Alex Zurita comes full circle
Alex Zurita says he’s the black sheep of his family; while most of his family works in the IT industry, Zurita broke from the pack and is the beverage manager at Public House at The Venetian. “I just knew I couldn’t be in a cubicle all day staring at a computer,” says the Northern Californian transplant.
When he moved to Las Vegas seven years ago, he had no clue that one could make a career within the food and beverage industry. He started as a busser, eventually making his way over to Public House, where he became a part of the opening team as a busser and barback. He eventually moved to other venues around the city, and with each move he moved up the ladder, mastering the skills to be in management. “I always knew I wanted something more,” Zurita says. “I’m constantly trying to better myself.”
Six months ago, his can-do attitude led him full circle back to Public House. Zurita is now in charge of ordering and maintaining the gastropub’s beverage offerings, and he also educates his guests about one of the largest and rarest beer collections in the city. “Seeing how much stuff we (serve) is unbelievable,” he says. “Sometimes we’re (serving) like 30 gallons a day—that’s a lot of beer. We’ve cleared out 15 kegs in one day!” Zurita says his role also includes keeping on top of all the trends and new brands coming out. No matter how much he learns, he says, there’s always more to grasp, because the industry is constantly changing.
Zurita says one day he’d like to have his own pub, or be a director of operations. “I want to keep moving up the food-and-beverage ladder,” he says with certainty.
Beer Jam Manhattan
Public House carries more than 200 bottled beers, 24 selections on draft and even some labels that no other venue in town carry—and it even offers beer cocktails. The Beer Jam Manhattan is one of Zurita’s own creations—in fact, he created the beer jam recipe. The jam (it’s like preserves) is made from 40 different spices, stout and porter. If you like the traditional Manhattan, try this twist, which rounds out the bourbon flavor, Zurita says, with a blend of Woodford Reserve, Carpano Antica sweet vermouth, Angostura bitters and beer jam.