Shelby Allison co-owns Lost Lake, a tropical cocktail bar in Chicago that opened in 2015 and has twice been a James Beard Foundation semifinalist for Outstanding Bar Program (2016, 2017), as well as one of Esquire’s Best Bars in America (2017). Shelby is also a co-owner of Banana Daiquiri, LLC, a creative partnership and consulting company that builds unique cocktail programs and immersive guest experiences for clients around the country. Shelby co-founded Shift-Ease, a monthly charitable party at Lost Lake that supports local Chicago organizations working for progressive racial, economic and gender justice. She is also a founding board member of the Chicago Period Project, an aspiring non-profit that helps Chicago’s homeless and in-need people experience their periods with dignity.
Chicago native Sharon Bronstein began working in the spirits industry in 2006 and never imagined her depth of experience and relationships would have led to creating a meaningful cocktail conference in her hometown. During her tenure with Legacy Marketing Partners she managed consumer and trade marketing programs for Pernod Ricard, leading initiatives for brands including Absolut Vodka, Beefeater and Plymouth Gins and Tales of the Cocktail. While working on Pernod, she met Simon Ford who, impressed by her genuine interest cocktail culture, extended an offer to join the team at The 86 Company. In her role as Vice President of Marketing, she brings Fords Gin and its sister brands to life for professional and novice bartenders alike, while supporting and celebrating the bartending community. She works hand-in-hand with the company’s sales teams and market managers to oversee national and local initiatives, including the Fords Gin sustainable green bottle release, Bar Fight Club and the Trash Tiki Anti-Waste North American Tour. Bronstein has also launched the Sisterhood Project for season six and seven of Speed Rack with Ivy Mix, Lynnette Marrero and Misty Kalkofen at Del Maguey Mezcal. Bronstein was named to the “Dame Hall of Fame” at the 2017 Tales of the Cocktail.
A Portland native, Caitlin Laman first found herself behind a bar after moving to Boston to play rugby and study business at Babson College. That inaugural bartending gig — at the Foggy Goggle, a Boylston Street dive for Red Sox-fanatics — taught her the finer points of respecting (and protecting) a bar during extremely high volume service, not to mention how to speak with a thick Boston accent. After graduating with a BS in Business Administration, Caitlin made her way to New York to play for the New York Rugby Club, all the while moonlighting as a bartender and fine-tuning her knowledge of spirits and the art of elevated bar service. In 2009, she moved to San Francisco where she helmed the much-lauded Mission District bar Trick Dog. There, she led the bar to an incredible list of accolades including Tales of the Cocktail’s Best Bar Team (2014) and Bar Fight Champion (2014), a James Beard finalist nomination for Outstanding Bar Program (2015) and two consecutive years on Drinks International “World’s 50 Best Bars” list (No.33 in 2014, No.40 in 2015). It was at this time she was named Food & Wine’s Best New Mixologist (2014) and National Speed Rack Champion (2014). She has also consulted for notable programs such as Mexico City’s Licoreria Limantour (Drinks International “World’s 50 Best Bars” list #14, 2017) where she helped launch a new menu. In her current role, Caitlin serves as Beverage Director for the Ace Hotel in Chicago where she oversees beverage programs for City Mouse, Waydown and the hotel’s F&B.
Lucy is a born, raised and very proud Chicagoan. The consummate host, she strives to foster community and camaraderie through gatherings around food, beverage and a great time. She is currently the Community Events Coordinator at Low Res Studio, where she creates programming that drives conversations and engagement for Chicago’s creative community. When Lucy is not eating or in event mode, you can find her searching for vintage glassware at her local thrift store to add to her robust collection.
seminar production coordinator
Christopher Walker is a black genderqueer transmasculine boi raised in the lily-white suburban hills of New Jersey. They are a freelance event producer and social media consultant who holds a BS in Management and Business from Skidmore College in New York. They currently hold the title of Social Media Manager for Open Television, a web series platform and artist incubator that prioritizes creators that are queer, women, femme-identified and people of color. Chris is also an Associate Producer for People Who Care, a marketing consultancy for non-profits.
marketing + public relations
From a young age, Jenna found herself drawn to the chaos of the kitchen, but quickly found she was better suited to stay out. As such, a career in marketing and communications was born. She is the co-founder of Slow Down Co., a branding and communications agency that provides marketing direction to food & beverage, lifestyle and hospitality brands. When not talking about food, Jenna enjoys drinking mezcal, urban hiking and connecting people.
Chloe started her design career in publishing, but fell hard for the hospitality world after years of pursuing the best restaurant experiences the industry had to offer. A self proclaimed “food-obsessed designer,” she does her best work when working with brands and people she’s excited about–especially when there’s food involved. As co-founder of Slow Down Co., she gets to do just that. When off the clock, you can find her devouring cookbooks, trying to slow down at yoga or planning her next eating-focused adventure.
Siu Ki Wan
Former Wine & Spirits Magazine's Event & Marketing Director; Siu Ki led the magazine's event program with their premiere event's Top 100 Tasting and Top of the List Event. Combining her extensive hospitality history in New York City’s most prestigious establishments and working with some of the top wine producers, sommeliers, wine directors and personalities resulted in the birth of SKW Production Inc., an event production company that thinks outside the bottle. Siu Ki holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Intermediate Certificate in Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET).