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Mobile Mixology: Sweetwater's Craft Cartel Launches Bartending Catering Service

Forget going to the bar for a drink. Instead, let the bar come to you.

That's the idea behind Craft Cartel, the new cocktail catering company founded by South Florida mixologists Bobby Brown and Rich Monis and Boynton Beach's Sweetwater Bar & Grill cofounder Sean Iglehart. Together, the trio has dreamed up a way to create a unique cocktail experience for private events and venues with an innovative, on-the-go bar service.

Designed as a full-service beverage catering business, Brown calls Craft Cartel the "ultimate mobile bar," offering everything you'd expect from a real bar experience. The catering services include a variety of themes including seasonal cocktails served with an old-school speakeasy style to themed parties and customized weddings. They can also keep things simple with straightforward liquor tastings and a cigar bar.

"Everything we do is customizable," says Iglehart. "Everything — from the cocktail menu to the ingredients and even the execution — is meant to emulate the same experience and service you'd get at Sweetwater."

The idea for Craft Cartel began when Brown's cousin Monis, a traveling bartender with a background in event management, saw the need for a private bartending service in South Florida that would deliver a new level of skill and expertise.

"At the time, when we originally came up with the idea, we started seeing this shift towards a more invested cocktail culture here in South Florida," says Brown. "Now, even though every bar and restaurant is doing some take on the craft cocktail theme, no one is really executing it in a catering setting."

While Monis and Brown conceptualized the original business plan, Iglehart was the visionary force that helped jump-start the cocktail catering service into action, naming it Craft Cartel and designing a series of wood-paneled, self-sufficient mobile bars outfitted with all the bells and whistles needed to execute the perfect drink. Today, Craft Cartel is a portable version of Sweetwater, with everything from glass rinsers and a full range of specialty glassware to expertly trained bartenders. There are even prepared cocktails on tap.  

Craft Cartel's main bar has been dubbed "Esco-Bar," says Brown, a 20-foot sectional that allows the team to set-up a variety of custom-sized portable bars crafted in three-foot adjustable increments. Plans are underway for an 82-foot custom-built piece that can be used at larger events, a bar that will be manned by up to half a dozen mixologists and — Craft Cartel boldly claims — can serve hundreds to thousands of people at one time.

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"Even if you don't know what you want, we have ideas to help you decide what's best for your event and audience. Within three years, our goal is to be the premier beverage catering service in South Florida," says Brown, who also has plans to transform part of what they do with Craft Cartel into a nationwide traveling, pop-up cocktail bar.

Visit Craft Cartel at drinkordie.net or on FacebookSweetwater Bar & Grill is located at 1507 S. Federal Highway, Boynton Beach. Call 561-509-9277, or visit sweetwater33.com.


Nicole Danna is a food writer covering Broward and Palm Beach counties. To get the latest in food and drink news in South Florida, follow her @SoFloNicole or find her latest food pics on the BPB New Times Food & Drink Instagram.

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