On November 4th, we celebrated the founding of our chapter with the Salute to 15! Many of our newer members, former counsel, along with the founding fathers looked at the history of our the Las Vegas USBG chapter. The now legendary original members, Livio Lauro, Bobby Gleason, and Tony Abou-Ganim helped bring us back to the beginning of the chapter and while gazing toward the future!
In the scope of human history, 15 years may not be a lot, but for the local F&B scene it has meant worlds of change. Vegas has long been a beverage epicenter where mass quantities have been consumed. It is a 24 hour no-holds-barred town and a party capital with a vast infrastructure built to get people booze fast.
While we had all of those things and including one of the most prolific flair scenes anywhere, there was something missing. The beverage renaissance that had been well under way in other cities had not quite taken hold here. We just needed a spark.
Then entered the USBG…
Along with the prevolent cultural shifts, the United States Bartenders Guild was a key factor in helping spawn our beverage movement. After its inception in 1948, it has spread all over the country with the tenant of reinvigorating our profession. In Las Vegas, it has done just that.
Kristen Schaefer is a longtime bartender & USBG member, current Absolut Elyx ambassador, and the President of our Las Vegas. She is a consummate advocate to the benefits of the guild and she explained “From a social standpoint It looks like many of our members have met new lifetime friends thanks to the guild. From a hospitality standpoint the guild is a motivator for its members and therefore raises the bar.”
The event was there to celebrate that spark. It was held at the new location of Nora’s, which has long been a beacon for finely made drinks and food. Being there, we were all reminded of how far we have come and where we can go.
Many of the founding fathers that have helped shape and inspire us, were there to revel in the moment. Our new USBGLV logo was unveiled, showing the iconic skyline & our new motto, “hospitality first” and members had the opportunity to purchase pins, shirts & the now infamous Fernet coin.
The culmination of the event was a toast and the burying of our first ever Time Capsule! The Time Capsule was buried in the front of Nora’s and will remain underground until November 1, 2031 (15 years). The time capsule contained our current member list, a copy of the very first minutes from the first meeting, photos, cocktail menus, love notes and work cards.
In 15 years, we will rejoin with past and then current 2031 members to unveil what was encapsulated. There will be many cocktails, a lot of food and even more stories to be had; it will be a part of USBG history!
Kristen Schaefer, our now outgoing president, spoke to it’s significance, “It was little surreal. I didn’t quite realize the magnitude of what was happening until it was happening. We made history that day. For all of us, it was pretty powerful.
Looking ahead we have much to be excited about. We have more products, access to knowledge and desire to do it right, then we ever have. Our city is at the precipice but we must keep moving forward.
Founding father, Livio Laurio had this to say, “We will continue to set the bar for the nation. The hospitality of our bartender members and the service provided to guests are just as good as any other major city; but Vegas displays an unmatched level of humility and positive attitude.”
Kristen expounded on this point, “I am proud of our city and the camaraderie it has built over the past few years. We still have a ways to go, but as someone who travels a lot, there is no city in the world that compares to Las Vegas when it comes to passion, encouragement of each other and a yearning to be the best! I have no doubt that the fire has been sparked and the new council will continue to feed the flame. They are already proving that with their plans for AZCW and Slinger. I am excited to see what comes next!”
While it was a truly amazing day and it was a great chance to look back at where we were and where we are going. It gave us a chance to reflect and give thanks, pay homage to our forefathers.
With the sun shining in the Western sky, we could feel the connection to the great lineage. The founding members, former and current counsels have all been an inspiration to us. I want to thank all of the members for making our chapter great and especially for the council who have given their blood, sweat and tears to the guild and to our profession. Kristen, Raul, Cody and Adam have made us all proud! And cheers to all members past, current and future, and to the passion that lies within! We will see you at the Holiday party!