Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America’s Former President and CEO Juanita Duggan Passes Away

Dec 16, 2022
Washington, D.C.


WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/16/2022 – Juanita Duggan who served as Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America’s first female president and CEO from 1998 to 2006 passed away Tuesday, December 13 at her home in the Washington D.C. area. A passionate policy advocate for family-owned wine and spirits, Duggan is remembered to be a skilled communicator, energetic leader and policy expert credited with being a driving force behind the Twenty-First Amendment Enforcement Act. In adding to this piece of important Federal Legislation, Duggan was an outspoken advocate and driver of the passage of the Section 5011 Tax.


A four-time CEO and leader of highly regulated industry trade associations, Duggan spent decades as a policy expert in the Senate, the White House, and the private sector. Most recently, Duggan was the founder of CLARIFYD LLC, a firm serving clients and boards navigating complex policy, political, regulatory, reputation, compliance, and communications challenges. 


Colleagues of Duggan at WSWA shared their sentiments:


“Having worked with Juanita for years on important policy issues, I always found her to be smart, dedicated, and professional in all she did for WSWA and its members. Juanita will be missed dearly and the impact she made on the industry will live on for decades to come,” said WSWA Chairman Tom Cole.


“I had the privilege of working with Juanita during her time at WSWA. If there was ever a case of the ‘right person at the right time’ it was when Juanita came to the association. Using her experience from the George H.W. Bush White House and time at Phillip Morris as the lead lobbyist for the tobacco settlement, she took WSWA to the next level. Under her guidance we passed the Twenty-First Amendment Enforcement Act, helped create, the first online 3-tier compliant alcohol model, and had a one-million-dollar PAC for the first time. Her friendship will be missed,” said Moon Distributing CEO Stan Hastings.


“I will miss Juanita, her energy, focus and passion have always inspired me,” said Southern Glazers Wine & Spirits Executive Vice President Barkley Stuart.


“Juanita Duggan was a force of nature, doggedly passionate in defense of our wholesalers she had a genuine love of the families that make up the WSWA membership.  She was also a visionary when it came to the impact e-commerce would have on our industry and wholesalers specifically.  Her boundless energy made her a pleasure to work for and spread to all those around her.  She was a mentor to so many young people in DC and loved watching them grow. She had a major impact not just on our industry but on countless others,” said WSWA Executive Vice President, Government Affairs Dawson Hobbs.


“Juanita was smart as a whip, passionate about our members, and fiercely represented their interests. She hired me less than a year before she left, and I know her as a successful Washington lobbyist and pivotal to passing the 5011 tax credit, which has saved our members millions of dollars over the years. The word that describes Juanita for me is bulldog – she held strong convictions and was very determined. Juanita had to counterbalance a male-dominated industry. She won everyone over though with her intelligence and toughness. She was also ahead of her time while she was at WSWA, working on a digital marketplace long before they became popular. I am shocked and deeply saddened by the news,” said WSWA Executive Vice President and General Counsel Jo Moak.


“Juanita was a huge inspiration for me professionally. She took a chance on me and hired me as a young professional in 2005 for a job I was probably not fully prepared to take on at that time.  Juanita led by example, showing me what a strong female leader truly looks like and provided great guidance over the year I worked with her. Juanita was incredibly smart, driven, kind, strong, and a force to be reckoned with. She was respected by our members and staff. I have seen Juanita over the years since she left WSWA, and she still continued to impress and inspire me. She left a lasting impression and will be truly missed. My thoughts and prayers go to her family and loved ones,” said WSWA Vice President of Meetings & Events Kari Langerman.


“I am deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Juanita.  I had the pleasure to work closely with her for 6 years right up to and thru my presidency at WSWA.  She was a force to be reckoned with, as she guided WSWA through numerous challenges.  The passing of the Twenty-First Amendment Enforcement Act was the pinnacle of her career at WSWA.  Today, all members remain recipients of her efforts in the passing of the 21st Amendment Act.  My thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time,” said former WSWA President (2005-2006) Robert Epstein.


“In 1998, I was serving as Counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee when I first met Juanita after she was selected to become the new leader of WSWA. Little did I know then how much she would change the course of my life - as she did for so many others.  Juanita was a force of nature. So strong and confident - beautiful and funny - and dangerously smart. Juanita gave me my start in the association world as WSWA's General Counsel, offering me the position even when I wasn't sure I was the right person for the job.  When I asked her if she would support my joining the Army in the wake of 9/11, she never hesitated.  And when I came back from Basic Training as a 1st Lieutenant, she started calling me "Lieutenant Dan" in that great southern tinged accent - and that memory still brings a smile to my face.  It was through her mentorship that I was able to successfully take on the role of President & CEO when she departed the association in 2006 - an organization she had by force of her tremendous will, intellect, and personality - transformed into a Washington powerhouse. We have remained friends ever since and I, like everyone, was shocked to hear of her untimely passing. She will be remembered - and dearly missed.  My thoughts and heartfelt prayers to her family,” said former WSWA CEO & President (2006-2019) Craig Wolf.


“Juanita Duggan was fierce in all the best ways. She was one of the nation’s best strategic minds. She was a relentless advocate for the issues she cared about passionately. Juanita was fiercely loyal and loving to her friends and family. During my time at WSWA, we succeeded because of the foresight Juanita had during her time as President and CEO. I am so glad I told her so at the time. Those who love Juanita should know that so many people will benefit from the intelligence, tenacity, and passion she brought to everything she touched,” said former WSWA President & CEO Michelle Korsmo (2019-2022).


“Juanita’s legacy is expressed in the strength of the association she helped reinvigorate. WSWA is stronger and better because of what she did here, and her family should know what a great difference she made,” said current WSWA President & CEO Francis Creighton.


About Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America

WSWA is the national trade association representing the distribution tier of the wine and spirits industry, dedicated to advancing the interests and independence of distributors and brokers of wine and spirits. Founded in 1943, WSWA has more than 380 member companies in 50 states and the District of Columbia, and its members distribute more than 80 percent of all wine and spirits sold at wholesale in the United States.  


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