The Miami hospitality community once again has lost one of its own.
Benjamin Carlotto, 44, passed away May 23. The city's bar community has taken to social media to mourn the loss. Cocktail Cartel's Hector Acevedo posted, "I’m mourning and celebrating the time we shared together. Your life was a gift to the world. We talked about a future together. Dear brother, your memory will never fade. Rest In Peace."
Gabriel Urrutia, cofounder of the blog Spirited Miami and author of Miami Cocktails , called Carlotto a strong mentor who influenced and guided many of Miami's best bartenders.
Carlotto began his spirits career in Australia and worked as bar manager and brand manager at several well-known companies. As a bar manager, Carlotto opened the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh and worked at Bacardi in the United Kingdom before being transferred with the spirits giant to the United States to develop a new team. Carlotto went on to Royal Dutch Distillers, where he was named vice president of trade marketing and advocacy USA. In 2017, he was named a short-term general manager at Sweet Liberty. Most recently, he was general manager of the restaurant Vista.
Urrutia, who met Carlotto when the two worked at Bacardi, says the man was much more than his resumé. Urrutia describes his friend as a "kind-hearted human being" who would pull money out of his pocket to purchase tools for bartenders starting out in the business. "Hospitality was in every single thing he did. He was an incredible person to be around."
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Carlotto was also a motorcycle buff who would often restore vintage bikes. Says Urrutia: "He enjoyed the mechanics of everything."
Tonight, members of Miami's hospitality community will gather at Taquiza North Beach to raise a glass and remember their friend. At the memorial, friends are asked to write their favorite memories of Ben on paper. They will then be set alight, "sending them into the atmosphere for him to collect and read like all the books he studied so frequently." The memorial begins at 7 p.m. and is open to the public.
In addition, a GoFundMe page has been established to help Carlotto's family with funeral arrangements. So far, more than $20,000 has been raised.
Ben Carlotto Memorial. 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, May 30, at Taquiza North Beach, 7450 Ocean Ter., Miami Beach.