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Food & Drink

Behind-the-Scenes at the San Antonio Cocktail Conference

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Like all mix and mingle functions, the Cocktail Conference takes much more work than meets the eye

Photo: , License: N/A

Look for local talent leading daytime seminars

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In previous years, Ware recruited a team of five people to hand-juice product a la minute. We’re talking late nights and even later mornings of constant juicing. The addition of a commercial Zummo juicer and several volunteers this year should help speed this up.

If this sounds like an incredible attention to detail, it is, but Ware and co. are determined for SACC to go off without a hitch. “A lot of people that help were part of that initial Bohanan’s crew … We don’t want it to falter,” Ware said. “Even if the conference is a national event, it’s a San Antonio event.

We’re all tied to it. If it looks bad, we all kind of look bad.”

Crunch Time

In the days leading up to the event, the most important conference ingredient will start being delivered and stored within a participating hotel: the booze.

“It’s just like walking into a Twin Liquors store,” Rabb laughed.

The sponsoring distributors allot specific amounts of liquor to each event. As the conference gets a hold of attendance numbers, distributors are better able to reduce waste (is there such a thing!?).

For spirit makers like Jason Kosmas, co-founder of NYC’s famed Employees Only bar and his own line of alcohols, The 86 Company, being a part of the conference in Texas means zeroing in on a thriving market.

“We launched our company in Texas. It’s exactly what our company is about … democratizing the ability to make great drinks. [The SACC] is the perfect medium and there are a number of progressive thinkers there,” Kosmas said.

The rest will fall into place, as each committee member checks off to-do lists tacked on the conference’s makeshift office, or “war room,” wall, at Bohanan’s. As the conference approaches, nights in the war room usually don’t end until the next morning.

“Going into a huge event, there’s always so much going on, so many T’s to cross,” said Flores, who usually handles audio/visual needs during the seminars between the hotels. Other tasks include making sure more than 9,000 pieces of proper glassware are ready and guaranteeing presenters will be able to make it.

Hiccups during the conference have included reassigning class-goers to new seminars when presenters failed to make their flights or setting up parties when brand ambassadors are M.I.A.

“You know it’s going to be long nights and you’re going to be tired and not get a whole lot of sleep, but you keep going back knowing that you’re putting on a great event for people,” Flores said.


San Antonio Cocktail Conference

January 16-19
$10-$45 screening, classes
$75-$125 parties
(210) 245-6964,

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