Jun 21, 2018

VIBE (Very Important Beverage Executives) Conference 2018


June 21st, 2018

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 was held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel & Marina this past February.

vibe conference

The welcome party gives attendees a chance to network and meet new and old friends


CORE Party, Giving Back to Our Own

For the seventh consecutive year, nonprofit organization CORE served as the official charity of the 2018 VIBE Conference. CORE supports the children and families of food and beverage service industry employees by providing grants to help them navigate life-altering circumstances. At this year’s event, VIBE raised $81,000 for the organization, including $20,000 from the silent auction. To kick things off the first night of the conference, CORE hosted their annual “Giving Back to Our Own” cocktail party, which was attended by nearly 600 VIBE participants and guests. DJ Taif Tozy spun tunes while partygoers sipped on wine, beer and cocktails.

CORE recipient Julia Davidson was in attendance with her parents Jessica and Todd, as was Abby McDonald and Jesse Burdette, parents of recipient Silas. Presenting event sponsors were Boston Beer, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Rodney Strong Wine Estates, and gold sponsors included E&J Gallo, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, Beam Suntory, Edrington Americas, Proximo Spirits, FIJI Water, Monin, Nestle Waters, Red Bull, American Beverage Marketers and IMI Agency.

Evan Goldstein, President and Chief Education Officer of Full Circle Wine Solutions, Master Sommelier and a four-time James Beard Award nominee for Outstanding Wine and Spirits Professional of the Year, was the master of ceremonies for this year’s event.

vibe conference

Keynote Speaker B. Hudson Riehle, National Restaurant Association, Senior Vice President Research & Knowledge Group, lectured on the topic “Hospitality Operators Beware: Converging Disruptive Trends Ahead.” (Photo- Keynote)

John Niekrash was presented the 2018 Innovator of the Year award by Evan Goldstein.



Jim Koch from Boston Beer Company was presented the 2018 Industry Legend Award by Evan Goldstein.

Jim Koch vibe conference award winner


VIBE Conference presents the 2018 VIBE Vista Award Winners

VIBE Vista Awards recognize the top performers in the beverage industry through the creation, training, execution, management and on-going positive results of beverage programs. Entries were reviewed by a panel of Johnson & Wales University beverage faculty, staff and alumni, and were judged on positive beverage sales initiatives, efficient operational innovations, and training and service programs producing high quality standards.

This year’s VIBE Vista Award winners are:

Best Beer Program sponsored by New Belgium Brewing Co. – Taco Mac

Best Spirits Program sponsored by Campari America – Earls Kitchen + Bar

Best Wine Program sponsored by Palm Bay International P.F. Chang’s

PF Chang's vibe winner

Best Wine Program sponsored by E&J Gallo – Olive Garden

Best Adult Alcohol Free Program sponsored by Monin – Olive Garden

Best Beverage Menu Revamp sponsored by Beam Suntory – Chart House

Best Beverage Promotion sponsored by Bacardi USA – TGI Friday’s

Best Beverage Limited Time Offer sponsored by Treasury Wine Estates Interstate Hotels & Resorts

interstate hotels vibe award winner

Best Responsible Alcohol Service sponsored by VIBE Advisory Council – Taco Mac

Best Overall Multi-Unit Chain Restaurants sponsored by Diageo – Earls Kitchen + Bar

Best Overall Hotels, Cruise Lines and Casinos sponsored by Heaven Hill Brand – Columbia Sussex Corporation

Best Overall Hotels, Cruise Lines and Casinos sponsored by Jackson Family Wines Interstate Hotels & Resorts

interstate hotels and resorts vibe winner

VIBE Conference Presents the 2018 Supplier Awards

For the past seven years, the VIBE Supplier Awards have invited beverage operators to rate their respective supplier companies, through an online survey, on key attributes including business-building support as well as service and support performance. To ensure efficient, fair and unbiased balloting and analysis, survey results were analyzed by food and beverage industry research and consulting firm Technomic Inc. Winners were then identified in four categories: beer, wine, spirits and non-alcohol beverages, categorized by total annual case volume.

This year’s VIBE Supplier Awards category winners are:


Large company: Anheuser-Busch

Medium company: The Boston Beer Company

Small company: New Belgium Brewing



Large company: E&J Gallo Winery

Medium company: Jackson Family Wines

Small company: The Mark Wine Group



Large company: Beam Suntory

Medium company: William Grant & Sons

Small company: Fifth Generation/Tito’s Handmade Vodka



Large company: Coca-Cola Foodservice

Medium company: Monin