Crowdfunding Campaign to Support Year-Long, Cross-Country Photobook Project

Local photographer Aaron Ingrao is hitting the road for one year – just Aaron, his gear, a travel trailer and his Australian Shepherd, Luke – to document the bars, bartenders and distilleries that steward the tradition of America’s craft cocktail culture.

The end result will be a stunning book of stunning photos entitled “Keepers of the Craft: Cocktails Across America.” The project aims to capture vintage cocktails and the culture in which they are created, served and consumed, all through the lens of one of Buffalo’s most prolific photographers.

“There are hundreds of really awesome cocktail recipe books out there,” says Ingrao, “but no one book exists that has sought to capture the current state of the culture. My hope is that decades from now, this book will serve as a historic record that will illustrate the style, taste, and personality of our era’s cocktail movement.”

To fund the creation and production of “Keepers of the Craft,” Ingrao is launching a 30-day Kickstarter campaign with an event at Buffalo Proper on Tuesday, January 19 at 6 p.m. As with any Kickstarter campaign, funding is contingent upon Ingrao hitting his $35,000 goal, which will cover travel, food and lodging costs for the year he will be on the road. Supporters will be able to make donations at the event and, as Buffalo Proper will be featured in the finished book, supporters will be able to experience first-hand the culture that has inspired Ingrao to devote a year of his life to this project.

Layout design and print preparation for the book will be handled by local marketing agency 19 Ideas, who also designed the project’s official logo.

Ingrao’s reverence for craft cocktail culture began several years ago with a trip to San Diego to visit friend and Buffalo native Tim Stevens at Prohibition, a bar Stevens managed at the time.

“I was hooked from my first taste,” Ingrao says.

Buffalo’s own cocktail scene has itself been developing with the emergence of rooms like Buffalo Proper, Vera PizzeriaBourbon and Butter, and Mes Que. Stevens himself has even returned to make his mark. In 2014, after a stint as a consultant for the development of Hutch’s cocktail program, he and his wife Morgan opened Ballyhoo in the old Malamute site.

“Keepers of the Craft” will seat these new Buffalo mainstays in their rightful place among some of the nation’s most respected craft cocktail establishments.

“Aaron’s project is truly a unique way to share the pages with such acclaimed talent nationwide,” says Tony Rials, beverage director at Bourbon and Butter. “It’s an honor to be included.”

“Educating, creating an experience, and most importantly connecting with our patrons is paramount,” adds Jason Wood, bar manager at Vera Pizzeria, widely regarded as Buffalo’s first craft cocktail bar. “The more we connect, the more our guests can become comfortable with our love for spirits and the myriad of options you have to create the perfect cocktail to entice their palates. With Aaron’s book, I’m excited to see how other craft bartenders in this ever-changing industry accomplish this.”

For more information and to view Aaron’s work, visit: www.aaroningrao.com

Visit “Keepers of the Craft” on Facebook: www.facebook.com/Keepersofthecraft