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Diageo Sponsors Responsible Hospitality Institute North Carolina Sociable City Forum: Investing in a Safe and Vibrant Nighttime Economy

WILMINGTON, N.C., June 17 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- City leaders and planners, law enforcement officers, bar and restaurant proprietors and neighborhood organization heads from across North Carolina will discuss 'best practices' to manage 'hospitality zones' in their cities when they meet in Wilmington on Friday, June 18, for the North Carolina Sociable City Forum: Investing in a Safe and Vibrant Nighttime Economy organized by the Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI) and sponsored in part by Diageo, the world's leading spirits, beer and wine company.

"The purpose of the conference," said Barry Becton, Senior Director of State Government Relations, Diageo North America, "is to help cities foster hospitality zones that will enhance city nightlife and expand tourism and trade, while satisfying the standards of community residents and reducing the risks of irresponsible behavior." Diageo has been a major supporter of RHI since 2001.

Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo will welcome participants to this day-long event co-hosted by the City of Wilmington and Wilmington Downtown, Inc.  Jim Peters, President of the Responsibility Hospitality Institute, and a global expert on hospitality issues, will speak to the common trends and issues among North American cities and the 'core elements' of a safe and vibrant hospitality zone.  A facilitated panel discussion in the afternoon will focus on the challenges to planning and managing hospitality zones and the successful strategies employed to meet those challenges. Speakers on the panel will include:

  • Rodger Lentz, Chapter President of the American Planning Association North Carolina
  • Bob Durkin, President of the Charlotte Bar Management Group
  • Jonathan Williams, Chair of the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission
  • Ralph M. Evangelous, Wilmington Chief of Police and member of the North Carolina Association of Chiefs of Police
  • Ed Wolverton, President Elect, President and CEO of Downtown Greensboro, Inc. and member of the North Carolina Downtown Development Association
  • Eric Rylander, member of the North Carolina Licensed Beverage Council of the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association, and owner of Fat Tony's

Participants will experience first-hand the importance of bringing diverse perspectives of neighborhood groups, retailers, and government officials to make nighttime economies safe and enjoyable for everyone.

"The forum is especially important now," said Jim Peters, Founder and President of RHI, "because of the trend toward downtown and center city living and, with it, demand for more dining and entertainment options.  Changing demographics are driving growth in the over 50 and under 30 populations, who are often seeking socializing options during different time periods."

The RHI is holding a series of Sociable City Forums in nearly a dozen cities nationwide during Summer and Fall of 2010. 

About Diageo

Diageo (Dee-AH-Gee-O) is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wines and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines.

Diageo is a global company, trading in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange (DEO) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE).

For more information about Diageo, its people, brands, and performance, visit us at For our global resource that promotes responsible drinking through the sharing of best practice tools, information and initiatives, visit

Celebrating life, every day, everywhere.

About Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI)

RHI is a private, non-profit organization that has been assisting businesses and communities in creating safe and vibrant places to socialize since 1983.


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