Trade Engagement

NOLA Trade Trip 2019

This year’s trip saw us take 11 customers from accounts such as Las Iguanas, Hickory’s, Bar Works, and Whiskey Jar. We also had some key accounts from Ireland chaperoned by James Johnstone and Etain Doherty. James also donned some electric shirts and helped host a great group of people.

Our trip started in Louisville, showing the customers some true American BBQ at Silver Dollar and playing some classic American games in a sports bar. We kept it relatively civilised as the next morning we drove down to the Buffalo Trace Distillery. Another fantastic, passionate hard hat tour by Freddie and an in-depth tasting from Drew Mayville. Bourbon Pompeii has started fermenting some experimental mash which will become a limited EH Taylor (name TBC) and we also saw some of the new warehouses and distribution centres. And of course, we viewed Blanton’s being bottled first hand. Always a winning part of the day!

Before long we needed to catch a flight to NOLA!! Just missing storm Barry, we arrived ready for an introductory night on Bourbon Street. Unfortunately, due to a sprint to our connecting flight in Atlanta, our bags didn’t arrive. So, naturally, we went straight out after a quick freshen up!! Pat O’Brien’s housed us for most of the evening and the home Of the Hurricane Cocktail truly delivered. The evening ended with a sing-along in the duelling piano lounge!

The following morning, we blew away the cobwebs and joined the alligators for a swamp tour on the Bayou. The airboat was loud and fast, so the hangovers didn’t last long! Due to the storm, we were the first boat out in a week, and over 50 gators came to say hello. Brilliant experience. And, who knew they feed them marshmallows?!

It was then time to meet Elizabeth Peace, our friend and cocktail historian to ‘Drink & Learn.’ This consisted of a walk around the city drinking the cocktails in the very place they were created, plus an eccentric history lesson too! The evening saw us meet up with the other group hosted by Poppy, Adam, and Al in Bourbon House. Both groups bonded fantastically well over some Whiskies and Fernet’s and a great night was had by all! I definitely didn’t take my shirt off whilst riding a mechanical bull for a bet….

The next day we took the team to see the newly created Sazerac House. A no expense spared, walk-in museum where people can learn about the history of all Sazerac brands. Here, they’re also distilling Sazerac 6yr Old and sending the liquid back to Buffalo to be aged. An unbelievable venue and great to have a base in this amazing city! Not quite open yet but we gave our customers a flavour of what to expect.

Working up an appetite, we enjoyed a Jazz brunch at the iconic ‘Court of Two Sisters’. A favourite amongst people who have been before and thoroughly enjoyed by everyone.

It was then time for some education!!! We attended a ‘Tales of The Cocktail’ seminar called ‘Liquipedia’, fronted by Belvedere and Jake Burger. 90 minutes and 90 facts about booze! Very fun, fast tempo and we all learned some facts too!!

Our Sazerac Partners had an Air B&B complete with a bar and Pool to showcase the newly created Bond & Royal range, which is the craft, premium range of the Sazerac Portfolio in the USA. We took them there in the late afternoon, which was a fantastic way to get all our brands in front of our customers…. and trying them all of course! Great hospitality by the US sales team. We ended the day in House of Blues with some live music and dinner. Just what the doctor ordered!

On the last day we gave everyone some free time to explore the city, buy presents, etc, but were greeted with a tremendous thunderstorm. Ponchos at the ready, most of us set up shop in a sports bar and enjoyed some PO BOYS and relaxed!

Now back in the UK, it’s time to build on the discussions we had, taking inspiration from the USA and replicating in their venues on Tier 1 brands.
Another successful trip, some great friends made and hopefully some loyalty, wherever they move to in the industry.

Tom Hodgkiss

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