WASHINGTON, D.C., 04/06/2023 - Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) is pleased to announce Sunshine Punch as the 2023 Brand Battle Champion. Sunshine Punch won the Lifestyle Category as a unique ready-to-pour offering that sits on the spirits shelf. A low-ABV (18%) "sessionable" beverage with a nostalgic flavor profile of citrus, creme, and rum meant to be enjoyed over ice.
Sunshine Punch competed live and on-stage this week at WSWA's 2023 Access LIVE against eight other category winners. The Access LIVE attendees had the chance to vote on the winner, along with an esteemed panel of judges.
Brand Battle provides a unique stage for craft and emerging brands across eight wine and spirits categories. Leading up to Access LIVE, eight brands competed in eight virtual category sessions. Each brand had the ability to share its products in front of leading distributors, industry experts and consumers, building brand recognition.
"Everyone from WSWA has been so wonderful, our experience has been top shelf! Participating in Brand Battle has been a lot of fun and educational. The experience of winning has been a switch for our networking opportunities. We're tremendously grateful," said Sunshine Punch COO Matt Hemmings.
"Having seen thousands of products come across our desks, the judges felt that the selections on stage were the best in quality of their categories and it wasn't an easy task to choose a winner. Everyone up there really developed their product pitch and had a lot of heart in support of their presentations and their enthusiasm was contagious," said President of Opici Family Distributing and Brand Battle Judge Dina Opici. "A clear winner was really a difficult task, but like I said on stage, the quality of Sunshine Punch set them apart and their success at the event was not surprising. I look forward to seeing what's next for them as well as all of the other participants."
Campesino Rum, the 2021 Brand Battle Champion (a year when the full tournament was virtual) was also recognized on stage and was presented with his trophy. Hatton Smith, founder and president of Campesino Rum, has attributed his brands growing success to the exposure he got from participating in Brand Battle.
"Winning Brand Battle has opened the doors to retailer and distribution partnerships in key growth markets that have set Campesino Rum up for success beyond my expectations," said Hatton Smith, founder and president of Birmingham-based Campesino Rum, and the 2021 Brand Battle Champion. "Their life is about to change."
To learn more about Brand Battle and to watch all past competitions, visit wswa.org.
About WSWA's Access LIVE
WSWA's Access LIVE, formally known as the WSWA Annual Convention & Exposition, is the largest U.S. event uniting all tiers of the beverage alcohol industry. Featuring buy-sell engagements, high-level information panels, wine and spirits competitions, and C-suite-level networking, this event has been a premier destination for beverage alcohol wholesalers, suppliers and now retailers since its inception in 1943. Distributor attendees represent more than 80% of all wine and spirits sold at wholesale in the United States, and exhibitors are comprised of some of the most exciting, established and up-and-coming brands in the marketplace. There is no other event in the industry that rallies so much expertise and networking and so many solutions and opportunities under one roof.