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.
About the Solomon Family
The Solomon Family — led by Gary Sr. and Martha, and their sons, Gary Jr., Sam Mickal and Conway — has been a leader in New Orleans’ philanthropic community for over 30 years. Following in the footsteps of the family patriarch, T.G. Solomon, the Solomon Family dedicates a significant amount of their time and resources to support a diverse portfolio of organizations and initiatives throughout Southeast Louisiana. These include the Emeril Lagasse Foundation,the New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, St. Michael Special School, St. Lillian Academy, the Link Stryjewski Foundation, the University of New Orleans and the Bayou District Foundation. The family manages a venture capital group with more than 30 years of diverse entrepreneurial endeavors and numerous real estate developments. Their primary business is Crescent Bank, which is headquartered in New Orleans.
About Gary Solomon, Jr.
A native of New Orleans, Gary Solomon, Jr. has led the production of many of the country’s most popular events and attractions. As president and co-founder of Solomon Group, he has served as executive producer for major events that include the College Football Playoff and ESSENCE Festival. Under his leadership, the entertainment design, production and management firm has been listed on the Inc. 5000 as one of America’s fastest-growing private companies for the past four years. He has also overseen the creation of exhibits and interactive environments for George Washington’s Mount Vernon, The National WWII Museum and the upcoming Sazerac House. He serves as a consulting producer for Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve on ABC. Gary also co-developed the historic Civic Theatre in New Orleans, and was named to Inc. Magazine’s prestigious “30 Under 30: World’s Coolest Young Entrepreneurs” list. Since 2011, Gary and Solomon Group have been a part of Tales of the Cocktail, providing production services for the Spirited Awards, as well as several major brand activations for the world’s premier cocktail festival.
About Neal Bodenheimer
Native to New Orleans, Neal Bodenheimer is the mixologist and restaurateur behind Cure, and Cane & Table in New Orleans. Founded in 2009, Cure is nationally known as a pioneer in the New Orleans craft cocktail movement. In addition to being named one of the Best Bars in America by Esquire, Cure is a three-time “Best Bar Program” nominee by the James Beard Foundation. Neal is also the co-owner of Cane & Table, named one of the Five Best Cocktail Bars in America by Bon Appétit and a “Best Bar Program” nominee by the James Beard Foundation.
About Tales of the Cocktail
Founded in 2002, Tales of the Cocktail has grown from a small gathering of cocktail lovers into the world’s premier cocktail festival. Each year the international spirits industry is welcomed to New Orleans for a week of seminars, tastings, networking events and much more. With 200+ annual events developed specifically for bartenders, distillers and other spirits professionals, Tales of the Cocktail is the industry’s annual meeting place for the exchange of new ideas, products and techniques.