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National Restaurant Association - 'It's a valuable resource for us'

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'It's a valuable resource for us'

Tim Creehan's 200-seat, white tablecloth restaurant, is the place to be at happy hour for 40- to 60-year-olds in Destin, Fla.

Vendors in his small market can't always bring him cutting-edge ideas to entice his guests, so the owner of Cuvee Bistro looks for them at the International Wine, Spirits and Beer Event at the NRA Show.

"We come to find what we don't know about," says Creehan, who browsed the IWSB exhibit floor Monday afternoon with a small dog in tow. "We want to find the unique thing to give us the edge over our competitors who don't come to the Show."

IWSB showcases domestic and international brewers, distillers and vintners in a special section of the NRA Show eclusively for restaurant owners, mixologists, beverage-alcohol buyers and other decision-makers related to restaurant and hotel bar programs. The two-day event features hundreds of established and emerging labels, education sessions, demonstration and a mixology competition.

Anesha Ali, who's responsible for guest amenities at Courtyard Chicago, was looking for products her hotel could offer in guestrooms, as well give-away and promotional items. Among the items that caught her eye: mini bottles, slim packaging and new offerings from Chicago-area companies that would give guests a local feel during their stays.

"I'm looking for fun, new, hip stuff to have a downtown hotel," she says.

Sonny Petersson, food and beverage director for Portola Hotel and Spa in California, was looking for new wines to offer in the hotel's two restaurants, as well as interesting spirits. The first-time attendee also checked out equipment on the NRA Show floor and attended education sessions.

"I'm going to be back next year," he says.

Says Creehan: "I'm glad this show is here. It's a valuable resource for us."




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