What Did YOU Think About this year’s Tales of the Cocktail?
I heard feedback from a range of mixologists and bartenders who attended seminars at Tales of the Cocktail, all week. A few sentiments were repeated again, and again. Here are the things I heard, and some of my suggested solutions. What are yours?
Complaint #1: The content of the seminars. Overall, attendees love the topics covered. However, some experienced bartenders were hoping to be more challenged but found the information presented redundant and elementary.
Suggested Solution: Tales of the Cocktail is a wonderful gathering because the general public (ie: novices) are welcome to learn alongside experts in the field. It would be a shame to lose this aspect because it is part of what makes Tales so special. I suggest dividing the seminars into: “Enthusiast” and “Expert” categories, and let the attendees choose according to their own experience level.
Complaint #2: Overcrowding. As a member of the “media” covering the 5-day event who got a free pass to any seminar of my choosing, I hate to shoot myself in the foot with this one. However, it is understandable that people who paid between $40 - $85 to attend – and found themselves without a seat and NO cocktail samples – would be upset by the overcrowding.
Suggested Solution: Limit the number of “free” entrants to each seminar and make presenters, Vip’s and press RSVP. Set aside a certain number of seats for them, and make sure that there are enough seats for paying attendees. Most importantly – have a qualified person standing at the door to check people off the list as they arrive. It is more work when organizing these seminars – but keeping people happy will keep them coming back year after year.
Complaint #3: Piggyback events. It is pretty sad that some liquor companies would set up parties around New Orleans during the Tales week - but not support Tales of the Cocktail. I mean, that's low. Yeah, yeah, its “business” and they want to put out the least amount of money to take advantage of all the cocktail industry in one place --- but, seriously, it just make you look like cheapskates. (You know who you are.)
Suggested Solution: Give liquor companies sponsoring Tales of the Cocktail a special “Tales ;09 Approved” rating to place on their invitations, websites and other marketing material leading up to our annual festival. That way, we know who is truly has the ‘Tales spirit’ and who is merely a tacky imitation.
What are YOUR complaints and suggestions? Post them in the "comments" at the bottom of this post.