While we’re on the subject of drinks I tried at the
NASFT Fancy Food Show, I want to mention other two non-alcoholic beverages I tried besides my beloved Dry Soda.
Vignette Wine Country Soda is sweetened only with wine grape juice and comes in Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Rosé flavors. The flavor is not at all like wine, but rather a refreshing, fruity, but not overly sweet soda.
My friends and I walked up to the booth, which was small and out of the way, not one of those big glossy monsters on the end of a aisle.
We were greeted by the founder’s brother, who, after giving us tastes of the product, talked warmly and effusively about Vignette. I could just feel the pride and excitement he had for the business. He didn't care who WE were - he cared that he had a product he loved.
We complimented the flavor and the labeling, and he thanked us and gave us promotional materials. It was a short, simple trade-show encounter, but we left impressed by both the product and by the guy we had talked to.
Contrast that with another non-alcoholic beverage, Bionade, which is made in Germany.
The product was tasty, another not-too-sweet bubbly beverage. Their booth was big and on the end of an aisle. They had such impressive-looking packaging, all modern and cool, and they were serving their tastes in screen-printed glasses, not plastic cups.
But they wouldn’t talk to me, wouldn’t interact with me. At first I thought the guy couldn’t speak English (a problem at a few of the French and Italian booths) but then I thought “Hey! Doesn’t everybody in Germany speak pretty good English?” And if they don’t, why are they sending them to rep their product in San Diego?
I know I’m not a trade-show big fish, but being a rep at a trade show is kind of like being a politician. You should really try to be at least polite and efficient with everyone because you never know who you are dealing with. It's a trade show fergoodnesssake, so put your game face on.
And there was another booth that I won't even mention by name. Let's just say they were selling tea products. The problem is that they wanted to control their image so tightly that, when they found out I write about food, they freaked out a bit. Um, nameless tea company - consider your image controlled. Thx.
My small-fish recommendation - If you want some flavorful, non-alcoholic beverages made by super nice people for your next event or for your restaurant, check out Dry Soda or Vignette Wine Country Soda. Those are my recommendations and I’m sticking to them.