“We had about three hours to do 25 things,” explained Cathy, who works as a compliance manager at the high-end whiskey company.
Some of the challenges included somehow finding a Twister game board and getting the team members in the same photograph playing the game. Another had the team jump up in the air as the clock in Times Square hit a set time. They ran through New York City to pose with cigars, find hidden clues and uncover the mysteries to let them win.
By the end of the night, Tuthilltown Spirit’s team had befriended a taxi cab driver named Franklin, who reversed down some busy city streets to pick up the treasure hunters and get them to the next clue.
Manhattan Cocktail Classic is partially a big conference for liquor producers, but the event also borders on a celebration with more than 100 events in all five boroughs. This year, organizers added the charity scavenger hunt for the first time.
“There was about 50 different things to do,” explained Gable, who serves as the distillery’s brand ambassador -- a job that has him pitching his family’s homegrown liquors throughout the country.
Gable is also the son of Tuthilltown Spirits co-founder Ralph Erenzo, who started the farm distillery back in 2003 with partner Brian Lee.
For Family of New Paltz, which offers substance abuse counseling, youth services and provides food, shelter and clothes for the needy, getting handed $10,000 doesn’t happen too often.
“Yes, it’s highly unusual,” explained Kathy Cartagena, the program director at Family of New Paltz. “I can count on two fingers how often this happens.”
According to Michael Berg, Family of Woodstock’s executive director, Family of New Paltz got a huge, approximately $12,000 cut handed to them from the state Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services. In its own way, the money won by Tuthilltown Spirits just about makes up for it.
“So yes, this is just about the same,” Cartagena said of the OASAS cut versus the prize money.
While all of the $10,000 is coming here to New Paltz, Berg and Family of Woodstock are involved because the New Paltz branch is a satellite of the original Woodstock office. The executive director and Cartagena both expressed big thanks for the distillery’s decision to donate the money to them.
Because of its nature, not many people who lean on Family of New Paltz tend to advertise how the center’s helped them. That’s been true for some of the staff members of Tuthilltown Spirits -- they’ve been helped out by Family in a big way, but privacy concerns prevent Cathy Erenzo from giving too many details.
However, she did say that they wanted the scavenger hunt prize money to go to a local charity.
“Their doors are always open,” Cathy said. “They’ve just been so wonderful to the community.”
For more information about the Family or Tuthilltown Spirits in general, head to www.familyofwoodstockinc.org or www.tuthilltown.com.
To see pictures from the scavenger hunt itself, search for Tuthilltown Spirits on Facebook.