The Tasting Panel magazine

October 2012

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Page 62 of 140

THIS YEAR'S GLOBAL WINE, BEER & SPIRITS EVENT WAS A REVELATION The Best-Kept Secret in the Industry photos by Leigh Castelli H Derrick Gus, Director of Sourcing and Procurement for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts. aven't heard of ECRM's annual Global Wine, Beer & Spirits expo? You're not alone. When THE TASTING PANEL was approached to be the official media sponsor for the 2012 show, we hadn't heard of this industry-driven meetingplace, wherein buyers and suppliers have the opportunity to meet face-to-face in a series of intimate meetings scheduled over the course of three days. But as we watched our first ECRM meeting unfold, we were impressed. From buyers returning year after year to discover new brands, to suppliers in all segments of the industry coming together to discuss strategy, we discovered that the ECRM Global Wine, Beer & Spirits event is the industry's best-kept secret, an event that offers quality facetime that's at a pre- mium in our increasingly digital world. Chef Samuel Morgante, Former White House Chef under the George W. Bush administration, hard at work judging the ECRM Grand Tasting Awards. Unlike other large industry-driven conven- tions, where endless ballrooms are filled with row upon row of branded booths, ECRM's unique intimacy offers suppliers a chance to showcase their hottest products and gives buyers the opportunity to really understand a brand's personality. Sheila Carey, Wine Buyer for Denver's Argonaut Wine & Liquor, who has attended the meetings for the past three years, agrees: "Seeing everyone one-on-one is great. It's an incredible relationship- building opportunity, where you can build a relationship with a buyer here, and then when they've got new products, they'll come back and call me." Chimes in Derrick Gus, Director of 62 / the tasting panel / october 2012 Sourcing and Procurement for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts (if it's in the U.S. and it's liquid, Gus has picked it), "Coming to these meetings gives me invaluable time with the suppliers. I rely on supplier relationship management so much, and the more I can bring the suppliers into my world in these intimate chats, the more we can build our businesses together." With the buyers pleased at the opportuni- At the ECRM Grand Tasting, TGIC's Retail Chain Specialist, Cindy Deutsch, pours for attendees. "The ECRM Marketgate meetings are an incredible opportunity to represent our portfolio," says Deutsch. ties ECRM facilitates, it's easy to imagine how the suppliers are eager to get into the game. Robbie Davis, National Accounts Manager for Eric Solomon Selections, explains, "These meetings are such a great way to maximize our efforts. We can introduce our portfolio to a wide variety of buyers from all over the country, and we can cast a wide net to reach new customers and continue to build relationships with our existing vendors." But relationship-building at ECRM involves more than just meetings: From a roundtable discussion led by THE TASTING

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