The 2012 VIBE Conference, presented by Questex Media, saw record numbers this year as 247 corporate-level chain beverage executives gathered with on-premise chain beverage executives from 87 companies representing wine, beer, spirits, mixers, alcohol-free beverages, technology, glassware and beverage equipment.
Attendees gathered in Las Vegas March 13-14 for a day and a half of trend-forward programming, tastings, original research presentations and exciting networking events that featured celebrity mixologists crafting flavorful drinks.
Highlights of the VIBE Conference included 12 breakout workshops, such as the tasting session “Classic Cocktails with a Twist” by Commer Beverage’s David Commer; the beer-management class “Draught Dispense University” with Anheuser-Busch’s Cian Hickey; and the “All-Star Panel on Beverage Trends” with industry experts Stephen Beaumont from WorldofBeer.com, Doug Frost from Beverage Alcohol Resource, Kim Haasarud from Liquid Architecture and Peter Serantoni from Diageo.
Additionally, representatives from three companies gave original research presentations. David Henkes of Technomic Inc. presented insight into growth in the hotel food-and-beverage segment, while The NPD Group’s Warren Solochek discussed the company’s latest research, which digs into why consumers purchase what they do. Plus, Next Level Marketing’s Mike Ginley presented the latest on-premise consumer research uncovering what consumers want to see more of on beer, wine and cocktail menus. (Keep an eye on future issues of VIBE for this exciting, informative research!)
Other popular panels included author, strategist and TV host Amber MacArthur’s “The Dos and Don’ts of Social Media and Web 2.0,” in which MacArthur discussed the successes and failures of companies using social media; “Why You Like What You Like,” in which Tim Hanni of Tim Hanni Entreprises explained psychophysical differences that shape personal wine preferences; and “Today’s Non-Alcohol Business, from Housemade Sodas to Bold Signature Cocktails,” in which Kathy Casey of Kathy Casey Food Studios & Liquid Kitchen explained ways to use alcohol-free drinks to increase profits.
The event also featured opening and closing keynotes by Peter Sheahan and Chip Eichelberger, respectively. Sheahan, founder and CEO of ChangeLabs, led “Moving the Market: Accelerate Your Impact by Influencing How and Why Buyers Make Decisions.” His talk focused on how on-premise executives can avoid competing on price by activating powerful buying triggers. Eichelberger, a peak performance, motivation and sales strategist, led “Get Switched On! The Magic of Mission and Momentum.” During the interactive session, Eichelberger gave attendees ways to clarify their visions and create a clear game plan for the future.
All of the sessions made for an unforgettable event, but awards ceremonies are always a highlight of any conference. In the last issue, VIBE announced winners of the VIBE Vista Awards, which honored the top operators around the country. But during the conference, the VIBE Supplier Excellence Awards also were given. These awards went to:
Wine: Constellation Wines U.S.
Spirits: Beam Inc.
Alcohol-free and Mixers: The Coca-Cola Co.
Best Allied Supplier: Steelite International
Best Consultant & Agency: Patrick Henry Creative Promotions
Beer: The Boston Beer Co.
Wine: Ste. Michelle Wine Estates
Spirits: The Patron Spirits Co.
Alcohol-free and Mixers: Monin Gourmet Flavorings
Congratulations to the suppliers, and thank you to all attendees!