The Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE is a national, star-studded, four-day destination event showcasing the talents of the world’s most renowned wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities. Hosted by Southern Wine & Spirits of Florida and Florida International University (FIU), the Festival benefits FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and the Southern Wine & Spirits Beverage Management Center. To date, the Festival has raised more than $18 million for the School.
Going into its 13th year, the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE began as a one-day festival known as the Florida Extravaganza held at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus. For five years, from[masked], the Florida Extravaganza showcased wines from national and international wineries paired with food from local restaurants and chefs working with students of FIU’s School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. In 2002, Lee Brian Schrager, then director of Special Events and Media Relations at Southern Wine & Spirits of America, took the reigns of the one-day festival and brought his vision for the festival to life by relocating it to South Beach. The renamed South Beach Wine & Food Festival® attracted close to 7,000 guests to a series of dinners, seminars, a Grand Tasting Village and live Auction in its first year. The following year, the Festival grew, attracting close to 10,000 people and garnered extensive national media coverage. In 2004, with the addition of a number of events and a revamping of the program, the Festival doubled in size and attracted more than 20,000 guests to the three-day event. In 2006, the South Beach Wine & Food Festival celebrated its fifth anniversary and became one of the largest and most well-known festivals of its kind in the country. During the planning of the 2007 Festival, Food Network entered into a partnership with the South Beach Wine & Food Festival to become its title sponsor. The resulting Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE combined the international appeal of top-quality libations from around the world, the national appeal of Food Network and its celebrity chefs and hosts, and the appeal of Latin and Caribbean-inspired regional cuisine. The 2008 and 2009 Festivals each attracted close to 50,000 guests over four days and garnered an unprecedented amount of media coverage. The Festival earned more than one billion media impressions in both years through its integrated marketing and public relations plan. The 2010 Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival presented by FOOD & WINE welcomed over 50,000 wine and food lovers and paid respects to Daniel Boulud at its annual Tribute Dinner. The Festival raised more than $2.2 million for beneficiary, FIU’s School of Hospitality & Tourism Management and garnered more than two billion media impressions. In 2011 the Festival celebrated 10 years and released the Food Network South Beach Wine & Food Festival Cookbook: Recipes and Behind-the-Scenes Stories from America’s Hottest Chefs (Clarkson Potter), written by Lee Brian Schrager with Julie Mautner, featuring a foreword by Anthony Bourdain. In addition, 55,000 guests helped the Festival acheive ticket sales garnering more than $2.4 million for FIU’s School of Hospitality & Tourism Management. Marketing and public relations also grew in media impressions, while showcasing events such as the 10th anniversary Let Them Eat Cake celebration in the 1111 Lincoln Road location, Food Network’s Best Thing I Ever Ate at the Beach and Tribute Dinner honoring Alain Ducasse. In 2012, more than 60,000 guests attended the event and approximately $2 million was raised for the FIU. In 2013 the Festival broke three of its own records, with attendance growing to over 65,000, bringing in more than $5.1 million in ticket sales and exceeding $4.1 million in sponsorship sales. An integrated marketing and public relations program garnered over three billion media impressions and proceeds totaled $2.1 million for FIU. Looking forward, FIU’s Chaplin School of Hospitality & Tourism Management is set to open the brand new-state-of-the art Teaching Restaurant Management Lab in 2013 as a result of the funds raised from the Festival. Keep up to date all year long by signing up for Juicy Tidbits at www.sobefest.com or becoming a fan at www.Facebook.com/SOBEWFF and following Festival Founder and Director Lee Brian Schrager at www.twitter.com/Lee_Schrager.