Remembering Maria Pribble
Maria wore many hats in the wine and spirits industry as a brand manager and consultant, but her biggest impact was her lasting friendships.
Last month, we were stunned and saddened to hear of Maria Pribble's passing. Maria was extremely passionate about the wine and spirits industry, working for more than 20 years in marketing, brand management, and as a trusted consultant for both global brands and entrepreneurial bartenders. Her knowledge, expertise, and passion for her work led her to create lasting friendships with many people in the industry — she will be missed.
Tales of the Cocktail would like to extend our deepest condolences to Maria's family, friends and colleagues.
Below, a collection of tributes to Maria Pribbles, from just a few of the many, many people whom she inspired.
"Maria was the driving force behind the success of many of the Brand Ambassadors during her time at Pernod Ricard. In fact, she was instrumental in shaping exactly what it meant to be an Ambassador by helping to define the role in the early days of its inception. Her insight and passion for the spirits industry far exceeded that of any Brand Manager, and her love for the bar community and its wellbeing was unparalleled.
She put her trust in the people around her, which meant giving people like Simon Ford and I the budget to bring our crazy ideas to life. No questions asked.....even when it was against her better judgement. In fact, I would argue that Bartender's Breakfast would have never come to fruition if it hadn't been for Maria. And it certainly wouldn't have lasted for nine years!
Maria was more than just a friend or colleague, she was family. She left a huge mark on my life both personally and professionally, and she will be missed more than she will ever know.
And for anyone who knows her, you know that she is most definitely rolling her eyes right now as she reads this." — Chris Patino
"In truth, I think that I only just started to properly process her loss these last few days. Even now it still doesn't feel real. She was such a big personality that it doesn't seem like something as simple as dying could slow her down. As I write this, I still feel like I am going to see her the next time I'm in NYC." — Erick Castro
"She loved her teams. She loved being called mama bear. She secretly loved her nickname 'The Darkness' (I believe given to her by Jamie Gordon). But even though Darkness was her nickname, she was a softie. She was one of the most sensitive people I know. She cared deeply for people and she was fiercely loyal to her friends. She was one of my biggest supporters, and I felt the same way about her.
I remember one day she called me and said 'I can’t believe you haven’t called me this week.' And I said 'Oh God, I'm so sorry…I’ve been so busy, but I spoke to you like three days ago.' And she said, 'No Rachel, Prince passed. You know how much he meant to me. I can’t believe you didn’t call to check in on me.' And she was serious. I had to halfway feel bad and halfway giggle a little bit. She was a massive Prince fan. So, I made it up to her by taking her to lunch and we were walking down the street and there was a huge Prince mural. I said, 'Okay, I’ll make this up to you. Walk casually past that Prince mural and I’ll take the best photo ever.' She loved it and made it her Facebook mural photo.
I remember another story. We were at Tales of the Cocktail at the Plymouth party at the Aquarium and I had invited my friend Louise to see what Tales was all about. It was the first time Louise had met Maria and she loved her immediately. On our way out, Louise was looking around the Aquarium in awe and Maria looked at me and said, 'If we’re going to take Tales virgins with us, you’ll need to tell them they need to keep up.' I said with a giggle, 'You tell her yourself.' She did. She yelled, 'LOUISE! Hurry up, we have places to be and people to harass. Let’s GO!' Louise hurried up and looked at Maria and said, 'I'm halfway afraid of you and halfway in love with you. Rachel, I think I like Maria more than you now.' Maria giggled, rolled her eyes, and said, 'Okay, okay, let’s go dolls.'
She was a force. She gave me courage when I was with her. I didn’t realize that until she was gone. I didn’t realize that when I walked into any party or event with her, I just had this confidence. I knew that no matter what happened, I had my best friend next to me. If conversation died down with someone, or if I got self-conscious, I would just sidle up to Maria and she would immediately welcome me into the conversation she was having and make me feel like part of the group. There are so many wonderful parts of Maria that I didn’t realize about her until she was gone. Because while she was here, they were so effortless. She never asked for thanks, she never asked for anything. When you were her friend, it was unconditional love (no matter what idiotic things you did). I don’t think I will ever find that type of friendship again." — Rachel Harrison