Photos by LeAnne Notabartolo

This year at the Global Gaming Expo, G2E, there was a much smaller food and beverage section than in years past. As expected, the showcase focused on how to incorporate new food and beverage into existing, soon to be built or renovated casinos. In addition to fast food and fast casual trying to increase their toeholds on the casino floors and in casino food courts, two major distributors focusing on casual dining and fine dining were featured: Sysco and Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits.

At Sysco, the trend in ethnic cuisine continued, in part to court the Millennials who are the upcoming new demographic in dining. Featuring Asian, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dishes, Sysco has created “ready to go” packs with balanced flavors that can be adapted in many restaurant kitchens to suit the clientele. The bonuses to these ready-made packs are reduced prep time, quality control and less waste or time, resources and training. Simply open the pack, add your restaurant’s flavor preferences and serve. The Ahi Tuna cone pictured is from one of their concepts. In addition, Sysco showcased their butchery line with fresh beef and pork and sausages.

photo courtesy Empress 1908 Gin

The offerings from Southern Glazer’s were broad spectrum, as to be expected with their extensive product line. Of course there was wine to sample, including Prosecco that can be ordered with custom bottle wraps for events. Thinking of weddings, “dine around” events and customer appreciation events, all featuring special bottles wrapped just for the event with the customer’s choice of logo and graphics. Top shelf brands were on display and available for sampling. The most interesting offering at this booth was a new gin, set to hit the market this month: Empress 1908 Gin. It’s blue, and when mixed with anything citrus turns either purple or pink depending on the ratio of citrus to gin. The gorgeous blue coloring comes from an infusion of butterfly pea blossoms. The flavor is very herbal and is most excellent, and provides a canvas for showmanship at the bar with our many talented mixologists here in Las Vegas.