The WSWA 74th Annual Convention & Exposition -- a Resounding Success!

May 17, 2017
The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) 74th Annual Convention & Exposition—the beverage industry’s leading event uniting wholesalers and suppliers under one roof—wrapped its 2017 run April 18-21 at Grande Lakes Orlando.

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) 74th Annual Convention & Exposition—the beverage industry’s leading event uniting wholesalers and suppliers under one roof—wrapped its 2017 run April 18-21 at Grande Lakes Orlando.  The event showcased innovative new wine and spirits products from around the world; exciting mixology and tasting competitions; and new trends and topics for business owners, managers and employees in the year ahead. 

“Our 74th Annual Convention & Exposition was a resounding success,” said WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf.  “Thank you to all suppliers, wholesalers, service providers, industry employees and participants who joined us to renew friendships, forge new relationships and help plan for our shared future,” Wolf added.

Fox News host Chris Wallace delivered timely General Session remarks followed by an onstage question and answer session covering the changing political and media landscape.  Click hereto watch this session.  At the event’s second General Session, innovator and inventor Mick Ebeling of Not Impossible Labs inspired attendees with his stories of creative problem solving and outside the box thinking. 

General Sessions featured remarks from incoming WSWA Chairman Carmine Martignetti of Massachusetts-based Martignetti Companies and WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf.  Click here and here to watch.  Convention attendees also took time to honor industry leaders including Campari America Chairman Gerry Ruvo, who received the Sidney Frank Innovation Award presented by Mast-Jägermeister, as well as Republic National Distributing Company Partner Alan Dreeben, who was presented with WSWA’s Lifetime Leadership Award.  Click here to see Ruvo’s presentation and click here to watch Dreeben accept the honor.

WSWA continued its tradition of educating and empowering attendees.  The WSWA 74thAnnual Convention & Exposition concluded with the information-packed half-day U.S. Beverage Alcohol Forum (USBAF).  Click on the following session/segment titles to view complete video footage: “Technology to Help Beat the Competition” and “Trends from Buzzy Bars to Big Data” featuring a keynote by Danny Brager of Nielsen and a panel discussion of mixologists and industry pros led by Drink Co.’s Derek Brown.

USBAF’s main event featured the exciting and informative Brand Battle, where seven brands were pre-selected to pitch their product, story and marketing plan to a panel of industry experts, including prominent television star and restauranteur Bill Rancic.  Audience votes were combined with judge scores to determine the first and second place winners.  This year’s winner was Bedlam Vodka (Greybeard Distilling); JJ Corry (Chapel Gate Irish Whiskey Co.) was runner up.   Watch each of the session’s seven presentations by clicking here.

Click here to watch Bedlam Vodka’s post-victory interview and click here to watch their team’s in-depth interview in the WSWA-TV studio.  You can click here to watch Chapel Gate’s post-victory interview and here to watch a longer interview from the WSWA-TV studio.  Bedlam Vodka also earned the Hot New Now Media Award voted on by attending members of the media.