Cristal Murphy of CYO Events


by Melissa Jimenez

Cristal Murphy is the co-founder of CYO Events and one of the masterminds behind the Monterey Tequila and Mezcal Expo. When I had the chance to speak with her about the event, I knew that the interview would be a great insight to how everything came together for this cultural event.

MJ:  When and how did CYO Events become established?

CM:  The idea of CYO Events began about five years ago when my brother Omar and I were in the kitchen talking together about our futures. I started discussing about how I wanted to do event planning and he mentioned how he wanted to get more involved with community organization.  And so, we ended up putting the two together and decided to synchronize our skills to create CYO Events.

MJ: What inspired you to get involved with the idea of the Monterey Tequila and Mezcal Expo (MTME)?

CM: The number one thing that inspired my brother and I was the misperception people have of tequila.  This included myself at one point, so once we started doing our research about tequila, we started learning about all the different aspects there is to the agave based spirit.  As we were learning, we wanted to share this knowledge with others and that grew into the tequila expo idea.  In the end, we weren’t sure how the people from theCentralCoastwould react to this event. However, we decided to take the risk. People were receptive to the idea of the vision we had, gathering an array of aficionados, professionals, industry and community leaders to come together and celebrate tequila, music, culture, culinary arts and more! And, here we are going into the third year.  We have a lot of people to thank for the ongoing support, that’s for sure.

MJ: What can we expect different this year at the MTME event compared to the previous years?

CM: This year the event has matured.  We are incorporating a Margarita Showdown competition prior to the event to determine who makes the best margarita on theCentralCoast.  We hope this will get the bar and restaurant industry involved more and of course create more business in our communities.  After getting feedback from friends and past attendees, we are incorporating more entertainment during the expo.  There will also be a chance for attendees to purchase VIP tickets.  As a VIP, you can expect a chef, a special “how to sip tequila 101,” with Tequila Fortaleza, goodie bags and more.  Also, the after party is going to be at a different venue.  Last year we held it at the Portola Hotel and Spa, this year we are moving it over to the Blue Fin on Cannery Row.  We want people who come from out of town to get familiar withMontereyand not just Downtown Monterey.  Cannery Row is historic and we would love to bring people to that area and show them a good time.

MJ: What is your favorite part about the entire MTME experience?

CM: My favorite part would be the people that I meet during the event planning process.  The relationships that I build going into the event and when I meet these individuals in person, it is always nice to put a face to the email that I send or voice I hear over the phone.  There’s an actual face and a real person!  What makes everything worth the hard work is seeing the attendees’ faces and expressions as they are learning and having a blast during the event.  Okay, I know you asked what my favorite part about the event is, but there’s too many to name because I also enjoy being able to help the Salinas Jaycees raise funds for the Children’s Shopping Tour.

 MJ: Will we be expecting any new and upcoming events by CYO events?

CM: Yes you can! We have very creative ideas that are currently in the works and will be disclosing that information sooner than later.   We currently have the MTME website for updated information regarding the event, but if people would like to be added to our subscriber list or receive information about our CYO events, then they are able to contact us directly at We look forward to hearing from you!

Melissa Jimenez is a native of Monterey Bay, CA. She served in the United States military for six years and currently works for a non-profit organization. She has a deep love for baking, writing, music, and art.  Melissa received her Bachelor’s degree from Saint Leo University of Florida in psychology.