It all began when some local bartenders decided to shed some light on the art of the cocktail, food & music in Kansas City.
Doug Frost, Ryan Maybee, and Brandon Cummins recognized a growing food and drink culture in Kansas City. They thought why not corner all of the local talent in one room and have them compete in a bartending competition? After seeing the buzz and enthusiasm the competition created, Doug, Ryan, and Brandon desired to offer more than just a competition. They wanted to offer a higher level of education to the bar professionals; in turn the Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival (aka PoPFest) was launched in 2012.
During the 2014 PoPFest, Scott Tipton and Berto Santoro, who have volunteered in previous years, took more responsibility running the festival. Scott created a program called PoPs (Purveyors of Potables). The PoPs assigned to each event will coordinate with presenters and planners, batch drinks at the scullery and transport them where needed in five-gallon buckets. Once on-site, they’ll shake and stir, pour, garnish and serve before cleaning up. Berto worked logistics & operations to make sure the right drinks got into the right hand at the right time. After seeing the hands-on passion by Scott and Berto, the torch has been passed on to them for the 2017 PoPFest.
Today, it is a multi-day educational and entertainment spectacular. The main purpose is to highlight the talented bartenders and enthusiasts of the Midwest, learn from the world-class people of the industry, and allow them work together. The continuing education allows all parties to challenge creativity, generate buzz, and shake up new ideas. The days include focused seminars by the best in the business, paired dinners, music performances and grand ol’ good time.
It celebrates both the Midwest’s current exploding cocktail scene and the history and growth of the cocktail, food, and music in Kansas City since the Jazz Era.