What's in this drink?

The folks who make Bombay Sapphire gin will kick off the 2017 Most Imaginative Bartender Competition, with drink submissions being taken from March 15 to April 13. Now in its 11th year, the contest begins regionally: Emerging Minnesota bartenders (who are 25 and older) will compete against others in June in Chicago, with 12 regional finalists going to London — the home of Bombay Sapphire and its new Laverstoke Distillery — in August to vie for the North American title. For all the rules — example: gin-based, no flames — visit MostImaginativeBartender.com when it goes live on March 15.

Maker to Market update

Here's an update on Lakewinds Food Co-op's inaugural Maker to Market incubator program in partnership with the Good Acre food hub. The project aims to help independent food makers turn food ideas into "market-ready products using the harvest of underserved and immigrant Minnesota farmers." The four chosen makers and their concepts are: Caldo Foods, Eden Prairie, harissa and other vegetable condiments; Gyst Fermentation Bar, Minneapolis, lacto-fermented vegetables; Senoras de Salsa, Minneapolis, authentic Mexican salsas and sauces, and Little Red Hen Foods, St. Paul, cauliflower-crust frozen pizzas. Over the next six months, each will work with farmers and in kitchens to develop a product for retail sale. Stay tuned.

Save the home-brew date

Home-brewers from across the country will come together June 15-17 in Minneapolis for Homebrew Con 2017, also known as the 39th annual National Homebrewers Conference. Hosted by the American Homebrewers Association, the three-day event at the Minneapolis Convention Center features interactive sessions, workshops and demonstrations that cater to beer enthusiasts and amateur brewers of every level. It also hosts the final round of judging in this year's National Homebrew Competition, considered the world's largest beer competition.

Organizers expect about 3,000 attendees and more than 80 presenters, including keynote speaker Omar Ansari, founder of the Surly Brewing Co. For details, visit homebrewcon.org.