The 14th annual festival celebrating craft cocktail culture is right around the corner.

For all the lucky bartenders and industry professionals spending their time in New Orleans this week for Tales 2016, we’re incredibly jealous. It’s one of the biggest events of the year, and for those attending, there’s a lot of ground to cover. From all the exciting craft vendors showing off new products to the Moscow Mule competition, let’s get you up to speed on all the events we think you shouldn’t miss at this year’s festival.

Bitters Market

Tuesday (July 19th) to Saturday (July 23rd), 9:30am-6pm; Hotel Monteleone (Lobby)

A growing staple of the festival is the Bitters Market. With over 30 bitters makers from all over the world showcasing their products all week long, it will be a must-visit for connoisseurs and professionals alike. Some of the new brands attending this year include Bitter Girl Bitters, Hella Co. and The Apothecary Bitters Company, amongst other exciting companies.

Sustainable Spirit Awards

Wednesday (July 20th), 2pm; Hotel Monteleone (Front Steps)

This might seem like a blip in the schedule, but the first-ever Sustainable Spirit Awards mark a new focus toward green practices within the industry. If you care at all about the environment and want to see what you and your establishment can do to have a positive impact, you should make sure to attend the award ceremonies and chat with some of this year’s recipients like Tin Roof Drink Community and White Lyan.

Spirited Awards

Saturday (July 23rd), 6:30pm; Sheraton New Orleans

The 10th anniversary of the Spirited Awards have been boiled down to its final four nominees for each category. Every single nominee is deserving of mention and high praise, but we shall have to find out on Saturday who gets the nod and is recognized as the best in the industry.

Year of the Mule Cocktail Competition

This last one isn’t an event, per se. However, a perennial part of the festival is sampling the Tales of the Cocktail Official Cocktail, the winner of this year’s Cocktail Competition. 2016 was centered around the classic Moscow Mule, with the winner being announced this past May as El Burro Catalan by Angel Teta from Ataula in Portland, Oregon. If you’re seeking a bold, fresh take on the Mule, try it out at a couple spots around town and let us know how it is.

For more news on the latest industry trends and tips on how to improve your beverage program, subscribe to the blog below. And feel free to regale us with your Tales of the Cocktail experiences in the comments section.

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