Highlights of the 2011 VIBE ConferenceMarch 21, 2011 By: Alissa Ponchione
This year's VIBE Conference in Las Vegas welcomed more than 500 on-premise chain beverage executives and national account sponsors/partners to what is now the premier beverage conference in the industry. Motivational speaker Dan Clark kicked it off on a high note. Exclusive research from Next-Level Marketing, Technomic and NPD gave attendees deep insights into emerging trends and consumer behavior, while workshops zeroed in on specific topics.
Informative workshop sessions, such as "Cocktail Alternatives," led by International Consulting Chef and Mixologist Kathy Casey, examined fresh ingredients and aclohol-free specialty drinks, all things that should be on your menu. Kip Snider from Yard House Restaurants led a beer tasting and discussed which beer style are worth considering when updating a beverage menu. A panel of highly successful operators, moderated by VIBE Emcee Stephen Barth, gave attendees a chance to learn from leaders with strong track records. Even more information was gleaned from workshops conducted by David Commer, B. Joseph John Szvititz, Evan Goldstein, David Henkes and Peter Marks, MW. Covering social media, Danielle Wiley of Edelman Digital provided insights on best ways to use this emerging medium to built sales, while Buffalo Wild Wings President & CEO Sally Smith, who is also NRA Chair, shared the story of her company's rise from a tiny, somewhat disorganized chain to the powerhouse it is today.
But it wasn't all work and no play. Cocktail parties each evening kept attendees mingling and networking, and the VIBE Vista and Supplier awards were presented and celebrated. VIBE attendees left this year's Conference with a lot of inspiration and countless actionable ideas on how to run a better, more efficient, top-notch drinks business.