The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2012

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Page 58 of 152

EVENTS Jefrey Playter and Cornelius Geary of Firewater Partners found a need in the distillery market, and they illed it most deliciously at the Craft Spirits Carnival, held recently in San Francisco.�� Small is the New Big SAN FRAN���S CRAFT SPIRITS CARNIVAL UNDERSCORES THE GROWING TREND TOWARD ARTISANAL DISTILLING story and photos by John Curley C Rodolfo Favila, the so-called King of Mezcal, was ofering tasting lights from Premium Mezcals, the wholesalers of authentic mezcal from Oaxaca, Mexico. ���You���re going to know what your favorite is by the time we inish,��� he said warmly. ���We make it the ancient way. The only moisture the plants receive comes from the morning dew of 3,000 nights. It���s all hand-done, small-batch.��� ornelius Geary is a veteran of wine competitions and tasting events, but he���d been hearing from distillers about how much they���d enjoy having the same opportunity to connect with industry leaders and present their products to discerning consumers. And thus was born the��inaugural Craft Spirits Carnival, which drew big crowds for two days to the Fort Mason Center. The event was like a giant wine tasting, but instead of Cabernets and Chardonnays, the fare included small-batch bourbons, meticulous mezcals and precious piscos, to name a few of the liquors available for sampling. �� What���s more, everything that could be sipped at the Carnival could be bought, too���one of the unique aspects of the event. Producers not only were able to meet up with marketers and inluential people in the trade, but they were also able to sell their liquors directly to consumers who liked what they had tasted. ���We knew that we���d get a consumer who was a little younger, and a little more educated,��� Geary said. Marketing materials predicted that the average attendee would be 28 to 48 years old and have an average annual income of more than $70,000. And it was no accident that the event was in San Francisco: ���The novice here is probably quite sophisti- 58 / the tasting panel / december 2012 cated compared to some other places,��� Geary said. ���This is a��connoisseur��market for food, beverages, everything like that. Overall, the Craft Spirits Carnival was a terriic one-stop opportunity for both the The newly formed California Artisanal Distillers Guild had a strategy meeting at Fort Mason. Left to right: Arthur and Lusine Hartunian (Napa Valley Distillery), Chris Steller (California Distiller���s Guild), James Carling (Ventura Limoncello) and Lee Palleschi (Cold House Vodka). public and the trade to taste offerings from small boutique brands, as well as some of the big boys.�����All of the artisanal guys have such great stories,��� Geary, the event promoter, pointed out. ���We thought there���d be a great place in the market for this.���

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