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USBG Orange County Celebrates Women's History Month 2021

By Amira Ansari posted 26 days ago


The USBG loves recognizing chapters that are doing amazing things to elicit camaraderie and leave a mark in their communities! Whether it’s a low-key get-together, a passionate charity drive, a friendly bartending competition, or a simple chapter meeting, we want to hear all about it!

@Freddie Viren, SP (aka Fast Freddie) is Vice President of the USBG Orange County Chapter. Born, raised, and currently living in Long Beach, California as Top-Shelf Barman at Ms. Alice.

He is passionate about continuing to learn and develop in the trade, staying ahead of the curve, and earning the faith and confidence of his colleagues and guests by creating a positive and enjoyable environment.

In this blog, Freddie shares highlights from the recent chapter meeting the USBG Orange County Chapter held, partnering with Diageo and Ron Zacapa Rum.

USBG Orange County (O.C.) held a 3rd Annual Women of the Industry meeting last month to honor Women's History Month! "This year's Women of the Industry meeting was sponsored by Diageo and Ron Zacapa Rum. It ranks as one of the top three most popular meeting we have every year. The meeting was held primarily on Zoom, and the chapter did have a small live and in-person option for those who felt comfortable in venturing out, and that was held at Chapter One in Santa Ana California," said Freddie Viren, USBG Orange County Chapter Vice President.

We asked Freddie to tell us more about this meeting:

What made this event so special?

Because the month of March is Women's History Month, the Orange County USBG is honored to recognize the ladies of our Chapter and their contributions to the beverage/hospitality industry by dedicating a meeting exclusively to them! The O.C. USBG's Annual Women of the Industry event is organized 100% by the women of our chapter and as the years have gone by it continues to grow and grow. This year we were blown away by how it attracted guests from other parts of the U.S. as well as Central America. The O.C. Chapter is so lucky to have such strong women within our ranks and our organization wouldn't be where its at today without you ladies backing us up!!

What are a few highlights of the event?

USBG National President, @Kim Haasarud, took time out of her busy schedule to join us via Zoom, where she talked about her life experiences within the beverage/hospitality industry and the bright future for the USBG with O.C. Chapter member, @Abigayle Kermode.

According to Kim -- "I joined the USBG because I wanted to give back. In 2008-2009 I was living in Los Angeles and I was asked to be apart of their council and at that time we completely flipped everything on its head, a lot of chapters at the time looked towards the brands to do their programing, and to look for brand to see who's in town and would want to sponsor a happy hour which was getting boring, and we completely took that element out, and took control of our own programing which was super exciting for me because their were more things I wanted to learn. We really listened to all of our Members and what is it that they wanted to see and hear, and we created our own programing, and went out and got support for it, and that was super exciting for me to be able to leverage my relationships, and be able to give back and lift others up and that's one of the things I'm passionate about as a leader is empowering others and lifting them up and the USBG allows me to do that.

My go to drink is, I'll ask the bartender what their favorite drink is to make because I know it's something they're proud of, but I won't turn down a good Daiquiri or Margarita. I'd much rather have a mediocre drink from an amazing Bartender then an amazing cocktail from a Bartender with a bad attitude."

Master Blender at Ron Zacapa, Lorena Vasquez, spoke with Vanessa Leon from Diageo's Education Division. Vanessa also acted as the interpreter between English and Spanish. Lorena joined us via Zoom and discussed the challenges of being a Rum Blender, as well as, being a women in a male dominated profession. She educated us on the complexities of Zacapa Rum, and what makes it so unique.

According to Lorena -- "I've been with Zacapa for 37 years but it feels like I just started because I'm doing something I love and that makes the time fly.  What makes Zacapa so unique is the soil of Guatemala which is called VERSITOL. When it rains the soil soaks up the water so fast which causes the sugar cane to be stressed and work harder thus increasing the sugar content of the cane. Life is not easy, but if you take the time to study and understand and get knowledge that will give you the foundation to go a head, also you must have passion for everything you do. Everything takes time, and timing is key in everything you do."

Bad Birdy, The One Women Show (aka Amanda) spoke with O.C. Chapter member, @Inga Tantisalidchai. Bad Birdy was also a Zoom participant, speaking about how she broke into the Bartending trade, and the mentors that helped her along the way after going to college to become an electrical engineer. We found it fascinating how she was able to use social media to create her brand that continues to gain traction nationally and internationally.

According to Bad Birdy -- "Bad Birdy was a nickname for a while and then became my stage name when I was DJ-ing in my early 20's. My go-to cocktail as a customer is super simple, and it's along the lines of just a gin and soda. I'll always try one or two cocktails from the menu from wherever I'm at, and I really like Mojitos and Dirty Martinis. When you're passionate about something your inspiration never stops. There's still so much I want to accomplish, and there's always something to learn, and I'm a true believer that you're always a student to your craft."

O.C. Chapter member and featured Bartender for this year's Women of the Industry event was @Stephanie Krawczyk. She WOWED us all with her sophisticated cocktail designed around Zacapa Rum, and her use of homemade roasted banana chai tea syrup within it.

Special thank you's and shout outs to all listed below for making this meeting happen AND making it a huge success!

USBG National President Kim Haasarud as a featured guest
Master Blender at Ron Zacapa Lorena Vasquez as a featured guest
Craft Bartender at The One Woman Show Bad Birdy as a featured guest
Division Educator at Diageo Vanessa Leon as the interviewer and interpreter for Lorena Vasquez
Orange County USBG Member Inga Tantisalidchi as the interviewer of Bad Birdy
Orange County USBG Member Abbie Kermode as the interviewer of Kim Haasarud
Orange County USBG Member Stephanie Krawczyk as featured Bartender for this event
Account Consultant at Diageo Jeff Blakey as behind the scenes assistant
Orange County USBG President Amin Benny as behind the scenes assistant

Way to go, USBG Orange County!


If you are a member of the USBG and wish to highlight a chapter event, please submit a request here or reach out to Amira Ansari at