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U.S. Bartenders’ Guild to open Colorado Springs chapter 

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The craft cocktail movement in town shows no signs of slowing, and to help raise the bar, Carlos Garcia, tasting room manager for Lee Spirits Company and Brooklyn’s on Boulder (110 E. Boulder St., leespirits.com), wants to start a local chapter of the United States Bartenders’ Guild (usbg.org).

“We officially became a pending chapter two or three weeks ago,” he says. To become a full chapter, they need 40 paid members, which Garcia expects they’ll have by the end of December. As of Wednesday, Nov. 22, they have 23 members.

“I know that at Lee Spirits, we officially paid for four more members through the company, and Emilio [at 503W] paid for three or four more,” he says. “It’s not at all a far-fetched goal.”

The USBG is a nationwide professional organization that “seeks to enhance the image of the bartending profession to the public and to heavily support the wine and spirits industry and related trades” through classes, competitions, networking and charity efforts. Garcia believes the USBG helps elevate the entire hospitality industry — they welcome not just the people behind the bar, but managers, consultants, relevant media, and members of advocacy groups.

“It’s not this exclusive club,” Garcia says. While attending the USBG southwestern regional conference earlier this year, Garcia says he saw what the organization could do for a bartending community and was inspired to start a branch in the Springs. To get the organization formally recognized, he’s partnered with Dylan Currier of Sakura Speakeasy, Maggie O’Leary of Stir Coffee & Cocktails and Emilio Ortiz of 503W. Currently, Garcia says they’re focusing on direct outreach to recruit bartenders and hospitality professionals. He hopes to see the organization bring the community of local hospitality professionals closer together.

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