Booze Banter

Spirits Confidential Philadelphia

Some days it’s okay to have a little hangover. Today is one of those days.

Some days it’s great to be a Booze Dancer. Yesterday was that day.

Last night our friends at Beam Global invited us to join them at a fabulous event they hosted at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia.  The event brought together Master Distillers and Brand Ambassadors from Beam’s core spirit brands and associated brands for a night of tastings, good food, great stories, and a little spirits education.

The evening started with a VIP panel which featured “confidential” tales told by distillers, ambassadors, and master mixologists representing the following brands:

The panel was more fun stories than facts and education, but was a fun way to start the evening.  The highlight of the panel were the stories told by Bill Samuels, Jr. of Maker’s Mark.  Bill’s tales of his history in the family business and the bourbon industry were hilarious!  Bill could do a traveling show where he just told his stories, and people would line-up to see it.

After the panel presentation we were left to explore brand tables, sample some unique cocktails, and grab a bite to eat.  Along with the brands listed above, there were tables representing Courvoisier, EFFEN Vodka, Skinny Girl Cocktails, Connemarra, Kilbeggan, and Laphroaig.

Some tables had great ambassadors where we could learn more about each brand’s offering, and others were just opportunities to taste new things.  All together it was a fantastic event and a lot of fun.  Highlights from the night include:

  • Best Ambassador – Bill Samuels, Jr (Makers Mark) — hands down Bill was the hit of the panel and fun to speak with at the Makers Mark table.
  • Best New Spirit – Knob Creek Rye — Look for this hitting the PA/NJ area around June or July.  If you like the sweetness of Bourbon, the bite of Scotch, the Spice of Rum, and the herbal notes of Gin this may be your new “go to” drink.  I am sure we’ll have a detailed review soon.
  • Best Swag – Maker’s Mark’s hand dipped shot glass — very cool!
  • Best Discovery – Thatcher’s Organic Artisan Liqueurs — these are not the sickeningly sweet liqueurs used by “Woo Girls” for making shots, but botanical infused flavor bombs that are great to add deep layers of herb and fruit flavors to any cocktail.
  • Best Booze Dancer Performance – G-LO — He bested all the Boozer Dancers and some other notable spirits experts in a nosing contest matching 6 of 8 spirits to their brand based on smell and color alone.  For his efforts he won a mini Beam Barrel autographed by all the ambassadors. Then I stole it from him!

Overall, the event was a lot of fun. The only thing I would change/add to this event (and most other spirits events) is to have some take away handout with a recap of the brands that were there, their offerings, and recipes to the cocktails that were offered.  After sampling a couple dozen spirits I can’t be expected to remember everything!

Thanks to Beam Global for including us in the event and to all the Ambassadors for their time, stories, and knowledge.

11 replies »

    • It was a great time from start to finish. As I noted, I would only add some kind of takeaway from the event so I could follow-up on the things I enjoyed. It could be as simple as a website to follow-up and link to the distillers, download cocktail recipes, etc.. This isn’t a knock on this particular event but more an observation of all spirit and brew events. They rarely have something that wraps up the event, be it printed or virtual materials. If this was an event to showcase Kraft Food products or Coke’s new line up you can be sure that we would have left with product info or been direct to a website to “learn more”.


      • I agree with G-LO, nice recap. And, along the lines of wrap ups, would it kill these guys to hand out hats or shirts. A bunch of happy, walking billboards has got to be cheaper than print or TV ads.


      • They gave us tons of booze and food so I am not going to complain about not getting a hat but I know you like the swag.


      • LOL! Laphroiag was one of the eight, and I did indeed guess correctly. Did well with that, tequila, rum, and cognac. The Bourbon was more difficult since the flavor profile is relatively narrow. Only had 60 seconds afterall.


        • What no jammy sod comments? I thought for sure this would be the ideal situation to use that one. And, it is a good thing that you did not splash any bourbon up your nose!


    • ee bah gum, I’m getting stereotyped on language usage already 🙂

      I’m even more impressed now I hear you only had sixty seconds, that only gives, what, 8 seconds per glass? i can barely get past the “Crap that’s alcohol” feel in that time!

      ya jammy sod 🙂


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