Bartenders Brian Johnson, Jabriel Donohue, Carlos Cuarta, Nick Keane from last year's NW Spirits & Mixology Show
GOING ON A "BEND"-ER: The 3rd Annual NW Spirits and Mixology Show in Bend, Oregon, part of the 11th Annual Bite of Bend, is happening June 29 and 30th. It's a one-of-a-kind show unlike anything else in the Northwest. And Kelly Kerbs, and her company Drink-Think, are the geniuses behind it. I will be making the trip to Bend at the end of the month, as will many other people from across the Northwest, but first I wanted to talk to Kelly about the big show and here is what she had to say:
The NW Spirits and Mixology Show is unlike any other event in the Northwest. What makes it so different?
The NW Spirits and Mixology Show is different because it is the only Show that brings together consumers, distillers, bartenders and buyers at the same event. It's an interesting confluence of industry/consumer that allows everyone that is interested in really great cocktails, along this continuum (from the chemistry of distilling to the marketing and branding of spirits, to the mixology of cocktails, to the home bar tender) to come to the Show and find many amazing things to satisfy their interests.
The entire street is dedicated to craft cocktails correct? What is your favorite cocktail?
Ha! I find something new and amazing every year. That's like asking me to choose my favorite child.
What are some of the state-wide spirits that will be featured at the show?
We're always proud of our partnership with Bendistillery. And one of the very cool features of this event is the mix of brand new distilleries/brands (Wild Roots Vodka, blackberry infused vodka, really lovely) and established brands like Drambuie and Fernet Branca. We are excited about House Spirits coming with their new product, Volstead Vodka. We have several really great Washington distilleries this year, like Batch 206 with their Mad Mint Vodka, and Seven Stars Moonshine. We have Heritage Distilling, with their vodka made from grapes and a really beautiful Soft Gin.. and a new to the state distillery from MI with a Beer Barrel Bourbon - New Holland Brewing…I can go on and on!
What is new for this year's show?
We have simplified the entrance fee and cocktail prices - $10 entrance and you can sample EVERYTHING. Full cocktails from the 3 bars are $5 each. We have the Drambuie sponsored Social Media Lounge hosted by the famous Byron Beck.
I saw plenty of Portland faces the last time I went. Who can I expect to see this year?
Your favorite Northwest bartender will be here, for sure. We are very happy to have Nathan Gerdes (GQ and Bombay Sapphire's Most Imaginative Bartender 2013) as a finalist for the Bartender Brawl, as well as Jake Bliven (Finlandia Vodka Cup USA finalist). You can hang out with Jennifer Heigl of the Daily Blender, Dave Pickerell (former Master Distiller for Maker's Mark), and incredible master distillers from all over the country.
Anything else we should know about the show?
It's a great value and a really good time! The distillers who come to represent their brand are passionate about their product and eager to share their love of the industry and knowledge of the craft. The mixologists who come to work the bars are incredibly creative. You combine those elements with the fabulous Bend atmosphere and its a pretty cool event!
Click here for tickets and more information about this spirited event.