Throughout the past year attendance of Tales of the Cocktail was discussed through hushed tones amongst friends and even then it was a little taboo to be speaking about it. Making the financial commitment of an entire week in New Orleans has never been easy but with everything left so uncertain this year was harder than ever. Unfortunately those who turned away really missed out as the event was a huge success as always and I have to say I enjoyed myself more this year than ever before. BUT WHY?
Sure, some of the big players were missing and so were many of the attendees, but what happened as a result, was an event focused on quality, and they nailed it. A big part of why it was the best year yet, was that Beautiful Booze hosted their first ever pop-up at Tales with the help of Windsor Court Hotel and G.H. Mumm, serving delicious, Beautiful Booze cocktails to friends new and old. The space was beautiful, the cocktails delicious and the company fabulous, what more could you want.
Hopefully this was the result of Beautiful Booze being recognized and legitimized from the big wigs, but I think the truth is that this year the team putting everything together was more open to the smaller companies having a go. With the controversy over the 18 odd months prior, which I will not go into, it seemed like the new management were more open to suggestions and this allowed a lot of people who did not have the budget previously to get in on the action.
One of the major issues we and many industry friends have faced at previous Tales events was signing up for an event through a brand or an intermediary company and getting to the door only to not have your name on the list and either fight your way in (with words of course) or just walk away. I don’t know if it was at the instruction of the new management or the brands themselves, however, this year we didn’t have any issues at all with this. I mean, our names were missing once or twice but because there weren’t millions of other attendees trying to shove through the door the hosts were just making a note and allowing us in.
The events seemed more intimate this year; even the bigger ones, and I think this is because we were able to find (bump into) our friends more often. With less events going on everyone seemed to be at the same events and with fewer attendees running around it was easier to spot friends in the crowds. I’m sure over the next few years Tales will grow to the size it was in 2017 but I really hope it doesn’t; 2017 was crazy. There were plenty of good times to be had, but this forced reset seems to be exactly what the foundation really needed to gain back some respect as bizarre as that sentence may seem with everything that transpired.