New owners have taken over the Tales of the Cocktail festival in New Orleans as it prepares for its second Edinburgh outing this April.
The company is now in the hands of New Orleans native Gary Solomon Jr, founder of the Solomon Group entertainment and philanthropic ventures, with the support of the Solomon Family along with Neal Bodenheimer of cocktail bar Cure and restaurant Cane & Table in New Orleans.
They have formally taken over from Ann and Paul Tuennerman who co-founded Tales of the Cocktail 16 years ago. They decided to step away because of ongoing controversy after New Orleans’ Zulu parade last year.
Tales on Tour in Edinburgh takes place from April 7 to 10, with tickets going live on February 27. The initial list of seminars has already been announced.
Over the last two months, co-chairmen Gary Solomon Jr and Neal Bodenheimer have been doing due diligence, listening and visiting people within the spirits community to gather critical feedback so they can breathe new life into Tales of the Cocktail.
They plan to put an emphasis on educational elements throughout the multi-day event in New Orleans each July in addition to a focus on enhancing the attendee experience.
They want to make it more accessible to everyone in the spirits industry with hopes to keep it alive for years to come, not only for the bartending and spirits community but the city of New Orleans as well.
To oversee the organisation, Tales of the Cocktail has appointed Caroline Nabors Rosen as executive director. She was previously executive director for two years for Chefs Move!, a programme providing two scholarships per year in culinary arts and pastry arts to minority residents of the Greater New Orleans area.
She also served as director of the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund and managed the “Milk Money” micro-loan programme to support food producers within 200 miles of New Orleans.
As president and co-founder of Solomon Group, Gary Solomon Jr has served as executive producer for major events that include the College Football Playoff and Essence Festival. He has also overseen the creation of exhibits and interactive environments for George Washington’s Mount Vernon, The National WWII Museum and the upcoming Sazerac House cocktail museum in New Orleans. Gary also co-developed the historic Civic Theatre in New Orleans.
Since 2011, Gary and Solomon Group have been a part of Tales of the Cocktail, providing production services for its international Spirited Awards, as well as several major brand activations for the festival.
The Solomon Family – led by Gary Sr and Martha and their sons, Gary Jr., Sam Mickal and Conway – has been a leader in New Orleans’ philanthropic community for over 30 years. They also manage a venture capital group that has supported entrepreneurial businesses for over 30 years.