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Biz Mix – Bar 16 at the National Restaurant Show


September 22, 2016   |   By Mike Raven

 

This year’s Beverage Alcohol Restaurants Show, BAR 16, was another smashing success! in the Mix covers the event annually and we want to share some of the highlights from this past May’s Sunday and Monday events.

Top right: Billy Dec, CEO/Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, was the BAR 16 keynote speaker. He actively oversees the creation of bar programs for Rockit’s wildly successful see-and-be-seen night- clubs, sophisticated bar and grills, casual dining and sports bars. Attendees heard how Dec collaborates with his team to develop killer concepts built around award-winning cocktail innovation, standout branding, and chef-driven menus – and how his team motivates him to invest in cutting edge bar programs that elevate the customer experience and his company’s profits. Right: On Sunday, the Star of the Bar Regional Finalist Cocktail Demos was the main event. Six mixologist finalists showed their secrets behind the drinks and sampled the creations that earned them the top prize during their regional competitions. All the finalists presented their drinks to the panel of industry judges and a new winner of Star of the Bar was crowned. Baron Stelling of Paragary’s Midtown and The Shady Lady mixed up “The Stag Savior” to win the San Francisco regional. His blend of Jägermeister with gin, lime juice, grenadine and apricot liquor, topped with dashes of bitters and absinthe, won him the title of Star of the Bar!

Top right: Billy Dec, CEO/Founder of Rockit Ranch Productions, was the BAR 16 keynote speaker. He actively oversees the creation of bar programs for Rockit’s wildly successful see-and-be-seen night-clubs, sophisticated bar and grills, casual dining and sports bars. Attendees heard how Dec collaborates with his team to develop killer concepts built around award-winning cocktail innovation, standout branding, and chef-driven menus – and how his team motivates him to invest in cutting edge bar programs that elevate the customer experience and his company’s profits.
Right: On Sunday, the Star of the Bar Regional Finalist Cocktail Demos was the main event. Six mixologist finalists showed their secrets behind the drinks and sampled the creations that earned them the top prize during their regional competitions. All the finalists presented their drinks to the panel of industry judges and a new winner of Star of the Bar was crowned. Baron Stelling of Paragary’s Midtown and The Shady Lady mixed up “The Stag Savior” to win the San Francisco regional. His blend of Jägermeister with gin, lime juice, grenadine and apricot liquor, topped with dashes of bitters and absinthe, won him the title of Star of the Bar!


The main stage seminars were loaded with insightful current trends. Here are some highlights.

 

1.  Catching Up with Cocktails
World-renowned bartender Charles Joly, owner of Crafthouse Cocktails, hosted the session. He showed why a fresh, intelligent cocktail program should be an integral part of your business.

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2.  Hops and Highballs: Beer Cocktails
Whitney Morrow, Beverage Manager of Drumbar, demonstrated the techniques you need to put a new spin on beer service.

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3.  Breaking into Craft Beer
Breakthru’s Master Cicerone, Dave Kahle, gave an overview of the craft beer certification process and led a tasting of some local favorites.

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4.  Small Bar Program, Big Profits
Scott Koehl, Bar Manager of DMK Restaurants, shed light on how to maximize profits when working with a smaller bar program.

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5.  Tipsy Teas
Chef Nate Cayer, of I|O Godfrey, taught the tricks behind turning tea into a perfect potable when blended with complementary spirits.

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Reality Gets Real:  Chef Robert Irvine and Jon Taffer

History was made at the NRA Show as its first-ever, 100 percent crowd-sourced session was held, featuring Chef Robert Irvine of “Restaurant: Impossible” and Jon Taffer of “Bar Rescue.” Chef Robert Irvine and Jon Taffer, both wildly successful in their own right, spend their days visiting restaurants and bars that are in trouble and lending their expertise, experience and passion for the industry to help operators turn around their businesses.

They’ve seen it all and then some. Chef Irvine and Mr. Taffer came together to discuss the common pitfalls they have seen, and how to identify and address them before they become critical. They also provided perspective on what it takes to pull an operation back from the brink of failure. They shared anecdotes about the incredible diversity they’ve experienced in the industry, reminding us all why hospitality is our calling.

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Above: Of course, the after-hours action was world-class. The official after-party of NRA Show and BAR, Restaurants Rock, gathered hundreds of hospitality pros for an epic Chicago night of drinks, dancing and live music by American Author.

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