Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) President and CEO Craig Wolf today announced that he will depart the organization at the end of June, capping an 18-year run at the association that serves as the voice of family-owned American distributors of wine and spirits.
“It has been an honor and a privilege to work within the beverage alcohol industry in general and in the wholesale tier in particular. In so many ways, distributors represent the American dream—family businesses, grown over time through hard work, passed on to the next generation, yet always at the forefront of technology, innovation and continuing to responsibly deliver the variety and choice that makes the American market the envy of the world,” Wolf said.
“Under Craig’s leadership, WSWA has built a reputation second-to-none when it comes to effective advocacy on both sides of the aisle on behalf of distributors. WSWA truly punches above its weight. Our success is a testament to member engagement, and to Craig’s management and long-term strategic leadership,” said WSWA Chairman Carmine Martignetti, President of Massachusetts-based Martignetti Companies.
“Craig leaves the organization at the peak of its influence and effectiveness and on solid membership, financial and operational footing,” Martignetti added.
The association has achieved an impressive record of accomplishment under Wolf’s leadership.
WSWA recently concluded a decade-long effort to protect tax provisions important to wholesalers and support tax relief for family-owned businesses. The WSWA-Political Action Committee is ranked among the association community’s largest and most well-known, having grown from $341,000 per year when he took over to more than $1 million per year, backing candidates in both parties who support issues important to wholesalers. During that same time frame, the organization has grown from 12 staff members and a $6 million budget to 23 staff members and an $11 million annual budget.
WSWA’s bipartisan advocacy teams are engaged in Washington, D.C. and state capitals around the country on an ever-expanding portfolio of issues, and the association has served as a vital and respected voice for distributors in local, state, national and industry media outlets. Both federal and state affairs missions have expanded under Wolf’s leadership, and it has likewise expanded its coalition participation, public audience engagement and external communications programs.
WSWA’s membership ranks have expanded to include small and mid-size wholesalers and its suite of member services have grown considerably during Wolf’s term—as has the success and market impact of the WSWA Annual Convention & Exposition, which has experienced seven straight years of growth. Under Wolf’s leadership, the organization built WSWA’s State Law Database, an industry-leading research tool used by wholesalers, suppliers, associations and attorneys nationwide—a first of its kind product.
Wolf was also an advocate for expansion of the WSWA Council for Leadership Development and founded the Women’s Leadership Council to bolster the ranks of future industry leaders. Wolf created the WSWA Educational Foundation, which provides scholarships to children of wholesaler employees. And, WSWA has long promoted the importance of social responsibility, including strict enforcement of anti-underage and anti-DUI, as well as drugged driving enforcement laws and policies.
WSWA’s Executive Committee has begun a nationwide search for Wolf’s successor.
Wolf will soon make a public announcement regarding his future plans.