School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management The Gerald Thomas Chair

Beverage Education Series

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The School of Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism Management (HRTM) is fortunate to be the recipient of the College of ACES Gerald Thomas Chair endowment for the 2016-2017 academic year. Named after former NMSU president and international authority on world food problems, this fund is used to creatively address issues related to agricultural production or natural resource use. What better agricultural product to feature than wines, beers, and spirits? HRTM will be bringing in a variety of beverage experts to campus to share their knowledge with students, NMSU and Las Cruces community. The focus for the fall semester will be beverages, food and culture. There will be five community tastings in the Bobby Lee Lawrence Academy of Wine on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 5:30 - 7:30 pm. Each will cost $15 per person and include at least 5 beverage tastes and light appetizers. In addition, there will be a special Trinchero Family Estates Winemaker Dinner.


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Thursday, February 2 - Classic Wines of Europe

When you think of the classic styles of wines, what comes to mind? Maybe a white Burgundy from France or a Chianti Classico from Italy. Learn about and taste six distinctive wines from Spain, France, Italy, and Germany.

Presented by Professor Mohsen Azizsoltani, MS. Mohsen has taught at University of Nevada, Las Vegas since 1994, including courses in restaurant management, bar management, wines, and beers. He is certified in Bordeaux wine education and was the Director of UNLVino™, the college’s largest scholarship fundraising which evolved into a three-day beverage and food festival, from 1994–2015.

Thursday, February 23 - Wonderful Whiskies

Whisky or Whiskey? Bourbon or Scotch? What are the differences in how these products are sourced and distilled? What equipment is essential for their production and how are its manufacturers keeping up with the boom in the industry? Discover how to taste some of the finest brands of whisky.

Presented by Mr. Shawn Stevens and Sir Adam Carmer, Ed.D. Shawn is a Union Sheet Metal Journeyman, responsible for the layout, fabrication, welding and finishing of distilling and brewing equipment for Vendome Copper and Brass in Louisville, KY. He is certified as a bourbon ambassador by the Distilled Spirits Epicenter.

Adam is an Adjunct Professor of beverages, cost control and leadership at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. He is Owner of the Whisky Attic, with a collection of over 1,800 bottles and Developer of Freakin’ Lightning Spirit Whisky, and CSTEM, the Carmer Spirits Tasting Enhancement Method.

Tuesday, March 28 - Beverage Brand Management

With all the alcoholic beverage brands available, how do suppliers and retailers work together to establish beverage programs? What role do events and competitions play in leveraging the brands? This presentation will feature Chateau St. Michelle wines and the award winning wine cocktails developed at its “Shake the Vine” competition.

Presented by Mr. Tim Haughinberry. Tim is President and CEO of Back Bar USA, Las Vegas, NV. With a passion for entrepreneurism and love of beer, wine and spirits, Tim first founded the internationally-recognized Montecristo Rum brand. In 2006, he bought Henderson’s oldest bar, The Goldmine Tavern. In 2008, he founded Back Bar USA which provides marketing, brand management, and event planning expertise to all the major casino companies and beverage suppliers such as Diageo, Beam Suntory, Brown Forman, Moët Hennessy, Bacardi USA, and Heineken USA.

Tuesday, April 4 - Mixology Marvels

We continue our journey into the creative use of spirits with a discussion of cocktail trends and marketing, a mixology demonstration, and tasting of creative cocktails featuring top brands such as Casamigos Tequila.

Presented by Mr. Patrick Abalos, BS, HRTM ’12. We are proud to welcome back one of our own HRTM alumni. Patrick is the Bar & Lounge Manager and Resident Mixologist at The Westin at the Woodlands, TX. Previously with Loew’s Hotels, Patrick is a member of the U.S. Bartenders Guild, a certified sommelier, and winner of numerous mixology competitions.

Tuesday, April 18 - The Craft Brewing Industry

The craft beer market is a $22.3 billion industry with over 4,200 craft breweries and brewpub in the U.S. alone. What does it take to enter and succeed in this competitive business arena? What are the distinctions between the types of breweries and the types of beers made? Of course, we will also be tasting a variety of some of the best craft beer brands.

Presented by Dr. Michael Wray. Michael is a Professor of beverages at Metro State University, Denver. A former Army National Guard Lieutenant Colonel, he holds five different wine and wine education certificates and diplomas. He was instrumental in the design and construction of new food and beverage teaching laboratories and the Tivoli Brewing Company on the Metro State campus.

Trinchero Family Estates Winemaker Dinner


This dinner is part of the HRTM 413 Dinner Series with a reception at 6:00 pm, and a five-course wine pairing dinner at 6:30 pm. $62.50 per person

Hosted by Mr. Barry Wiss, BS. Originally from the great hospitality city of New Orleans, Barry moved to California and worked for Sheraton and Hyatt hotels before being lured to the wine industry in Napa Valley. He is the Vice-President of Trade Relations for Trinchero Family Estates. The company's portfolio has over 20 brands, including Trinchero, Sutter Home, Folie au Deux, and Menage a Trois. Barry is a Certified Wine Educator and Certified Sommelier, and holds Advanced Level Certification with the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. Barry is also President of the Society of Wine Educators.

Reservations and Payment

You must make reservations to attend the Gerald Thomas Chair Presentations. Please do so as soon as possible as we expect them to sell out quickly and may not have space available for walk-ins. Please contact Ms. Stella Lucero at or 575-646-7324 to make your reservations. We gladly accept cash, checks, Visa, MasterCard, and Discover credit cards for all presentations and meals. However, we cannot take credit card numbers over the phone or by email.

For the March 16 Trinchero Family Estates Winemaker Dinner, please come in person to Gerald Thomas Hall Rm. 138 starting on Friday, January 27, 2017 at 8:30 am to purchase your ticket(s). Payment must be made the day dinner tickets are purchased as there are no refunds. For the other presentations, we prefer you pay in advance, but we will be able to accept payment at the door.