WASHINGTON, D.C., 04/13/2021 – Today, Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) Board of Directors elected Chris Underwood, Board of Managers RNDC-West, as Chairman of the Board, a leadership role he will serve in for 12-months. In his acceptance speech, Underwood drew parallels between today’s dynamic marketplace and the challenges that have historically faced America’s family-owned wine and spirits distributors by reading select passages from a speech his Grandfather, Vern Underwood Sr. gave at the 25th Annual WSWA Convention in May 1968.
“It’s clear that the challenges the middle tier faced in 1968 by my Grandfather were very similar to those we face today…Advancing technologies, the threat of supplier direct-to-consumer sales, consolidation within all three tiers, ensuring smaller suppliers and brands are getting attention, meeting shifting consumer needs and ensuring product diversity – these are all issues wholesalers continue to face…And so, while change is a constant theme, rapid change is something we can claim as our own in 2021,” said Underwood.
He went on to challenge the WSWA Board of Directors to “shape the change for wholesalers today and tomorrow” by “adapt[ing] to ensure our tier is providing value to [the] future marketplace…If convenience exists for other consumer goods, we must adapt and listen to the consumer – they are creating the future marketplace for us – with us.”
Underwood additionally highlighted WSWA’s early investment in to the alcohol e-commerce and delivery platform Drizly as well as their ongoing work promoting consumer convenience through local, licensed delivery.
To watch Underwood’s speech in full click here.
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.