WSWA Statement on the Passing of Former Chairman Alan Dreeben

Alan Dreeben, Access LIVE 2023
Mar 24, 2024


Washington, D.C. 03/24/2024 – It is with great sadness that Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) marks the passing of former WSWA Chairman Alan Dreeben of Republic National Distributing Company. Dreeben was an industry legend, highly respected by his peers and beloved by WSWA staff.


Dreeben began his storied career in 1966, working for Gallo Winery. He was part of a pioneering leadership training program and reported directly to Ernest Gallo, the company’s founder. After eventually returning to San Antonio, he assumed leadership of Block Distributing’s wine program and spearheaded its growth. Until his death Dreeben served as a partner of RNDC after nearly two decades of directing growth as the vice chairman and director of Block Distributing after its merger with RNDC.


Alan’s leadership extended far beyond his business success and dedication to the three-tier system, leaving a powerful philanthropic legacy. He was a member at large and sat on the executive committee of United Way and contributed to a long list of civic organizations including the American Cancer Society, Any Baby Can, the Hospice of San Antonio, Los Compadres, the Golden Manor Home of Aged, and several others. He has also served as Division Chairman of the Jewish Social Service Federation and the Director of Education for Temple Beth-El. 


Dreeben’s deep commitment to his community extended to WSWA where he served as WSWA’s Chairman from 2014-2015 and has held other executive advisory roles that helped the trade association better serve its members, including Board of Directors 2008 – 2016, WSWA Executive Committee 2008 – 2016, Government Affairs Committee 2012 – 2020, Meetings and Convention Committee 2015 – 2020, and PAC Chairman 2013.


At Access LIVE 2023, Alan Dreeben was named the inaugural Industry Legacy Award Winner in honor of his decades-long dedication to the beverage alcohol industry, outstanding business success, meaningful participation within WSWA, and remarkable philanthropy – particularly his extraordinary support of the WSWA Educational Foundation.


“Alan Dreeben was an Icon in our industry. He was a great philanthropist, caring father, husband, and partner. His vision of the fine wine business was truly decades ahead of the industry. Alan was a mentor to me and so many others in the industry he loved. Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with his family,” said former WSWA Chairman Tom Cole.


“Alan was the consummate gentleman who represented our industry with the class and dignity that we all aspire to.  We will miss his kind disposition, his genuine interest in people, and his passion for the Wine and Spirits industry,” said current WSWA Chairman Doug Shaw.


“Alan Dreeben’s remarkable legacy will live on for many years. He was beloved by the WSWA staff and all who knew him. He was a true gentleman who built an extraordinary company but did so in a way that always took care of his employees, business partners, and family. Our condolences are with his wife Barbara, his children, and their families,” said WSWA President and CEO Francis Creighton.


“Alan was a southern gentleman with a quick wit and a permanent twinkle in his eye. He was a man of his word, a proud father and grandfather, and a titan in this industry. He will be missed by all the people who have had the good fortune to be in his presence,” said WSWA Vice President of Member Advocacy Catherine McDaniel.


“Alan was not only a giant within the industry, but he was a tremendous example of doing things the right way. He was the personification of a gentleman and exemplified all the best things about our industry. Alan will be missed by our industry, and I will miss him personally,” said WSWA Executive Vice President, Government Affairs Dawson Hobbs.