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TOCC is an education-focused cocktail conference aimed at bartenders, cocktail enthusiasts and the cocktail curious. TOCC began in 2018 and is the largest conference of its kind in Canada. Throughout the two days there will be 12 seminars presented by international, national and local leaders in the industry. There is also a whole lot of fun in with all the learning including plenty of tastings and fun activations. The focus of the seminars at TOCC is PUNCH:
Care for Yourself
Our first TOCC took place in 2018 as a three day education-focused conference. We flew in industry leaders from all over the world to host 20 seminars. In between all of the learning, there was a whole lot of brand activations, tastings and everything in between. In 2019 we hosted TOCC again in a similar but slightly bigger format. In 2020, we were excited to return for a third year and spent many months of work organising the conference but then…. the world shut down with the global pandemic. It was a huge loss for everyone. That year we shifted to a webinar series that took place weekly for a month.
As the world slowly opened up to resemble a new normal, we have been paying attention to what has changed (or not!) in our industry. The underlying purpose of TOCC has always been education and we feel like never before has it been more important to have more opportunities for bartenders to learn. Because the more we learn, the better we and our community becomes.
Having said that, we have been hesitant to bring back TOCC in its full capacity post-pandemic. To dedicate months of work without knowing if it would amount to actually taking place. And let’s be real, it’s very expensive to run a three-day conference – especially when you are operating as an independent small business. In 2023 we decided to dabble our feet in by offering a one day conference, SMALL TOCC which took place on Monday, May 29th at Third Place. This day included 3 seminars plus tasting stations, cocktails and an evening party. We are happy to say that it was a great success and that tickets for SMALL TOCC sold out within 48 hours.
With the success of SMALL TOCC, we are encouraged to bring back a larger format of the conference in 2024 and we cannot wait to see you all there.
Toronto Cocktail Conference is co-created by four of us: Gord Hannah, Jon Humphrey and Jessica Blaine Smith and Josh Lindley of Bartender Atlas.
GORD HANNAH | With over 35 years in hospitality, Gord Hannah’s journey from nightclub bartender to becoming Director of Beverage at the Drake Hotel Properties has made him a key figure in Toronto’s cocktail scene. As a founding member of the Toronto Cocktail Conference, contributor to Toronto Cocktail Week, and partner in the Toplack Sessions, he champions education and mentorship in the industry. Gord was a part of a small team that was responsible for raising over $500,000 for the Bartenders Benevolent Fund during the pandemic and worked with many other charities like “We Care” and the “Jane Goodall Foundation.” Beyond hospitality, he hosted a two-season cocktail segment on the Food Network’s “The Cookworks” and is a frequent guest on morning shows, known for his concise and informative segments, making his wealth of knowledge accessible to all. Find him on Instagram.
JESSICA BLAINE SMITH | Jessica is definitely the most technologically-inclined of our bunch and her Virgo nature keeps us on track. She co-created Bartender Atlas with her bartender husband Josh Lindley and she is a full-time photographer. She photographs for all kinds of clients from multi-million dollar corporations (such as Tangerine and IMCO) to individual entrepreneurs and small business owners – including many bars and restaurants in Toronto. Find her on Instagram.
JOSH LINDLEY | Josh is co-founder of Bartender Atlas with his wife Jess. He has been bartending in Toronto since 2007. In that time he has watched the city grow from drinking slushee Cosmopolitans into crisp creations made from locally grown ingredients. He still likes beer though. Before working for Hendrick’s Gin as a Brand Ambassador he was bar manager at Campagnolo and a hired gun at classic Toronto institutions such as the Drake Hotel, Campagnolo, Bar Isabel and Chantecler. He has contributed to many magazines, tv shows and newspapers with his recipes and opinions. Currently pouring at Civil Liberties and teaching classes for Evelyn Chick’s For the Love of Cocktails, he enjoys being an ambassador to Toronto and talking about horror movies and music. Find him on Instagram.