By Derrek J. Hull, Blogger-in-Chief
NRA Show 2012 and the International Wine, Spirits & Beer Event (IWSB) posted strong growth in both attendee and exhibitor numbers. This year’s event attracted 61,000+ registrants from all 50 states and 100+ countries - a 6+ percent increase over 2011.
Among NRA Show registrants:
- There was an 8+ percent increase in the Restaurant/Foodservice category
- A 6+ percent increase in the Dealer/Distributor category
- A 21+ percent increase in Retail
- And 7+ percent increase in the Press category
The significant increase in attendance also fueled a gain in the number of hotel room nights sold –representing a 5 percent increase over 2011.
On the exhibitor side, there was a 5 percent increase in square feet occupied over 2011, covering more than 540,000 square feet. The sold-out, newly redesigned exhibit floor showcased 1,900+ exhibiting companies offering a stream of exciting new products and services, including over 500 new exhibitors, as well as a wide variety of learning opportunities.
“NRA Show 2012 and IWSB were blockbuster events, each delivering a high-impact springboard to energize the restaurant and foodservice industry,” said Jack Crawford, Convention Chair for NRA Show 2012 and President and CEO of Ground Round Independent Owners Cooperative, LLC.
Crawford added, “In only four days, attendees get a year’s worth of solutions and ideas. The event gathered more industry leaders than any other industry event, from celebrity chefs and restaurateurs, to the largest commercial feeders and lodging companies, to executives from some of the most successful independent restaurants and top-performing chains. Restaurant operators are returning home revitalized and optimistic and ready to put new products, ideas and contacts to work.”
The hugely successful IWSB significantly increased its total number of exhibitors by 40+ percent over 2011, and featured hundreds of world-class beverage alcohol brands and labels.
Highlights from NRA Show 2012 and IWSB included:
Operator Innovations Awards: The inaugural Operator Innovations Award winners in each award category: Sustainability, Technology, Food Safety, Health & Nutrition and Menu Development, plus the Innovator of the Year,Evelyn Hill, Inc. (Liberty Island), were revealed live at the Destination: Celebration event at the Harris Theater Rooftop Terrace at Millennium Park.
Star of the Bar Mixology Competition: Patti Frank from Chicago’s Roots Handmade Pizza won the coveted IWSB Star of the Bar title and $5,000 cash prize. Her Drunken Flower was selected as the winning cocktail by judges “The Master Mixologist” Tony Abou-Ganim, “King Cocktail” Dale DeGroff, and Bravo TV’s Top Chef contestant Fabio Viviani.
For more information on these and the many other NRA Show and IWSB features, including downloaded photos, videos and the NRA Show blog Floored!, visit www.restaurant.org/show and www.winespiritsbeer.org.
NRA Show 2013 will be held May 18-21 at Chicago’s McCormick Place; IWSB 2013 will take place May 19-20.
In addition to Twitter @NRAShow and Facebook, you can also join the NRA Show and IWSB year-around on Linkedin and YouTube.