As we step into a new year, reflecting on the remarkable journey of 2023 fills us with gratitude. A year marked by innovation, resilience, and a relentless commitment to excellence, 2023 witnessed remarkable strides that fortified our mission to empower, educate, and unite bartenders across the nation. Looking ahead to 2024, we carry forward a genuine sense of excitement and anticipation. The past year's achievements, from educational milestones to celebratory events, have laid a heartfelt foundation, fostering a sense of camaraderie and setting the stage for an inspiring future.
Education Week: Elevating Skills and Knowledge
October 8-14 marked the 7th annual National Education Week, where 25 vibrant chapters orchestrated an educational extravaganza. Over 190 hours were dedicated to enhancing the professional and personal growth of USBG members. From bar techniques to financial advice, sustainability to the art of garnishing, each chapter's dedication shone brightly, illuminating the path for bartenders seeking to hone their craft.
Lead Program: Uniting Educational Seminars
The launch of the Lead Program stood as a beacon of consolidation, gathering online seminars like the “EdCom Presents” Online Seminar Series and National Charity Foundation sessions under one umbrella. Offering insights into "Pisco from Peru" with Kami Kenna, "How to Win a Cocktail Competition" with Nigal Vann, and unraveling secrets "Behind the S.T.I.C.K." with Joseph Fredrickson, this program delivered invaluable knowledge and expertise.
75th Anniversary Celebration: A Milestone of Excellence
In August, the USBG celebrated its 75th Diamond Jubilee Conference & Gala in Phoenix, AZ, bringing together members from all chapters. This momentous occasion featured a lineup of industry-leading speakers and sponsored events that ignited inspiration and camaraderie among attendees. Notable recognitions were awarded during the Gala, honoring outstanding contributions from Pittsburgh as Chapter of the Year, welcoming new lifetime member David Nepove and congratulating volunteer of the year Sherri Jenkins.
Sponsored Returning Programs: Nurturing Traditions
Behind the Barrel made a triumphant return, offering an unforgettable bourbon experience sponsored by Wild Turkey's Jimmy, Eddie Russell, and Bruce Russell. The program, hosting 60 bartenders at the Wild Turkey Distillery, epitomized mentorship and knowledge-sharing. Similarly, World Class saw hundreds of bartenders competing nationwide, showcasing their prowess in developing unique Spritz variations.
Moreover, the Campari Day of Service witnessed an unprecedented 1000 volunteers contributing approximately 7,000 hours to local charities across 48 cities.
Hospitality Assistance Program: A Beacon of Support
The USBG extended its support to hospitality professionals through the Hospitality Assistance Program, providing access to mental health, financial, and legal aid. This crucial initiative underscored the Guild's commitment to the well-being of its members.
Notable Accolades and New Partnerships
Renato Tonelli emerged as the 2023 World Class US Bartender of the Year, gearing up to represent the USBG at the Global World Class Finals.
Reinstating the Atlanta Chapter and Elections Milestone
The USBG Atlanta community is back and busy with an exciting new, committed leadership team and Shannon Evans joined USBG Executive Director, Aaron Gregory Smith to tell us all about it during a weekly Instagram live episode.
Higher member engagement witnessed during the first slate elections marked a new era of involvement. For the first time, all minimum votes needed for chapter and national elections were met. The election of new board members - Nigal Vann, Anu Apte, and Lisa Belczyk - and the appreciation extended to outgoing board members exemplified the Guild's commitment to inclusivity and progress.
Looking Ahead with Optimism
As we say farewell to 2023, we embark on the new year with enthusiasm, aiming to build upon these milestones, foster deeper connections, and continue championing excellence in the bartending community. The USBG stands unwavering in its pledge to support, educate, and empower bartenders across the nation, setting the stage for an even more radiant future in 2024.
Let's raise our glasses to the achievements of 2023 and the promising endeavors that lie ahead. Cheers to the United States Bartenders’ Guild and the vibrant community it represents!