Wine Business Monthly Acquires WITS, The Wine Industry Technology Symposium

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 announced the acquisition of WITS, the Wine Industry Technology Symposium® today in Napa, CA. WITS® was founded in 2005 and is conducting its 11th Annual symposium today and Friday.

Eric Jorgensen, President of Wine Communications Group, said, “We have always had a strong interest in how the wine industry uses technology. Smoke and Lesley have done a remarkable job over the past decade of bringing the industry together around this important topic. We welcome both of them and everyone involved with WITS to the Wine Communications Group family”

“The Wine Industry Technology Symposium has been responsible for raising the level of dialogue and thinking around technology in the wine industry. I am proud of our efforts at bringing the industry together around these important topics and of playing our small part in improving wine business practices. Most importantly, I’m grateful to the many people who have played a role in making WITS a success over the years. It would never have been possible without Kathy and Waunice at the Wine Symposium Group, our Winery CIOs and Advisory Board and all the great sponsors going back to the beginning. I have many friends as a result of WITS who have enriched my life in so many ways,” said J. Smoke Wallin, founder and co-chairman of WITS.

WITS Promo PHoto

“I have long admired Eric’s team and vision for the Wine Communications Group. WITS will be a perfect fit to their strategic vision, which gives WITS a long-term platform upon which to thrive. This was our most important criteria in a partner for WITS,” said Lesley Berglund, co-chairman of WITS and co-founder and chairman of the Wine Industry Sales Education (WISE) Academy.

The transaction is expected to close in July and terms were not disclosed.

About Wine Communications Group:

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Wine Communications Group, Inc. is the leading information and services provider for the global wine industry.
Publishers of winebusiness.com, the leading web site for the trade, and two of the industry’s leading print publications, Wine Business Monthly and Wines & Vines, we are dedicated to meeting the wine industry’s needs for information, analysis, resources and tools. Wine Communications Group, Inc has put together a suite of products that bring to the industry practical information, cutting edge research, recruiting tools, daily news services and a comprehensive directory.

 

About WITS:

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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 service needs of the wine industry. The 11th annual WITS is June 25 – 26, 2015 in Napa, California. To learn more, join WITS on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn

 

For more information, go to www.WineIndustryTechnologySymposium.com

11th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium® to Unite Wine, Beer, Spirits Business Leaders, Technology Experts June 25-26, 2015

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March 31, 2015                                                                                                                              Contact: Lisa Adams Walter lisa@winesymposium.com

 

(NAPA, Calif.) —The 11th Annual Wine Industry Technology Symposium (WITS®), the premier event showcasing the strategic use of information technology and services for the wine industry, has been set for June 25-26, 2015 at the Napa Valley Marriott Hotel. www.wineindustrytechnologysymposium.com

Executives from wineries, breweries, distributors, retailers and restaurants gather annually at WITS, the only annual conference designed exclusively to foster education and debate around technology solutions for the wine and beverage industry. The 2015 WITS program will include:

  • Educational Tracks – Sessions on Technology Leadership, Small Business, Consumer Direct, Trade Sales & Marketing and Vineyard & Winery Operations
  • Speed Dating – WITS created “speed dating” for winery and brewery CIOs and technology companies. This will provide opportunities for quality one-on-one time with key decision makers and thought leaders.
  • Plus Beer, with BITS – WITS has united leaders in the craft brewing industry to add the Beer Industry Technology Symposium (BITS™) track that runs concurrent with WITS.

“The rapid proliferation of craft brands in wine, spirits and beer is creating unique challenges for all industry participants,” said J. Smoke Wallin, WITS Co-Chair. “WITS is the only place where winery, brewery, distillery, retailer and distributor leaders can sit side by side for a day of learning and discussion to tackle these challenges with CIOs and technology leaders from across the industry,” he added.WITS 2008

The WITS Steering Committee, comprised of technology and business leaders across the wine, beverage and technology industries, is currently finalizing panel topics and keynote speakers. Past speakers have included the CEOs, CIOs and other leaders from Amazon, Facebook, Groupon, Gartner Group, garyvaynerchuk.com, FedEx Office, Nielsen and 1800-Flowers, as well as experts from IBM, Oracle, Cornell University, UC Davis, Sonoma State University and many others.

Attendees and sponsors are encouraged to register early, as space is limited and expected to sell out quickly. Registration will open May 1, 2015. For more information visit www.wineindustrytechnologysymposium.com.

About The Wine Industry Technology Symposium (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 11th annual WITS is June 25-26, 2015 in Napa, CA. For the 2nd year, WITS also includes the Beer Industry Technology Symposium™ (BITS™) track. Join WITS on Youtube, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn to learn more.

For more information, contact Lisa Adams Walter of the Wine Industry Symposium Group at 707-666-2525 or lisa@winesymposium.com.

Jackson Browne – Standing In The Breach – Tour Rocks Indy

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.

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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…

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The Barricades of Heaven

Looking Into You

The Long Way Around

These Days

Shaky Town

I’m Alive

The Pretender

You Know the Night

I Love My Country (Little Stephen)

Leaving Winslow

Fountain of Sorrow

 

– Intermission –

 

Rock Me On the Water

If I Could Be Anywhere

Which Side?

Standing In the Breach

Looking East

The Birds of St. Marks

In the Shape of A Heart

Before the Deluge

Doctor My Eyes

 

Encore:

 

Running On Empty

Take It Easy

Our Lady of the Well

For A Dancer

 

 

Sugar Skull Rum Launches – National Rum Day 2014

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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”?

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Back Story:

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.

Join The Rum Revolution

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.

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