It's been nearly seven months since Tales of the Cocktail founders Ann and Paul Tuennerman announced they were resigning from their roles. Consequently, we've had seven months of wondering just what will happen to one of our favourite industry gatherings and its Scottish sister Tales on Tour.
Well, finally, we've got some news, as TOTC Foundation board members Gary Solomon Jr, the Solomon family and Cure's Neal Bodenheimer finalised the sale of the annual cocktail convention, donating $250,000 to charity in the process. Tales of the Cocktail has also appointed Caroline Nabors Rosen as executive director of the festival.
New Orleans natives themselves, the Solomon family's experience lies in event production, and has a deep-rooted history of philanthropic work in the New Orleans community. Adding more value to the team, Bodenheimer has over 15 years in the cocktail industry, and Rosen brings with her knowledge of the non-profit sector.
Amidst all the change, the new team plans to grow and develop the beloved cocktail convention, with the intention of building it into a resource that directly benefits the spirits industry, as well as the city of NOLA. The New Orleans Culinary & Cultural Preservation Society (NOCCPS), will be 'rebranded' as Tales of the Cocktail Foundation and has committed to donating a whopping $250,000 to causes that support the spirits community in its first year.
Following the festival this year, it is said a grant subcommittee will be formed of representatives from the spirits and cocktail industry who will oversee the donation process and where the funds will be allocated.... so no funny business there.
Along with changes to financial aspects, co-chairmen Solomon Jr and Bodenheimer are taking on feedback from the community, with plans to put an emphasis on educational elements throughout the event to create an enhanced attendee experience and better accessibility. The organisation has also pledged to increase education access, diversity and inclusion, addressing industry issues such as sexual assault and addiction.
'Tales of the Cocktail has become one of the essential components to the New Orleans tourism industry,' commented Mark Romig, president and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation. 'Tales highlights not only New Orleans’ preeminent place in the history of cocktails, but it also holds an important role in helping to ensure a successful summer season for the tourism industry.
'I'm thrilled the Solomon family was able to partner with Neal Bodenheimer and provide the resources necessary to keep Tales in its hometown. I can't imagine what would have happened if we lost it.'
So, what are you waiting for? Tickets for Tales on Tour in Edinburgh go live on 27 February, with more details for the NOLA event to follow very soon.