USBG Community

2020 National Leadership Conference Awards Announced

By Sheila Rosario posted 11-09-2020 15:53



We are excited to present the USBG Awards for 2020! This past year has caused a vast majority of the world to adapt to an ever-changing landscape like never before. We're so proud and impressed with our USBG chapters for maintaining high spirits and coming together this year while facing so many challenges and uncertainty.

Thank you to all of the Chapters who submitted applications sharing all of the good work you have done in the past year! It made the selection process really tough!

Without further ado, we'd like to present our 2020 USBG Awards:


Project Cornerstone & Digital Town Halls

During COVID, the LA Chapter got creative and teamed up with Thirsty, Art Beyond The Glass, The Hospitality Life, and Restaurant Opportunities Center to do weekly parties and events online to promote positive mental and physical health, political updates, brand education, DJ Parties, and just to give people an outlet to learn, grow, connect, and keep themselves engaged with the community during the shutdowns.

USBG Cornerstone Relief Pack Contents; Stephanie Palaez, General Manager of White Horse Lounge, Pasadena

Volunteers of USBG Project Cornerstone-- Charlotte, Yan Agaev, Katy O-Donnell, BC Hoffman, Ken Beranda

Diversity & Inclusion

One of the chapter's main focuses was (and still is) is not being selective with who joins / from where. As most of the members tend to be cocktail savvy or on the brand side, they wanted to push for dive bar, sports bar, and night club involvement as well. There were also chefs and servers that wanted to take part and the chapter did not want to stray them. The other thing they aimed to do this year, and were successful at pre-COVID, was focusing on ALL of SoCal from the Inland Empire, West Side, San Fernando Valley, Long Beach, South Bay, and San Gabriel Valley. Essentially focusing on all the areas and having key members who lived in these areas take on leadership roles within those areas. These key members were highlighted in our Social Media stories and hosted industry happy hours and events with USBG at their bars.



This year, the USBG Dallas Chapter supported over 100 health and wellness events, in person and virtually, including discussions on mental health, financial wellness, and physical wellness.

Diversity & Inclusion

They firmly support Black Lives Matter and were glad to show their support through marching and passing out water to protesters during the summer protests. They actively hosted more events at Black-owned bars and restaurants, including a chapter Juneteenth event. They supported another year of "The Shake Up," an all women-led bartender competition, with women sponsors, judges, and competitors, highlighting the strong women bartenders and Spirits Industry workers in Dallas. Proceeds were donated to the Okra Project and the Undocumented Workers Fund.

BLM Peaceful Protest - Dallas

Community Service

♥ $1000 donation from Ed Week 2019 to the USBG BEAP during the donation drive in February
♥ $6000 donation from Ed Week 2019 to disaster relief
$1000 to Undocumented Workers Fund, a local Dallas charity offering micro-grants to undocumented spirits industry workers affected by COVID-19 and ineligible for unemployment insurance
♥ $1000 Okra Project, a charity organization that seeks to address the global crisis faced by Black Trans people by bringing home-cooked, healthy, and
culturally-specific meals and resources to Black Trans People
♥ $68,000 raised after the 2019 Dallas tornados. The funds benefited DISD displaced students with technology needs for Thomas Jefferson STEAM students and literacy programming, and Franklin Middle School library furniture

                                                                                             Dallas COVID Socially Distant Bike Rides



Chapter Fundraising

The Oregon Chapter started 2020 with two meetings per month; one 'Social Hour' meeting where sponsor brands simply paid for food and drink at their chosen bar or restaurant, and the second meeting was a full 2-hour in-person meeting with brand and member education along with food and cocktail/tasting. These events raised $100 for local brands and $250 for National/Multi-National Brands. At the beginning of the pandemic, they quickly adapted to having brands sponsor meetings for $25 local/$50 National, yet the brand was in charge of purchasing a meal, swag, and tasting for chapter members. The Chapter would write routes and deliver each week for the brand. They eventually raised this cost of sponsorship post-pandemic from $50 to $75, but the real expense for the brand was purchasing food and beverages for their 40+ RSVPs.

The chapter has raised more money in the last few months than through their previous system, with even more members participating. They charge $100 for the promotion of brand events via FB, IG, and email, and promote all competitions, relief funds, and membership-building opportunities without charge.

COVID Response

Starting March 23, the Chapter began weekly Zoom meetings. They secured a brand sponsor to purchase meals for RSVPs, complete with swag, and tasting material. They wrote routes and delivered to all members within 25 miles of downtown, even shipping some materials when viable. This was executed 32 weeks in a row without missing ONE. Their 'Town Halls' were caring, compelling, and community-building. Every meeting was split with a 30-minute Town Hall, 30-minute Brand Education (commonly with amazing National Ambassadors), and 30 minutes of unique member education.

The Chapter's membership grew from below 90 to 120 from the beginning of the pandemic to now! In these weekly meetings, the chapter welcomed all bar, spirit, beer, wine, and restaurant professionals to join the USBG. With Zoom, they were able to engage out-of-Portland members much more and grow their reach. Their Instagram followers have grown by over 30% since March to 1730 followers, with participation well beyond just their membership. Many of these people eventually signed up officially, and they are confident in continuing the growth.

                                                                             USBG Oregon chapter -- June 2020 Virtual Events



Consistent Membership Drives

Their Bar Fight Program is by far one of the best membership drives this new chapter has executed. It was repeated every other month in a new location until the COVID shutdowns. Bar Fight - is a membership driving bartending competition between two competitors for a chance to hold the title belt.

Creative Charity Fundraising

Red, White, and Blue was a charity competition where Veterans competed for their favorite charities supporting veterans, which raised nearly $2000 for charity.




and, oh yeh...

USBG Columbus

Most Creative Event

"Though indescribably so, the most creative event may have been the Acid: Beyond Lemon + Lime. It was very exciting, but to describe it was just sitting in an incredible space sipping on lemonades made without lemons, margaritas which had never heard of limes and coming to understand pH and powdered solutions in ways the attendants were previously foreign to.”

Diversity & Inclusion

The chapter's membership and leadership are robustly populated with females and queers which helps to project a more welcoming environment for all. Socioeconomic diversity is a long-running concern in the Columbus Chapter and they aim to have about 1/4 of all events outside of the central, high-income core of the city, and their Dive Bar Lunch Program is a major effort in doing so.

Chapter Surplus Funds

The chapter offers up to $500 per applicant in education and competition scholarships. This year, no scholarships were redeemed because several which were approved were attached to events canceled in light of COVID-19. Instead, the chapter has a standing offer to reimburse completed online education wine & spirits education programs up to $100 without prior approval.

Columbus's 2019 Education Week featured 12 events over 7 days.

The chapter set up events in venues all over town.

"How to Learn" with James DeFrance sponsored by DIAGEO - Two seminars... Lessons from competing in a World Class competition as well as a guide to vetting and selecting wine and spirits education programs!

"Sobriety in Restaurants" with Andy Smith of Ben's Friends - A frank discussion about supporting and pursuing sobriety while maintaining a hospitality career!

"Watershed Distillery Tour" - A tour and tasting with Columbus's Watershed Distillery!

"Brand Relationships Happy Hour" with Tammy Slebodnik sponsored by Bacardi - A lively chat on how to best use brand representative relationships!

"Infusing Flavor Into Cocktails" with Garry White Sponsored by Old Forester - An in-depth seminar on sous vide, ageing, maceration, syrup-making, and other infusion and flavoring techniques!"

COVID Response

Spearheaded by the Chapter Secretary with support of the other officers and outside volunteers/consultants and with the Cleveland and Cincinnati chapters, Columbus sent 250 letters and e-mails (as well as press releases) extolling political and legislative leaders to use their powers to protect and reinforce the financial safeties of hospitality workers and their employers. These were sent to all state and federal legislators in Ohio and the executive leaders of the state, along with all major newspapers and television news divisions.

This Chapter...

♥ Held virtual Friday happy hours for over 3 months
♥ Has had all member meetings go virtual
♥ Has arranged four to-go tasting events that were accompanied by to-go lunch from locally-owned restaurants
♥ Had at least three members as BEAP vetters
♥ Have had four drop-offs to members of cocktails at home as a non-event comfort perk
♥ Organized an (un)employment roundtable with significant labor lawyers which was offered to chapter members and open to other USBG Chapters