Well I’ve been meaning to post about Jackson Browne who we had the pleasure of seeing Saturday October 18 at the Murat (Old National Center) in Indianapolis. This is his “Standing In The Breach” tour which combines his classics and his new album. We paid up for the Ticketmaster “Rock for Reading” VIP opportunity. The reception room was kind of lame as the Heartland Film Festival banquet was going on and they took the cool bars. That said, we did get to talk to Jackson’s VIP host for a bit and he explained that the new album included a number of songs Jackson had not quite finished over the years. My feeling was they really sounded a lot like his older stuff, which I love. The seats, Center in the 11th row at the Murat were unbeatable. It is a great venue really in almost every seat, but that close was simply wonderful.
The band was terrific! Jackson finished the 1st set with Fountain of Sorrow, my 2nd favorite. He finished the encore after the 2nd set with For a Dancer, my favorite song of Jackson’s of all time. What a way to end a remarkable performance!
I give the show 5 out of 5 stars! Here is the set list, not in exact order, but I think I got most of the songs…
We launched Sugar Skull Rum just in time for National Rum Day (August 16) in AZ and NV. I am very excited by the incredible opportunity to lead this great brand and company from inception to game changer in the industry. I have received so many congratulations from so many friends and associates in and outside the industry. I am very appreciative for the well wishes and thought I’d share a bit of the back story on the brand and why we believe it is a true game changer. What do we mean when we talk about “Celebrating Life”?
Sugar Skull Rum Company was founded by a group of serial entrepreneurs and innovative thinkers who dared to ask the question: “If not us, then who?” and “If not now, when?” in a business dominated by international conglomerates and multi-generational family businesses. The liquor giants, both the manufacturers and distributors have all the advantages that come with scale and entrenched interests; money, power, regulations and people drive this advantage (you know you who are friends). So what makes the Sugar Skull team think we can play in the big leagues without any of these advantages?
As a co-Founder and CEO, my view is, “Ideas matter. When the time is right, if one can put the right people together, they can accomplish anything with the right idea. Sugar Skull Rum is that right idea at the right time.”
A while back, a bunch of my friends were sitting around sipping various cocktails, enjoying fine cigars and most of all each other’s company. The conversation spanned technology, politics, exotic travel, past loves lost, and family. As the evening went on, memories were created among friends from different worlds while discussing those people who came before us and meant a lot to who each of us are today, but are no longer with us. One of the group pointed out that those lost people, who we celebrate, are really with us always.
“You know, that is really what “El Día de los Meurtos” “The Day of the Dead” is all about. You see, for thousands of years many people have celebrated their loved ones in different ways. With the “Day of the Dead” you have convergence of European Catholic traditions with the ancient Aztec traditions. It really is all about celebrating those who have left this world but mean so much to the people they touched.”
As the night wore on, the discussion led to how each of us celebrated the lives of our loved ones lost. The idea of a “celebration” among the living, in honor of those that came before and have left us, resonated throughout the group. In thinking about the beautiful tributes put together all over, we all agreed the iconic Sugar Skulls really bring to life the feelings of honoring those gone.
One of us pointed out, “you know, what sugar is made from don’t you?… sugar cane. That is exactly what is in this drink”… he held up his sipping rum to the firelight… “a toast… to our loved ones lost, let us celebrate what they mean to us and let us live each day fully” Our group toasted…. here here… here here… It was a magical night and I know it touched me deeply.
From that night on, the idea would not leave any of us. We soon decided, a beverage that brought together the ideas of that evening, celebrating life today and those who have past, would bring a piece of the magic feeling everyone had that night. These friends had experience in consumer products, the beverage industry, motor racing and hospitality. Some were very successfully in the ice cream business and had made their names in creative flavors. After almost two years of scouring the world for the best rums and many many nights and days of hard work (J) in judging these amazingly diverse products, a new brand was born. Sugar Skull Rum.
Founded on the principle that life should be celebrated and it is at its best when we celebrate those who where impactful in our lives. Sugar Skull Rum is a meticulously crafted super premium rum brand that looks at the world a little bit differently. The Company takes the approach of a lean start-up by working smart and playing hard we are bringing a new brand into a tough competitive market by thinking differently. Sugar Skull Rum while a young company is deploying breakthrough marketing to reach consumers in memorable ways. The team is highly motivated to bring our message and brand to thirsty consumers everyone who like us, want the best in life and are willing to take the road less traveled.
Join us in making the Rum Revolution a reality.
About Sugar Skull Rum Company:
Sugar Skull is a celebration of life. It is the life we live, the lives we touch and those that have touched us. We celebrate them all. Live. Love. Celebrate. How do you celebrate?
Created by leaders in the ice cream, beverage, sports, entertainment and hospitality industries, Sugar Skull Rum Company makes a meticulously crafted super premium rum blend that looks at the world a little bit differently. Sugar Skull is made from with the very best sugar cane molasses carefully sourced from growers’ farms throughout the Caribbean and South America. Sugar Skull Rum is carefully handcrafted in the beautiful Caribbean islands at our partner distilleries. We use 4-column stills to produce a clean and crisp base rum before filtering and blending to our proprietary recipe to produce Sugar Skull’s unique taste profile. Welcome to the best tasting Rum in the world.
Sugar Skull Rum is being launched in select markets in 2014. Look for our Tribal Silver, Mystic Vanilla, Native Coconut, Madagascar Wild Berry and Hellfire Cinnamon at select accounts in AZ, CA and NV.
(NAPA, Calif.) – The 10th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) has partnered with Taste140 to again host a worldwide virtual wine tasting event June 30 – July 1, 2014 at the WITS event, which this year also includes a new concurrent Beer Industry Technology Symposium (BITS).
While it is anticipated that conference attendees will naturally be active across various Social Media platforms using the #WITS2014 hashtag over the course of the two-day conference, organized and focused online wine tastings have also been scheduled with participating wineries including: Franciscan Estate Winery (Franciscan Estate 2011 Magnificat Napa Valley), Garnet Vineyards (Garnet 2012 Monterey Pinot Noir), Jamieson Ranch Vineyards (Jamieson Ranch 2011 “Double Lariat” Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon), Kendall-Jackson Winery (Kendall-Jackson 2011 Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon), Renwood Winery (Renwood 2011 Premier Old Vine Zinfandel) and Wente Vineyards (Wente 2012 Morning Fog Chardonnay).
In advance of the #WITS2014 WineTwits Tweetup, Taste140 is shipping wines from each participating winery to online wine influencers and bloggers who have committed to live participation. The wines will also be available for tasting at the event, so that event attendees can contribute to the conversation and post their tasting notes, experience and feedback.
“Having attended WITS since its inception in 2005, I’ve gained valuable insights directly from wine industry thought leaders while forging immeasurable relationships which have continued to grow over the years,” said Stephen Gilberg, Taste140 and WineTwits founder. “Similarly, beverage brands that properly leverage social media are able to build long-lasting relationships with influential consumers. The #WITS2014 Wine Tweetup will likely be one of the most wide-reaching virtual tastings to date.”
“We are pleased to partner with these fantastic wineries and with WineTwits to bring some of the #WITS2014 experience beyond the conference in Napa and to bloggers and consumers around the country. This online event demonstrates the power of a connected wine community and has become a fun highlight of the event each year,” said J. Smoke Wallin, WITS founder and co-chair.
The 2014 Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS), which will run concurrent with the first Beer Industry Technology Symposium, will cover a wide range of wine and craft beer industry topics such as mobile e-commerce, data breach and security, breakthrough marketing, supply chain innovation, leading edge hospitality systems, new on-premise kegs and product tracking. Panels of leading restaurant and grocery operators will also provide valuable insight as they discuss their first-hand experience with wine and beer consumers.
About WITS: The Wine Industry Technology Symposium® (WITS) is the focal point for thought leadership in the strategic and tactical use of technology in the global wine industry. WITS was created in 2005 by a group of wine industry and technology professionals to advance innovation and to address the unique information technology and services needs of the wine industry. The 10th annual WITS is June 30 & July 1 in Napa, CA. This year, the newly formed Beer Industry Technology Symposium (BITS) will be held in conjunction with WITS. To learn more, join WITS on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
About DrinkTwits, LLC (Taste140/WineTwits): Founded in 2008, DrinkTwits is a social media firm comprised of interactive food and beverage-related social media channels. Its flagship entity, @WineTwits is a Twitter-powered community with 100,000 followers dedicated to wine consumers, retailers, vineyards and experts. In 2009, through its network of leading social influencers, the firm pioneered the practice of online virtual tasting via its Taste 140™ social tasting platform, which allows brands to virtually pack their tasting room with hundreds of people and have their recommendations instantly reach thousands worldwide. For more information, visit www.Taste140.com or www.twitter.com/winetwits.
For more information about the Wine Industry Technology Symposium, contact Kathy Archer of the Wine Industry Symposium Group at 707-261-8719 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For sponsorship and registration, contact Waunice Orchid of the Wine Industry Symposium Group at 707-261-8716 or email@example.com.
I’m very pleased to announce the initial keynote lineup at this Summer’s WITS and BITS – please see below and registration is now open for the combined event here – Smoke
10th Annual Wine & Beer Industry Technology Symposium to Unite Thought Leaders at Strategic Summit for Wine and Beer Brands
Hot Tech Topics to include Innovation, Breakthrough Marketing,
Keg Supply Chain Evolution, Data Security Breach, Internet Impact
(NAPA, Calif.) — Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS) in collaboration with Beer Industry Technology Symposium (BITS) has announced the Keynote Speakers for the 10th annual event set for June 30 – July 1, 2014 in Napa, California. An action packed series of keynotes will cover a wide range of topics affecting the wine and craft beer industries including: mobile e-commerce, data breach and security, breakthrough marketing, supply chain innovation, leading edge hospitality systems, new on-premise kegs and product tracking. Panels of leading restaurant and grocery operators will also provide valuable insight as they discuss their first-hand experience with wine and beer consumers.
“Every year we have worked hard to up the ante in terms of the quality of keynote speakers and breakout sessions. This year, our board has truly taken the program to a new level for the 10th annual WITS event,” said J. Smoke Wallin, founder and co-chairman of WITS and BITS. “Our new high-impact, rapid fire keynote addresses allow us to pack significantly more content into the event with the sole purpose of creating thought-provoking discussions that will deliver immediate take home value to all of our winery and craft brewery attendees.”
“Upon reflection over the past ten years, and considering the vast evolution of technology in the wine, and now beer, industries, I am very pleased with the dynamic program we have set for 2014. I look forward to welcoming both wine and beer industry leaders, as well as many of today’s leading technology innovators, to our 10th Annual event,” added Lesley Berglund, co-chairman of WITS & BITS and co-founder and chairman of the Wine Industry Sales Education (WISE) Academy.
The Initial Keynote Lineup Includes:
“Ben Franklin: America’s 1st CMO Would Still Be A Pro in 2014”
o Drew Neisser, CEO and Founder of Renegade
“ROI of Digital Marketing: Myths, Facts & Measurement”
Karena Breslin, Vice President of Digital Marketing at Constellation Brands Inc.
“Engaging The Connected Consumers In The Era of Mobile + Digital”
o Tim Schulz, Google Strategic Partnership Lead
“Confronting the Inevitable? Data Breach Offense, Defense and Playbook” – Panel
o John Nicholson, Strategic Negotiator – Strategic Global Sourcing, INFOSYS
o Gal Shpantzer, Contributing Analyst, Securosis
o Tom Resau, VP W2 Communications
“Breakthrough Marketing – Case Studies on Digital Marketing”
o Terry Wheatley, Founder, Canopy Management & Wine Sisterhood
“Trending Now: Progressive Tech Trends for Enterprising Businesses”
o Sandy Tungare, Founder & CEO Vistaar
“If Digital Marketing had a Crystal Ball”
o Aliza Sherman, MediaEgg
“Tech Trends: Predicting Future Technology and ROI by distinguishing between Fads and Trends”
o Rob Grimes, Founder, CEO and Chairman, Constratech
“The Internet of Things and the Nexus of Forces”
o Joseph Farrugia, Domain Lead, Partner, Oracle Enterprise Applications and BI, Gartner Group
“Applying Technology Innovation to Revolutionize Old School Industries”
o Steve Hershberger, CEO, SteadyServ Technologies, Brewery Founder, Social Media Founder
“Grocery And On-Premise Innovators On Technological Transformations”
o Randall Friedman, Restaurant & Food Group Publisher
o Eduardo Dingler, Corporate Beverage Director, Morimoto Restaurants
The Wine Industry Technology Symposium® (WITS) is the focal point for thought leadership in the strategic and tactical use of technology in the global wine industry. WITS was created in 2005 by a group of wine industry and technology professionals to advance innovation and to address the unique information technology and services needs of the wine industry. The 10th annual WITS is June 30 & July 1 in Napa, CA. This year, the newly formed Beer Industry Technology Symposium (BITS) will be held in conjunction with WITS. To learn more, join WITS on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
The Beer Industry Technology Symposium™ (BITS™) was created to address the unique information technology and services needs of the Beer industry. BITS is dedicated to bringing the world’s leading breweries, distributors and retailers together with the leading technology experts to foster learning and discussion. Expert panels and keynotes discuss leading edge case studies involving consumer direct marketing and sales, operations, financial management, trade sales and distribution, brewing and input management. Join BITS on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
For more information, contact Kathy Archer of the Wine Industry Symposium Group at 707-261-8719 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For sponsorship and registration, contact Waunice Orchid of the Wine Industry Symposium Group at 707-261-8716 or email@example.com.
Wine Business Monthly Acquires WITS,
The Wine Industry Technology Symposium
11th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium Taking Place Today Developed for Wine Business Leaders, Marketers, Innovators in 2005
(NAPA, Calif.) – The Wine Communications Group’s Wine Business Monthly Read More
Wine and Tech Innovators Gathering this week in Napa
11th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium
Developed for Wine Business Leaders, Marketers, Innovators
(NAPA, Calif.) – Technology leaders in both marketing and wine including Brad Rosen of DRYNC, Joe Rosenberg of Google, Read More
I am saddened to learn of the passing of former White House Chef and author Walter Scheib. Here is a story on it, apparently he was hiking in New Mexico and went missing. Thoughts are with his family and friends. I enjoyed my time with him. He had fascinating stories. Read More
Last week, I chose to graduate a bit early from YPO “Young Presidents Organization” into WPO “World Presidents Organization” its sister organization for the over 49 crowd. While I will remain active in WPO and the Food & Beverage Network and Deal Network in particular, Read More
I recently read and shared an article in Forbes by Patrick Hanlon called, “Why Brands Must Evolve” that is so spot on that it has led to a number of interesting conversations in the past week with some of my clients and partners who own brands in beer, wine and spirits. As one Read More