SAN ANTONIO -

The 2014 San Antonio Cocktail Conference officially kicked off Thursday night.

Satellite events offering things like bourbon and barbecue took place a day early, but the third annual San Antonio Cocktail Conference officially kicked off Thursday night with a big party at the Majestic Theater.

"From our first year to our second year, we doubled our attendance," said Bohanan's General Manager Scott Becker, who is one of the lead organizers.

Becker said ticket sales for this year have also increased by at least 50 percent. Many of those attending are getting served by some of the best in the business.

"We are hosts of the top bartenders, bar personalities, aficionados from all over the world," said Becker. "We have bar personnel flying in from Italy, Australia and all across Manhattan."

Thursday night's kickoff party also featured food from restaurants around the city, including The Friendly Spot, The Monterey, Max's Wine Dive and Feast.

"This is a celebration, a culinary celebration of downtown San Antonio that we hope will be a landmark for years and years to come," said Becker.

The nearly weeklong party may focus on distilled spirits, but it also serves as a major fundraiser for some local charities, including HeartGift San Antonio. The nonprofit helps children around the world get life-saving surgery.

"Most children that are born in developing countries that have congenital heart defects don't have a shot at life," said HeartGift San Antonio Executive Director Leslie Davis Met. "HeartGift gives them that opportunity to heal their hearts and come here for open heart-surgery. We have eight children who will be coming to San Antonio for surgery this year and it's our hope that the cocktail conference will again provide two children with a chance at a new life and fulfilling the dreams of a family from another country."

The conference runs through Sunday. For a list of events, click here.

IMAGES: SA Cocktail Conference Opening Night

Published On: Jan 17 2014 08:33:49 AM CST

The 2014 San Antonio Cocktail Conference is underway. Check out some images of Opening Night at The Majestic Theatre submitted by KSAT Producer Diana Winters.

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