s not possible without a high-level understanding of one’s business specifically and the hospitality business in general.

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

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BUNNYFiSH: A Lesson in Collaboration

BUNNYFiSH: A Lesson in Collaboration

by David Klemt

A cartoon fish wearing bunny ears, hovering near the world-famous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign

Honestly, I’ve seen stranger things than a floating fish wearing bunny ears while living in Las Vegas.

Architect Craig Sean Palacios, co-founder of BUNNYFiSH studio in Las Vegas, told a compelling story about professional relationships during HD Expo 2024.

Palacios and his business partner worked closely with former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh for a decade. Titled “Meaningful Collaboration: A Decade with Tony Hsieh,” the presentation was an interesting look into a unique client relationship.

When BUNNYFiSH studio first started, Palacios and Wichmann were working out of The Beat Coffeehouse. Interestingly, this space, located in Downtown Las Vegas, was an example of adaptive reuse architecture. The space was transformed from a quick-care medical center into a coffeehouse, with small exam rooms converted into small offices.

As Palacios recalls, he was wrapping up for the day about 14 years ago when someone popped their head into the BUNNYFiSH office. This person asked what Palacios was doing, and he answered that he was leaving for the day. Clarifying their question, the person inquired about BUNNYFiSH.

After explaining the studio’s overview and sharing some project details, Palacios was told the person would be back. Well, that person did return, and he had a few more people in tow. One of these people, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, was Hsieh.

Eventually, the group traveled from The Beat to the streets of Downtown Las Vegas, and through the doors of Hsieh’s apartment. Along with people milling about was a wall loaded with Post-It Notes. Written on these notes were words like “speakeasy” and “restaurant.” As an architect, Palacios instinctively began arranging the notes to create logical, cohesive concepts.

From there, Hsieh led Palacios to an empty lot, and asked what the architect would put there. Palacios saw a grocery store. Hsieh, a butterfly farm.

It was in that moment, said Palacios, that he began to understand Hsieh. After what was essentially an entire day with Hsieh, BUNNYFiSH studio, the Zappos CEO, and his team would go on to discuss architecture for several months.

Speaking the Same Language

During at least one conversation, Hsieh made the statement that he didn’t “speak architect.” And to this day, Palacios isn’t quite sure if that was a completely truthful claim.

However, he was told that no architect had ever really been able to make Hsieh happy up to that point. So, it appears that the two had found an effective method of communication, and Hsieh appeared happy to work with BUNNYFiSH studio.

That method did take time to develop, of course. Take, for instance, the transformation of a building in Downtown Las Vegas that Hsieh had acquired. When Palacios asked what Hsieh wanted, the latter told the former to “go to the W in Austin.”

That was the whole of the instruction.

So, with that as the entire brief, BUNNYFiSH went to the W in Austin. And, as Palacios explained, they did basically everything one could have done at the hotel at that time. Upon their return to Las Vegas, Palacios made the call to simply let Hsieh find him at The Beat when he was ready.

Sure enough, that’s what happened a few days later. Basically, Hsieh wanted BUNNYFiSH to transform his building into the W in Austin, in a way. When Inspire first opened, I visited the speakeasywhich required biometric access, I believe via a retinal scanand I would later watch Hey, Bartender in the space’s theater/TED Talk area, hosted by Dushan Zaric, co-founder of Employees Only.

Making Things Happen

Hsieh would go on to work with BUNNYFiSH on more projects, large and small. In doing so, they would all transform the Downtown Las Vegas landscape and culture.

To provide one large-scale example, BUNNYFiSH took on the Gold Spike’s metamorphosis from old-school, outdated casino to nightlife, social, and event space. This is another concept with which I’m familiar, having hosted an event there with the Bar & Restaurant Expo team when the event was still known as Nightclub & Bar.

There was also a small downtown motel conversion. Since “nobody needs parking in Las Vegas,” the parking lot was ripped out and a six-hole putt-putt course was installed. Of course, it wasn’t that simple; each hole was a version of a world-famous counterpart.

Anyone who has spent time in Downtown Las Vegas will be familiar with another BUNNYFiSH-Hsieh collaboration: Container Park. However, it’s a dog park project that really encapsulates the real message within Palacios’ story.

Per the Las Vegas native, Hsieh was a part of most of the meetings between his team and BUNNYFiSH. From time to time, he’d pop his head into a meeting with a question or idea, but that was about it.

Well, during one meeting, Hsieh popped up and asked if it was possible to build the world’s largest functional fire hydrant. By now several years into the relationship, Palacios knew the answer: “Yes.”

As he explained, he had learned to not say no to Hsieh. That may paint the entrepreneur in a tyrannical light. That isn’t, however, what Palacios meant.

Asking Why

While some clients can accept hearing “no” after they’ve asked a question, others need more. They require a why.

Sure, that’s sometimes because a client is, to put it diplomatically, “particular.” But as Palacios learned over the course of a decade-long collaborative relationship with Hsieh, sometimes “why” is a tool.

That three-letter question can spark creativity. Creativity in getting around but not running afoul of building codes, creativity in material or site selection, creativity in bringing an idea into the physical world.

While “no” is, indeed, a complete sentence, in the context of developing a restaurant, bar, hotel, etc., it can be a project killer.

Further, once one side of a business relationship comes to understand how the other interprets a why, communication grows stronger. Instead of just a conversation-halting “no,” collaborators learn to anticipate. So, that “no” starts out as a, “No, we can’t/shouldn’t do it that way, here’s why, here’s our solution.”

That’s a far stronger and healthier way to communicate and work together.

Real-world Example

Let’s look at a BUNNYFiSH project in Reno, Nevada. Traditionally, a guest room has a desk. And, traditionally, you’d be told by a hotel executive that the desk is so guests can write letters.

Well…which guests are actually doing this? Why are hotels still putting the same desk designs in their rooms?

Those two questions led to a room design featuring a reinvented desk. The BUNNYFiSH desk design is now the standard for the hotel group.

However, that desk design update pales in comparison to another change Palacios suggested.

Why, Palacios asked, did this hotel need a conference space? And why not transform the space that would traditionally be a conference space into…a bocce bar. A very large bocce bar, at that.

As Palacios explained the moment he posed those questions to hotel executives (a.k.a. major BUNNYFiSH clients), he was first met with silence. But that silence eventually turned to belief in Palacios and BUNNYFiSH, and there is in fact a bocce bar where one would expect a conference space.

According to Palacios, the bar is generating more revenue than the client projected they’d see from the conference area.

Takeaways

Too many people forget that “relationship” is the operative word in “business relationship.”

Had BUNNYFiSH seen their burgeoning relationship with Hsieh as solely transactional, they would likely have been relegated to the same pile of architects that hadn’t managed to satisfy Hsieh.

However, all parties developed an understanding of one another. They learned how to communicate with one another, and the results were incredible.

Further, Palacios and BUNNYFiSH learned to adapt that communication style for future clients, again to wonderful results.

Hospitality is a people business. As some people like to say, most problems are people problems. Going further, people problems are often communication problems.

Learning how to communicate and collaborate can solve a multitude of problems, and help develop long-term relationships.

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

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Cafe vs. Coffee Shop: Not the Same

Cafe vs. Coffee Shop: Not the Same

by David Klemt

A woman standing in a space that's half cafe and half coffee shop

Yes, cafes and coffee shops are different from one another.

There appears to be a misconception that a cafe and a coffee shop are more than just similar, the two concept types are synonymous.

Over the past 18 months, our inquiries from clients with visions to bring their cafe or coffee shop concept to life have increased. In particular, these inquiries are coming from two cities (and the surrounding areas) that boast serious coffee cultures: Vancouver and Toronto.

Interestingly, many of these future cafe and coffee shop operators use the terms interchangeably. So, we want to clarify that the two are similar but not the same.

Generally speaking, the menu is a big differentiator when determining if someone wants to open a cafe or coffee shop.

Menu

A cafe is a type of sit-down restaurant with a food menu, and is capable of serving at least light meals. There’s likely coffee on the menu, but the beverage menu is often far more varied.

For example, one would expect to find teas, juices, sodas, and even beer and wine on a cafe’s beverage menu.

In terms of food, think breakfast sandwiches and bowls, brunch items, soup, sandwiches, and salads. In the morning, there will likely be pastries on offer to pair with coffee drinks, but, again, the coffee menu won’t be as extensive in comparison to a coffee shop’s selection.

As one might imagine, a coffee shop’s main focus is coffee. There may be a small menu consisting of small items that pair well with coffee, but food is secondary at best.

Further, the guests inside a coffee shop expect to enjoy a drip-style coffee beverage, and perhaps espresso.

Now, let’s drill a bit deeper. Coffeehouses often feed into the perception of venues that serve specialty coffees. Speaking generally once again, coffeehouses commonly foster a sense of community and are social spaces. Such concepts also tend to encourage remote workers and students to linger.

Coffee bars tend to operate in areas that experience heavy foot traffic. Like a coffeehouse, the focus is on specialty and artisanal coffee drinks. However, it’s not uncommon for seating to be sparse or even nonexistent. If there’s food on the menu, it’s not extensive, and it’s normally a quick, transportable bite.

Finally, a coffee roaster focuses heavily on sourcing coffee beans, and taking on the task of roasting themselves. It’s common practice for many roasters to act as a partner to coffee shops, restaurants, and hotels. These concepts are often perceived as providing higher-quality coffee drinks than their coffee shop, bar, and house peers.

The more you know…

Hopefully, this clarifies the difference(s) between a cafe and coffee shop.

When one is considering whether their concept is a cafe or coffee shop, they should consider the depth of their coffee and food programs.

Will the menu be full of artisanal and specialty coffee beans and drinks? Will the food be limited to a handful of items, like pastries? Or, will the food menu be extensive and offer guests the opportunity to order a meal?

Other elements to consider are the size of the venue, overall vibe, and role in the community, along with the perception of the quality of the menu.

Sitting down to finalize these details will help a future operator determine whether they plan to open a cafe or a coffee shop.

Image: Shutterstock. Disclaimer: This image was generated by an Artificial Intelligence (AI) system.

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Be the RTD You Want to See in the World

Juan, Please: Be the RTD You Want to See in the World

by David Klemt

Pete Flores, the founder of brand-new ready-to-drink cocktail brand Juan, Please, is on a mission to bring the TLT to the world.

And what is a TLT? It’s Tequila, Lemonade, Tea, the first expression in the Juan, Please RTD portfolio.

You may be familiar with a different name for this particular cocktail. Like the John Daly is a vodka-spiked version of the iconic Arnold Palmer, a Juan Daly is an Arnold Palmer made with tequila.

As it turns out, the Arnold Palmer is Flores’ favorite alcohol-free beverage. He explains on an upcoming episode of the Bar Hacks podcast, Flores added tequila to an AriZona Arnold Palmer several years ago.

You’ll learn on his episode that Flores assumed someone would surely bring a Juan Daly RTD to market. However, after a couple of years of waiting, he realized he and his business partners were going to be those someones.

In fact, by the time you read this, Flores and his team will be fresh off the official Juan, Please launch party that took place in Hoboken, New Jersey. And really, what day could’ve been better than Cinco de Mayo to launch this brand?

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Juan, Please (@drinkjuanplease)

For now, Juan, Please is available only in New Jersey. However, New York is next, possibly as early as June 1 of this year. With any luck (and interest by you and other operators and bar professionals), major markets throughout the US will follow before year’s end.

Keep your ears out for our upcoming chat with Flores, and keep an eye out for your opportunity to taste Juan, Please.

Cheers!

Introducing Juan, Please Set to Disrupt the Canned Cocktail Market with Tequila-Infused Innovations

Juan Please is poised to redefine the category with its inaugural product: the T.L.T.—Tequila, Lemonade, and Tea Launching May 5th, 2024, in New Jersey.

New York, NY – April 23, 2024 – Today marks the unveiling of Juan, Please, a bold new player in the world of Ready-to-Drink cocktails, set to make waves with its unique lineup of tequila-based beverages launching on Cinco de Mayo in New Jersey. Juan, Please is poised to redefine the category with its inaugural product: the T.L.T. – Tequila, Lemonade, Tea, a non-carbonated drink with only Juan gram of sugar and 7% ABV.

The inspiration for Juan, Please struck when founder Peter Flores, a tequila enthusiast and fan of Arnold Palmers, noticed a glaring gap in the market for tequila-based canned cocktails. After years of waiting for someone to introduce this concept, Peter decided to take matters into his own hands, building a team with like-minded colleagues to embark on this spirited venture.

“Flores emphasizes that ‘Juan, Please’ embodies the essence of joy—laughter, dancing, and life—sealed within each can, reflecting his life’s cherished moments.” “As we embark on the brand’s journey in our home state of New Jersey, it feels like all of the friends we grew up with are on the ride with us.”

Since its soft launch in early 2024, Juan, Please has already gained traction in select venues across New Jersey, including notable Mexican restaurants and prestigious country clubs. The brand is now gearing up for its official launch on Cinco de Mayo, May 5th, 2024, at Pier 13 in Hoboken, promising attendees a taste of innovation and celebration.

Peter Flores, the visionary behind Juan, Please, brings over two decades of experience in hospitality, entertainment, and advertising. His mission is clear: to encapsulate the essence of good times, laughter, and joy into every can of Juan, Please.

“The T.L.T marks the pioneering spirit of our venture. Our upcoming expansion into New York City in June 2024 will debut two exciting new flavors: a Mezcal Old Fashioned and a Tequila Reposado Espresso Martini. ‘Juan, Please’ is positioned to establish itself as the premier choice for those seeking innovative twists on classic cocktails, marking just the beginning of our flavorful story. Says Flores”

The launch event will take place on May 5th, Cinco de Mayo, on Pier 13 in Hoboken from 1:00 to 5:00 PM. There will be a Juan on Juan Challenge (game with a giveaway), drink specials, and Juan will be in attendance in the costume for pictures. Attendees will experience the excitement and flavor that Juan, Please brings to the market. Juan, Please is set to carve out its niche as the go-to choice for those seeking a fresh take on classic cocktails.

About Juan, Please

Juan, Please is a dynamic alcohol startup brand reshaping the Ready-to-Drink cocktail market with its innovative lineup of tequila-infused beverages. Founded by Peter Flores, Juan, Please offers a range of premium canned cocktails designed to deliver exceptional flavor and convenience. The flagship product, the T.L.T. Tequila, Lemonade, Tea, is a non-carbonated drink with only Juan gram of sugar and 7% ABV. Juan, Please embodies our commitment to crafting unique combinations that capture the spirit of celebration. Inspired by Peter’s passion for tequila and classic cocktails, Juan, Please introduces a fresh take on familiar favorites, promising unforgettable experiences with every sip. Join us as we redefine the art of cocktail culture, one can at a time.

Image: Juan, Please

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5 Books to Read this Month: May 2024

5 Books to Read this Month: May 2024

by David Klemt

Flipping through an open book

Our inspiring and informative May book selections will help you improve your life and outlook, get a handle on operations, and build your leadership team.

To review the book recommendations from April 2024, click here.

Let’s jump in!

Now That I have Your Attention: 7 Lessons in Leading a Life Bigger Than They Expect

This book is listed as a pre-order but I was able to purchase mine a while back, and it arrived a couple of weeks ago. Nicolas Hamilton has overcome a lot in his life, to put it mildly. He has gone from being told he’d never walk to defying that expectation and driving in the British Touring Car Championship. In Now That I Have Your Attention, you’ll learn lessons, like rebelling against the rulebook, always walking the hardest path, and seeing rock bottom and never going back.

From Amazon:Now That I Have Your Attention follows Nicolas’s remarkable journey and shares the valuable, tough, and often surprising lessons learned throughout his life.

“Nicolas’s journey has at times been hostile and has forced him to navigate periods of anger and resentment, but by building his mental strength and pushing himself beyond the physical limits of what anyone had ever expected of him, Nicolas has changed his life – and believes you can too.”

Pre-order your copy today.

Creativity, Inc. (The Expanded Edition): Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration

Among other lessons, Creativity, Inc. drives home the importance of building an incredible team. However, that also includes building a culture of support and development.

From Amazon:The co-founder and longtime president of Pixar updates and expands his 2014 New York Times bestseller on creative leadership, reflecting on the management principles that built Pixar’s singularly successful culture, and on all he learned during the past nine years that allowed Pixar to retain its creative culture while continuing to evolve.

Purchase here.

The Cocktail Parlor: How Women Brought the Cocktail Home

On the surface, this is a recipe book. There are 40 “main” cocktail recipes along with 100 variants. But when we really dive in we see that The Cocktail Parlor is about giving women credit for shaping the past and present of cocktail culture.

From Amazon: “Journeying through the decades, this book profiles a diverse array of influential hostesses. With each historic era comes iconic recipes, featuring a total of 40 main cocktails and more than 100 variations that readers can make at home. Whether its happy hour punch à la Martha Washington or a Harlem Renaissance–inspired Green Skirt, readers will find that many of the ingredients and drinks they’re familiar with today wouldn’t be here without the hostesses who served them first.”

Pick it up today!

The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It

Do you feel like you’re working at your business but not on your business? If you have a sense that you feel more like you’ve created a job for yourself than a business, this book may just help you turn things around as an entrepreneur.

From Amazon: “An instant classic, this revised and updated edition of the phenomenal bestseller dispels the myths about starting your own business. Small business consultant and author Michael E. Gerber, with sharp insight gained from years of experience, points out how common assumptions, expectations, and even technical expertise can get in the way of running a successful business.”

Order here.

Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business

As Doug Radkey, founder and president of KRG Hospitality says, a leader in this space needs strategic clarity. This book can provide insights into how to achieve that clarity, improve processes, and build a leadership team that can actually lead others.

From Amazon: “In Traction, you’ll learn the secrets of strengthening the six key components of your business. You’ll discover simple yet powerful ways to run your company that will give you and your leadership team more focus, more growth, and more enjoyment. Successful companies are applying Traction every day to run profitable, frustration-free businesses—and you can too.”

Buy it today.

Image: Mikołaj on Unsplash

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Program for Unique Holidays: May 2024

Program for Unique Holidays: May 2024

by David Klemt

"Think about things differently" neon sign

Do you want to stand out from from other restaurants and bars in your area? Change how you think about your May holiday programming.

Several holidays are set against every date on the calendar, and this month is no exception. These holidays range from mainstream to esoteric.

Pay attention to the “weird” or unique holidays to raise eyebrows, carve out a niche for your restaurant or bar, and attract more guests. Why do what everyone else is already doing? Why program only around the same holidays as everyone else?

Of course, you shouldn’t try to celebrate every holiday, strange or otherwise. Focus on the days that are authentic to your brand; resonate with your guests; and help you grab attention on social media.

You’ll find suggestions for promotions below. However, the idea behind our monthly holiday promotions roundup is to inspire you and your team to get creative and come up with unique programming ideas.

For our April 2024 holidays list, click here.

May 1: Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month

If your concept is one that attracts motorcyclists already, or one that can handle motorcyclists to show up en masse without alienating other guests, your venue can celebrate Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month any or every day in May.

Encourage your guests to ride safely, look out for motorcycles when they’re driving, and organize group rides that stop by your bar or restaurant. Responsibly, of course.

May 4: Beer Pong Day

Let’s face itbeer pong is a classic bar game. Importantly, it’s a classic bar game that anyone can learn to play (to varying degrees of skill), and it’s simple to organize a tournament.

Should your bar or restaurant have the room and the following to support a beer pong tournament, this holiday could do very well for you and your team.

May 6: National Beverage Day

I mean…look how open-ended this holiday is. Is your bar or restaurant known for a particular drink? More than one particular drink? Perfect! Now’s the time to really brag about that and bring people through your doors.

May 11: National Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day

Part of being a great operator is being an excellent neighbor and member of the community. One selfless act you and your team can participate in is to organize a food drive, acting as the central hub for donations and partnering with a food pantry, shelter, or other charitable organization.

May 17: National Pizza Party Day

Sure, the pizza party has become a corporate trope. That doesn’t mean that if you operate a pizzeria your business shouldn’t be the one that companies, families, and groups of friends call when it’s pizza party time.

May 19: World Baking Day

How are your kitchen team’s baking skills? This is the holiday to shine a light on them and create a baked well LTO.

May 20: World Bee Day

Not only are there some interesting cocktails with the word “bee” in their name, there are also plenty that call for honey as an ingredient.

However, as I pointed out on Earth Day, there are also vegan honey alternatives that can be used for F&B items. So, this could be the day to use those and make your guests aware of them.

May 21: International Tea Day

Tea is, obviously, an excellent drink on its own. However, tea can really shine as the base or mixer for an array of cocktails. Try creating an LTO menu of full-, low-, and no-ABV cocktails for your guests to try.

May 22: National Craft Distillery Day

Do you have a craft distillery in your market? In your state? This holiday is the perfect time to work on developing a relationship with them and crafting an LTO menu with their products.

May 30: National Mint Julep Day

Ah, the Mint Julep. It’s not just for the Kentucky Derby. It’s a classic for a reason, and one of those reasons is how refreshing it is on a hot day. Plus, there are several variants you can adjust to create an LTO menu.

Image: Ivan Bertolazzi on Pexels

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