The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2018

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Page 90 of 112

90  /  the tasting panel  /  march 2018 A s Ole Smoky's fourth annual Masters of Moonshine nears, the Tennessee-based distillery has announced a slight twist to the upcoming event. Past iterations of the program have seen entrants create cocktails for a panel of judges in select markets, with the finalists competing for audience favorite at Tales of the Cocktail in New Orleans. Last year, Makenzie Oliver of Tennessee and Karen Puttmann of Ohio, both emerged as victors after tying for first place. This year, Ole Smoky is doing something a little different. "We've never had a Brand Ambassador for Ole Smoky Moonshine before, and we figured now is the time!" Vice President of Marketing Meg Bruno explains. According to Bruno, a "natural evolution" of the Masters of Moonshine program inspired the distillery to do away with the old format of the competition in a quest to find five mixologists who will represent Ole Smoky in their respective territories for a six-month contract. "We're looking for an opportunity to expand to more markets this year, so we want to reach out to the people who weren't in one of the cities that hosted the semifinals and keep them engaged with us all year long," Bruno adds. "Each region is so different when it comes to their cocktail cultures, and Ole Smoky wants to make sure they're all represented!" MASTERS moonshine The five brand ambassadors selected from this year's Masters of Moonshine program will visit the Ole Smoky Distillery in Gatlinburg, TN, for a moonshine boot camp. Star Search OLE SMOKY TRANFORMS ITS MASTERS OF MOONSHINE COMPETITION INTO A QUEST FOR BRAND AMBASSADORS by Jesse Hom-Dawson PHOTO: VAN GALLIK

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