August 2016 came and went, but we still couldn't get more than one item to exhibit for the Matsumoto Craft Festival. Time kept slipping through my hands and we were facing the deadline for submitting exhibit items to the organizer of the event. Geez, what shall we do? We can't just display the rum! That's when a light bulb sparkled in my head. What if we changed the original concept, which was setting up a SLC booth, to something like a Sister City booth which allows us to include both elements? What if we come up with a cocktail using fruits from Matsumoto and the rum from SLC?? Wouldn't that be cool?
The craft spirits market is huge now in the United States. Over 3020 micro distilleries were established in the past 10 years. Importing Spirits is a lot easier for me, and we might be able to source few more local spirits from SLC if we were lucky!
So, I consulted with the Matsumoto City of Commerce people, explained our situation, the challenges we were facing and what we could do. They liked my idea and encouraged us to take that direction, the Sister City Booth. So we made approaches to few other distirellies in SLC and I bought a few cocktail books, and experimented with trying to come up with a Matsumoto-SLC cocktail recipe. I'd been to a cocktail school when I was younger, so coming up with a cocktail recipe or two shouldn't be so hard, right?
Well, of course creating a new cocktail was not easy and here I was facing another wall.... That was when my boss suggested that we should hire a bartender for the event. Yes! That's a brilliant idea! I talked with the City of Commerce people and they said they would see if they could find someone local for the event.
Meanwhile, my boss found few unique craft spirits like vodka, tequila, spiced whisky, and herbal spirits. So we communicated with those makers and crossed our fingers hoping to get documents in place for some of those spirits before the Event. Also, I would need to start preparing materials for making and selling cocktails, things like plastic cups, ice, drinking straws, fruits and so on. I'd never exhibited at a food related event and felt a bit lost as to where to go to get this stuff and how much I would need for the event, how to deliver the things to the booth, and what would happen to the left over products and supplies if we couldn't sell all of it. I didn't have much time to spare for this event because there were so many other things going on at work.
That was when I got a call from the City of Commerce office, telling me that they found an award-winning bartender who runs 2 bars in Matsumoto. He has won several world class competitions and is a leading bartender in the area. He knows and hires quite number of bartenders and that was why the City of Commerce people went to him, hoping he would recommend someone for this event. They didn't expected that he would actually help our booth, yet he decided to step up to work with us? Wow, that's great! Luck was still with me, I guess. I must go to Matsumoto and meet with the bartender! (To be continued...)