Philip Duff steps down from Tales of the Cocktail

1st March, 2019 by Amy Hopkins

Spirits expert Philip Duff is stepping down as director of education at the Tales of the Cocktail Foundation (TOTC) to spend more time working on his Old Duff Genever brand.

Philip Duff has been TOTC’s director of education for six years. Picture credit: Greg Buda

The foundation’s education programme will now be managed by global education committees, recruited by Duff and its board of directors.

The foundation and Duff together decided that “democratising and diversifying” TOTC’s approach to education would “position it for future growth and success”.

TOTC, famous for its flagship annual cocktail festival in New Orleans and Tales on Tour events, was turned into a not-for-profit organisation last year after it was acquired by two local entrepreneurs: Gary Solomon Jr and Neal Bodenheimer.

The acquisition followed a series of controversies surrounding TOTC’s founders Ann and Paul Tuennerman.

“When Gary Solomon Jr and Neal Bodenheimer took over Tales in February 2018, I promised them I would deliver the seminars for at least two more editions of Tales of the Cocktail and Tales on Tour, so that they could get it back on an even keel,” said Duff.

“With the slate of seminars for 2019 approved by the board [on 28 February], that promise is fulfilled, so I am stepping down to spend more time on my burgeoning Old Duff Genever brand, on my Liquid Solutions on-trade education agency, and not least with my wife and step-daughter.”

Duff, who acted as TOTC’s director of education for six years, said he looks forward to attending the shows “as a presenter, as a sponsor, and as a cocktail lover”.

Gary Solomon Jr, co-Chair of Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s board of directors, added: “Philip Duff has served as Tales of the Cocktail’s first ever director of education for the past six years and has been instrumental in bringing 500+ Tales seminars to life over his tenure.

“The foundation is incredibly grateful for all of Philip’s contributions. He has advanced the way Tales approaches education and has set the bar incredibly high. We look forward to formally honouring him at The Spirited Awards during Tales in July.”

TOTC’s new education committees have curated this year’s education programme around three themes: business, culture, and beyond the bar.  After reviewing hundreds of proposals, the committees have selected 77 seminars.

Tales of the Cocktail will take place in New Orleans on 16-21 July 2019.

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