Tuesday, April 9, 2013

[NEWS BITES] Travis Fourmont leaving Roast, joining Great Lakes Wine and Spirits

Mr. Manhattan himself, Travis Fourmont

Travis Fourmont, one of the friendly faces behind the bar at Roast and also one of the top bartenders in the country, is leaving his position at Roast to join Great Lakes Wine and Spirits, the Highland Park-based wine and liquor distribution company.

Great Lakes, the end result of the 2007 merger between General Wine and Liquor and J. Lewis Cooper, is the largest distribution company in Michigan and is getting bigger. They currently employ about 900 people all over the state and want to further expand their offerings and services (which includes not-yet-official plans to acquire a Michigan beer distributor and get back into beer distribution).

Travis is joining the team as the corporate mixologist, a brand-new position being created so that Great Lakes can keep its competitive edge on the market, following the lead of major national distributors like Southern Wine and Spirits, which also employs a corporate mixologist.

His position is more akin to being a consultant for Great Lakes accounts. His role will include anything from collaborating on craft cocktail programs at bars and restaurants to assisting bars in keeping down liquor costs and product consultation. For Great Lakes accounts, his services come free.

Great Lakes also carries many of the top shelf spirits he is accustomed to working with, like Woodford Reserve and Bombay Sapphire, both of which he has won competitions using -- Travis makes the best Manhattan in the country according to Woodford Reserve, and also placed in the top 10 as well as winning the audience choice award at a Bombay Sapphire competition in Las Vegas last year.

Also joining the Great Lakes team is Antoine Przekop, a big name in the local liquor industry who has worked as a general manager and sommelier at places like Tribute and SaltWater and is considered one of the local authorities on wine and spirits. Antoine, who just passed the Certified Wine Educators (CWE) exam and is in the process of completing this certification (which no one else in Michigan has), will come on board on the sales side, working with top-shelf and boutique spirits. This is his first job working in sales for a distributor and outside of the restaurant industry. After 15 years on the customer service end, he welcomes this professional change and the ability to focus more on sales and portfolio development, his particular strengths.

Snagging these two well-known and well-respected names in the local beverage industry is a major coup for Great Lakes and a boon for their long-term growth plans.

In the meantime, Roast's cocktail program will remain just as strong as ever. They are rolling out a new spring cocktail menu, which was mostly hands-off for Travis, and from the three (*gulp*) I've tried so far there is no reason to mourn Travis's departure other than for the fact that we'll miss his smiling face. Check out the full new cocktail menu below. Travis's last days at Roast are Wednesday and Thursday this week; stop by to wish him well and have one last award-winning Manhattan.

Roast's Spring Cocktail Menu (with thanks to Roast's Joe Rob for providing)

Awww Snap
Sugar Snap Pea Infused Gin, Cocchi Americano, Fresh Lemon, Simple Sugar, Mint, Celery Bitters, Crushed Ice, Pea Tendril

The Last Straw (like strawberry lemonade!)
Sugar Snap Pea Infused Gin, Strawberry Infused Chartreuse, St. Germaine, Fresh Lime, Strawberry Garnish

Green Machine
Muddled Avocado, Ilegal Joven Mezcal, Spiced Agave Syrup, Fresh Lime, Cracked Black Pepper

Turnin’ on the Screw
Citadelle Gin, Aperol, Fresh Lemon, Rhubarb Bitters

Phosphene Dream
Mindo Cocoa Tea Infused Bourbon, Averna Amaro, Orange Flower Water, Xocolatl Mole Bitters, Mezcal Rinse

Self Portrait in a Convex Mirror (hello super-awesome beer cocktail)
Bulleit Rye, Crème De Cassis, Fresh Lemon, Egg White, Petrus Aged Pale

Je Ne Sais Pas
Ron Zacapa 23, Fresh Lemon, Simple Syrup, Mint, Xocolatle Mole Bitters, Egg

The Mazatlan (HOLY SHIT - order this by the pitcher)
Cilantro Infused Gin, Jalapeno Syrup, Fresh Lime, Chili Oil, Sea Salt

Bar Fly
Fig Infused Gin, Campari, Cherry Heering, Cranberry, Angostura, Vanilla Fig

Cucumber Collins
Cucumber Infused Gin, Fresh Lime, Simple Sugar, Soda

Old Overholt Rye, Fernet Branca, Tawny Port, Aperol