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A Drink Master’s Guide to Community

Drink Master's champion LP

Collaboration is the most intentional thing we can do, this Drink Master uses her platform to build community through collaboration and storytelling.

By Sedale McCall


(SPOILER ALERT! If you have not watched Drink Masters on Netflix, We will spoil the entire thing in the next paragraph. Stop here, watch it and come back!)

More than Drink Masters

If you know the name Lauren Paylor (or “LP” as she’s known), then you also know the show, Drink Masters.

Drink Masters is a Netflix competition show that brought in the top mixologists and bartenders in the country to battle it out. The show goes through 10 episodes challenging the mixologists to create some of the most innovative and eye-popping cocktails they can think of. The competitors made drinks only using black and white, used molecular gastronomy, and created drinks that paired best with dishes from chef Edward Lee. LP was as a cerebral, scientific mixologist on the show, who ultimately won the competition.

If you Google Lauren, the story of her winning this competition is already available. Her interviews and press since that reflect on her journey through the show, and what it took to ultimately win the show. 

Drink Master's is the big theme on LP's google results


But there’s SO much more to Lauren and her life than Drink Masters. Something Lauren is keenly aware of, though she is grateful for how the show helped her brand and story. 

“It’s a thing that I did and I am happy Netflix lended me their platform. It was a life-changing experience, but now it’s time to get to work,”  she said. 

For now, LP focuses her efforts on creating communities in the drinks world, through stories, to create a more inclusive industry. 

“I lead with storytelling and innovation as front of mind, but the impact that I really want to make is with bartenders, encouraging them to use their authentic voice, education and culture to tell their stories.” 

The spirits industry lacks the representation of its consumer base. According to research from Pronghorn, African-Americans make up 12% of the consumption of spirits, but only 7-8% of its labor force and 2% of its executives.  LP is doing what she can to change that.


Culture and Community

O’Brien is not letting her moment in the sun go to waste. She is using it to make an impact and advocate for others to do what they love. 

“I genuinely love the work that I do and now I get to do it with the opportunity to make a much bigger impact. It doesn’t matter how large or small your impact is, you should do the things you love because the difference you’re attempting to make will eventually be made,” she said. “Little impressions, and big ones, are amazing. But regardless of that, I’m still focused on all the progress that I have in play. With some of the moments on the show that people resonated with, I’m finding ways to lean into those elements and create programs that are authentically me and align with my values.”

LP runs a portfolio of brands that she uses to tell her own story, the stories of her culture, and the industry that she calls home. 

“I have LP Drinks which is events production and beverage consulting. That umbrella company encompasses Focus on Health, a health and wellness advocacy program. We have Cocktails and Comedy with Tone Bell (host of Drink Masters) and Rojo Perez, where we elevate the voices of comedians and mixologists and show you what these amazing individuals do. Then I have Bodega Culture, which is launching this year. I’ll be partnering with savory chefs, pastry chefs, and personalities and throwing amazing dinner parties focused on Bodega culture. I’m really excited for what’s to come.”

Drink Master's LP mixing drinks

Collaboration Over Competition

LP’s focus on others in the industry was so inspiring. She commits herself to elevating others from her platform, it’s a part of her appearances. Even though she won a competition and beat other bartenders, she focuses on collaboration. 

“The way I structure my pop-ups is by providing education. It’s a must, I will not accept a gig that will now allow me to work with their bartenders to do prep. When the event happens, I don’t bartend, because that’s their time to shine, that’s their show.” she said. “Collaboration is one of the easiest and most intentional things we can do. If we align on a business level, why not work together? That’s been my philosophy. I don’t want to look down at my peers and wave, I want them up here with me. No more competition, collaboration.”

Part of that passion comes from a sense of gratitude LP has from her time on the show and how it influences her perspective on her own journey. 

“When you see someone winning, it doesn’t mean it was easy. I’ve had to overcome some personal battles, some exterior battles.” she said. “Don’t ever let anyone dim your light. Surround yourself with people who truly have your back and love you. There’s so much to be proud of and happy about, despite those hardships and hard moments. There’s a lot to celebrate.”

What’s Next

LP’s energy was infectious throughout the conversation. If you can’t tell already, she has no plans to stop her passion for building community and elevating the industry. She is now an investor in cocktail company with a mission.

“I just became a shareholder for Siponey, the first b-corp-certified canned cocktail. They donate a portion of their profits to environmental causes. They mix aged dry whiskey, New York State wildflower honey, fresh lemon juice, and sparkling water. It’s really focused on the informed consumer purchasing with a cause, which is such a powerful message.”

Drink Master's shares drink with Siponey

At the end of the day, LP is grateful for her time on the show,  on the future of the industry and ready to take on that next chapter. 
If you’re looking for your cocktail ideas check out our recent post on wine cocktails inspired by the show.

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