Whether it’s the largest city in the US (New York City) or the smallest town (Buford, Wyoming), hospitality (including bars, lounges, restaurants, and nightlife) is a part of everyone’s life.
The influential and definitive Nightclub & Bar Show will be returning to Las Vegas March 25-27. This year’s show will feature special sessions talking about the overlap of the cannabis and hospitality industry. One of its speakers and cannabis advocate, Freddie Wyatt, president of Munch & Co., will share his 30 years of experience in hospitality when he speaks about Rolling Nightlife & Cannabis Together to Make Money in Tomorrow’s Joints on March 27. Wyatt offered his insights with Sproutways.com into cannabis and hospitality before the show.
How has cannabis been influenced by the hospitality industry?
Freddie Wyatt: I don’t think we have seen hospitality accepted in the cannabis space. I used to work in the liquor industry so I can compare cannabis to liquor and I know the data. It is estimated that 50 percent of alcohol is sold through a liquor store, which is considered off-premises, and 40 percent is sold on premise. The full capacity of what cannabis can do will need that extra 40 percent in sales for consumption on the property — where people can buy and then consume. We haven’t even witnessed the beginning.
What is the most influential place in the US to lead the change for consumption lounges?
Freddie Wyatt: West Hollywood [California] is the lead, but they are getting pushed back from the counties. The city of Hollywood gave the eight licenses for consumption lounges and restaurants. But the county of Los Angeles has now jumped in and is saying that these businesses did not get approval from the county. So now the city, county, and state need to have a conversation about what these businesses are allowed to do.
We are trying to get movement in Nevada, and I am speaking with officials in Colorado, but we have a long way to go.
There are businesses poised to incorporate a consumption lounge when it becomes legal. What influence does this have with the Nightclub & Bar Show?
Freddie Wyatt: I think it is impressive that the Nightclub & Bar Show is leading this conversation. I believe this will be the fourth year that these panels have been held with people trying to change the cannabis landscape in the hospitality industry. Remember, nightclub owners are used to dealing with people in altered states. I personally have owned and operated nightclubs in Miami, The Hamptons, New York City, and Las Vegas. I have joked that if you are a nightclub owner and you have never had anyone smoke a joint in your place, you’re not a real nightclub owner.
How would you define cannabis and hospitality?
Freddie Wyatt: Cannabis and hospitality does not necessarily have to be in an outside premise like a bar or lounge. There are weddings, receptions, and parties around the country on private property where people are infusing and integrating cannabis. Budtenders are now part of many wedding receptions, and cocktails mixed with THC or CBD are being served. When the opportunity presents itself, someone will push the envelope. I believe we will see many new trends as people are continually innovating and taking a step in different directions to change cannabis and the hospitality industry. Today, to stay relevant, bartenders who service private parties need to know how to mix THC and CBD with spirits and other beverages. This is just one small step in changing hospitality, as we know it.
Wyatt is an event marketing, promotions, and business development expert and has consulted on many aspects of hospitality including event management and production, VIP Talent /concierge, food and beverage and cannabis. He has been instrumental in spearheading business and brand development for properties in Amsterdam, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, Paris, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Denver, Las Vegas, Aspen, Palm Beach, and The Hamptons.
The Nightclub & Bar Show returns to Las Vegas March 25-27, offering the world’s largest gathering for the bar, nightlife, and beverage professionals in the industry. The event will feature an educational series program, speaker sessions, and networking to share insight on new trends and products. For those interested in attending the show or for more information, visit www.ncbshow.com.