With approximately 1.15 million net square feet of exhibit space for Pack Expo International’s 2014 event, attendees are sure to have their work cut out for them. For beverage manufacturers, The International Society of Beverage Technologists (ISBT) will continue to offer a location where these attendees have a change to network with their industry peers and meet with potential suppliers for their packaging and manufacturing operations.

Endorsed by ISBT, The Beverage Cooler Lounge will be located in the Grand Concourse near the entry to the North Hall. I had a chance to catch up with ISBT Executive Director Larry Hobbs to learn what we can expect at this year’s site and what he is looking forward to most.

JJ: What benefits will The Beverage Cooler Lounge offer attendees?

LH: The Beverage Cooler Lounge will serve as a networking hub, central meeting place and information center for beverage industry professionals at the show. ISBT members and staff will be at the lounge to help attendees find the best solutions for their operational challenges and to share ISBT membership information.

Additionally, we are excited to have a takeaway for lounge attendees this year. Packaging Basics and Terminology- Choices for Beverages, will provide general information on packaging metal comparisons, PET packaging, bottle terminology, and more.

JJ: Why is it important for ISBT to be involved with The Beverage Cooler Lounge and the Pack Expo tradeshow?

LH: The ISBT Packaging Technology Committee is one of our most active committees and Pack Expo and The Beverage Cooler Lounge provide the perfect place for those members to connect. We also enjoy the opportunity to speak with attendees who may not be familiar with ISBT but need to find beverage packaging solutions.

ISBT also provides presentations for the education piece at Pack Expo. This is a great opportunity for attendees to learn more about specific areas of beverage packaging.

JJ: What are the benefits of being a member of ISBT?

LH: The ISBT has more than 800 members around the world and is the only organization whose sole interest is the technical and scientific aspects of soft drinks and beverages. Members have the opportunity to attend BevTech, the annual meeting of the society and a members-only event, which consists of three full days of education and networking. We also have two regional meetings: BevTech Latin America and BevTech Europe.

There are nine technical committees within ISBT that cover every aspect of our industry, and they are really the heart of the society. Our committees are regularly establishing new guidelines and procedures that are used worldwide. Members receive full access to the manuals and guidelines online at no cost. The members section of our website also includes an online directory, access to the BevTech proceedings, job listings, our quarterly newsletter and ISBT University. ISBT University is a series of lectures by experienced beverage professionals that provide overviews as well as in depth discussions on key topics in the art and science of beverage production. They are in a recorded webinar format, along with the full presentation and related resources, and can be accessed in the members’ area at any time. The number of presentations will continue to grow

Ultimately, the education and professional connections that ISBT provides benefits our members both personally and professionally, and their involvement in ISBT are extremely beneficial to the industry as a whole.

JJ: What are you looking forward to at this year’s Pack Expo event?

LH: We’re very excited about Packaging Basics and Terminology guideline that we’ll be giving out because it’s something we really noticed a need for last year. Additionally, ISBT will be presenting two education sessions: Closure Fundamentals and Innovations and PET - Fundamentals for Beverage Packaging.