Nominees of First-Ever James Beard “Outstanding Bar Program Award”

SAN FRANCISCO (March 19, 2012) — Campari®, the legendary one-of-a-kind red spirit, congratulates the five final nominees of the first-ever James Beard Foundation “Outstanding Bar Program Award” that were announced at a press brunch in Las Vegas earlier today.  The distinguished nominees are The Aviary (Chicago), Bar Agricole (San Francisco), Pegu Club (New York), PDT (New York) and The Violet Hour (Chicago).  Campari is the presenting sponsor of this new award category that recognizes excellence in cocktail, spirits, and/or beer service.  The Award winner will be announced at the James Beard Awards Ceremony on Monday, May 7, 2012 at Lincoln Center’s Avery Fisher Hall in New York.

This is the first year that bar programs will be recognized along with restaurants and chefs by the renowned Foundation.  The five nominees were selected from among 24 semi-finalists that were chosen by their peers from over 2,200 online entries in this new category.

“Campari, a bartender’s brand for more than 150 years, is proud to honor these five nominees that represent the present and exciting future of bar programs across the country,” said Jason Daniel, Campari Brand Director, Campari America.  “Their commitment to their craft is an inspiration to us and is a level of achievement for all bars and restaurants to emulate.”

“When I began my work with Dale DeGroff in the 1990s, we had a collective vision in which the craft cocktail would gain acceptance as a true, culinary endeavor.  We hoped that each progressive sip by a guest would not only be enlightening, but also truly inspire them to appreciate a well-crafted cocktail as they would a fine-dining experience,” said Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club.  “I am deeply honored to have the Pegu Club nominated for this ground-breaking James Beard Award.  Back then, I had always dreamed of a cocktail revolution, but never imagined that it would ever take place, much less become reality at today’s scale.  In 2012, I see the Award itself not only as recognition of those who aspire to excellence, but equally important, as an acknowledgement of those establishments who both dare to dream and stand firm in their convictions.”

“Coming originally from the restaurant world, it’s a huge honor to be recognized by such a prestigious culinary organization as the James Beard Foundation,” said Jim Meehan of PDT.  “The cocktail world has drawn inspiration from chefs and great restaurants.  Hopefully, this is a turning point not only in cocktail history, but in culinary history as well.  It’s a thrill to be nominated.”

“As bartenders, we’re honored the Beard Foundation is including us along with so many great food and wine professionals,” said Thad Vogler of Bar Agricole.  “We think it’s indicative of a change.  People appreciate when the same thoughtfulness goes into a beverage program as a food menu or wine list.  What a privilege to be a part of such a great event!”

“This nomination means so much to us,” said Jason Cott of The Violet Hour.  “We’re standing on the shoulders of the bartenders and mixologists who revived the craft of the cocktail to its former glory, often without the recognition they deserved.  Without their hard work, passion and ingenuity, we wouldn’t be here today.  We share this honor with our colleagues and mentors.”

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