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Vol. 51 Spring 2017


Peter Zilper Vice President Operational Excellence and Food & Beverage Aramark Sports & Entertainment




in the Mix Magazine


Looking Forward…

Don Billings Publisher, in the Mix Media

“If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.”

- Jack Welch

After drawing information from NRN, NRA and Deloitte, I’ve made the following observations: Let’s just say 2016 wasn’t a great year for the restaurant industry. Even though we have an improving economy, the on-premise national chains had weaker than desired results, with the largest number of companies going into financial distress since 2009-2010. With very challenging sales trends and capacity decline, what can be done to turn business around? The industry faces a lot of challenges – the traditional costs of lease space, investment in equipment and furnishings, along with competition and little pricing flexibility. In order to grow, they take on debt. All this is part of the cycle of doing business. But also consider how the consumer is reshaping the marketplace. Customers want a personalized experience. This is always a challenge since they are continually evolving with generational influences. A lot of operators are data-rich but insight-poor. Being able to analyze their data and translate it into valuable insights to enhance the experience, and create measurable and sustainable ROI, is a “must do.” Recruiting and retaining the right people has got to be at the top of operators’ “must haves” list. Potential hires with the right needed skill sets may be opting for better paying positions in an improving economy, so developing and implementing an effective recruitment strategy is part of the challenge for retaining skilled employees. Competitive dynamics in a changing landscape is challenging in a merger and consolidation-rich period. New business models are emerging to address the evolving consumer needs. Niche markets are growing where traditional operators ignored using new business strategies. Other influences continue to push oil prices up or down, resulting in effects on the consumer as well as operator. Labor costs and regulations can potentially cause disruptions to operations and affect the bottom-line. Moving forward and embracing the new sharing economy is necessary to reach the evolving customer experience. “Sharing” means engaging in community, connectivity, partnering, cost and market effectiveness, and convenience. It also includes continued development and employment of mobile technology and social media as customer service marketing tools. Additionally, empowering and engaging employees is important because Millennial-generation employees understand and identify with their customers, and long-term retention of your employees is essential for success. In closing, I suggest that accepting change is necessary for survival. Managing change is disruptive but developing innovative solutions is crucial in the new paradigm for success. - Don Billings Spring 2017 •



46 Innovate




in the Mix Magazine

28. 36. 46. 58. 74. 78.

Take 5 Interview – Jordan Silbert, Founder of Q Drinks Technology – Translating Hospitality by Colleen Sisler Cover Story – An Interview with Peter Zilper, Vice President, Operational Excellence and Food & Beverage, Aramark Sports & Entertainment Why Doesn’t the Restaurant Manager Know What’s in a Negroni? by Lou Trope CORE Chronicles – Uplifting stories from the Children of Restaurant Employees charity Crossword Puzzle by Barry Wiss, CWE, CSS, of Trinchero Family Estates

24. 30. 38. 42. 62.

Lower Proof Through the Roof by Jack Robertiello Tiki Evolves by Renee Lee Where Does Beer Stand in the Hearts of Americans? by Rebecca Wilkie, Cuvée Marketing A “Sommelier Wine”? by Edward M. Korry, CHE, CSS, CWE HillBilly Bourbon – 4 Corners Spirit Company and their new bourbon

12. 18. 34. 66. 72.

The Adventures of George: Irish Coffee by Tony Abou-Ganim New Openings – Showcasing some of the country’s newest properties. Making the Rounds With Helen Benefield Billings – Inspiring and Bold Food and Beverage Concepts Featuring Charlotte Marriott City Center The Sun Rises on a New Era by Elyse Glickman What’s Trending – It’s All About Innovation



18 30

12 24


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The SPECTACULAR Serve Delight guests: Increase profits When you decide to go out, you want something special. Something different than what you’d have at your own home. Standard service with highly marked-up standard products simply isn’t enough. Which is why a number of top beverage programs across the country are working with Q Drinks to implement a “Spectacular Serve” for their highballs. It delights guests with a level of service they wouldn’t get at a regular bar while also increasing profits and differentiating the cocktail program. How to Spectacular Ser ve 1. Put ice and spirit of choice in a highball glass with garnish

2. Bring the glass and the bottle of Q to your guest

3. Open the bottle and pour it into the glass ¾ full

4. Place the bottle on the table along with the cap



in the Mix Magazine

Q D RINKS STA RTE D WITH A Q U E STIO N. . . Should n’t t he mi x e r b e a s grea t a s the s p i r i t? F ounder Jor dan Si lbe r t, aft er a nig h t w i th g o o d g i n , g reat friends , an d lo u s y t onic wat er, be li e ve d th e answer nee de d to be y e s . T he resul t i s a f ami ly o f carbonat ed mi xe rs care f u lly craft ed t o p e r f e ctly compl emen t th e w o rld’s finest spirits .

Available in seven flavors: Q Ginger Ale, Q Indian Tonic, Q Tonic Water, Q Club Soda, Q Grapefruit, Q Kola and Q Ginger Beer.

“Upgrade your fizz.” – Bon Appetit

“Q Drinks provides high quality mixers to complement our ultra- premium spirits. The sodas are clean, crisp, hand-crafted and displayed in elegant bottles – a perfect match for our cocktails.” - Justin Milazzo Director of F&B Four Seasons Hotel New York

“The Moscow Mule has been waiting for a ginger beer like this”

– Imbibe Magazine

Spring 2017 •





PATRICK MCGINN is a native of Roselle, Illinois and resides in Chicago. He graduated from the University of Iowa in 2008 and began working at IMI in July of 2008. In his nine years working at IMI, Patrick has had the opportunity to work with and learn from the best leaders in the industry. What are your responsibilities with IMI? I am a Senior Account Manager working with a number of our lodging and dining accounts.

It was my pleasure to interview another icon of the business, Peter Zilper, for this issue. Peter has a very intense job and executes it with the passion of his trade – hospitality! We start a new series for this year called “New Openings,” showcasing some of the country’s newest properties, from hotels to lounges. We have some impressive cocktail features in this issue, including “Tiki Evolves” by Renee Lee of Datassential, “Lower Proof Through the Roof ” by Jack Robertiello, and Tony AbouGanim’s character, George, going in search of the perfect Irish Coffee. Our resident expert and Department Chair at Johnson & Wales University, Ed Korry, CHE, CSS, CWE, takes an indepth look at sommelier wine trends.

What do you like best about working with IMI’s account team? I love that our team will jump in and help anyone in need. We have a group of people that come from many different parts of this industry and even from outside of it. This allows us to have multiple viewpoints on any task we work on. You travel all over the world. What is one of your favorite destinations? My favorite places are Dublin, Ireland and Champagne, France. The close third is Augusta, Georgia, which I like to call “heaven on earth.” You are quite a sportsman. What sports do you enjoy playing most? Golf is my favorite, but I have recently immersed myself in the world of running. It is great to turn off your brain and go for a long run. I completed the 2016 Dublin Marathon and it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. What is your favorite adult beverage? It’s like asking which golf club is my favorite, but I would have to say it is a toss-up between a bourbon on a large rock of ice or a glass of great Champagne. What is your favorite food? Being an Irishman, my favorite food is steak and potatoes. Honestly, I grew up being a plain eater but my eyes are now open to food. I will try anything once, except when Adam Billings makes me eat sea urchin.

Our cover and several shots inside the interview for this issue were taken in Philadelphia by a local studio, JPG Photography. We thank them for their work on what was a very brisk day. We also welcome back Kester Chau as our Head Designer, as she brings a fresh new look to our pages. Enjoy. Mike Raven, Managing Editor, in the Mix Media 8

in the Mix Magazine

What are your favorite sports teams? THE CURRENT WORLD CHAMPION CHICAGO CUBS! I waited 31 years to be able to say that. Also, the Chicago Blackhawks. One thing you can’t live without? Friends and family, as they have helped me become who I am and supported me along the way.

Patrick McGinn Senior Account Manager

Spring 2017 •


Contributing Writers Edward is an A s s ociate Professor and Chair of the Beverage & Dining Service Department in the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I. Edward carries many certifications as well as being President of the Society of Wine Educators and an executive board member of the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild Master Accreditation program.

Tony Abou-Ganim Helen Benefield Billings

Known as “The Modern Mixologist,” Tony is an accomplished bar chef, speaker and consultant who has created several original cocktail recipes, including the Cable Car, Sunsplash and Starlight. He has recently authored his second book, Vodka Distilled (Agate Surrey, publisher).

Hospitality and travel writer, Helen Benefield Billings has been with in the Mix since its inception in 2004. Helen lives in her native childhood home of Sea Island, Ga. when not traveling or attending industry functions with her husband, Don.

Edward Korry


D o n B illin g s

Jack is a writer, consultant and expert in the world of spirits and mixology. Jack writes about spirits, cocktails, wine, beer and food, and hails from Brooklyn, New York.

Jack Robertiello

Colleen is the Digital Marketing & Production Manager at IMI Agency. She has more than 20 years experience in the onpremise arena in restaurants, distribution, hotel & resor t catering as well as brand marketing.

Larr y McGinn, Par tner Celeste Dinos, Par tner Don Billings, Founding Par tner


Editor – Michael Raven Designed by – Kester Chau Copy Editor & Proofreader – Christine Neal Associate Editor – Celeste Dinos Associate Editor – Helen Benefield Billings A DV E RT I S I N G S AL E S,

Colleen Sisler

E D I TOR I A L A ND BUS IN E S S OFFIC E 1 1 9 6 B u c k h e a d C ro ssi n g Wo o d s t o c k , G A 3 0 1 8 9 P H O N E 7 7 0 - 9 2 8 - 1 9 8 0 | FA X 7 7 0 - 5 1 7 - 8 8 4 9 E M A I L m ike @ it m m a g . co m WE B I T M m a g .c o m

Renee Lee is a senior publications specialist at Datassential, which is a supplier of trends, analysis and concept testing for the food industry. Renee has a background in journalism and enjoys reporting on the latest happenings in everything from alcoholic beverages to breakfast and Mix Magazine 10 in the global cuisines.

Lou Trope is the President of LJ Trope & Co. LLC. Lou works with clients to assist them in concept development and much more. Lou’s expertise comes through years of experience as an Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage in resorts as well as convention and urban hotels in Bermuda, London, Maui, Philadelphia and San Diego.

Rebecca Wilkie, owner of Cuvée Marketing, has been in the beverage industry for over 15 years, providing marketing, social media and adver tising exper tise to companies such as Rober t Mondavi Winery, Constellation, DIAGEO, Trellis Wine Group and Folio Fine Wine Par tners, as well as numerous local wineries, breweries and restaurants.

i n t h e M i x m a g a z i n e i s p u b l i sh e d q u a r te r ly by iM i A g e n c y. A ll r i g h ts re se r ve d. No p a r t o f t h is p u b lic a t io n m ay b e re p r i n te d o r o t h e r w is e re p ro du ce d w i th o u t w r i tte n p e r m is s io n f ro m th e p u b l i sh e r.

in the Mix is exclusively operated and owned by Incentive Marketing Inc . Submissions: Incentive Marketing Inc. assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs.

Spring 2017 •


The Adventures of George by Tony Abou-Ganim

San Francisco

“Irish Coffee” “Cream as rich as an Irish brogue; coffee as strong as a friendly hand; sugar sweet as the tongue of a rogue; and Irish whiskey as smooth as the wit of the land.”


was meeting his co-author, Mary, in Oakland, California to discuss their latest book collaboration and decided that the best meeting place, considering the content, should be a bar. Mary suggested a classic Irish pub on College Avenue called McNally’s, and this is where George found himself, sitting at the long bar waiting for her to arrive. “What did you just make for that group of gentleman?” George inquired of the barman. “Those are Irish Coffees. We make a ton of them,” he replied. “Let’s have one, please,” George requested. The bartender nodded and quickly prepared his drink. Just as George was taking his first sip, Mary walked in and joined him at the bar. “Looks like you’ve already tried the specialty of the house,” she commented. “Yes, and it’s delicious. Let me order you one,” he offered. As Mary and George enjoyed their Irish Coffees, caught up on the events of the last three months and discussed the format for their next book, Mary suddenly had a moment of inspiration. “You know what we should do? We should go to San Francisco and have an Irish Coffee at the Buena Vista Café,” she exclaimed. 12

in the Mix Magazine

“Why the Buena Vista Café?” George asked. “It’s where the Irish Coffee was first introduced in the United States,” Mary answered. “Sounds like a great idea,” he replied. George paid the check and they walked to the BART station, where they boarded a train into the city. They got off at the Powell Street stop and quickly boarded a cable car, which would transport them to Fisherman’s Wharf and a short walk to the front door of the famous Buena Vista Café. Once inside the crowded café, they found two seats at the long bar and quickly noticed a line of small, bell-shaped glasses running the length of the bar, which the bartender was rapidly preparing Irish Coffees in. George managed to get his attention. “We’ll have two Irish Coffees, please,” George said, placing his order. George found his Irish Coffee to be the perfect blend of strong hot coffee, sugar, rich cream and Irish whiskey – it went down very easily. He soon found himself face-to-face with his third one and decided it was time for some nourishment. Perusing the menu under “Breakfast Served All Day,” he found one of his favorites, corned beef with poached eggs, which turned out to be the perfect complement to an Irish Coffee. George ordered for both of them, and he and Mary enjoyed their meal. The bartender approached to clear their empty plates and inquired if they would like anything else. “We’ll have a ‘final final,’” George replied, “but tell me, what is the story behind the Buena Vista and the Irish Coffee?” The bartender first explained to George and Mary that the drink was created by Joe Sheridan, a chef at Foynes Airport, County Limerick, and then he went on to tell the rest of the story. “One night in 1942, due to a bad storm, a Pan Am flying boat returned to Foynes, and the passengers arrived very cold and weary. So Joe Sheridan mixed up something to warm the passengers up and also lift their spirits. Inspired by a drink he made for himself to help with his hangover – strong coffee with a little Irish whiskey – he also added some brown

Bartender Larry Nolan on the production line.

The Buena Vista serves up to 2,000 Irish Coffees a day! ________________

Spring 2017 •


Slattery’s Bar with its selfpromoting sign boasting “The Home of Irish Coffee, Probably the Best in Dublin” as well as a sign stating that Anthony Bourdain recommends their Irish breakfast.

sugar and floated whipped heavy cream on top. He dubbed it ‘Gaelic Coffee’ and so the Irish Coffee was born that night. Years later, international travel writer with the San Francisco Chronicle, Stanton Delaplane, discovered Sheridan’s Irish Coffee at the Shannon Airport. He brought the recipe back to San Francisco and persuaded his friend and owner of the Buena Vista Café, Jack Koeppler, to re-create the drink. After many, many unsuccessful attempts, and with the help of San Francisco’s Mayor George Christopher, who happened to own a dairy, success was finally theirs. On November 10, 1952 the Irish Coffee was launched right here at the Buena Vista. Today, we make about 2,000 Irish Coffees a day!” “Wow, amazing! One last question: What type of Irish whiskey do you use?” George asked. “In our Irish Coffee, we feature Tullamore D.E.W, but there are so many wonderful Irish whiskies available today. I guess the only way to find out which one you like best is to visit Ireland and sample as many as possible,” suggested the bartender. George thought this was a wonderful idea, and after a quick call to his assistant, he had changed his schedule and booked a flight out of San Francisco International Airport the following day, for Dublin. After arriving in Dublin and checking into his hotel, George was anxious to begin his quest for the perfect Irish Coffee. Well, as luck would have it, he happened upon Slattery’s Bar with its self-promoting sign boasting “The Home of Irish Coffee, Probably the Best in Dublin” as well as a sign stating that Anthony Bourdain recommends their Irish breakfast. George walked in and grabbed 14

in the Mix Magazine

a seat at the crowded bar, knowing immediately that he was in the right spot to begin his search. “I’ll have an Irish Coffee and the Irish breakfast, please,” George requested of the barman. The Irish Coffee, arriving in a mug, was made from instant coffee, granulated sugar and wonderful, fresh cream floating on top. They used Tullamore D.E.W in their recipe but George had a hard time getting past the instant coffee. The Irish breakfast was indeed wonderful, featuring a large portion of bangers, Irish bacon, black and white puddings, fried eggs, beans, grilled tomatoes, and potatoes that were fried up in butter, all of which was served with plenty of Irish soda bread. “How’s everything?” inquired the barman. “The breakfast is delicious. Can I get a small Guinness to wash it down with, please?” At this point, the barman and any man sitting close enough to hear this request began to chuckle. George learned in that fleeting moment that a man never orders a small Guinness in a

proper Irish pub. George paid his check, left Slattery’s hoping that was not, indeed, Dublin’s best Irish Coffee. Next stop was the Bank on College Green, which was said to make a fantastic Irish Coffee, and indeed they did – strong brewed coffee, brown sugar, freshly whipped heavy cream and Kilbeggan Irish whiskey, with a dusting of ground cinnamon. “Nice Irish Coffee! Question: Are there any distilleries in Dublin I could visit?” George inquired. “Glad you like it. The only distillery in Dublin itself is Teeling and they do great tours. You should check them out,” the barman replied. George jumped in a cab and headed straight to the Teeling Distillery, where he was greeted by Kevin Hurley, Teeling Whiskey’s Global Brand Ambassador. Kevin took George on a tour and explained to him that, at one time, Dublin was home to 37 distilleries. When Irish whiskey fell on hard times, the last one closed in 1976 but it re-opened its doors in 2015. He went on to explain that Teeling produces blended, single malt and single grain Irish whiskies, and the whiskey that’s in the bottle today was distilled at the Cooley distillery. He noted it would be several years before any of the whiskey being distilled at Teeling in their three beautiful copper pot stills would be matured. “So what about the Irish Coffee?” George asked. “Well, we make one here at our bar featuring the

Teeling Small Batch blended whiskey,” Kevin replied. “Would you like to try one?” “I would love to!” George anxiously replied. “We finish our Small Batch blended whiskey in used rum casks and bottle it at 46%, which stands up nicely in an Irish Coffee,” Kevin described. “I do a little twist to the original recipe with strong brewed coffee from the café downstairs, a house-made spiced stout syrup, and orange-zested whipped fresh cream, with a dusting of nutmeg.” George found the spiced syrup to be a wonderful complement to the Teeling whiskey, combined with the hot coffee making its way through the chilled whipped, orange-zested cream, and it produced a very unique spin on a classic Irish Coffee. “Thank you! This is perhaps the most distinctive Irish Coffee I have ever had – it’s wonderful – and I love that you serve it in the Buena Vista glass,” George commented. “I love that glass. It’s hard to find in Ireland, and I had to pull some strings to get some. I love the Buena Vista – they make a great Irish Coffee even if they do use Tullamore D.E.W.,” Kevin explained. “You should take the train to Tullamore and visit my friends Tim Herlihy and Kevin Pigott; they’ll take good care of you.” George thanked Kevin for his hospitality and the yummy Irish Coffee, and headed back to his hotel for a nap and to make plans to visit Tullamore the next

THE BUENA VISTA CAFE’S IRISH COFFEE • 2 • 4-6 oz • 1 1/3 oz

C&H Sugar cubes Brewed coffee Tullamore D.E.W. Irish Whiskey

Heavy cream, lightly whipped Preheat a six-ounce, heat-proof glass by filling with hot water. Once warm, empty the glass. Add two sugar cubes to the glass and then pour coffee over until the glass is three-fourths full. Stir thoroughly until the sugar is dissolved. Add 1 1/3 ounces of whiskey to the coffee. Float a layer of whipped cream over the top of the coffee by pouring gently over a spoon.

Spring 2017 •


day. After catching some much-needed shuteye, George awoke refreshed and very hungry, so he headed out to the Temple Bar area of the city in search of some traditional Irish fare. His first stop was Klaw’s Oyster Bar, for a plate of Flaggy Shore oysters and a pint of Guinness. Next stop was Leo Burdock’s, for the best fish & chips ever and more Guinness from the pub next door. George finished up at the Temple Bar Pub for one last Irish Coffee and some traditional Irish music, before heading back to his hotel, as he had an early train in the morning to Tullamore. George arrived in Tullamore and went straight to the Tullamore D.E.W. visitor’s center, which is housed in their refurbished 19th-century bonded warehouse. George signed up for a tour and quickly realized there was a lot to learn about Tullamore D.E.W. He discovered that Tullamore D.E.W. produces both single malt and blended Irish whiskies, and that “D.E.W.” are the initials of Daniel E. Williams, who opened the original distillery in 1829. After the tour, George retired to the bar inside the visitor’s center, where he was joined by Kevin and Tim and they shared a couple of Irish Coffees. “Would you like to visit the new distillery that we just opened in 2014?” Tim inquired. “That would be amazing!” George replied. The three of them finished their Irish Coffees and made the short trip to the beautiful new distillery. “We triple distill our whiskey,” Tim explained, pointing to their three exquisite copper pot stills. “Here at Tullamore D.E.W., we use a blend of grain, malt and rich

pot still whiskies.” Kevin enlightened George on the types of Irish whiskey, starting with single malt made from 100 percent malted barley; single grain, made from a single grain and generally distilled in a column still; single pot, made from both malted and un-malted barley; and finally – and by far the most popular – blended Irish whiskey, which as the name implies, is a blend of any of the others. After the tour, they made a quick stop at their local pub for a swift pint of Guinness before his hosts took George to the train station. On the way, Tim stopped by their local chippy and picked up a bag of fish & chips for George to eat on the train ride back to Dublin – talk about Irish hospitality! “This has been an amazing visit. Thank you so much for sharing your time and knowledge of Irish whiskey with me,” George said, expressing his gratitude. “It has been our pleasure. We hope you will come back and visit us again very soon. There’s plenty of whiskey to sample,” Kevin replied. On the train, George ordered a pint of Guinness and devoured his fish & chips, thinking about the wonderful people he had recently met and his newfound appreciation for Irish whiskey. But when it comes to the perfect Irish Coffee, he would simply need to return to San Francisco’s Buena Vista Café!


The upstairs bar and the famous chandelier in the Tullamore D.E.W. Visitor Centre.


in the Mix Magazine

Spring 2017 •


New Openings


in the Mix Magazine


Citizen Hotel

Just blocks away from the Golden 1 Arena, in the heart of downtown Sacramento, The Citizen Hotel sits adjacent to City Hall and the California State Capitol building in Sacramento. The historic 1926 Cal-West Insurance building with modern amenities displays such “tongue-in-cheek” touches as leather-bound vintage law books in the lobby, famed political quotes in the elevators, black-and-white political cartoon drawings from mid-century Sacramento Bee cartoonist Newton Pratt throughout the hotel, and lampshades screen-printed with the constitution of California. Both The Citizen and Grange Restaurant & Bar continue to serve as Sacramento institutions, nurturing an evolving destination as the hotel comes into its own.

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The Vintage Estate, comprised of The Vintage Inn and Villagio Inn & Spa, is one of Napa Valley’s most beloved and award-winning properties. It is set on 23 acres of some of the most prized real estate in the area. Just a leisurely saunter from your guestroom, you’ll find yourself indulging in the nation’s per capita Michelin Star capital of dining, premier wine tasting rooms, intimate spa experiences, lifestyle shopping, romantic art, history and culture of the country’s most lauded wine region. The hotel is currently undergoing a compl ete t rans for mat i on. Ne w ownership has assembled several soughtafter designers, architects and talent to bring a new vision of hotel luxury to life.

Awards from 2016 • Conde Nast Traveler “2016 Readers’ Choice Top Hotels in Northern California” • U.S. News & World Report “2016 Best Hotels in Napa Valley” • USA Today “10 Best Readers’ Choice Travel Awards – Best Romantic Inn”


in the Mix Magazine




The phrase “golden age of aviation” immediately calls to mind images of glamour, sophistication and detail to the fine touches, much like the innovation for the new Polaris Lounges. The decadent beverage program pays homage to the golden ages when craft spirits and inspiration were king. “We looked to the pre-Prohibition era to inspire the finest selection of artisan-crafted spirits, and gave it a modern twist while weaving in a unique aviation theme,” said United Clubs Managing Director Michael Landers. “We handpicked an eclectic and exciting selection of spirits to appeal to our globally diverse customers and tapped into the talents of the most noteworthy industry influencers and James Beard Award winners, to create our beverage program.” Polaris guests will be able to enjoy classic cocktails with a twist formulated by renowned mixologist Adam Seger, as well as cocktails designed especially for United Polaris Lounges by the makers of craft liquors such as Ryan Magarian, Ron Cooper, Ryan Maybee and the cocktail king himself, Dale DeGroff. These inspirations will be created with handcrafted tonic and juices that are fresh every day, and will be adorned with the likes of honey caviar, golddusted rose petals and dehydrated tangerine wheels with hibiscus sugar. “Every aspect of the Polaris beverage program was designed to stimulate the senses and enrich the guest experience,” said Landers. “The collection of talent selected to support the creation of the first Polaris, which opened in December at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, will be felt by our guests in every way, and we look forward to expanding this experience to additional U.S. hub airports and international locations beginning in 2017.” Spring 2017 •


The Cityscape San Francisco Lounge

at the Hilton San Francisco

Union Square

Hilton San Francisco Union Square opened Cityscape San Francisco Lounge, located on the hotel’s 46th floor, on September 12. Featuring breathtaking, 360-degree panoramic views of the entire Bay Area and San Francisco’s most iconic landmarks, the Cityscape Lounge offers small plates and appetizers, signature cocktails, wines by the glass, a variety of beers on tap, fine spirits and the best, most coveted viewing platform in the city. Designed as one of the top “must see” attractions in San Francisco, Cityscape is the quintessential destination for those who want to experience the city’s most dynamic views and enjoy the “lay of the land,” as guests are treated to sights that can only be seen from the vantage point of the Hilton San Francisco Union Square’s Tower One. “No two days look the same from Cityscape, where San Francisco weather flows over the ever-changing skyline,” said Lenny Gumm, General Manager of Cityscape. “What doesn’t change are the 360-degree views enjoyed through 14-foot, floor-toceiling windows and the great food and drinks to enjoy with them.” In addition to general public access for individuals, couples and small parties, Cityscape also offers private corners of the lounge for groups of 20 in the Bay Section, with stunning views of the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as the entire space for up to 350 guests for a total buy-out of the lounge. Special menus will be arranged and groups will enjoy the exclusivity of their own reserved space and VIP service. 22

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Spring 2017 •


lower proof

Through the Roof

TAKE a look at any

bar menu these days, and there’s no missing the newfound prominence of ingredients like vermouth, sherry, fortified wines and amari. In common, beyond a savory and herbaceous range of flavors, is their lower proof, making them perfect complementary ingredients in the contemporary cocktail toolkit. By Jack Robertiello


in the Mix Magazine

BARS and RESTAURANTS all across the country are incorporating

them, either as one of a handful of ingredients in assertive cocktails, or as leading lights in drinks on their own. More imported and even domestic amari and vermouths are being featured, and a decade-long effort to popularize sherry as a drink component has borne fruit – both vermouths and sherries are even finding their way into some operations on tap.

the Aperol Spritz

“I think this trend has impacted a lot of operations across the country for a couple of different reasons,” says Gary Gruver, Marriott Global Operations Beverage Manager. “A lot of these ingredients have been used forever in classic cocktails that are undergoing a resurgence. I also think a lot of these ingredients like Aperol and Campari, beside being ingredients in classic cocktails, are more appealing as the American palate has shifted over the past 10 years to more bitter beverages.” He notes that the success of Starbucks, once critiqued for its dark roasted brews, has changed consumers’ opinion about the more bitter flavors found in amari, for example. They are also attractive not only for their flavors but also for their lower impact. “These ingredients add more complex flavor and also less alcohol,” says Tylor Field III, Divisional Vice President of Wine and Spirits, Morton’s The Steakhouse, Oceanaire Seafood Room, Mastro’s, Strip House – Landry’s, Inc. “You can enjoy a Negroni before dinner and then have a great bottle of wine, or drink five ounces of vodka in a Martini and fall asleep before the wine comes. The low alcohol cocktail lets you have both.” He added that also, many of these ingredients have a sense of place that helps create a special event impression. What counts as lower proof ? The average properly made cocktail can range anywhere from about 20 percent alcohol by volume up to around 25 to 30 percent for strong and stirred. A drink based on vermouth, sherry, amaro or other lower alcohol ingredients, as in aperitivo cocktails like the Americano or the Aperol Spritz, will instead be served, depending on the recipe, at between eight and 13 percent alcohol. The attractions for operators to include more of these drinks with lower alcohol levels are obvious. Comparably less expensive ingredients make for more profitable drinks, and the number of drinks served may increase as well. Variations of the Aperol Spritz, especially during brunch service, have definitely benefitted from the lighter proof trend. “It’s a major trend right now, these low-proof aperitivo type of cocktails,” says Brandon Wise, Corporate Director of Beverage Operations for the Denver-based Sage Restaurant Group, whose operations include Urban Farmer outlets in Cleveland, Portland and Philadelphia. “The darling this year is the Aperol Spritz and I couldn’t be more excited about that, in that it’s one of my favorites. We even have one on tap at our rooftop bar called Assembly, and it’s our best selling drink there by far.” Like Field, Wise points out that drinks incorporating these full flavor but lower proof ingredients allow customers to pair multiple Spring 2017 •


cocktails with their meals, a boon for culinarians. “With vermouth, fortified wines and amari, that gives chefs and bartenders lot of flavor possibilities there. It’s an exciting trend and one we’re fully embracing.” While current cocktail trends tend to percolate up from niche urban bars and restaurants, the turn to vermouths, fortified wines and amari is no longer limited to those outposts. “As the trend for classic, pre-Prohibition era cocktails has made a comeback in recent years, we’ve made an effort to incorporate certain items into our menus,” says Hilary Leister, Beverage Project Coordinator – IMI Agency, for Interstate Hotels and Resorts. At Interstate, the beverage program is re-created every two years, with trends and sales playing an important role in decision making; and currently, that means more space for these types of ingredients. “A majority of our properties are required to carry both sweet and dry vermouth,” she says, which is a far cry from the days when vermouths gathered dust on the back bar. “Bartenders are starting to realize that not all vermouths are alike and we now have a range that can make different styles of Manhattans that go better with different ryes or bourbons,” adds Gruver. “The differences between heavy and rich Italian red vermouth Carpano Antica and the lighter French red Dolin show how the flavor profile of vermouths can vary dramatically,” he says. For the Sage Group, vermouth is a big deal. “We’re totally head over heels in love with vermouth,” says Wise, who pours an American vermouth on tap and is about to collaborate on private label sweet and dry vermouths for the group. “These days, we’re really paying attention to every ingredient and vermouth is very important again.” At the Kimpton Hotel-owned Urbana Dining & Drinks in Washington, D.C., bartender Andrea Tateosian is a big fan of the savory qualities vermouth and sherry bring to the glass. “I’m seeing a backlash against the backlash against vermouth, a movement to 2 to 1 and even 1 to 1 Martinis, and it has breathed new life into vermouth as a category. People have found they work really well and have the backbone to support an entire cocktail, rather than being a sideline player,” she says. It’s not a universal trend, however. Field points out, “Guests are willing to trade up to a top-shelf vermouth like Carpano versus a standard vermouth we use for a normal Manhattan, but still do not want vermouth in their vodka or gin. This is still based on their having been accustomed to getting awful oxidized vermouth in the past. Restaurants are getting better at taking care of their vermouths now so maybe the trend will flip again,” he says. His 26

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operations are, however, finding guests turning more to the Italian amari, with increases in sales of Negronis and Boulevardiers made with Campari, the leader for him in the bitter category in sales. For Tateosian, sherry is especially interesting. “Sherry is an incredibly diverse category, from bone dry and savory, to nutty and raisiny, to extremely sweet and more syrupy. Taking these under utilized ingredients with a wide breadth of flavor can add something to pretty much any type of cocktail.” At the Sage Group’s Urban Farmer Philadelphia, any number of drinks feature amari – Ramazzotti, Cardamaro, Aperol and Cynar, among others – while other drinks can include a range of Cocchi di Torino vermouths, and sherry and house vermouth on draft. The cocktails featured on current Sage Group menus include, at Denver’s Corner Office, a coffee-infused Campari cocktail; while at Urban Farmer Portland, there’s one made with Sauvignon Blanc and the amaro Averna, and the Red Bandido made with tequila, Mezcal, Aperol and Cocchi Bianco vermouth. Tateosian says the emergence of this range of ingredients has stimulated curiosity among customers. “We’ve been finding guests are responding more and more positively to interesting ingredients in and of themselves. A lot of these ingredients have wonderful herbaceous qualities and they all have uses in cocktails predominantly as modifiers, but now they’re starting to come more into play as base spirits.”

Spring 2017 •




Interview with Jordan Silbert Founder of Q Drinks

ITM: The first question I have to ask is why is it called Q Drinks?

Jordan: “Q” is for “question,” because the whole company started with a question: Shouldn’t the mixer be as great as the spirit?


in the Mix Magazine

One summer night almost 10 years ago, a couple of good friends were in my Brooklyn backyard for gin & tonics. A few drinks in, my teeth felt strangely sticky. While Jon was talking, I picked up the bottle of tonic water and looked at the ingredients – 32 grams of high fructose corn syrup! Artificial flavors and artificial preservatives! Sara was drinking a Sprite. I asked to see the can. It had 32 grams of high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavors and artificial preservatives. “Do you know that tonic water is virtually the same thing as Sprite?” I asked. “Really? I thought it was like club soda,” Sara answered. It was probably the gin, but the idea was stuck in my head. Justin brought this great (and expensive) bottle of Tanqueray over, and we were mixing drink after drink with something that wasn’t any good. Right then, I looked up. The moon was shining down on the table. The light caught the Tanqueray and it looked like a glowing orb of green gin goodness. Next to it, the plastic tonic water bottle, with its label peeling off and its contents going flat, looked particularly decrepit. In a flash, I realized I should make a better tonic water – one made from real ingredients and good enough to mix with my favorite gins. I spent four years working to make that great tonic water. I tracked down farmers to source ingredients; I made the recipe in my Brooklyn kitchen; and I spent late nights agonizing with a great designer to make a bottle as beautiful as the liquid it holds.

I came up with a spectacular tonic water. Immediately some of the world’s best bars, restaurants and retailers started buying it from me. In New York City, I delivered it from my station wagon, with me doing the delivering and my dad driving. Then we got a bunch of press coverage and some larger accounts across the country joined them, both restaurant groups and retailers such as Whole Foods. And soon I was being asked for other carbonated mixers as tasty and high quality as Q Tonic Water. Today we have six flavors – tonic water, ginger beer, ginger ale, club soda, kola and grapefruit – that are proudly served at great bars and restaurants across the country. ITM: I read your story of your terrible experience with tonic waters. It must have really been bad for you to be motivated to start your own line. JS: Yup. Though six gin & tonics have a way of making everything seem much clearer! ITM: Creating the beautiful bottle design wasn’t as easy as you thought, was it? JS: No, but nothing has been as easy as I thought it would be. That’s part of the fun! We made a custom, thicker glass bottle that enables us to put more carbonation into our carbonated mixers. The way to have a drink stay fizzier longer is to have it start with more carbonation. And granted I started a carbonated mixer company, but nothing drives me more nuts than a flat gin & tonic or Moscow Mule. So we invested in a thicker glass bottle that lets us use more carbonation, and we then treat carbonation like an ingredient so that each of our six flavors – tonic water, ginger beer, ginger ale, club soda, kola and grapefruit – has a different carbonation level. It wasn’t very easy to figure out how to make the bottle hold more carbonation, run well on our production lines, and enable us to price our stuff competitively, but we’ve done it. And it’s great. Though once you have a bottle that performs beautifully and contains spectacular liquid, you need to make sure it looks fantastic. So we worked with an incredibly talented designer to make sure all of our bottles look as beautiful and sophisticated as the liquid they contain. As a result, Q bottles fit in perfectly at the nicest looking restaurants in the country. ITM: The products all say “spectacular” on them. I believe you have a plan for on-premise outlets to increase the quality of their cocktails involving that word? JS: Yeah, we call it a “spectacular serve.” It’s how they serve highballs in Europe and it’s an easy way for restaurants to delight guests while also increasing profits and differentiating their cocktail program. A bunch of national accounts are already starting to implement it. It’s pretty easy to do – all you have to do is serve highballs “club style,” with the bottle of Q brought to the table alongside a garnished highball glass filled with ice and the customer’s spirit of choice. Your server then opens the Q

bottle in front of the guest, pours it until the glass is threefourths full, and leaves the bottle behind, which allows the guest to top off their drink as they desire. We already see it working at a bunch of great national restaurants and hotel chains. Customers are delighted by a level of service – an experience – they wouldn’t get at their own house or the regular bar on the corner (which, by the way, these days also serves Hendricks & tonic, though with tonic out of the gun). This lets the account charge a higher price for highballs, closer to the price of a specialty cocktail than a pint of beer, and they increase their profits without doing anything crazy like opening another location. So everyone wins – the guests, who get better drinks and a better experience; and the account, which increases profits and differentiates its cocktail program. ITM: I was looking through your products on your website,, and was impressed with the ingredients in each flavor. The Q Spectacular Tonic Water even has handpicked quinine from the Peruvian Andes and organic agave as the sweetener. Seems like you had health and quality in mind creating these. JS: Yeah, we use real ingredients from real trees and plants in all our products: quinine from real Peruvian trees, ginger from real ginger root, agave rather than high fructose corn syrup or sugar, and no artificial flavors or preservatives. We do this partly for health reasons but are actually more motivated to make the best tasting drinks possible. And real ingredients just taste a lot better. With that said, I’m going to take a quick tangent on sugar because it’s something I’m pretty fired up about. Sugar is really bad for you – it makes you fat, it makes you tired, it makes you all sorts of bad things. But if you’re a drinker, sugar is bad for another reason. It is a fantastic time to be a drinker – there are so many terrific spirits out there. Each is created by a distiller who has agonized over the botanicals, the shape of the still, the number of times it is fired through that still and how it’s aged. The big guys are making terrific spirits that are so consistent and so tasty. And there are more and more craft distillers who are making incredible, interesting spirits. I can have a new, fantastic gin every night until 2025! However, if you’re using a mixer with too much sugar, you can’t taste any of the subtleties in the spirit you’re mixing with. You see, sugar is a masking agent. It’s why Prohibition-era cocktails are so sweet – they were covering up the booze because it was made in the bathtub! So if you use a mixer that is super sweet (and most mixers have as much sugar as soda), you can’t taste any of the wonderful subtleties in the great spirit you’ve chosen. So we make Q drinks with agave rather than sugar or high fructose corn syrup, and we use a lot less of agave than other mixers use of sugar or corn syrup. For instance, Q Tonic Water has 35 calories per 6 ounces, compared to 65 with Schweppes and 58 with Fever Tree. That means cocktails made with Q have fewer calories, but even more importantly, it also means that these drinks taste even better because you are more able to taste the subtleties in the great spirit you’ve chosen. Spring 2017 •


Evolves e Lee e n e R By

Island cocktails experience a resurgence with ingredients like ghee-washed bourbon, concepts like space-themed tiki bars, and much more. 30

in the Mix Magazine

Bamboo, tiki torches and lanterns, pupu platters and rum-filled drinks galore – enter the world of the tiki bar. Tiki bars are certainly nothing new, with most sources agreeing the trend originated in the 1930s with Don the Beachcomber (real name: Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gantt), who brought South Pacific-inspired décor and island drinks to Los Angeles when he opened his eponymous tiki bar. Then came the invention of what’s likely the most iconic tiki drink there is, the Mai Tai, which both Don the Beachcomber and Victor Bergeron, founder of the other early trend-setting tiki bar, Trader Vic’s, claim to have invented. After the initial onslaught of tiki culture, the then-fad fizzled out for several decades. Over the past few years, tiki bars have come back into vogue again with most major cities across the country boasting at least one or two popular tiki bars. Craft cocktails continue to surge in popularity, and tiki bars are at the forefront of some of the most unique innovations in the space. Publications like Restaurant Hospitality have prominently featured the tiki craze, including “tiki time” as one of its nine major restaurant trends for 2017. Tiki cocktails and concepts have certainly resonated with consumers. In Datassential’s MenuTrends Keynote Report: Alcoholic Beverages, we asked consumers about their interest in various alcohol megatrends, and tiki cocktails (described as “tropical rum and fruit-based drinks”) scored the highest, with over a third of consumers interested in trying them. In our recent issue of Creative Concepts: Next-Level Cocktail Bars, Datassential found that nearly three out of four consumers were interested in visiting a tiki bar, the single highest ranked cocktail concept we tested, as it outscored concepts like singlespirit bars and bars with cocktail tasting menus.

Top: Don the Beachcomber (seated) Bottom: Trader Vic’s Mai Tai

Putting a Spin on Classic Tiki Staples Like most everything else found in food service and hospitality, tiki drinks are undergoing a serious revival. What’s old, like Mai Tais, are new again as many tiki bars are now using artisanal rums, fresh juices and lesser-known spirits to elevate classics. That’s true even at cocktail bars where tiki drinks aren’t necessarily the focus. At the NoMad Bar in New York, Bar Director Leo Robitschek experimented with various recipes for a modern version of the Mai Tai, which, according to PUNCH, has gone through four revisions since it appeared on the menu 10 years ago. Robitschek refined a recipe from Trader Vic’s, house-making several versions of orgeat syrup and adding both Rhum Agricole and Jamaican rum to NoMad’s version. For another layer of flavor, a Guyanese rum derived from Demerara sugar is also added to the mix. Demerara has been trending on restaurant menus, according to Datassential’s menu tracker, MenuTrends.

Above: Lost Lake in Chicago. Opened in 2015 by Paul McGee, it was named Imbibe magazine’s 2016 Cocktail Bar of the Year Spring 2017 •


In Chicago, Paul McGee, the acclaimed mixologist and beverage director behind several concepts, left the iconic tiki bar Three Dots and a Dash to open his next chapter in tiki-ology, Lost Lake. Opened in 2015 and named Imbibe magazine’s 2016 Cocktail Bar of the Year, its customers will still find tiki classics like daiquiris at Lost Lake – in its first year of business the team went through over 13,000 banana dolphins, the signature garnish on the popular Bunny’s Banana Daiquiri – but they’ll also find drinks made with spirits not so commonly integrated into tiki menus. The Curative Vibrations cocktail includes bourbon and a tamarind shrub combined with tiki bitters and pomegranate, while the Some Days Last a Long Time mixes Scotch whisky with sherry, lemon and absinthe, all highlighted with the island flavor of coconut. Classic tiki drinks have inspired unique drinks at cocktail bars across the country. At Whitechapel Gin Bar in by you’ll Edward Korry, CHE, CSS, CWE San Francisco, findM. North America’s largest selection Alsowith an official formador homologado de los vinos of gins, along a 17-page cocktail menu featuring options de Jerez - official wine educator of Sherry like The Modern Prometheus, a riff on the Zombie made with Royal Dock Navy Strength Gin, Diep 9 Oude Genever, Plymouth Sloe Gin, Velvet Falernum, absinthe, grapefruit, cinnamon bitters and lime. Another San Francisco bar, Louie Gen Gen Room, located underneath Liholiho Yacht Club, offers island-inspired drinks to complement Hawaiian cuisine. The Castaway cocktail “manages to extract a whole lot of complexity from just three ingredients,” PUNCH says of the manzanilla sherry, green chartreuse and salted Falernum drink. Mother of Pearl in New York City calls itself a postmodern Polynesian-inspired tiki restaurant and cocktail bar, complete with drinks like the Shark Eye with curacao and bourbon, passion fruit, lemon and maraschino bitters, served inside a shark’s head glass. Gothamist calls the Imperial Bulldog the bar’s most photogenic drink, made with cachaça and aquavit, and served with a garnish of raspberries and an overturned bottle of Underberg, a German digestif. The menu also includes large-format drinks (shared drinks served in vessels like a treasure chest are staples at tiki bars) like the Regents Royal with rum, green tea cachaça, dry curacao, sparkling wine and the fruity flavors of pineapple, strawberry and lime.

Next Level Tiki – Where to Next? While the original tiki wave faded out for few decades, it’s safe to say the current trend is anything but a fad. The tiki bar is far more than just a watering hole with tropical, fruity drinks. Further fueling its resurgence is the tiki bar’s ability to transport customers into a different land altogether. As island culture and Hawaiian-inspired foods and beverages continue to trend in restaurants, expect tiki operators to become even more innovative and adventurous. Many tiki mashups have also opened, adding another level of uniqueness to the original tiki bar concept. Chicago’s Bunny Slope, a ski-themed bar that plays into eatertainment venues, 32

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offers a mix of ski- and tiki-themed cocktails housed in a space complete with log cabin walls, snowflake floors and a hot tub. The Deep End at downtown Los Angeles’ Honeycut transformed into a self-described “space-age tikiish bar” last year, complete with décor accents like a neon aquarium and glow-in-the-dark dance floor crafted with UV-reactive paint, and out-of-the-ordinary takes on tiki drinks. Clarified lime is used in the Cave of Wonders with two different types of rum, Campari and pineapple – and of course, garnished with an umbrella – while the Proper Motion, served in a classic tiki mask vessel, mixes gheewashed Cognac-Armagnac, ristretto, vanilla, pineapple and lime. At Porco Lounge in Cleveland, the new Polpetta at Porco lounge marries tiki cocktails with meatballs (because, why not?), a pairing that first made “absolutely no sense” to chef Brian Okin, but actually worked out perfectly, because as he told CleveScene, “Everybody loves meatballs.” For more on how the tiki bar could evolve even further with other craft cocktail trends, contact Datassential, an expert food and beverage market research company. This article has been provided by Renee Lee, Senior Publications Specialist at Datassential, a leading consulting firm and supplier of trends analysis and concept testing for the food industry. (

Using a venencia, a traditional small, elongated silver cup attached to a whale baleine that is inserted through the bunghole and the veil of flor (layer of yeast that rests on the wine) without disrupting it, to obtain the Sherry and pour it into a copita.

(top) The Deep End - Los Angeles, CA (above) Porco Lounge & Tiki Room - Cleveland, OH

Modern Mixologist BAR TOOLS Cocktail Art, Empowered Tony Abou-Ganim has turned cocktail making into an art form. Moving beyond the simple “how-to” of mixed drinks, he has inspired bar professionals across the globe to become more daring in their creations. Steelite International is proud to announce a partnership with Tony that introduces the tools every artist needs to create a masterpiece. Tony has taken classic barware and given it a modern, streamlined feel. These tools are designed to not mode only work perfectly together but also complement each other’s look and feel. These are tools for the professional bartender, and crafting great cocktails begins with the right tools. The Modern Mixologist barware line has everything the professional bartender needs to artfully prepare virtually any handcrafted libation. To begin with, the Boston shaker set is flawlessly sculpted for preparing any cocktail that is crafted by either shaking or stirring. The strainers (Hawthorne and julep) are designed with the perfect fit to work seamlessly with the Boston tin and mixing glass. The versatile, tightly crafted hand citrus juicer extracts juice with precision. The martini beaker, paired with the twisted long handled bar spoon, is an elegant and sexy way to prepare any stirred cocktail. All around, these tools liberate creativity and empower the mixologist to become an artist.

Andrea Day • 702-218-1989 Cell Website: Facebook @ THE MODERN MIXOLOGIST OFFICIAL FAN PAGE Follow us on Facebook TAG BAR TOOLS Follow us on Twiier: @MdrnMixologist Instagram: In @MdrnMixologist Spring 2017 • 33

Inspiring and Bold Food and Beverage Concepts Featuring

CharlotteMarriott City Center

MAKING THE ROUNDS With Helen Benefield Billings 34

in the Mix Magazine


owntown Charlotte, North Carolina has never been more intriguing or exciting, thanks to a complete redesign and renovation of the Charlotte Marriott City Center in the business district. Stoke Restaurant, located within, offers diners an engaging experience that envelops guests in a warm, inviting kitchen encounter featuring a wood-burning oven. The walls between diners and the kitchen are blurred, reflecting a true interactive environment, as Chef Chris Coleman and team present rustic, cultivated seasonal dishes sourcing fresh, local products. And just a few steps from the restaurant you’ll find the lively Stoke Bar, an ideal spot for meeting up with friends and colleagues. It features a tremendous selection of local craft brews and apple ciders on tap, signature handcrafted cocktails and wines by the glass from around the world. A feeling of warmth envelops guests in this space as well, emanating from the use of reclaimed wood throughout and an 18-seat copper bar. Charlotte Marriott City Center has thoughtfully developed each aspect of its distinctive craft cocktail program and groundbreaking beer program that includes the Plow to Pint program. In conjunction with two North Carolina breweries, Stoke Bar is in the unique position of presenting “new and experimental drafts for beer aficionados.” The impressive wine program was created in conjunction with The Bottle Shop, its retail wine shop just adjacent to the bar. According to Crissy Wright, General Manager of Charlotte Marriott City Center, “With Stoke Bar, we really wanted to create a place that was welcoming for locals and that celebrated our amazing local North Carolina beers and craft spirits. We are proud to have one of the most innovative cocktail programs in Charlotte, with barrel-aged cocktails, drinks on tap and served in a French press. The personalities behind the scenes are just as important as innovation. Stoke Bar Manager DiSean Burns is passionate about cocktails and we are excited to have him as our new drinks ambassador. Our head of food & drink, Sean Potter, has forged relationships with local breweries, which allows him to get beers before anyone else, as well as exclusive small batches.”

STOKE BAR facts: Eclectic global wine list; 34 taps featuring local craft beers and exclusive microbrews; cocktails, including four on draft, bottled selections, pressed and made-to-order classics and signature libations; wines by the glass (also four on tap); Nitro Cold Brew on tap. Provided by Marriott International.

Spring 2017 •



The Pilot system includes two earbuds, one for you and the other for the person with whom you are speaking, a portable charger for the earbuds and a mobile app.



By Colleen Sisler

Communication in hospitality is key. If we are unable to communicate with our guests, how can we be good hosts and be sure we are meeting the needs of those who visit our establishments? With the absence of a “babel fish,” the marine universal translator of Douglas Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy fame, to translate our speech or written material, what are we to do? Not everyone has the opportunity to learn every language of every person who may visit us. Fear not. Technology is on its way to save the day. The most obvious translation tool at this moment is your computer. There are numerous websites devoted to translating phrases – Linguee, Fluency Now and Translators Cafe are but a few. There are just as many plugins we can use to translate web pages. Even our social media tools have links we can click to translate posts from other languages. But what about printed or spoken language? There are companies working on that, as we speak. Google Translate, an app available for both Android and Apple smartphones and tablets, has added picture translation, along with its speech and handwritten translation, to its mobile app. While you are traveling, you can open the app, point the camera at a sign and the app will translate for you. It is also semi-useful for translating menus in your dining establishment. Currently, it is not perfect for larger printed pieces, but I expect it will improve over time. As for speech translation, simply choose the origin language and the destination language 36

in the Mix Magazine

and speak to the person through the app. As for services specifically designed for hospitality, Urban Translations, a digital menu software company, has brought their menu translation tool to hotels, restaurants and even airlines. They recently partnered with Samsung to bring tablets to hotel rooms, restaurants and entertainment venues. In addition to translation services, the program provides analytics about what your guests are most interested in. In light of recent hacking incidents, this specific Samsung tablet has you covered. It will use defense-grade mobile security, which is much more secure than off-the-shelf tablets. The Pilot, by Waverly Labs, may be the coolest of the translation gadgets to date. Due out this spring is an earpiece that translates speech in real time. The Pilot system includes two earbuds, one for you and the other for the person with whom you are speaking, a portable charger for the earbuds and a mobile app. Translation happens simultaneously as the two parties speak with each other. The Waverly Labs team admits that there is still a lag of a few seconds. However, they explain they are working diligently to reduce it and that no machine translation is perfect, but expect it to improve as more people use it, which makes the translation engine better. As big as the world is, it is getting smaller every day with technology bridging the gaps that time and location put in front of us. When you have a chance, check out these translation tools to see how they may be of use in your neck of the woods.

Spring 2017 •


Where Does BEER Stand in the Hearts of Americans? By Rebecca Wilke

America is in a “State of Beer” – the red, white and brew. Currently there are more breweries in America than at any other time in history. Before Prohibition, the highest number of breweries was 4,131, in 1843. Many were very small and focused on local production, with the largest one producing just 138,449 barrels a year, or the equivalent of 4,466 kegs of beer annually. While the 2016 final numbers are still pouring in, there is an estimate that there will be close to 5,200 breweries in America. If you’re a numbers person, this boils down to roughly 2.2 breweries per 100,000 21+-aged adults. Even more eye-opening is that the growth rate is a net of about 2.1 new breweries a day right now (openings-closings). Yes, a day! With such a competitive market, one would wonder, why get into an already crowded space? A brewery must be able to differentiate itself from the competition down the street. How does one do this? Sure, a prime location or the fancy labels can’t hurt, but it comes down to the quality of the ingredients in the beer, the people, an innovative spirit and most importantly, their passion. No one has changed the beer industry more than Jim Koch did when he started Boston Beer Company in 1984 with his partner, Rhonda Kallman. It was his passion that led to the disruption of the beer industry as many Americans knew it. Under his direction, seasonal beers, smaller batches, and brews using 38

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specific hop and yeast strains led his company to brew countless styles of beer, including the 60 varieties currently offered under the Samuel Adams label. In a relatively short time, the total craft beer share has grown and expanded to 13 percent by volume, which is approximately one out of eight beers. Anheuser-Busch InBev and MillerCoors, which currently are the two largest brewing companies, manage to own approximately 70 percent of the beer category, with the rest primarily being imports. While many debate the term “craft,” according to the Brewers Association, an American craft brewer is defined as small, independent and traditional, with an annual production of six million barrels or less, the ownership or controlling entity is less than 25 percent, and the total beverage alcohol volume flavor derives from traditional or innovative brewing ingredients and their fermentation (flavored malt beverages are not included). The Brewers Association is a national trade association that represents America’s small and independent craft brewers, with 70 percent of the breweries in the country as members. Long gone are the days of cheap beer, one main taste profile with a lighter calorie version, and a choice of long neck bottles or 24-can boxes. Starting with early pioneers like Koch and now continuing through today, brewers are continually experimenting with

Jim Koch started Boston Beer Company in 1984 with his partner, Rhonda Kallman.

barrel-aging, sours, different styles of IPA (India Pale Ale known for its hoppy characteristics within the pale ale category), and interesting ways to engage customers while at their brewery or tasting room and out in the market. Marketing beer isn’t anything new. However, with a new drinking generation open to trying new things and a desire to experience and not just drink, clever marketing is more valuable than ever. Call it what you want – from tap trails to ale trails and beer boulevards – the collaboration of multiple breweries in a small region brings awareness and introduces drinkers to brands, who might not have heard about the brewery through more traditional methods. Strength in numbers is proving to be a smart tactic. Another increasing trend is the use of Crowler machines – a custom package and sealing system for 32-ounce can sales. Oskar Blues and Ball Corporation announced the machine’s debut in 2014 and it has quickly risen to fame with small U.S. brewers and retailers. Almost 1,000 machines have been sold nationally since launching, with California businesses owning around 100 currently. One of the nation’s top grocery stores is trying it out, too. Kroger is testing Crowler fills at a 12-tap station designed for growler fills in their Memphis store; and so far, they are impressed with the results.

Spring 2017 •


Crowlers and tap trails alone aren’t going to keep breweries in business, but the openness to be the first to try something new and out of the ordinary will definitely get the attention of casual drinkers, beer aficionados and media. For instance, Moonraker Brewing, a new awardwinning brewery in Northern California, is already taking the state by storm with their hazy Northeast-style IPAs, which the West Coast market was lacking and fairly unfamiliar with until recently. Moonraker opened its doors in early 2016, and was started by husband and wife team, Dan and Karen Powell, along with an investing partner and Head Brewer, Zach Frasher. They met Zach while he was working at a local homebrewing supply store and brewing for another area brewery. Together they have created the kind of instant success that is only dreamt about. By venturing out and producing something that wasn’t well known or oversaturated in the area, along with making high quality beer, they have already garnered awards from the Great American Beer Festival, and have been recognized as RateBeer’s “Best New Brewer in California” and ninth best in the world, out of 6,500 breweries worldwide. The biggest surprise was they recently beat numerous other double IPAs, including Russian River’s highly sought-after Pliny the Younger (formerly voted “Best Beer in the World” by BeerAdvocate) at the 17th annual Bistro Double IPA Festival, which is a large competition on the West Coast. During America’s brewery count low point in 40

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1983, there were only 51 beer companies operating 80 breweries. Even with all the publicity of the Millennial wine-drinking trend being quickly on the rise, beer is still the go-to beverage for adults ages 21+ according to a recent Harris Poll. Nearly four in 10 regular drinkers prefer beer (38 percent) over wine (31 percent) or spirits/liquor (28 percent). The overall gaps are getting smaller between beer and wine; and while more women favor wine (45 percent), beer is desired among men (55 percent) and those between the ages of 21 and 54 (average 42 percent). In the same poll, we learn that adults, whose current beverage of choice is beer, favor domestic non-craft beer (38 percent), followed by craft beer (29 percent) and imported beer (23 percent). The gaps are getting smaller and are closing at a faster rate than many estimated. After all, a majority of Americans live within 10 miles of a craft brewer. Based on all these numbers, brewers are in a good position to capitalize on the current consumer trends in the beer industry. With some creative marketing, smart positioning in the community and a quality product, the world is there for the taking! America is ready to fall back in love with the beverage they turned to many years ago, with a renewed outlook, innovative beers and new technology. Isn’t life BREWtiful? Bart Watson, Chief Economist at the Brewers Association kindly provided many of the statistics used in this article.

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By Edward M. Korry, CHE CSS CWE Department Chair at Johnson & Wales University


Wine ” ? ”

Those of us in the wine trade or wine education frequently hear “Oh, that’s a ‘sommelier wine’” in both a positive and negative context. My purpose is to explore what is meant by such a ter m and how people place it within such disparate contexts, the reasons for the different points of view, and how possibly these wines shape current and future trends in the marketplace.


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Santorini Vineyard, Greece


t’s been my experience, more often than not, that the term is used as a mild form of disparagement. The meaning ascribed to such a wine is one that a sommelier has “discovered” and promoted it, more as a reflection of how knowledgeable he or she is, than offering a consumer the benefit of enjoying the uniqueness of the wine. It also is used in this fashion as a rebuke to sommeliers who forget their true target audience. It refers to a wine that few people, if any, can relate to, and one that is emblematic of a showing off of knowledge. But is that a fair accusation? It is very contextual. By that, I mean that a “sommelier wine” in a singular sense may mean something very different, depending on the context. When I hear the term, I do think the wine referred to is likely to be geeky or obscure, whether as a variety or blend, or by method of production or location. But, just as I am fine with a chef having an obscure item or flavoring in a dish that requires explanation, I find a low percentage of such wines on a general wine list to be not only reasonable but also desirable. The selection of such a wine reflects someone who is passionate and who wants to share that passion with those who are adventurous in wanting to be guided to a new experience. Years ago, sommeliers at high-end

restaurants were led on wine junkets to Mendoza, Argentina to be primarily introduced to Malbec and other wines of that region, to help develop a market in the U.S. As we now see, that marketing strategy was eminently successful. More recently, Assyrtiko from Santorini as well as other fabulous wines of Greece, were initially marketed in the same manner and they, too, have found now broader appeal. There is a market for gustavores, such as myself, who seek to learn from those sommeliers that are impassioned. The implication very often of a sommelier wine is that it also has “minerality,” a term that was nonexistent when I first started in the wine game many years ago but which is now seemingly ubiquitous, especially in describing primarily traditional European wines. It also implies a wine that enhances and is enhanced by an appropriate food pairing, usually because of its high acidity, almost bitter saline quality, and lower intensity fruit character and alcohol. There is no doubt that sommeliers have been in the forefront of both being initially exposed to formerly unknown wines and then exposing their public to new wine experiences, and to me that has been nothing but a good thing. I will highlight but a few that have or may become trendy, or may vanish in the ocean of wine labels we are now exposed to, and Spring 2017 •


For whites, we now see wines from Alto Adige, such as Kerner. Who knew? But, opening such a bottle not only exposes the drinker to a lovely aromatic experience but also awakens an interest in that region, which has such a plethora of excellent wines.

that qualify as sommelier wines. For whites, we now see wines from Alto Adige, such as Kerner. Who knew? But, opening such a bottle not only exposes the drinker to a lovely aromatic experience but also awakens an interest in that region, which has such a plethora of excellent wines. Italian whites that had traditionally been disparaged due to prior low quality or oxidized examples, are now finding wider audiences because of their mouthwatering freshness. As examples, I refer to a Cataratto from Mt. Etna, a Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, a Pecorino from Marche, or a Vermentino di Galluria from Sardinia, or a minerally and aromatic Soave made from the Garganega variety. For reds, the minerally red wines of Mt. Etna in Sicily made from the Nerello Madcalese and Frapato varieties have gained more visibility, as have the reds from Northern Italy such as the Lagrein from Alto Adige or the Schioppettino, Teroldigo or Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso, all of which express a unique characteristic and expression of place. I have already mentioned Assyrtiko but other Greek varieties such as Malagousia or Robola from Kephalonia may soon find a wider market, thanks to sommelier advocacy. Also from Greece are the ancient 44

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Xinomavro, Aghiorgitiko (Saint George) and, even more recently available in the U.S. market, Limniona, all of which delight especially when accompanied by foods. None would have gained the currency were they not heralded and included on wine lists curated by sommeliers. Another wine that could be viewed as really obscure but connects with a wide audience looking for an authentic experience is Rkatsiteli from Georgia – the one bordering Russia and Armenia – especially if it is made in the ancient tradition of a “qvevri” (earthen jar). The latter relates to a category of sommelier wines comprising natural wines, including “orange wines.” Suffice it to say that this is a topic for a stand-alone article. Rkatsiteli is one of the world’s oldest k now n var iet ies, yet is g row n extensively

throughout Eastern Europe and can also be found as a delicious expression at Dr. Konstantin Frank’s winery in the Finger Lakes of New York state. Another ancient red variety from Georgia and also grown at Dr. Frank’s winery is the Saperavi. Wines from Corsica have become trendy thanks to the continuous efforts of importer Kermit Lynch, who recognized the island’s potential early on and spread the news to sommeliers eager for something new. Whites include the Vermentino, which expresses itself very differently from Sardinia or the Italian Tyrrhenian coastline, or the once nearly extinct indigenous Biancu Gentile. From the Douro in Portugal, we now enjoy Dirk Niepoort’s Redoma Branco, which is an aromatic field blend of obscure grapes including Rabigato, Côdega do Larinho, Arinto, Gouveio, Boal and Viosinho, among others. Such a refreshing wine is counterintuitive in a climate as hot as the interior Douro Valley. Or, you may choose an Arinto de Pico or Verdelho de Pico, an almost briny, gob-smacking wine. If ever there was such a wine described as “minerally,” this would serve as a paradigm. Regarding France, one could almost believe that all of its wines had long been “discovered” but the wines especially from the Jura are quintessentially sommelier wines, especially those made from the Poulsard (or spelled “Plousard”) variety. If you want something geeky but truly delicious to accompany your light chocolate or sweet creamy dessert, try a Cerdon de Buguey red sparkling wine made in the rural or ancestral method. These wines went from obscurity to widespread availability in fine wine shops and sommelier restaurants, despite relatively low production. Another example that could easily be cited as a successful sommelier wine is grower fizz, or Champagnes made by individual grower producers, whose cause has been championed by the likes of Terry Theise of Skurnik Wines. Wines made from the Godello or Mencia varieties, especially from Bierzo in the northwest corner of Spain, are becoming more prevalent due to the attraction created by sommeliers. While sherries have been well known for some time, as described in a previous article, a Fino en Rama, unfiltered and significantly more intensely nuanced, could be considered a geeky sommelier wine. It might be that both the high-end Frasqueira 20-year old vintage Madeira wines (made from the noble varieties) and Colheita ports will become trendy, as these are increasingly touted by sommeliers for their uniqueness.

And that is the point. The sommelier wines, as defined by me, have a uniqueness about them that provides their clientele a potentially extraordinary or personally meaningful experience. The patrons did not discover these wines on their own but often were introduced to them due to the efforts of impassioned importers such as Louis Dressner, Kermit Lynch, Michael Skurnik and Neal Rosenthal, who have been cutting-edge in representing more obscure, high-quality level and differentiated wines, and have been key to disseminating their less wellknown portfolios to sommeliers around the country. And while the primary focus of sommelier wines has been on European appellations, there are many such differentiated, unique wines from both the U.S. and other New World countries, which should get attention as well. A Tablas Creek Tannat from Paso Robles, or a Michael Shaps Petit Mensang from Virginia, anyone? At the end of the day, it is about context. If sommeliers are there to serve their clientele by offering great new alternatives for adventurous palates and minds, I am all for sommelier wines. But if the selected wines are there to demonstrate how smart and well-educated the sommelier is on wines, with little regard for the clientele’s needs and desires as it relates to wine choices … well, that’s another story. Fortunately, in my experience, that is less of an occurrence than it once might have been. So, add an obscure sommelier wine or two to your list to offer your clients an adventure but don’t make them feel small by overwhelming them with your knowledge.

Cover Story Interview with

Peter Zilper

By Mike Raven with Bill McClure


flew to Philadelphia in late January to meet and interview Peter Zilper, Vice President, Operational Excellence and Food & Beverage, Aramark Sports and Entertainment. My approach into the city was delayed for what the pilot said was “some VIP action on the tarmac.” As it turned out, Air Force One was taxiing on the runway to its resting spot at an auxiliary terminal as we flew onto the runway. Congressional Republicans were in town along with President Trump, causing traffic suppression and demonstrations to make for an interesting start to the day. I finally made it through the city to meet with Peter and Bill McClure, Director of Category Management with IMI Agency, and liaison to Aramark for our company’s business with them. My first encounter with Peter had been while he was working on a madeto-order pizza concept with Edward Lake, Regional Executive Chef, Aramark Sports and Entertainment. As we talked, Chef Edward kept bringing out pizzas to us from the oven to taste. I was amazed at the exceptional product created in less than two minutes. Why am I bringing up pizza in a beverage magazine, you ask? I reference it many times in the interview and it makes for a great analogy when discussing Aramark’s uncanny ability to create fresh, premium products in very little time. Peter is an easy person to talk to, and in no time you can feel his warmth and passion for this business. Like the heat coming from the pizza oven, it was strong and consistent. He is a Russian immigrant with a “cat that ate the canary” grin, making it easy to tell he is truly happy in what he does – hospitality. 46

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He has built and led both Aramark’s Marketing and Operational Excellence and Food & Beverage teams, and has also managed R&D teams for the company’s Strategic Assets Group representing culinary, strategy and design. His early experiences were shaped at leading hospitality companies including The Breakers Hotel and Resort, Sedgefield Country Club, Woodlands Resort and Inn, and The Cloister Hotel and Resort. Peter also holds a Master’s degree in Management from Cornell University, a B.A. degree in Philosophy from the University of North Carolina Greensboro, and an A.A.S. in Culinary Arts from Johnson & Wales University. But all these degrees could not match his intensity and outlook on this business, which are conveyed in the interview below.

Mike (MR): When I first looked at your responsibilities, I was taken aback because I didn’t quite know where to start. Maybe you could just tell the readers a little bit about the many things you do with Aramark. Peter (PZ): I head up Food & Beverage for Aramark Sports & Entertainment. We serve more than 200 premier stadiums, arenas, convention centers and concert venues. I have a background in operations, culinary, marketing, R&D, consumer insights, brand, sales and innovation. Those experiences serve as a foundation for how I approach our food and beverage efforts. What we strive to achieve in F&B is to create memorable experiences our fans will embrace. These are experiences that make fans say, “You get me, you get my people, you get my city, and I’m loving this!” To create this, we spend a good deal of time trying to understand the fan/consumer in each market we serve. We follow local, national and global trends. We deeply analyze behavior and analytics down to

the concept and point-of-sale level. All of this becomes a guiding force for our research and development efforts as we push the envelope in innovation of products and concepts. In addition to developing these experiences, my team spends a lot of energy focusing on service, quality and operational efficiencies to ensure success. So there’s an R&D component and a focus on operational execution in my team’s efforts. MR: In our pre-meeting you were working with some pizza, and that was the model of efficiency. PZ: I’m glad you got a chance to see that because it serves as a good example of how we think about and approach F&B. We are getting ready to launch a made-

to-order pizza concept. It’s effectively going to change the model of how pizza will be made in the sports and entertainment business. If you look at pizza in the industry just a few years ago, you would find a fairly static and tired environment in much of the industry. There is takeout, restaurants with salad bars and pizza by the slice. Often the pizzas are ready-made, freezerto-oven solutions, or they are put together from scratch to stand up to being held for a period of time, which leads to a heavy, very filling product. It usually takes six to 10 minutes to cook one of these pies, and it often sits there until a customer comes up and asks for it, or it’s delivered to your home in a box within a 30-minute window. Pizza is rapidly evolving today to being much more about the experience. If you look at any new made-to-order concepts like Blaze or MOD, you see they figured out how to make pizza fun. They brought in bold flavors, they brought in interaction and transparency, and they allowed customers to customize their pies. And they figured out how to do this very quickly. It made us think, why can’t we change the model for pizza in the sports and entertainment business? What you witnessed today is our foray into that. As you and I were talking Spring 2017 •


earlier, to us that is really the essence of how we look at food and beverage at Aramark – we’re not satisfied with how we’ve done it in the past. We have a lot of complexity in our offerings within the sports and entertainment model, from fine and casual dining and catering, to luxury suites and concessions, which is a high volume business. Most people would say there is no way we could do a custom made-to-order pizza in a high volume scenario such as concessions. But we did not let these hurdles stop us. Instead, we started with a best-in-class product with the goal of providing a custom made-to-order pizza in under two minutes. Admittedly, it was a tall order. What you saw today, what you tasted today, is the culmination of extensive work. That pizza you tasted takes under two minutes to cook and yet is a high level, Neapolitan-style solution that we believe is at the top of the market in terms of style, taste and experience. We’ve also solved for significant operational hurdles, where we can produce this pizza in multiple ovens so that we are not beholden to infrastructure or equipment constraints. This is an economically viable solution for us, as it makes the offering very scalable and more affordable from a capital and investment standpoint. Our made-to-order pizza solution is helping us achieve greater transparency and authenticity in a high volume environment such as concessions. It is helping us provide a quality offering and it’s a great experience. I know we’re mainly talking about beverage today, but this is a great example of how we approach F&B as a whole. We think about food and beverage very holistically. So in this concept, we are thinking about beverage very much in terms of a pairing of flavor, of what makes sense but also the experience of how the fan will choose his or her pairing. Craft beer is a part of this experience, given that it is a craft pie. As well, we’ve given a lot of thought to how the fan should interact with this craft experience, at what point in the ordering process this should happen and how does it add value to the madeto-order experience. That’s effectively how we approach food and beverage development and execution. MR: I tell you what, it was delicious! It was a great foray into this conversation because it was really something to witness. Really. 48

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PZ: Think about it, Mike, as we were talking about the same idea for mixology with mixed and craft cocktails. Why can’t we solve for mixed and craft cocktails in the same way? Some of the work we are doing in our space is helping us up our quality game with mixology – being able to provide a beverage that is as high quality as if you were going to a swanky craft bar, and effectively provide the transparency and the show and experience around it. MR: Special events are a fairly large program for Aramark. One of your clients, NRG Stadium, is about to host the Super Bowl and the NFL Fan Fest, which is also a big deal. Of course, my Atlanta Falcons are playing in that game. This seems like a tidal wave of responsibility. PZ: One of the things I’ve always been in awe of since I’ve been with Aramark – and I’ve been here for over 15 years – is how we pull these things off and how well we pull them off. I think we are really the only company that truly has the firepower, experience and expertise to do that. Super Bowl is one of those great examples. You have one of the largest, and most prestigious sporting events going on at NRG Stadium – with that comes a ton of catering and special events, pre- and post-game parties. We also run a lot of events at the George R. Brown Convention Center and Minute Maid Park, and on top of all that, we operate the NFL retail store. So you think about the amount of planning, people, menu execution – all the special things we want to do to help showcase not only Aramark but also our clients, partners and the NFL. We look at these events as our Oscars. We’ve become experts at it. You look at

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“ S o m e b ig t h in g s p o p ped – w e s t a rt e d t h in k in g v e ry d if fe re n t ly , e s p e c ia ll y in baseball, for example. C lo s e t o 5 0 p e rc e n t of o u r im p a c t fu l fa n b a s e is fe m a le . F in d in g t h a t out w a s a b ig ‘aha’ mom e n t .”

the World Series, NBA Finals, the Olympics – these are Herculean lifts. Every time, we do it a little bit better and we always try to see how we can up our game in all phases – beverage, culinary, retail merchandise and experience. With each event I’ve been involved in with Aramark, I’m amazed … well, not amazed because you’re not amazed anymore, it’s an expectation. But I’m continually impressed by the fact we not only deliver but also we get better and better at it. MR: Good luck, because by the time our readers get this, it will be over. (At press time it was reported that Super Bowl LI set a new NFL record for food and beverage sales, as NRG Stadium concessionaire Aramark reported fans spent an average of $95.41) What are the opportunities with adult beverage sales to enhance the fan experience all over the country? For instance, making a craft cocktail fast and good, just like that pizza we just ate. At the volume you’re doing, that’s a tough job. PZ: It is. I always think about the old ad slogan of Virginia Slims cigarettes (laughing), “You’ve come a long way, baby.” 50

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MR: Sure, if you’re 45 or more years old ... (laughing). PZ: I think about that saying often in this business because when I came in it, close to 12 or 13 years ago, there wasn’t as much variety in beverage choice. This was very much a beer-focused business; it still is and we sell a tremendous amount of beer. The model keeps changing; the expectations of our customers keep changing, as does our understanding of our consumers. I want to say over a decade ago we started investing very heavy into insights and analytics, as well as segmentation studies, to understand our fans more intimately. We started to look more closely at what their life preferences and behaviors were, both inside and outside of the venue. What product and experience choices they are making, and what their actions and desires are at different sport types and within different areas of their lives. Translating that consumer demographic and insight data into actionable business objectives allowed us to better evolve our product and concept offerings, to help our fans embrace our offerings and value the experiences we create. Some big things popped – we started thinking very differently, especially in baseball, for example. Close to 50 percent of our impactful fan base is female. Finding that out was a big “aha” moment. This base is broken out into what we call sports purists and social fans. Ten years ago we said, “What are the opportunities we have to

better meet their needs? What do we need to do in terms of product offerings to meet those needs?” A female demographic 10 years ago, for example, didn’t have many options other than the light beer category and maybe a couple of other things here and there. So today, you walk into a venue and you have tremendous options from the beer companies with the ‘ritas and things of that nature, malt alternatives and tremendous wine options. You now have a variety of bars and experiences, and all of a sudden you look at a model within a decade that has completely blown up in terms of product and experience. What have we done? We’ve done deep analysis of distribution – in other words, how much should we have by product type across a venue. So we do heat maps against demographics; we look at understanding exactly where we sell things and what we should be distributing. So if you look at the craft beer category, it initially was over indexed in our world. However, what we’ve done is say we like the variety but let’s figure out the right distribution points for that variety. We’ve worked very closely with our beverage partners to identify that, to have a lot of variety but with smart distribution across the buildings. We’ve worked on things such as destination bars. We were the first to go to market with Irish pubs over a decade ago and today what you have are exciting destination bar concepts. Today you walk into a venue and find great variety in general concessions, destinations, great variety in the club levels

and the restaurants, with much more interaction with those products and our food offerings, in terms of ease of ordering, experience and education around those things. We continue to push the envelope around that; we are currently looking at mixology and craft cocktails, and upping our quality game around this. MR: Okay, I have to use the pizza thing again as an analogy of how to make a great product, fast. Can you do that with craft-style cocktails? What is the physicality of that? PZ: It’s the same thinking process as how we are going to market with food. It’s easy to look at the hurdles and volume we have in this business as deterrents, but it is much more appealing to look at these challenges and say, what if ? And how can we figure it out? That is how we are approaching development with mixology. You have a bar at halftime in an NFL game – it’s going to get hit hard and you have fifteen minutes to turn. You look at that opportunity – we actually want to streamline the menu, right? And that makes sense because speed of service is extremely important to our customers. Then the next thing is quality. We have an obligation to figure out how to provide more and more value in what we’re serving from a quality standpoint, and provide value for the price customers are paying, especially as the cost of the entire sports or special events experience continues to go up.

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MR: You’re not dealing with people in the $2 bleacher seats. PZ: No, it’s not. Therefore, we have to figure out how to execute that with the constrained labor model we have and the operational constraints on us of speed and time. One way we’ve thought about that is, what really are the steps in the process of making a craft cocktail? And typically any great craft cocktail is a three-step process. We work with experts in this area that do it best in class in the restaurant and bar world. That is why we chose to partner with Alchemy Consulting and master mixologist Joaquin Simo. We have been working with them in helping us evolve our mixology and bar solutions.

a cocktail. He or she will now be able to come up to this new craft bar and have an experience analogous to the experience they are going to have at a high-end bar in Chicago, Philadelphia or New York. But you’re going to be able to do it at a volume and with a speed of service that you never imagined at a small bar in Manhattan. That’s the level we’re pushing ourselves to in terms of the experience we are creating. And really, I think this is the way bars and hotels, resorts or anywhere, should be thinking about how they can create a best-in-class offering regardless of the environment or constraints. It’s not just about a fancy ice program or fancy products, it is really about quality, execution and having someone feel good about what they are paying for, and love the product you’re serving them. To me, that’s what we will strive and push for and try to achieve. MR: When you say there is a three-step process to make a craft cocktail for you, what are those steps?

Alchemy Consulting From left: Will Cart, Joaquín Simó, Jason Cott We have tested our work in a number of bars and distribution points within our business. They have a great three-step syrup process that’s helping us figure out how to drive the operational component of executing a quality cocktail fast and efficiently. But it’s not just about the cocktail. It is also about how you dress, the experience of making the cocktail, the marketing and the collateral at the point of sale. We look at it in terms of the whole experience of the customer coming up to one of our bars. Can we deliver that Whiskey Sour, Margarita or Moscow Mule or signature cocktail authentically and fast? These are simple drinks, which when made well, can all of a sudden drive the acceptance of what you are producing tremendously. We’re figuring that out, just like we’re figuring pizza out, and it’s starting to transform the way we go to market. For example, we are setting up a destination craft mixology concept that is getting ready to launch as a pilot in two of our convention centers, and it will be awesome. Think about it: A customer in a convention center is at a big show; they are thirsty and are craving 52

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PZ: We have a crafted syrup program with flavor enhancers that Alchemy developed. We take a high-quality base spirit, add the syrup, flavor enhancer (which are all natural and of the highest quality) and finish it off with either a high-quality juice or soda, whatever the drink calls for. So there are never more than four pulls in the creation of the cocktail. The bottom line is, you’re getting the same taste in this craft cocktail that you would get in a cocktail bar but you are getting it at a convention center or a sporting event, at a really cool looking bar. A really well executed simple drink is really fantastic. It is all about having good product to start with, but also having the quality control to make sure the balance and proportions are right. To me, that’s ultimately so much more important than having some fancy drink with a ton of ingredients and a fancy garnish! You can have a great experience (with complicated cocktails). Last night, we had a great dinner and I had a Manhattan that was smoked, and it was just tremendous. But very few places can pull that off without it being ostentatious. And really, I don’t think people are looking for that in our world. I think what they’re looking for is a great drink, made well and delivered with great service. MR: How about cocktails on tap? Is that a no-brainer? Is it something you’re going to do a lot of, or none at all? PZ: Well, it’s a little bit of both. It is a no-brainer and a brainer. (Laughing) You can have a really bad cocktail on tap, and I’ve tasted it. But yes, we love cocktails on tap but it’s really just a means to an end. To me, it’s about the quality of ingredients in the right distribution points, not the delivery mechanism. Cocktail-on-tap is simply a delivery mechanism and we like it, as it provides us with a piece of equipment to be able to deliver beverages quickly.

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So it’s all about the product. If you’re putting a sub-par mix in it and a sub-par execution, it really doesn’t matter what the delivery mechanism is. It’s all about beginning with the product, experience and service, and then the mechanism of how you get there is just one more step. MR: How about the packaging on wines that you can sell individually. There are quite a few new ones with some revolutionary packages. Is it just a pretty face or do they have some good quality as well? PZ: They are kind of like Virginia Slims also – they’ve “come a long way, baby” as well. We’re finding some really good quality wines in those packages. I think it’s a nice way to deliver the wine in a portable atmosphere. I don’t think it’s the total answer but is more of an evolutionary step in this business. My wife is Spanish and we go to Spain almost every year. Wine there is a very different part of the culture. It’s a very sessionable and drinkable thing. You walk into someone’s home and they always have a nice, easy-drinking red in the fridge. They pull it out and you’re having it with your tortilla de patatas, and you’re happy! In America, it’s not really like that. I think one of the things that wine has to figure out is how to get past the snootiness of what it is in America. I think most people – the masses, if you will – in the U.S. are really lost with wine. MR: You think so?

I think the trend to solve for sessionalbility or appeal to the masses, has been for the people in the industry to move towards sangrias or very sugary types of solutions, which aren’t that easy to drink on a hot day (albeit, a well-made sangria is not sugary but most of what you find out there is very sweet). The initial drink may taste okay but the sugar and sweetness bog you down. We are thinking about wine in multiple layers and multiple solutions. We have so many different solutions with wine offerings from catering to restaurants, and there’s a place for all of it. We have a wonderful program through our restaurants and different tiered programs that makes sense for catering. However, I see the big volume gains, big acceptance and massive paradigm shift in wine is figuring out how to bring it to the masses in a very drinkable form. So it’s a big cultural step – that’s the break-thruough moment in America, when we get to that culturally. We’re looking at ways to do that in concessions. We’re looking at ways to evolve wine and use different delivery systems such as wine cocktails and wine as a mixer. We’ve been first to market with wine on tap and we’re putting really great quality wines out there. It’s done really well in our environment and it’s made it much more acceptable. It’s a great quality drink in a way we can manage very well. It’s always going to be about beer in football, baseball, basketball and hockey but could it one day also be all about wine? And I think the answer is “yes” – at least a larger share of it can be. MR: Let’s talk a little about training. You have huge, fast-paced outlets and also the more elite catering functions you do. How do you approach all these different aspects of your business? PZ: If I look at the industry as a whole and where training is today, compared to where it was five or 10 years ago, there’s more training available today than there ever was. We certainly have evolved our training. Technology helps us do that, experience helps us do that; and, we are taking advantage of many things in terms of how we are trying to meet a service execution, even using virtual reality and gaming around training. MR: That should make it fun.

PZ: We industry types can get lost in our own world and I think a lot of folks in the industry get a bit blinded by that. I truly don’t think that most people find wine very approachable as an everyday, sessionable beverage choice. Easy drinking wine as an everyday beverage choice is so much more a part of the culture in Europe. We need to we figure out a way to get to volume and acceptance like that of wine here. If you think about it, a nice cold wine with a splash of soda – that is a great drink but it’s not a mainstream thing here. 54

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PZ: Yes. We’re doing all kinds of mobile training on things like the iPhone and personal devices, allowing us to reach our employees in ways you couldn’t really do before. When I think about training and service, I see that one of the big opportunities is upping our service game. What we ultimately do comes down to service – great service trumps everything. Something as simple as a uniform or a nametag is important to how people view themselves and how they act as service leaders. W e a r e

fortunate in that my boss, the President of Sports and Entertainment, Carl Mittleman, is constantly challenging us to solve for the next thing. In this case he had an idea that we want to honor the individual and that the individual is the key to great service. And that something as simple as a nametag is actually meaningful. As a result we launched name tag program last year, mandated a consistent look with the person’s name and their hometown. It was a big hit. One of the things we need to think about in hospitality is, what is service? How do you define service and how do you define hospitality? This question kind of hit me hard one day because I went to hospitality school, and we often talk about hospitality and what it means. I often ask people, “What is hospitality?” The answer I usually get is, “it’s about serving and making sure people are happy.” I don’t know if it’s that; I don’t know who wakes up every day wanting to serve. I think what people ultimately want to do is wake up and do something meaningful. They want to feel good about what they’re doing. I also heard an interesting question one time: “How do you define love?” Well, there are so many definitions but the best definition I ever heard of love was “to give.” And really, that hit a chord for me because that’s what service actually is – it’s to give. When you have somebody in your home and you want to give him or her a home-cooked meal, when you want to give them a memorable experience – that’s hospitality. So ultimately, hospitality is the business of giving, which effectively is the business of loving. I was at a restaurant last night and the lady that was serving us was tremendous. You could tell she had a love for it, a passion for it. More than anything, that’s what we are trying to teach. So we’re not just thinking of the tactical aspect of training, we’re thinking of the overall human component of service.

Is that too deep? (Everyone laughing; Bill commented he wished he had a video of it.) MR: I don’t think so – you have me sold. The craft beers have become a big part of the business. It’s very diverse. Talk a little bit about your feelings on this. Is it still on fire? PZ: It’s an important component of what’s going on in the market. I think what’s important to understand is that light beer is still extremely popular, and it works great in our environment.

MR: Is it (light beer) the number one seller? PZ: Absolutely it is. And I think one of the things we’ve seen is that people want to drink both light and craft beers. Light beer is easy drinking; it’s very much a part of how people want to experience a game. I, for example, love light beer; I also love craft beer and there’s a place for it. What we’ve seen over the years is that we probably got over indexed with craft originally. What we’ve gotten smarter about is having the right variety. I mentioned earlier about how we are leveraging our insights and analytics to help us figure out the right distribution for craft. We’ve developed a heat map of all our venues and came up with the right varieties and the right distribution for craft. What we found is we are able to meet the desire people have for craft but the majority of distribution points in this business is still owned by light beer. It’s where the demand is in terms of greater proportion of beer consumption; but sometimes fans will want a craft, then move to a light, or vice versa. MR: I do that; I’ll have a craft and move to a light. PZ: We work very closely with all of our partners to insure that we are providing the right product at the right place at the right time, responsibly. And I think that is the real answer to craft. There’s a place for it, it’s on fire; but when you look at the absolute number of units of beer sold, it’s still a very small portion of what we’re selling. MR: You have a good craft beer national partner with Boston Beer and have a good balance going, from what I can tell. PZ: Yes, absolutely. MR: Where do you see the beverage category moving, in both the broader food and beverage space as well as in sports and entertainment venues, within five to even 10 years? PZ: We all wish we had a crystal ball, but sometimes the way to look at the future is to understand the past. Look at the past with food, for example, where we are today compared to 15 or 20 years ago. In the 1970s, going into the ‘80s, haute cuisine ruled and with the advent of California cuisine, we saw an eruption of food in this country that has catapulted food and its craftsmen to a very different place. You’ve got an industry today that is now hero-ing the chef, hero-ing the craft of food, tapping into local foods. Food has become top of mind with people. L o ok at t he amount Spring 2017 •


of celebrity chef partners we have, the number of celebrities that are into food, and the people’s interest in what they are watching – “The Chew,” which is mainstream now, to The Food Network, which was kind of the beginning for me when I was coming up watching this stuff. Food is very much mainstream. Beverage today is similar to the growth food and chefs had, and where we saw food in the 1970s, ‘80s and ‘90s. MR: Even with all the celebrity mixologists and famous craft cocktail bars now? PZ: Beverage also evolved but not at the same rate as food. I think, for the most part, beverage has been thought of as a separate entity from food, with intersections with food as pairings or within food but not completely one in the same, or leading the offering in a full F&B concept. The “chefs” of beverage, the mixologists, are not as mainstream as celebrity chefs but they are getting there. I still feel that beverage, for the most part, is thought of second to food but I think that is changing. We talked a lot today about experience. When it comes to food and beverage, we are trying to change the experience. It may be led by a beverage occasion versus a food occasion. But really, we don’t think of them as different; we think of them as on par, together. I think five years from now, you’re going to see beverage and food on much more equal footing in terms of the overall experience. Not just “here is the bar program,” and “here is the restaurant program” – there’s a pairing of the two, a seamless experience. You are seeing this more in restaurants where you are hero-ing that occasion of the drink. The day part might be different; it’s the same in our world. If you think about it, we don’t work in static environments in stadiums, arenas and convention centers. There are Sunday games, afternoon games, Friday games, Saturday games – and each of those represents a different occasion. Some of them are going to be more beverage forward, some more food forward. So I think, depending on the occasion, time and day of week, you’re going to have a different experience and we are thinking about it differently. We don’t just open the doors and act the same on any of those days. We adjust where we’re putting craft beer, craft cocktails. We have different show types at our convention centers – we are thinking about how we will optimize for this demographic, for this show type. Some of that is very beverage forward. Where I see the evolution five years from now is a much more seamless approach around beverage and food being together. I see beverage kind of catching up to that. Where I say now it might be a bit behind the food scene, I think it will be getting closer to it, if not right on par with it. 56

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MR: Is the European community more like what you’re describing? PZ: Culturally, we’re different and I think Europeans have different occasions. I think beer in Spain for example, is much more a part of your day at multiple day parts. You have a beer with lunch, or with an afternoon snack or with dinner. It is just a part of the everyday consumption habits – it’s a different lifestyle. I don’t think the goal is to be like Europe or to follow that trend; I think the goal is to understand where it is in America and that it is changing and evolving, and we want to make sure we’re on that wave. You have to be careful when you are trying to predict or look at the future, and not try to think you understand it. I think one thing you have to constantly do is talk to your customers. Be there. Sometimes that’s a qualitative question, sometimes it’s quantitative research – it’s constantly being aware of where things are and how people are experiencing things. I think with all these conversations we’re having on a personal level, or the research we look at or the insights of the analytics we have, all of it tends to point to some big trends. And those trends are things like transparency, customization, better quality and higher expectations, and ultimately more real experiences. When you start to understand that, you start to ask what that means in terms of what and how we have to execute. Then the path forward becomes clearer because the path forward is about authenticity, transparency, customization and driving the experience of this business in an ever-changing, dynamic way. MR: Well said, and thank you for taking the time out of your day for us, and thanks for the great pizza! PZ: You are so welcome. It’s been fun!

(L to R): Mike Raven, Managing Editor, in the Mix and Peter Zilper

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Why Doesn’t the Restaurant Manager Know What’s in a Negroni?

The times, they are a’changing. No longer can a restaurant manager turn a blind eye to the activities that happen behind the bar. Gone are the days when a guest is willing to accept an unbalanced drink made with inferior ingredients, inconsistency in cocktails, skunky beers or poorly kept wines. Today’s guest is a sophisticated, well-educated consumer who understands quality beverages and emerging trends, and has a high expectation for craftsmanship. A well-executed beverage program is just as important to a restaurant or hotel as their culinary program. So it is critical that anyone with a supervisory role over the operation be well educated and skilled in the finite nuances of their beverage program.

H ow ever , in ma ny instances, particularly in hotels that do not have beverage or bar managers, there are restaurant managers who are responsible for the beverage operation but have never taken a step behind the bar. The more unfortunate dilemma is that some have little to no interest in the beverage segment of their chosen profession. Clearly, there are countless restaurant managers who are highly skilled in mixology and extremely knowledgeable about wines – these are the rock stars of the operation. Unfortunately, this is not the case for the lion’s share of the industry. In many cases, a restaurant manager has risen through the ranks along several different paths. While 58

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a small sampling has come through the beverage discipline, others have taken the path as a server or hostess. Some had cross-training from the kitchen or, in the case of a hotel, are coming from the rooms division to “get their F&B experience.” In some of these instances, they may have never had the opportunity to train behind the bar to gain that expertise but nevertheless are now accountable for beverage profitability, consistency, technical skill and training. In some sense, it’s like

having a chef that has never cooked. This can’t be good for anyone except the bartender who then doesn’t have anyone to “hassle” him or her because the manager has no idea how the bar operates and therefore stays clear. All these are valid career paths to becoming a successful restaurant manager, and eventual restaurant General Manager, and they have provided the industry with many impressive leaders. However, it is imperative to expand on the current mindset. To be successful, today’s restaurant managers must have a strong working knowledge of bar operations,

understand wine, spirits and beer as well as basic mixology, if they are being held accountable for the bar and beverage performance. Just as a chef can walk past the cook line, see a flawed technique and then correct it immediately, a restaurant manager should be able to spot in a split second if a drink is not being made properly, garnished correctly or described accurately. There is nothing worse than getting a Negroni that was shaken and served with a cherry, but it happens more than we want to admit. So how do we change the game? How do we make sure our restaurant managers have the skills and knowledge to ensure an outstanding beverage program? How do we make sure the bartenders are making the cocktails as designed? How do we set up

our restaurant managers for immediate and future success? First and foremost is to acknowledge that the demands of the role have shifted, and although the past career paths may have been adequate, they are clearly not up to par with the expectations of today’s guest in the upper casual, lifestyle and luxury segments. It must be stressed that individuals wishing to pursue this career path should gain the necessary beverage knowledge and experience as entry to the game, to be a well-rounded professional. A well-defined job description stressing the importance of beverage operations should be developed to give incoming talent full disclosure of the expectations of the position. Providing a clear view of the roles and responsibilities of the position allows aspiring managers to seek the necessary information and training that will eventually lead to their success concerning expectations around beverage performance. Secondly, for those currently in these positions or aspiring to be, specific training programs should be created to introduce and refine the knowledge and skills necessary to be a successful and valuable part of the beverage operation. This can be done through internal development, working with beverage partners or with outside resources. There is nothing more disturbing then seeing a restaurant manager get behind the bar, pick up a liquor bottle like it is some alien object, and struggle awkwardly in front of guests and the bar team to make a simple mixed drink. However, within a well-planned training program, they can acquire the basic knowledge needed to develop confidence in their own skills. Many beverage suppliers have some form of training available that can greatly improve skill and knowledge. In addition, there are many online resources and apps that can also teach everything from basic mixology and cocktails, to beer and wine varietals. In addition to gaining the basic foundation, it’s all about practice, practice, practice. It’s all about getting behind the bar making drinks, opening wine and pouring beer. One needs to get a feel for being “behind the stick.” In some cases, Spring 2017 •


the individual may not want to do the training at their property bar for fear of embarrassing themselves and losing credibility with the team. In those cases, reach out to a sister property or colleague who has a bar and ask if they can shadow the bartender for a few nights. Also, identify the cocktails most popular or trending in your market and practice making them at home. If you are not confident opening wine, open wine each day at the daily line up and taste it with the team. In a hotel operation, reach out to the banquet department and arrange to go over on a busy day to open all the wine needed for the evening’s event. Regardless, the industry we love is a blessing and burden – in that the opportunity for learning is endless and bountiful. Every restaurant manager, whatever their level is in their career, should strive to continually learn. The immense rate of change happening just in the beverage sector – including new emerging craft beers, extraordinary premium and artisan spirits, evolving wine regions and new interpretations of cocktails – is robust and endless. Each manager should become an impassioned student of the game, from keeping up on the latest posts from industry leaders on Facebook and Instagram, to following blogs like,, and others. Take the opportunity to engage with colleagues on a regular basis to discuss what’s new and happening. When not in the operation, be out in the market checking out the latest restaurants and bars to learn, experience and discuss the latest trends and new openings. Now, not every restaurant manager will be thrilled with the idea of training on beverage. Some will be nervous about going behind the bar while others will state that they don’t drink and have no interest. Just as a guest in a steakhouse doesn’t care if the server is a vegetarian, the fact that the restaurant manager doesn’t drink really does not matter. As a competent, skilled restaurant manager, it is his or her responsibility to be a fully trained, experienced professional in 60

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order to provide every guest with an exceptional, memorable experience. However, be clear that the individual’s choice not to drink must fully be respected. Nonetheless, they should still be held accountable for understanding the basics of bar management including cocktail development and technique, wine and beer varietals. Not drinking does not give the restaurant manager a free pass to ignore this huge part of the business, and they should seek to develop a working knowledge and professionalism as best they can. Beverage is such a compelling part of the dining experience – it should be embraced by every restaurant manager and motivate them to become a skilled, knowledgeable professional in the beverage sector. Once a restaurant manager has attained confidence in their beverage prowess, they can not only hold the team accountable for quality execution but also can become an active, engaged participant in growing and expanding the program’s success. The beverage side is such an intriguing, provocative part of the restaurant dynamic that, when fully embraced by a knowledgeable restaurant manager, it can become an invigorating part of the guests’ dining experience.

Lou Trope is President of LJ Trope & Co. LLC, an independent consultant working with the hotel industry to provide innovative restaurant concepts, operational assessments and b2b beverage strategies.

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The Industry Has

3 Tiers and 4 Corners 4 Corners would like to corner the market with a few new spirit brands.

4 “ Together

they decided to leave their long standing careers at Bacardi, the family’s business, in order to leverage their combined expertise, passion and industry relationships into their own company, brands and family legacy. ”


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Corners Spirits Company is a familyowned, family-run company specializing in the development and commercialization of distilled spirit brands that expand the category. With a vision to preserve the long-held industry tradition of placing the highest value on their brands, people and relationships, founder Guillermo Rodriguez (pictured right) and his brother Miguel are well on their way to making their dream a reality. Together they decided to leave their long standing careers at Bacardi, the family’s business, in order to leverage their combined expertise, passion and industry relationships into their own company, brands and family legacy. Their experience and commitment to the distilled spirits business stems from their strong family heritage in the industry, which now spans over six generations and 155 years. The number four has always had a deep meaning to Guillermo on both a personal and professional level, and the company’s name illustrates his effort to “deliver against all ‘4 Corners’ of the industry – brand development, production, route to market, and consumer activation – in search of excellence.” Guillermo once heard Pat Riley quote Stephen Covey when talking about keys to success, “ The main thing is that the main thing is always

the main thing.” When building spirits brands, the temptation to try and do too much too early is huge and it leads to unrealistic expectations, which lead to bad business decisions and ultimately the demise of the brand. “It is our job to use our experience to identify each brand’s ‘main thing’ and develop and consistently execute a plan that delivers against it,” said Guillermo. “Every brand and brand owner has a unique, long term objective in mind. Our ability to understand that objective up front is critical to developing a sales plan that ultimately delivers against that long-term goal,” Miguel added.

“At a time when products and employees are increasingly seen as disposable or interchangeable, this industry is one of the few that is still dominated by familyowned business at every tier, where relationships still matter, your company culture and employees are a mainstay, and protecting your brand still means something to consumers and retailers. ”

“Born Country Raised Outdoors.” 4 Corners Spirits Company is a world-class execution company specializing in the development, sales and marketing of new and emerging distilled spirit brands. As industry experts in all four corners of the industry, the team has decades of handson experience and demonstrated success in every phase of the development of a spirit brand. Their professional relationships within the vast network of distributors, suppliers, vendors and retailers are based on years of mutual trust, respect and accountability, and allow them to bring an unparalleled value to their customers. In short, 4 Corners Spirits Company is uniquely positioned to provide emerging and independent brands with the knowledge and expertise necessary to be prepared and have the best chance at success. Together, Guillermo and Miguel, along with Master Distiller Luis Planas, have built an extended team with unique insight into the spirits business, as well as comprehensive, multi-disciplinary experience in the complex three-tiered system. 4 Corners Spirits

Company advises and manages the entire process of building a premium spirit brand from concept ideation, procurement and production, to sales, marketing and capitalization. At 4 Corners Spirits Company, they maximize their expertise to put the long-term value of their brands, people and relationships first. “At a time when products and employees are increasingly seen as disposable or interchangeable, this industry is one of the few that is still dominated by family-owned business at every tier, where relationships still matter, your company culture and employees are a mainstay, and protecting your brand still means something to consumers and retailers. The rise of craft and emerging spirit brands combined with the overall decline of the industry leaders reflects that,” stated Guillermo. In March of 2016, after over a year of hard work and partnering with the brand name founders, they launched their first brand, HillBilly Bourbon ( This is a bourbon brand Spring 2017 •


aimed at taking advantage of not only the current bourbon trend but also taking full advantage of the country’s renewed patriotism and love affair with the American outdoor lifestyle, which is reflected in the brand’s slogan: “Born Country Raised Outdoors.” It is a brand aimed at the everyday at-home social occasion or just sitting around the tailgate with friends. Guillermo T. Rodriguez, founder and CEO, has over 20 years of commercial and general management experience in the beverage alcohol business, and is a sixth-generation member of the Bacardi family. During his tenure with Bacardi, Guillermo held various roles across multiple disciplines including sales, operations, national accounts, innovations and Vice President-Managing Director of the East Business Unit, Bacardi’s largest revenue unit. Guillermo also held the position of Vice President of Business Development with the Charmer Sunbelt Group (now Breakthru Beverage), where he was responsible for the continued development of all aspects of the Bacardi portfolio across the enterprise. Miguel F. Rodriguez, Executive Vice PresidentNational Sales Manager, joined 4 Corners Spirits Company as National Sales Director with over 29 years of sales management experience. Prior to his current role, Miguel spent 16 years with Bacardi USA driving transformational change in the way Bacardi and its brands went to market over several different channels. Miguel spent his first eight years bringing innovative programming to the national accounts on-premise channel, working with the top customers in the hotel, casual dining, fine dining and concessions channels. He built a lifetime reputation in the segment and the industry; he also was recognized for his work by winning several supplier awards from key customers. Miguel’s success continued as he took on new challenges within the industry, spending the next eight years driving the Bacardi portfolio in the on- and off-premise channels by working collaboratively with his distributor partners in both Texas and Florida markets. Miguel is now leveraging his industry knowledge, experience and talents to develop new-to-the-world brands with 4 Corners Spirits Company. Miguel is a firm believer in building relationships and honoring commitments, and he is passionate about developing talent for future growth. Never shying away from hard work, they have embraced their early success and 4 Corners Spirits Company is now currently working on three new projects, two of which are tentatively scheduled to launch later this year and one in Q2 of 2018. You can learn more about these projects and 4 Corners Spirits Company by visiting their website at 64

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A confident generation of Japanese bartenders, entrepreneurs and restaurateurs is transforming their country’s time-honored drinking and food institutions into animated trends tailor-made for the 21st century. by Elyse Glickman

The Sun


on a

New Era Sake has been around for hundreds of years. Japanese whisky has come of age to the point where it could be written off as a relic of older generations. Sake bars and whisky bars remain staples for movers and shakers of all legal drinking ages. Meanwhile, thanks to industrious brewers in Japan and determined importers in the U.S., sakes in their many expressions have become a familiar part of the bar connoisseur’s vocabulary in Tokyo and Kyoto. High-end Suntory and Hibiki whiskies share coveted shelf space with some of America’s finest Kentucky bourbons, single malt Scotches and prime aged Irish whiskies. It also helps that in the last couple of decades, women around the world – including in Japan’s urban centers – have joined the party, ordering flights or cocktails with higher-proof whiskies bursting with earthier, heartier compositions, rather than falling back on Chardonnay or sweet vodka-based things their mothers may have ordered. (Older) boys will be boys, and “old school” whisky and sake bars still do a good business in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka. However, bar owners and bartenders in Kyoto and Tokyo are embracing the challenge and are doing what electronics manufacturers did in the 1950s and ‘60s: combining Japanese and Western ideas to get a younger generation excited about what’s “made in Japan.” 66

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’ Hotel Bars

Tokyo s

Bars inside Tokyo’s five star properties are as expansive as the indie bars are intimate. However, hotel bartenders are just as eager to blur the lines between “East” and “West” by reinventing recipes based on the changing tastes of their local and international customers. “Western cocktails are really popular in Tokyo, but the use of Japanese whisky and sake gives them new styles and tastes,” notes Yukiyo Kurihara, Bar Manager at the Mandarin Oriental Tokyo. “Because more of our bartenders are working overseas and winning international competitions, this presents all of us the challenge to reinvent cocktails with a shift in technique to make them unique to Japan.” (Right) A Shiso Martini served in the Lobby Bar at the The Mandarin Oriental hotel in Tokyo.

(Above)The Shangri-La Hotel in Tokyo offers a Cloudy Yuzu Sour on its menu. (Below) Sake and French Champagne are used in The Conrad Tokyo Hotel’s whimsical Pop-Tails. The Bamboo Bar at The Mandarin Oriental hotel in Tokyo.

Shangri-La Tokyo bartender Jun Ohkubo connects the interest in modern Japanese bartending in Tokyo with the increasing popularity of Japanese food and flavors worldwide. “We’ve brought in methods of molecular gastronomy such as liquid nitrogen, nitrous oxide to create espuma, or using (sous vide) instant smoked and vacuum cooking method,” he explains. “However, it’s important to note Japanese bartenders use these new techniques only as a base, and complete their precisely-calculated recipes full of Japanese seasonal elements.” The Conrad Tokyo integrates sake and French Champagne into their whimsical Pop-Tails, but for more serious connoisseur customers, they have a sake sommelier on staff to answer questions. The unique gimmick at the Peter B restaurant in the The Peninsula Tokyo hotel is a perpetually changing iPad cocktail menu that makes the process of selecting the cocktail as dizzyingly fun as whatever drink the imbiber chooses. 68

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… And Checking Out

Kyoto s

Hotel Scene

Kyoto’s cocktail scene is still in its infancy, but change is in the air. While the Hotel Granvia Kyoto’s main bar Orbite may seem like a classic hotel bar, manager Kenichiro Nagai acknowledges that Japanese and Western customer demand for seasonal ingredients and original recipes pushed their cocktail program forward. The necessity of updating the program, meanwhile, has helped him and fellow bartender Yoko Nakayama up their game. “While building the cocktail, we create a story (for the guest) by choosing a suitable glass and explaining its inspiration,” says Nagai. “Today, an original cocktail can be considered a piece of art, and because they take a long time to prepare and be a little more expensive to produce, it can be a challenge to add them to the menu. However, we’re getting positive responses to those new cocktails. It is very important for us as a ‘creator’ to keep seeking something new as well as to know and follow the latest trends, while we reserve our tradition.” Hotel Anteroom Kyoto is a boutique hotel infused with a contemporary art-gallery sensibility, Hotel Granvia Kyoto’s main bar Orbite showcasing the work of some of Japan’s top artists, including Kohei Nawa and Mika Ninagawa. The former college dormitory, situated 10 minutes from Central Station, has an minimalist, loft-like feel that makes it as inviting to locals as it is to travelers in creative professions. Namina Kumasaki, lead bartender, acknowledges that since most of the customers stay at or near the Anteroom, the bar staff places a high value on relaxation and awareness of the 50 whiskies on the back bar, including craft whiskies not sold internationally and Yamazaki’s Umeshu plum liqueur, aged in whisky barrels, as well as stouts and ales from Kyoto Brewing Company, and seasonal fruits and spices featured in their small but beautifully assembled cocktail menu. “I think it is important to tell a story behind the drinks as if you were a craftsman or a sake brewer,” Namina says. “I want to open the guests’ imagination to tasting the spirit or cocktail with all five senses. What makes a drink interesting is that original story behind it, or an episode that comes through from a conversation between the bar staff and the guests. It makes the guest’s discovery of something new vital and entertaining. In this situation, I try to devise recipes that express what I see and hear from local people.”

Spring 2017 •


Iron Fairies Cocktail


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Hoshinoya Kyoto (above), a country ryokan retreat in Arashiyama, at the western edge of Kyoto Prefecture, offers a luxury clientele exposure to centuries-old Japanese hospitality traditions. The property’s main attraction is the building itself – a 100-year-old former private home that served as a retreat for noble and affluent guests. Now, 21st-century guests are encouraged to remain on property during the entirety of their stay, where there are a variety of activities to immerse them in Japanese history and culture. Three years ago, Hoshinoya Kyoto launched its whisky program, which operates with the same one-on-one sensibilities used in other activities such as a flower arranging workshop and an incense ceremony practiced by the samurai. Inside the hotel’s cozy common room, the whisky tasting starts with staffer Yuki Kimura bringing bottles to the guests on a wooden tray, and offering them chocolates from a local Kyoto confectioner or a cheese plate. Brands familiar in the U.S. such as Yamazaki and Hibiki are served, as well as a handful of small batch craft whiskies. “Many guests come to the resort familiar with Japanese whisky, but want to learn more about it as it is enjoyed in the context of Japanese culture. After our first meeting, they fall in love with Japanese whisky as a greater category,” Kimura says. “I listen to the guests to not only find out their favorites, but to also recommend less familiar spirits to them. I offer a sample sip served before the customer chooses one or two favorites in a full pour. Of course, experienced Japanese whisky drinkers from the West will gravitate toward the ones they have not yet tried.” Although it may be surprising to some that Japan was not on the vanguard of craft spirits and mixology until recently, Iron Fairies’ Lewis Cole gained insight on why things are changing so quickly and how Japan’s cities may eventually emerge as mixology leaders. “My friend explained to me there is a saying that going from zero to one is more difficult than going from one to 10,” says Cole. “Coming up with original cocktail bar concepts has really changed the bar landscape, and there’s definitely going to be more to come.”

RECIPES The following recipes are from the Hotel Granvia Kyoto

Luxury Fragrance • • • • • 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

1 ¾ oz ¾ oz 2 dashes 1 tsp Garnish

Cognac Hennessy X.O. Tawny Port Wine Orange bitters Tea leaves (Irish Malt Ronnefelt) Orange peel

Add leaves and hot water to an empty teapot and allow to steam. Add Cognac to the tea. Fill a mixing glass with ice and add all ingredients. Stir. Put one ice cube into a brandy glass and pour the mixed cocktail on top through a strainer. Garnish with the orange peel.

Rakuyo (Fallen Leaf) • • • • • 1. 2.

1 oz ¾ oz ¼ oz 1 dash Garnish

Japanese whisky Bristol Cream Sherry Campari Orange bitters Maple leaf (if available)

Add all liquid ingredients to a mixing glass and stir. Pour into a rocks glass with ice and garnish.

Birdsong • • • • •

The following recipe is from the Conrad Tokyo

1. 2. 3. 4.

1 ½ oz ¾ oz ½ oz ½ oz Garnish

White wine (the bar favors Bourgogne) Alize Rose Old Tom Gin Fresh orange juice Thyme sprig

Put thyme into a Champagne flute or glass. Combine liquid ingredients, except wine, and shake. Pour the mix into the glass. Top with chilled white wine.

Kemari (Japanese Moscow Mule) • • • 1. 2. 3. 4.

1 ½ oz 3-4 oz

Ginger-infused vodka Japanese sparkling sake (Jyouzen Mizuno Gotoshi) Fresh ginger

In a mixing glass, combine ginger-infused vodka and sparkling sake. Slice ginger into thin pieces. Add ginger pieces to spirit mix, and chill for several minutes. Serve over ice in a julep cup.

Spring 2017 •


What’s Trending – It’s All About Innovation Sangria in general is a popular, social drink being offered year-round through limited time offers, seasonal and full menu placement. With strong growth occurring in the onpremise market demand, Sangria is creating its own category placement. Served in a single pour or pitcher serving, the Sangria “punch” options are endless. Many restaurants and bars offer their Sangria either from a bottle of premade beverage or made from scratch. Either way, restaurant and bar operators are seeking other ways to market this category segment for higher sales. That is where Dress The Drink™ (DTD) comes into play! “As the premium category of this segment expands, DTD is enjoying the surge of new custom, unique and innovative garnish and blend placements that elevate the Sangria flavor offerings being created,” says Diane Svehlak, President and partner of DTD. According to Cindy McClure, CEO and founder of DTD, the Millennials are driving the challenge of the Sangria “WOW” factor appeal, as they represent a large percentage of social wine-drinkers. “At DTD, we create all natural, gluten free, edible blends and garnishes that are custom designed around the drink recipe. We bring a whole new level of visual and flavor appeal with our not-so-traditional 72

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garnishes,” she says. Showcasing one of DTD’s Sangria pairing placements is James Manos Beverage Consulting, representing Pampas Brazilian Grill in Las Vegas and Grasslands Churrasco Market in Anaheim. Both restaurant locations are serving a white Sangria called the Clerico com Laranga, which is garnished with DTD’s Lemongrass Stick Candied with Lemon Sugar. They also serve a red Sangria called Sangria de Jote, garnished with DTD’s Apple Cinnamon Halves Brulee’d. James comments, “DTD innovative garnishes give my beverage creations the ‘WOW’ factor that makes good drinks great and great drinks even better. After adding DTD garnishes to these Sangria offerings I was tasked with reinvigorating, the white Sangria went from a forgotten offering to our #1 seller, and the red Sangria sales increased by 25 percent. It’s all about innovation, not just about the beverage offering anymore. The key to a successful beverage is the selection of the glassware, blend, garnish and recipe to create the complete package.”

Photo by Kyle Connor

Dress The Drink™ (DTD) is all about pairing culinary and mixology, from signature cocktail creations to the entire dining experience. We are a manufacturer of proprietary, artisanal, handcrafted, all natural, non-wasteful garnishes and blends. DTD uses color, flavors, textures, infusions and the mastering of blends that bring together the true art of culinary and mixology pairings. Contact Diane Svehlak or Cindy McClure for further information on custom DTD beverage program pairings at or; www. Spring 2017 •


For food and beverage service employees, a life-altering circumstance like a medical scare or diagnosis, a car accident or a house fire can quickly become unmanageable financially and emotionally. Luckily, for those employees who have children, CORE can help provide support. CORE is a national 501(c)(3) organization that supports children of food and beverage service employees navigating life-altering circumstances. Since 2004, CORE has provided support to over 165 families and raised over $2.5 million.

Olivia Sokol and her parents, Justin and Nardia, became a part of the CORE family in August 2016, when Olivia was just five months old. Justin was working at Cuba Libre Restaurant and Rum Bar in Philadelphia, and Nardia was in her fourth year of medical school at Temple University, when she was admitted to the emergency room for severe abdominal pains. Doctors discovered that Nardia had a previously undiagnosed congenital malformation of her bowels, which eventually caused her intestines to wrap around themselves, creating a life-threatening loss of circulation to her intestines and other organs. The doctors operated immediately, untangling her bowels and repositioning them correctly, and also removing her appendix. A few days later, they had to operate once again due to unexplained internal bleeding. Thankfully, Nardia survived the surgeries and began recovering. After four weeks in the hospital, she was able to resume medical school and begin her five-month, multi-state externship endeavor, while Justin stayed in Pennsylvania with Olivia. To support the Sokol family during Nardia’s health crisis, CORE paid for the couple’s rent and daycare for Olivia, and 74

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sent the family a package full of clothes and toys. CORE also bought plane tickets for Justin and Olivia to fly to Denver for Thanksgiving and provided support for travel to Pittsburgh for Christmas, so they could be with Nardia as a family over the holiday! Justin recently gave CORE an update, saying that Nardia is fully recovered and Olivia is healthy and growing quickly. We are honored to have been able to help the Sokol family! There’s a way for everyone to support CORE and give back to our own! You can refer a food and beverage service family for support at, become a COREporate member or event sponsor, become a CORE Ambassador, or host your own promotion or event to benefit CORE.

For more information: 404-655-4690

Spring 2017 •



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Spring 2017 •


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TRINCHERO FAMILY ESTATES PRESENTS: By Barry Wiss, CWE, CSS

On the Lighter Side Down 1 4 7 8 10 11 13 14 17 19 21 22 23 25 27 28 31

Across 2


Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc growing region. A sweetness category of sparkling wine with little or no perceptible sugar. Rosy Cheeks? Other white used with Chardonnay in Franciacorta. Classic brunch cocktail named after a tropical plant. “Steen” in South Africa. French apéritif wine from Podensac, south of Bordeaux; great in a dry martini. German Pinot Blanc. New Zealand South Island appellation dominated by Sauvignon Blanc vineyards. Sparkling wine method used in making Prosecco. Traditional wine pairing with oysters in Loire. Great seafood wine from Rías Baixas. Portuguese “green wine.” Considered a Grand Cru grape in Alsace. Tuscan white grape _____ di San Gimignano. Napa and Sonoma’s famous Chardonnay region. Process in making a rośe; “to bleed.”


Synonym for Spätburgunder.

3 5 6 8 9 12

15 16

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Roero’s “Little Rascal” white grape. Rośe in Spain. White from black grapes in Champagne. Cross of Riesling and Madeleine Royale. Loire grape used to make Vouvray. Bitters used in classic Champagne cocktail from Trinidad. Grape used to produce Prosecco. Region where Gamay is king. 88 percent of all French rośe comes from this region. Frizzante wine from Emilia Romagna; great with Pasta Bolognese. Vin _____, French for “grey.” Rośe-style wine made in Bardolino. Lake Garda wine? Home to Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé. Believed to be the original home of Pinot Gris. Prosecco and white peach puree; made famous at Harry’s Bar. You may say “Junmai Daiginjo-shu” if you want ______. Sweetest level of sparkling wine.

Spring 2017 •



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in the Mix - Spring 2017  

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