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Archive for March, 2017

Wild Heaven Beer Announces Plans for Second Brewery Location on Atlanta Beltline

Wednesday, March 29th, 2017

With the Georgia General Assembly’s passage of SB85 allowing direct sale of beer by Georgia breweries, Wild Heaven Beer plans for a second brewery and taproom location at the Lee + White development in Atlanta adjacent to the Beltline Westside Trail. The freestanding building, including over 21,000 square feet of space with room for expansion, includes a large area overlooking the Atlanta Beltline.

“We plan to create an incredible beer and food destination in an area of Atlanta whose time has come,” says Wild Heaven President, Nick Purdy. “Beyond that, this facility provides space for our ongoing growth and expansion.” Wild Heaven Brewmaster Eric Johnson explains, “We’ll start with a 15-barrel brewhouse allowing production of new beers plus smaller run beers from our lineup, followed by a 60-barrel system that will take over production of our mainline beers. Then our Avondale Estates facility can become focused on sour and barrel-aged beer production.”

Wild Heaven’s readiness to make what will ultimately be a $5 million+ investment is facilitated by a long-awaited change in Georgia’s beer laws allowing for direct sale to consumers onsite. “Thanks to the leadership and vision of Lieutenant Governor Casey Cagle, Senator Rick Jeffares, Representative Howard Maxwell and the efforts of our wholesale partners and persistence of the Georgia Craft Brewers Guild, it makes sense to double down on on our home state,” says Purdy. We spent considerable time investigating the possibility of expanding our operation in various neighboring states, but the opportunity to stay at home and the amazing potential offered by the Beltline, combined with a new ability to sell some beer directly to those that want it proved irresistible,” adds Johnson.

Wild Heaven, makers of Emergency Drinking Beer along with a broad portfolio of unique beers, intends to open “Wild Heaven Westside” in the first half of 2018. With space for at least 10,000 square feet of outdoor patios and decks, it should be a welcoming featured destination on the Beltline’s Westside Trail, which is scheduled to open later in 2017. The facility will be alongside other local producers like Monday Night Brewing, Honeysuckle Gelato, Doux South Pickles and Southern Aged Cheese.

Brewmaster Eric Johnson is already planning a taproom lineup worthy of a visit, including variants on core Wild Heaven beers, a stream of new experimental beers and new taproom-only beers. Wild Heaven’s year-round portfolio includes Emergency Drinking Beer, Wise Blood IPA, White Blackbird Belgian-style Saison, Invocation Belgian-style Golden Ale and Ode To Mercy Nitro Coffee Brown Ale.


Performance Foodservice 2017 Spring Culinary Trade Show

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

March 28, 2017, Infinite Energy Center at Gwinnett.


American Culinary Federation – Annual Golf Tournament

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

March 28, 2017, Ansley Golf Course, Settindown, Roswell. For more information, visit American Culinary Federation


National Restaurant Association Public Affairs Conference

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

March 28-29, 2017, Washington, DC. For more information, visit National Restaurant Association


Inman Park Restaurant Week

Monday, March 27th, 2017

March 27-April 2 2017, Inman Park, Atlanta. For more information, visit Inman Park Restaurant Week.


Doc Chey’s “Morningside Mile-Race and Block Party”

Sunday, March 26th, 2017

March 26, 2017, Morningside Village, Atlanta. For more information, visit Doc Chey’s Mile-Race and Block Party


Bacon Fest

Saturday, March 25th, 2017

March 25, 2017, Dad’s Garage Theatre, Atlanta. For more information, visit Bacon Fest Atlanta


25th Annual High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

March 22-25, 2017, High Museum Atlanta. For more information, visit High Museum Atlanta Wine Auction


When Fake News Gets Real

Monday, March 20th, 2017

By Ellen Hartman

The lines between real and fake news have become increasingly blurry this year, a point brought to a terrifying, nearly business-ending point on Sunday, Dec. 4, when a fake news report led to a gunman opening fire in the Washington D.C., pizzeria Comet Ping Pong.

Most of us thought the incident would put to rest the conspiracy theory – one of the internet’s strangest – involving Hillary Clinton, said pizza parlor and a child sex ring. Sadly, the rabid conspiracy theorists have now named other pizza parlors as participants. This week, New York’s DNA Info reported that Brooklyn pizzeria Roberta’s received a threatening phone call suggesting it was linked to Pizzagate, a rumor likely started by what the outlet called “an eerie YouTube video.”

The unchecked spread of these “malicious and utterly false accusations,” to quote Comet Ping Pong owner James Alefantis, is reason for pause. On a universal and personal level, it is now time to take these seemingly ridiculous fake news stories very, very seriously. As Hillary Clinton said in a speech denying the Pizzagate claims, “it’s now clear that so-called fake news can have real-world consequences.”

It’s also time for restaurant brands to toss the old crisis communications plans and start from scratch. In today’s reality, protecting your brand requires a new approach that reflects both the 24-hour, social nature of news distribution – and the ideas masquerading as news.

To help protect your restaurant from potential fake-news fallout, consider taking the following first steps as soon as possible:

1. Monitor social media.

To effectively combat negative attacks on your brand, you must see them coming.

In the case of Comet Ping Pong, much of the “chatter” that fueled the conspiratorial fire happened on Twitter and Reddit. Moreover, many of the supposed accounts spreading the theories were bots operating at superhuman speed.

Implementing a social media monitoring system makes your brand aware of any negative information in real, superhuman time, so that you can respond quickly and, in the best case, stem the fire.

A wide range of companies offer social media monitoring, each with tools to monitor specific sites. Hootsuite, for example, offers 11 tools that monitor sites such as Reddit, where much of the conspiracy theory was fueled, and review sites so that you can engage with reviewers and resolve any issues in a timely manner.

2. Engage with legal counsel.

Discuss potential responses with legal counsel well ahead of time, and work with them to develop a series of responses that can be used immediately if an attack comes. This could include requesting social media sites to pull a false story or post, but it is important to know your legal standing before anything may happen.

Perry McGuire, counsel with Smith, Gambrell & Russell at its Atlanta office, recommends using both legal and nonlegal tools to manage an incident. “The legal remedies are many and can include a suit for damages, injunctions and potential criminal charges,” he says. “However, these remedies can be costly, both financially and in terms of distraction from your business. Having a non-legal strategy may be best in any given situation. Our firm has been successful in having false posts removed, but it is not a slam dunk in every case.”

3. Strategize with public relations advisers.

It is critical to discuss a crisis communications plan with a public relations professional, even if you do not currently have one on retainer. Agencies are up to date with the latest research, are highly experienced with reputation management and can assist in both long-term strategy and short-term crisis response.

As you put a strategic plan in place, an agency can recommend and implement the tools needed to protect your brand, and initiating a relationship with the agency ahead of a crisis allows your brand to respond more quickly.

Amid a crisis, the agency will develop communication elements – releases, statements, advertisements – that your brand can use to respond quickly. They will also have key relationships with media and social media influencers that you will need so your side of the story is heard. Finally, an agency will be familiar with policies and procedures of the most popular social media sites and can assist your legal team if needed.

The devastating events at Comet Ping Pong, as well as the impact of false news on the presidential election, do have a silver lining. As a direct response to the shooting at Comet Ping Pong, Reddit added its conspiracy subreddit, where much of the Pizzagate vitriol was posted, to its “no ads list.” Before this action, ads from major brands were appearing on the conspiracy site, adding an element of legitimacy.

Prior to that, in mid-November, Facebook and Google announced steps to prevent fake-news websites from generating revenue through their ad-selling services, a sign that the two giants are taking misinformation seriously.

Whatever the fate of false news, it is time for your brand to get real about protecting itself.


Ellen Hartman, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the CEO of Hartman Public Relations, a full-service public relations agency specializing in the foodservice Industry. Hartman has experience working for Coca-Cola, Concessions International, Chili’s, Huddle House, Billy Sims BBQ and Uncle Maddio’s and many QSR brands including Popeyes, Church’s and Arby’s. An industry leader for more than 25 years, Hartman is active in the Women’s Foodservice Forum, Les Dames d ’Escoffier International and has served on the Georgia State University School of Hospitality board. She earned her APR accreditation from the Public Relations Society of America and is a member of PRSA’s Fellow program for senior accomplished professionals.


2017 Georgia Grown Executive Chefs

Monday, March 20th, 2017

The Georgia Department of Agriculture Commissioner Gary W. Black and Georgia Restaurant Association (GRA) CEO Karen Bremer announced the 2017 Georgia Grown Executive Chefs at the GRA’s 9th Annual Taste of Georgia Legislative Reception, held at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot.

The six chefs announced for 2017 include: Chef Jason Paolini of Longleaf, Chef Rusty Bowers of Pine Street Market, Chef Nick Leahy of Saltyard, Chef Dusty Grove of PACCI Italian Kitchen + Bar, Chef Cynthia Graubart author of an award winning cook book and Chef Megan Brent of White Oak Kitchen + Cocktails. These six chefs are joining the ranks of 21 other chefs in the Georgia Grown program, which comprise of cook book authors, caterers, executive chefs, university affiliates, grocery stores and more.

Now entering its sixth year, the Georgia Grown Executive Chef Program seeks to promote the Georgia Department of Agriculture’s Georgia Grown campaign statewide. The program offers participating chefs a mark of honor and distinction, while increasing awareness for both restaurateurs and consumers about which local Georgia products are available for the cooking season.

As the program grows, it will create a pathway for consumers to find Georgia Grown products in their communities in order to support local, seasonal foods when dining out. It also aims to highlight and involve public school culinary education and school food nutrition in terms of increased opportunities for Georgia Grown products, training and recipe development. The chefs will participate in a spring and fall school event, an organized farm tour, at least one seasonal cooking clip with the Department and at least one Georgia Grown cooking event designated by Black. The chefs also have the opportunity to prepare a dinner at the James Beard House in New York City.

“All of these chefs bring such a diverse background to make one collective group of unique talents,” said Karen Bremer, CEO of the Georgia Restaurant Association. “The goal is to have these chefs continue to promote Georgia Grown products and build relationships between chefs and farmers in our state.

“We are pleased with the continued success of the Georgia Grown Executive Chef program and the quality of chefs we have been able to acquire each year,” mentioned Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black. “ These culinary ambassadors allow us to better communicate with our consumers and bridge the gap between the farm and the table.”

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