No Return For Manhattan Cocktail Classic

Ticket holders emailed word of cancellation with one day's notice.
Manhattan Cocktail Classic 2013 gala/ Photo by Virginia Rollison.

Organizers of the Manhattan Cocktail Classic, in a move similar to the ill-fated Fyre Festival debacle, canceled the high-priced, six-day New York City cocktail conference one day before it was scheduled to begin.

The event was to run May 11-17, with actor Bill Murray set to host a black-tie gala at Central Park’s Loeb Boathouse. Tickets were priced from $275 to $350. Spirits industry veteran James Moreland, previously Bacardi’s Bombay Sapphire ambassador, was leading the group putting on the event. Moreland did not respond to a request for a comment.

“Due to circumstances beyond our control, we regretfully have to suspend the Manhattan Cocktail Classic and all of the events associated with it,” the organizers said in an email sent to ticket holders on Wednesday. “It is our intention to reschedule the events in the near future.”

MCC’s website says tickets will be refunded in full.

Chocolate, BBQ and Cocktails Event Still on Track

The sole event to continue is A Decadent Afternoon of Chocolate, BBQ and Cocktails on May 13 at the Highline Ballroom. It is hosted by The Cocktail Guru, Inc. with tickets priced from $55-75. Tickets are no longer being sold on the MCC site.

The event has changed management many times since its inception in 2009, when it became best-known for a splashy annual gala hosted at the New York Public Library.

MCC was founded in by Lesley Townsend Duval, who ran the event for several years. It was taken over by promoter J.D. Albano in 2014, who canceled the 2015 event with one month’s notice. It lay fallow until the current organizers attempted to resurrect it.

Consumers, as well as spirits brands, expressed disappointment with the cancellation. William Grant & Sons, parent company of Hendrick’s Gin and Drambuie, planned to sponsor an event in Harlem associated with MCC, but that event was canceled as well.

“New York City has long been an important and favorite market for the brands of William Grant & Sons,” Charlotte Voisey, director of brand advocacy for William Grant, said. “This week’s news from MCC does not change our commitment to that.”

New York will not be without a cocktail conference for long, however. The organizers of Germany’s Bar Convent Berlin has announced plans to launch Bar Convent Brooklyn in June 2018 at the Brooklyn Expo Center.

Published on May 12, 2017
Topics: Cocktail Week
About the Author
Kara Newman 
Spirits Editor

Kara Newman reviews spirits and writes about spirits and cocktail trends for Wine Enthusiast. She's the author of several cocktail books, including Shake.Stir.Sip. and NIGHTCAP: More than 40 Cocktails to Close Out Any Evening, which debuts in September 2018. Email: spirits@wineenthusiast.net




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