Volume 01. May 2021
50 Cent, Sire Spirits
spirits. wine. potations and libations. beverage industry news.
PR%F the Magazine Michael Politz Publisher Michele Tell
Founder, Executive Director
Jennifer English Editor-At-Large
Debbie Hall Chief Writer
Director of Competitions
Director of Business Development
Contributors: Eric Carrico Renee Korbel
Eric Carrico Renee Korbel Quinn Mark Schettler Katie Renouf
Contact the Team at
PR%F the Magazine is owned and published electronically by The Original Brand, LLC. Copyright 2019 PR%F Awards and distinctive logo are trademarks and owned by The Original Brand, LLC. All Rights Reserved. No part of this electronic magazine may be reproduced without the written consent of PR%F the Magazine. Requests for permission should be directed to: ProofMagazineInfo@gmail.com. The information contained has been provided by such individual, event organizers or organizations. The opinion expressed in each article is the opinion of its author, organization or public relation firm.
in this issue
FROM THE DESK OF MICHELE D. TELL
A DROP OF BRITAIN
KENTUCKY BOURBON TRAIL
RESURGENCE OF A TIMELY SPIRIT
50 CENT: SIRE SPIRITS
It began in 1984. Sista Bee, Uncle Ernie’s wife, mixed up the original recipe at home and it would be carried lovingly down the hill to Shoal Bay on the Caribbean island of Anguilla, to be served at Uncle Ernie’s Beach Bar over ice with a smile.
UNCLEERNIESRUMCO.COM @UNCLEERNIESRUMCO #RIDETHERUMWAVE
from the desk of Michele D. Tell
From the desk of Michele D. Tell Executive Director, PR%F Awards and PR%F the Magazine Thank you for joining us for our second issue of !"#$%&'(%)*+*, -./(. A special thank you to Aisha Tyler for being on our inaugural cover and sharing with us behind-the-scenes insights to her brand Courage+Stone in our first issue. A special thank you to Curtis Jackson, AKA 50 Cent, our first gentleman on the cover of !"#$%&'(%)*+*-./(- and for sharing with us his Branson Cognacs and multiple Century and Double-Gold winning brands from PR%F Awards 2020. We are deep in the throes of planning PR%F Awards 2021. This year we enhanced the format of our coveted wine, spirits, and beverage competition. All brands that enter for one price will be submitted for two very separate and distinct competitions. It gives our entered brands a chance to win two medals, win two titles, and mostly, it gives our brands a chance to get up-close and personal with the PR%F Awards judges—all buyers from across the nation. The first competition is PR%F Awards 2021 Masked! This continues the tradition of PR%F Awards by hosting a spectacular double-blind tasting competition with our judges – giving a small glimpse into varietal, region, and ABV. The taste of the brand will remain supreme during this competition. Our judges will rate the juice and savor its essence by rating your brand based on a proprietary 100-point system on color, hue, appeal, complexity, presence of alcohol, balance between fragrances, distinctiveness of flavors, length of finish—to name a few rating elements. At PR%F Awards 2021, our judges rate your brand as an individual submission. We do not judge brand against brand or brand against a panel of like varietals of spirits or wine. It’s your brand against our esteemed panel of judges and a 100-point rating system. This very special element of our competition allows judges to taste all brands as tasting them for the first time. For many emerging brands that enter PR%F Awards, it very well might be the first time they are rated and tasted by esteemed buyers from across the States. The next day, the judges come back to the competition and will participate in PR%F Awards-Unmasked! During this competition, all judges re-taste all the brands once again, but this time, the brand is Unmasked and revealed. Our judges get to see the label, logo, brand, touch the bottle, and read the ingredients. Each brand is encouraged to submit a 400-word synopsis that tells its personal story about why the brand was created in the first place. We are affectionately calling this part of the competition 0'(%01&*2%
!*34*+(. Why did we change up the awards to include Masked and Unmasked? Because our judges, all buyers from across the United States, asked for this. Our buyers have specific needs to meet while enjoying the double-blind competition, and rating these brands from around the world will always be a key element to the PR%F Awards. Our judges—buyers from airlines, restaurants, hotels, resorts, nightclub, grocery stores, liquor stores, bars, distributors, online distributors, and more – look for the Total Package, which includes the taste, originality, price point, look, shape of bottle, ingredients, height of bottle for their individual shelving systems, and more. Each buyer caters to a specific customer base, and each of their establishments has different needs; hence the birth of PR%F Awards Unmasked. So, when you enter your spirits, wine, beverage, spirited garnish, water, tea, energy drink, CBD infused spirits, and frozen spirit concoction into the PR%F Awards, you enter two distinctive competitions—PR%F Awards Masked! and PR%F Awards Unmasked! It’s the best of two worlds with an extraordinary chance to win two separate medals from more than 100 judges that have the power to move your brand even further. Enter your spirits, wine, and beverages today. The deadline is quickly approaching. Visit www.proofawards.com for details. As a note, our next edition will feature spirits, wines & beverages that give back to a charity. If you donate partial proceeds if your bottle sales to a charity, we want to hear about it. Let us know. firstname.lastname@example.org
Namaste and Cheers!
Michele Michele D. Tell
Founder, Executive Director PR%F the Magazine and PR%F Awards
a drop of britain
a drop of britain
by Katie Renouf IG: katie.in.london
Hi everyone! This is my first contribution to PR%F and it’s super exciting to join them on their journey. I work in the city of London and in my spare time I love to explore the incredible food & drink scene that the UK has to offer. With new openings every day, my work is never done! The UK food & drink scene is broad; traditional rustic establishments, ten course fine dining, outstanding curry houses, celebrity chef pop-ups…. I could go on forever. In each issue I will be highlighting different parts of our culture. This month I will be covering the quintessential British classic: “Pub Grub”
Grub (!"#!): Food. $%&'()*+,-.!/0(12*&)(/,+3()"'2(/,#34 Picture the scene. Its 30 degrees and you’ve just walked ten miles through the countryside in the wind and rain. You feel amazingly refreshed, but you are hungry and thirsty. Problem: You look like a wet, muddy mess. You may also have your dog with you. No restaurants are going to allow you in like this. Introducing… the British pub. Widely considered to be a dying breed, the British pub legacy dates back as far as 793AD, although the first zlicensed premises were not registered until the 17th century. They originally started life providing food & drink services to weary travellers in nearby inns, before hitting their peak in the late 20th century. Whilst the menus and prices may have changed; their ethos has never really changed – a friendly social haven that is open to all (of legal drinking age). I define the perfect pub as follows: Outside- a rustic stone building, surrounded by
beautiful countryside. A terrace or garden for those glorious summer days spent sipping cider and grazing from a sharing board. Inside- wooden beams, comfortable / well-worn seating and a working fireplace. The best nights are those spent drinking Pinot Noir with friends in front of a roaring fire. The food- suitably hearty and rustic; a combination of roasted meats, fish, pies and every conceivable type of potato side dish. The drinks- a generous yet unpretentious wine list, house ales, ciders and spirits. Cocktails are offered at some venues but are not a specialty. Ultimate orders- A cheese ploughmans: the perfect combination of crumbly, salty, sharp cheddar, served with slices of baked ham, paté, pickled onions, chutney, salad and lots of French bread. Drink pairing- A dry sparkling cider: the crisp apple notes cut through the richness of the cheese and meat
just perfectly. Alternatively, I do love an ice-cold Cotes de Provence rosé.
Celeriac Carbonara by Tom Cenci Instagram: tomcenci Wine pairing: Australian Riesling
Fish and Chips- typically made with either cod or haddock dipped and fried in a light batter, served with chunky hand cut chips (frozen chips not okay) and peas. Go heavy on the salt and vinegar – it’s a dish to enjoyed as an occasional treat so you may as well go all out. Drink pairing- This is a naughty dish so wine can feel a little rich and decadent on top. I’d recommend a pale ale, or even a vodka, lime and soda. Notable mention- Bar snacks! Do not underestimate the delicious qualities of a perfect Scotch egg; slice into it to reveal a firm white and an unctuous runny yolk encased in seasoned sausage meat and breadcrumbs. Also experience the simple vibrancy of the mysteriously named “Devils on horseback” – prunes and almonds wrapped in salty bacon. Sadly, mass gentrification of UK towns has meant that these quaint old inns are often either shut down or revolutionised as “gastropubs”; essentially a restaurant masquerading as a pub because they have wooden floors and serve beer on tap. As much as I love an indulgent meal, I really love our pubs and I hate the idea of hard-working locals being driven out of their favourite places. Thankfully, some steadfastly remain, and I hope they are here for many years to come.
Toast the breadcrumbs with a little of the rapeseed oil until golden brown, then set aside and allow to cool. Cut the pancetta into small cubes, then add to a medium-hot pan and allow to colour. When the pancetta is golden, add the chopped shallots and garlic and cook until soft. Add the white wine, and reduce it until almost gone, then add the double cream. Simmer for about 5 minutes and allow it to thicken slightly. Peel the celeriac's skin and then cut it in half. Turn the celeriac into spaghetti sized strings using a spiralizer. Add a couple of large handfuls of the celeriac to the hot pancetta cream and allow it to wilt. Once the celeriac softens, add the chopped parsley and some grated Parmesan. Place the celeriac and cream mixture onto a plate and create a well in the centre. Carefully add an egg yolk into the middle of the celeriac, then finish the dish with grated Parmesan and the breadcrumbs.
Cocktail of the month: “Mezcal muddle”
This drink was inspired by a drink in one of my favourite bars; I then adapted it based on the contents of my kitchen cupboard! Ingredients 25ml Mezcal – or gin if preferred 25ml Cointreau Small handful of basil, including stalks Juice of one whole lime 1 teaspoon Agave nectar Soda water Chilli salt Ice
Recipe of the month: Celeriac carbonara Spring may have arrived in London but the return of outdoor (only) restaurant dining on April 12 was accompanied by a light dusting of snow! I think many of us will be cooking in the warmth of our homes for a little while longer. Each month I will be featuring a recipe from a top UK chef and this month Tom Cenci has kindly shared the recipe for his incredible celeriac carbonara – a delicious twist on the classic, and perfect for those that are keeping an eye on their carbs or gluten levels. The rich, earthy celeriac notes work just perfectly here. For a completely gluten-free version, serve without the breadcrumbs.
Ingredients 1 head of celeriac 200ml double cream 100ml white wine 1 shallot 1 clove garlic 50g pancetta 1 egg yolk (per plate) Rapeseed oil 50g panko breadcrumbs 1/2 bunch of flat-leaf parsley 50g Parmesan
Method Combine the Mezcal, Cointreau, basil, lime juice and agave nectar, either in a blender or muddle well. Taste test and add slightly more agave nectar if it needs sweetening. Shake up with lots of ice. Dampen one side of the glass and roll in the chilli salt. Strain your cocktail into a martini glass. Top with soda water and a basil leaf.
the kentucky bourbon trail
By Eric Carrico On May 4, 1964, the United States Congress made the declaration that Bourbon Whiskey is “America’s Native Spirit.” Today, Bourbon is recognized globally as “America’s Whiskey.” However, this is relatively recent history. In fact, long before that legislative milestone nearly 60 years ago, America was a Rye Whiskey drinking nation. My ancestors drank Rye Whiskey and yours’ likely did also. For decades before Bourbon, Rye was widely the most commonly consumed spirit during the late 18th and 19th centuries, continuing through to Prohibition. For perspective, the term Bourbon was not used until the 1850’s. Rye is the real American whiskey, but Bourbon got all the fame. Rye was not only drank by George Washington during his inauguration speech (a tradition which continued for three centuries) but also featured prominently as one of our nation’s favorite whiskey exports throughout World War II. The Northeastern US region was, politically, economically and distilling wise, the most influential in the fledgling United States. Specifically, Pennsylvania and Maryland were the epicenter of the American Whiskey Industry, which during Washington’s time meant the Rye Whiskey Industry. What is Rye Whiskey? All whiskey is produced from “mash,” a fermented blend of grains, yeast and water from which distilled spirits are produced. In order to be characterized and designated an American Rye Whiskey by law, the “Mash” needs to be comprised of at least 51% Rye. The flavor of American rye whiskey is said to be spicy, but not as hot and biting as Canadian. You'll find it has a dryer taste than bourbon (due to the use of malted barley in its production). The resulting distillate must be 160 U.S. Proof or 80% alcohol by volume or lower, Rye also must not be more than 125 Proof or 62.5% alcohol
miniby volume when it is barreled and aged for 2 years mini mum in new oak barrels that impart woody flavors from charred surfaces before they are filled with spirituous liquor much like a Bourbon. As the escalating demand, price and collector market for Kentucky Bourbon combined with the global Mixology and Craft Cocktail culture, Rye began to experience a Renaissance. There was significant research into the history of cocktails and mixology in America which led to an increased interest in rye whiskey’s role as one of our nation's great drinks. It was discovered that many of the Classic Cocktails, such as the Manhattan, the Old Fashioned, and the Whiskey Sour were originally created with Rye Whiskey as the base, because of the distinctive, less sweet, spicy character and flavor profile of Rye. Concurrent with the Craft Cocktail movement, a craft distilling Rye Whiskey industry has emerged to supply a developing demand from both mixologists and connoisseurs. The Contemporary Rye Whiskey Industry has a few superstars leading the way which are worth discovering, seeking out and sipping. According to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, Rye Whiskey 2019 sales grew to 1.2 million cases, representing a 1,275% increase since 2009. Today Kentucky is an important location for the Rye Whiskey industry as it became the last production refuge following Prohibition, and once legendary brands such as Old Overholt were produced by the booming Bourbon distillers. Today Old Overholt is produced and distributed by Beam Suntory, which also produces the very pleasant Jim Beam Rye. Distilling Giants Diageo My favorite is the Wild Turkey Rare Breed Rye, a single barrel offering that has won both medals and acclaim for the intense flavor and complex spicy, candy, citrus finish. The big spice of this one, really sticks around. Peerless is distilled in Downtown Louisville using a secret, heirloom family recipe and is a sweet well
balanced Rye Whiskey which is derived from a sweet mash resulting in the perfect start to any classic Whiskey cocktail. In 2015, the city of Louisville, Kentucky made the Old Fashioned Cocktail the “Official Cocktail of Louisville.” A reference to the longstanding legend that the drink was invented at The Pendennis Club, a Louisville, Kentucky private club in 1881 as a tribute to Colonel James E. Pepper, himself a prominent Whiskey Distiller. Even though Cocktail Historian David Wondrich has since suggested the improbability of the veracity to this legend, I continue to hold this Pendennis Club origin story to be true. (Full Disclosure, our wedding reception was held at the actual Pandennis Club.) The Old Fashioned and Louisville, Kentucky are so entwined in history that to celebrate this origin, each year “Old Fashioned Fortnight” takes place during the first two weeks of June. It is as noteworthy an excuse to travel to Kentucky as any and discover some of the most acclaimed Rye Whiskey in the world. Not far away in Versailles, Kentucky we celebrate at the historic Woodford Hotel with our own signature tribute, the Rye Whiskey based Woodford Hotel 1890 Old Fashioned, named for the year of the Woodford Hotel’s establishment.
The Woodford Hotel 1890 Old Fashioned 2 ounces Straight Rye Whiskey 1 sugar cube 4 dashes Angostura Bitters 1 orange twist Place the sugar cube in a proper Old-Fashioned glass, (this is what they were invented for!) then add the bitters and allow the sugar cube to absorb the bitters, and muddle. Pour the Rye into the glass and add large clean ice and garnish with the orange. Enjoy!
Eric Carrico is the owner of the Woodford Hotel in Versailles and a leading expert on the topic of Kentucky Bourbon Whiskey. Follow Eric on Instagram: @TheBourbonSherpa Visit Woodford Hotel: 112 N. Maine Street Versailles, Kentucky 40383
The Fijian Islands are renowned for their pure water, nourishing the sugarcane growing in rich volcanic soil at the base of The Sleeping Giant Mountain. The hand-cut sugarcane is distilled
Century award winner, RATU Signature Rum for eight years. @RUMCOOFFIJI RUMCOOFFIJI.COM
RUM Co. of Fiji is proudly distributed in California by Republic National Distributing Company (RNDC) – please contact your local RNDC rep for further details. For other market enquiries, please contact Heath Baker: email@example.com
©2021 RUM Co. of Fiji, 35% Alc/Vol (70 proof) - 40% Alc/Vol (80 proof). Imported by RUM Co. of Fiji, Miami, FL. Enjoy Responsibly. Vinaka!
tokyo nights - kimpton la peer hotel
La Peer Hotel is bringing Tokyo Nights and Japanese Libations to West Hollywood. The upscale hotel will launch Tokyo Nights as a dinner pop-up beginning on May 16, celebrating Tokyo’s hallmarks of creative street food and raw preparations. Chefs Michael Rotondo and Hiroo Nagahara will collaborate on the menus, both bringing their unique take on the cuisine. Both chefs worked at Charlie Trotter’s Restaurant Charlie at Palazzo Las Vegas, which earned a Michelin star in its first year. The offerings will feature a la carte sections, including snacks such as Umami Fries with an eel glaze, nori, and dashi mayo. Vegan options feature Eggplant Maki with black sesame and mint. Small Plates include Tempura with rock shrimp, radish kimchee, and pineapple. Select an entrée such as Torched Ora King Salmon with tomato dashi, gooseberry, and horseradish. A tasting menu will also be offered, which needs to be pre-ordered due to limited seating. Travel to Tokyo Nights on Sunday and Monday from 6 to 10 p.m.
To complement the program with Japanese-inspired cocktails, La Peer Hotel is launching its cocktail program of Japanese Libations by famed mixologist Alex Bachman at its Courtyard Bar & Terrace on June 1. Bachman, one of the founders of the nationally renowned Billy Sunday in Chicago, is taking cues from Tokyo’s legendary bar culture to create a dynamic menu of spirit-forward libations complemented by lighter presentations on draft and unique sakes and beer. Some popular Japanese cocktails feature Lemon Sour, Cassis Orange, Matcha Hai, Umeshu Tonic, Cassis Grape, Umetini (Umeshu and gin), Red-Eye (beer and tomato juice), and Peach Fizz. Steps from the bustling intersection of Melrose Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard, La Peer Hotel thrives in the heart of West Hollywood’s Design District. This design-centric hotel reflects the neighborhood’s engaging blend of art, architecture, and fashion. La Peer Hotel, a Kimpton property, is located at 627 North La Peer Drive in West Hollywood. For more info, visit lapeerhotel.com.
what to do after winning a PR%F award
By Debbie Hall After hard work, long days, sleepless nights, and all the energy needed to launch and grow a beverage brand in the beverage industry, it is exhilarating to get recognized with a top award, especially from the PR%F Awards. Now is the time to utilize that award and strategize a broader marketing campaign. One very effective way to find and create a loyal consumer base is holding a sampling of the product, Sips to Lips or Liquor to Lips. The very first step to take is to know rules, regulations, and codes in your state, city, and county regarding sampling events. There are different legislative rules and codes in each jurisdiction. Ultimately, it is your responsibility to make certain you follow the prodigal when arranging a sampling event. Of course, while much of the country is opening up even with the pandemic, safety measures still need to be followed. The next step is to find a location. On-Premise is holding the sampling event in bars, restaurants, resorts, hotels, or nightclubs. Off-Premise is holding the sampling event in grocery stores, liquor stores, big box stores, or retail location sells products. Another off-premise event is for third-party events such as openings for brick-and-mortar retail stores, malls, and shopping cen-
ters, as well as charity events. Reach out to realtors, attorneys, medical offices, and private universities. These are businesses that either want to hold a gathering to thank their staff or to meet potential clients. Select what will be offered. Less is more; even if you can offer 10 flavors, only offer two to three flavors during the sampling. Decide what you want to serve. Connect the dots of your product to a time, season, holiday, or event to help the memory of the sampling stick as a wonderful way to celebrate. National Day Calendar (nationaldaycalendar.com) tracks nearly 1,500 National Days, National Weeks, and National Months. For example, June 14 is National Bourbon Day, so if your product is a bourbon, you would want to plan your sampling before or on June 14. Get creative with these days. June 22 is National Onion Rings Day so if your product is a beer that pairs well with onion rings, incorporate that aspect. The Triple Crown season is here. Kentucky Derby is known for Mint Juleps. The Preakness Stakes was held on May 21st with its signature cocktail, Black-Eyed Susan, because the winning horse is draped with a blanket of black-eyed Susans, the state flower of Maryland where the Preakness will be held. Ingredients include vodka, bourbon, orange juice, and sour mix. Are any of those your products? A sampling would be perfect before or during the event. The Belmont Stakes (June 11) and its official drink is Belmont Jewel featuring bourbon, lemonade, and pomegranate. This is just one example of tying in your product with a big event.
with signage about this is the source of the gin. Virtual and 3D are great ways to engage if you can incorporate that in your sampling. Encourage people to touch the fruit, bottle, and any swag you are offering. Most importantly, serve the sample correctly, whether at room temperature or chilled. Use the correct glass if possible and garnish if feasible.
Many people remember the famous line from the movie Field of Dreams, “If you build it, they will come.” Of course, people will come if free samples are being given away. But you must do more than just hand out sips. You must engage with everyone when you during sampling. Train your ambassadors to tell the story of the product. Add swag or memorabilia, and capture their information, including emails. Take a photo of them holding the sample and swag. Record them with a quote about the product and ask for permission to post on social media. Tell them to post on their social media and tag the product. Print up cards with the social media sites of the product, QR code to the website, and develop creative #Hashtags. Create an experience using all of the senses, including visual, sound, smell, taste, and touch. For example, if sampling gin, bring real juniper berries
Always take photos with your device. Even if you are the worst photographer in the world (older generations can show pictures with heads cut off in the photo), take so many that you should get a few good ones. Always thank your hosts online, bring them a gift of your product and promote the tastings. Encourage people to follow on social media to find out about the next sampling. Follow up with the people who did give you their information. This is another way to build loyalty (and profits).
Rhonda Kallman, Founder & CEO, Boston Harbor Distillery
Last fall I was honored to meet an inspiring and spirited industry leader, this is her story. After a decades-long career at the forefront of the U.S. craft beer movement, Rhonda Kallman founded Boston Harbor Distillery to produce her first love, whiskey in her beloved city of Boston. "I love just about everything about whiskey. I love the complexity, the flavors, the texture of the ingredients, the aromas, the sociability and oh yeah, how it makes you feel! As a young girl, I started tasting my father’s rye whiskey and ginger and have been smitten ever since! Ironically, the process for whiskey starts off as beer, so I’ve now come full circle. Like craft beer, craft whiskey is an ingredient story. Boston Harbor Distillery uses only whole grain rye and malted barley from America’s premier growing region to make Putnam New England Whiskey. No compromises…all heart!"
‘Some Like it Hot’ Manhattan 2oz Putnam Rye .5oz Demon Seed Whiskey 2 Dashes Orange Bitters Shaken and Strained in Coup. Garnished with Cocktail Cherry
Rhonda is considered one of America’s craft beverage industry thought leaders and as the pioneering woman in the beer industry, was able to lead the way for other women to earn the respect and credibility they deserve. The Distillery After searching for nearly two years, Rhonda found her distillery’s home at The Port on Boston Harbor (Boston’s southernmost waterfront in the Neponset section of Dorchester). Built in 1859 with Douglas Fir post and beam construction, 40 ft high ceilings and over 100 windows, today it is one of the last remaining mill buildings in the Boston area. Boston Harbor Distillery; www.bostonharbordistillery.com The Team Rhonda’s first hire was Dr. James Swan, the world-renowned expert on whiskey production and maturation. He educated her team on all the nuances associated with making great whiskey. Then at an American Distillers Institute conference, Rhonda met John Couchot, who had been an award-winning distiller for over a decade. She convinced him to move to Boston and help create Boston Harbor Distillery’s delicious, innovative and award-winning spirits. Today Rhonda and her team have hundreds of barrels of whiskey varieties aging in our bonded barrel storage warehouse, along with small batch gin, rum, decadent liqueurs and even distilled beer from Sam Adams. She invites you to come meet her passionate and knowledgeable team, taste their spirits and join in celebrating the next revolution of handcrafted American spirits.
Side Bar: Giving Back The global pandemic has wreaked havoc on many of of our favorite bartenders and industry professionals. #RyesUp Fort Lauderdale is designed to help support and give back to the dedicated people working in hospitality in local communities in conjunction with Riverwalk Fort Lauderdale (501c3) and Florida Craft Distributors. The campaign includes a friendly competition among participating restaurants showcased on Facebook and a bartender competition to select the signature cocktail. Follow along and help us reach our goal by raising a glass of Putnam New England Whiskey and spread the good word. https://www.facebook.com/groups/RWChallenge/
Renée Korbel Quinn • Spirited South Florida Strategist | Writer | Supporter @cocktailr @SpiritedSFL www.spiritedsouthflorida.com
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cordials and liqueurs rediscovered
cordials and liqueurs rediscovered
By Debbie Hall PR%F Awards 2021 will continue to honor the distinctive categories of cordials and liqueurs after last year's success with more than 100 brands entering with many winners. A cordial or liqueur is a sweetened distilled spirit using ingredients that contribute a flavor profile along with alcohol. While some “experts” say the cordial or after-dinner liqueur is enjoying a renaissance, did it ever really go away? According to Play Market Research (playmr.com.au), “The global alcoholic beverage market is predicted to grow at a positive compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.09 percent for the next six years. … brands are focusing on luxury offerings.” One example is the Italian liqueur Italicus, launched two years ago, and now experiencing rapid growth.
Another is Cadello, blending star anise, hazelnut, coffee, and mint. “These brand-new luxury players in the market are appealing to the rising demand for something new, unique, and high quality,” as reported by New Food Magazine. The trend of creating and serving drinks at home (the home cocktail culture) con continues to explode; liqueur, cordials, and schnapps outpace the average growth above baseline, according to Drizly. As reported by Market Publishers, the liqueur market in the US registered a CAGR of 4.33% during the period 2012 to 2017 with a sales value of $7,993.42 million in 2017, an increase of 4.38% over 2016. Lucas Bols won PR%F Awards 2020 Gold Award for BOLS Orange Curacao Liqueur. One of the world’s oldest distilled spirits brands continues to grow
as one of the oldest active Dutch companies. Lucas Bols can boast of the No. 1 position in liqueur ranges worldwide, excluding the US. With a heritage dating back to 1575, the company has mastered the art of distilling, mixing, and blending old recipes with new flavors of premium and super-premium brands. Its high-quality products are sold in more than 110 countries worldwide with over 20 brands, including liqueurs, gin, and vodka. “Liqueurs are making a huge resurgence,” states Gilles Bensabeurm, Senior Brand Manager, BOLS Liqueurs & Bols Genever for Lucas Bols USA/CANADA. “People are experimenting making cocktails at home and are discovering classic cocktails.” With the brand operating for 475 years, some traditional cocktails were created using Lucas Bols liqueurs and spirits. A new generation of cocktail lovers are embracing cordials and liqueurs. The pandemic affected everything but did create a unique opportunity for many to experiment crafting cocktails at home, discovering products (new to them).
Bensabeurm anticipates the brand growing in the next two years and is looking forward to the PR%F Awards 2021 with their submissions. Blueberry Cinnamon Cordial produced by Skunk Brothers Spirits is a PR%F Awards 2020 Century Medal winner (perfect score). This cordial combines Washington blueberries and a touch of cinnamon for a spicy and sweet treat. Another Century Award winner is Tempus Fugit Crème de Banana Liqueur. Other PR%F Awards Gold 2020 winners include Van Der Haute Traditional Egg Nog Liqueur, and Sōmrus Coffee Cream Liqueur. Double Gold winners include Grand Brulot VSOP Cognac & Café Liqueur, Sugarlands Banana Pudding Sippin’ Cream, and Select Club Pecan Praline Whisky & Cream Liqueur. Whether sipping on cocktails or ending a meal, the cordial and liqueur spirits is perfect as a way to sip and enjoy. The PR&F Awards 2021 private judging competition will be held Sept. 21-22 in Las Vegas. For more information, visit www.proofawards.com.
cordials and liqueurs rediscovered
TO CURTIS AND THE ENTIRE SIRE SPIRITS TEAM ON THE CONTINUED SUCCESS! YOUR TECHNOLOGY PARTNERS AT BOTTLECAPPS, CHEERS!
Fast-Growing Licor 43 Expands Portfolio with New Licor 43 Horchata in the U.S. With Mediterranean flavors of tiger nut, spice, and citrus, Licor 43 Horchata vegan cream liqueur has landed in America, marking the first brand extension in the U.S. from Licor 43, the best-selling Spanish liqueur in the world. “For people who enjoy Licor 43, and for those who appreciate the taste of high-quality cream liqueurs, we’re very excited to introduce Licor 43 Horchata here in the U.S.,” says Bill Corbett, CEO of Zamora Company USA, the U.S. division of Madrid-based Zamora Company, the brand owner of Licor 43. “Over the past year, we’ve seen substantial growth for Licor 43 in the market, and this line extension will undoubtedly help increase that broad popularity and success of the brand.” According to recent Nielsen figures, Licor 43 posted value growth of almost +29% in the U.S., compared to +25% growth in the overall cordial category. In 2020, Licor 43 was up +25.4%, and the company expects the brand to increase by +25% again this year, as Licor 43 approaches the 100,000-case milestone in the U.S. Licor 43 Horchata is a light and creamy fusion of Licor 43 Original and traditional horchata (the drink from Valencia, Spain, that’s typically made by blending tiger nut, sugar, cinnamon, and citrus). At 16% alcohol by volume, the new Licor 43 Horchata is crafted from a 100% vegetable base, so it’s dairy free, gluten free, nut free, and completely vegan (tiger nuts are roots, not actually nuts, but have a sweet nut-like taste). With an aroma of spice, citrus, and roasted nuts, and a delicately sweet and refreshing taste, Licor 43 Horchata is delicious in cocktails or perfect chilled and poured over ice. “Licor 43 Horchata provides a much-needed dairy free and vegan option among cream liqueurs, a growing category that has experienced considerable recent consumer interest,” adds Corbett.
By Debbie Hall Women-Owned Spirits category in PR%F Awards 2021 is set to showcase the diversity of female-founded and owned brands globally. These pioneering entrepreneurs offer spirits, ready-to-drink cocktails, and wine. They are part of the growing numbers of female master distillers, blenders, mixologists, and executives changing the food and beverage industry.
Fawn Weaver , CEO and Founder , Uncle Nearest, Inc.; www.unclenearest.com Fawn Weaver, American entrepreneur, historian, and New York Times bestselling author, has added spirits to her many endeavors and successes. She is the CEO and founder of Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, sourcing Tennessee whiskeys and bourbons blended by fifth-generation Nearest Green descendant and master blender Victoria Eady Butler. It is the only major spirit brand with an all-female executive team.
Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey debuted in July 2017 and expanded into all 50 states and 12 countries in more than 25,000 stores, bars, and restaurants. Named after the first African-American master distiller on record in the United States, Nearest Green, the spirit line offers a premium aged whiskey, an 11-year-old single barrel product, and a 7-year-old small batch offering, all distilled, aged, bottled, and hand-labeled in Tennessee.
Success was realized by overcoming challenges and obstacles. “It is a very costly business. One of the biggest reasons women and people of color have not found success in this industry is the inability to raise enough capital. This was one of our biggest obstacles, and we were fortunate to have such a great brand story and product. We are the most awarded American whiskey, including bourbon, in 2019 and 2020, and we were winning awards since our debut,” she says. “When I walk into a meeting to raise capital, my approach is one of assurance. If you lack any confidence in yourself and your product, potential investors can sense that. You have to be incredibly confident in your product and your team. This attitude helped us to raise what we needed to create a successful business, which is $60 million as of now.” She also advises women to “make certain your product is better than what is being offered because the headwinds are already blowing against you. Along with an exceptional product, you have to truly believe in your product since most of you will have to raise money unless you come from a very wealthy background. You have to exude this when you walk into a board meeting or a pitch meeting that you offer a product that is not on the market or is so much better than what is available.” Weaver urges everyone to “go with your gut. We threw out the traditional playbook of this industry and wrote our own. We went against what others in the industry said to do or not do. Before our brand, there had never been a major American spirit brand founded by a person of color that had succeeded. If you are entering an industry as a woman and person of color where there has not been a lot of success for other women and people of color, why follow the previous model since that model was not created for you.”
Jane Richards, Director; Claire Davies, Viticultural Consultant, Lanacoona Estate; www.eightatthegate.com.au Jane Richards is from a farming family of five children, who, along with her sister Claire Davies, purchased Lanacoona Estate in Australia in 2002 with an established vineyard in Wrattonbully. Davies had been involved in planning the vineyard during her days as a viticultural consultant, and together they expanded it to the 60Ha vineyard. Today, Eight at the Gate wines (named after the eight children of the two owners) include chardonnays, cabernet, shiraz, and blends. Lanacoona also provides grapes for many other wine labels within Australia as well as producing its own wine. Richards, with a background in the technology industry in the corporate world, manages all business and wine aspects. According to Richards, the number of women and men in Australia educated in the wine industry is equal, but the number of women in viticulture and wine production roles is significantly less, even less in terms of women-owned brands. “I think the real challenges around women in the wine business, particularly building their own brand and staying with it, comes when you decide to have children. Working mothers are not new to any industry, of course, but I think when growing, producing, and marketing your own wine brand, flexibility is required but still not very kid-friendly.
“We run a pretty large vineyard, so at harvest time, you are working for months at a time at many different hours of the day or night, having very little time off. Frost events always happen before the sun comes up, the vines never take a day off, wine industry events tend to be on nights and weekends, marketing your wine requires learning new skills constantly, like social media, and technology within the industry is always changing so you need to keep up,” she says. “Our label says it all really, Eight at the Gate, made with passion, resolve, and a touch of chaos. We have met some unpleasant characters along the way who are flat-out misogynists; however, the guys we choose to work with are all pretty great. As for advice for other women entering the industry, “You have to genuinely love your field, study your industry, then study some more and be brave enough to speak up if you don’t know something. I have had some of the best mentors guide and educate me by just being honest. Always be a student, that mentality keeps you alert, allows you to open your mind to change, find more efficient ways to do things and gives you confidence when you realize you actually do know what you are talking about.”
Dee Tutt, President, DTRS Enterprises, Inc.; www.savilecocktails.com
Dee Tutt began serving her homemade rum concoction to family and friends over 40 years ago. After a very successful 19-year career as a hairstylist, she
pivoted in 2012 to follow her vision to distribute her rum drink. Tutt called upon her dream team of advisors, including her husband Carl, daughter Patrice, and son Brandon to help bring her bottled vision to life, and in 2015, her premium commercial beverage was born. Over the next five years, Tutt was a one-woman salesforce getting customer feedback on the packaging and recipe tweaks. She listened to that valuable market feedback, and in August 2020, she debuted the new premium version, Savîle Tropical Rum Cocktail. The ready-to-drink beverage is an all-natural, gluten-free, vegan, and non-GMO beverage available in single-serve cans 15% alcohol by volume. Savîle (pronounced Sah-VEE-lay) is made from two French words—Saveur (flavor or taste) and Île (island) to create “A Taste of the Islands.” She has overcome many obstacles and challenges building her own brand in the beverage industry. “There are very few women in this industry producing a spirit. I envisioned starting my brand in Illinois but was discouraged by the network of people in the spirits industry and told to give up on launching my brand and cut my losses even though they love the taste. They believed the cost of ingredients was too high to be profitable, people didn’t care about a clean label and emphasized that my beverage is seasonal,” explains Tutt. “I refused to use anything artificial or give up using the best ingredients, so I moved to California, where I was born and raised, and now I have distribution, an online presence, and shelf space in several retailers’ in Southern California.” Despite the discouragement, she advises other women entering the industry to “listen to constructive criticism but never let anyone encourage you to risk the integrity of your product, or just plain quit. I don’t want other women in any industry to feel they should buckle under the weight of underestimation. I have personally experienced these setbacks as a minority female in this industry. These have been in large supply, not to mention the financial challenges that most small business owners face. The important thing is not to submit and move forward. We can break through some of these gender and racial barriers by not giving up.
30 to make it happen. So glad I didn’t let their opinions and fears stop me,” she explains. “Another major obstacle was fear. After being told all of the above by people I loved and trusted, I’m glad I set aside my fears. I knew I had a great idea, amazing tasting products, and a solid business plan, and I was determined to accomplish not only getting RANCH2O Spirits to market but thriving in this industry.” Amelia Lettieri, CEO, RANCH2O Spirits; www.ranch2ospirits.com After obtaining her Bachelor of Business Administration in finance from Texas A&M, Lettieri worked for a private equity firm focused on manufacturing, services, and distribution. She assisted in the acquisition of one of the country’s leading contract packagers of beverages, and Lettieri discovered her love of the beverage industry. After working for one of the largest chains of convenience stores and then an oil and gas wholesaler, she returned to her passion for beverages. Lettieri, along with her husband Paul, launched RANCH2O Spirits in 2019. Proud of her Texas roots, RANCH2O Spirits is tagged as “Canned Cocktails with a Texas Spirit.” Lettieri wanted to create authentic and convenient cocktails with real premium spirits, not just a hard seltzer. The four varieties include tequila, vodka, or gin, and are all low in sugar and calories. Ranch Water is a blend of tequila, soda water, and lime. Vodka Soda combines vodka, cranberry juice, and soda water. Classic Marg offers a margarita with tequila, soda water, lime, and orange. Gin Fizz tantalizes with gin, soda water, and lime. Along with other women who have entered the beverage industry, she has overcome many obstacles in building her own brand. “The first obstacle that comes to mind is unbelief. So many people told me that the alcohol industry is very competitive and too difficult to break into at my level. They also said it would be impossible to find a distributor to pick up my products and that I wouldn’t have enough money
As for advice for other women entering the industry, “Don’t be afraid to take a chance, and don’t be afraid of being told no. You will hear ‘no’ all day long; that’s just the nature of this industry. Don’t let your fear of rejection stop you. Remember—if you aren’t pushing your brand and products, no one else will. If someone tells you no, train yourself to hear ‘no, not right now.’ I advise you to ‘Go for NO.’ Then you know you’ve found the other person’s edge, and you know you’ve tried your hardest.” This is just a few of the incredible, diverse group of women who have submitted product to the PR&F Awards 2021. PR%F Awards 2021 private judging competition will be held Sept. 21-22 in Las Vegas. For more information, visit www.proofawards.com.
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mermaid vodka Chief Mermaid Carol
Your Mermaids at Mermaid Vodka remind you to always drink responsibly.
by Mark Schettler In first-world countries all over the world where vaccination has been most readily available and the COVID-19 virus is under some semblance of retreat, the hospitality & tourism industry is facing a major hiring shortage. Especially in the U.S., there is a Big Lie that has gained traction that is due to government assistance like stimulus checks and increased unemployment benefits. Our industry has lost millions of jobs and over 100,000 businesses. This is just one bit of proof that the roots of this crisis-within-a-crisis are much deeper and more nuanced. Over the past year, incredible effort has been made by municipal governments in collaboration with an alphabet soup of partners in workforce development, including myself, to encourage folks in high risk industries and/or low paying jobs to take this moment to- as we’ve all heard too many times to count by now- pivot their careers in new directions. The message from industries wooing our workforce is, “We want y’all to come work with us, because your soft skills are rare and valuable.” Too often, our compensation is not competitive across industries, even with recent increases, and our careers & career paths lack longevity. And after a year away to pursue the interests industry jobs often financed, many are happily leaving for work they always wished they had more time to pursue. We are coming back with fewer businesses, as well as a quantifiably smaller talent pool, and everyone is hiring at the same time-- that will lead to a crunch. There’s often reference made to businesses receiving dozens of applications for jobs only to interview a handful of candidates, likely because of job app requirements tied to receiving unemployment. This is evidence of a broken unemployment system, not lazy workers. These are people who don’t want these jobs to begin with, but who are being forced to jump through hoops to survive. And in state’s like mine- Louisiana- the workforce commission is open about the fact that folx can merely write “COVID-19” on the job application line and not list an actual job application— an implicit admission that the system is broken. But let’s dig deeper, to things harder to quantify but being said by workers the world over. In the course of the COVID-19 crisis our workforce was abandoned by our governments, and showed how value-less our lives and livelihoods are to the general public. Programs like the PPP may have been a panacea to industries other than ours, but they didn’t account for tipped wages and left us high-and-dry; it is ultimately faulty legislation. The airline industry was quickly bailed out, and just as quickly misused the funds they received. And a year later, applications are just now opening to the Restaurant Recovery Act- with about half the available funds. The American service industry- hospitality, tourism, restaurants, etctaken together would be one of the 10 largest economies on Earth, yet
have never been treated as too big to fail. This industry rarely offers benefits. The wages are too often far from a dignity wage. Why continue dedicating ourselves to this, when the things that brought us into in the first place are now largely absent? Why continue suffering the abuse of callous management to serve a now hostile public that is still resocializing themselves at the behest of clueless and uninformed policymakers who don’t give a shit enough to learn our struggle (until they can hijack our narrative for use in a manufactured culture war just meant to preserve their power and keep us from it) and actually improve our quality of life with things like better access to child care and effective transportation solutions? In New Orleans, we joke every year about “The Mardi Gras Flu,” when people from around the world bring pathogens we aren’t resistant to. This past year, it was COVID-19 and we didn’t even know it. Imagine how heavily it weighs on us that because we had to work anyway- with no health insurance- it’s likely that bartenders in our city are responsible for scores of deaths. It’s our industry’s norms that painted our hands in that blood. Why rush back? In many places, our businesses were among the only ones that never closed. Our service and hospitality was deemed essential, but almost never our well-being and safety. It was important we keep working, but not so much that we get vaccinated early on. The concept of invisible service seems to extend to us as citizens & human beings, too. We’re essential, until we dare ask to be humanized. The solution is actually quite simple: Build a better, stronger, safer industry. That doesn’t just mean masks and performative safety measures like plexiglass partitions. It means a commitment to better share prosperity. Meaningful pathways to job growth and career development, and better support from political leaders. It means COVID safety, yes, but it also means things like health insurance, and ending things like a permissive culture it comes to white supremacy and power-based sexual violence. PTO, sustainable tourism, no more doubles and clopens or forcing people to work while sick. And the workforce doesn’t need crocodile tears from employers who explain away their lack of follow-through-- the workforce’s well-being has to become worth it. And yes, this means prices will need to go up (a loaded issue for another day). Our workforce needs to finally be treated like whole humans who deserve the same respect that others demand in their workplaces. Why are doctors and nurses treated differently from sommeliers and strippers? We’re all healers, after all. The industry that wants us back has to act like it. Or count me among the many will continue encouraging people to leave and never look back.
passion of mine, and I have been involved with every detail of the brand’s development. My goal is to have the champagne stand out, both with taste and packaging. I believe we have achieved that with Le Chemin du Roi.” Every step that goes into the creation of Le Chemin du Roi (the King’s Path) is focused on delivering champagne worthy for discriminating tastes. In the PR%F Awards 2020 Tasting, Le Chemin du Roi Brut was awarded a coveted Double Gold rating (99 Points). The beautiful bottles feature the chess piece of a King on a slim silver bottle showcasing the hierarchy in chess (and life). The packaging (including the bottle) of Le Chemin du Roi Brut also won the PR%F Awards 2020 Design Distinction Century Award with a perfect score. Jackson named his cognac line Branson and partnered with a well-known family-owned cognac house in France to source blends he personally approved. The regions where Branson Cognac is produced are known to be one of the top regions in Cognac, France. As Jackson frequently traveled to France, he developed a sophisticated palate that allowed him to select blends that embody his desire to create a top-tier line of premium cognac. “I developed Branson to exist in a category of its own. My blends are intended to attract the most sophisticated cognac enthusiasts, as well as entry-level drinkers. If someone’s first experience to cognac is Branson, there is a good chance they will remain loyal to the brand for life.” Branson Cognac is a powerful expression from a hip hop legend whose music has been described as a “master of the nuanced art of lyrical brevity.” The eye-catching genie-style
decanter of Branson Cognac VSOP Grande Champagne, Branson Cognac VOSP Royal, which is in a red bottle, and Branson Cognac VS in a black bottle, all featuring a branded stopper, features a slim neck and a round body with Branson Cognac etched in gold on the bottle with a “B” logo encased in a glass-etched circle reminiscent of a wax seal. Branson Cognac VSOP Grande Champagne was awarded the Century Award at the PR%F Awards 2020 in Design Distinction with a coveted perfect score. Branson Cognac VSOP Grande Champagne shines as bright gold with hints of bronze, extraordinarily smooth with notes of peach, melon, and tobacco blending hints of sweet spice, clove, and vanilla, showcased by its Silver medal from the PR%F Awards 2020. Branson Cognac VS Phantom dazzles with a golden brown color and notes of light citrus, apple, and tobacco balanced finish that is smooth. Branson Cognac VS Phantom was awarded Double Gold in the Tasting category in PR%F Awards 2020. Branson Cognac VSOP Royal balances smooth oak, vanilla, and spice notes with more robust notes of wood, herbs, and a slight burn, as shown by its Silver medal from the PR%F Awards 2020. Branson Cognac XO is in an exquisite round decanter beckons with a bronze hue for a complex palate, with almost no burn, combining floral and citrus notes with hints of tobacco, honey, and chocolate. These cognacs are meant to be sipped, neat in a snifter glass. It mixes perfectly within a cocktail or long drink. It also pairs exceptionally well with a
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brooklyn bugs: brookyln hopper
You may be familiar with the use of insect derivatives in your cocktails with honey or cochineal (a shelled insect that gives the red color in Campari, Peychaud, or Martini Bitters), but did you know that there are over two thousand species of edible insects with wildly different flavor profiles and functionality? Our work at Brooklyn Bugs helps to explain why the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) endorses edible insects to address food security and sustainability, but we also like to present it as a versatile, delicious, and fun ingredient to add to both your cooking and cocktails! Some of the ways you can highlight and compliment the flavor of your cocktail is with the following infusions: Chef Joseph Yoon founded Brooklyn Bugs in 2017 with the mission to raise awareness and appreciation for edible insects through delicious, creative, and educational programming. Brooklyn Bugs receives grants for their programming with universities and museums across America. Their outreach and advocacy has reached millions of households as they have been featured in the New York Times (2x), Washington Post (2x), Smithsonian Channel (2x), Live with Kelly and Ryan (3x), National Public Radio, Boston Globe, Popular Science, Wired, and much more as they help explain why the UN endorses edible insects to address food security and sustainability. Yoon views his participation in this global food movement as an extension of his commitment to his community. He volunteers his time and resources to both Brooklyn Bugs as well as Yummy Eats, his private chef and catering company founded in 2011. He currently resides in Brooklyn, NY.
-Black Ants have formic acid which gives it a citrus or tangy flavor, and works exceptionally well when infused with gin, vodka, sake, mezcal, or tequila. Infusing for a couple days is fine to start serving, but you can actually keep the infusions indefinitely. -Vespula flaviceps, or Japanese wasps, are regularly infused with sake in Japan, and give a distinct depth of flavor, transforming the sake with a unique mineral quality. I have some sake that has been infused for over six months, and it’s truly quite sublime. -Crickets, Locusts, and Grasshoppers are wonderful for infusing in both teas and brown liquor. It’s nutty, earthy flavors pair exceptionally well with the grainy quality of bourbon. -I infused locusts with hojicha (a green tea roasted at high temperatures), and it took on a wheaty, medicinal quality after a few weeks like it was from an apothecary. I added this elixir to some dry sake, and it made me feel like I was drinking something really good for me (wink wink). -Gusano Worm Salt is probably among the most common options available in America, with the salt rim used for both mezcal shots and margaritas. Since they live in agave plants, there’s a myth that they were commonly included in mezcal bottles to prove the quality or authenticity of each bottle.
3 oz bourbon infused with crickets 1 oz sweet vermouth 1 oz boricha or Korean barley tea 1 tablespoon blue agave or simple syrup 1 teaspoon yuzu 2-3 dashes of bitters In advance of preparing this cocktail, infuse two (2) cups of bourbon with one (1) cup of dry roasted crickets. I have some batches that are infused for over a year, and the most recent one I did for this piece was infused for a week. The result of how long you infuse your drink will dramatically alter the flavor and results of your drink. When infused over a longer period of time, the protein in the crickets acts similarly to an egg white, and will create a beautiful frothy top to your drink when shaken. Boricha or Korean barley tea is regularly served in lieu of water at many Korean restaurants, and there are days when I drink more boricha than water at home. You can make it from scratch, but barley tea bags are readily available online, or at your local Korean/Asian grocer. I enjoy the way that the toasty, slightly bitter flavor of the boricha acts as a counterpoint to the sweet bourbon and earthy quality of the infused crickets. Fill a shaker with ice, the infused bourbon, sweet vermouth, boricha, blue agave, and yuzu. Shake vigorously, and add a hop or two towards the end. Please don’t overlook this step, and it’ll seriously bring a smile to both you and your guests. Strain your cocktail into a martini glass (preferably chilled). Add a few dashes of bitters. Garnish with a few infused crickets. Drink deeply and prepare to hop the night away.
pr%f live!: the origin story
PR%F Award 100-point Perfect Score Century Award in 2019 and again in 2020. The house of Hardy is led by Bénédicte Hardy, the fifth generation of the Hardy family, and a wonderful ambassador for Hardy, women, and the Cognac industry as a whole. Bénédicte also happens to be one of Jennifer’s favorite interview subjects of all time. PR%F Live! is a silver lining success story, proving that opportunity can knock at any time and ask, “Are you ready?” Jennifer English, the James Beard Award winning host of PR%F LIVE!, asks this same question famously in both interviews and inspiration sessions with spirits industry entrepreneurs, in Clubhouse rooms, and as the Editor-at-Large of both !"#$%&'(% )*+*,-.(!"#$!$//0%1%2(3(4*+(%)*+*,-.(%! “The signature question that gets the conversation going is – ‘Are You Ready?’ because it is one of the most important coaching directions ever,” said English. When English was asked if she was ready to Judge the 2020 PR%F Awards, she said “Yes! But….” , and with that pause proceeded to pitch the concept for PR%F LIVE! to Michael Politz and Michele Tell, the co-founders of the PR%F Awards. Politz and English had recently started a new daily online streaming broadcast called F&B Magazine LIVE! to provide the food and beverage industry with a connection. Similar to English, Politz, author of $//0%1%2(3(4*+(%)*+*,-.(% 56-0(% &/% "(7&*64*.&% 8699(77 (published by Wiley, 2020) was seeing the devastation first-hand as daily reports of restaurant and bar closures become hourly reports. “I knew I had to do something. Someone had to,” said Michael Politz. That was when Politz reached out to longtime friend James Beard Award winner Jennifer English and pitched the idea of doing a LIVE!, Daily Streamyard Show as a morale boosting source of inspiration and encouragement. Soon, daily shows were bringing the most influential and inspirational celebrities, chefs, mixologists, brands, and entrepreneurs to showcase the “Silver Lining” moment the pandemic was presenting. Soon to follow was PR%F Live!, a show where emerging and existing leading spirits, wine & beverage brands are given the opportunity to be unveiled, heard, and the behind the scenes stories shared.
The live stream show, which opens with the sound of an old 1930’s radio broadcaster immediately feels like it takes you back in time. But where did the “Swanky PR%F Saloon” come from? According to English, “I immediately thought this show could be a really swanky Speakeasy from the time of Prohibition, when Radio was having a ‘golden age’. ” English is perhaps best known in the hospitality industry as the James Beard Award winning founder of The Food & Wine Radio Network and one of the pioneers of Tales of The Cocktail, where she was a panelist on “the very first seminar panel at the very first Tales” according to English. “Jennifer English has a vast knowledge, passion, and an amazing palate,” according to Eric Carrico, owner of the Woodford Hotel in Versailles, Kentucky and the co-host of The Kentucky Bourbon Trail Club on Clubhouse. Carrico continues, “every time I moderate a room with Jennifer or do a tasting with her, I learn so much.” But of all the conversations on Clubhouse, including the weekly PR%F Awards Club every Tuesday evening and all of the PR%F Live! shows, English loves introducing people to new products and the people bringing them to life. English enthusiastically mentions Native Spirit Tequila (98 pts 2020), Courage + Stone (98 pts 2020), Blackland (99 pts 2020) and the Skunk Brothers Blueberry Cinnamon Cordial (100-point win 2020). Every PR%F Live! episode ends with the same feature English invites every guest to conclude the conversation with a “house toast.” “To me,” says English, “the rituals of clinking glasses and toasting one another is essential, and one of my favorite forms of spoken word poetry and hospitality in the world.”
English, who has a very deep background in Fortune 100 brand marketing, CPG, hospitality, media, cocktails, cuisine, culture, history and tea, knew the Spirits professionals needed a show like the one she had created for the F&B Industry. PR%F Live! was born in early Autumn 2020.
What is her own “house toast”? There is barely a moment of hesitation from English, “Julia Child shared her own house toast with me when we were together for the opening of COPIA in Napa, many years ago. She took her glass, lifted it to mine, clinked and said ‘l'carillon de l'amitie,’ which means ‘the Bells of Friendship.’ I just love this toast because it was a gift to me from Julia and it is a wish that we hear the bells of friendship when we clink our glasses together with friends old and new.” With that, English lifted her ever present glass of Perrier up in a toasting motion and then took a cool sip and smiled. “Sharing this toast with PR%F Live! guests is like having Julia Child here with us and the tradition of conviviality that Julia loved Live! on.”
The first PR%F LIVE! featured Bénédicte Hardy, from the House of Hardy Cognac, Hardy Legend 1863 - a two-time winner of the
Interested in joining the PR%F Live! platform? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org