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Expand your knowledge with some of the best in the industry.

Founded three years ago, the New England Cocktail Conference (formerly the Rum Riots) goal has been to bring together the bartending industry, and enthusiasts, from all over New England to celebrate, learn and raise a glass together. 

This year Portland, ME will be hosting bartenders from Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Rhode Island, Philadelphia, and Maine— as they learn from experts from all over the country. Come join us for a weekend of networking, learning and fun! 



Get in touch!


Portland, ME




Tickets on sale Wednesday, May 4th! There is limited seating for all classes.

Thursday, June 2nd

-Seminar Become a Better Bartender 11:30-12:30 at Sur Lie. Join North East USBG Vice President Jonathan Pogash as he shares his tips and tricks to becoming better behind the bar. Whether you're beginning your career or want to fine-tune your skills, Jonathan will help every bartender up their game. Admission $5. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS.

-Event Industry/Welcome Happy Hour 4pm-6pm at Glass Lounge at the Hyatt Place Old Port. Enjoy some of the best spirits Maine has to offer while meeting bartenders, bar enthusiasts, and USBG members from all around the North East. And win tickets to events all throughout the weekend!

-Networking Hour West Cork Cocktail Hour 6pm-8pm at Central Provisions. Network with bar professionals and enthusiasts at Central Provisions fabulous downstairs bar. While you're there you'll have a chance to win tickets to multiple seminars and events during the weekend.


Friday, June 3rd

-Seminar Mayahuel to Mezcal: Agave thru the ages 12pm-1pm at Portland Hunt + Alpine Club. From primary food source to preferred beverage, agave has been central to the people of Meso-America for thousands of years. Join Misty Kalkofen of Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal and Joaquin and Marco Meza of the Providence, RI's beloved El Rancho Grande as we trace the lineage and history of the plant and, more importantly, their delicious beverages while offering cocktail tips and pointers along the way. $25 per person. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS.

-Seminar The Craft of Jägermeister 1:30-2:30pm at Portland Hunt + Alpine Club. Most people know Jagermeister as a shot brand, not something you mix, but it is so much more. Join Jagermeister Brand Ambassador Willy Shine as he takes you through the fascinating history of this legacy spirit, how it's gaining popularity among craft bartenders around the country and why you should make Jagermeister an essential to your back bar. $25 per person. Includes cocktails, lunch and taxes. 

- Event First Friday Art Show "The Faces of Mezcal" Join us at the Portland Art Gallery for the New England premier of The Faces of Mezcal. Admission is free. 5pm-7pm.

-Event North East Bartender Showcase at The Portland Hunt + Alpine Club Drink original punches created by some of the best bartenders in the North East as they 'takeover' the menu at James Beard Semi-Finalist, The Portland Hunt + Alpine Club. Punches available until they're gone! 7pm till it's gone. Sponsored by Absolut Vodka, Olmeca Altos Tequila and Plymouth Gin. Admission is free


Saturday, June 4th

-Seminar So You Want To Open A Bar? Let's Talk Logistics! 11:30-12:30 at the Hyatt Place Old Port. Join a panel of Verrill Dana attorneys for a discussion on the ins and outs of opening, and running, your own bar. This moderated discussion will focus on corporate formation, real estate, financing, intellectual property, New England state-specific regulations, employment law and more. Before you pour your heart into opening your own bar— know the ricks that accompany each step of the process. This panel will include attorneys who regularly work with bar and restaurant owners, distillers, and brewers across New England and understand the importance of balancing your company's culture with laws and regulations. Lunch Provided. Admission is Free. PLEASE RSVP to info@newenglandcocktailconference.com.

-Seminar Hemingway and Rum 12pm-1pm at East Ender. Learn about Ernest Hemingway's love and legacy with Rum. Carlton Grooms, head distiller of Papas Pilar Rum, will take us through the history of Rum, Hemingway and Key West. We'll raise a glass (or three) to some of Hemingway's favorite cocktails while eating Key West inspired dishes. $40 per person. Included cocktails, food, tax and gratuity. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS.

-Seminar Glenfiddich, The Art of Maturation 3pm-4:30pm at the Cumberland Club. Join Glenfiddich Brand Ambassador Straun Grant Ralph in learning (and tasting) Glenfiddich through it's maturation process. You'll taste through multiple steps, and agings, while learning the secrets of the distillery. $30 per person. Includes drinks, taxes and gratuity. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS.

-Cocktail Hour Grandpa Drinks at the Cumberland Club 6pm-8pm. Sponsored by Glenfiddich, Monkey Shoulder Scotch, Hendricks Gin & Hudson Bourbon. Join us at the Cumberland Club, Portland's oldest private club, for drinks and food your Grandpa (and Grandma) loved. Rediscover beloved classic cocktails from the '40s, '50s and '60s while eating and rubbing shoulders in the Cumberland Club's former "Men's Lounge". $60 per person. Includes all drinks, food, taxes and gratuity. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS.

-Hospitality Suites: All Day


Sunday, June 5th

-Seminar High Volume Bartending and Accuracy 11am-12pm at Portland Hunt + Alpine Club. Learn how to work quickly and accurately behind a busy bar. You'll learn techniques bartenders in some of the best high-volume cocktail bars use to create great drinks with low ticket times. Admission $5. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS.

-Seminar Day Drinking Done Right 12:30pm-1:30pm at Roustabout. Learn about, and how to make, cocktails perfect for daytime drinking. From low-alcohol to cocktails that compliment eggs n' bacon. We're not talking Bloody Mary's and Mimosas. Step up your brunch cocktail game, while having brunch. $40 per person. Includes brunch, cocktails and taxes. Sponsored by St. George Spirits. CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS.

-Event USBG "Best Bartender" Competition/Closing Party 6pm-8pm at Salvage BBQ Sponsored by Absolut Vodka, Plymouth Gin and Olmeca Altos Tequila. Watch as 8 of New England's best bartenders compete for $500 and a Vitamix. There will be cocktail tastings, music, giveaways and free BBQ! Admission is free. 

-Hospitality Suites: All Day

We couldn't do this without the support of our amazing sponsors. We'd like to especially thank Bow Street Distributing for their continuing support of the New England Cocktail Conference.

Maine Magazine and Old Port Magazine are our champions in media, covering the events and helping spread the word through Maine, and beyond.



New England Cocktail Conference Cocktail Competition

sponsored by Absolut Vodka, Plymouth Gin and Olmeca Altos Tequila. 


Rules for Entry:

All contestants must be over 21 years of age at the time of entry.

Contestants must be current USBG members in good standing. 

Original recipes must be submitted by May 10, 2016.

Contestants must be able to appear in person on June 5, 2016 in Portland, ME to compete in the live competition. 


Rules for the Competition:

All cocktails must be original (from one’s own mind), unpublished or copied from elsewhere.

You must use at least 2 ounces of at least one of the sponsor spirits: Olmeca Altos, Plymouth Gin, Plymouth Sloe Gin and Absolut Vodka (no flavors). 

All recipes must specify cocktail name, each ingredient with amount, build instructions, glassware and garnish.

All recipes must include a 2-4 sentence description of the drink and/or the inspiration for it.



Entries will be selected anonymously by a panel of sponsor-selectred judges and narrowed down to 8 finalists. These finalists will make their drinks live on June 5, 2016 for a panel of judges and one winner will be chosen. 


During the live contest each person will be required to make 3 of their cocktails for each judge. They will be judged by the following criteria:

  • Originality of drink (30%)
  • Overall taste (30%)
  • Balance (20%)
  • Presentation of cocktail (glassware, garnish, appearance) (10%)
  • Interaction with judges while making the cocktail (10%)


The winner will receive $500 and a Vitamix.

Email all entries to info@newenglandcocktailconference.com by May 10, 2016. Finalists will be notified by May 20, 2016. 

Our host hotel is the Hyatt Place Old Port. We'll be hosting Hospitality Suites, Networking Happy Hours, Yoga and Seminars here. So it's a wonderful home base for the weekend. Plus they are giving all attendees an amazing discount! The hotel is right in the middle of downtown Portland which makes it easy to walk to all events and see everything Portland, Maine has to offer!

Go to the website here: Hyatt Place Old Port to book your room. The discount code is G-NECC. You can also call the hotel directly at 1-855-312-7274.