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On this NOLADrinks Show with Bryan Dias, we cover the annual Southern Regional Meeting of the United States Bartenders’ Guild held this year in New Orleans. We talk about this event and with several folks involved with presenting and putting it on. Much of the theme of the show is sharing things that go on in the bartending world that you “may not see” or normally associate with it.

Pictured above – one of the more fun and lighthearted seminars at the meeting, participants in a mock game show, “With You in a Minute,” were asked to rank the order in which they would deal with issues and problems at the bar. Other seminars included media training, parliamentary procedure, and prevention of sexual violence in the industry.

NOLADrinks Show – 4-27-17 – United States Bartenders’ Guild Southern Regional Meeting

We start things off on the show talking about the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (or “Jazz Fest”) that kicks-off this weekend and runs through next weekend. We also talk about this weekend’s Jazz’n the Vines concert at Pontchartrain Vineyards.

We then begin our coverage of the Southern Regional Meeting of the United States Bartenders’ Guild (USBG) hosted by the New Orleans Chapter (USBG NOLA) at the Ace Hotel. Each year the various regions in the country have an annual meeting that brings leaders from each chapter to talk shop. We interview many members of the organization in attendance about what they do, their programs, and how this event involves things that many may “not see” from the industry. This includes career development, addressing social issues, developing media skills, and more. It’s certainly not just making cocktails and having fun!

Our first segment has us interviewing United States Bartenders’ Guild Executive Director, Aaron Gregory Smith, along with the USBG NOLA chapter’s Vice President and proprietor of Twelve Mile Limit, T. Cole Newton. We talk a bit about the organization and what it does as well as what they look to achieve at a regional meeting like this.


We then talk with Felecia and Scott Mayer regarding their participation leading a seminar and panel discussion on preventing sexual violence in bars and the industry. This is an issue that we discussed on our show on March 2, 2017 with Mark Schettler and Molly Bird of Proof Positive Project who also participated on the panel. Also, joining the panel were an officer of the New Orleans Police Department and a nurse with University Hospital who focus on this area. Felecia, a counselor that specializes in sexual violence, and Scott, Director of Brand Advocacy and Education for Fratelli Branca, discuss the issue, understanding the unique challenges that the bar “space” presents, and things that can be done.

Please note – we filmed the entire presentation (pictured above left) and it will be made available in the coming days on our YouTube channel and website. Be sure to check the site and our social media for news on when that is out.

Our next two segments feature chats with industry professionals, first, Jason Coleman, Brand Ambassador for Sazerac Rye and then, second, Star Hodgson, USBG National Membership Committee Chair and Brand Ambassador for Mezcal El Silencio. With both Jason and Star, we discuss certain directions bartenders and others can take in their careers beyond bartending. Jason also presented a seminar on the subject at the meeting.

We close out the coverage with Nick Bazan, proprietor of the Little Gem Saloon, which hosted one of the meeting’s lunches. The establishment is situated in the Central Business District and is a music venue, restaurant, and bar that opened about 5 years ago with a focus on presenting local music and honoring its strong history and tradition in the city. It’s location, in an historic building at the corner of South Rampart and Poydras, sits in the part of town where most recognize as the birthplace of jazz. We talk about this, some of the history involved, the few remaining buildings in the area connected to this important American art form, and the Little Gem Saloon’s role in carrying on the tradition.

We end the show with some more info and thoughts on the meeting. We also, briefly, discuss some thoughts on what we’re trying to accomplish on the NOLADrinks Show and how what we do is different than much of broadcast journalism and lifestyle programming. We hope you check it out and stick with the show!

Below the map the features some of the locations highlighted on the show, you can subscribe to, stream, and download the NOLADrinks Show with Bryan Dias podcast. Tell a friend!

Cheers, You All!

~ Bryan

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