Tales of the Cocktail is under new management and the cocktail community has lots of questions. Today, an email blast from the organization’s new leadership tried to provide some answers to those questions. Check out the takeaways and the fun text below.
Tales of the Cocktail is now officially Tales of the Cocktail Foundation. TOTC is now TOTCF. In case readers missed the change, the roughly 750 word letter made certain to employ the new moniker and initials a total of 15 times combined.
Patience is a Virtue
Industry folks and enthusiasts alike want to know, “What’s up with Tales?” The new team is not oblivious to this rampant curiosity. The letter begins “First and foremost, Thank you all for your patience as we gain our footing.” At several other points in the following text, the authors acknowledge the public anxiety even commiserating, “We are all anxious for what is to come.” The words offer not so much an apology for the pace, but an explanation of the work that transpired outside of the public eye.
Lots of NOLA
The event, itself, has always been intrinsically linked to the City of New Orleans. It looks like the current crew plans to strengthen that relationship even more. The email declares two official goals for TOTCF. “The Foundation ”will be dedicated to educating, advancing and supporting our industry and New Orleans, the city that TOTCF calls home.”
The memo also stresses that the new group the past few months on a listening tour. And, apparently it worked. The text hit on a several key issues in the industry right now. “You will hear a lot from TOTCF about fostering diversity and inclusiveness, addressing sexual misconduct, discussing addiction and substance abuse, and supporting sustainability,” stated organizers. “These are leading issues in our industry, and we are developing platforms for them to be diligently addressed as well as offering significant resources across these areas. It is important to us that you know that we are passionate about working with you to generate best practices in these areas.”
Old Tales always operated a foundation, but the emphasis always seemed to be on the festival. New Tales appears to be taking the opposite tact, placing the foundation above the event. The first step in that direction was today’s announcement that TOTCF will give away $250,000 this year.
The grants will be awarded through an application and review process. The winners will be announced during Tales at an event called, “State of the Trade.” The review committee has not yet been formed.
Lots of Questions Remain
The email read as well intentioned, but there are numerous specifics to fill in. Beyond the grants, what will the new conference look like? The leadership team acknowledged as much and asked for continued. “We are the first to admit that there is a lot of work to be done in the next couple of months before the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation will host you in New Orleans,” began the final paragraph of the letter.
Check out the full text below.
First and foremost,
Thank you all for your patience as we gain our footing. We have hit the ground running and while reorganization is a slow process, we are excited to share what we have been able to achieve thus far. Each of us at Tales of the Cocktail Foundation (TOTCF) understands that everyone is curious and eager to learn what changes will come with new leadership. The opportunity Tales presents is simultaneously overwhelming, challenging, and most of all, spectacular. We are all anxious for what is to come.
In the two months since we acquired Tales, we have been working earnestly to develop the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, while simultaneously using six of those weeks to plan and execute Tales on Tour in Edinburgh to allow us to engage with the international spirits community in a meaningful way. Every day we are making important decisions about the future of the Foundation, and we hope that this letter is the first small step towards a culture of transparency.
This letter is being written on the heels of a great event in Edinburgh. We walked into TOTCF with Tales on Tour consisting of four events and seminars. We listened to the community in Edinburgh, the UK and domestically; and the event blossomed into over 60 experiences spread across the city of Edinburgh, Scotland. The three-day event highlighted the Edinburgh and international spirits community; with seminars, guest shifts, demonstrations and lots of celebration of the people who make up our community. It’s this spirited and collaborative approach we will bring to New Orleans.
Much of our time since February 15th, 2018 has been spent talking to our community. We felt it was important to take time to consult with as many friends and industry professionals as we could to ask for thoughts on what needs to change and where Tales needs to go to remain relevant, motivating and effective. Throughout these conversations we each strived to hear your feedback and hopes for the future of Tales. Now our job is to take this tremendous amount of consulting and turn it into meaningful change. We understand that the expectations for the future are high and during this time of transition, we believe that it is critical that our actions are thoughtful, obtainable and meaningful.
What are we able to reveal now?
We are proud to tell you that the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation will be dedicated to educating, advancing and supporting our industry and New Orleans, the city that TOTCF calls home. As a non-profit, we will aim to stimulate and promote the thought leaders of our trade. We are committed to supporting others who share this vision and those who are willing to do the work to move our industry forward.
We find it necessary to say that our work will be done inclusively and transparently. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation strives to be a thought leader, not an authority. We aspire to educate, advance and support our industry not in isolation, but with the help of our community.
So, what does it all mean?
How will this commitment manifest itself? Most notably, a new industry grants application process launched today. The grants committee, whose inaugural members will be announced shortly, is being formed to approve applicants and guide where TOTCF’s fiscal support will be focused, who it reaches and how your donations are spent. We are thrilled to award $250,000 in our inaugural year and invite you to the State of the Trade at Tales of the Cocktail in July, where we will award our grant recipients.
The Foundation is also in the process of launching nearly two dozen new initiatives for this year. You will hear a lot from TOTCF about fostering diversity and inclusiveness, addressing sexual misconduct, discussing addiction and substance abuse, and supporting sustainability. These are leading issues in our industry, and we are developing platforms for them to be diligently addressed as well as offering significant resources across these areas. It is important to us that you know that we are passionate about working with you to generate best practices in these areas.
We are the first to admit that there is a lot of work to be done in the next couple of months before the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation will host you in New Orleans. Each of us at the Foundation is excited for the changes to come and are working tirelessly to ensure we can deliver. Again, please do not hesitate to contact us — we welcome your questions, comments, and feedback.
Thank you all for your time and we look forward to sharing more soon.
Caroline Rosen, Executive Director
Tales of the Cocktail Foundation
Gary Solomon, Jr., Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors
Tales of the Cocktail Foundation
Neal Bodenheimer, Co-Chairman of the Board of Directors
Tales of the Cocktail Foundation