Phew! The U.S. Drinks Conference 2008 is history now, but boy what a show. We had 63 folks from 16 countries attend, topping both numbers from last year. I’ll be posting a series of reports on the conference, but a quick headline is that the theme that seemed to run through all the presentations and chatter was “opportunity.” Jeff and Mike presented some interesting and very fresh research on consumer habits and practices with some of the surveys completed just last week. The conclusion, yes, the financial meltdown and looming recession will have an impact, but not to the degree one might initially think. I’ll cite just one data point from the research…when people go out to eat, the LAST things they cut back on are spirits, wine and beer. They’ll forgo appetizers and order a less expensive entree, and even pass on ordering a side dish. But in good times or bad, a glass of wine or a cocktail…and often both…are something Americans are loathe to give up. Cheers!