WSWA 69th Annual Convention & Exposition Concludes in Las Vegas

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WSWA Convention concludes in Las Vegas with keynote speaker John Hofmeister and the U.S. Beverage and Alcohol Forum.

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"All three tiers must collaborate to protect the reliability, safety and integrity of the products they sell through our uniquely American system of distribution,” said Craig Wolf.

The WSWA 69th Annual Convention & Exposition concluded yesterday in Las Vegas with keynote speaker John Hofmeister, the WSWA Lifetime Leadership Award and the newly-added U.S. Beverage Alcohol Forum.

The General Session opened with Craig Wolf, WSWA President and CEO, sharing his experience last year as an Army reservist deployed in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He thanked the audience for their support while he was gone and received a standing ovation for his service.

Wolf went on to discuss the upcoming challenges facing the industry such as privatization being used as a stalking horse for deregulation and potential federal tax reform legislation. “These challenges accentuate the need for the industry to work together. All three tiers must collaborate to protect the reliability, safety and integrity of the products they sell through our uniquely American system of distribution,” explained Wolf.

WSWA honored Vern Underwood, Chairman of the Board, Young’s Market Company, as the recipient of the Lifetime Leadership Award. Underwood humbly stated, “My role has always been as an employee, like the other thousands of people that have worked for Young’s and this recognition goes to them.”

This year’s Hot, New, Now Media Award went to Purgatory Vodka made by Alaska
Distillery—a small batch Alaskan-owned and operated micro-distillery located in the foothills of the Alaska Range.

The keynote speaker, John Hofmeister, founder and CEO of Citizens for Affordable Energy and former president of Shell Oil, provided an insiders’ view into our energy challenges. “We are not getting the whole story on how bad it really is,” said Hofmeister. As a solution, he urged the creation of an independent energy authority to manage the supply of fuels, utilize the best energy technology, balance consumption with natural resources and maintain strong infrastructure.

The U.S. Beverage Alcohol Forum, a new partnership between WSWA and the U.S. Drinks Conference, presented five compelling educational panels focused on social media, brand activation, industry trends, the three-tier system and building a world class team. A theme that emerged through each panel was the importance of people—people that are passionate about the brands they represent.

Additional information on WSWA 69th Annual Convention & Exposition as well as photos, videos, and cocktail recipes are available on The WSWA Convention Blog as well as YouTube.

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America, Inc. (WSWA) is the national trade organization representing the wholesale tier of the wine and spirits industry. It is dedicated to advancing the interests and independence of wholesale distributors and brokers of wine and spirits. Founded in 1943, WSWA has over 340 member companies in 50 states and the District of Columbia. Our members distribute more than 70 percent of all wines and spirits sold at wholesale in the United States.

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