Who & What –

Brown-Forman promoted Lawson Whiting to Chief Operating Officer effective Oct. 1.  He will oversee the company’s regional operations, global production, and corporate responsibility functions, reporting to Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Paul Varga.  Whiting, 49, has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Brands and Strategy Officer since February 2015.

Quality Beverage, Taunton, Mass., one of New England’s largest stand-alone independent distributors of Anheuser-Busch InBev branded products, named Ted Audet as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; Steve Doherty as Vice President / General Manager–Auburn Division; and Craig Colonero as Director of Sales and Marketing–Auburn Division.  The appointments will be effective on Oct. 1 following the retirement of Tom Nicholson as Vice President and General Manager.

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What We’re Reading —

Why Brands Are Finding Live Video to Be Perfect Complement To Branded Content

Major brands like Walmart and Adidas discovering how effective live video is at reaching their core audience.

Brands are actually seeing viewers heading to their websites to watch their live shows.

And, here’s the real surprise: they’re sticking around too. The average live viewing session is around 18 minutes. That’s a huge chunk of time to watch something that’s playing out on someone else’s schedule. So much for viewers having limited attention spans.  Read more here, from Forbes.com.

One of the more interesting things about the new live video is that much of it is not happening on social media, but on brand or publisher web sites, via companies like Brandlive, who have been doing live video for years. “Live video isn’t new to us,” Brandlive CEO Frtiz Brumder told me in a recent phone call.

“But what’s new is that brands are understanding they can use it to drive traffic to their own websites where there are e-commerce opportunities—that’s a fantastic way to generate revenue. Publishers are also understanding the value of live video to generate traffic for their sites. They don’t need to rely on social media sites to push traffic article by article when they have live video events to bring people to the site and keep them there.”

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F.Y.I. —

Researchers Uncover Brain’s Filing System For Storing Experiences

A team of neuroscientists has uncovered how our brains organize, over time, our experiences: that is, according to their similarities.

“It is as if in order to make sense of the world, the brain re-organizes individual distinct experiences into information clusters — perhaps signaling the emergence of conceptual knowledge,” observes Lila Davachi, an associate professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and the senior author of the paper, which appears in the journal Neuron.

The work, co-authored with Alexa Tompary, a recent NYU doctoral recipient, explored how memories become transformed over time — a core question in memory research.

In their study, the researchers examined a specific dynamic: whether and how the brain would represent the similarities or shared features across individual experiences.

To do so, they conducted an experiment in which subjects learned a series of object-scene associations. Over the course of the experiment, they viewed several individual objects (e.g., a tennis racquet) on a computer screen, with each object paired with pictures of four repeating scenes (a beach scene, for example) The researchers then tested subjects’ ability to match the objects with the scenes they viewed at two time periods: immediately after the experiment and one week later.

During these recall periods, the researchers studied the subjects’ neural patterns of activation associated with individual memories.

The results showed that, immediately after learning, there was no discernible overlap in the pattern of activation associated with the memories for the objects paired with the same scene picture. However, after one week, the activation patterns were more overlapping in the brain’s hippocampus and its medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) — in other words, over time, the brain had organized the information according to their overlap.

In addition, that scientists found that this structuring of experience with time was inversely related to the fidelity of individual memory reinstatement–in organizing related memories, patterns of activation that corresponded to details of a specific memory were diminished.

“This aspect of the research points to the tension between ‘good memory’ and learning–if we remember each individual experience as it was encountered, are we able to effectively learn about the underlying regularities across experiences?” asks Tompary. “We see evidence for this competition in our neural analysis of memory structures in the brain.”

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Wine’s Impact on the U.S. Economy: $219.9 Billion

That’s according to the first detailed study ever done on the wine industry’s national economic impact.  The analysis was done by John Dunham & Associates of New York for WineAmerica, the national association of American wineries.  Continue reading

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PLCB Sales Set a Record

Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) retail sales for fiscal 2017, ended June 30, were a record $2.53 billion (including Continue reading

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Family Coppola Snags Craft Spirits License, Launches Great Women Spirits

Great Women Spirits — small-batch, house-crafted, classically styled spirits — will begin production with its brand of vodka, gin, Continue reading

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