Beverage Blowout is the creation of Precision International CEO, Lisa Riggins. We caught up with Lisa to go behind the scenes and discover how the idea for this first of its kind, large-scale, experience was born. “Over drinks, of course”, admits Lisa, with a laugh. Managing a full-service event marketing company requires long days, and even longer nights. After one such killer day, Lisa and a few friends were relaxing over cocktails and, voila, a casual conversation lead to the plan for an annual Las Vegas Premier Beverage Industry event; it would celebrate the finest mixologists and key players in the industry while featuring the best beer, wine and spirits on the market.
A love for the culinary arts lead Lisa to study as a Chef, but she soon realized she had a knack for running the front of house in restaurants. Lisa acquired extensive food and beverage knowledge, and while she enjoyed being part of a team, she began to develop an urge to run her own business. An entrepreneurial spirit, coupled with natural organization and management skills, drove Lisa to form her own company—a marketing and promotions agency that would bring brands to life through samplings, parties, corporate events, and special occasions.
Fast forward to 2012, and Lisa is in a prime position to create an “event to showcase why Las Vegas is the center of the cocktail world and grow to give everyone who has ‘poured’ their hearts & souls into this industry the recognition it deserves”. We dropped in on Lisa during a typical day at the office, and what we found was, there is nothing typical about her days. “We work from home to give ourselves flexibility and we do have other work besides this event. At least a couple of times a week we have to remind each other to eat, sleep or take some time off.” In fact, what Lisa is looking forward to most about the event, isn’t the awards gala, comedy roast, pool party or education component; according to the multi-tasking, force of nature, what she’s most excited about is, “When it’s over and I can sleep again. That, and meeting all of the amazing people with whom this event has given me the opportunity to work”.
Beverage Blowout is not merely an occurrence, but a series of events composing a unique and varied experience. We posed the question about how she developed the well balanced and rich schedule of happenings, and Lisa let us in on the process:
“We selected the awards gala first because Las Vegas needs it and Tony deserves a Lifetime Achievement Award. I’m sure he’ll get more, but we wanted his first to come from here. The idea for the roast was from a source that prefers to remain nameless (so not to incriminate him or herself) but has given me such amazing support and wonderful ideas—and I couldn’t be more grateful. With only 300 seats available for the gala, we wanted the rest of the events to be available to a wider audience; the pool party is open to the public (and free if people register on the website) so the industry will be able to showcase its magic to everyone. The classes just happened during the course of the planning–I’ve counted so much on the expertise of Livio Lauro, Armando Rosario and Drew Levinson in planning this event, and since they all work hand-in-hand with the USBG, the education piece just fit. The pub crawl is Tony’s brain-child. We’re hoping for a great turn-out and want his class & crawl to sell out. 100% of the proceeds of those two events will be donated to The Helen Davis Memorial Fund, as well as a portion of the proceeds of the other events. The Helen David Memorial Fund is a new charity Tony is working on launching this fall to help those in the bar industry affected by breast cancer.”
Celebrating Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist, was one of the driving inspirations for Lisa in creating Beverage Blowout. His career accomplishments have served to encourage many working in the industry, and no doubt have motivated more than a few novice drink mixers to become masters themselves. We wondered if honoring Mixologists that have made a significant impact through their craft would be an ongoing component of Beverage Blowout going forward. Lisa assured us, “As long as there are people devoting their lives to the industry, we’ll do it! The nomination committee is made up of local industry giants. They will make the decision going forward and I’m hoping that each year the Lifetime Achievement Award winner from the prior year will agree to be on the committee.”
The Las Vegas Strip is heralded world-wide for its incomparable selection of five star restaurants. Many of the most well renowned chefs in the world have one, if not more, restaurants here in Vegas. It is the culinary magnet of the world. While Lisa appreciates the allure of fine dining that the Strip holds, she also appreciates the less glorified, but just as cherished, eateries off the Strip. As she explains, “The little dive bars that couldn’t find a martini glass or muddler if you asked them to, can create some of the greatest experiences & memories. To me, mixology means that passionate, creative people have, through a combination of education and training, elevated their bartending into an art form–it’s like the difference between karaoke & professional singing: karaoke has its charms and will never go away. There are legions of die-hard and sometimes very talented fans just like the pubs & dives & local watering-holes.” She goes on to say, “That’s why I’m so glad we are downtown for the event! It doesn’t always get the recognition it deserves. We’re going old-style Vegas for the daytime events, and then showing off the ‘new downtown’ at the awards gala. It’s the great Las Vegas locations that locals know and love that are the stars of this event.” The hip epicenter of our revitalized Downtown, The Plaza, will host the seminars and pool party. The swanky soirée and comedy roast honoring Tony Abou-Ganim will be held at upscale event space, MEET Las Vegas.
And if you were wondering, yes, there are still sponsorship opportunities available for this year’s debut event. Feel free to inquire via social media, or email email@example.com, to find out more about how your brand can be involved. Viva Las Vegas!