Tales of the Cocktail, the industry event which has had a rough year and whose founders were recently ousted, is about to have a new owner, reports Todd A. Price at NOLA.com. The Solomon family — owners of theaters in the city and region-wide — has signed a letter of intent to buy the event and turn it into a non-profit, with proceeds to benefit both the city of New Orleans and the hospitality industry.
Gary Solomon Jr. — who runs the Solomon Group, the event company that has worked with Tales of the Cocktail — told NOLA.com that the intent to purchase was spurred by the family’s desire to create a non-profit. The family is partnering with Neal Bodenheimer, co-owner of cocktail bar Cure.
Tales of the Cocktail — the multi-day festival of alcohol industry insiders, which has 15 years in NOLA under its belt — has had a decidedly bumpy 2017. In March of this year, founders Ann and Paul Tuennerman faced criticism after footage of Ann Tuennerman in Zulu blackface (with racially insensitive comments from Paul Tuennerman) was posted on Facebook. After backlash, apologies, and the addition of a Diversity Council, both founders resigned from Tales of the Cocktail.
The last update from Tales of the Cocktail noted that the future of the event was uncertain; an influx of energy and ideas from the Solomon clan (in addition to its shift to a non-profit) may be able to turn things around for this troubled event.