Tupelo Honey’s chief mixologist explores the growing micro-distillery movement

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Tyler Alford, Tupleo Honey Cafe’s chief mixologist, will bring his in-depth knowledge of spirits to Taste of the New South.

During his session, Tyler will explore the South’s growing micro-distillery movement and explain why the restaurant is moving toward exclusively using these products in their craft cocktail program. Click here to learn more.

We recently caught up with Tyler. Check out our interview below to find out where he finds inspiration for new cocktails and what items he always stocks in his bar

Q: During your session, you plan to focus on the South’s growing micro-distillery movement. What drew you to that topic?

A: “According to a (recent) Fortune.com’s article and the American Craft Spirits Association, in 10 years craft distilleries in the United States have skyrocketed from 50 to 769 today. North Carolina currently has 16 craft distilleries according to BottleSociety.com.

“This growing trend is interesting and massively complex. Just this year, the Distillery Innovation and Excise Tax Reform Act of 2015 was introduced to Congress to make it easier and more profitable for distillers in the United States producing under 100,000 gallons.

“Craft Distilleries in the South not only create jobs and income, but they are also closely rooted to the heritage and quality of the places where they are located. Many call this growth in craft distilleries the ‘Farm to Flask’ movement. There are many great Southern craft distilleries that are using local, quality ingredients, and further boosting their own economy and community as a result.”

Q:  What do you hope people take away from your session?

A: “An appreciation for the fact that not all distilled spirits are the same.

“Just like beer or wine, ingredients used in the production of spirits have their own terroir …

“I hope the next time they walk into their local liquor store, they ask where the locally produced spirits are.”

Q: Where do you find inspiration for new drinks?

A: “Honestly, I take a lot of inspiration from food trends, and there is always a new product being introduced with wild flavors to play with. Sometimes you just get lucky, too. If you are passionate about something, inspiration is usually the easy part; making it interesting for other people, that’s the challenge.”

Q: Which ingredients (besides the standard drink bases) do you always stock in the Tupelo bars?

A: “St. Germain liqueur (“Bartender’s Ketchup”), triple sec, good vermouths (dry and sweet), freshly-made sweet & sour and mint simple syrup.”

Q: What’s your favorite drink to make?

A: “Ramos Gin Fizz; you have to have a true enthusiast or captive audience, though.”

Q: If you could only drink one more cocktail, what would it be?

A: “Barrel-aged Negroni.”

Get ready for the festival by learning how to make Tyler’s Blonde Apple Brandy Old Fashioned. He provides a step-by-step demonstration in the video below.

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