Amanda Gunderson, CEO and co-founder of Another Round Another Rally, will receive the 2022 Pioneer Award from the Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards ceremony held on July 28.
The Spirited Awards dole out coveted accolades recognizing creative bartenders and bars, including World’s Best Cocktail Bar. When Gunderson accepts the award, she’s representing the first Arizona-based organization to take it – or any other Spirited Award – home. In the upcoming awards, Phoenix’s Little Rituals is a finalist for Best U.S. Hotel Bar.
“It feels like people are paying attention, which means what we’re doing is working,” Gunderson said from her home in Los Angeles.
The Pioneer Award recognizes individuals who foster mentorship and remove barriers for those who want to work in the industry by focusing on equity and inclusivity.
“Immediately you feel at home and yourself with (Amanda),” said Nass, who serves as Another Round Another Rally’s COO. “She’s a natural mentor. With everything she does, she seems very effortless.”
As the duo got the nonprofit up and running, they began providing professional development and emergency grants as they readied for a public launch at Bartender’s Weekend in San Diego in March 2020.
“The whole industry shut down on March 17, so we had to jump into COVID fundraising,” Nass said. “We put our heads down and got to work.”
To date, the nonprofit has distributed over $3 million in COVID relief, emergency assistance, and mental health grants, along with more than $50,000 in financial and educational resources for professional development.
“We just looked at each other and thought, this is what we’re set up for; let’s go,” said Gunderson, an industry veteran with more than two decades of experience.
As bars have reopened, the organization can now focus on providing more education, the duo agree. Boston’s Misty Kalkofen will lead that programming, starting with a mentorship program for women bartenders, chefs, and hospitality managers. They’ve run a pilot in Phoenix with bartenders and plan to expand it to other cities.
“We’ve piloted everything in Phoenix,” Gunderson says, explaining that's thanks in large part to the creative and tight-knit community of bartenders here.
“This is just the start,” says Nass, who formerly managed the bar program at Lon’s at the Hermosa Inn. “We’re very excited for what Amanda and Misty are cooking up.”