The first month of 2016 is about to end and while it went extremely fast, we had a lot of fun. Every January, we begin the year with a multi-day company retreat. We discuss the previous year and present our plans for the coming one. We also visit our industry friends at night after a long day of productive meetings. Everyone leaves the retreat looking forward to the new year and with an understanding of what each team member will be focusing on. This year we decided to hold our retreat in San Francisco! So many great industry friends, delicious restaurants, and amazing bars. Thank you for all of the hospitality!We also participated in a few events around the Bay Area this month. We kicked off the year with Martini Madness where top Sonoma bars competed for the title of "Best Martini". This annual event is in conjunction with the Sonoma Valley Olive Festival and this was the 15th year of Martini Madness!Next on our event agenda was the sold-out Science of Cocktails held at The Exploratorium in San Francisco. A complete take-over of this massive venue showcases beer, wine, and spirits as well as some of the most unique ways of serving them that you could ever imagine courtesy of the top bartenders in the area. Our educational activity this year took a look at the science behind the barrel maturation of spirits and we were serving up a delicious Barrel Gin cocktail thanks to SF bartender and Spirit Works friend Zack Gray.
Our final January event was the sold-out winter CUESA and USBGSF event held at The Ferry Building in San Francisco, titled Art of the Modern Cocktail with the SF MOMA. Each bartender was allowed to select a spirit to work with and a modern work of art. The artwork was meant to both inspire the cocktail they developed as well as the table decoration the night of the event. Max Gerasimenko chose to work with our Straight Rye Whiskey creating a wonderfully unique flavor experience by combining the whiskey with pear, kiwi, lemon, and dill. This cocktail, Sheer Force of Dill, went on to become the runner-up of the night as selected by the events 500+ attendees from over a dozen cocktails.