The Cocktail Bandits, were so excited to attend the first ever BevCon!! It took place at the Hyatt Place on August 21st through August 23 in Charleston, South Carolina. BevCon is a 3 day conference for beverage professionals by beverage professionals focusing on ALL THINGS DRINKABLE: coffee, soda, juice, beer, wine and spirits. It’s more intimate than most food and wine festivals, and is only for people in the beverage industry. This meant that classes were more in depth and business focused. Each day we learned about something or someone new in the industry, which is what this conference was all about.
The first day of BevCon, we took a morning Rum excursion around Charleston Harbor. It was incredible. Paul Yellin, from Cane’s Rhum bar curated some tasty bites to pair with our cocktails as Rum author, Robert Moss, gave us rum knowledge. It was a perfect way to start off the conference.
The opening event happened at High Wire Distllery, is where Angel Postell, the founder of BevCon spoke about the mission of this event. After the greetings and salutations, we were able to sample different foods and drinks, all while listening to live music. It was a hot day, but everyone managed to have a good time.
Day two was the beginning of the seminars.
The very first seminar was about the definition of “craft”. This was an interesting panel that was comprised of 5 different business owners, all talking about what craft meant to them. A few of them wanted to get rid of the word, but the others appreciated the term because they felt their product is indeed craft. It was an interesting discussion.
The next seminar was called “Getting Inked”, which was a panel of influential media people such as Kat Kinsmen, F&B writer for Extra Crispy and Hanna Raskin, the F&B writer for Post and Courier. They were educating us bar professionals about different ways to get published. Some of their tips were; ‘to NOT overload Media inboxes with random press releases and to make sure whatever you want published has some relevance to the author or editor writing topic.’ What we found most interesting about this panel, was that there were NO social media influencers involved. It will be interesting to hear from the SOCIAL MEDIA perspective next year. Since that such a huge outlet for the Food and Beverage industry now.
The final seminar we attended on day 2, was a class called, “How Far You Can Twist a Classic?” This class discussed how a classic cocktail, the French 75, can be modernized, but still remain a French 75. Kat Kinsmen led this session, she has been on the hunt for French 75’s for the last 5 years! She has tried numerous renditions of this classic beverage and wanted show us two very different ways that 1 cocktail can be created.
She invited two Atlanta bartenders, Tiffanie Barriere, and Jenique Keyatta Holder-Mincey to create their versions of the French 75. Tiffanie created her CLASSIC cocktail with Cognac, lemon juice, and simple syrup, then topped with champagne. Jenique’ created her French 75 with a twist. She used gin, lemon juice, guava, and then topped it with champagne. Both were delicious and it proved that it is more than one way to create the same drink.
After the classes ended on Day 2 and 3, there were about 10 bar takeovers each night. We couldn’t make it to all of them, for obvious reasons, but we did go to Canes Rhum Bar, McCrady’s Tavern, Bar Mash, The Ordinary, The Grocery and Proof. Our favorite bar takeover was at The Rarebit with Tiffanie and Jenique. We had a great time with them, their cocktails were amazing, they played awesome music and the bar was packed! We danced there until they closed the spot!
Day three was packed with seminars just like the other two days. What we enjoyed about the last day was the tasting room at the end of the day. This was not a conventional tasting session. There were over 30 different beverages to sample; and most of the special sips came from small companies. We were honored to sample some of the most exclusive brands.
The final Bev Con event took place at the Windjammer on IOP. There was good food, cocktails and music ALL NIGHT! Angel Postell and her crew did an amazing job putting on the FIRST BevCon event in Charleston. We appreciated being around some of the best and brightest in the industry.
If you missed out on this fantastic event it will be back August 20-22, 2017. We will be back. We hope to see you there!