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Tales of the Cocktail re-affirms non-profit structure with new owners

Published:  22 February, 2018

Tales of the Cocktail has new owners following the resignation of founders Ann and Paul Tuennerman at the end of last year.

The New Orleans festival, which gathers spirits and cocktail enthusiasts from around the world annually, has been bought out by locals and Tales of the Cocktail Foundation board members Gary Solomon Jr., head of production company the Solomon Group, and Neal Bodenheimer, proprietor of the cocktail lounges Cure and Cane & Table, who have also committed to donating $250,000 over the next year to prominent causes.

Prior to the sale, there were fears that the festival might be bought by out of town investors, but the move means the festival will stay in its hometown following this year’s event in July.

Today, the Solomon family, which is well-known in the New Orleans business and philanthropic communities said the purchase will re-establish the event as a permanent, revenue-producing nonprofit organisation to fund different causes – as well as continuing to offer a meeting opportunity for the world’s spirit and bartender community.

Caroline Nabors Rosen has been appointed as executive director as the new owners said they intended to “breathe new life” into the troubled show.

Tales of the Cocktail rose to international prominence after being founded in 2002, but has come under fire in recent years over its non-for-profit status and an outcry over a racially-charged social media post.

The incident led to the founders’ resignations, but became an entry point for broader complaints about Tales of the Cocktail, such as the inclusivity of the event, and resulted in the Tuennermans announcing they were selling the company.

After beginning as a walking tour of New Orleans bars, the event has expanded at home and overseas, including the sister show Tales on Tour which is due to return to Edinburgh in April this year.