In his role as Executive Director of Beverage and Corporate Mixologist at MGM Resorts International, Craig Schoettler uses his extensive culinary and beverage knowledge to position the company as a thought leader in the hospitality industry.
Schoettler graduated with a Culinary Arts degree from Johnson & Wales University in 2007 and from there, his hospitality journey began. Although he worked at Tru restaurant in Chicago during his college years, it was his move to the three-star Michelin restaurant Alinea that ignited his passion for exquisite cuisine and cocktails. Using these skills, Schoettler created a series of edible cocktails which spawned a new, simultaneous venture as executive chef at The Aviary, a highly acclaimed cocktail lounge and restaurant.
At Menin Hotels, Schoettler oversaw the Raffaelo Hotel in Chicago and transformed the property bar, Drumbar, into a sophisticated speakeasy concept with a highly refined beverage program that carried a worldly whiskey collection. With great success during his year with Menin Hotels, Schoettler received the attention of the AAA Five Diamond ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, where he accepted a position as the resort’s first property mixologist.
His ability to elevate the resort’s entire beverage program- from implementing a new take on creative classics to acquiring exclusive spirits- allowed ARIA to provide the highest quality of service and experience to its guests. As a result, he became the first Las Vegas F&B professional to win the 2014 Eater National “Young Guns” award, a prestigious honor that recognizes the best culinary and beverage professionals in the country.
Schoettler’s dedication to his craft has led him to win several awards including “Beverage Professional of the Year” from the Chicago Tribune and “National Bartender of the Year” from Eater National. His groundbreaking concepts also have been recognized through titles his bars have received such as Best New Bar from Time-Out Chicago, Ten Best Whiskey Bars in America 2013 from GQ Magazine and Outstanding Bar Program from the James Beard Foundation.