The Future of Spirits From Tales of The Cocktail Foundation

We recently shared insider intel on how PR helped shape the rise of the non-alcoholic beverage industry, and now we bring you the latest from the also-buzzing alcoholic spirits sector. In an interview via BMF, hear from Eileen Wayner, CEO of the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation, on the nonprofit's mission, what successful brand partnerships look like and the most exciting trends in the drinks category.

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What is TOTCF?

Tales of the Cocktail Foundation is a non-profit based in the U.S.A with a global mission to educate, support and advance the global drinks industry.

What is its mission? 

The Foundation fulfills its mission by working at the intersection of the industry between bartenders, bar owners, brands, writers and hospitality professionals and providing world-class education through Tales of the Cocktail (hosted annually each July in New Orleans); giving grants to individuals and organizations providing solutions to industry challenges; and utilizing its platform for thought-leadership, innovation and championing the craft of bartending.

How might brands collaborate with TOTCF? 

Brands can collaborate in any number of ways, from partnering with the Foundation in providing cocktail competitions for bartenders, funding grants, underwriting the Cocktail Apprentice Program, or supporting the annual gathering of Tales of the Cocktail, where Brands debut products and education for the global drinks community.

What trends are you most excited about in the cocktails & spirits space? 

Hospitality is one of the most versatile and unique professions you can imagine, and the individuals involved are entrepreneurial, creative and adept critical thinkers. Each year, I am excited by the ways the craft is being innovated - from new techniques; premiumization of products; introduction of unique global spirits to international markets; integration of technology into workplaces; a real focus on mental health and wellness (check out the Foundation's Beyond the Bar initiatives); and business practices to make workplaces more equitable.

What are the Spirited Awards & why do they matter? 

The Spirited Awards exist to celebrate and acknowledge excellence within the industry - with categories including U.S. and International bars, bar teams, bartenders and writing. Nominated, evaluated and awarded by industry peers, the Spirited Awards are the top accolades within the industry. Check out the Spirited Awards Directory for more information on recognized honorees and winners globally.

What’s your drink of choice? 

I love a seasonal cocktail, and love to ask my bartender for their personal favorites on the menu whenever I'm traveling. But, if I had to choose one, it would be a perfectly balanced daiquiri. Come to New Orleans, we do those particularly well!

What is the future of TOTCF? 

The future is bright! We look forward to continued investment into programs and projects that position bartending as a sustainable and sought-after career. We are also looking internationally to broaden our impact, and partner with drinks communities on developing meaningful education and resources. And, we are looking to explore ways in which we can better bring the incredible innovation and talent of the drinks industry to consumers.

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