Industry News

Charles Schumann to Receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 11th Annual Spirited Awards®

Charles Schumann - close-up shot

Tales of the Cocktail® and presenting sponsor William Grant & Sons are honored to announce Charles Schumann as the 2017 recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. This award will formally be presented to Mr. Schumann at the 11th Annual Spirited Awards® ceremony, held on July 22, 2017 at the Sheraton Hotel in New Orleans.

“No one has influenced bar scene in the Czech Republic more than Charles, growing up we studied his books forensicaly like others study bible. In fact, as a young bartender I actually never believed I would ever get the honour to meet the charismatic gentleman, living icon I knew only from media, or advertising campaigns of the biggest fashion houses... The last time I went to Schumman's was 2 weeks ago, Charles greeted us, sat us down, made us drinks and cooked a dinner and that's why I always say: some go to church, I go to Schumman’s!” - Alex Kratena

Charles Schumann’s legendary career began in the 1970’s when, fresh from service as a member of the Federal Border Guard, he attended a college of hotel management in Switzerland. It was here that Mr. Schumann discovered his love for working in the hospitality industry, and, after his graduation, he continued to pursue that passion throughout the rest of his 20’s by working in various nightclubs in the South of France. It was during this period of his life that Mr. Schumann adopted the nickname “Charles,” a name that he has used to identify himself for over 40 years.

“Throughout Europe, ‘Charles Schumann' is a synonym for bartender. He cared about finely wrought cocktails when few did. He wrote new books about cocktails when nobody did. His influence has been felt far beyond his native Germany. And he has done it all while looking like—and often earning a handsome wage as—a model. Most bartenders like to think they’re legendary. Charles actually is.” - Robert Simonson, Drinks + Liquor Writer

In 1973, he returned to Munich and began tending bar at Harry’s New York Bar. Nine years later, he opened the now-legendary Schumann’s American Bar in the Maximilianstrasse 36. The bar quickly gained a reputation as a gathering place for authors and artists, and the bar’s popularity only continued to grow with each passing year. Much of this popularity can be attributed to Mr. Schumann’s dedication to good service and simple, yet high-quality, cocktails.

"I can not overstate enough the influence Charles Schumann and Schumann's Bar had in my professional life. Not only has his book, The American Bar been a constant source of inspiration throughout my career but his approach to hospitality and gastronomy as a whole has paved a way for our lineage of bartenders to have an example to follow and to look up to. For everything that you have done, Herr Schumann, I wish to offer my gratitude and most heartfelt congratulations on the Lifetime Achievement Award. Well deserved and long overdue.” - Dushan Zaric, Principal Bartender & Co-Founder of Employees Only

Schumann today - Schumann in the past

Schumann’s American Bar is far from the only contribution Charles Schumann has made for the cocktail industry. In 1991, he published his best-selling cocktail book, The American Bar, a work that has continued to influence the bartending community around the world since its initial release. In 2010, he collaborated with companied Villeroy & Boch, and Zweisel Kristallglas to release two series of bar glasses. In addition, he has served as a model for clothing designer Baldessarini, and has engaged in multiple advertising campaigns; among them, Campari and Boss perfume. Above all else, Mr. Schumann encompasses the archetype of the stylish and seasoned bartender, and he continues to inspire new generations of bartenders with his lasting influence.

“The first modern bar book I owned was Charles's American Bar, and it gave me an inkling that the elegance and craft I had seen in so many old movies was not entirely vanished from the world. A visit to his bar is conclusive proof that that is the case. Thank you, Charles.” - Dave Wondrich, Senior Drinks Columnist, The Daily Beast

The Lifetime Achievement Award is one of numerous awards that will be handed out at the 11th Annual Spirited Awards® ceremony. Held annually during Tales of the Cocktail®, the Spirited Awards® have become the most highly respected and coveted awards of the spirits industry, recognizing bars, bartenders, writers, ambassadors, and more. For more information about the Spirited Awards®, click here. To view the past recipients of the Lifetime Achievement Award, click here.

About Tales of the Cocktail®

Founded in 2002, Tales of the Cocktail® has grown from a small gathering of cocktail lovers into the world’s premier cocktail festival. Each year the international spirits industry is welcomed to New Orleans for a week of seminars, tastings, networking events and much more. With 200+ annual events developed specifically for bartenders, distillers and other spirits professionals, Tales of the Cocktail® is the industry’s annual meeting place for the exchange of new ideas, products and techniques.

Tales of the Cocktail® also produces a number of other events and programs such as Tales of the Cocktail® on Tour, Tales 365®, Tales of the Toddy® and New Orleans Daiquiri Month, all to further the mission of supporting and growing the international cocktail community.

About the New Orleans Culinary and Cultural Preservation Society

Tales of the Cocktail® is produced by the New Orleans Culinary & Cultural Preservation Society (NOCCPS), a non-profit organization committed to supporting, promoting and growing the cocktail industry in New Orleans and around the world. In addition to offering opportunities to learn and acquire new skills through Tales of the Cocktail® events and Tales 365®, the NOCCPS invests proceeds back into the spirits industry. Since 2008, the NOCCPS has invested more than $600,000 into programs like the Cocktail Apprentice Program, a tuition reimbursement program, the Apprentice medical aid fund, education scholarships and a new health and wellness program for members of the hospitality industry.

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