Ghosts of Spirits Past–and a Spirited Look at the Future!


Every now and then we give over Killer Hooch to some shameless promotion and this is one of ‘em.  Get ready New York, we’re back! Connecticut’s RDP Group is presenting their 2013 Holiday Buying Show, the East Coast’s largest bar, restaurant and retail professional gathering.

The 2013 show takes over the Javits Convention Center in New York City September 9 (noon-6PM) and September 10 (noon-5PM), 2013.  If you remember properly, a few years ago I attended this show not as a publicist, but with a client sponsor, IS Vodka.  Then at the last minute, the CEO backed out of judging a cocktail contest and drafted me to take her place.  I of course honored my client relationship by agreeing, then accidentally saying to press afterwards, “I wasn’t nearly as drunk as I thought I’d be after sampling all those cocktails. “  Yikes.  Memories.

Amazingly, that Bush-era brand’s web site still stands.  It hasn’t been updated in a long time, but it’s still there: and has a new contact listed.

Because I am easily distracted, I thought about looking up some of the brands we’ve represented.  Some are still going strong—Koloa Rum from Kaua’i and Elixir Floral Infusions look great.  This amazing vodka/tequila hybrid we represented from the guy who invented Hpnotiq called “Everglo” it literally glowed in the dark—actually that was just the bottle—seems to be out there, run by a group in North Carolina—and our press materials and photos are still on their site: We made a drink from that called “The Fight Club”—it was Everglo and Monster mixed together. Others are long gone: Sake2me sparkling infused sake, El Grado Tequila, Lotus Vodka (but their unattended web sites limp along and ), Ecstasy Liqueur and the notorious Trago Tequila.  El Grado and Trago won awards after the brands disappeared.  Ecstasy seems to have carried along for a while after defaulting on us and a company site remains:  I can’t find a Trago web site but amazingly, leading distributor Southern Wine and Spirits still carries the brand long after its owner flew the coop (allegedly with a LOT of investor money and a few thousand dollars of mine). Today, I think he’s an international fugitive.  Every couple of months someone calls me looking for this guy.  Most of the time, they want to hurt him, but I don’t know where he is.  His wife did once try and pay for spa treatments with tequila, and sent the facialist to me to pay for them.  Driving home from Santa Cruz last July, we bought gas in a dusty, forgotten burg along the 101.  Up on top of the cooler were two bottles of Lotus Vodka.

Back to the upcoming 2013 Holiday Buying Show: “Timing and location are everything,” says RDP’s Steven Wesler. “We’re dedicated to providing a comprehensive experience at the leading edge of the holiday buying season: from exhibition to education, from tiny hand-craft to mass market, from competitions to charitable efforts.”

The 2013 show features over 400 exhibits with the newest products, services, technologies and ideas for exhibitors and delegates alike to take their businesses to the next level.  Show guests can network and learn from thousands of like-minded experts, brands and mixologists from every corner of the hospitality industry to energize their businesses.

Craft is where it’s at this year: over a hundred new craft and artisan brands will be on display for sampling. Their pronounced presence on the floor this year can be attributed in large part to newly relaxed regulations on distilleries in New York and New Jersey.  In New York, the state relaxed craft distilling regulations in the spring and New Jersey followed suit earlier this month when Gov. Chris Christie signed a law cutting license fees by 90% for craft distillers.

“A craft distillery license brings the manufacturing and distribution options available to New Jersey spirits makers on par with those enjoyed by New Jersey craft beer and wine makers,” said legislation co-sponsor Assemblyman Reed Gusciora (D-Trenton). “Hand-crafting and small batch production has helped New Jersey make a name for itself in the beer and wine markets; and it’s high time we did the same for distillers.”

The show boasts an outstanding seminar series with topics ranging from “Boutique Distilleries” to “Learning how to Make More Profits While Working Less.”  This season the show is proud to welcome The US Drinks Conference with its outstanding lineup of speakers and topics:

This year marks the ninth year of the show’s epic New York International Cocktail Competition and the debut of a number of brands, notably a new Mongolian Vodka: Soyombo. Competitors will create, demonstrate and sample their creations before a panel of distinguished judges in the hopes of winning not only the coveted title, but also cash prizes amounting to $3000.

The SIP Japan Pavilion will feature over sixty brands from Japan with tastings and demonstrations along with education to introduce sakes and shochus to the show attendees.  And this year craft is king, with sampling from the Emerging Brands Pavilion, MHW distributors’ craft and boutique brands Pavilion, the Crafts Spirits Pavilion and Craft Beer Pavilion.

“We’re providing fun along with the serious side of the business,” Wesler concludes.  “We’ve a great kickoff party on the eve of the show sponsored by Shadow Beverages.  We’re looking forward to welcoming the world to New York.”

Finally, the show is showcasing Share Our Strength’s Dine Out For No Kid Hungry, a national fundraising event that helps ensure no child in America grows up hungry.  During the show month, participating restaurants raise funds in a variety of ways to support the No Kid Hungry® campaign to end childhood hunger in America. Founding Partner the National Restaurant Association sponsors the program, along with American Express, Ecolab, ONEHOPE Wine, SCA, Food Network, and Clear Channel. The show urges exhibitors and attendees alike to visit and participate.

Admission for show floor exhibits is $55. Admission for the World-Class Seminar Series, plus Show Floor Exhibits is $140 until August 30th, and $175 after the 30th and at the door. To purchase tickets, visit or call (800) 243-9774.  Use code 1951 for 24% off; press are free.

Show takes place at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center-Hall 1A, at West 38th Street and 11th Avenues, New York, NY 10001. Visit:

Other show sponsors include The Tasting Panel Magazine, MHW, Ltd; Genesis Beverage Brands; SIP Japan; New York Lottery “Quick Draw”; Shadow Beverage Group, Ltd; Soyombo Vodka; Saharas Nuts; Park Street Imports; Bonfun; Royal Moscato Rose; Shiftgig; Prefunc;; Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association; Shakestir; Sociallybuzz; Modern Distillery Age and Smart Bar Products.

Also as an aside I joined this thing called thumbtack to promote my DK alter ego, DJ hoe.  We’ll see if it brings us any more gigs!

So look for me New York next week–drinking on the job!


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