Get ready for an epic après ski-themed cocktail bash – on the beach.
“I actually lived on a sailboat for most of my thirties,” Kevin Haasarud says. “When my wife [Arizona Cocktail Week co-founder Kim Haasarud] and I were first dating, I convinced her that I would move out to New York and live with her for the summer. And if we were still talking to each other at the end, she would agree to move back to Los Angeles and live on a sailboat with me, which is how it all worked out.”
So it stands to reason that the next project from the co-founder of the Après Ski Cocktail Classic—a consumer focused spirits festival that just concluded its fifth year in Aspen, Colorado—would make landfall on a beach.
Après By the Beach (apresbythebeach.com) makes its debut May 19-21 in Delray Beach, Florida. Based at the Delray Beach Marriott, the event founded by Haasarud, Joseph Lang and Laura Albers will feature Après’ signature grand tasting village, with experiential cocktailing hosted by partner brands and their lively ambassadors.
The first night, Haasarud says, will be “a tip of the hat to all things snowy, with snow machines, and igloos and hopefully some virtual-reality skiing machines.” The next night, tiki takes over with a hula dance party and sounds by DJ Irie. By day, it’s all about that beach. “In Aspen, we love getting up on the mountain with the Hendrick’s punch bar at the Top of the Mountain and Hennessy at the Buckhorn Cabin,” Haasarud says. “[In Delray], we’ll try to do some fun things that mirror that, but water-based: beach Olympics, an obstacle course and all kinds of beach toys.”
Après’ customary Sunday bar crawl and cocktail competition will take place in Delray’s very walkable Downtown corridor, anchored by a brand-new spot, Death or Glory, in the same way that Jimmy Yeager’s eponymous American bar and grill in Aspen anchors the winter event.
Open for cocktails only since April 8, Death or Glory is a new rum-centric cocktail concept in a historic building from Isaac Grillo and April DeVona of Miami Beach’s Repour and Ayme Harrison of Fort Lauderdale’s recently-closed Kreepy Tiki Bar Lounge, a trio with as much pedigree individually as they have together. The official opening is set for April 18—just in time for Après by the Beach.
In between all the parties, expect a seminar series, guest speakers, a dinner or two and a late-night speakeasy, all in the interest of combing the craft of the cocktail with the Après lifestyle. Oh, and it is a lifestyle, Haasarud says. French for after, “It’s about the notion that you’ve been playing … and then there’s this moment where, as the day concludes, you’re relaxing with a wonderful libation. That’s the window when you take pause and celebrate having played hard during the day with friends.”
Already on board to come out for the fun in the sun are brands from the William Grand & Sons, Stoli Group and Brown-Forman portfolios. “We always wanted to be able to scale,” Haasarud says, “not only to other wintertime destinations but also to summertime activations.” And those aren’t even limited to U.S., either. “The dream, of course, if to go to a few other winter destinations, be they in North America, or even Europe, South America, or Asia. And the same goes for ocean destinations—it’d be fun to go to Majorca.”
Sounds like Haasarud might be ready to relive his thirties.
Aprés at the Beach details
- When: May 19-21
- Where: Delray Beach
- Instagram: @ApresattheBeach