American Beverage Licensees Announces Program for 2005 ABL Convention: Entertainment and Education to be Featured in Las Vegas

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The American Beverage Licensees (ABL) will be holding its 3rd Annual Convention at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on February 27 through March 1, 2005. The Convention will feature well-known figures from the beverage alcohol industry as well as a socially oriented event schedule.

The American Beverage Licensees (ABL) has confirmed some exciting developments for its 2005 Convention at the Monte Carlo Resort & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday, February 27 through Tuesday, March 1, 2005. The convention’s theme, “The Challenge of Change…Strengthening Sales Through Inspiration, Insight and Entertainment”, already promises to offer an array of events to both educate and entertain attendees, including industry luminaries, a poker tournament, dinners, seminars, and other entertaining events.

In addition to the “Welcome Party” sponsored by Heineken USA on Sunday night, convention attendees will be able to try their hands’ in the Future Brands Poker Tournament Sunday afternoon. More details about the tournament are coming soon, including how to register for what looks to be quite a competitive competition.

On what is shaping up to be a full day of events and meetings, ABL is proud to announce that RJ Reynolds has generously agreed to sponsor the opening breakfast on Monday morning. Energized for the General Session, attendees will have the opportunity to hear keynote speaker Ivan Menezes, President & CEO of Diageo North America, deliver remarks on the role retailers play in the beverage alcohol industry. Mr. Menezes was previously the president and COO of Diageo North America and has been responsible for much of that company’s increased profitability and growth.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) will then conduct a program featuring DISCUS President and CEO, Dr. Peter H. Cressy. Dr. Cressy, a retired Rear Admiral in the United States Navy and the former Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Darmouth, is a leading figure in the beverage alcohol industry.

Following the DISCUS Program, Pat Haggerty of Haggerty & Schatz will be speaking about marketing, image, perceptions and working with regulators in the beverage alcohol industry. Mr. Haggerty has a reputation for going into mid-size companies and helping those companies reach another level of success by developing the brand, focus and model of their organization. He has recently worked with the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association on its logo, sales material and server-training program.

Attendees will then break for the Miller Brewing Company luncheon before launching into an exciting afternoon program.

The afternoon starts with a seminar by Dr. David Ryder, Miller Brewing Company Vice President of Brewing Research and Quality Assurance and Brewmaster, who will be speaking about the art of brewing world-class beer. Dr. Ryder was recently named the World Beer Cup Champion Brewmaster (Large Brewing Company) at the Association of Brewers World Beer Cup® 2004.

Following the presentation on brewing, ABL is proud to announce that Jimmy Bedford, Jack Daniel’s Master Distiller, will be presenting a seminar on distilled spirits. Jimmy Bedford is one of the 6 Master Distillers who have served at Jack Daniel's Distillery since Jack Daniel registered his distillery back in 1866. Bedford oversees the distillery's entire whiskey making process of milling, yeasting, fermentation, and distillation, which includes production scheduling and taste testing to ensure quality.

Following a break from the afternoon seminars, during which convention goers are encouraged to stretch their legs on the casino floor or on the world famous Las Vegas Strip, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States will once again graciously host the Monday night DISCUS Banquet. The Banquet is always a first class presentation and dinner. Following a very socially oriented agenda, the evening will culminate with the presentation of the Brown-Forman “Retailer of the Year” awards. Banquet attendees are encouraged to stay for the after dinner entertainment, comedy group “The Rat Pack”, sponsored this year by McCormick Distilling Co.

Tuesday morning picks up right where Monday left off with a continental breakfast sponsored by Tito’s Handmade Vodka. In addition to tasty Tito’s Handmade Vodka bloody marys, Tito Beveridge, the founder of Austin, Texas’ Mockingbird Distillery, will be on hand to offer some words to attendees. A micro-distiller and self-made business owner, Mr. Beveridge has been honored with numerous awards in recognition of his success and the high quality of his vodka.

The General Session continues with the Government Affairs program, including keynote speaker David K. Rehr, President of the National Beer Wholesalers Association. Conventioneers then have the opportunity to take in the Night Club & Bar Trade Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Transportation will be provided to “The Show” and back to the Monte Carlo so that guests can arrive in time to attend the ABL Final Night Dinner sponsored by Anheuser-Busch, which will include the presentation of the Inaugural ABL Top Shelf Award and entertainment sponsored by BMI.

More announcements are expected in the coming weeks and the registration deadline for special room rates at the Monte Carlo, ABL’s Convention Hotel, is January 26, 2005. The registration form can be found on the ABL website, http://www.ablusa.org.

About American Beverage Licensees (ABL)

The American Beverage Licensees (ABL) is the nation's largest trade association dedicated to representing the interests of “America's Beer, Wine and Spirits Retailers”. ABL represents nearly 20,000 bars, restaurants, taverns, and liquor stores, including off-premise licensees in the "open" or "license" states and on-premise proprietors in markets across the country. Today, ABL has members in 348 of the 435 Congressional Districts across the nation. For more information about ABL, please visit http://www.ablusa.org.

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John Bodnovich