Source: PR USA  October 9 th, 2008

Pernod Ricard USA®, a leading producer, importer and marketer of prized spirits and wine brands in the United States, recently announced the introduction of BarSmarts, a first-of-its-kind bartender training and education program that targets the profession at all levels -- from well known, influential celebrity mixologists and trendsetters to bartender protégés to bartending newcomers across the country.

"The cocktail culture here in the U.S. continues to gain momentum and consumers are becoming increasingly savvy in their drink choices," noted Steve Walkerwicz, Vice President, On-Premise Customer Marketing for Pernod Ricard USA. "At Pernod Ricard USA, we understand that knowledgeable and confident bartenders have a tremendous influence on their customer's drink selections. We see this as a great opportunity to offer a unique, industry-first bartender training and education program that not only provides a valuable tool to those in the profession but that is developed and sponsored by BAR, LLC, a partnership of six of the most highly respected spirits authorities/educators in the U.S. including Dale DeGroff, Steve Olson, Doug Frost, F. Paul Pacult, Andy Seymour and David Wondrich."

BarSmarts has been designed exclusively for Pernod Ricard USA by BAR, LLC based largely on their award winning BAR Certification Program. BarSmarts offers two levels of accredited training and education. The first level - BarSmarts ADVANCED - targets bartender protégés in major markets who are committed to the profession of bartending. Approximately 1000 bartenders from ten major markets in 2008-2009 will be presented the opportunity to participate in BarSmarts ADVANCED, a dynamic and interactive certification program of advanced mixology and spirits expertise. BarSmarts ADVANCED is delivered through an exclusive BarSmarts ADVANCED Kit that includes a DVD, workbook, mixing equipment (where legal) and sample certification tests. The program culminates with BarSmarts LIVE -- a full day program of instruction, education, mixology, testing, and formal certification for the programs top performers -- hosted by the esteemed BAR, LLC partners.

BarSmarts WIRED, the second level of the program, targets a broader range of bartending professions and markets. This group will be presented with the opportunity to participate through a web-based education and certification program offered exclusively through password-protected entrance to the BarSmarts WIRED site.

BAR, LLC founding partner F. Paul Pacult said, "All levels of the training involve a very comprehensive agenda -- from the basics of spirits history, production & tasting to cocktail knowledge & technique to bartending for career advancement, service and profit. BarSmarts is a groundbreaking, turnkey program that offers everything the aspiring bartender needs to know together in one package. It is truly a first for our industry. BarSmarts is an extraordinary, hands-on tool that will help set a new standard of excellence within the bartending profession. This innovative program is an example of Pernod Ricard's ongoing commitment to supporting the success of their on-premise business."

BarSmarts debuted at the 'Tales of the Cocktail' Event in New Orleans, July 16-22, 2008. BarSmarts ADVANCED kicks-off in New York and San Francisco in August with the final BarSmarts LIVE full day training and certification event scheduled for October 28, 2008 in New York and November 11, 2008 in San Francisco. Four more cities - Atlanta, Chicago, Boston and Austin, TX - will kick-off the BarSmarts ADVANCED program in April/May, 2009. BarSmarts WIRED will be available nationally in Spring, 2009.

"At Pernod Ricard USA, it is our mission to develop a stronger presence in the on-premise channel," added Patrick Piana, Senior Vice President of Marketing for Pernod Ricard USA. "This requires more than just selling additional cases. It means offering on-premise operators and their staff the tools that will empower them to provide enhanced products and services to their clientele while improving their bottom line. BarSmarts is just one of the many initiatives we have in store for 2008 and beyond." Piana concluded, "Our ultimate goal is to become the on-premise channel's 'go-to' supplier for premium brands, dynamic and impactful programming and channel expertise."

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