BRATTLEBORO >> On the heels of a cocktail competition considered a total success, more contests are coming.
"Whetstone Station would like to host a beer cocktail challenge within the next couple months and Silo Distillery is interested sponsoring another promotional event," said Drew Kacik, who recently formed Green Mountain Mixology. "We hope to create events to benefit local charities."
The group's mission is to promote local distilleries, bars and bartenders. The idea came when Kacik returned to the area after serving patrons in other bar rooms around the United States. He saw a similar effort while in Florida and hoped to emulate it for the Brattleboro area.
The Nov. 10 cocktail challenge at Duo Restaurant in downtown Brattleboro received "amazing support from the hospitality industry and a local community," said Kacik, and all 85 "sapling passports" created by Jason Lively were sold out within the first half hour. Cocktails were mixed using sapling bourbon provided by Saxtons River Distillery. Contributing hundreds of dollars in merchandise and gift certificates to the event were businesses such as Brattleboro Bowl, Brandywine Glassworks, The Porch Cafe, Latchis Theatre, Whetstone Station, Hazel, Duo, Flat Street Grill, The Marina, Cask & Kiln, Fireworks and Snow Barn.
"It went really well. We had almost 100 people through the door that night," said Kacik. "People have said, 'Why not make bigger biannual or yearly festival out of it?'"
He said the judge panel made up of people from local businesses enjoyed the event but were presented a challenge in choosing a clear winner.
Ultimately, Susan Christiansen of Hazel won first place and received the people's choice award while Snow Barn's Matt Salinsky came in second. Coming in third place was Emma Kondracki from Cask & Kiln.
"It wouldn't have been possible without Lively and Duo," added Kacik.