July 25th, 2008

Tales – the reckoning, part 2

As I had hoped, Tales – the reckoning has generated some feedback, both positive and negative, both online and off. Some people have appreciated my honesty in pointing out some of the problems with this year’s event, and some have called the post too negative. This is my response to the latter group.

First, there is no doubt that Tales is a whopper of an event to plan, and it takes a ton of dedicated people, many of them volunteers, to pull it off. I never intended to diss those people — hell, I’m one of them. Playing my own small part as a volunteer, I gave a presentation about Tales at a Boston travel show this winter, spent time organizing my panel on media coverage for the bar and spirits industry (I even brought with me to New Orleans the bottles of Amer Picon required for one of my recipes), and helped promote Tales both through drinkboston.com and the Tales Blog. All of what I wrote about Tales up to “the reckoning” has been positive. And it has been honest.

So it would have been dishonest of me, after the dozen or so posts I have written about Tales and New Orleans, not to report on the flaws that occurred this year. They could not be ignored. And just to make sure I wasn’t a lone, pissy voice in the blogosphere, I solicited comments in order to get multiple, honest takes on the matter from others who attended. I hope the comments keep coming. Because if you take the time to comment, it’s probably because, like me, you appreciate that Tales is the premier spirits event in the U.S., and you want it to keep being as awesome as it has been in the past.

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2 Responses to “Tales – the reckoning, part 2”

  1. laura

    i like your honesty drinkboston it needed to be said. i love tales of the cocktail if i lived out of state i would come back just for this event and i want it to live up to the hype that it gets worldwide. i feel like new orleans bar scene is lacking compared to big name cities as evident in the spirit awards no new orleans bar or bartender was up for anything i hope that will change soon. i appreciate ann and paul for being the brainchild of tales.

  2. k. montuori

    Too negative? On the contrary, I think you and others have been most forgiving over what was an organizational nightmare. Changing session days without notifying people who already had tickets? (Indeed, changing session days at all after a schedule is published.) A conference room 14 floors up with two elevators? Standing room only? If it were a $100-all-you-can-see deal that might be OK; paying $45/session to have rooms filled up with (free) press-pass holders is pretty much intolerable and, honestly, insulting to people who paid to attend.

    (Those are first hand observations. The stories I heard about how the apprentice program was being run would make anyone blush.)

    The Tales folks clearly need to hire a conference organizer to put it all together and run the show. They also need a venue that’s appropriate for the crowds the conference draws. This is not a big event by any means, managing it correctly would not be difficult for a professional. It’s nice that Ann’s really dedicated to cocktails, but there’s a wide gap between “enthusiastic” and “competent.”

    Barring some big change, next year “attending Tales” will be as it’s been in the past: head to NOLA and hang out with everybody but ignore the actual conference. It’s just as much fun. k.

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