Industry News

Tales of the Cocktail® Announces Red Coat Apprentices for 2017

two red coats setting up for a seminar
The Red Coats are first-time apprentices in Tales of the Cocktail's Cocktail Apprentice Program.

NEW ORLEANS, LA—May 11, 2017—Tales of the Cocktail® is proud to announce the new apprentices joining the Cocktail Apprentice Program (CAP) for this summer’s Tales of the Cocktail® 2017 in New Orleans. Sponsored by Pernod Ricard, this program gives 40 accomplished and up-and-coming bartenders the opportunity to learn alongside some of the world’s most respected bartenders and cocktail experts as they work the seminars and large-scale events at Tales. These first-time apprentices will be joined by an experienced group of veteran apprentices, who will use their previous apprentice experience to lead this year’s program. Throughout the festival, apprentices can be identified by the color of their chef coats: white for managers, black for assistant managers, grey for leaders, and red for first-time apprentices.

“BarSmarts, Pernod Ricard’s best-in-class bartending program, is proud to sponsor The Cocktail Apprentice Program for the fourth year in a row,” says Shawn Kelly, Director of Advocacy – Spirits Marketing for Pernod Ricard USA. “The CAP program not only gives excellent training and networking at Tales in New Orleans but it really builds a family for a lifetime. The bonds are there forever. It truly is a unique program.”

This year, the incoming class of Red Coats hails from 19 states and 10 countries, including Kenya, Greece, China, Canada, and the Cayman Islands. Apprentices were selected from a highly competitive pool of applicants based on recipe submissions, teamwork skills, and their level of experience within the industry. The team was selectively chosen in order to promote global diversity and ensure that a balance exists between newer and more experienced professionals.

“Our selection committee did an incredible job in picking a group of first-time apprentices that represents the future of our industry,” remarks Ann Tuennerman, Founder of Tales of the Cocktail®. “Each apprentice is bringing a unique set of skills and experiences that will help us bring our more than 200 events to life.”

Developed in 2008, the Cocktail Apprentice Program offers skilled bartenders the chance to work alongside industry veterans in the high-volume environment at Tales of the Cocktail®. By working directly with seminar presenters, program apprentices hone their skills while simultaneously learning about both the history and future of their craft. After the festival, apprentices are able to apply their new skills to their home and work environments, making the experience of being a CAP member a long-term investment. In addition to technical skills, the valuable professional connections and the team camaraderie fostered during the event have been consistently praised by former members as the most valuable assets the program has given them.

“I cannot describe how honored, thrilled and, to be honest, terrified I am to be accepted as a CAP Red Coat,” enthuses Mark Vierthaler, Bar Program Manager for Boot Hill Distillery and Bar Manager at Imbibe! at the Depot Theater in Dodge City, Kansas. “Having worked within the bar industry in a rural area of the United States, it can sometimes be difficult to receive hands-on training to improve the experiences of our bar patrons. I'm eager to learn, grow and connect with the best and the brightest of the cocktail industry this July. I'm even more excited to find ways to bring this knowledge back to Dodge City to help grow our reputation as a culinary and cocktail destination in western Kansas.”

After Tales concludes, CAP members will be eligible to apply for the Cocktail Apprentice Scholarship Program. Founded by Tales of the Cocktail®, the Scholarship Program has annually helped former apprentices pursue further learning opportunities for the past 7 years. After undergoing a rigorous selection process, former apprentices are selected to receive funding for a wide variety of projects, from those designed to further their career to those designed with intent to educate the cocktail community.

“Receiving my CAP acceptance letter will forever be one of the most memorable and exciting moments of my career,” says Ashley Danford from gall Negro in San Juan, Puerto Rico. “To be selected for a program that places an emphasis on knowledge, community, fellowship, and service is an incredible honor. I'm looking forward to being pushed outside of my comfort zone and playing whatever part I can in making this year one of the best Tales of the Cocktail yet!"

For more information about the CAP, including bios of this year’s team and information on how to apply for next year, please click here.

2017 Red Coat Apprentices:

Hagay Abramovitz, French 57, Tel Aviv, Israel

Sarah An, The Normandie Club/The Walker Inn, Los Angeles, California, USA

Richard Beltzer, Bad Hunter & The Drinkingbird, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Justine Bock, The Bike Shed Theatre, Exeter, Devon, United Kingdom

Catherine Cannon, Smallman Galley, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA

Samantha Casuga, Dead Rabbit, New York, New York, USA

Jenee Craver, ITV Philly, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Ashley Danford, Gallo Negro, San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA

Keith Foster, Area Four, Boston, Massachusetts, USA

Dylan Hammer, Empire State South, Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Sandeep Hathiramani, Stockton, Hong Kong, China

Alexandros Kechagiadakis, "Ark" cocktail bar & restaurant Glyfada, Attiki, Glyfada, Greece

Melissa Kim, Spiral, Lansing, Michigan, USA

Scott Kitsmiller, Broken Shaker & Bad Hunter, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Kelsey Lappa, Boleo at The Kimpton Gray Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Patience Atswei Laryea, Burger and Relish, Osu, Accra, Ghana, Africa

Darren Leaney, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Alex Lerman, The NoMad Hotel, New York City, New York, USA

Bob Louison, Bob's Speakeasy Bar, Seoul, South Korea

Fair-Rose Louverture, Baby Jane, Miami, Florida, USA

Carl Parker Luthman , The Eddy , Providence, Rhode Island, USA

Elliot Manthey, Spoon and Stable, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

AlexLynn Marrone, BlackTail, New York, New York, USA

Juan Meyer, Z Hospitality Group (Eastend / Mediterraneo/ Terra / Sole / Aurora), Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA

Kassandra Montano, Le Bon Temps Roule and Santos , New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Mary Palac, Paper Plane, San Jose, California, USA

Jamilah Payne, Red Hospitality Staffing, New York City, New York, USA

Aubry Robinson, No Anchor & The Walrus and the Carpenter, Seattle, Washington USA

Trish Rossiene, Kimpton Seafire Resort and Spa, West Bay, Grand Cayman, Cayman Islands

Eric Scott, Parker's Downtown, Cleveland, Ohio, USA

Stella Snyder, Finch's Brasserie , Bloomington, Indiana, USA

Aiste Valiukaite, Hilton Garden Inn , Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire, United Kingdom

Vanessa Victoria Lim, N/A, Singapore

Mark A. Vierthaler, Boot Hill Distillery, Dodge City, Kansas, USA

Katy Wade, Voltaire, Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Yvonne Wairimu, Pernod Ricard Kenya, Nairobi, Kenya, Africa

Paige Walwyn, Stage Left and Catherine Lombardi Restaurants, New Brunswick, NJ, USA

Will Young, Spoonbar!, Healdsburg, California, USA

Priscilla Young, Smith & Kings, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA

Benjamin Zorn, Pondicheri Cafe, New York, New York, USA

2017 White Coat Apprentices:

Don Lee, Cocktail Kingdom, New York, New York, USA

Cris Dehlavi, M Bar and Restaurant, 
Columbus, Ohio, USA

Trevor Kallies, The Donnelly Group, Vancouver British Columbia, Canada

Nathan McCarley-O'Neill, NoMad Bar, New York, New York, USA

Ciaran Wiese, The Last Word, Queens, New York, USA

Laura Kelton, Bad Hunter, Chicago, Illinois, USA

John Deragon, New York, USA

2017 Black Coat Apprentices:

A-K Hada, PDT, New York, New York, USA

Robert Murphy, Vol. 39, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Scott Tipton, Bread and Butter Concepts, 
Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Dean Hurst, R&D Hospitality, Tampa, Florida, USA

2017 Gray Coat Apprentices (*New Gray Coats):

Alexandra Belton, The Aviary,Chicago, Illinois, USA*

Cameron Brown, Cactus Club Cafe KYC, Kelowna, British Columbia, Canada*

Aidan Bowie, Dandelyan, London, England, UK*

Jodi Calderon, The Normandie Club, Los Angeles, California, USA

Jason Coleman, Sazerac Brand Ambassador, New Orleans, LA, USA*

Justin Duffin, Celeste, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Joy Flanagan, Armsby Abbey,Worcester, Massachusetts, USA

Ka'ai Fong, Andaz Maui, Wailea, Hawaii, USA*

Yorgos Gigis, Barflies, Odori Vermuteria Di Atene, Athens, Greece*

Juyoung Kang, The Dorsey at The Venetian, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA

Jessica Lambert, Boleo & Vol.39 at The Kimpton Gray Hotel, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Jeff Lichtenberger, Extra Virgin, Kansas City, Missouri, USA*

Leah Majalca,The Last Word,Queens, New York, USA*

Samantha McCulloch, Niche Food Group, Cleveland-Heath, St. Louis, Missouri, USA*

John Nugent, Lily & Bloom, Hong Kong, China

Berit Jane Soli-Holt, NoMad Bar, New York, New York, USA

Andrea Tateosian, Urbana, Washington, DC, USA

Angel Teta, Ataula, Portland, Oregon, USA

Taeeun Yoon, Alice Seoul, Seoul, South Korea

Adil Yamin, Prime & Proper/Townhouse, Detroit, Michigan, USA*

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 exchanging 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 Daiquiri Season, 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 the proceeds back into the spirits industry. Since 2008, the NOCCPS has invested more than $886,000 into programs like the Cocktail Apprentice Program, a tuition reimbursement program, the Apprentice medical aid fund, educational scholarships and a new health and wellness program for members of the hospitality industry.




INSTAGRAM: @tales_of_the_cocktail





Ann Tuennerman, 504-948-0511,

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