New Orleans natives, Gary Solomon, Jr., founder of Solomon Group, with the support of the Solomon Family and Neal Bodenheimer of Cure and Cane & Table, two of New Orleans’ most beloved bars and restaurants, have formally taken over Tales of the Cocktail (TOTC), the beverage industry’s premier cocktail and spirits festival and non-profit, from original co-founders Ann and Paul Tuennerman.
To oversee the organization, Tales of the Cocktail has appointed Caroline Nabors Rosen as the executive director. Rosen previously served as executive director for two years overseeing Chefs Move! A program providing two scholarships per year (in Culinary Arts and Pastry Arts) to minority residents of the Greater New Orleans area to attend a nine month program at the International Culinary Center (ICC) in New York City. Rosen also served as director of the Aarón Sánchez Scholarship Fund while also managing the “Milk Money” micro-loan program helping food producers within 200 miles of New Orleans grow their business and become valued suppliers for grocery stores and restaurants in South Louisiana.
With Solomon’s experience in event production, the Solomon family’s deep-rooted philanthropic work in the New Orleans community, Bodenheimer’s 15+ years in the cocktail industry, and Rosen’s knowledge of the non-profit sector, the team plans to grow TOTC into a resource that directly benefits the spirits industry as well as the city they call home. The New Orleans Culinary & Cultural Preservation Society (NOCCPS), will be rebranded as Tales of the Cocktail Foundation and commits to giving $250,000 to causes that support the spirits community in its first year.
Following TOTC 2018, a grant subcommittee will be formed of representatives from the spirits and cocktail industry who will oversee the donation process and where the funds will be allocated. The organization will strive to increase education access, diversity, inclusion while also addressing other issues impacting the industry, including sexual assault and addiction.
Over the last two months, co-chairmen Gary Solomon Jr and Neal Bodenheimer have done due diligence listening and visiting those within the spirits community to gather critical feedback needed to breathe new life into TOTC. Solomon and Bodenheimer plan to put an emphasis on educational elements throughout the multi-day event in addition to a focus on enhancing the attendee experience, making it more accessible to everyone in the spirits industry with hopes to keep it alive for years to come — not only for the community, but the city of New Orleans as well.
“Tales of the Cocktail has become one of the essential components to the New Orleans tourism industry,” commented Mark Romig, President and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, the city’s official leisure travel promotion organization. “Tales highlights not only New Orleans’ preeminent place in the history of cocktails, but it also holds an important role in helping to ensure a successful summer season for the tourism industry. I’m thrilled the Solomon family was able to partner with Neal Bodenheimer and provide the resources necessary to keep Tales in its hometown. I can’t imagine what would have happened if we lost it.”
The Solomons alongside Bodenheimer and Rosen would like to thank the president of TOTC, Melissa Schoen, and the entire Tales team for their dedication during the transition. Tickets for Tales on Tour in Edinburgh go live on February 27th and future details to follow for the 2018 New Orleans event.