Sparks, NV - Josh Damon is used to whipping up ideas. For years, he worked in the lab of the company his grandfather created, Damon Industries in Sparks. There, he would create drinks for the family business which sells to resorts and casinos. That is, until four years ago.
"I came out and realized I wanted to do my own retail brand," says Damon. "And I wanted people to not have to go to a restaurant to get a good drink. So they can make it at home."
He started his own company of mixers called Mt. Rose Drinks.
"I started with one mix, Margarita, because that's my favorite," he says.
Today, he's up to 30 flavors. And with his business growing, he is encouraging others to go after their dreams. That's why he's put together the first "Best Bartender in Northern Nevada Contest." It will take place at the Bully's on Robb Drive in Reno from 6pm - 9pm. He's hoping about two dozen people will compete as bartenders. Contestants will be scrutinized by a panel of judges and patrons at the bar.
"Oh it's great! You can try all of the contestants' drinks and find out what your favorite one is. If it's the pomegranate blueberry martini or just a regular margarita," he says. The drinks won't be free for customers, but he says it should be fun for them - knowing that they have a say in who the winners are.
Of course, there's something in it for his business as well.
"It introduces them to the Mt. Rose drink line which maybe they're not aware of," says Damon.
Because - as the rules go - contestants have to use the Mt. Rose mixers in their cocktails. Damon says his small company has already gotten a lot of support from local retailers, like Total Wine & Spirits, Bens, and Scolari's. Now, he's hoping folks in Reno will give this contest a shot.
Damon says you don't need to be a professional bartender to compete. For more information, head to mtrosedrinks.com