2018 Guest Speakers
Sessions are included with your ticket price and will be taught by local bartenders and industry celebrities.
Austin Polley – General Manager of Westward and Executive General Manager of Huxley WallaceAustin’s love of hospitality and the guest experience is the foundation of his career. He’s one of those guys who has had every job in a restaurant from back of house to front of house and everything in between – and he digs it! With a passion for bivalves, Austin loves to educate guests on this mysterious and exquisite creature.
BELINDA KELLY - Happy Camper Cocktail CompanyBelinda is the owner of the Happy Camper Cocktail Company, a "garden to glass" cocktail caterer in Seattle, WA. Previously a technical recruiter, Belinda created HCCC in 2016 with the goal of disrupting the mobile bar service industry. Since launching, her company has won accolades, top clients, and national press. She recently launched Simple Goodness Syrups with her sister, farmer Venise Cunningham, to meet demand demonstrated by event clients to re-create garden to glass cocktails at home, simply. With duties spanning from cocktail creation and testing, to event production and marketing, Belinda is a busy and well hydrated individual.
LEW BRYSON - author Tasting WhiskeyLew Bryson has been writing about beer and spirits since 1995. He was the managing editor of Whisky Advocate from 1996 through 2015, where he also wrote the American Spirits column, and reviewed whiskeys. He is currently a Senior Drinks Writer for the Daily Beast, and a columnist for All About Beer and the new American Whiskey.
Bryson is the author of Tasting Whiskey, a broad survey of the whiskeys of the world. He has also written four regional brewery guidebooks and won the 2008 Michael Jackson Beer Journalism Award. He has served as a judge for both the American Craft Spirits Association and the Great American Beer Festival.
MARTIN C. DUFFY - U.S. Brand Representative for Glencairn CrystalDuffy is also a Whisk(e)y Educator, and has held the titles of DIAGEO Sr. Master of Whisky, Diageo Reserve Spirits Brand Ambassador for the Republic of Ireland, National Brand Ambassador for Benedictine French Liqueur, and is the co-producer of the annual Chicago Independent Spirits Expo. Over the years, Martin has conducted master classes at such top spirits events nationwide, plus teaches an on-going course on Irish whiskey. In 2014, Duffy was selected by Chilled Magazine as one of their top 100 Drink Industry Influencers in the US. In 2016, Forbes Magazine selected Duffy as one of 4 of the top professionals in the whiskey industry.
PETER CHRISTENSEN - Bar Manager of WestwardPete is a total drink nerd! His is product knowledge and education within the Seattle spirits industry. At Westward, Pete leads the beverage component of their oyster shucking classes and offers his insight into oyster and booze pairings that sizzle.
TOM JOHNSON - AROMA ACADEMYTom Johnson is a communications consultant and former bartender based in Louisville, Kentucky. In his role as a trainer for the Aroma Academy, he has taught thousands of people how to properly nose and assess fine wines and spirits. He holds an advanced certification from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust in London and was the Plumpjack Fellow for the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers in Napa Valley.
Based in Scotland, the Aroma Academy trains drinks professionals to separate, identify, and articulate sets of characteristic aromas present in wine, Bourbon, Scotch and Irish whisky, gin and rum.
Venise Cunningham - Simple Goodness SyrupsVenise Cunningham is a real estate agent specializing in farm properties, the owner of Simple Goodness Farm, and co-owner of Simple Goodness Syrups. She left the corporate world in search of literally greener pastures, and after several years of growing garlic, began growing cocktail-ready herbs and flowers to sell to The Happy Camper Cocktail Company and other local bars. An active member of the local farm community, Venise sources ingredients for Simple Goodness Syrups from her fellow farmers, so that customers can experience “garden to glass” tastes at home. Venise’s motto is to “feed your dreams and starve your fears.”