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in the Mix

Vol. 52 Summer 2017




Vol. 52 Summer

Mary Melton P.F. Chang’s

Director of Beverage 2017


in the Mix Magazine


Ahead of the Curve and Growing Like a WEED

What do Snoop Dogg, Warren Buffett and George Soros have in common? They have all invested in legal marijuana. It seems like every time I open an industry trade journal or news source, there is at least one article addressing the growth of cannabis, from cultivation, regulation and marketing, to tourism. So how does it play out in the real world of the consumer, and how will it affect the alcoholic beverage industry in the future? As cannabis adoption accelerates, alcohol volumes will be under pressure. The numbers don’t lie – alcohol drinking in the 18- to 25-year-old demographic has declined for seven straight years as marijuana use has increased. There are all kinds of data analyses floating in the physical universe, some with fancy names like “inverse correlation between alcohol and cannabis use.” There are multiple surveys suggesting that cannabis consumers generally reduce their alcohol consumption.

Don Billings Publisher, in the Mix Media

““Do not put all eggs in one basket.” - Warren Buffett

Alcohol trends have been decidedly soft over the last two years, with a notable deceleration in personal consumption expenditures growth in both on- and off-premise. Additionally, there has been a notable deceleration across each beverage category of beer, wine and spirits, according to Nielson (and NABCA for spirits). Vivien Azer with Cowen and Company believes that alcohol could be under pressure for the next decade. However, she also feels companies with a well-balanced alcohol portfolio – across beer, wine and spirits – have the most defensible positioning against cannabis as their products over-index to high-income consumers.

Marijuana Migration = Drinks Doldrums

Moving forward, as each state house decides its course of action and sets its regulations, some alcohol companies will want to keep cannabis illegal while others are looking at ways to embrace it. The alcohol companies are not interested in giving up market share. So, I would not be surprised to see big companies work to establish positions and try to put cannabis under the three-tier system. It seems like America is going green. If you can’t beat them, join them. We will see how this all plays out. - Don Billings Summer 2017 •



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32. 46. 54. 76 86.

Profile – Jenny Wagner, Napa Valley Winemaker Interview with Ed Korry, CHE, CSS, CWE, Department Chairman, Center for Culinary Excellence, College of Culinary Arts, Johnson & Wales University Cover Story – An Interview with Mary Melton, Director of Beverage, P.F. Chang’s Top 10 Ways to Ensure Your Next Promotion is a Powerhouse by Jason Page CORE Chronicles – Uplifting stories from the Children of Restaurant Employees charity.

12. 18. 28. 38. 64.

The Adventures of George: The Singapore Sling by Tony Abou-Ganim 10 Years of Rośe All Day – The Story of Château D’Esclans Vero Water is Making a Big Splash in the Hospitality Industry America’s Most-Loved Alcoholic Beverage Is … by Mike Kostyo Crafting Your Summer Beverage Program by Lou Trope

22. 42. 70. 80.

New Openings – Showcasing some of the country’s newest properties. Making the Rounds With Helen Benefield Billings – Up in the Clouds at the Loews Regency San Francisco VIBE Conference 2017 Recap HEE Conference West 2017 Recap




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Here are a few highlights in this summer’s issue. Our cover story this summer is about one of the superstars of the on-premise world, Mary Melton of P.F. Chang’s. As the Director of Beverage, Mary has blazed the way to matching beverages with Asian cuisine, which in my mind is one of the last frontiers in our era of progressive growth in the adult beverage business. This spring, I flew up to Providence, Rhode Island to tour one of the great hospitality colleges in the country, Johnson & Wales University, where Ed Korry is an Associate Professor and Department Chairman at the Center for Culinary Excellence. I sat with Ed, my friend and regular contributor to in the Mix, for a fun Q-and-A. Tony Abou-Ganim recently traveled to Singapore and writes about the original Singapore Sling through the eyes of his character, George, in “The Adventures of George.” “Crafting Your Summer Beverage Program” is Lou Trope’s second article for in the Mix. After shaking up managers in his original article, “Why Doesn’t the Restaurant Manager Know What’s in a Negroni,” he has developed quite a following. In our summer Profile we feature Jenny Wagner, Napa Valley winemaker for Emmolo. Jenny comes from an iconic wine family, with notable pedigree in their veins, but this down-to-earth winemaker has her own ideas. Find out what “America’s Most-Loved Alcoholic Beverage Is …” in Mike Kostyo’s summer article from Datassential, a leading consulting firm and supplier of trends analysis and concept testing for the food industry. Our cover shot is by Natasha Mishano Photography in Phoenix, Arizona, home to Mary Melton. Enjoy. Mike Raven, Managing Editor, in the Mix Media 8

in the Mix Magazine



JASON PAGE, Creative Director Jason is a native of Boston, Massachusetts and resides in Austell, Georgia. He says, “Motivated by a great love of all things visual, I have enjoyed a career spanning a decade as a ‘maker.’ I find my inspiration in aesthetically considered things like automobiles, architecture and footwear – places where form and function meet. I tend to advocate for quality and have been known to serve as an evangelist for understanding the ‘why’ of a thing before taking pen to paper (or mouse to screen). I embrace any opportunity to push pixels away from the confines of an office and rub elbows with fellow ‘makers.’ I love what I do … and I love where I do it.” What are your responsibilities with IMI? I prefer to think of myself as more of a problem solver (starter) than a hard-core artist. However, beyond oversight of the department’s creative executions, I can usually be found buried behind a computer screen, pushing my share of pixels to meet one deadline or another. What do you like best about working with IMI’s Creative Ser vices? The aspect of this gig that I enjoy most is tackling the daily creative challenges (both big and small) with the support of the CSD team. What hobbies do you enjoy? My hobbies these days are wrapped up in reliving childhood and making memories for my little kiddos. What is your favorite travel destination? As much as I enjoy experiencing a new city, there’s no place like home. What is your favorite food? There’s nothing like a good slice of pizza. What are your favorite sports teams? It’s been an exciting time to be in Atlanta. Go Falcons/Atlanta United/ Hawks/Braves!! One thing you can’t live without? Wifi/connectivity. It’s great being able to access information when and where I need it. Keeps me from having to remember anything.

Jason Page Creative Director

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Contributing Writers Known as “The Modern Mixologist,” Tony is an accomplished bar chef, speaker and consultant who has created several original cocktail recipes, including the Cable Car, Sunsplash and Starlight. He has recently authored his second book, Vodka Distilled (Agate Surrey, publisher).

Media Print




Tony Abou-Ganim

Hospitality and travel writer, Helen Benefield Billings has been with in the Mix since its inception in 2004. Helen lives in her native childhood home of Sea Island, Ga. when not traveling or attending industry functions with her husband, Don.

Larr y McGinn, Par tner Celeste Dinos, Par tner Don Billings, Founding Par tner Helen Benefield Billings PUBLISHER

Mike is part of Datassential’s publications team, managing the company’s wide range of TrendSpotting Reports. He combines a passion for researching and synthesizing food trends with Datassential’s MenuTrends, Omnibus and other data-driven platforms in order to give clients a full, accurate and insightful picture of the latest trends in the foodservice industry. Mike’s early education and career in journalism, writing and political communications, as well as his recent master’s in gastronomy from Boston University, all greatly enhance his work at Datassential. He is also the founder of Chicago Food Bloggers, the city’s largest food blogger network.

D o n B illin g s E D I TOR I A L AN D DE S IGN

Editor – Michael Raven Designed by – Kester Chau Copy Editor & Proofreader – Christine Neal Associate Editor – Celeste Dinos Associate Editor – Helen Benefield Billings A DV E RT I S I N G S AL E S ,

Mike Kostyo


E dward is an A ss ociate Professor and Department Chairman, College of Culinary Arts, Johnson & Wales University, Providence, R.I. Edward carries many certifications as well as being past President of the Society of Wine Educators and an executive board member of the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild Master Accreditation program.

1 1 9 6 B u c k h e a d C ro ssi n g Wo o d s t o c k , G A 3 0 1 8 9 P H O N E 7 7 0 - 9 2 8 - 1 9 8 0 | FA X 7 7 0 - 5 1 7 - 8 8 4 9 E M A I L m ike @ i tm m a g . co m WE B I T M m a g .c o m

Edward Korry Lou is the President of LJ Trope & Co. LLC. Lou works with clients to assist them in concept development and much more. His expertise comes through years of experience as an Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage in resorts as well as convention and urban hotels in Bermuda, London, Maui, Philadelphia and San Diego.


in the MixLou Magazine Trope

i n t h e M i x m a g azi n e i s p u b l i sh e d q u a r te r ly by iM i A g e n c y. Al l r i g h ts re se r ve d. No p a r t o f t h is p u b lic a ti o n m ay b e re p r i n te d o r o t h e r w is e re p ro du ce d w i th o u t w r i tte n p e r m is s io n f ro m th e p u b l i sh e r.

in the Mix is exclusively operated and owned by Incentive Marketing Inc . Submissions: Incentive Marketing Inc. assumes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts or photographs.

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The Adventures of George by Tony Abou-Ganim


, back in Las Vegas, was craving dim sum and that always meant a trip to Fat Dumpling. So he grabbed a cab from the Strip and made the short trip to Chinatown, where a plate of steamed dumplings awaited. He arrived early in the night and the small restaurant was not yet busy, so he was seated quickly. After perusing the extensive menu, he ordered all his favorites, starting with a lamb kebab, green onion pancake and pot stickers. He followed this up with an order of steamed pork buns, pork & cabbage dumplings and some Singapore rice noodles. Yes, he was a little hungry and everything was so good he always had a hard time deciding, so why not have it all? His meal was fantastic but the only thing wrong with Fat Dumpling is they don’t serve any booze. George had some hot green tea with his meal but was desperately in need of some liquid stimulation. After paying the check, he asked his server for a recommendation to a nearby drinking establishment. “You just need to go four doors down and visit my friends at Golden Tiki,” his server answered. “They make some tasty tropical drinks.” 12

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Walking into Golden Tiki reminded George of a visit to Trader Vic’s years ago, as it was decorated with tropical, Polynesian artifacts, so he knew he was in the right place to find a drink to wash down his yummy dim sum dinner. Grabbing a spot at the end of the long bar in front of a blinking video poker machine, he was quickly approached by an extremely personable bartender. “Hi, I’m Jada. Welcome to Golden Tiki. Would you like to see our menu?” she inquired. “Hello, Jada. Well yes, but I just ate next door at Fat Dumpling and would love to have something to drink that would work with their wonderful dumplings,” George replied. “I love Fat Dumpling! You should have one of our Singapore Slings — they’re one of my personal favorite things on the menu,” she suggested. “I have not had a Singapore Sling in years,” George responded. “It’s basically a Tom Collins with cherry brandy, right?” “Well, that’s one way to make it, I guess,” she said, smiling. “We base our recipe off of the Raffles Hotel’s in Singapore, where the drink was allegedly first created in 1915.” “I’ll have one,” George ordered. While the bartender was preparing his

Sling, George put $60 in the video poker machine just for fun, always being a sucker for a slot machine. “Here you go,” Jada said. “Let me know what you think.” George took a sip of the tall, dark pink libation and found it to be very refreshing, with a touch of cherry sweetness balanced nicely with acidity coming from freshly squeezed lime juice and the sharpness of the gin. It was indeed the perfect complement to the dim sum he had just enjoyed. “So, what do you think — did I steer you wrong?” Jada inquired. “Delicious — just what I had envisioned. Matter of fact, I think I’ll have another,” George answered. Just then, he drew four aces on the video poker machine, which paid $200. George cashed out, finished his Sling, paid his tab, and tipped and thanked Jada. His winnings also covered the cost of his dinner at Fat Dumpling, his cab fare to and from the Strip, and he still had $30 left for a nightcap back at the hotel. You have got to love Las Vegas! On the ride back to the hotel, George

Golden Tiki , Las Vegas Photo by Krystal Ramirez

Summer 2017 •


couldn’t stop thinking about the Singapore Sling and the Raffles Hotel where the drink was created over a

hundred years ago. By the time he reached the hotel, he had made up his mind to book a trip to Singapore and visit the historic Raffles Hotel, to get to the bottom of this mysterious libation. The next morning George called his travel agent, who he keeps on speed dial, and inquired about a trip to Singapore. She informed him that his favorite cruise line, Crystal, had a cruise departing from Singapore in four days, en route to Hong Kong. Well, it took about 30 seconds to make up his mind and have his agent book a business class ticket on the United Dreamliner to Singapore, a night at Raffles Hotel and a balcony cabin on Crystal Symphony. George arrived in Singapore 48 hours later, suffering from jet lag, and checked into his room at Raffles. He made a reservation at The Bar & Billiards, where the Sling was currently being served, as the Long Bar was closed for remodeling. Then he lay down for a much needed nap. Later, George received his wake up call feeling refreshed from his nap and excited to experience his first, authentic Singapore Sling. He had made a reservation for 12:30 p.m. When he arrived, the bar was already full and there was a line of people waiting for a spot. After checking in with the host, he was escorted to the last available seat at the crowded bar, where he was greeted by a very friendly barman who presented him with a menu and a large bag of peanuts. “Feel free to throw the shells on the floor. This is the only place in Singapore where littering is encouraged,” he explained. “I’ll be right back to get your order.” When the barman returned he did not seem at all surprised when George ordered a Singapore Sling, since 14

in the Mix Magazine

virtually everyone in the place was sipping on this signature cocktail. Feeling rather parched from the hot and humid climate, George took a long slug of the tall, frothy, pink concoction. He found it to be sweet and fruity yet strikingly refreshing, with a significant gin kick that paired well with the cherry brandy and fresh pineapple juice. “So, what is the story behind Raffles and the Singapore Sling?” George inquired. The barman smiled and began to recite his wellrehearsed spiel that he most likely recites countless times during the course of the day. “The Singapore Sling, which is widely considered our national drink, was created here at Raffles by lead bartender Ngiam Tong Boon in 1915,” he stated. “It is a gin-based drink that also includes pineapple and lime juices, along with Benedictine and Cointreau. The addition of cherry brandy gives it the telltale flavor and, along with grenadine syrup, its bright, rosy color.” George ordered a second Sling and after the barman skillfully prepared it, as they do some 750 times a day, he continued to tell the story behind the Sling’s creation. “Following the turn of the 20th century, Raffles became the

gathering spot in Singapore and the Long Bar was where the gentlemen would quench their thirst with spirituous drink. Unfortunately for the women of that era, it was seen as bad taste for them to drink alcohol in public and they were destined to knock back tea or fruit juices,” he continued. “Bartender Ngiam Tong Boon didn’t think it was fair for the ladies to suffer through the sweltering heat with just fruit juice, so he concocted the Singapore Sling. He gave the drink its illuminating pink glow and feminine feel, which led people to believe it was simply a fruity punch that was more than acceptable for ladies. And it worked!” By now, George had finished his second Sling and realized that half a bag of peanuts, whose shells found their way to the floor around his stool, was not going to sustain him. So he thanked the barman for the informative history lesson, paid the check and inquired about a nearby restaurant that was casual and served great dim sum. “Check out Din Tai Fong. It’s right across the street and they have fantastic dumplings!” he replied. Leaving Raffles in the hot, muggy, late afternoon air and surrounded by palm fronds, George could almost picture gentlemen of the day in their casual white suits escorting ladies with their parasols and fans into the Long Bar for a cool, bracing Singapore Sling.

He found Din Tai Fong and after a short wait, was seated and served an ice cold Tiger beer. He ordered crab & pork dumplings, chili crab & pork buns, deep fried vegetable & pork wontons, and their famous xiao long baos (steamed pork dumplings). After a couple more cold Tiger beers and the wonderful dumplings, the jet lag finally caught up to George. Tomorrow was to be an early day, so he paid his check and returned to Raffles, to call it a day. The next morning he checked out and hailed a cab for the harbor where he would board the beautiful Crystal Symphony for his cruise to Hong Kong. Once on board and seated at the bar inside the Crystal Cove, he just happened to notice that the drink of the day was a Singapore Sling. “I’ll have a Singapore Sling, please,” he ordered. He found it to be very fresh, complex and balanced, and not nearly as sweet or fruity as the ones he’d had at Raffles. “Is this the same recipe they serve at Raffles?” he inquired. “Pretty much,” the bartender answered. “We use Tony Abou-Ganim’s recipe, which contains more gin and Angostura bitters, but less pineapple juice and no grenadine syrup.” George liked this version as well, although he thought there would never be any way to substitute the experience of drinking a Singapore Sling at Raffles, but the Crystal Symphony does come close.

The Merlion fountain in Merlion Park with the Singapore city skyline.

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Raffles Singapore Sling Their recipe as presented on their menu and credited to Ngiam Tong Boon, their head bartender who invented the Singapore Sling in 1915. 30 ml (1 oz) gin 15 ml (½ oz) cherry brandy 120 ml (4 oz) pineapple juice 15 ml (½ oz) lime juice 7.5 ml (¼ oz) Cointreau 7.5 ml (¼ oz) DOM Benedictine 10 ml (⅓ oz) grenadine A dash of Angostura bitters Garnish with a slice of pineapple and cherry.

Tony Abou-Ganim’s Singapore Sling 1½ oz Bombay Sapphire Gin ½ oz Cointreau ½ oz Benedictine ½ oz Cherry Heering 3 oz

pineapple juice

½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice 2 dashes Angostura Bitters To an ice-filled mixing glass, add gin, Cointreau, Benedictine, Cherry Heering, pineapple juice and lime juice. Shake; strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Garnish with a pineapple spear with black cherry. 16

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of The Story of

Château D’Esclans A LOT can happen in 10 years, and the monumental growth of the Rosé category is a testament to that. Ten years ago you would never find an avid wine drinker in the U.S. sipping on a glass of Rosé, but fast forward to 2017(the year of “Rosé All Day”), and enter a time where Rosé has evolved into so much more than just a wine. It has become a lifestyle. It is not by luck or chance that Rosé has evolved into a serious wine as well as a social phenomenon, its road to success came with a lot of hard work and the unwavering determination of Sacha Lichine, owner/winemaker of Château D’Esclans. For wine connoisseurs around the world, Lichine is considered something of a legend, born into one of the most prestigious wine families in Europe. His father, Alexis Lichine, was an author, importer and owner of Château Prieuré Lichine. He has been credited with introducing French wine to American consumers and key in shaping the future of wine sales here in the U.S. Château D’Esclans boutique


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Spring 2017 •


Vineyards at Château D’Esclans

Whispering Angel flowing at SOBEWFF (South Beach Wine & Food Festival).

Château D’Esclans

Sacha Lichine

Bottling of Whispering Angel. Mix Magazine 20 in theprocess

Growing up surrounded by the vineyards of Bordeaux, Sacha Lichine spent summers in his youth on his father’s estate, Chateau Prieuré-Lichine. It was during this time that Sacha not only learned how to enjoy red, white and Rosé, but also developed an enthusiasm for quality and refinement. It seemed his future was laid out before him – owner of a prestigious and reputable estate, one of the most recognizable names in the world of wine, and the man behind an established winery known for producing some of the finest grapes in Bordeaux. Instead, Lichine walked away from the family winery and struck out on his own, to blaze his own trail as the king of Rosé. After selling the family estate in 1999 and spending years searching for the perfect property, he found Chateau d’Esclans in 2006 – a 667-acre, 13th-century vineyard planted with Cinsault and Grenache vines. Lichine immediately set out to change the global perception of blush wines as unsophisticated and overly sweet, a description often closely associated with American white Zinfandel throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Inspired by his childhood travels to Monte Carlo for summer vacations, where he drank Rosé on the yacht of Prince Rainier and Princess Grace Kelly, Sacha aimed to bring that sophistication and glamour associated with Rosé to the U.S. Sacha applied the wisdom and skills honed during his experience by investing in vinification technology and recruiting expert oenologist Patrick Léon, and he set out to create the world’s greatest Rosé. Together, Sacha and Patrick Léon, also a Bordeaux native and former head winemaker at Mouton Rothschild, have meticulously worked to craft one of the industry’s most highly regarded portfolios of high-quality Rosé expressions: Whispering Angel, Rock Angel, Les Clans and Garrus. Over the past 10 years, Lichine has turned Whispering Angel into an American success story. Producing its 10th vintage in 2016, Whispering Angel has catapulted to success as the leading premium Rosé in the market and a favorite among the social elite. The winery has become the fastest growing range of fine wines to be introduced globally during the past two decades, setting the tone for unprecedented growth within the Rosé category. “Without passion, there’s not much you can

do successfully in life,” says Lichine, and it is that passion that has led to the enormous success of Château D’Esclans amongst Rosé lovers. In 2007, with the first vintage of Whispering Angel in hand, Sacha hit the streets of Miami selling his passion and Rosé in a grassroots style that has driven and continues to drive his success. He took the brand first to Miami, focusing on the chic hotels and restaurants in the city, hoping to reach the international crowd. “The best marketing is shaking hands, making friends and selling wine. I wanted to get in everywhere, from Bali to the Maldives, to the Mandarin Oriental and the Peninsula in Hong Kong,” says Lichine. “I hit the streets and burned some leather. My goal is to get Rosé in people’s mouths.” Château D’Esclans has celebrated “Rosé All Day” for the last decade, but there is no slowing down on the horizon for the king of Rosé. More competition means that the market is only getting stronger and Sacha plans on keeping up with the evergrowing demand, aiming to reach production of 650,000 cases over the next few years. “The future is very bright – Rosé has become a lifestyle. It’s the cool thing to drink today and I don’t see that changing anytime soon,” says Lichine. Sacha’s vision, planning and hard work have, without a doubt, transformed the Rosé category into what it has become today. In just 10 short years, production has increased by more than 2,000 percent and Whispering Angel has become synonymous with the word “Rosé.” Whispering Angel, Rock Angel, Les Clans and Garrus are distributed in 103 countries; 60 percent of that business is done here in the U.S. In 2016, Whispering Angel became the first-ever still Rosé producer in history to become the number one value French wine in the U.S, an unimaginable feat just a decade ago. “We’re thrilled to reach this milestone at Château d’Esclans and reflect on our achievements as we prepare to bottle the 10th vintage of Whispering Angel,” said owner Sacha Lichine. “We’re extremely proud of the work of our winemaker Patrick Léon and his team who, together, have propelled our Rosé to become the wine of choice. We look forward to continuing to expand upon our vision to bring Rosé into the luxury category, giving it the respect and prominence it has always deserved.”

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New Openings Four Seasons Hotel Houston Unveiled Phase II of its massive and extensive year-long renovation project this past January 2017. The project rolled out exhilarating new amenities that have converted the downtown fixture into a one-stop shop for social gatherings, meetings, recreation and relaxation. International restaurateur Richard Sandoval collaborated with the hotel to launch a chic bourbon bar lobby concept, christened Bayou & Bottle. Bayou & Bottle brings a lively bar destination to downtown Houston, serving over 150 varieties of bourbons and whiskeys. Unique features include the first-ever Topgolf® simulation golf experience, Angels’ Share private dining room, a bourbon steward, a “grab & go” counter and personalized bourbon lockers, as well as an outdoor patio. Award-winning design boutique Meyer Davis was tapped to re-envision the 35-year-old hotel’s new look, which includes the exterior façade and entire lobby area. “The completion of Phase II of the extensive renovation project at Four Seasons Hotel Houston represents the culmination of hard work on the part of multiple parties and a vision that places Four Seasons firmly at the forefront of downtown Houston’s future,” commented General Manager Tom Segesta, a 28-year Four Seasons veteran.

(from top to bottom) Bayou & Bottle lobby bar The newly redesigned lobby. The pool setting at night. Dining room of the Quattro Restaurant, meaning “four” in Italian and representing the four “faces” of the restaurant: breakfast, lunch, dinner and a lively antipasto bar. 22

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Four Seasons Surf Club

The original Surf Club entrance.

Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club in Surfside, Florida opened this past March on the original site of oceanfront where Harvey Firestone created the original “The Surf Club” in the 1930s. Four Seasons Hotel at The Surf Club today comprises 77 guest rooms and a selection of hotel residences. Overlooking the ocean are the fabulous Le Sirenuse Miami restaurant and the Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar & Lounge, Le Sirenuse hotel’s first restaurant and Champagne bar away from its famed Positano home on Italy’s southern coast. Guests enjoy a touch of the Amalfi Coast dolce vita in the suavely elegant Champagne Bar & Lounge and embark on a Mediterranean flavor odyssey in the restaurant. “The Surf Club’s success has always been determined by quality, passion and relaxed precision, and that remains our priority today – being intuitive, exceeding our guests’ every expectation and creating memories that will last a lifetime,” says General Manager Reed Kandalaft. (right from top to bottom) Le Sirenuse Champagne Bar. The beautiful beach on the Atlantic Ocean. Le Sirenuse Miami. Unobstructed views. Spring 2017 •


Norwegian Cruise Line

Takes Delivery of First PurposeBuilt Ship For China Norwegian Cruise Line took delivery of Norwegian Joy this past April, from MEYER WERFT during an on-board ceremony in Bremerhaven, Germany. It is the brand’s 15th ship and the first one custom designed for the Chinese cruise market. At 167,725 gross tons and accommodating 3,883 guests, Norwegian Joy is the second ship in the line’s Breakaway-Plus class. It features an innovative design with amenities tailored to provide a “First Class at Sea” experience for Chinese guests, with the elements of freedom and flexibility that Norwegian Cruise Line has become known for across the globe. “With this incredible ship, we have taken Norwegian’s signature on-board experience and expanded and customized it with exciting features, services and amenities that combine the best of the East and the West,” said David Herrera, president of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings China. “We are honored to deliver this spectacular ship to our Chinese guests and we can’t wait to see Norwegian Joy come to life when she welcomes her first guests upon her arrival in China this June.” Norwegian Joy offers engaging and innovative activities including a first at-sea, two-level competitive racetrack, an open-air laser tag course, thrilling simulator rides, Oculus virtual reality technology and interactive video walls at the Galaxy Pavilion, and two multi-story waterslides. In addition, Norwegian Joy features a tranquil, open space park as well as the line’s largest upscale shopping district, complete with everything from exceptional duty-free shops to worldrenowned global luxury brands.

(from top to bottom) Norwegian Joy on its sea trial. The waterslides and park area being readied for the opening. The Courtyard Suite is one of the many accommodation choices aboard the Joy. The two-level competitive go-kart racetrack. 24

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Fogo De Chão Opens Second Dallas-Area Location in Uptown, Marking the 35th Fogo Restaurant Nationwide Internationally renowned Brazilian steakhouse Fogo de Chão opened its newest location in the luxurious One Uptown high-rise apartment tower at 2619 McKinney Ave., Dallas this past February. The new restaurant marks Fogo de Chão’s 35th location in the United States. There are currently 47 Fogo de Chão restaurants worldwide. “Our Addison, Texas location, which opened in 1997, was the first place in the world to host a Fogo de Chão outside of Brazil,” said Larry Johnson, Chief Executive Officer of Fogo de Chão. “We’re excited to add a second Dallas-area location in the heart of Uptown, one of the most dynamic and fastest-growing neighborhoods in the country, and believe that our guests will love our new space at One Uptown.” Fogo de Chão shares the Brazilian gaucho traditions of “churrasco,” the art of roasting meats over an open fire, and “espeto corrido,” or “continuous service.” The menu features a wealth of savory, fireroasted meats that are prepared and carved tableside for each guest by a team of authentic Brazilian-trained gaucho chefs. Guest favorites include filet mignon, lamb chops and ribeye, as well signature Brazilian cuts like the house specialty, Picanha sirloin. As a complement to the variety of protein options, guests can also enjoy the gourmet Market Table and Feijoada Bar, which includes seasonal salads, soups, fresh vegetables, Feijoada (Brazilian black bean stew) and authentic Brazilian side dishes. Boasting a vibrant dining room, expansive outdoor patio and lively bar area, the new Uptown Dallas location offers a variety of dining options and experiences for everyone.

(from top to bottom) Located in the luxurious One Uptown high-rise apartment tower. The ribbon cutting ceremony announcing the grand opening. Bar Fogo serves smaller, shareable plates. Brazilian-trained gaucho chefs. Spring 2017 •


Sage Restaurant Group

Opens Doors to Kachina Southwestern Grill In Downtown Denver The restaurant delivers modern Southwestern cuisine and creative cocktails to downtown Denver’s new Dairy Block. Sage Restaurant Group introduces the second location of Kachina Southwestern Grill, a modern Southwestern-inspired restaurant, at Dairy Block in downtown Denver. “Kachina Southwestern Grill is a truly unique concept, fusing together authentic flavors of the Southwest for a contemporary dining experience,” says Peter Karpinski, Co-Founder of SRG and Denver resident. “I’m proud to introduce Kachina to downtown Denver – the restaurant’s inventive menu, cocktails and unique décor will undoubtedly make it a destination for both local and visiting diners.” Under the guidance of Executive Chef Jeff Bolton, who helmed the kitchen of Kachina’s first location in Westminster, the restaurant’s cuisine combines the culinary styles of the American Southwest and New World. Kachina’s in-house butcher program reinforces a native respect for the land, in that the whole animal is used in the most creative and succulent manner. The restaurant’s partnerships with Native American tribes’ businesses, such as Ramona Farms located on the Gila River Indian Reservation in Arizona, and exploration of their unique Southwestern ingredients, brings a whole new layer of spice and originality to the menu. Beyond the kitchen, guests will enjoy a selection of eclectic, Southwestern-inspired margaritas and cocktails created by SRG’s Director of Beverage Operations Brandon Wise. The drink menu features spirited creations such as the Blade Scorpion with Cazadores Reposado, pineapple, lime, green chartreuse, ginger syrup and scorpion tincture; as well as the Spaghetti Western with Maker’s Mark bourbon, Campari, lemon, cherry tomato and Tecate. Wise also offers a variety of non-alcoholic agua frescas like the Desert Pear, made with prickly pear puree, lemon juice, raw sugar syrup and cucumber water. (from left to right) Zanahoria cocktail and La Fresca cocktail 26

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Sage Restaurant Group Introduces Poka Lola Social Club

Located adjacent to Kachina Southwestern Grill at Dairy Block, the new craft cocktail bar pays homage to 1950s’ American soda fountain culture. Sage Restaurant Group introduces Poka Lola Social Club, a lively cocktail bar inspired by mid-20th century American soda fountain culture. The club is now open and located adjacent to Kachina Southwestern Grill at Dairy Block in downtown Denver. “We created Poka Lola Social Club to simply be a fun place, from the 1950s-inspired design and its inviting, open layout, right down to the fountain-style cocktails and cheeky phrases on the coasters,” says Peter Karpinski, Co-Founder of SRG. “With a prime location at the new Dairy Block, this bar will be in the core of downtown Denver’s most exciting development. We’re eager to meet and have a drink with all of our guests, with the hope that everyone feels at home.” Poka Lola’s menu, created by SRG’s Director of Beverage Operations, Brandon Wise, offers a nod to nostalgia with a selection of signature cocktails and classically inspired drinks. The “Fancy Drinks” section features unique concoctions including an Aperol Cocktail with Aperol, grapefruit-lime cordial and Prosecco; Improved Jungle Bird with Overproof rum, pineapple phosphate, Campari and lime; and Crate & Barrel with bourbon, sweet vermouth, barrelaged Benedictine, absinthe and bitters. The “Fountain Drinks” section features cocktails served from a tap, with options like the Negroni Soda with Campari, sweet vermouth, orange cream citrate and juniper soda; Windsor Egg Cream with Fernet, chocolate, cream, egg white, seltzer and mint; and the Woodward Avenue Cooler, made with rye whiskey, Vernors ginger ale, Angostura bitters and vanilla ice cream. Unique to Poka Lola are specialty sodas made with locally sourced seasonal ingredients, which are bottled on-site for use in cocktails, to be enjoyed on their own or be taken home by guests.

(top and bottom) Negroni Soda and Dr. J Cocktail Spring 2017 •


Vero Water Co-Founders David Deshe and Michael Servetnick

Vero Water is Making

a Big Splash in the Hospitality Industry


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MIAMI Beach-based Vero Water® is creating waves in the hospitality industry. By turning tap water into profit for its clients, the fiveyear-old company is disrupting the traditional imported bottled water business. From its humble beginnings, Vero Water is now served in over 40 states and enjoyed by over 38 million consumers a year — in establishments ranging from the number one restaurant in the world, to casual independents across the nation. Launched in 2011, Vero Water is a leading provider of still and sparkling water focused on the hospitality industry. Vero enables clients to purify, chill and bottle still and sparkling water on-site and on demand, delivering a consistent signature taste regardless of the tap water source. Swift and sustainable, the systems are proactively maintained by Vero and leased at a flat monthly “all inclusive” rate. Company President and cofounder David Deshe credits Vero’s proprietary five-step purification system and concierge customer service as key factors in building a strong brand in the demanding on-premise arena.

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Thousands of restaurants and luxury hotels nationwide have turned to Vero, including many Michelin Star and James Beard Award winners. Numerous luminary chefs choose to offer Vero Water, such as Mario Batali who serves it in all his concepts. Dan Barber, the Voltaggio brothers and Jose Garces serve Vero Water as well. “I serve it in my restaurant for guests to enjoy. What I hadn’t expected was that I would enjoy its crisp, clean taste so much that I would have to get it for my home,” said Garces. The Vero Water client list is a who’s-who of leading destinations such as The Ritz-Carlton, JW Marriott and Hard Rock. “Vero is appealing because of our unique price points,” said Deshe. “Now, we’re in more than 250 outlets in South Florida alone, which enabled us to expand into every major market in the U.S.” On board are MiMo’s Vagabond, Glass and Vine in Coconut Grove, and Stephen Starr’s Le Coucou and Upland, both in New York City and South Beach. “Being headquartered in Miami keeps us close to clients and allows us to stay current with what’s going on in this vital marketplace,” said Vero Vice President of Sales and co-founder Michael Servetnick. On the West Coast, innovative concepts such as Single Thread also have Vero Water as part of their guest experience.


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Despite the availability and proliferation of imported and domestic bottled waters, about 85 percent of guests order tap, says Deshe. “We realized quickly the reason is price. These same consumers drink filtered or bottled water for every occasion — in the office, at home, in the gym and on the go. By improving the bottled water model and route-to-market, we made drinking still and sparkling water both affordable and eco-friendly when eating out, while delivering on the luxury tableside experience of imports.” The first challenge was creating a water with a taste that even the most discerning chefs would embrace. “We designed a proprietary system that accounts for the variation in municipal water coast to coast. Achieving a consistent, singular taste was the real challenge,” said Joe McNulty, Vice President of Operations. “We tested our process to ensure it met the demands of our clients. Customer service was built in from day one.” What emerged is Vero’s five-step Vero+ purification system with four stages of unique filtration to reduce dirt, rust and bacteria — and then running it through a signature taste polisher. Vero’s systems are designed to save counter space and optimize efficiencies. Italian Chef Angelo Masarin of popular Miami Midtown restaurants Salumeria 104

and neighboring Midtown Oyster Bar, has served only Vero Water from the start. “Our restaurant is very small and I don’t have much storage. Vero Water was the solution.” Casanova of trendy Eating House in Miami can relate. He stopped carrying imports. “Storage and trash are issues because of large, empty bottles. We strive to keep things green. That’s a big deal for us. The reception we get from guests is very positive.” Purifying and filling on site reinforces sustainability goals, and taps into guests’ growing demands for eco-friendly brands. Carbon dioxide emissions and food miles are dramatically reduced versus traditional bottled waters, which are sourced, extracted and packaged in Europe and Asia, then shipped thousands of miles to the point of consumption. Vero designed bottles of extra strong annealed glass that are sized for easy sanitation in standard racks. “You just wash and reuse the same bottles instead of creating all this trash,” adds Casanova. Vero has a unique approach in pricing that resonates with both operators and guests. It suggests charging a small fee per guest, usually one or two dollars, and letting diners enjoy as much luxury still and sparkling water as they like throughout the meal service.

“One dollar per person is totally accessible,” says Chef Masarin. As Deshe explains, “Before, only 15 percent of patrons were buying bottled water. Now you have 85 to 90 percent ordering Vero because of the minimal cost.” Brian Lieberman, owner of the chic OLA restaurant in the Sanctuary Hotel in Miami Beach, sees a big difference. “Switching to Vero significantly increased our profitability versus traditional bottled water.” One high-volume client in Las Vegas thinks it has hit the jackpot. While requesting anonymity due to the fierce competitive nature of the industry, the establishment reports almost $23,000 in monthly sales from Vero Water, compared to just $6,000 with traditional imported bottled water. It now solely serves Vero, as do many other clients that have gone exclusive. The Vero management team has carefully managed growth in order to maintain the highest quality and client service levels. Now rapidly expanding into national and global account concepts such as Melia Hotels & Resorts, Vero Water is poised to deliver its exceptionally great tasting, eco-friendly brand to consumers around the world.

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Jenny Wagner

Napa Valley Winemaker Spend any time with Napa Valley winemaker Jenny Wagner and you’ll quickly discover that she doesn’t sit still for long. At any given moment, she might be pulling a barrel sample, checking on a vineyard, or scribbling notes during an impromptu tasting. Such constant, varied activity suits her perfectly. As a teenager, she worked briefly as a receptionist and soon realized that a desk job wasn’t for her. Today, Jenny is hands-on in every aspect of producing her Emmolo Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc, from farming the grapes all the way through bottling. 32

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Mee Lane Vineyard, Rutherford, Napa Valley

“Every detail matters,” says Jenny, who even helped design the Emmolo label, with its vintage feel and embossed borders. “And there’s always the opportunity to try new ideas and push to get better and better. That’s what keeps things interesting.” This philosophy is readily apparent in Jenny’s wines, both of which have a distinct style that is not typical for the production of these varietals in California. With bright minerality, her Sauvignon Blanc is crisp and light. By contrast, her Merlot is dark, rich and bold, marked by intense flavors and soft tannins. Jenny sees enormous potential to offer people something different and feels incredibly fortunate to have the freedom as a winemaker to put her own mark on these wines. She is also rooted in a farming and winemaking tradition on both sides of her family that has helped shape her approach. Emmolo takes its name from her maternal ancestors, who came to Napa Valley from Sicily in 1923, buying land and starting a grapevine rootstock nursery that supplied many of the region’s vineyards. Jenny’s mother, Cheryl, has no

brothers and dreamed of keeping the Emmolo name alive by making wine using family vineyards. She launched Emmolo in 1994, handing the reins over to Jenny in 2011. By that point, Jenny had gained considerable knowledge and experience as she grew up and later worked at Caymus Vineyards, which was started in 1972 by her dad, Chuck Wagner, and her grandparents, Charlie and Lorna Wagner (Chuck’s family first came to Napa Valley in the 1850s, making Jenny the seventh generation to live in the region). Earning a business degree from the University of San Diego, she “studied” farming and winemaking by getting her hands dirty, noting that “so much of what we do can’t be learned from books. Instead, you have to constantly adapt, experiment and make improvements. My dad always says that he’s still learning, even though he knows so much. He has pushed me to think outside the box.” Wanting his children to create their own success, Chuck helped them each establish their own wine brands, and today Jenny oversees all aspects of Summer 2017 •


Emmolo. At the same time, she works closely with her dad and brother Charlie, who leads other wines in the portfolio, including Mer Soleil Chardonnay, Conundrum and Red Schooner. Together, the father, son and daughter team support each other’s projects and strategize about everything from the creation of new wines to the development of vineyard sites in diverse regions of California. Chuck takes obvious pride in what Jenny has accomplished. “Maybe you should take this with a grain of salt, but I think she makes the best Merlot in California,” he says. “It’s dark, concentrated, balanced and wonderful. Her Sauvignon Blanc is basically being made in the vineyard, where she grows grapes that can be harvested at less maturity than is typical, enhancing the acidity and brightness while leaving behind the green bell pepper character that this variety is prone to.” Grapes for both her Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc are grown mostly on family vineyards in two sub-appellations of Napa Valley, Rutherford and Oak Knoll, whose microclimates are particularly well suited to these varietals. The slight differences between them allow Jenny to achieve distinct characteristics in the wine. Oak Knoll, for instance, is about seven degrees cooler than Rutherford, enabling the grapes to stay on the vine longer, in turn leading to richer fruit. For Jenny, farming family vineyards allows her not just to produce great wine, but also ties her to a history she’s become part of shaping for the next generation. Her grandparents, Frank and Annie Emmolo, still live on the family property in Rutherford, where Jenny now brings her one-year-old son, Wiley, to visit. “I just always knew this was the life for me,” she says, reflecting on her path. “And I feel very lucky to be doing what I’m doing. Growing grapes and making wine is an amazing experience – but the best part is getting to share it. If I hear about someone enjoying Emmolo, that just makes my day.”

More about Jenny: Someone she would like to share a bottle of wine with: My grandpa, Charlie Wagner. While I have shared wine with my other grandparents, I never got to with him because I was just 12 when he passed away. I would leave it up to him to decide which wines to taste – whatever inspired him. One of her best wine memories: Some big events come to mind, but really my favorite memories are of just relaxing with friends and family. When I go to my Emmolo grandparents’ house for lunch, they always have wine to share, and it’s great just to be with them and enjoy a glass with our meal. Something people may not know about her: I had a baby, Wiley, in the middle of the 2015 harvest. I was pulling samples in the vineyard and monitoring fermentations until the day he was born. He came back to work with me a few weeks later, which worked out because he slept a lot.

Grandparents Frank and Annie Emmolo, with Jenny. 34

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One of her favorite meals: My grandmother Annie makes an amazing chicory salad from her garden. She chops it really fine and serves it with a hard boiled egg and Italian vinaigrette. I look forward to chicory season every summer. It goes really well with Emmolo Sauvignon Blanc.

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Spring 2017 •


Up in the Clouds at the

Loews Regency San Francisco

MAKING THE ROUNDS With Helen Benefield Billings


oews Regency San Francisco Hotel wows with sweeping city views and personalized service. A recent journey to Asia required an overnight in San Francisco and my travel radar was set directly onto this luxury retreat up in the clouds, located in the downtown financial district. Perfectly nestled within the top 11 floors of a 48-story building, this boutique property consists of 155 luxuriously furnished guestrooms, an attentive team eager to pamper guests and an excellent, modern American restaurant on the first floor, Brasserie S&P. The bar and lounge at Brasserie S&P features a stylish, sophisticated bar with a menu of seasonal cocktails, in addition to a robust wine list with selections that highlight a mix of California Wine Country favorites as well as new discoveries from around the world. Highlights include the Avocado Mezcal Margarita and the Minted Raspberry Mule. 42

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(top page left) Extraordinary view from the top of the Loews Regency San Francisco. (bottom page left) Creating an Avocado Mezcal Margarita. (top) The bar and lounge at Brasserie S&P. (middle) Beet salad. (left) Room amenity at the Loews Regency San Francisco.

Summer 2017 •



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Daniele Florville at Spring 2017 •


“What I love about this business is that it is constantly changing, all the market pressures that force people to react in different ways. There has not been a better time in history to drink wine, no better time to drink beer or spirits. Coffee! If I think about coffee 40 years ago, when it was Maxwell House or nothing — just look at what we can enjoy now!” —Ed Korry

Interview with ED KORRY by Mike Raven

This past April I flew up to Providence, Rhode Island to meet with Ed Korry for an interview, at the College of Culinary Arts, Johnson & Wales University where he is an Associate Professor and Department Chairman at the Center for Culinary Excellence. Ed is also a Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE), Certified Specialist of Spirits (CSS) and a Certified Wine Educator (CWE). He is also on the Board of Directors and a past President of the Society of Wine Educators. Ed has become a friend of mine through the years and is a regular contributor for in the Mix. He is also one of the most knowledgeable people I have gotten to know in my lifetime of dealing with wine and spirits. As we toured the state-of-the-art facility at JWU, we could look into the glass-enclosed teaching laboratories and watch the students learning their trade. I even attended a spirits class, which was interactive and fascinating. JWU is a first-class operation offering top of the line hospitality education with campuses in Providence, North Miami, Denver and Charlotte. Programs are offered in culinary, hospitality, business and more. They also offer online education. (right) “What’s better than being in Tuscany and seeing those cypress trees in the background of Castello Banfi? It’s gorgeous!” —Ed Korry 46

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Ed in Alsace.

Interview with Ed Korry Mike: You’ve travelled all over the world visiting wine regions and wineries. What was the most unusual one you can remember? Ed: Two places come to mind. One that I visited recently is Pico, which nobody has ever heard of. I had only read about it in a book about the 19th century wine trade. It’s an amazing, surreal place that’s a Unesco World Heritage Site, where they built all these little walls to protect two, three or four vines. If you juxtaposed all these little lava rock walls they put together manually in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, they would circumnavigate the globe twice! That’s 50,000 miles of walls, encompassing around 12,000 acres of vineyards! Nothing else grows there; it’s just lava rock. They actually brought dirt from neighboring islands and put a little bit in the holes in the rocks. The walls are there to protect the vines from the sea salt air. The salt would burn them. The walls also trap the heat; without them, there wouldn’t be enough heat for the vines to develop. The other amazing thing about Pico, in terms of wines, is they make Vinho Licoroso, which technically means “fortified wines,” but most of them are not fortified. What is amazing to me, when I tasted some of them, they are 19 percent to 20.5 percent alcohol, unfortified! It’s the yeast — they’ve adapted to the sea salt air and the environment. They can keep fermenting up to 20 percent alcohol without fortification! Not all the wines are that way 48

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obviously, but what this means is that within the walls, you can really super-ripen and late-harvest the grapes, if you want to. The wines are amazing; they tend to be dry but they have some sweet. And I really like their exceptional minerality, and I mean almost salty, electric, acidic, tart wines that still have flavor — not just citrus but stone fruit and flowers, and flavors like that; even seaweed sometimes. Then the other place, Bordeaux, showed me we have this false paradigm of Old World/New World. New World wines are fruitier and less alcoholic, which probably generally speaking is true because they’re in sunnier climates. People draw conclusions like, “Ah, you know, Bordeaux. Starchy. Just look at their labels with the etchings” — and this and that. I went into some wineries that are hitting the 22nd century compared to others. They’re using things that I thought were going away, like more and more concrete vats. Because of thermodynamics of fermentation, you get better evenness. But then there’s other really cool stuff. As you know, fermentation produces CO2 and they’re trying to be carbon neutral. So the CO2 gets pumped into stainless steel water channels that are in the winery; the water is now carbonated and they use that for cleaning. They can use less water because the carbon dioxide from the fermentation is now integrated into the water. MR: Interesting. EK: Yes — that kind of thinking, using technology to make it sustainable.

MR: Any particular wineries that come to mind? EK: Yes. I’m thinking of the bright orangey-colored winery of Lafon-Rochet. It’s the only one that has a sort of Mediterranean orange-yellow color. Maybe because it’s off the main road and it attracts attention. (Laughs) The cool thing is these people are doing biodynamic agriculture. A lot of it is “out there” in one sense, but they want sustainability and here you are in a highly fungus-pressured environment, where they traditionally dumped fungicides and pesticides. And now they say we can’t do this because our grandchildren won’t be able to use this land if we keep going this way. So they’re going back to the way they did it before all the pesticides were invented. That was amazing to me, and the fact that in fairly lousy vintages like 2012, they made good wines. Not spectacular wines but they were really good wines. Twenty years ago after a bad vintage, you’d say, “I don’t know how they’re going to sell this stuff.” Then there’s Ninxia Province, China — a place that has gone from nothing 20 years ago to 40,000 hectares of vines (almost 100,000 acres) and about 100 wineries. I saw one winery — wow! I was talking to someone from Napa and asked him how much would it cost if you built this winery in Napa. He said $150 million to $200 million. MR: How was the wine? EK: It was okay. It’s coming along and I think the Chinese wine market is as well. MR: Are there a bunch of odd varietals we can’t pronounce, like Greece has?

EK: No, no. The ones that are doing well are Chardonnay, Riesling, Cab, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. MR: So standard viniferous grapes? EK: The two that are different are Cabernet Gernischt that German Jesuits brought into China in the late 19th century because they needed red wine for Mass. Cabernet Gernischt is believed to be Carménère. Then the other grape, Marselan, which is from France but very secondary, is also producing some interesting wines. So those are two different grapes. MR: That was three unusual wine regions. EK: Oh, okay. I love all wines. (Smiling) MR: What was the most beautiful wine region you’ve ever seen? EK: I don’t want to insult anybody but what comes to mind is MacMurray Ranch in Sonoma. It’s so American, and it’s so bucolic, and it’s such a great setting. I could open the windows to the old Fred MacMurray house and see that view every day for the rest of my life. On the other hand, there’s a place like Santorini in Greece. And then there’s Italy — what’s better than being in Tuscany and seeing those cypress trees in the background of Castello Banfi? It’s gorgeous! MR: How about the town of Montalcino? It’s classic. You feel like you’re 400 hundred years in the past. EK: Absolutely. It’s the wealthiest little town in all of Italy!

Château Lafon-Rochet practices biodynamic agriculture.

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MR: What area were you most impressed with — the place where you walked away and said, “Wow.” Sounds like it was the one in Ninxia Provence, China. EK: No, that was over the top; it was kind of Hollywood-ish. You look at some of the Bordeaux chateaux — they’re so impressive, pure splendor — Château Pichon Longueville, for example. On the other hand, there’s nothing like being at a small producer in Burgundy where you’re in an old cellar and it’s just the cask, the guy or gal, and the glass, and you’re listening to the passion. They could tell you about every vintage for the last 30 years, whether it rained on Thursday and if we hadn’t got that rain. (Laughs) You just listen to these folks, these passionate vintners. MR: So France is one of your favorite wine producing countries? EK: I will admit I can relate more easily to a lot of France. For one thing, I was born there from American parents. French was my first language. Call me a Francophile in certain ways, but no one can be more critical of the French than me. I don’t fall for it. To me, what differentiates the French in one sense is the way they take sensual pleasure in everything. Even the intellect is kind of a sensual pleasure when talking about ideas, not for just the sake of the ideas, but the whole argumentative approach, the engagement. The same thing with their wine; there’s just something about it. On the other hand, there is Italy. I don’t know Italian (language) well but I can understand a lot of it. There’s no better language to express emotion than Italian. You listen to the voice and you can understand what they’re trying to tell you, even if you don’t understand the words! Italian wines, back when we started in the business, we knew Chianti and it wasn’t good — it was in a straw fiasco. We could get our hands on an Amorone that wasn’t expensive and kind of good, and a Barolo that wasn’t expensive either and could be good or not. Then you had Soave Bolla and all that stuff. But today, the qualitative jump is huge. It’s like Greek wines. I’m fascinated with Greece. Do they have good Cab? Yes, but it’s about the varieties that may have been around 3,000 years ago. You’re tasting things that have survived that long, having almost disappeared and been brought back and they’re delicious! They’re really good now. The challenge today is, you want a really good wine and people are saying you have to spend $50 to $100. No, you don’t. There are really good wines for less. What do I mean by “good”? They have a distinctive quality taste and flavor and leave an impression on you you don’t forget, in part because of the persistence and the length of it. These are wines you can still taste five minutes after you put the glass down. It’s balanced; it’s not all about one thing or the other. That’s why I’ve gotten to like Greek wines so much. 50

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MR: You are going there soon and will have been there before this interview is published. You’re very excited for it. Do you think Greek wines stand a chance of getting into the American mainstream? EK: I don’t know about mainstream but they are definitely in restaurants. MR: Do you think people know enough about them to walk into a wine shop and look for a Cabernet from Greece? EK: We have an increasingly sophisticated audience. And Millennials want to know stuff. They may not spend a lot of time reading about it, but they’ll go on their phones to some website and ask what’s the equivalent in Greece stylistically to Sangiovese. Something will pop up and they will find it interesting. Agiorgitiko — they don’t know how to pronounce it, so they click a button and get the pronunciation (ah-gee-or-gee-tee-ko). (Laughing) Say they’re doing a Greek lamb recipe and they want a Greek red wine. The wine store clerk may ask, “You want one with more fruit, or more acid?” “Well, I really like Barolo.” “Oh! I got a wine for you that’s like Barolo; it’s called Xinomavro.” “Okay, I’ll try it.” And they may say that was delicious; and they didn’t pay $70 for a good Barolo, they paid $30 or $40 for this Xinomavro that they’ve never heard of before. I think people are willing to try wines when they go to stores where somebody knows what the hell they’re talking about, because they’re hiring people like Johnson & Wales students! MR: Let’s talk a bit about beverage education today. EK: I have a vision that beverage education was all wrong, in general. It used to be that the only route to having a career in beverage was an apprentice-type system, where you would work for a retailer or restaurant. You could sell, you have an interest in the beverages you were selling at the time, and then maybe a distributor will come along and say, “Work for me. You can make more money and you don’t have to work these lousy hours and holidays and whatnot.” So they’ll go off and work for them and prove themselves. MR: That’s exactly how I did it. EK: There you go. Or you went to an MBA program and you could learn marketing — sell soap or cases of wine, it didn’t matter. The product was really incidental, no real passion or real connectivity whatsoever. If you don’t have passion, then your work life becomes work. If you really enjoy what you’re doing, work is not work, it’s just a fun thing to do you get paid for. That’s why a lot of students come to Johnson & Wales at the Culinary, because they have a passion. I always said beverage education is all wrong. It’s taught mostly in a formal way at hospitality schools and

colleges that have teachers with the requisite graduate degrees, terminal degrees that have no real world experience. So 15 or so years ago, I had this idea we could change the model for teaching future generations on the beverage track. What I wanted were people who have worked both on- and off-premise, including distributorships. So I have faculty that have worked in restaurants, management positions, retail and distribution sales; all these elements understand the business. But at the end of the day, what they really, really loved was the product itself, the stories. No matter how much one studies, you wouldn’t learn it all. There is always another hurdle to jump over in terms of knowledge. Whenever there is a chance to improve your validated knowledge, do it. It’s about staying current. When a student asks you something, you know what you’re talking about. The minute you stop, you’re falling back. MR: Why do you think all you hear about is Prosecco, Prosecco, Prosecco in the bubbly category lately? Why has it become so widely popular and Cava hasn’t caught on with the new drinkers to that level? EK: First of all, there’s always been a strong Italian market here with Italian restaurants. There isn’t the same parallel with Spanish restaurants and markets. You have a Latino Ed in Pico. market but it’s not Spanish. The biggest challenge for Cava is that they were dominated by two houses, Codorniu and Freixenet. They are world players, all coming from this dusty little town that proves how capitalism can really work — two competing against each other and becoming global players. The challenge to them became about unit cost and efficiency; and along the way, I think the product at the base level was not particularly qualitative. It was fine, but nothing to write home to anybody about. It’s ironic that Raventós, who’s a great, great grandson of the founder of Cava, decided to drop Cava from the label and started a movement to disassociate themselves from Cava. In response to that, Cava has re-written all of its rules and regulations. To do what? To increase the quality level and to tier it in such a way that it will force producers to provide greater quality. It’s there — you have a Gramona Grand Reserva that has nine years of aging on the lees. Put it up against anything that Champagne can do! It’s what, $130 to $140, retail? People are looking at Cava for that price? No. They’re asking, “What about my Freixenet for $8.99?” That’s the disconnect.

MR: What regions are you excited to see that you haven’t been to? EK: There are plenty of places I would like to go visit. At some point, I would like to go to Croatia. I hear some very interesting things about it. But really what’s high on my bucket list is Georgia (the Republic of Georgia, not the U.S. state). I want to be able to see what I sort of consider the birthplace of wine. When I teach an Old World wine course, I take the class on a virtual “historical trip” because I try to make wine contextual. That is, you can’t divorce it from history. You really can’t truly appreciate it and understand what it is unless it’s in a historical perspective. In an Old World versus New World wine class, we actually start with wine from Georgia, Lebanon, Israel and Cyprus before we go to Greece. Once I had a wine director of winemaking in the class who had never had a Georgian wine made in a quevri. MR: Explain what a quevri is. EK: A quevri is an earthen jar handmade from special clay and fired in a special way that they’ve done for thousands of years. The jars are buried in the ground. You tread on the grapes and put them all in, de-stem them pretty much but not completely, and they ferment in the ground in these huge gourds. So, when I offered tastings of that quevri wine to a head winemaker of a large California winery it was sideby-side to a modern stainless steel-fermented Rkatsiteli, the oldest variety we know, and a traditional quevri wine, and he loved it. He had never tried it before; he thought the wine from a quevri was really good. And it was, it was different. It was kind of an orange wine. MR: What do you mean, an orange wine? EK: A white wine on the skins going through some oxidation in part. But it was still very fresh. So I would really like to go to Georgia; it intrigues me a lot. I’d also like to go to the Tokai region of Hungary; I’ve never been there. And also New Zealand and Australia, “down under.” MR: I’m surprised you’ve never been there! EK: It will be done! It’s far away but I’ve been to China so it can’t be too bad. I’d like to go to Australia and New Zealand when I retire, so I can spend six weeks or more there. Also, mainland Portugal. Summer 2017 •



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Cover Story

Mary at home in Phoenix with one of her pet chickens, Rachel. Rachel is an Aurucana and she lays blue eggs! 54

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Mary Melton Scottsdale, Arizona When you’re out with Mary, you’ll have what she’s having. Maybe it’s Albarino before your meal comes, a gin and tonic as you wait for the band to come on, or the new local IPA? There’s a time and a place for everything. Mary found her calling first bartending in Kansas City and then San Diego, managing restaurants and nightclubs. She decided to make a career in the beverage industry, so she sharpened her sales skills as a sales rep for Regal Wine Company and, upon moving to Arizona, she honed her knowledge as a fine wine specialist at the prestigious Henry Wine Group. Now, with over 25 years of industry experience, Mary is the Director of Beverage at P.F. Chang’s where she plans and manages the beverage program for all 214 restaurants, including a full beverage menu with an extensive wine list, local craft beers, classic bartender education and drink innovation.

Mary and P.F. Chang’s were awarded top national honors for Best Chain Restaurant Wine Program at the VIBE VISTA awards in 2010, Best Chain Wine Program in 2011 and Best Overall Beverage Program in 2012, both at the Cheers Beverage Conferences.

Golden Tiki , Las Vegas Photo by Krystal Ramirez

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Interview with Mary Melton Mike Raven: How many outlets does P.F. Chang’s have?

MM: Love, love it!

Mary Melton: As of today we are at 214 domestically. Isn’t that crazy? Internationally, we’re at 75.

MR: It has different levels, right?

MR: Are you responsible for the international ones? MM: No, just the 214 domestic restaurants. MR: That’s a handful. MM: It keeps me busy. MR: You were a bartender for quite some time. Do you ever go to one of the outlets and get behind the stick and work the bar, say, for special occasions? Or just for fun? MM: I still love the bar; obviously I love to go back there. I’m not as fast or proficient as I once was, but I’ll go back there. I handle all the workshops for the bartenders, so I like to go back and set up the well, and I can show them precision-wise how to make drinks. I don’t do special events or anything, though I will for wine but not for cocktails – that is a little harder. MR: Right – you slow down after a few years if you don’t do it enough. MM: Well, it’s a skill for sure. It’s definitely something you use certain muscles for and if you don’t use those all the time, you kind of lose it a little bit. MR: In looking at your drink list, it is obvious you have an affinity for the classics. (Mary laughs.) You have a whole section you created called “Classics with a Twist.” You mention Dale DeGroff (King Cocktail) in a lot of things I’ve read about you, so I am wondering, has some of his influence rubbed off on you? MM: Absolutely! I loved reading his book The Craft of the Cocktail, and I use it often. I love the classics of bartending and the classic cocktails he brought back to life – everything from Sidecars to Manhattans. MR: He is really the patriarch of the business. MM: For sure. I’ve done BarSmarts* with him and taken a couple of crews through the training so I get to see him every once in a while. I’ve learned a lot from that group. (*BarSmarts is an acclaimed, industry-leading bartender education program.) MR: Is that a good program? 56

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MM: There’s BarStarts, which is meant for the average bartender to understand the classics and more. And then there is BarSmarts, which is a little harder; you really do have to study for it. Then there’s BAR (Beverage Alcohol Resource®), a fiveday class in New York, which is really hard. I haven’t taken that. MR: What’s your choice of elixir for everyday, well maybe not everyday, drinking? What do you drink the most of? MM: Depends on the occasion. I mostly drink wine but love good cocktails and of course, a good beer. MR: What about sake? MM: Definitely, I have learned a lot about sake and can enjoy sake. I love it when we are having Asian food or sushi; I don’t necessarily reach for it when I get home (laughing) but I definitely appreciate it. MR: I’ve been trained so many times on sake; I tend to forget most of it because I don’t use it much. It’s such a deep subject. MM: It is! There are a lot of different flavors that come from sake. MR: I always thought that when I was selling wine in the old days to an Asian cuisine restaurant, it was very hard. We had plum wine and sold a little Blue Nun but that was about it. Now it seems so natural. I’m sure P.F.Chang’s had something to do with that. MM: We were definitely the first ones to bring Asian food and upscale wine together. They do pair well but there are definitely some things I think pair better than others. Slightly sweet or low-alcohol, soft tannic reds – a little juicier – they pair very well together with all the different influences of Asian food, whether it’s heat or spice or sugar, texture, whatever it is that we have that’s different than, say, a steak house. Even cocktails pair well with a lot of Asian food. MR: You still do your wine menu by fruity, floral, tangy and so on. Do the guests love that?

Mary and her husband, Don, in the vineyards in Italy.

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Mary and Don at home with their German Shepherd Annie. 58

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MM: I do hear people say that’s the way they think about and order wine. The idea started many years ago when I first started in this business. One of my first jobs was as a wine steward in Kansas City at a French restaurant. The book was thick and I needed to learn a lot quickly. Someone suggested I arrange the wine list in a way where I could talk about the flavors of the different wines and then put them in progressive order. I’ve been doing it for 30 years now. It just helped me if someone said they like “such and such,” I could look where it was on the list and I could at least start to talk about the wine a little bit. I find it very helpful, and I think it’s great for servers who don’t really know how to talk about wine. If they don’t know what flavors a Sauvignon Blanc would bring or say, a Riesling, they can talk about it in those terms. I think it helps the guest but more importantly, I think it really helps the server.

the beverage side of it, training servers and bartenders and so on. After a while, I moved into wine sales with Regal Wine Company as a wholesaler. I then moved to Arizona where I worked for Henry Wine Group and learned more about small family wineries and really the finesse of wine. I stayed there until I started working with P.F. Chang’s.

MR: I didn’t really think about the server aspect of it. They could talk a bit about, say, an Albarino, even if they are not totally familiar with it.

MM: Yes. The white is a Riesling base with some Sauvignon Blanc and a little Pinot Gris. The red is Merlot with Cabernet and Syrah.

MM: Right. So where it is on the wine list, they can just talk a little bit about its floral aromas and that it’s not quite as heavy as a Chardonnay.

MR: Those should be really fun, good blends for your food.

MR: Peach, pineapple and lychee nut it says – wow! You mentioned working in Kansas City. One of the few Masters of Wine and Master Sommelier combined is from Kansas City, Doug Frost. MM: I met Doug Frost when I was in my early 20s and he was studying for his certificates. I was a bartender in a place where he came and studied with the owner. Part of my first introduction to wine was listening to him study wines. I would set up a blind tasting for them and I would listen as they talked about vintage, appellation and varietal. They could just nail it; it was fascinating! True story: I was an art student at the time and planned on going to art school in Chicago to get my master’s. I came home and told my dad that I no longer wanted to do that and that I was going to be a beverage professional. He said, “Whatever that is, I will support you.” He did, and here I am, all these years later. I have always wanted to be in this field and have always taken the direction of beverage throughout my career and worked at places where I knew I would get more beverage education. Back in those days, it was really about wine, and in Kansas City we had a lot of great wine people. I was taking classes Wednesday nights, Saturday mornings, the whole thing. I stayed in Kansas City for about seven years as a wine steward and a bartender before moving to San Diego where I started to work as a manager for a restaurant group, writing their wine list and keying in on

One thing we have done recently that’s really exciting is that we have partnered with Browne Family Vineyards out of Walla Walla, Washington. We know there are certain characteristics of wine that pair better with Asian food and so we created a red and a white blend that we felt went great with our food. Those will be going out live the end of May to all the locations. MR: Really? They’re blends?

MM: Yes, and I think it will be fun for the servers to have something they can specifically look at and sell easier. They’ll have a good understanding of these wines. I wanted to do something with a family-owned winery. Real people, real vineyards – very exciting! MR: How did you get into that? MM: Well, actually it all started over a glass of Chardonnay (laughing). I met Andrew Browne at a dinner. He had his Chardonnay and we started talking and realized we were both in San Diego at the same time. He was with Southern Wine and Spirits. We knew the same people, went to the same places and talked about the good old days in the wine business. We started talking more about the art of wine and Asian food and decided we should partner on a project. That was in August. So in less than a year, we turned it around and created the two wines. MR: Will they be on the list or just as a special LTO? MM: Yes, they’ll be on the list in all of our locations. We’re really excited for that. MR: That’s going to be a lot of wine he just got an order for. MM: Yes, we hope so. It took us about three times to get the white blend just right; the red took a lot longer and it just turned out beautifully. It had just exactly Summer 2017 •


those things that we knew would work with Asian food. MR: I have to ask about your integrating honey into your drinks. I read that you use orange blossom honey as opposed to simple syrup. MM: I started working with that about a year ago. People were talking a lot about honey, so I started learning about it. There are over 300 different varieties of honey with different flavors and availability at different times of the year. So I started playing with them in cocktails. I just had a Honey Thyme G&T last night. The honey adds a lot of depth to a cocktail. While simple syrup is great, honey just adds another dimension. It was fun to play with so we put it in four different drinks, all different based spirits – whiskey, vodka, gin and tequila. It worked great with all of them.

MR: How do you carbonate your ginger beer? MM: With soda water. We make the mix first with the lemon, sugar and ginger. We can use that mix in a lot of cocktails. For the ginger beer, we mix it with soda water, roll it and you have ginger beer!

MR: Is the orange blossom honey used in all the outlets?

MR: How often do you change the drink list?

MM: Yes.

MM: We’re always innovating and trying new things. We put drinks into test a lot to see how they work operationally and how they’re accepted by the guests and servers. We change our drink menu at least once a year, but lately it’s been two to three times a year. The last two new additions were martinis, the Dirty Olive and the Blackberry Spice; they rolled out in February. It’s a great way to keep things fresh and new for the guests as well as keeping the bartenders interested.

MR: That’s a lot of honey. The beekeepers must love you. Do you ever have availability problems with it? MM: At first we were working with smaller beekeepers. They taught me so much about honey, but when it came time to use it in all the locations, we did partner with another source, Nature Nate’s Honey. They are able to collect from all different areas around the country. The orange blossom is great because it is actually a little more available than some of the other honeys we were looking at. We haven’t had a problem yet. MR: And you work with Kim Haasarud? MM: Kim Haasarud has been with us for years and she’s extremely talented. She brings us great ideas and great trends. She’s really good at understanding our challenges with 214 restaurants, all with different bartenders. She brings that mixology world to us but understands how to make it scalable. That’s always a big piece of the puzzle – training that many bartenders and making sure everything is made simple, quick and fast.

MR: In our discussion about beer, you mentioned you’ve learned a lot about it and like it more and more. With all the craft beers and thousands of IPAs available, you let the outlets have some leeway on their offerings, right? MM: Yes, beer takes a lot of my focus. The beer list consists of 24 beers; out of those, each restaurant gets to pick five of their local craft beers. That way they can bring some of their own style to the beer list. Their beer-loving customers love when they get to try new beers. We want to make sure we’re offering something that’s hot in the market and something that’s local. MR: They get to change that often?

MR: It is a big deal and if you overdo it, it slows everything down.

MM: All the time. That’s why I said it’s a lot of work for me because I do every beer list by hand.

MM: Oh, yeah – then I hear about it.

MR: Wow!

MR: P.F. Chang’s food philosophy, from what I read, is “Made from scratch every day, clean ingredients, purposeful recipes and the power of a fiery wok.” Would this apply to the beverage side, sans the wok? MM: Yes, we call that our farm-to-wok philosophy. We try 60

to work with whomever we get our produce and products from and stay with that thinking. We do the same thing on the beverage side; it’s called “Garden to Glass.” Whether it’s the honey or any of our other products, all the items we use are fresh and all our juices are squeezed fresh every day. One of my favorite things that I’m really proud of is that we make our own ginger beer. It’s a big deal for us! We juice ginger every morning, then juice fresh lemons and add simple syrup. It tastes great. We also make our own coconut colada mix.

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(top right) Mary in the northeast Spanish wine region of D.O.Q. Priorat with Senor Capafons-Osso. (bottom right, from left to right) Don and Mary Melton and Jamie Conahan of Folio Fine Wine Partners.

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MM: Yes, we love having our operators involved in creating their beer lists. Some have draft and some don’t, it just depends.

Dewar’s Scotch and Heineken, for example. Brands like Cutty Sark died on premise when their drinkers started dying off. Nothing is forever.

MR: So, for example, here in Atlanta you probably have a lot of Sweetwater beer on the local lists.

MM: I still see a lot of established brands in the mixology bars, brands that have been around a long time.

MM: Sure do. We have a lot of Sweetwater here in Atlanta.

MR: Tried and true.

MR: I love the happy hour menu. When I was younger, everybody had a happy hour; it was just a way of life. Then it kind of went away, a lot of it for legality reasons I suppose. Tell me about how you started that.

MM: Yes, take the gin category for example. You see a lot of new and local gins popping up but you still see the Tanqueray and Beefeater’s still hanging in there, and people love them.

MM: We started happy hour five years ago or so, maybe a little longer. It’s a great time of day to have people come in and try different things and have the bar fill up. We offer happy hour everywhere (at the bar, dining room or patio). We also have special food items in all our locations from 3:00-6:00 p.m. In the states where we can, we offer discounts on cocktails, wine and beer. It’s a fun time to try new things and to be at the bar. We also have great patios in many of our locations; they make great gathering spots. MR: You send out an electronic “paper” every week to the outlets. Tell us about that. MM: It’s our newsletter that comes from the office and it’s called the Let Us Wrap. The Wrap goes out every Wednesday and it is a great tool to reach the field, the managers and servers. There’s always a section at the end of it that is about beverage. I think this week we talked about selling Bonny Doon Syrah. MR: Whenever I go to a P.F. Chang’s, it seems there’s a large mix of ages and demographics in the restaurant. Do you target Millennials? Do you have a target audience you want to hit? MM: Ever since I started with P.F. Chang’s, the message was to have something for everyone. We definitely have a lot of things that might appeal to certain age groups; these could be comfort wines or traditional cocktails. But it’s fun to play with some of the younger drinkers out there; they’re really open to trying things. They’re not brand focused – they want flavor and they want a story to it. I find that really fun right now, especially on the wine side. They drink a lot of wine but not necessarily their mom’s Chardonnay. They explore wines from a lot of different countries – they’re not afraid. MR: The labels have changed to match their curiosity. MM: Yes, a lot of graphics and fun names. MR: When we were young, speaking for Baby Boomers, we would order a brand; we were very brand loyal. I ordered 62

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MR: You live in Phoenix? MM: Yes, with my husband. We’ve been there about 15 years or so now; we love it. We do outdoor things a lot. MR: Interesting weather there ... MM: It is – hot and dry. MR: How does your dog like that climate? (Laughs) MM: I do have a big furry dog. The summers are hard on her but we take her to our cabin in the mountains every weekend; she likes it there. It’s beautiful up there. MR: What is inspiring to you, outside of work? MM: My husband and I love to travel. We also are very much into food and dining out. It’s a big part of our lives – we are always trying out the new restaurants. We also cook a lot from home; we have a garden we pull fresh vegetables from, along with fruit trees. We also have chickens, so we have a lot of fresh eggs. They’re really fun pets to watch and take care of. We love to travel with a little beverage (wine) twist mixed in. We’ve been able to visit a lot of interesting places and learn about the culture and cuisine through the eyes of beverage. MR: Where’s you next destination? MM: This year our summer vacation is in Panama. Not a lot of wine there, but we like to see different places. MR: What made you pick Panama? MM: He picked it. (Laughs all around) He likes to surf so we’re going to stay on the beach for a week. It will be really nice. MR: Sounds idyllic. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us. MM: My pleasure!

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Crafting Your Beverage Program By Lou Trope Summer is a wonderful time of the year – many will say it is the best time of year. The sun is shining bright and we get to hang out at the pool or beach with friends, and kick back with some refreshing adult beverages. This is what it’s all about! However, as we all know, when hanging out in the sun enjoying cocktails and beers, too much of a good thing can end the day early.

So how do we build an engaging, fun beverage offering for the summer to keep the party going?


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As operators, we all have the same goals in mind: attract more guests, serve great drinks, keep everyone happy and maximize every revenue opportunity. Summer bars, pools and outside summer events all pose a unique set of circumstances. The guests have been outside most of the day – they are hot, maybe a little dehydrated and in the case of a pool setting, may be with you for several hours. In these cases, people tend to drink more and faster, to satisfy thirst and cool off from the heat. So how do you create alcohol beverages that will keep them coming back and not have them asleep on their towel after one drink? In most venues during the summer, the sales mix of cocktails will be much more than beer by volume and wine becomes a distant third. So it is important to create a balanced cocktail program that is intriguing, with fresh citrus and tropical flavors, but is refreshing and revitalizing without a big alcohol kick. In some instances, operators will create extravagant tropical cocktails with fresh passion fruit and other fantastic flavors but will also have two or three types of strong spirit. Although these are great cocktails for later in the day once you have cooled down, any cocktail on a 66

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hot summer day that has more than two ounces of a strong spirit or spirits in it may be counterproductive. Think about the guest who has been sitting in the sun for the last hour and is slightly overheated – they will probably feel the effects of this cocktail quickly and, in most cases, will not order another. At best, they will default to a light beer or a soft drink. So the revenue opportunity is greatly diminished. Consider an alternative approach. Instead of going for the knockout punch cocktail with high alcohol, develop your offering so cocktails and other beverages with slightly less alcohol, are satiable and can be enjoyed throughout the day, with multiple purchases.




Frozen cocktails are always wildly popular because they are refreshing, usually have a sweet fruit component and are fun. Because of the blended ice, there is a dilution factor that will defuse the intensity of the alcohol. The classic frozen cocktails like Daiquiris, PiĂąa Coladas, Lava Flows and Margaritas are always winners but be sure not to overwhelm your

bartenders. In some cases, an automated dispensing machine can be put in the bar so cocktails are predone, frozen and easily dispensed, and provide a favorable margin. Although a rum floater is a nice up-sell opportunity, it may be worth checking guest checks to see if those guests that added the additional element bought more beverages or were stopped in their tracks and retreated to their chase lounge. Tropical cocktails are a fun and expected component for any summer beverage program. Fresh tropical juices like guava, passion fruit and pineapple are perfect for a hot summer day. They are thirst quenching, sweet and have just the right amount of acidity. Tropical cocktails like Mai Tais, Hurricanes and Swizzles tend to have higher amounts of strong alcohol in them. If you are offering them on your menu, consider using crushed ice either in the drink or as a topper. It serves as a great garnish vehicle that can be enhanced with fresh fruit, mint, pineapple leaves or even a fancy little umbrella. Either way, this will keep the cocktail colder longer, will be very refreshing, make a great looking cocktail and keep the guest coming back.




Spiked iced teas and lemonades are becoming more and more popular. Tea and fresh lemonade or limeade have a perceived health benefit, are light and refreshing and easy to make while providing generous margins. Especially with the addition of fresh fruit and mint, these drinks can easily transform into something very special that can be either an alcohol or non-alcohol drink. A shaken black tea or lemonade with fresh berries, mint, simple syrup and vodka or rum can become an instant classic. Additional fruits like mango, watermelon, peach and pineapple can be used with unique sweetened syrups like yuzu, hibiscus, lemongrass or ginger, to create something that is truly Instagram worthy. Marvelous, distinctive flavor combinations can

easily be developed at property to create signature shaken teas or lemonades that are revitalizing and differentiating.

Bubbles The Spritz is one of Italy’s most iconic cocktails. To this point, it has had ups and downs in popularity but it appears to be breaking into mainstream acceptance. The rise of Prosecco and the innovation of today’s mixologists have certainly played well in making the Spritz a popular item on many menus. For summer, different versions of the Spritz such as an Aperol Spritz, a Hugo made with elderflower liquor and mint, or a Cucumber Gin Spritz are a welcome addition to any menu, providing a low alcohol alternative that is stimulating and restorative. The basic ingredients – a bitter, some bubbly and low alcohol – in the hands of today’s creative mixologists unlock a diverse array of flavor combinations to create a sophisticated, refreshing alternative. Ne ver underestimate the draw of the bubbles. Champagne, Prosecco and Cava all have very real and viable potential for summer beverage programs. Depending on your market and demographic, a nice Demi Sec Champagne with a slight sweetness can be the perfect accouterment to a luxury-of-lifestyle hotel resort pool experience. Prosecco and Cava can also fill that need at a lower price point for more general appeal.

Rum, Tequila and Gin Rum is always a mainstay of any summer beverage program. It goes without saying that the Mojito and Daiquiri are just part of the summer dialogue and are staples for any summer beverage program. However, simple enhancements with Summer 2017 •


the addition of adding fresh mango, blackberries, strawberries or pineapple can turn that classic Mojito into something special. The addition of fresh fruit not only creates a distinctive cocktail but also provides a slight restorative benefit. Other popular rum drinks in hot climates include rum and coconut water as well as the classic Dark and Stormy, made with premium ginger beer. Not to be forgotten is our good friend tequila – always the perfect addition to any summer party. As with the Mojito, the Margarita can easily be enhanced with fresh fruit to create new versions of this classic summer staple. However, the sometimes-overlooked Paloma is a fantastic addition to any summer menu, as it combines tequila, lime, simple syrup, fresh grapefruit juice and a splash of soda. It is not only thirst quenching and refreshing but also is Mexico’s most beloved cocktail. Although it may not be one’s impulsive call on a summer day, gin also has a great deal to offer in a summer beverage program. A simple gin and tonic made with a London dry style gin and premium tonic, served in a goblet glass with ice and garnished with fresh citrus, can be extremely refreshing and invigorating on a hot summer day. Not to be outdone is the classic Tom Collins – gin, lemon, simple syrup and soda in a tall Collins glass – which is cool and refreshing.

Beer There is no doubt we all love craft beer – the bigger the IPA the better. People flock to the giant coffee-infused stouts aged in whiskey barrels with earth shattering ABVs over 10.0% but this is not the place for those. In the heat and sun, most people are looking for a beer that is more thirst quenching than a hops throw-down. Many craft beer producers have acknowledged this and produce very appropriate summer seasonal beers with a more discernible crisp citrus tone. In addition, many have acknowledged the demand for lower alcohol beers with an IPA flavor profile. These session beers have an ABV lower than 5% but still provide the craft beer flavor experience. In addition, local craft brewers have introduced different styles of pilsners, lagers, shandys and wheat beers reminiscent of their European counterparts, to satisfy the summer consumer. When choosing imported beers, consider their country of origin. If the 68

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beer is being produced in a warm weather climate like Mexico, odds are it will be a good fit for summer. Needless to say, you can’t have a summer program without domestic light beers. Regardless of how much everyone may love craft beer, domestic light beers will always be the top seller in the beer category (just check your sales report). Domestic light beers provide great margins and should strongly be considered for a draft placement over many craft beers. It may also be worth considering some low carb beers, depending on your customer mix.

Wine In most cases wine sales are far less than cocktails and beer in the summer pool, beach or lounge scenario. That said, it would be prudent not to have an expanded wine list that takes up space in already limited bar space. Stick with a few basics: some refreshing white wines and a limited amount of low tannin red wines. No need to go much further than this unless you have a unique situation. Crafting a summer beverage program can be a lot of fun and open the door to imaginative cocktails that would not normally be served in a primary venue. However, it also comes with a unique set of circumstances in which you are servicing guests who are baking in the sun, doing activities and are generally really ready for a cool, refreshing beverage. Resist the knockout alcohol punch in your cocktail development and don’t get wooed by the latest wrestle-you-down hop monsters. Think refreshing, reinvigorating and thirst quenching. The goal is to build a program that encourages guests to come back, buy more and enjoy their full day, not pass out by the pool after one drink. Lou Trope is President of LJ Trope & Co. LLC, an independent consultant working with the hotel industry to provide innovative restaurant concepts, operational assessments and b2b beverage strategies.

0.05 BAC: Why You Should Be Concerned By Trevor Estelle, Vice President at the TIPS Program

When it comes to serving alcohol, licensees should be aware of two trends that can affect their bottom line. First, there has been a significant increase in the number of legal actions being taken against establishments for serving alcohol to intoxicated customers. Many of these cases are being settled out of court for millions of dollars. You can simply Google “dram shop legal cases” or “liquor liability lawsuits” for some recent examples. Second, there is a growing temperance movement that is making it more and more difficult to serve and consume alcohol. I am surprised the legislation to lower the current standard BAC limit from .08 to .05 that recently passed in Utah, is not receiving more attention. This change means someone could be considered legally too impaired to drive after as little as a single drink. Customers will be scared to have a glass of wine or two during an evening out. Will .05 become the new standard? Let’s not forget that Utah was the first state to adopt .08 in 1983. It is no secret that alcohol service accounts for a large portion of revenue in the hospitality industry. You should be aware and concerned. What can we do? It is imperative that you keep

your customers safe while protecting your employees, establishment and franchise from lawsuits. By becoming certified in TIPS, you ARE making a reasonable effort to prevent underage consumption, drunk driving and intoxication. In addition, you will improve customer service, receive discounts on liquor liability insurance, and you will demonstrate to the community that you and your establishment have a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to selling alcohol to underage and/or intoxicated customers. Whether it be ignition interlocks in every vehicle, increased taxes on alcohol and/or decreasing the legal BAC limit to operate a motor vehicle, it is getting to the point where customers are scared and confused when it comes to consuming alcohol in public. This apprehension will eventually eat into your bottom line. To combat this movement, we must arm ourselves with education and training. A reputable training program, such as TIPS, will train and certify your staff on how to recognize signs of intoxication, effectively intervene to prevent problem situations and handle refusal situations with greater confidence. This will, in turn, protect your assets and quell this modern-day prohibitionist movement.

Trevor Estelle, Vice President at the TIPS program

Summer Summer2017 2014••

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Socializing and networking are always key elements of the VIBE Conference.

Operators Learn About the Latest Beverage Trends at the 2017 VIBE Conference Feb. 27 – March 1 The Eighth Annual Premier On-Premise Beverage Conference Featured Networking Opportunities, Workshops, Tastings and More VIBE Conference’s Official Charity, Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE), Raised $56,000 for Families in the Food and Beverage Industry Facing Terminal Illnesses or Sudden Losses. Over 200 operators from the top 150 chain restaurants, hotels and cruise lines traveled to San Diego to attend the 2017 VIBE Conference. Throughout three days, attendees learned about the latest beverage trends through education workshops, beverage tastings, research sessions and lively networking opportunities. (left) Check presented from VIBE and Nightclub & Bar Show to CORE. (Left to right) Kerry Gumas, Lawrence (Laddie) Weiss, Joe Smith, Lauren LaViola and Tony Abou-Ganim 70

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Before the start of the conference, the official charity of VIBE, Children of Restaurant Employees (CORE) invited operators to its annual “Giving Back to Our Own” party on Monday, Feb. 27. During the party, guests bid on a variety of prizes available at the nonprofit’s silent auction while listening to CORE parent Todd Davidson playing in a three-piece jazz trio. There was also a surprise guest – Todd’s daughter and CORE grant recipient Julia Davidson, who sang her favorite song, “Rainbow Connection,” for party attendees (right). Through the event and its partnership with VIBE, CORE raised $56,000 for families in the food and beverage industry facing terminal illnesses or sudden losses. Additionally, this year the conference featured two pre-conference workshops, including “Drinking & Driving: Eliminating the Problem” led by Paul Saper, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sponsiv Digital Inc.; and “Best Practices as Viewed by Beer Industry National Account Suppliers” led by Patrick Kirk, Vice President of Bar & Beverage of Applebee’s. On Tuesday, Feb. 28, President and CEO of Questex LLC, Kerry Gumas and celebrity mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim, kicked off the main two-day event by welcoming operators to the VIBE Conference inside the Sheraton San Diego Bayfront. Following the opening remarks, attendees were treated to an innovative keynote session with the President of KGC Direct, LLC, Kenneth Gronbach. During his session, Gronbach spoke about forecasting societal, political, economic, cultural and commercial phenomena through understanding demographics. General sessions included “Voice of the Millennial Consumer” presented by Donna HoodCrecca and Dave Henkes of Technomic, and “Annual VIBE On-premise Beverage Consumer Trend Study” presented by Mike Ginley of Next Level Marketing. Hood-Crecca and Henkes led a panel of Millennials to share what they look for in drink offerings and what influences their purchases. Ginley shared results of a study conducted just prior to the conference, offering the most current information available in the beverage industry. During the conference, operators had access to four workshop series featuring a variety of tastings, research sessions and discussion panels. After the sessions, attendees networked at the welcoming cocktail party, while sipping on delicious craft cocktails prepared by celebrity mixologists as well as enjoying beer and wine at the sponsored themed bars. On Wednesday, March 1, Tony Abou-Ganim presented the VIBE Supplier Awards to 11 companies

Tony Abou-Ganim holding up in the Mix magazine featuring Joe Smith from Monin on the cover.

(from left)Lawrence (Laddie) Weiss, VIBE Event Director, and Kerry Gumas, President and CEO of Questex LLC Summer Spring2017 2017••


(above and below) Socializing and networking are always key elements of the VIBE Conference.

Keynote speaker Kenneth Gronbach, President of KGC Direct, LLC

for their concrete business-building support as well as service and support performance. Later on, Stanley Novack of Sammy’s Beach Bar & Grill presented the VIBE Vista Awards to 18 companies for their positive, result-driven corporate beverage programs. The final workshop series concluded with a panel of the VIBE Vista award winners discussing their winning programs with Novack. Closing out the conference, operators attended the “Thumbs Up & Thumbs Down” session presented by chain account beverage specialist David Commer and a panel of beverage executives. Speakers weighed in on trends regarding liquor, beer, wine and alcoholfree spirits.

Tastings, research sessions and discussion panels provide invaluable insights and education to the attendees. 72

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VIBE Conference, a division of Boston, Massachusetts-based Nightclub & Bar Media Group, is the premier event for chain and hotel adult beverage executives and suppliers. This top on-premise conference is held annually and involves high-level content, tastings and networking opportunities. The 2018 conference will be held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina, Feb. 26-28.

Conference Presents 2017 VIBE Vista Award Winners Hotels, Cruise Lines and Casinos Award Winners: Best Beer Program Norwegian Cruise Line Best Spirits Program sponsored by Campari America Caesars Entertainment Corporation Best Wine Program Norwegian Cruise Line Best Beverage Menu Program sponsored by Back Bar USA MGM Resorts International Best Responsible Alcohol Service Program sponsored by National Restaurant Association Interstate Hotels & Resorts Best Alcohol-Free Program sponsored by Monin Gourmet Flavorings Loews Hotels & Resorts

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Best Promotion Program sponsored by Patrón Spirits Company Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts Best Overall sponsored by Fetzer Vineyard Caesars Entertainment Corporation

Best Overall sponsored by Fetzer Vineyard Caesars Entertainment Corporation Best Single Event Program sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka Omni Hotels & Resorts

Multi-Unit Chain Restaurant Award Winners: Best Beer Program sponsored by Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. Yard House Restaurants Best Spirits Program sponsored by Brown-Forman Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern Best Wine Program sponsored by Foley Family Wines Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House Best Adult Alcohol-Free Program sponsored by Red Bull North America Buffalo Wild Wings Best Beverage Menu Program sponsored by Constellation Brands Mellow Mushroom Best Single Event Program sponsored by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates Morton’s The Steakhouse Best Responsible Alcohol Service Program sponsored by National Restaurant Association AMC Theatres Best Promotion sponsored by Infinium Spirits AMC Theatres Best Overall sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Rusty Bucket Restaurant & Tavern 74

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Summer 2017 •



ll of us in the on-premise business can rattle of steps us in for thedeveloping on-premise can rattle offll the andbusiness implementing off the steps for developing and implementing a successful beverage promotion, can’t we? successful beverage promotion, can’t we? Situation aanalysis, audience definition, objectives, Situation analysis, audience definition, ob-jectives, strategies, budget, timing, tactics, materials development, strategies,training, budget, timing, materialsresults. development, promotion, rollout tactics, and measuring promotion, training, rollout and measuring results. But knowledge isn’t always power. We may But knowledge isn’t always power. know how to do something — lose weight, say, orWe trainmay how to do — that lose knowing weight, say, orto train forknow a marathon — something but it’s a fact how a marathon but itit’sarea decidedly fact that knowing how to dofor something and — doing two different do something andyour doing it Year’s are decidedly two things. Think about New resolution to different drop Think about New Year’s resolution drop 10things. pounds, or that firstyour morning you chose to sleeptoin 10 pounds, or that first morning you chose to sleep in rather than go for a run. rather than go for a run. It’s the same for beverage promotions. We’ve It’s the process same for promotions. We’ve gone through so beverage many times, we certainly gonehow through process many know to runthe them. But so being an times, expert we cancertainly be a know how run them. But being expert can slippery slope,towhere “been there, done an that” gets in thebe a slippery slope, where “been there, done that” gets in the way of doing things well. The result is often promotions way doing things result often promotions that areofmediocre ratherwell. thanThe stellar. Theissolution: Don’t that over are mediocre rather than stellar. The solution: Don’t gloss the steps! Disciplining yourself to invest sufficient time and effort at each point in the process

and the guest.” Does your restaurant/bar/hotel have a uct, and strategy they puttotogether a limited timeand offer without beverage guide your planning decisionthinking through whether it’s a good fit for the brand making? If not, now’s the time to develop one! and the guest.” Does your restaurant/bar/hotel have a beverage strategy to guide your planning andYou decision2. Give your audience what they’re looking for. can’t making? If not, now’s the time to develop one! do this if you don’t know who they are. “Customers

vary by market. One size does not fit all, even within 2. Give yourand audience they’re looking You can’t restaurant hotel what chains, ” Sherri says.for.“This is do this if you don’t know who they are. “Customers especially important for suppliers. Take the time to varyyour by market. size into does the not local fit all,market even within do researchOne — get and restaurant the andhotels hoteland chains, ” Sherri says. “Thison is experience restaurants you’re calling especially important for the suppliers. Take the timefitto as a consumer. Make sure brands you’re offering do your research — get into the local market and with their brand.” experience the hotels and restaurants you’re call-ing On the buyer side, don’t forget to take intoon as a consumer.the Make sure the brands you’re habits offeringoffit consideration discretionary spending with establishment’s their brand.” guests, and how that varies by day your the buyer side,ondon’t forget to take into part andOn occasion. Focus the cocktail/beer/wine consideration the discretionary spending habits experience the guest is looking for, rather than justof your establishment’s guests,brands and how by day promoting the particular youthat are varies partnering part and occasion. Focus on the cocktail/beer/wine with.

Ways To Ensure Your Next

Promotion Is A POWERHOUSE By Jason Page, Creative Director, IMI Agency


almost always guarantees success. That said, there are glosscritical over the steps! points Disciplining yourself to invest some pressure along the way where sufficientfresh timeperspective and effort at in the process bringing caneach paypoint particularly big almost always guarantees success. That said, there are dividends, for any promotion. critical pressure points along where some Recently I compared notes with the twoway of IMI bringing fresh perspective can pay particularly Agency’s account management leaders to create a list big for anyand promotion. ofdividends, things operators suppliers can do to up the ante Recently I compared notes and withprograms. two of IMI for their limited-time-offer promotions Agency’s account management leaders to a list Sherri Nadeau, Senior Account Manager, create Business of things operators and suppliers can do to up the Development; Account Manager, Mark Greenhalgh;ante forI their promotions that and fell programs. and have limited-time-offer seen our share of promotions flat Sherri Nadeau, Senior Account Manager, Business or were just okay, as well as those that blew the doors Development; Account Manager, off. Here are some sure-fire ways to Mark ensureGreenhalgh; your effortsand I have seen our share of promotions that fell flat or were always fall into the latter category: just okay, as well as those that blew the doors off. Here some sure-fire ways ensurethe your efforts always 1.are Have a good reason fortodoing promotion. This fall intotothestrategy. latter category: goes “Sometimes operators implement a promotion just for the sake of doing a promotion,” Mark 1. Have“They a good reason for doing thewith promotion. observes. might decide to work a supplierThis goes to strategy. operators implement partner because sales“Sometimes are down on a particular prod- a promotion the sake of doing a promotion, ” Mark uct, and they just put for together a limited time offer without observes. “Theywhether might decide to work with supplier thinking through it’s a good fit for the abrand partner because sales are down on a particular prod-

in the Mix Magazine 2

3. Remember timing is everything. The element of experience thepromotion guest is looking for,parts: ratherlead-time, than just time for your has three promoting par-ticular brands you are partnering duration andthe“during the promotion. ” Make sure you with. start enough ahead to allow ample time for thinking and planning, producing materials without incurring 3. Remember timing is everything. The element of time rush charges and preparing your team (see #7). Two or for your promotion has three parts: lead-time, duration three weeks out just doesn’t work. And, don’t let budget and “during the promotion. surepromotion you start enough dictate duration. “You must” Make run any for a ahead to allow ample time for thinking planning, reasonable length of time in order for it to and get traction, producing without incurring charges and so that youmaterials get genuine payback on the rush cost to develop preparing your team“Be (seesure #7).toTwo or three weeksthe out it, ” Mark explains. factor that into just doesn’t work. And, don’t let budget dictate duration. budget.” “You must promotion for apromotion reasonable has length Onrun theany flip side, every anof time in order for it to get traction, so that you get genuine effective life span, Sherri notes. “You can’t let a payback onthat’s the run cost its tocourse develop it,”guests Mark continue explains.for “Be promotion with sure to factor into the budget. ” months just tothat try to recoup your investment. ” And the Onpromotion” the flip side,part? everyThat’s promotion has an effective “during the where you structure life span, Sherri notes. “You can’t let a promotion in constant reminders about the promotion to keepthat’s it run its course with guests continue for months just to top-of-mind with your servers and bartenders. try to recoup your investment.” And the “during the promotion” part?inThat’s where you structure constant 4. Be realistic estimating costs. Peopleintend to reminders about theit promotion it top-of-mind underestimate what takes to fieldtoakeep promotion or with your servers and bartenders.

neglect to factor in the cost of all the elements. Mark 4.points Be realistic in estimating costs. People tenditems, to out, “Don’t forget to include incentive underestimate what takes toimplementation field a promotion or putting together andit shipping kits and neglect to factor in the cost of all the elements. Mark training in the budget, in order to get an accurate read on points out, “Don’t forget to include(ROI). incentive items, the promotion’s return on investment ” putting together and shipping implementation kits and training in thesocial budget, in order to getfriend an accurate read on 5. Embrace media as your — because it’s the promotion’s return on investment (ROI). ” here to stay. Snapchat, Spotify, Instagram, even good

old Facebook and Twitter are the preferred means of 5.communication Embrace socialfor media as your the friend — because it’s Millennials, largest generational here to within stay. Snapchat, Spotify, Insta-gram, evenup good group the U.S. population. While keeping may old Facebook and Twitter are the preferred means of seem challenging, we’re learning more every day about communication for Millennials, the largest generational using the power of social media to differentiate and boost group within The the keys U.S. to population. While promotions. putting it to workkeeping for you up are, may seem challenging, more every day according to Mark, “Bewe’re surelearning the social media element about using theconcept power of of the social me-dia to differentiate is true to the offer; it should fit naturally and boostthe promotions. keys to putting to work forto within promotionThe framework. It’s alsoit important you are, ac-cording to social Mark,media “Be sure social relevant media actively manage your effortthe through element is true posts to the and concept of the offer; it should fit and frequent monitoring responses. If you naturally within the area promotion aren’t skilled in this or don’t framework. have the time,It’sbealso sure important to actively manage effortto there’s someone on your teamyour who social can bemedia dedicated through relevant and monitoring this, or be ready toand hirefrequent an expert.posts ” responses. If you aren’t skilled in this area or don’t have

6. Insist that your promotion be clever and innovative; the time, be sure there’s someone on your team who don’t be content just to stay in the pack. Keep pushing can be dedicated to this, or be ready to hire an expert.” yourself and your team to create something unique and memorable. Take a few risks and experiment with 6. Insist thatto your promotion cleverof and how best reach the“Many theinnovative; promotions don’t be content just to stay in the pack. Keep pushing out there are fairly cookie-cutter,” Sherri says. “The yourself your something team to create unique goal isand to create that’ssomething fresh and smart and andgets memorable. Take a I’ve few risks experiment with people talking. had aand package of Taco Bell how best to reach thedesk guest. the promotions hot sauce on my for “Many monthsofbecause it has one outofthere are fairly cookie-cutter, ” Sherri “The those funny sayings on it along with says. the hashtag goal is to createThat something that’s fresh and smart and #TeamHot. marketing campaign has generated getssome people talking. I’ve had a package of Taco Bell pretty powerful brand reinforcement, which hotleads saucetoon my desksales. for months it has one increased You maybecause not be able to come of those funny sayings on it along with the hashtag up with a smash hit like that with every promotion, #TeamHot. Thatitmarketing campaign has generated but it’s worth to try.” some pretty powerful brand reinforcement, which leads increased may be able to come 7. to Live by the sales. KISS You (keep it not simple, stupid) rule. up Yes, withthis a smash hit like that with every promotion, decades-old saw is as important as ever. In butfact, it’s worth to try.” it’s theit counterweight to #6. “Being innovative is important, but if your concept is too complicated 7. Live by the to KISS (keepand it simple, stupid) rule. Yes, for servers explain consumers to understand, thisyou’ve decades-old saw is as important as ever. In fact, wasted everyone’s time and money, ” Mark it’s the counterweight to #6. “Being innovative is


Summer 2017 •

Summer 2014 •


notes. Be sure to take a simplicity temperature check when you’re in the development phase: Can you explain how the promotion works in one or two sentences, such that key team members are nodding their heads that they get it? 8. Connect all the dots. And we mean all of them. It almost goes without saying that the messaging, look and feel of the promotional materials should be consistent. But a truly integrated promotion extends way beyond that. Break outside the frame and think all the way through. If you’ve decided to use digital boards for your promotion, is your unit’s engineering team/resource in the loop? Is it possible to feature the promotion at the time reservations are made? Need photography for social media? Are there special event, media or other PR opportunities? When all the moving parts are working together in harmony and everyone has a clear line of sight to the goal, the chances of success improve exponentially. 9. Engage the staff. This is where many a promotion goes awry, and the three of us agree we can’t say enough about this one. It’s important to note that engaging your team is not the same thing as informing them about the promotion and training them on how to implement it. Engaging means inspiring your team to buy in to what you’re all out to accomplish together and to get them excited about doing that. Having support from the senior F&B leader at the unit level is critical to accomplishing this. Engaging your team also means making sure bartenders, servers and managers understand what they are being asked to sell and why it matters. Be sure those implementation materials you received aren’t still sitting unopened on your desk! Done right, training not only shows your team what to do and how to do it, but it also instills 78

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confidence. And that sells beverages. And finally — incentives work and should be part of your promotion whenever possible and wherever legal. An educational trip for the winning manager is great, for example, but incorporating prizes for the line-level staff and/or for the unit (like a piece of equipment, premium glassware or a high-end bar tool set) will make your promotion seem more like a game everyone is invited to play. 10. Make sure you know what success looks like. This is actually where you need to start. How will you know the promotion accomplished its mission? What’s the best way to measure results? The easy answer is, “Did sales increase?” But it’s important to define precisely what you mean: Is it sales of the featured cocktails, or cases/bottles moved, or overall beverage revenue for the promotion period? And then ensure you have an effective, accurate way to track those sales. Defining ROI for a promotion can seem challenging, but that’s where having a beverage strategy in place is key. It’s there to remind you what you’re out to accomplish in your unit’s/brand’s long game, not only for this promotion. You’re not just selling beer, you’re selling a hotel, restaurant or bar. This may prompt you to look beyond sales for other ways to measure success. Achieving a higher average check or delivering a superior guest experience may be just as important as cases sold. Incorporate these “extras” into the planning and execution of your next beverage promotion and get ready for results that blow those doors off!


Omni Resort, Palm Springs

Conversations Create Change Hospitality Executive Exchange (HEE) West shared its “Conversations Create Change” theme with 120 participants in beautiful Palm Springs in early April, for one of the most engaging programs to date. Hospitality Executive Exchange is a one-of-a-kind program that focuses on conversations and relationships. Jen Robinson, CEO/Duchess of The Pineapple Group that owns and executes the program stated, “We have created a very exclusive platform for our industry family to come together without feeling pulled or pressured, to discuss relevant topics that we all share interest in and want to have productive dialogue about with our peers. HEE has resonated with our operators and suppliers because it provides valuable face time without fatigue or stress.” 80

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Summer 2017 •

HEE kicked off its ninth year with a Chairman’s Reception to honor and remember Teddy McAleer, who was the chairman of the HEE Advisory Board. The reception was held on the Starlight Terrace of the beautiful Omni Las Palmas Resort, where the view of desert, mountains and a beautiful sky made the conversations flow. The announcement of the launch of The Teddy Mac Award was made during this time. The award offers industry colleagues an opportunity to nominate someone who they feel exemplifies the word “hospitality” and lives it everyday. Robinson shared, “Teddy was a shining beacon in this industry and we want to honor him with the creation of this award, but also acknowledge our colleagues who really have a passion for what they do.” Nominations are open and if you know someone you feel is deserving, just send an email with the name, company and why you think they should be awarded, by October 1, 2017. The award will be presented during HEE East in November. The core of the HEE program is the one-on-one meetings, but it has also become known for fresh and engaging educational roundtables that are geared to really connect with the participants. HEE West clearly continued to elevate our commitment to being in the industry moment and within our own program theme. This year’s gathering kicked off with a “Welcome State of the Industry” address by Brad Aldrich, Senior Vice President of American Hotel & Lodging Association, in which he gave participants a glimpse into the future. The opening evening was capped with one of the most involved sessions and the one that everyone was talking about, which was the meeting’s theme, “Conversations Create Change.” The session was moderated by HEE Board Co-Chairmen Stuart Melia, Jayne Portnoy and Michael Tolley. All participants were given relevant topics happening in the industry today to discuss within their small groups and then with the larger group, which resulted in some in-depth and insightful conversations.

One of the great things about Hospitality Executive Exchange is that no two programs are the same; they are constantly evolving and changing. HEE is held twice a year – once on the West Coast and once on the East Coast – with different participants invited to each who provide different conversations. The agenda changes with the location, the trends in the industry and the participants. One cool idea that happened during HEE West was the real application of trends that we are seeing, or will be seeing, on menus this year and coming months. Participants were treated to food and beverage creations in the following categories: nostalgia, health and wellness, and global. The culinary team of the Omni did an amazing job showcasing these menus as well as pairing them with our beverage partners and their cocktail creations. The HEE family enjoyed the applications for every food and beverage moment, including breaks. Other speakers during HEE West were Sally Sparks and Chef Katie Sutton, with Food & Drink Resources, who shared data on Millennials and created some great conversations surrounding how to hire, train, work with and serve them. Nik Kundra with Partender allowed all of our participants to partake in a physical inventory, which led to many conversations about technology and the benefit of having it help with this painful task. Colleen McClellan with DataEssential shared a custom presentation for HEE titled “Trends: Drinking Beyond the Bottle in 2017,” and Mark and Brandon Crisler created Grapardy, a fun team-building activity that had participants testing their knowledge on wines.

Stuart Melia, Vice President of Food & Beverage for Craftworks Restaurants and CoChairman of the HEE Advisory Board, said, “HEE is the most talked about program in the industry for its out-of-the box agenda featuring face-to-face meetings carefully balanced with networking, educational roundtables, scheduled meals and team building. The participants are connected to the program and the conversations. Jen Robinson is the brand’s personality and her passion and love for the industry shines in every part of the agenda, but she allows the program to be about the industry, for the industry.”

Summer 2017 •


Deep Eddy Vodka celebrates the launch of their new Airstream. 82

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The final evening of HEE was a Masters Glow in the Dark Golf Tournament held on the fabulous golf course of the Omni and hosted by Deep Eddy Vodka and their launch of their Airstream trailer. The tournament provided participants with a fun way to relax and connect while enjoying some delicious libations. Nick Arenas, Levy Restaurants, captured the golf title, but the night was won by everyone. Conversations, cocktails and connections were made for lasting memories. Jen Robinson is already in the planning stages for HEE East, coming up in November in beautiful Marco Island, Florida. If you are interested in participating, please reach out to Jen at today. #jointheconversation #hee Hospitality Executive Exchange – HEE is a small, exclusive program that brings together select supplier partners and multi-unit operators to exchange insights, ideas and information. HEE is not a trade show or a typical conference. The program was created so that the art of conversation becomes the focus of helping cultivate new relationships, building and maintaining old ones, as well as gaining valuable insights from your colleagues and peers. The platform has resonated with operators and suppliers on a national and regional level, with a huge ROI for both.

Deep Eddy’s “Bettys” along with Carlos Lozano and Andie Brokaw, Heaven Hill; and Nick Arenas, Levy Restaurants. Summer 2017 •



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1. Catherine Stanton Schiff, Edrington Americas; and Diana Caballero, Caesars Entertainment 2. Lou Trope and Cindy Liu featuring Revolution Tea during the networking breaks. 3. Beth Borkosky, Blue Chair Bay Rum; and Mike Herchuck, Smokey Bones 4. Kurt Newman, Hospitality Glass Brands; and Chris Moran, Kona Grill 5. David Morgan, Omni Hotels & Resorts; Tim Black, American Beverage Marketers; and Warren Westcoat, American Beverage Marketers

10 13

6. Keith Riley, Monster Energy; Mike Tolley, Beach Whiskey; David Hicks, RIPE Bar Juices; Stuart Melia, Craftworks Restaurants; and Danny Moch, Campari USA 7. Katherine Wojcik, Kimpton Hotels; and Tina Petteway, Beam Suntory, enjoying a conversation during one of the breaks. 8. Mark Crisler, Trellis Wine Group, as Master of Ceremonies and Host of Grapardy, Mark “Trebek.”

11 9. Stuart Melia, Vice President of Craftworks Restaurants and HEE Advisory Board Co-Chairman; and Nick Arenas, National Director of Beverage and Beverage Innovation, Levy’s Restaurants, and the 2017 HEE West Masters Glow in the Dark Champion. 10. Carolyn White, Trinchero Family Estates; and Jen Robinson, The Pineapple Group 11. Tom Conte, Serralles USA; and Nichelle Ritter, Consolidated Restaurants 12. Cory Lattuca, Grimaldi’s; and Chris Hein, Old Spaghetti Factory, enjoy chatting during lunch.


13. Erin Flaherty, Agave Loco, trying for the Glow in the Dark Spring 2017 • 85 Green Jacket.

If you work as a food and beverage service employee, a medical diagnosis, car accident or house fire that happens in a split second can be financially and emotionally devastating. Luckily, for those food employees that have children, CORE can help. CORE is a national 501(c)(3) organization that supports children of food and beverage service employees navigating life-altering circumstances. Since 2004, CORE has provided support to over 165 families and raised over $2.5 million. With families, donors and supporters across the industry and the country, CORE is an amazing resource for food and beverage employees in times of dire need. When Gavin Prince (age 8) was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma in April 2016, his mom Stephanie took a leave from her job at Gilley’s Saloon inside Treasure Island Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada where the Prince family lives. Gavin’s dad, Jeff, also works at Treasure Island and was able to keep working through Gavin’s diagnosis. Since then, Gavin has gone through three surgeries, 30 radiation treatments and multiple chemotherapy treatments. He still has a few chemotherapy sessions before he’s done with treatment. Gavin is a serious, sweet boy who likes dinosaurs (his favorite is the stegosaurus) and the Los Angeles Kings (Jeff used to play hockey in Canada, eh!). Gavin’s younger brother Brenden (age 6) is funny and high-spirited, and loves to make his big brother laugh. Jeff recently got a Batman tattoo commemorating Gavin’s battle with Medulloblastoma, and Brenden has made sure his dad knows he wants his own spot on his dad’s arm with a Flash tattoo! To support the Prince family while Gavin is finishing treatment, CORE helped pay their mortgage and purchase gas cards. CORE representatives were able to meet the Prince family for dinner while out in Las Vegas for the HR in Hospitality Conference & Expo and Nightclub & Bar Show in March 2017. We had dinner with the family at the ARIA Resort & Casino ARIA Café, and afterwards moved across the lobby for gelato. The sweetest moment of the night, though, came when we were saying our goodbyes to the family and Gavin asked, “When can we see them again?” 86

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The Prince family – Gavin (8), Brenden (5), mom Stephanie and dad Jeff – met CORE for dinner at the ARIA Cafe in Las Vegas, Nevada last month.

For more information: 404-655-4690

Help CORE support families like the Princes! There’s a way for everyone to support CORE and give back to our own! You can refer a food and beverage service family for support at, become a COREporate member or event sponsor, become a CORE Ambassador or host your own promotion or event to benefit CORE.

There were smiles all around after dinner, along with gelato at the ARIA Cafe. Gavin and Brenden with CORE staff: (above from left, back row) Program Coordinator Kristen Davis, Executive Director Lauren LaViola, and Program Director Emily Kilduff.

Brenden and Gavin Prince receiving their CORE bears. Summer 2017 •



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Spring 2017 •


in the Mix Summer 2017 edition  

Our summer magazine features a cover story interview with Mary Melton of P.F. Chang's restaurant chain. Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologi...

in the Mix Summer 2017 edition  

Our summer magazine features a cover story interview with Mary Melton of P.F. Chang's restaurant chain. Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologi...