The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2015

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1 16  /  the tasting panel  /  october 2015 EDUCATION A bartender is willing to take off a full week of work for very few things—what happens in late summer in the Southern heat of Lebanon Junction, Kentucky is one of them. There, the end of August brings Camp Runamok, an immersive six-day bar program set in a kids' sleepaway camp tucked along a Southern country road. Runamok invites selected bartenders to a program that combines specialized, hands-on education on the American whiskey industry with intensive community- building. During the day, campers are bussed to intimate tours and classes with Kentucky's master distillers and coopers, raucous camp sing-alongs punctuating the hour-long rides. Call it a bartenders' retreat, an incredibly unusual style of convention or a blend "of Kentucky whiskey, Southern hospitality and Wet Hot American Summer," as Southern-raised co-founder Jared Schubert jokes about the idea he and Lush Life's Lindsay Johnson were kicking around four years ago. Runamok stokes a professional dedication, career longevity and a long-term collegiate support system that's created a notoriously devoted following among its former campers. The result is more akin to magic than science, and in that spirit, we're letting Runamok bartenders tell the story. Aaron Joseph Bartender, Wit and Wisdom, Washington D.C. 1 Year at Runamok Camper You don't realize how small this industry is until you go to something like Camp. For me it affirmed that I made the right career choice, and it's reju- venated my passion for this industry. The distillery tours too—they're as passion- ate about making bourbon as we are about bartending. I nerded out for like 20 minutes with the yeast master. It's a kind of a mutual appreciation. Bridget Maloney General Manager, The Sexton, Seattle, Washington 2 years at Runamok Counselor Runamok has done so much for my career. It connects you nationally with so many bartenders. And I found it incredibly empowering to be surrounded by other women in the industry who are career bar- tenders. So when I came back to Seattle, I started a society of women who drink whiskey. I wanted to bring that sense of inspiration, camaraderie and friendship from Runamok back to Seattle. Steph Teslar Arizona Beverage Ambassador, Kimpton Hotels, Phoenix, Arizona 3 years at Runamok Counselor I think that a lot of it has to do with the intimacy of Runamok. You're in these extremely inti- mate situations with relative strangers, with the challenge of living and traveling and touring distill- eries and organizing that many people in that close of an experience. And you're all so happy and in the middle of the woods. It's really just part of feeling like a team. A Bartender's Summer CAMP RUNAMOK BRINGS BARTENDERS FROM ACROSS THE U.S. INTO THE HEART OF WHISKEY COUNTRY by Éva Pelczer

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