JWU Launches New, Innovative Beverage Center

Story by JWU Media Relations , on Nov 30, 2022 9:00 AM


PROVIDENCE, R.I. — November 30, 2022 – Johnson & Wales University has launched its new Center for Beverage Education & Innovation, an innovative learning community that aims to bring together the university’s culinary and hospitality strengths with beverage industry partners. Led by well credentialed faculty, alumni, students, and professionals, it will foster collaborative research and learning opportunities toward more robust opportunities in the beverage economy. 

The center was formally launched on November 17 with a full slate of events, including an industry roundtable about the prevalence of non-alcoholic spirits and mocktails, a mini trade show of non-alcoholic beverages and a speaking program led by JWU Providence Campus President Marie Bernardo-Sousa, LP.D.

“We’re excited about the future of the center, which will create a venue for internal and external research and development, offer management training opportunities for local beverage professionals and allow us the opportunity to host conferences, competitions and other events to bring the community together,” Bernardo-Sousa said. “Through this center, Johnson & Wales looks to solidify its place as a leader in the local and national beverage industry, opening doors for students and strengthening the industry.”

The center is a university-wide effort, particularly bringing together JWU’s legacy of excellence in culinary and hospitality education.

“JWU has a longstanding reputation for world-class beverage-related educational programming, and this is an opportunity to extend that expertise to the larger community,” said Jason Evans, Ph.D., dean of the College of Food Innovation & Technology. “The beverage economy is changing rapidly, creating a number of exciting opportunities for entrepreneurship and product innovation. The Center will play a role in that evolution, helping businesses and entrepreneurs navigate challenges and opportunities in the evolving landscape.”

Michael Sabitoni, the department chair of Food & Beverage and Travel & Tourism Studies in the College of Hospitality Management, said the center offers great opportunities for students.

“Experiential, interdisciplinary education is key here at Johnson & Wales,” Sabitoni said. “This center will offer us even more opportunities to give our students hands-on experience in the beverage industry, while forging stronger connections with our partners.”

The following day, the launch event was capped off with a student cocktail competition, sponsored by Massachusetts-based Bully Boy Distillers and featuring local NBC 10 anchor Mario Hilario as the guest judge. Five teams of JWU students faced off, with Chris Spielhagen taking home top honors for his “Boston Stone” cocktail, which showcased Bully Boy whiskey. The grand prize included a bar kit from Bully Boy as well as the invitation to shadow the distillers for a day.

About JWU

Founded in 1914, Johnson & Wales University is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution with more than 8,000 graduate, undergraduate and online students at its campuses in Providence, Rhode Island and Charlotte, North Carolina. An innovative educational leader, the university offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in arts and sciences, business, engineering, food innovation, hospitality, nutrition, health and wellness. It also offers undergraduate programs in culinary arts, dietetics and design. JWU’s unique model provide students with the personalized attention, academic expertise and industry connections that inspire professional success and personal growth. The time students spend at JWU is nothing short of transformative, as demonstrated by career outcomes, expected earnings and economic mobility rankings. The university’s impact is global, with alumni in 125 countries pursuing careers worldwide. 

MEDIA CONTACT: Rachel Nunes, Senior Communications and Media Relations Specialist, (o)401-598-2752, (c)401-895-7364.