PR%F the Magazine March 2022

Page 1

PR%F the Magazine

Volume 01. March 2022


George Clooney & Rande Gerber - Casamigos spirits. wine. potations and libations. beverage industr y news. ISBN 9788024715148 ISBN 80-247-1514-7

9 788024 715148 >


the team

PR%F the Magazine Michael Politz Publisher

Michele Tell

Founder, Executive Director

Jennifer English Editor-At-Large

Debbie Hall


RJ Dixon

Creative Director, PR%F Awards & PR%F the Magazine

Terry Hart

Director of Competitions

Colleen Banks

Director of Business Development

Contributors: Renée Korbel Quinn Stephanie Blitz

Jerry Hammaker George Manska

Contributing Photographers: Casamigos Robert Anasch Klara Kulikova Matthieu Joannon

rinat shakirov Tommy Brunett Renée Korbel Quinn Cover Photo by Casamigos

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: The information contained has been provided by such individual, even organizers or organizations. The opinion expressed in each article is the opinion of its author, organization or public relation firm.

in this issue



















PR%F the Magazine


Two Competitions. One Price.



The coveted double-blind tasting competition

The total package competition

Century Award

Perfect. To receive a Century Award is to be defined as perfect. It is a 100-point perfect score, unanimously, from all judges present at the awards tasting program. Unanimous. Only a selection of these brands makes it to the prestigious level. It is the ultimate accolade and the utmost level of achievement in a spirits and wine brand. Unparalleled.

Double Gold Award

Outstanding. Spirits and wine awarded a Double Gold are beyond industry standards and celebrated with prominent elegance in their respected categories. These brands define finesse and make a palate dance with superiority. When you achieve this award, your brand defies gravity.

Gold Award

Great and distinguished with high praise and worthy of celebration. Our Gold award is a high merit of achievement. These are the brands that set the bar beyond standard heights and reach it — at all costs and are classified as some of the best brands in the arena. Hue, Taste, Texture, Power, Length, and Echo all balance to create a superb flavor and moment.

Silver Award

Rated as good and recommended for the public, our Silver award recipients demonstrate a noticeable well-balanced presence between flavor and complexity, taste and finish. Many of our Silver recipients can be found nationally in stores, restaurants, bars, and online.

Bronze Award

Our Bronze award recognizes these brands to be fair, well-crafted, attractive to nose, taste, and finish—worthy of recognition.

Enter your brand today.


from the desk of Michele D. Tell


Dear Readers,

Welcome to our March/Spring 2022 edition of PR%F the Magazine. We are beyond thrilled to welcome George Clooney and Rande Gerber with their Casamigos Tequila to our special family of PR%F the Magazine covers! Their business model with over 1 million cases sold of their exceptional taste of tequila captured the world. Read all about it in our very special cover story that shares with our readers valuable insights on building a brand. We are so excited about the upcoming PR%F Awards 2022 and have many announcements for you. First, our new website has been launched and now is accepting entries for your spirits, wine, and beverage brands at www. All the information about the PR%F Awards can be found at, including how to enter your bands, FAQs, shipping instructions, categories, registering information, & more. Everything PR%F is in one place, including PR%F Awards, PR%F the Magazine, PR%F Live! with Jennifer English, and PR%F Events (coming soon). PR%F Awards 2022 will continue to offer a one-entry fee for two competitions, including the coveted PR%F Awards-Masked, the double-blind competition, and PR%F Awards-Unmasked, The Total Package. All of our judges (all buyers) will taste your brand, see your bottle, read your ingredients, learn your price point, and hear your story. Why do we host two competitions? All of our judges are buyers from across the nation and are looking to find and place the next new brand, the next cool beverage, and the next unique spirits/wine treasure on their shelves, in their restaurants, bars, and lounges. Both competitions are an opportunity for our judges to get to know you and your brands a little better.

More exciting news! We have added a third competition to PR%F Awards 2022—Bar Essentials & Gadgets. More than 40 bar essential categories have been added to the competition, and a new magazine column will debut next month highlighting key bartenders using these gadgets and rating them. Stay tuned for this exciting new monthly review article coming to PR%F the Magazine. If you have a super cool bar gadget, a must-have for busy bartenders or hustling restaurant beverage staff, check out our latest categories for PR%F Awards— bottle openers, wine foil cutters, ice mallets, bottle cap catchers, strainers, shakers, decanters, glassware, tap handles and more. Next, PR%F Awards is saluting brands accredited as Kosher with a brand new 2022 shiny blue metallic medal that reflects this exceptional accreditation and honor. Enter your brand into its regular category and let us know you have been certified Kosher by any Kosher societies or certification agencies. We would like to honor you with an additional medal and highlight this special point of difference for your marketing strategy. Women-Owned Businesses are always highlighted with a specialty pink metallic medal saluting this courageous group that pushed past the stereotype and emerged as leaders in the beverage industry. When you enter PR%F Awards, make sure we are made aware that you are a Woman-Owned brand. PR%F Awards and PR%F the Magazine welcomes 2022 with exciting additions, a new competition and wonderment. However, one thing will always remain the same … all of our judges are beverage buyers and are looking for the next exciting beverage or gadget. Is it yours? Check out our new website, and as always… Cheers & Namaste!

Michele D. Tell Executive Director, PR%F the Magazine Founder, PR%F Awards

PR%F the Magazine


CRATER LAKE SPIRITS ROCK AND RYE Friends don’t let friends drink bad spirits. That’s why we created this classic rye whiskey cocktail: the ideal camping and adventure companion. Whether you’re shredding the mountain, sitting around the campfire, or simply watching the clouds roll by overhead, Crater Lake Rock & Rye will serve you well. Notes of dark cherry, blood orange, and bitters make for a carefree crowd pleaser. Our Rock and Rye won Double Gold in PR%F 2021 spirits award competition! Check out our website for buying options near you.

For over a quarter of a century Crater Lake Spirits has been at the forefront of the craft spirits movement, all built on a simple mission: Distilling real spirits made from real ingredients. This Bend, Oregon based distillery was founded with the goal of reviving the tradition of American handcrafted gin and vodka. One of the Pacific Northwest’s oldest and largest distilleries, it continues to produce a growing array of distilled spirits, all still created in small batches. The offerings have expanded beyond the original vodka, gin, and whiskey to include infused vodkas, reserve products, ground-to-bottle estate spirits, Black Butte Whiskey (a collaboration with brewing pioneer Deschutes Brewery), and other special and seasonal projects. These special projects have included a double malted barley whiskey, an agave spirit, and an aged rum, all exclusives in the two Crater Lake Spirits Oregon-based tasting rooms. From ground to bottle, the distillery produces a portfolio of spirits that remains true to its roots. Inspired by the pure water of the Cascade Mountains, the flagship product, Crater Lake Vodka, is filtered a minimum of ten times through charcoal and crushed lava rock, a practice unique to them that mimics the natural filtration of water in their region. A quirk of nature that produces water so ideally suited to alcohol production that Bend is home to over 30 breweries, many of which are nationally recognized. Created from 100% rye grain, Crater Lake Straight American Rye Whiskey is aged in number 4 char new American white oak barrels for two years. While two years may be young for some whiskies, the high desert climate of Central Oregon, with its low humidity and incredible temperature variations, provides an aging environment that matures whiskies quicker than the more temperate climates of Scotland or the American southeast. In fact, Crater Lake Rye was one of the American whiskies that inspired the concept of terroir in aging whiskey. This history has led Crater Lake Spirits to earn prestigious honors in this year’s PR%F Awards. Crater Lake Reserve Gin won the Silver Medal, with focused botanicals of juniper berries, coriander, bitter Seville orange peel, sweet glazed orange peel and grapefruit peel. With a minimum filtration of 50 cycles, this gin’s smooth taste and impeccable citrus and herbaceous notes make it worth the space in any gin connoisseur’s liquor cabinet. Rock and Rye Whiskey won the Double Gold Medal, a ready-to-drink classic rye whiskey cocktail with notes of dark cherry, blood orange and bitters. In early 2022, the company launched its 60 proof Rock and Rye Whiskey in 100ml cans. Available in packs of two, the cans are available immediately in Oregon with future expansion planned. Currently, 750ml bottles are available for purchase at, or available by request wherever liquor is sold near you. What’s next? Crater Lake Spirits remains focused on celebrating and supporting local. A passionate supporter of social responsibility and sustainability, the distillery believes in providing spirits crafted from real ingredients that are authentic, fresh, and sourced locally whenever possible. The distillery has made a switch to using recycled and post-consumer packaging products, growing many of its own herbs and spices, composting on-site and they are working on the development of a solar-powered facility.


osher Ce


PR%F Awards

PR%F Awards is pleased to announce that it will be adding a Kosher Certification Award to its lineup. This medal has been created for brand makers to highlight this certification and for PR%F Awards to honor those brands with this special distinction. Enter your beverage in its perspective category and supply us with your formal letter of Kosher Certification. PR%F Awards will give your brand the credit it deserves with an additional medal to highlight this accreditation. But first things first —we need to have the kosher conversation.

Let’s Talk Kosher 101 In the English language, the word “kosher” can be taken to mean

proper or acceptable. However, kosher laws regarding food and drink are deeply rooted in Jewish scriptures and traditions. Having been around for centuries, it is a topic that is complex and filled with debates. Being that this is kosher 101, we will stick to the basics (for your sake and ours). By definition, a Kosher Certification is the stamp of kosher approval by a rabbinic agency. It is a symbol that verifies the following variables have been properly checked: Product ingredients, production facility, and production process.

By Stephanie Blitz The Architect of Words Photo of books by Robert Anasch. Photo of spirits by Klara Kulikova.

All to ensure the ingredients, derivatives, tools, and machinery have no trace of non-kosher substances such as pork and shellfish. The Kosher Certified symbol reassures consumers that the actual product and the process by which it was made follow all the requirements of kosher law. One of the main aspects of kosher law involves keeping meat and dairy separate. For that reason, kosher products always delineate whether they are meat, dairy or pareve (bonus term!), meaning it is free of both meat and dairy.

ertification Award to honor those brands with this special distinction and medal.

The Fantastic Four Kosher Certifications

Here are the four Kosher Certifications that are eligible to earn this special edition PR%F Awards medal.

1. Circle K

2. Circle U

An industry projected to reach $25.6 billion by 2026, Circle-K Kosher products sell 20 percent better than competing non-kosher brands. The Circle-K has been around since 1935. It is a registered trademark of Kosher Certification with a longstanding history and is recognized worldwide, respected, and universally accepted. It is also referred to as OK, letting those who have Kosher dietary restrictions know the food or beverage is OK to consume.

The letter “U” in a circle is the registered kosher certification mark of the Orthodox Union. They tend to have stricter standards and require a certain Mashgiach—the person in charge of supervising the facility—to oversee the production process to give the stamp of approval. The “OU” symbol by itself indicates that the food is pareve, which is that special kosher terminology mentioned earlier. It means the product doesn’t contain meat or dairy, but it may contain fish, eggs, or honey.

3. Circle K-D

4. Circle U-P

Circle K-D stands for Certified Kosher Dairy. It simply means that the product contains some form of dairy and, therefore, according to kosher law, cannot be mixed with a product that contains meat. Cheers to wines and spirits that pair well with fish, pasta, and other non-carnivore culinary delights.

Food and beverages Certified Kosher for Passover are in their own category and receive a separate label with a circle U-P. During this eight-day Jewish holiday, there are additional dietary restrictions which include avoiding consuming any wheat or grain products. However, libations such as potato vodka are completely acceptable and perfect for making l’chaims—as long as they have the proper Kosher C ertification, of course.

As always, PR%F is finding ways to raise the bar to highlight your spirits, wine, and beverage brands and your overall business model. Adding a one-of-a-kind kosher award is sure to enhance any label’s reputation and overall appeal. Dozens of different symbols indicate a food or beverage is kosher, but none will be as noteworthy as an official PR%F stamp of approval. Enter your brand today in its usual category. Let us know that you are certified Kosher, and send your letter of certification to We look forward to honoring your brand with this medal of distinction. Cheers & L’ Chaim.

PR%F the Magazine

Stephanie Blitz was born and raised in Milwaukee and currently resides in Las Vegas with her husband and two children. She is a proud #boymom and the founder of Architect Of Words. Stephanie is a freelance writer and marketing maven who believes in the power of coffee, values experiences over things and recognizes the ability words have to connect people.






a whiter shade of pale

A Whiter Shade of Pale Choose a Different White Wine by Jerry Hammaker

“We skipped the light fandango. Turned cartwheels ‘cross the floor.” —Lyrics from “A Whiter Shade of Pale” by Procol Harum

Photo by Matthieu Joannon


you get excited about trying new types of wine, then maybe you’ll be the one skipping and cartwheeling after leaving the chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio on the shelf. Most wine drinkers go for what they already know. They usually drift toward the same bottle with a recognizable label or a familiar name. They find themselves in the same supermarket or wine shop staring at the same shelf that holds the same bottles as before. Consumers usually choose chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot grigio as their go-to white wines.

Spring is coming! Time to bring new life to your wine purchases, and you don’t have to break the bank because these lesser-known whites are usually a bit less expensive, too. Let’s take a look at some alternative white wines for your next trip to the supermarket wine aisle. As you reach for that old faithful bottle of white wine, think of A Whiter Shade of Pale as your cue to choose something different.


a whiter shade of pale


Easily adapted to different tasks and styles, few, if any, grape varieties are as versatile as Chenin Blanc. Chenin was perhaps born in Spain; it has prospered in France and continues to flourish in South Africa and the United States. Not only is this wine a world traveler, but it has as many styles as any other grape variety. Bone dry, check. Off-dry, check. Dessert sweet, check. Bubbles, check. Mouthwatering acidity, check. Even the aromas of Chenin Blanc are versatile with peach, green apple, apricot, melon, citrus, crème Fraiche, earth, and honey that can come to the nose. Food Pairings for Chenin Blanc vary as much as the wine itself. Anything from a cheese plate to a big turkey dinner, fish to pork and veal, and vegetables from cauliflower to mushrooms will be a proper pairing with Chenin Blanc.


Characteristic of spice; aromatic or fragrant; of a slightly risqué nature. The grape with the hard to pronounce the name. Gewurztraminer can be a bit intimidating even before you open the bottle. Some people simply skip over this wine because they can’t pronounce it. Guh-VURT-struh-mee-ner or just GuhVURTS is much more pleasant to drink than to say. While the Germans can take responsibility for the name of this grape, Gewurztraminer was probably born in Italy. The largest plantings can now be found in Alsace, France. Don’t overlook the New York Finger Lakes for this variety. One of the most aromatic grapes, Gewurztraminer is known for its unique perfume of spices, rose, and lychee fruit. These aromas pass to the palate, making it a perfect pairing for spicy and full-flavored Asian and Indian food dishes.

Photo by rinat shakirov

When you call out for another drink, and the waiter brings a tray, or you are standing in the wine aisle, remember a Whiter Shade of Pale. You will be skipping and cartwheeling in no time!


Pleasingly fresh or different. Albariño (al-bah-REEN-yo) in Spain or Alvarinho in Portugal is a super sipper. Origins point to Galicia or as a relative to Riesling or Petit Manseng. You will often find the Rías Baixas region of Spain on the label. Citrus and lemon zest aromas combine with a hint of melon and salinity. Mouthwatering acidity, a dry style, and a light body leave the drinker wanting more and more. Albariño will become your go-to wine for hot summer days or whenever you have a meal of fish, oysters, seafood, ceviche, or any vegetable-based Spanish tapas.

Jerry Hammaker, Owner

Certain Aged Ventures Wine Consultant, PR%F Awards

the science of spirits


TASTING METHODS 5 By George F Manska, Corporate Strategy Officer, inventor & entrepreneur, Chief Research & Development Arsilica, Inc.


wirling is an essential part of nosing and evaluating spirits. No swirling = no evaporation = no smell. Swirling enhances evaporation by adding more aromas to the vapor cloud for detection. Practice vigorous swirling to create more evaporation consequently more aromas. Every liquid has an invisible force at its interface with the atmosphere (air) called surface tension. Ever wonder why a water bug can walk on the surface of the water without falling into the water? It is because of surface tension. If surface tension keeps a water bug on the water surface, it can also keep aroma molecules in the liquid of a spirit or wine. Swirling breaks surface tension, allows aromas to escape, and enhances evaporation. Swirling lets more aromas escape into the air (evaporation) to be detected by the nose. After swirling, “legs” or tears” caused by the surface tension gradient between water and ethanol improves evaporation (Gibbs-Marangoni effect). Gravity creates vertical shear on vessel sidewalls, disrupting surface tension and improving evaporation as liquid returns to the liquid pool in the glass.

PR%F the Magazine


Swirling Spirits and Busting Myths


the science of spirits

Different glassware designs have different swirling factors: Note that the snifter appears to be the best swirling glass of the three most common shapes/styles. While that is true, the convergent rim shape forces one to place the nose inside the glass where the highest concentration of ethanol interferes with picking up the subtler nuances of the spirit. This is the one case where the best swirling glass is also the highest ethanol concentrator. Ethanol must have somewhere to go to get away from the nose. That’s why wide mouth glasses are better for spirits.


the increased headspace provides a swirling or rotating room. Many beer drinkers hold the opinion that wine drinkers are snobs and reject any portrayals resembling wine drinking, including stems and swirling. Experienced beer drinkers swirl slowly or rotate their glass at lower beer levels and decrease effervescence to pick up more aromas.

Myth 1 - Swirling is only for wine: All spirits, wine, and beers benefit from swirling. Not limited to wine, experienced beer and spirits tasters also swirl to encourage aroma evaporation, especially at low fill levels.

Myth 2 - Don’t swirl beer: The standard beer pour is close to the top rim, making it difficult to swirl, and the beer’s effervescence, caused by CO2 or N, provides sufficient aroma as the bubbles pop, so swirling is not necessary at full fill. A thick, foamy head hinders odor detection, and slight swirling or slowly rotating a tilted glass to wet the inside wall aids in aroma detection. When partially consumed,

Myth 3 - Don’t swirl spirits: For decades, accepted glassware for scotch has been the hard-to-swirl tulip. During the scotch resurgence in the ‘60s and ‘70s, brand ambassadors and educators quickly became aware of Americans’ lack of tolerance to strong ethanol because they were used to adding soda, fruit juice, and ice to spirits to cover the smell of poorly made illegal prohibition booze. They recommended adding water, wafting aromas toward the nose to pre-condition, and warning drinkers not to swirl, all of which diminish nose burn. Scotch sales skyrocketed, but aroma perception suffers from all these methods.

the science of spirits


Summary: The purpose of swirling is to get more aromas out where your nose can pick them up in evaluation. Crutches to alleviate ethanol nose-burn from spirits, such as adding water, wafting, breathing in with mouth open, hinder aroma detection. Use glassware with an open, large rim, such as NEAT or a whiskey tumbler, swirl vigorously, uncover, sniff, and enjoy.

Myth 4 - Swirl clockwise in the northern hemisphere, counterclockwise in the southern: Unnecessary overthinking. Swirling delivers aromas regardless of direction. It’s all about swirling velocities fast enough to break the surface tension. Vigorous swirling is better. Righthanded drinkers tend to swirl counterclockwise, and left-handed drinkers tend to swirl clockwise. Placing a lid or a hand over the mouth of the glass while swirling keeps aromas in the glass. Covering will fill the headspace with a higher concentration of aroma molecules. Covering during swirling keeps aromas in the glass, ready for detection when uncovered just under the nose. Serious spirits tasters may use glass caps which must be thoroughly cleaned or disposable sanitary paper caps of the type commonly used in hotel rooms.

PR%F the Magazine

George F Manska Chief of Research and Development, Arsilica, Inc., engineer, inventor of the NEAT glass, and sensory science researcher. Mission: Replace misinformation with scientific truth through consumer education. Contact Information: Phone: 702.332.7305

Email: Business mailing address:

452 Silverado Ranch Blvd, Ste #222, Las Vegas, NV, 89183.



Proof Awards - double blind taste test 3X WINNER!

Clean Functional Ingredients Only 9 grams Organic Cane Sugar No Artificial Sweeteners Added


Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino is Hoops Central. Enjoy March Madness, Barry Manilow, Elle King, Cabaret Shows, Great Dining.


estgate Las Vegas is the home for Legendary Vegas Fun, with the excitement exploding in March.

events coming up, guests can experience high-action entertainment at the best and largest Race & Sports Book in a smoke-free environment in Las Vegas.

Westgate Hoops Central inside the International Theater will explode with March madness. Watch all of the college hoops action on giant HD screens in a smoke-free environment with 1,500 comfortable seats, satellite betting stations, food and drink specials. Doors for Hoops Central will open at 8 a.m. Thursday, March 17 through Saturday, March 19. Tickets can be purchased in person at WOW Casino Rewards or, and guests must be age 21 and over.

Westgate is home to great entertainment with Barry Manilow, Elle King and its Westgate Cabaret shows, including The Magic of Jen Kramer, Soul of Motown, and The Bronx Wanderers.

The SuperBook at the Westgate Las Vegas™ features over 30,000 square feet of heart-racing action with a massive 220-foot-by-18-foot 4,000 video wall with over 350 seats. With the exciting sporting

Barry Manilow returns to the Westgate with MANILOW: LAS VEGAS – The Hits Come Home! The GRAMMY®, TONY®, and EMMY® Award-winning singer, songwriter, producer, arranger, and musician will perform at the Westgate International Theater March 3-5. Multi-platinum and award-winning artist Elle King redefines country music by incorporating rock and pop with a powerful vocal range. The country rebel girl with special guest Lola Kirke will perform at the legendary International Theater on March 31. Fans love her hit single “Ex’s & Oh’s” collaborating with Miranda Lambert. In 2020, their first release, “Fooled Around and Fell in Love,” won the Academy of Country Music Awards Music Event of the Year. With over 1.5 billion streams worldwide, the award-

westgate las vegas resort & casino


Buco, Frutti di Mare, or Lemon & Rosemary Roasted Chicken, slowly cooked in natural juices and enhanced with fresh herbs and garden vegetables.

winning singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire has teamed up with Lambert again. Their most recent release “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)" debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Rock and Country Digital Song Sales Charts.

Benihana is a unique culinary adventure. As guests walk into the restaurant, they are transported into another world with lush Japanese gardens, flowing ponds, exotic statuary, and an authentic Torri Arch. The exhibition-style Japanese cuisine features hibachi tables with master chefs preparing a full range of unique and traditional teppanyaki dishes. Tasty entrees tantalize with hibachi chicken, teriyaki steak, and filet mignon. Enjoying a colorful signature drink at the bar surrounded by the exotic décor makes the drink that much more special.

The Magic of Jen Kramer turns the impossible into the impossible-to-ignore, wowing audiences with her contagious smile and world-class sleight-ofhand. Guests are always amazed at Jen’s jaw-dropping illusions; her show is full of unforgettable magic and Fun with a capital F. Soul of Motown celebrates doo-wop and Motown as its music enveloped the entire world. Audiences will enjoy the music of The Temptations, The Platters, The Drifters, Smokey Robinson and The Miracles, Sam Cooke, The Jackson 5, Marvin Gaye, The O’Jays, Stevie Wonder, Gladys Knight and the Pips, and Aretha Franklin. The Bronx Wanderers, the father-and-son duo with their top-notch band, pair powerful vocals and musical flair with enthusiasm and genuine love for the music they perform. The Bronx Wanderers recreate the magic of the era and build an energetic bond with their audience while transporting their audiences to the past of legendary music.

Westgate Las Vegas provides a range of culinary adventures. Fresco Italiano tempts with the perfect blend of menu options that highlight its Italian culinary range and skill. Enjoy Italian-style cuisine defined by freshness and simplicity, like hand-crafted flatbreads baked in a stone-fired pizza oven, produced with imported Italian flour and family recipes. Create custom dishes matching favorite pasta with fresh PR sauces. from entrées featuring Osso %F Choose the Magazine

Edge Steakhouse Edge Steakhouse offers a dining experience close to perfection. Guests can savor an extensive menu that combines American steakhouse favorites with delicious specialty appetizers, creative entrées, and innovative side dishes. Top quality wet and dry-aged Prime cuts, domestic Wagyu beef, and fresh seafood are some of its specialties. Toast with selections from the double Wine Spectator Award-winning wine list with pairing options available. This iconic world-class destination and the home of Legendary Vegas Fun offers a unique blend of amenities and excitement with all favorite table games, hottest slots on the market, and more than 225,000 square feet of meeting space.

For more information or to book the Las Vegas hotel, call toll free at (800) 732-7117 or log on to

George Clooney


Rande Gerber


a-list agave spirit

A-List Agave Spirit George Clooney and Rande Gerber toast with their Casamigos Photos by Casamigos


-list celebrity George Clooney, A-List entertainment industry entrepreneur Rande Gerber, and A-list property developer Mike Meldman loved their tequila-filled nights with tequila on the rocks, by the shot, and at times, straight from the bottle. Longtime friends decided to produce Casamigos, the best-tasting, smoothest tequila and mezcal that didn’t have to be covered up with salt or lime. They created Casamigos with their master distiller in Jalisco, Mexico, as a house tequila for their enjoyment. But it was so amazing; the label was launched

in 2013 by Clooney, Gerber, and Meldman. PR%F the Magazine recently connected with Rande Gerber about Casamigos and the spirit industry. HOW DO YOU SHIFT, SCALE, AND EXPAND THE CASAMIGOS MISSION, TACTICS, AND STRATEGY AS A LEADER? Rande Gerber: Being a leader is to create harmony between each team member, which in turn reveals the group’s maximum and full potential. And success unshared is a failure in my eyes. Without a great team, we would never be in the position we are today.

a-list agave spirit


I like to train people well enough to leave, but more important is to treat them well enough, so they don’t want to leave. Most of the people I hire have had no experience in the spirits industry and have been with me since day one.



Rande Gerber: Success isn’t always defined by profit. I believe the success that we’ve created for Casamigos has been changing the perception of tequila. When we created Casamigos, we wanted something that was very different from every other tequila, something with no burn. The perfect tasting, smoothest tequila that we made for us to drink and share with friends.

Rande Gerber: I don’t follow any rules. I have this innate sense of what feels right and looks right. I’m not sure where it comes from, but it just comes to me. I’m also always open to hearing others’ opinions and collaborating on ideas. I am a creative person that gets bored easily and can’t just sit and watch things happen. I love to make it happen.

PR%F the Magazine

The fact is that if you don’t have a great product, it’s not going to work. Some brands attempt to fool the customer with big marketing campaigns, made-up stories, and fancy bottles. For Casamigos, it has always been about what’s inside the bottle.


a-list agave spirit

AS THE ARCHITECT FOR THE BRAND’S FUTURE, WHAT DO YOU SEE IN YOUR CASAMIGOS CRYSTAL BALL? Rande Gerber: We are always thinking ahead and have some ideas in the works, but we are really proud of what we have done and are focused on the continued growth of our Tequila and Mezcal. WHAT IS THE MOST IMPACTFUL STORY ABOUT CASAMIGOS TO COME OUT OF THE PERIOD OF THE PANDEMIC? Rande Gerber: For the past few years, my team has not been able to get together in person in the office or for those really fun outings we usually do a few times a year. I’m most proud of keeping everyone as enthusiastic and involved as they were from the beginning throughout this whole pandemic. Even though we aren’t in the office together, the growth of the company has never been greater. Every year we continue to grow at least 100%, and it’s nice to see that my team remains as excited today as the day I hired them. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE AGAVE SPIRITS CATEGORY’S BOOMING SUCCESS? Rande Gerber: We launched Casamigos back in 2013. It was not a celebrity tequila. My friend George just happened to be an actor, but it was born out of our desire to drink the best tasting, smoothest tequila with our friends. I’m proud that we helped grow the tequila category to what it is today, and I wish everyone a lot of luck. Many will learn that it takes time, dedication, and authenticity, and most of all, a great product such as Casamigos to succeed. WHAT IS YOUR TRICK TO SELLING 2 MILLION CASES IN 2021 ALONE? Rande Gerber: We really haven’t changed our philosophy; number one, it’s about the product. We have a great tequila, and people understand the differences in that. And when you start with that, your job is to get people to try it. I was confident that they would

switch from whatever other brand they may have been drinking in the past once they tried it. So many people are drinking Casamigos, more and more every day, and they spread the word. So many of those customers who were drinking vodka, whiskey, gin, and other liquors are now drinking Casamigos. You can’t have a product that’s only a little bit better than others because then people will go back to what they know. That’s why you have to create a product that’s much better than others that really stands out. That’s the true secret to success. WHAT IS THE CASAMIGOS HOUSE TOAST? Rande Gerber: I drink Casamigos neat or on the rocks. “Brought to you by those who drink it,” so here’s to good friends!

Consumers and tequila and mezcal connoisseurs alike enjoy and appreciate the authenticity of Casamigos with quality that can be tasted, so raise a glass with the award-winning spirit. Casamigos. For more info, visit, follow on Facebook @ casamigos, Instagram @ casamigos, and Twitter @ Casamigos.

BLANCO AGAVE: The agaves are 100% Blue Weber, aged 7 to 9 years, from the rich clay soil of the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. SLOW COOKING: Agave piñas are roasted in traditional brick ovens for 72 hours, while most others steam theirs for 7 hours. EXTRA SLOW FERMENTATION: Its unique flavor is a result of an 80-hour fermentation process, compared to the average 48 hours. PROPRIETARY YEAST: It's Master Distiller uses a special yeast blend resulting in a consistent, refined flavor, unlike the commercial yeasts others use. COLOR: Crystal clear. AROMA: Hints of citrus and sweet agave. FLAVOR: Fruit forward with notes of vanilla and grapefruit. WATER: Purified water from its well. REST: 2 months in stainless steel.

REPOSADO AGAVE: The agaves are 100% Blue Weber, aged 7 to 9 years, from the rich clay soil of the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. SLOW COOKING: Its agave piñas are roasted in traditional brick ovens for 72 hours, while most others steam theirs for 7 hours. EXTRA SLOW FERMENTATION: Its unique flavor is a result of an 80-hour fermentation process, compared to the average 48 hours. PROPRIETARY YEAST: It's Master Distiller uses a special yeast blend resulting in a consistent, refined flavor, unlike the commercial yeasts others use. COLOR: Golden honey AROMA: Caramel with hints of cocoa. FLAVOR: Notes of dried fruits and spicy oak with a touch of sweet agave. WATER: Purified water from our own well. AGED: 7 months in premium American white oak barrels.

AÑEJO AGAVE: Its agaves are 100% Blue Weber, aged 7 to 9 years, from the rich clay soil of the Highlands of Jalisco, Mexico. SLOW COOKING: Its agave piñas are roasted in traditional brick ovens for 72 hours, while most others steam theirs for 7 hours. EXTRA SLOW FERMENTATION: Its unique flavor is a result of an 80-hour fermentation process, compared to the average 48 hours. PROPRIETARY YEAST: It's Master Distiller uses a special yeast blend resulting in a consistent, refined flavor, unlike the commercial yeasts others use. COLOR: Rich caramel. AROMA: Soft caramel and vanilla notes. FLAVOR: Perfect balance of sweetness from the Blue Weber agaves layered with hints of spice and barrel oak. WATER: Purified water from our own well. AGED: 14 months in premium American white oak barrels.

MEZCAL AGAVE: Its agaves are 100% Espadín, grown for 8 to 9 years in Oaxaca, Mexico SLOW COOKING: Casamigos Mezcal is made using the traditional method. Once harvested, the piñas are split and laid to cook for 4 to 6 days in six-ton earthen pits lined with volcanic rock. CRUSHING: Piñas are cooled for 24 hours before the crushing process begins. In the traditional method, the agave is crushed one ton at a time by a horse-drawn tahona wheel. FERMENTATION: Depending on the season, Casamigos Mezcal ferments for 2–8 days before being distilled in covered copper pot stills. Casamigos is twice-distilled. COLOR: Crystal Clear AROMA: Fragrant herbal and fruit, with hints of smoke. FLAVOR: Notes of smoke and black pepper lead to long silky finish. RESTS: Up to 2 months. HERITAGE: Produced in Oaxaca by a 4th generation family of Mezcaleros.




an irish tale of monks, market makers and magnificent whiskey

An Irish Tale Of Monks, Market Makers And Magnificent Whiskey

pour of a glass—Irish whiskey became the number one selling spirit in the UK, and simultaneously, Ireland earned itself the title of The World’s Whiskey Capital. This is where one of the main characters comes into play. In 1805, John Jameson purchased his wife’s family distillery and turned the Jameson name into the most sought-after whiskey brand across the globe. The Irish whiskey industry was

By Stephanie Blitz The Architect of Words


veryone becomes honorary Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, celebrated on March 17. Along with the “kiss me” shirts, shamrocks, and soda bread, shots of beloved Irish whiskey commemorate the culture and spirit. It is a spirit that possesses both a flavor and history with many layers. When it comes to the evolution of whiskey, the country of Ireland has played a leading role. If Whiskey Took A DNA Test Behind Irish whiskey is its Irish heritage. Its name is derived from the Gaelic term “Uisce Beatha,” which translat es to “water of life.” As one of the oldest distilled spirits in Europe, the tale of Irish whiskey begins in the 1200s. In other words, a really long time ago. It is said that monks returning home from the Mediterranean brought back the art of distilling spirits. Unlike the whiskey we know today, odds are the original versions were a clear spirit infused with herbs such as mint and blended with a dab of honey. Luck Of The Irish Whiskey Whiskey was produced in an old-school, rustic style for hundreds of years. But as life in the countryside began to advance and transform, the Irish whiskey creation process evolved right along with it. In the blink of an eye—more like the

about to really take off. By 1890, at least 30 distilleries were operating in Ireland. It would seem that luck (and authentic love for whiskey) was on their side. The Irish Way Of Making Whiskey A pot still, which functions like an upside-down funnel, is part of the Irish whiskey-making tradition. It is used for small-batch productions and is a unique distilling process known to produce maximum flavor from the barley. Despite all the variations and transformations in the spirits industry, today’s biggest Irish whiskey producers still use this process. Since 2016, it has been deemed that “all production, labeling, and marketing of Irish whiskey must be approved by Irish Revenue Authorities conforming to the Irish Department of Agriculture.”

an irish tale of monks, market makers and magnificent whiskey


There are many types of Irish whiskey, including single malt Irish, single pot still Irish whiskey, grain Irish whiskey, and blended Irish whiskey, which accounts for 90 percent of all Irish whiskey production. The barrels used to age the Irish whiskey have often previously housed sherry, bourbon, or rum. This gives Irish whiskey a distinct oakiness with hints of caramel. Many people describe this popular spirit as light and fruity with discernible notes of cereal grains. Cheers To Countless Choices There are plenty of ways to enjoy Irish whiskey. Straight or on the rocks. In the form of shooters or shots. It offers smoothness and exceptional versatility and takes any cocktail up a notch. You can even use it to perk up your coffee. When you have the right bottle of Irish whiskey, you can’t go wrong. So let’s raise our glasses in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day, Ireland, and the history that brought us this delightful whiskey today.

So if authenticity matters to you, here are the character traits that make a true Irish whiskey. • • • • • • • • •

Must be distilled in Ireland from a mash of malted or unmalted grains of cereal The malt must be soaked in water to release its enzymes Fermented with yeast Distilled to no more than 94.8% alcohol by volume (189.6 proof) Bottled at a minimum of 40% alcohol by volume (80 proof) Aged a minimum of 3 years in a barrel (no more than 185 gallons) Caramel color (water can be added) The term “single” can only be used if it is made at one distillery Single pot, single malt, single grain, or blended must appear on the label

Stephanie Blitz was born and raised in Milwaukee and currently resides in Las Vegas with her husband and two children. She is a proud #boymom and the founder of Architect Of Words. Stephanie is a freelance writer and marketing maven who believes in the power of coffee, values experiences over things and recognizes the ability words have to connect people.

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The PR%F Awards 2021


reat spirits flowed together in camaraderie and unique tastings when spirit industry leaders gathered to judge the the PR%F Awards 2021. Officially named the world’s largest spirits and wine competition in the US, PR%F Awards 2021 encompassed innovation with judging. PR%F Awards 2021 launched a new dual adult beverage competition format including two competitions in one—PR%F Awards-Masked, The Double-Blind Tasting, and PR%F Awards-Unmasked, The Total Package.

spirited inspiration

Spirited Inspiration


An interview with Tommy Brunett, Iron Smoke Distillery

By Renée Korbel Quinn Photos courtesy of Tommy Brunett and Renée Korbel Quinn

Hot Musician Turned Sexy Whiskey Maker Tommy Brunett is known as: • CEO/Founder of Farm Distillery in upstate New York. • Internationally acclaimed bourbons and whiskeys. • Famous musician. • Came up with idea for smoked whiskey while smoking ribs in the backyard. Iron Smoke Distillery 111 Parce Avenue #5b Fairport, New York Iron Smoke produces distinct world-class bourbons and whiskeys in a 21,000-square-foot facility and is designated as a New York State small-batch farm distillery that uses local ingredients from Finger Lakes family farms within a 50-mile radius of the distillery. My last meeting before the 2020 quarantine was with talented musician and founder of Farm Distillery in upstate New York, Tommy Brunett. We met on Las Olas Boulevard to talk whiskey, music, and his passion for both. Hailing from Rochester, he came up with the idea for Iron Smoke Bourbon Whiskey while smoking ribs in his backyard. I look forward to more cocktails and conversation, socially distanced, of course. In whiskey we trust.

PR%F the Magazine


spirited inspiration

What are some of the highlights of your decade of working in the bar industry? • 95.5 rating in Jim Murray’s Whiskey Bible • Named “Top Ten Bourbons Beyond Kentucky” • Going from backyard concept to now distributing in multiple states… and beyond!

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? Jumping off the garage while on my bike when I was 10 years old! Something like that’ll free you! I’ve taken a similar approach to my businesses.

Who are/were your role models or mentors? Johnny Cash, Evil Knievel, and Elon Musk.

What’s the best book you’ve read this year? Railroad of Souls, my wife, Jen Brunett’s second book!

What does success look like for you? We continue to grow our brands as the industry leader in new markets while keeping our ethos of authenticity and honesty!

What is your essential bar accessory? Goggles, gloves, shaker, and spoon. (no particular order)

What’s in your home bar? You name it—I got it! I make sure to have high-end tequila for special occasions.

What’s the best cocktail you’ve tasted this year, and why? The Peacemaker. It uses both of our products and is my go-to cocktail—2-parts Iron Smoke Bourbon/1-part Rattlesnake Rosie’s Apple Pie Whiskey/Dash of bitters/ Orange slice garnish. Check out more cocktails at

What’s the cocktail trend that’s going to move us forward? Simplified cocktails.

What would readers be surprised to know about you? • I was the touring guitar player in Modern English in the ’80s. • I was once in a band that held the Guinness Book of World Records’ “Loudest Band in The World” title. • I started the company in the backyard while getting my swerve on drinking whiskey and smoking ribs.

spirited inspiration


officers, volunteer firefighters, food bank workers– had access to the hand sanitizer ( As a business owner and musician, Brunett does what he can to bring comfort and keep people safe. “I have always tried to give back to the community and honor those who serve. As crazy as this COVID situation is, it kind of makes sense,” said the father of two. In April 2020, he released a music video on YouTube. Again, he was not planning to do that, but somehow the coronavirus was the impetus. The title is “Angels in the Rafters,” and the video he created is a slideshow of people on the frontlines battling COVID19. “I was on the computer and saw all these pictures that just spoke to me,” said Brunett. “The photos seemed to mesh with the lyrics really well, and it just came together.”

Featured Cocktail: Tokyo Rose In November of 2021, we caught up on Las Olas Boulevard, sipping smokin’ Old Fashioned cocktails. I helped inspire their latest creation, Red Door’s (@ reddoorlasolas) collaboration called the Tokyo Rose, a dreamy hot sake made with Rattlesnake Rosie’s Apple Pie Whiskey.

Super Bowl Bourbon Barrels: Brunett and his crew of whiskey-soaked scoundrels made a promise that the barrels will be cracked open when the Buffalo Bills win the Superbowl. Every year the Bills make the playoffs, there is a chance Brunett and crew will get to keep their promise. “If the Bills keep crushing it like we all are rootin’ and tootin’ for, we could make it to the Superbowl and pull the big win in the boat! We didn’t want to let an opportunity like Saturday’s playoff game go by without letting our fellow Bills fans come here, give the barrels a rub for good luck, and toast to Buffalo going all the way,” said Brunett. Giving Back: Like many distilleries around the country,

Iron Smoke Distillery began making hand sanitizer. A team of ten employees working on rotation m produced Over 85,000 gallons to date. In addition, Brunett and his team made sure people working on the frontlines—police

PR%F the Magazine

Renée Korbel Quinn Spirited South Florida @SpiritedSFL #getspiritedsouthflorida

“We’ve done more than refine and old tradition, we’ve started a new culinary blends that is reinventing the iconic Bloody Mary.” —Creator and Founder, Diane Mina, of Diane Mina’s Garden Grown Blends® Diane Mina’s Garden Grown Blends® originated with Diane’s Bloody Mary, a first-of-its kind bloody Mary mix made with 100% Italian tomatoes and fresh herbs. Thoughtfully chosen-clean ingredients curated to the exact infusion temperature, enables the natural resting process to take place giving you that straight from the garden taste. Never rushed … Always appreciated, the goodness of this natural refined high-quality product is versatile, consistent and craveable.

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