Monday, December 14, 2009

Boozing it up at the State of the Alcohol Industry Briefing

This post is featured on Plight of the Pumpernickel.

Last Thursday, I finagled an invite to the first annual State of the Alcohol Industry Briefing at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.

Actually, 'finagled' is a bit of a misnomer. Went to their website, registered myself and then printed out a free ticket is a more apt description. It was pretty easy to get in.

Once inside, the scene was a bit like a room in Willy Wonka's factory. Except everything was alcoholic. As the man says, candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker.

Set up along the walls were a myriad of alcohol stations. Custom martinis with Kahlua liqueur and pumpkin spices, flights of variously aged Hennessy, drinks mixed with top shelf vodka and gin, and more types of wine and beer than I could count. It was glorious.

A prime rib carving station, a chef making custom risotto dishes and countless hors d'oeuvres were also available for our enjoyment.

Incredibly, the entire event was free. Not to say the evening came without a price; my gaggle of friends and I found ourselves in the obvious minority as the youngest patrons in attendance. And perhaps the only liberals. Big surprise, the alcohol industry is comprised of lots of old conservatives. Who knew.

This didn't seem like such a bad thing until a particularly sleazy one began chatting up a friend. Let's just say the old guy's comments were less than PC. Here is a truncated version of the conversation that ensued:
Old guy: I like that snazzy shirt you're wearing. (Points to my male friend's red shirt) I bet you're popular with the ladies.

Friend: Um, well. I dunno. I'm here with my girlfriend.

Old guy: Because there are a lot of tasty young things here. (Points to me and my two female friends).

Friend: Um...

Old guy: That one of the right is cute. (Nodding at my friend) But she's a redhead. You never know what you're getting with those.

Friend: Yeah, uh. Well...

Old guy: The one in the middle is nice looking. (Pointing to me) She kind of has the cute Washington thing going on. Only good for one night, though.

Friend: I don't think I could feel more uncomfortable...

Old guy: Now, that girl on the left. (Points to African American friend) I've never had one of those. I'd really like to sink my teeth into that.

Friend: ...and there we are!
Ah, yes. My first taste of truly creepy, old, conservative Washington.

Interestingly enough, none of the six people in my early to mid 20s aged crowd were carded. I don't think I need to tell you that I could easily pass for 20 years old. Just saying.

All things aside, it was an extraordinarily fun evening. So much fun, in fact, that I would happily endure again a stream of come-ons spouted by a man old enough to be my father. A small price to pay for such enjoyment.
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