The Tasting Panel magazine

September 2013

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Page 44 of 162

EDUCATION At the Southern Wine and Spirits "O" Bar Education Center, Herman Fernandez shares a smile with attendees excited to try some of Armando Rosario's cocktails. Cocktails With to Contend SOUTHERN WINE & SPIRITS' NEW "O" BAR EDUCATION CENTER BRINGS MIXOLOGY KNOW-HOW TO CENTRAL FLORIDA by Kelly Merritt / photos by Joe Brooks W SWS VP National Accounts Bryan Williamson and Director of Mixology Armando Rosario are behind the bar at the Southern Wine &Spirits "O" Bar Education Center. Southern Wine & Spirits' Executive VP/GM Barry Zeidwig chats during the opening event for the company's new "O" Bar Education Center. hen Armando Rosario tells you how to make a cocktail, people listen. The charismatic Director of Mixology for Southern Wine & Spirits is passionate about cocktails and educating people on how to prepare them. Now, there is a new place for SWS customers to learn from Rosario and like creative minds in the new "O" Bar Education Center. Southern Wine & Spirits hosted its grand opening on July 31 in Orlando, Florida. "This is a great facility because it will be a resource for our accounts to utilize in their cocktail programs, as well as beverage staff training in a space that's conducive to large groups, yet small enough to maintain an intimate feel for smaller trainings and presentations," explains Rosario, who says it was designed with both the bartender and instructor in mind. "We are gearing up to invite the USBG Orlando Chapter as well as influential bartenders and mixologists in Central Florida." Herman Fernandez Jr. is the Vice President of National Accounts for Southern Wine & Spirits in Florida. He is excited about the opportunity that "O" Bar will provide in assisting customers with creating cocktails. "This is teaching them the most effective way to generate these libations in their establishments, through proper staff training and attending the academy, where students will be able to tap into the creative development and expertise of our resident mixologist, Armando Rosario," said Fernandez. Fernandez says the company recognizes that in the ever-changing cocktail and bar scene, "O" Bar will allow Florida to compete with New York, San Francisco and Las Vegas in the world of creativity and innovation. "We have visitors coming from all over the world into Florida, and it is important to contend with the rest of the U.S.," he said. "Southern Wine & Spirits has mixologists in several cities in the U.S. and has been assisting with drink development for several years."  The academy training centers have proven to be major assets in the markets where Southern Wine & Spirits have opened them. "We are elevating the mixology culture in Orlando by bringing the bartending community together," said Rosario, who is famed for the aesthetic and flavor qualities of his cocktails—his entries seduced everyone in the audience at the Iron Chef Cocktail competition which took place earlier this summer. For more information on the new "O" Bar, go to  44  /  the tasting panel  /  september 2013 TP0913_034-62.indd 44 8/22/13 9:21 PM

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