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July 10, 2018: Whiskey Festivals and Tasting Events Are On the Rise, Hyatt Hotels to Ban Plastic Straws, How a Virtual-Reality Experience Could Help Save Egypt’s "Sistine Chapel"

By Ian Zelaya July 10, 2018, 8:41 AM EDT


1. WHISKEY FESTIVALS AND TASTING EVENTS ARE ON THE RISE: As whiskey tourism rises in popularity, the number of whiskey tasting events and festivals in the U.S. continues to grow. Forbes: “According to David Sweet, president of Whisky Live USA, the number of different whiskey tasting events in the US now numbers around 1,000. These events range from 'large, focused, formal whisky events such as Whisky Live to smaller events held at bars and restaurants, to concert events with a whisky theme.' Sweet estimates that, 'of significant large scale formal events, there are more than 50 across the US.' Whisky Live, Whisky Fest and Whiskies of the World are the three largest organizers of large scale whiskey festivals in the US. All 3 organizations began their whisky festivals about 20 years ago—Whisky Live in London in 2000, Whiskies of the World in San Francisco in 1999 and WhiskyFest in New York City in 1998. These festivals have become a template that is now duplicated by a variety of organizations on a smaller scale. The typical commercial whisky festival is staged in a ballroom of a major hotel in a large city. Typically, 200 to 300 whiskies from a hundred or so producers are on offer. A dinner buffet is provided. Distilleries are encouraged to bring their Brand Ambassadors and their VIPs/Luminaries like master blenders, master distillers or distillery managers. In addition, a variety of master classes with guided tastings are offered. The typical attendance varies between 1,000 and 3,000 people. The three main Whisky Festival sponsors do approximately 20 US shows a year between them; attracting around 40 to 50 thousand people. Ticket prices vary between $100 and $400 dollars depending on the event. Typically, there are basic entry level tickets as well as VIP tickets that permit early entry and often access to rarer, more expensive whiskies. In addition, whisky companies pay festival organizers fees ranging from several thousand to as much as $15,000 to exhibit at whisky festivals. All in, the national whisky festival sector probably represents a $15 million-dollar business segment. In addition, however, there are hundreds of additional whisky shows, which are organized by a variety of other companies. These range from small retailer sponsored events to exclusive, high end, invitation-only gatherings." https://bit.ly/2u5KQ2i

2. HYATT HOTELS TO BAN PLASTIC STRAWS: Hyatt Hotels is the latest on a long list of hospitality and travel companies to ban plastic straws. The company will make them available only upon request beginning in September. Fortune: “’Eliminating plastic straws and drink picks builds on the environmental sustainability programs we have in place and further drives our global efforts to reduce environmental impact,’ Frank Lavey, senior vice president of global operations for Hyatt, said in a statement. ‘This is a meaningful step, and our commitment doesn’t stop with straws and drink picks.’ In 2014, Hyatt introduced its 2020 Environmental Sustainability Vision that included goals to reduce energy consumption, emissions, and water usage, diverting waste away from landfills, and buying sustainable products like fish. … Companies including Alaska Airlines and Ikea are phasing out straws, and some cities and municipalities are banning straws and other single-use plastic. In the U.K., McDonald’s is testing reducing the use of plastic straws including handing out straws only on request or offering eco-friendly alternatives. However, earlier this year, McDonald’s shareholders rejected a proposal to more broadly ban straws.” https://for.tn/2m7aoYq

3. HOW A VIRTUAL-REALITY EXPERIENCE COULD HELP SAVE EGYPT'S 'SISTINE CHAPEL': A new virtual-reality experience could help save an ancient Egyptian tomb built for Queen Nefertari, as it will limit the number of visitors. The tomb currently hosts small tours, but its paintings are being damaged by the humidity that occurs when people enter. Live Science: “To create the virtual reality experience, Experius VR teamed up with Curiosity Stream, a streaming service for documentaries. Three people from Experius VR spent two days in the Nefertari tomb, 3D-scanning it and taking thousands of overlapping high-resolution images, said Elliott Mizroch, the CEO and co-founder of ExperiusVR. The team then spent two months in post-production, turning the 3D scan and photographs into a virtual reality experience. The finished tour can now be downloaded for free on Steam and on Viveport and Curiosity Stream VR although currently you need the Vive headset to view it, said Emma Tiernon, a spokesperson for Curiosity Stream. The team then spent two months in post-production, turning the 3D scan and photographs into a virtual reality experience. In this VR tour, the viewer moves around the tomb by wearing the 3D headset and using controls. If the viewer wants more information on a work of art, for instance, they can virtually touch the painting and a narrator will provide information. Nefertari's tomb is one of a growing number of historical sites that are being saved in the virtual world. In April, Google announced it was partnering with a company called Cyark to scan historical monuments. While the virtual reality tour of Nefertari's tomb shows the tomb as it appears today, some try to recreate a site as it looked thousands of years ago, such as a virtual tour of ancient Jerusalem released in 2017 by a company called Lithodomos VR.” https://bit.ly/2N3sPZj

* LOCAL NEWS *

ATLANTA:  Melt has appointed Amy O'Brien senior account manager. O'Brien previously worked for FCB Chicago. 

BERNALILLO, NEW MEXICO:  Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort and Spa has appointed Chrisie Smith director of sales, marketing, and events. Smith was formerly director of events for Hyatt Regency Dallas.

CHICAGO:  The inaugural Near North Food Truck Social will take place August 11-12. More than a dozen food trucks and vendors are slated to participate. 

DALLAS/FORT WORTH:  Hilton Anatole has appointed Alan Enns senior sales manager. 

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA:  Hard Rock Hotel Daytona Beach has appointed Androse Bell general manager. 

LOS ANGELES:  West Hollywood-based global meetings solutions company ConferenceDirect celebrates its 20th anniversary today. Founded in 1998 by Brian Stevens and Brian Richey, the full-service company has additional offices in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Folsom, California.

TheFitExpo Anaheim will take place August 25-26 at the Anaheim Convention Center. The event will have martial arts, wrestling, and power-lifting competitions, along with 200 fitness product and service vendors. 

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/losangeles

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino’s Japanese restaurant Kuro has appointed Tomohiro Inoue executive sushi chef and Michael Galindo pastry chef. 

NEW ORLEANS:  The 24th annual Essence Festival, which took place July 5-8, drew a record-breaking 510,000 attendees. 

Le Pavillon Hotel has appointed Adrienne Breaux director of sales and marketing. 

NEW YORK:  The Bernic Hotel New York City has opened in Midtown. The first Tapestry Collection by Hilton property in New York, the hotel offers 96 guest rooms and Allora Restaurant, which serves Northern Italian-American fare. 

Marriott Syracuse Downtown has appointed Patti Deil director of catering. 

Four Seasons Hotel New York Downtown has appointed Thomas Carreras general manager. Carreras was previously hotel manager. 

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner: http://www.masterplanneronline.com/newyork

TORONTO:  The Masters Indigenous Games will take place July 13-15 at Downsview Park. This is the first North American edition of event, which is a sporting competition for Indigenous adults. 

The Toronto Public Library Foundation’s annual Hush Hush, a fund-raiser hosted by the foundation’s young professionals group New Collection, will take place October 20 at the Bloor/Gladstone Library. 

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With contributions from Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Ian Zelaya, and Kristine Liao in New York.

BizBash Daily is the must-read digest of event industry news from BizBash.com.

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