Updates from the Chicago USBG Chapter
Last week, we had the first Chicago USBG chapter meeting of the year, as well as the first informal mixology competition. This was a great opportunity to reconnect with friends in the chapter, and also hear about the goings on.
- Bridget Albert developed some cocktails that will be served at one of the inagural balls tomorrow night, and she was asked to go to DC to oversee the bars at the event. Congratulations Bridget!
- The USBG is implementing a more formal certification program, somewhat similar to the Master Sommelier program. The roll out starts this year, and formal testing will be required to advance to the various levels.
- There are some great cocktail competitions coming up, and many of our members will be participating. Chicago is hoping to increase our presence in the national and global scene in the coming year. Peter Vestinos has won a couple of competitions recently, and a newcomer, Zack, won the informal competition after the meeting (sorry, I didn't get his photo - the photo at right is another member, Benjamin from In Fine Spirits).
As most people who spend any amount of time in Chicago come to realize, many things are a bit crooked here. This week, a press release came out from the TTB, which is the federal agency that regulates the manufacture, distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages on the federal level. It seems they imposed fines on all of the big distributors in Chicago, as well as several of the smaller ones, to settle alleged trade practice violations. Interesting, although somehow I don't think $800k collectively is that much to these companies, and I wonder if it's really much of a deterrent to future violations.