community & culture | mar. 23, 2021

Academia Live! — Transforming the Patron Education Team Into Variety Show Superstars

A promotional image of Academia Live! Host Steph Tesla is in the background holding a cocktail shaker


March 2020 changed our lives forever, and a team that was so used to being on the road developing in-person educational and entertainment programming was suddenly faced with a new challenge- create engaging content that could reach the hospitality industry in a virtual format, and provide a much-needed relief from the stress and uncertainty of daily life. From the desire to give back to the trade in this time of need in the form of comedy and educational tidbits Academia Live! (the ironically pre-recorded variety show) was born. 


Academia Live! was the brainchild of the team, when discussing how to format an entertaining platform the suggestion came out hey let’s just make a TV show!”… because that was easy enough right? 


Each member of the team was assigned a different segment of the show. Steph was designated the host due to her ability to chat it up with anyone, with her Band Leader” (using this term loosely) Scott Stierwalt at her side for comic relief. Each week Scott and Steph would recount some of the more positive highlights in the news, and discuss any notable industry events that were taking place. Hilarity ensued of course when Scott and Steph both ended up with Jeeps (#Jeeplife) and decided to pull a Freaky Friday with each other and swap personas. 


If getting a little more scientific is your thing, our own Egor Polonskiy headed up the Nerd Corner”, where he showed off his innate ability to geek out on anything beverage-related. The N.E.R.D (Notoriously Erudite Russian Dude) covered some really informative topics such as Tea and Tea Cocktails, everything ice, canned cocktails, and many many more. An epic episode of note included a Nerd-Off between Egor and the esteemed ice expert Camper English. In an effort to not say too much, we suggest watching for yourself here!


Academia Live! taught us many things, but one surprising lesson is to never judge a book by it’s… ginger beard? Stephen Halpin showed us where his Instagram really came from with his segment, Gingerbartender, which revealed Stephen’s true passion for ginger and ginger cocktails! Each week we were surprised and delighted with his use of ginger in a new and exciting way, including making your own ginger beer from scratch as well as sharing delicious cocktail recipes from his amazing home bar with the use of his very favorite ingredient. If you’re craving an immune-boosting pick-me-up, look no further than Gingerbartender. 


Considering the amount of cocktail content featured in Academia Live, we thought the responsible thing to do would be to make sure to include some mouth-watering food recipes straight from the Patrón Test Kitchen with David and Joe! David and Joe are two tipsy Texans with a panache for entertaining and a hankering for TexMex cuisine, who lit up the screen showing off their at-home techniques for the perfect meals and snacks to pair with your Patrón cocktails. If your kitchen is calling out to be used, don’t forget to check out some of their memorable recipes such as Test Kitchen Queso (the dip not the dog), home run wings, Dutch Babies, and their award-winning (I think it’s up for a Pulitzer this year) Smoked Turkey Gumbo. Content Warning: an adorable Anatolion Shepherd named Queso may have stepped in on occasion and stolen the show. 


As the weeks passed and quarantine continued, the team improvised new and original ways to bring engaging content to the home viewer. Some notable highlights included the PSL from Hell episode, Hey Hey You’re On Mute- the game show that keeps everyone guessing wait did they say what I think they said??” or I think I saw this on Jimmy Fallon…”, that one time Scott lost his internet for the day, and a special Holiday goodbye as the show came to a close. 


While we may be soon seeing an end to necessary virtual programming, we hope that the episodes of Academia Live! can still bring joy to those who watch it. Academia Live! showed us all how challenging it is to create TV programming, but also how rewarding it can be to bring an audience into your home and connect across laptops and phones around the world. We hope that we may have made some days a little brighter, and provided something of support in a time of need. 


If you’re feeling intrigued, feel free to check out all of our past episodes on Youtube!

Author: Stephanie Teslar

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