A LIFE WITHOUT LIMITS
The exciting thing about being in this business is that it has few boundaries, few limits. It affords you and me and millions of others like us the opportunity to have many jobs, even many careers over the course of our working lives. This business is the beverage business. That is the beverage business, within the foodservice business, within the hospitality business, within that great chain of nourishment and enjoyment that stretches from the farmer’s field to the swanky corner table. No boundaries and no limits means much more than the fact that the industry we are in encompasses so many discrete as well as overlapping occupations. It means, equally, that a career in the beverage field inevitably touches on so many of the elements that shape our society and our lives. Beverage takes its cue from demographics and politics, from fashion, art, literature, the movies and virtually every new trend along with every passing fad.
Our editorial advisory board met early this fall in Providence, Rhode Island, home of Johnson & Wales University. Taking advantage of the opportunity to mingle with students from all over the U.S. provided a revealing mirror in which to see our own place in the world staring back at us. It also offered an opportunity to communicate to those just starting out all the wonderful things in store for them. Board members had the opportunity in university-hosted panel discussions, special events, and informal encounters to describe their own varied careers, the recognition they had received, and to offer advice to eager aspirants. What ensuing discussions revealed was just how heterogeneous this industry is, as well as how wonderfully unique it is in making great success attainable to those willing to strive for it.
Perhaps it’s commonplace but the story of the dishwasher or busboy becoming a corporate leader or recognized entrepreneur was certainly stirring to these youngsters.
Just a week after our Providence meeting we headed to Atlantic City for a nightclub and bar trade show. What we heard in the lively seminars and keynotes we attended felt like an extension of the meeting in Providence. Nightclub, bar, and restaurant owners, one after the other, talked about the limitless horizons they saw in the beverage business. They pointed to increasingly favorable demographics in coming years, the radical changes in culture and education that have spawned the new cocktail revolution, and the evolution in taste that is generating a parallel revolution in non-alcoholic beverages. Great stories were swapped, micro- and macro trends dissected. But all the talk was like a compass pointing in just one direction, a true north of ever-expanding and ever more diverse opportunity — opportunity for all of us to be more and do more than we could in any other business that you could name.