USBG Las Vegas
If you love the craft of bartending and Las Vegas, chances are that you know Bryan Pierzga. He not only heads up the program at Echo & Rig in Tivoli Village, but he also is a regular to many of our Las Vegas mixology meccas. Bryan visits our hot-spots in support of them but also seeking new inspiration. He spends his time not just imbibing but watching and digesting the “good and the bad.” His journey has brought him to appreciate many of the finer things like Miller High Life who doesn’t!, but he is also constantly studying and examining families of distillates and all fermented beverages.
“After I spend time diving in depth with drinking and creating from that category of spirit I move on to the next.” Part of this exploration has been in competition, where he has been frequent and successful. Some highlights include Bombay Most Interesting Bartender LA Regional Finalist 2016, Bacardi Legacy LV Regional Finalist, Avuá Cachaça Tiki Comp Winner and Winner and Finalist in several Underground Bar Brawls.
He gains much of his inspiration from fellow USBG members. “What’s been really great is over the last 3 years I’ve got to meet and befriend some of these giants of the industry. From this I’ve learned to look at everyone I meet as an opportunity to learn. I see the dedication of people starting new programs like Cody at Sparrow & Wolf or the continued dominate evolution of Nectaly at Herbs & Rye. The passion and knowledge of legends like Francesco Lafranconi or Tony Abou-Ganim, as well as brand ambassadors like Nate Greene and Raul Faria who pass on all they can to all of us who are hungry. People like Jose Salinas, Gene Samuel, Kristen Schaefer, Adam O’Donnel don’t tell him I said that, Kinson Lau and Alex Penalosa who believed in and pushed me forward. I feel as though I need to list all of my friends, colleagues and USBG members because you all teach me every day and give me drive to continue bettering myself.” While he hails from the east, Bryan has Vegas in his heart. He has his eyes on the prize and the Las Vegas skyline. He is sure to help shape its future! Go see the future now, at Echo & Rig!
“Vegas has a lot of steam building up. From bartenders who were up and coming who became rock stars to the overall level of bartending that we see at every competition or venue. The money, buying power and exposure that Vegas provides offers us great opportunities, but it also can overshadow the amazing work of our smaller establishments. Herbs and Rye being awarded Best American High Volume Cocktail Bar was a huge step. I want to see it continue. Having chefs and bartenders stepping away from the “big money” places in order to start their own unique establishments will strengthen our community. More people will look off the Strip in search of an experience they can’t find anywhere else. We have a ton of talent, but I don’t see it blooming until we see more places that truly trust in their bartenders to create. Trust like that put into the hands of our experienced and talented will lead to incredible new bars for this city. That’s where I’d like to see the beverage industry move towards.”
Cocktail of the Month
“Dickel Me Crazy”
2 oz Dickel Rye
.75 Olorosso Sherry
.75 oz lemon
.75 oz toasted pine nut/sesame syrup
2 oz carbonated Tepache
Place all ingredients minus the Tepache in the mixing glass with ice and shake, add the Tepache, then strain over a large cube garnished with lemon peel and a smoking cinnamon stick.
Tepache is homemade with whole pineapples cubed with tamarind pods, cinnamon, clove and piloncillo sugar.
About the USBG
The United States Bartenders’ Guild is comprised of spirit professionals dedicated to the art of the craft of Bartending. What was founded in 1948 has now spread all over the US with Las Vegas being the largest chapter in the country. Through events, charity, and education they support and enhance the great American living-art that is Bartending.
For information on how to join, please go to www.usbg.org.