The second-annual Chicago Style, a series of lectures and workshops centered around creating a more equitable beverage industry, returns this May!
BY ASHLEY RODRIGUEZ
BARISTA MAGAZINE ONLINE
Photos by Jackie Rivas
Last year, we got to check out the inaugural Chicago Style, a new conference focused on promoting equity and inclusivity in the beverage world. Founded by Chicago drink veterans Shelby Allison (Lost Lake), Sharon Bronstein (Fords Gin), and Caitlin Laman (beverage consultant), the very first Chicago Style was filled with forward-thinking discourse, conversations that forced attendees to think critically about their role behind the bar, and an array of speakers that highlighted topics not often discussed in the food and beverage world.
The event was so successful last year that Chicago Style is back for a second year with an additional day of programming. “Building on the success of the inaugural forward-thinking cocktail conference, Chicago Style returns May 6-9, 2019, with an additional day of programming, new panelists and activities for the second-annual celebration of thinking and drinking,” a press release states. “Chicago Style will take place at the Ace Hotel Chicago and throughout the city, offering four days of panel discussions, seminars, evening celebrations and more.”
“We were overwhelmed by the enthusiasm for Chicago Style and the industry’s willingness to have thoughtful discussions on long-overdue topics, new ideas, and best practices that we believe had a positive impact,” said cofounder Sharon Bronstein. “We’ve incorporated feedback from the bar community to expand this year’s seminar topics and large-scale events that are meant to inspire our industry to continue to advocate for change while giving Chicago’s cocktail community an opportunity to shine.”
Although the conference was mainly focused on the food and alcohol world, every panel will cover topics still relevant to coffee professionals—“Histories and Legacies: Understanding Hospitality’s Relationship to Ancestral Trauma” will explore how ancestral trauma is passed from generation to generation and how that affects today’s hospitality workforce; “Beyond a Buy-Out: Political and Community Activism within Bars” will explore how public spaces have played a role in community organizing; and “Broadening Our Community’s Hiring Practices: Welcoming Formerly Incarcerated Folks to Hospitality” will explore how to hire formerly incarcerated individuals and help ease them into the workforce.
Along with workshops and panels, Chicago Style will also host a series of dinners, parties, and health and wellness seminars all around the city, including the 2019 Speed Rack National Championships.
Tickets are still available here, and a portion of sales will go to the Chicago Period Project and the James Beard Foundation’s Women Leadership Programs.