The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) 74th Annual Convention & Exposition—the beverage alcohol industry’s leading event uniting suppliers and wholesalers under one roof—kicks off this week at Grande Lakes Orlando and runs April 18-21.
This year’s event will spotlight inspirational and educational speakers Chris Wallace of Fox News and Mick Ebeling of Not Impossible Labs during General Sessions, sponsored by the Distilled Spirits Council. These sessions will also include remarks from incoming 2017-2018 WSWA Chairman Carmine Martignetti of Massachusetts-based Martignetti Companies and WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf.
The WSWA 74th Annual Convention & Exposition provides showcase opportunities for long established brands as well as hot new products and trends in two sold out Exhibit Halls and popular Traditional and Lower Level Hospitality Suites. The industry also takes time during the event to recognize the philanthropic and industry contributions of its own.
WSWA will present the Lifetime Leadership Award to Alan Dreeben, a Partner with Republic National Distributing Company. The award is presented each year to a wholesaler whose contribution to the association, beverage industry and community defines excellence, inspires loyalty and exemplifies leadership. The WSWA Educational Foundation will honor Gerry Ruvo, Chairman of Campari America, with the Sidney Frank Innovation Award presented by Mast-Jägermeister, given annually to a person who has made exceptional industry contributions in addition to noteworthy philanthropy and community service. Click here to read a detailed release and background information on these awards and recipients.
The multi-day event features the popular Wine and Spirits Tasting, Call for Cocktails, and Wholesaler Iron Mixologist Competitions. All competitions are judged by independent industry experts organized by The Tasting Panel magazine, The Somm Journal, and The Clever Root. Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist, serves as Competition Executive Director and Emcee.
Evening events will provide wholesalers, suppliers, exhibitors and members of the media with prime networking and socializing opportunities. The popular Opening Night Reception is sponsored by The Presidents’ Forum of the Distilled Spirits Industry and creates the perfect atmosphere to connect and unwind after the day’s sessions and meetings. Wholesalers, media and invited guests are welcomed to join Jägermeister as they relaunch their brand to historic new heights with the unveiling of ‘Deutsch after Darke.’ Another popular event takes place the next evening at the Taste of the Industry, a grand tasting that encourages sampling, conversation, and networking.
The final day of the WSWA 74th Annual Convention & Exposition shifts from exhibitions and networking to technology, education and brand-building excitement at the U.S. Beverage Alcohol Forum.
This afternoon educational seminar kicks off with a panel discussion: “Trends from Buzzy Bars to Big Data” designed to educate attendees about consumers’ changing alcohol palates, while offering insight into what’s buzzworthy in inventive bars and restaurants. The final session, “Technology to Help Beat the Competition” will outline cost-effective ways to improve operations and utilize new tools and technology to maximize supplier and wholesaler ROI.
The day’s middle session, Brand Battle, is the most exciting live presentation to hit the industry in years. Seven brands will pitch their compelling story, business, and marketing plan to a panel of judges made up of wholesaler decision makers along with special judge, TV personality, restaurateur and winner of “The Apprentice,” Bill Rancic.
“Family-owned American wholesalers help consumers enjoy the widest array of products and variety available anywhere in the world—and the WSWA Annual Convention & Exposition is the event where wholesalers solidify existing relationships and establish new portfolio partners. This year’s program offers informative speakers, educational sessions like our popular Brand Battle, and numerous opportunities for suppliers and wholesalers to connect and network, along with the fun and excitement for which WSWA is known,” said WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf.
For additional information please visit www.wswaconvention.org or contact the WSWA Convention Hotline at 202-371-5682.