Midtown Cocktail Week was founded in 2008 by local cocktail enthusiasts Erick Castro and Joe Anthony Savala in order to celebrate Sacramentoʼs artisan cocktail movement. In 2009 the Cocktail Collective, comprised of industry professionals and cocktail enthusiasts, was formed. Each year the collective evolves and grows as it continues to execute the goals and objectives of Midtown Cocktail Week.
Kimio Bazett- The Golden Bear
Jason Boggs- Shady Lady Saloon
Emily Griggs- The Grid Agency
Joe Anthony Savala- Pernod Ricard
Chris Tucker- Hook and Ladder Manufacturing Company
Matt Nurge- The Red Rabbit Kitchen and Bar
Ryan Seng- Grange Restaurant & Bar
Joe Anthony Savala
35 year-old Joe Anthony Savala has made quite a name for himself within the Sacramento Cocktail Community and throughout the region. In addition to Co-Founding Midtown Cocktail Week, the Pernod Ricard Specialist, is best known for for developing the first true mixology establishments in Sacramento. Savala’s enthusiasm and passion for the cocktail culture in his community drives his desire to be innovative and transform the way his community approaches drinking cocktails.
Joe Anthony Savala was born in Porterville, California and attended Fresno State University where he studied Journalism. Shortly after obtaining his degree Savala become a producer for a local television station. It didn’t take long for Savala to realize that his passion was somewhere else and that love was in the food and beverage industry. Savala left the television station and began working as the Wine Director for Parma, a small Italian restaurant in Fresno, California. It was there that Savala studied nearly every varietal of Italian wines. This included being immersed in the subject while spending 2 summers in Italy. In 2006 he met Ernesto Jimenez, Zocalo’s owner, who offered him a position as Beverage Manager at his Midtown restaurant. Savala transformed Zocalo’s bar program into what it is today; including fresh squeezed juices, local products, and exceptional spirits. Savala applied the same learning technique for tequila as he did with wine; including visiting over 20 different distilleries. “The only way to truly learn about a specific product is by seeing how it is created. Read full bio>>
Nominated for the 2012 Best American Brand Ambassador award, Erick Castro has climbed the ranks in the Cocktail Community at an incredible rate. The once local Sacramento bartender and Co-creator of Midtown Cocktail Week is currently the West Coast Brand Ambassador for Plymouth and Beefeater Gins.
Castro was born in Riverside County and raised throughout Southern California. He graduated from San Diego State University in 2004 with a degree in Communications; Advertising. Years before he graduated he found his true passion; that passion was being behind the bar. Castro credits many of the basic skills and knowledge he uses as a bartender to his position at B.J.’s Brewery while in college. But his passion for mixology was definitely fabricated was he moved to Northern California. In 2006 he began working at Zocalo’s in Midtown, where he met Joe Anthony Savala. The pair shared a passion for exceptional cocktails and found themselves traveling to San Francisco quite often seeking out innovative bar programs and the people behind them. In 2008 Castro moved to San Francisco to build his cocktail chops at the award-winning Bourbon & Branch. In 2009 he was assigned the beverage director position at Rickhouse, which was chosen as one of the World’s Top Bars by Food & Wine Magazine. His passion and knowledge of the cocktail world is constantly being cultivated by talking to industry innovators and asking questions. “We all stimulate each other, progression happens when we learn from each other.” Read full bio>>