The 40th Anniversary of the Food & Wine Classic in Aspen

Celebrating 40 Years of Icons and Innovators with the IMI Agency Events Team

July 06, 2023

 

The annual Food & Wine Classic in Aspen is a premier hospitality event set against the spectacular scenery of the Rocky Mountains. For 3 days, members of the restaurant and hospitality industry enjoy exclusive Trade programming featuring private access to the grand pavilion tasting tents showcasing food, wine & spirits from over 150 different brands, along with seminars and networking events.

For more than 25 years, team members from IMI Agency have traveled to the famous mountain town to coordinate upscale lodging, festival-sponsored experiences, and customized client agendas. This year as the Classic celebrated 40 years of festivities, the IMI Events Team upped the ante by hosting a record 41 clients from 15 accounts across several channels of business including luxury hotels, sports concessionaires, and on-premise fine dining accounts. A successful Aspen F&W for IMI Agency is to ensure our clients’ Aspen experience is bespoke to their business and personal goals for the weekend. We are confident our team goals were met and far surpassed this year!

 

After attending the Classic and private trade parties for several years, the IMI Events Team has expanded their services to include special event management. The team now works to provide elevated planning, design, and execution for partner events. Each event sponsor of IMI also benefits from the promotion of the event by preferential client attendance as we guide our clients to all signature IMI events, and the supplier brand events that we manage. Services have also included providing direct access to F&W Trade badges in partnership with the F&W Classic, dining reservations and even golf cart transfers for clients and partners for each of their tight turnarounds over the busy weekend.

Restore B4

This spring marked the debut of Restore B4, IMI’s inaugural signature event exclusive to our agency’s clients, and in partnership with a variety of sponsors. Restore B4 was curated to highlight innovative brunchtime beverages with a focus on refreshing, invigorating and restorative offerings. Guests enjoyed soothing chair massages, oxygen therapy and hydration IVs in between mingling with esteemed industry partners Anheuser-Busch, Beam Suntory, Jackson Family Wines, The Wine Group, Owen’s Craft Mixers, Bartesian and Coravin.

Late Night in the Red Room

Twelve hours later, IMI celebrated its second annual Late Night in the Red Room at CATCH Steak. The perfect way to close out the day with an elevated bar menu, late night bites and an epic dance party with local phenom, DJ Trizz. Shout out to the 2023 Red Room partners Whistle Pig, Trellis W&S, Mark Anthony Brands, Ten To One Rum, Hahn Family Wines, Distinguished Vineyards, New Belgium Brewing, Lucas Bols and Nestle.

In addition to IMI’s signature events, the Events Team worked with industry leading partners to execute private events over the weekend.

Casamigos & Caviar

At this year’s Casamigos & Caviar event, umami met agave in a menu lineup featuring elevated Casamigos tequila cocktails and wines from Faustino. The Gatsby-inspired party fostered an intimate atmosphere with a three-piece jazz band and dark, moody florals. For an 11AM party, it was a busy scene with party goers swinging by for a Berries & Bubbles or Bloody Maria to kick off their Saturday in beautiful downtown Aspen.

The House of the Macallan

The House of the Macallan offered an immersive journey through the Macallan portfolio with a lavish sensory and sampling experience. Guests experienced the full bouquet of botanicals in a walk that took them through the history of the mark and ended with a look into the crafted cocktails made possible by each expression. The Edrington team consistently elevates the cocktail experience each year!

 

Rock to Remember

A glittering sensation, Rock to Remember brought imaginative cocktail combinations from Tito’s & Fever-Tree, Banshee wines, and the iconic beers of Molson Coors alongside hours of live glam rock anthems and power ballads from the band Mothership. This annual Friday night event has become the most sought-after ticket in town!

Sun Salutations with SIMI

At Sun Salutations with SIMI guests raised their glasses of wine to women leaders while supporting local female-run businesses at O2 Aspen. Attendees unwound with a guided flow and meditation session before interacting with SIMI’s winemaker on the history and philosophy of their beautiful Californian wines.

 

As a proud founding member of CORE, the IMI Events team brought special charitable activations to life, raising almost $5,000 across events to benefit Children of Restaurant Employees. Guests purchased commemorative shirts at the Rock to Remember “Merch” stand and participated in supplier-sponsored raffles for exclusive prizes.

If science says that there is a solid link between work and play, associated with the motivation that drives us, then we would say the Aspen Food & Wine Classic is the ultimate bucket list item to check off. On behalf of the IMI Aspen Events Team, we cannot thank our clients, supplier sponsors and Food & Wine vendors for their support and assistance in creating a memorable and successful 2023 event weekend.

If you are interested in participating in the 2024 Classic, please contact the IMI Events team, our planning begins in the fall! imievents@imiagency.com

Meet the IMI Agency Events Team

 

Jeanette Rolla, Senior Account Manager at IMI Agency

Jeanette is a 20-year hospitality industry veteran that has been Building Better Beverage Business™ with IMI since 2017. Prior to joining the IMI team, Jeanette led F&B operations in stadiums and arenas in New York, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. As a Senior Account Manager, Jeanette partners with concessionaire and hotel clients to create strategic beverage programs focusing on quality and innovative brands that deliver increased guest satisfaction across various portfolios.

Jeanette lives with her husband, Juan, in Smyrna, GA and their 3 pets, including Tucker – the unofficial mascot of IMI’s Atlanta office. They have a passion for volunteering with local animal shelters and almost always have at least 1-2 foster pets living with them at any given time (many of whom tend to make appearances on Jeanette's video calls).

 

Isabel O’Cathey, Account Manager at IMI Agency

Isabel has been involved in all sides of the hospitality industry since beginning her career as Brand Marketing Manager for upscale casual restaurants based in the Southeast (shoutout PayBev client Ted’s Montana Grill!) then moving into on-premise distributor sales, as well as a brief stint with Anheuser-Busch before her time with IMI Agency. Since beginning with IMI, Isabel has led clients in various channels now specializing in national account management of Airline Lounges and Concessionaires, Hotel & Resort Lodging, Fine Dining, and special events. During her personal time, she enjoys travelling, going to sporting events and concerts, loving on her bonus kids and 11-year-old chocolate lab Haze, watching movie classics, and finding adventures in her new hometown city of Knoxville, TN.

 

Raegan Wong, Project Manager at IMI Agency

Raegan Wong first found a love of hospitality through special event design and management in the world of theater. After pursuing her bachelor's in hospitality management at The University of Alabama, she has been honing a focus in beverage since coming on board with IMI in 2021. As a Project Manager with IMI, she works to support several client accounts as well as assisting in the planning and execution of industry events as a member of the IMI Events team. When not working, Raegan can be found in her new hometown of Huntsville, Alabama, learning more about Rocket City USA with her husband, Joshua.