Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Colorado Springs Bartenders' Guild launches Serving the Springs: A Food & Supply Drive for the Colorado Springs Hospitality Industry

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2020 at 7:21 PM

click to enlarge Not a truck commercial. Instead, members of the CSBG assembled outside Happy Belly Tacos' former downtown location for the first day of giving out goods. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Not a truck commercial. Instead, members of the CSBG assembled outside Happy Belly Tacos' former downtown location for the first day of giving out goods.

The Colorado Springs Chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild just launched an initiative to help take care of members of the hospitality industry during the Coronavirus pandemic.

It's called Serving the Springs, and any industry employees (whether furloughed, working part-time or unemployed) are welcome to take advantage of Wednesday and Saturday supply pickups from 2-5 p.m. at the former Happy Belly Tacos location downtown at 125 N. Spruce St. (While Happy Belly Tacos - East remains open for pickup and delivery, this location closed when service began at Happy Belly Tacos - West in the former Wobbly Olive - West location in Old Colorado City. Chef/co-owner Mark Henry says he may repurpose it into a new concept when restaurant service returns to normal; for now he's donating the space.)
click to enlarge Purple Mountain Coffee and Axe and the Oak donated coffee and spirits, respectively. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Purple Mountain Coffee and Axe and the Oak donated coffee and spirits, respectively.
Local CSBG leadership has "partnered with Shamrock Foods, local chefs and restaurants, distilleries, breweries, coffee roasters, and small businesses to provide a Make-At-Home meal kit, groceries, and essential supplies" according to verbiage on their Facebook page.

Donating organizations for the first round of pickups included: Purple Mountain Coffee Company, Axe and the Oak Distillery and Laws Whiskey House. With ingredients provided by Shamrock Foods, chef Mark Henry prepped the first meal kit: Chicken Cavatappi Alfredo. Other area chefs are invited to prep future meals to contribute. As well, look for live auctions on Facebook and Instagram during upcoming pickup hours so that the public can lend support by buying special gift bags of donated items (with proceeds directed back to Serving the Springs).
click to enlarge Shamrock Foods donated supplies for Happy Belly chef Mark Henry to make Chicken Cavatappi Alfredo to give out to industry folks during the first day of Serving the Springs. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Shamrock Foods donated supplies for Happy Belly chef Mark Henry to make Chicken Cavatappi Alfredo to give out to industry folks during the first day of Serving the Springs.
"Our goal is to keep this going long enough, until it’s no longer needed," says Chapter President Emillio Ortiz of 503W

Chapter Treasurer Dylan Currier of The Archives explains that weekly registration is required in order to pick up a meal kit and goodie bag so that enough supplies can be prepped each Wednesday and Saturday. As well, the group's seeking more donations from any interested food/drink entities in the area.

About 50 kits and bags were given out Wednesday, April 22, but CSBG members hope to ramp up to a couple hundred each donation day, provided enough community support.

Another way the public can participate is by buying a Stir Crazy t-shirt (get it? ... ahem) for $26, with $15 of each sale going directly back to Serving the Springs. You can order online via the above link, or pick one up at Happy Belly during the donation hours.
click to enlarge The front of the fundraising T-shirt, also highlighting at CSBG pin. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The front of the fundraising T-shirt, also highlighting at CSBG pin.

click to enlarge Badass branding courtesy Courtney Caldwell Design Co., with printing assist by Christian De Los Santos of The Bar at Almagre. - With every shirt purchase ($26), $15 will be donated to the CSBG in support of Serving the Springs. Buy one here. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Badass branding courtesy Courtney Caldwell Design Co., with printing assist by Christian De Los Santos of The Bar at Almagre. With every shirt purchase ($26), $15 will be donated to the CSBG in support of Serving the Springs. Buy one here.

About now, you might be wondering what the Colorado Springs Bartenders' Guild does during normal times, when not uniting to help their industry peers. You can read more on the national website, which pretty much captures what's going on locally too, local members tell me. 

But, as explained to me by Ortiz, Currier and Axe and the Oak bartender Zach Sherwood, the CSBG essentially exists as an educational resource, offering accretions for various industry training, such as cicerone or sommelier classes. But for members (who pay an annual $125 fee), there's a whole digital library of resources available too, plus chatrooms and forums for support.

Locally, the group offers "community and camaraderie" with monthly meetings that include presentations and tastings (which will resume when the pandemic allows). Additionally, they do volunteer days in the community and participate in events like the Colorado Restaurant Association Pikes Peak Chapter Taste of Pikes Peak.

"I'm a third generation bartender," says Ortiz. "There was a time it was frowned upon, but now bartending's a legit career path." Entities like the USBG help legitimize that and ensure excellence.
click to enlarge Happy Belly's former spot at 125 N. Spruce St. (currently on hiatus, with chef Mark Henry saying he may introduce a new concept here once restaurant service returns to normal) is acting as the Serving the Springs pickup hub. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Happy Belly's former spot at 125 N. Spruce St. (currently on hiatus, with chef Mark Henry saying he may introduce a new concept here once restaurant service returns to normal) is acting as the Serving the Springs pickup hub.

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