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Craft distillers to gather at Spirits Expo downtown in May

The first ever Los Angeles Spirits Expo will celebrate craft spirits by bringing together distillers, bartenders, bottlers, label makers and the public over two days in May for seminars, tastings and panel discussions.

On May 9 and 10 at L.A. Center Studios in downtown L.A., the expo will host exhibitors serving tastings of small batch spirits, and speakers will offer insight to the burgeoning craft spirit industry.

"It's a forum for producers, where in one place they can discuss the micro-distillery movement that has boomed," says organizer Maricela Lopez. It's a place for new producers coming to market to gather information, Lopez says. How to get a distributor, how to package, how to brand and market.

"Having worked on the marketing side of the spirits industry, I know first-hand the challenges of breaking into the L.A. market and wanted to create a supportive place where those in the business can exchange ideas and learn from each other."

Forrest Cokely, of A Drink With Forrest, will be the head judge of the International Craft Spirits Awards, a spirits competition between participating distillers.

The first day of the event, Friday, May 9, will be open to trade exhibitors and industry attendees only. Seminars include "How Craft Spirits/Micro Distillers Are Making Their Mark in the L.A. Market," "Bottles and Labels," "Social Media and Your Brand," "Alcohol Beverage Laws" and more.

The second day, Saturday, is open to the public. Discussions include "Women in Whiskey," "Tequila vs. Mezcal" and "Mixology: 101," led by Joel Black, founder of Black Lab.

Trade tickets for Friday, May 9, are $75, with an additional $20 add-on to attend the second day. Tickets for the public on Saturday, May 10, are $60 for general admission or $75 for an all-access pass to all seminars. A percentage of proceeds will go to Club 21, a charity organization that provides a support system to families with children with Down Syndrome.

For more information and tickets, go to


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Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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