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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Portland Cocktail Week wrap-up

Volunteers set up for a whiskey tasting.
Portland Cocktail Week (PDXCW) is over, and now it’s time for reflection.  PDXCW was first organized two years ago by Lindsey Johnson of Lush Life Productions and bartender Dave Shenaut.  This celebration of craft cocktails and cocktail culture is “organized by bartenders, for bartenders,” and has a friendly, informal vibe.  PDXCW has doubled in size every year.  When I asked Lindsey how much she expected attendance to grow, I was surprised that she expressed misgivings about the event getting much bigger.  At the current size, she knows most of the people who are involved, and she is accessible to just about anyone who wants to talk to her.  If too many people start coming, PDXCW might change and become more like some of the larger, more commercial, cocktail weeks.

My posts have told you about a lot of the fun at PDXCW, but bartenders also come to the cocktail week to improve their craft.  Local Oregon Bartenders Guild is a chapter of the US Bartenders Guild.  All 34 chapters of the USBG were represented, with attendees traveling to Portland from 26 states for a total of around 500 bartenders.  Many bartenders also volunteer.  Volunteers are a key contributing factor to the success of PDXCW.  Volunteers help set up for tastings and events and pick up afterwards so that classrooms may be turned around quickly.  There were always volunteers available to pitch in and do what needed to be done.  

PDXCW has plenty of sponsors that provide support, sponsor events, and provide food and drink for tastings and other events.  On the sponsors’ page you will mostly see brand logos, but behind many of those brands are large corporate sponsors like Diageo and Pernod Ricard.  In addition to the sponsors, other craft bartenders devote days or weeks to develop seminars on topics referenced in other posts like molecular mixology or cocktail photography.  Camper English of Alcademics organized two days of seminars called the Drink.Write program on cocktails and writing with, of course, some tastings and fun thrown in. 

My apologies if any significant contributors were missed or if credit was misattributed.  Please let me know and it will be corrected.

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