2019 Convention Seminar Program | NBWA: America's Beer and Beverage Distributors

Sunday, September 22

1:30 – 2:45 p.m.

The Future of Brick & Mortar Shopping

Sponsored by the Beer Industry Electronic Commerce Coalition (BIECC)

While e-commerce remains a fast-growing channel, it’s not the only innovation being made by retailers to enhance the consumer shopping experience. Hear from industry and retail leaders as they provide a glimpse at what retail shelves and store layouts look like in the future and how it will benefit all segments of the industry. The speakers on this panel will be: 

Ethelbert Williams, Head of e-Commerce for Boston Beer Company (Moderator)
Charles Slezak, Director of Beverages at Lowes Foods 
Cheryl Zeller, Head of Partners Program, Peapod Digital Labs at Ahold Delhaize

Bang for the Buck: A Strategic Approach for Beer Knowledge Training


Ray Daniels, Cicerone Certification Program

David Kahle, Master Cicerone®

Veteran trainers and beer experts present an easy-to-follow framework for training assessment and development. The overall plan revolves around a five “T”  - targets, topics, techniques, touchstones and timeline - paradigm to ensure that you don’t just “do training” but actually achieve results for the company through your efforts. This approach includes suggestions on how to make training more engaging and how to capitalize on existing resources to save time and money. The speakers will use their personal experience in creating and presenting training and discuss experiences gained at a major beer distributor through the development and execution of just such a plan.

How to Grow Revenue in a Hyper-Competitive Market

Kary Shumway, Beer Business Finance and Craft Brewery Finance & CFO

In an era of flat to declining sales and fierce competition at retail, beer distributors are seeking ways to increase sales and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. In this session, learn specific tactics and strategies to increase sales and profitability. Review three ways to increase sales and how each can be applied to your business. Discuss keys to successful brewery relationships and using those to grow sales.  Use one-page checklists to improve your business results. Kary Shumway, author of Beer Business Finance, is an expert in teaching finance to non-financial managers so your company can increase profits along with increasing top line sales.

Monday, September 23

8:00 – 9:15 a.m.

Benchmarking – You Must Do It!

Craig Van Horn

Ippolito Christon & Co.

Almost every distributor wants to know how it compares to other distributors. What can I do to improve my performance? Am I getting an adequate ROI? Comparing your operating performance with other distributors is critical to evaluating and improving your business. Ippolito Christon will use both public & private data from dozens of distributors to compare performance of distributors by company size, performance level, geographic location, and other characteristics. You will learn how to calculate your own minimum Hurdle Rate to evaluate all assets deployed. This in turn can lead to effective compensation plans for key employees producing even better performance in the future. Attendees will acquire a framework to make improved critical decisions about the business leading to improved financial success.

Winning in Your Key Accounts

Tom Fox, CM Profit Group

Succeeding in your key accounts is most critical to your company’s performance. The session will highlight the 3 concepts your Key Account team needs to effectively execute to exceed your customers expectations and grow share. Tom Fox will share his 18 years of experience in training distributor sales managers and sales staff. He has worked closely with dozens of distributors over the years on transforming their culture to drive a professional sales approach and a system for developing people.

Recent Legal Challenges to State Liquor Laws and How They Impact the Future of the Industry.

Mike Madigan, Madigan, Dahl & Harlan

In the last ten years, the alcohol industry has experienced an unprecedented number of legal challenges including a return to the United States Supreme Court. Challenges to state liquor laws have been filed on constitutional, preemption, and other grounds. For instance, price regulations have been challenged under federal antitrust law. Three-tier and tied-house exemptions afforded to suppliers have been challenged under the Dormant Commerce Clause and Equal Protection Clause. Trade practice laws have been challenged under the First Amendment. These legal challenges can and will impact that future of the beer industry. This seminar will outline the current legal issues and outline next steps in this continuing challenge to state alcohol regulation.

Talent Development Solutions for the Next Generation of Employees

Danielle McCormick, KCoe Isom

In this interactive session, attendees will assess and address the efficacy of their distribution organization's HR and talent development systems and processes. Participants can expect to have their current mindsets about leadership development and traditional performance management challenged and will walk away with a list of new ideas and strategies aligned to their specific HR “pain points.”  Learning objectives include how to assess your existing HR efforts and create a plan to focus on closing gaps; what employees need to be and stay engaged; why your current performance management approach is likely doing more harm than good and when to make a change in the strategic focus of HR in your organization.

HealthCare is My Top 3 Line Item Business Expense – Is There a Way to Save Money?

Jason Dixon, BevCap Management

With the cost of employer-sponsored health care benefits expected to approach $15,000 per employee in 2019, U.S. employers continue to search for ways to hold down cost increases, while at the same time providing “better benefits” to their employees. The cost of health benefits are out pacing wage increases at a rate of two times, and three times general inflation. Learn how other distributors have created solutions to help mitigate those costs, provide better employee satisfaction and strengthen your organization’s bottom line. Attendees will hear about several unique programs that have allowed distributors to pay less today for health benefits than they did in 2012.  Some topics that will be discussed include, but not limited to: direct contracting – FREE Surgeries, FREE – specialty drugs, drug rebates – 10% savings, Telemedicine, dialysis, physical therapy and behavioral modification. Jason Dixon, partner at BevCap Management, is a recognized industry leader with 25+ years of experience working with employee benefits.

Supplier Consents to Transactions – Getting to Yes!

Mark Hall, Paragon Beverage Advisors LLC

Drew Jaglom, Tannenbaum Helpern Syracuse & Hirschtritt LLP

Randy Jozwiakowski, Paragon Beverage Advisors LLC

With craft beers, ciders, non-alc and even wine and spirits, beer distributors now deal with dozens, if not hundreds of suppliers, creating a challenge to obtaining supplier consents when buying, selling, or combining businesses.  The process is complicated by distribution contracts that set procedures, timelines, and criteria for consent, and state franchise laws that restrict supplier rights in ways that differ by state, product category, and supplier size.  Some suppliers are essential to a deal closing.  Non-consent of others can affect deal economics, perhaps by more than the brands "fair market value."  The "pound of flesh" suppliers try to extract as the price for consent may change deal economics.  Experienced beer distributor deal makers who once worked at a major brewer approving distributor deals and a leading distribution lawyer with 40 years of experience doing deals in the industry legal landscape will help you learn how to get the consents you need to get your deal done.

Bigger Profits in a Shrinking Market

Distributor Members Only

Matt Ellis, PDC

How do you achieve more profitability with less volume?  Price increase?  Carry higher margin SKUs?  Both are limited in effectiveness and frankly not totally within your control.  So, what can be done to increase profits with less volume?  Reduce operating costs in the facility and in the trade.  A distributorship is a mixed pallet/cart building factory.  Full pallets or layers are brought into the facility and converted into mixed pallets/carts delivered to the trade. Distributors receive full pallets or layers and the consumer wants to build their own six-packs. The complexity in between, is what your “factory” must produce…and produce cost effectively. The good news is even low-cost producers can lower costs or prevent “cost creep.”  PDC will demonstrate techniques/strategies to reduce costs, restore lost margins, and shed light solutions across distributors of various size and complexity.

How Your Business Can Take Advantage of EDI Without Spending a Dollar

Dan Hicks, AccountsFlow

Many small to medium sized businesses can't afford the large budgetary expense and long implementation timelines to implement EDI (electronic data interchange). However, commercial requirements are pressuring more businesses to have an EDI solution. This presentation analyzes why distributors and brewers should consider EDI and cost effective, rapidly installed alternatives to the traditional approach.

Tuesday, September 24

8:00 – 9:15 a.m.

20 Things Wholesalers Need to Stop Doing

Wes & Joe Verno, Verno Consulting

In every beer wholesaler, two keys to future success include deciding on the things the business needs to start doing that are not currently being done and conversely, identifying the things that the business needs to stop doing. In this seminar we will discuss the 20 things wholesalers need to stop doing. Some of these things will be quite obvious, relatively easy to do and readily adopted in the short term.  Other things wholesalers need to stop doing will be more difficult and even counter to the historical culture of the traditional beer wholesaler. Attend this seminar and find out the things wholesalers need to stop doing and how these changes will improve your profits, free up resources that can be reallocated to more productive efforts, reduce wear and tear on your people, and make the overall business run more smoothly and be easier to manage.

How eCommerce is Impacting the Three-Tier System

Nathan Mansperger, Provi

eCommerce platforms like Amazon have redefined the way we shop. This movement has led to the emergence of new platforms within the alcohol beverage industry that provide retailers with similar conveniences around shopping and ordering. During this discussion, we explore how the broader shift towards digitalization impacts your business and how to use these new tools to improve marketing, leverage data, and optimize day-to-day operations. When utilized properly, these new levers drive significant increases in both sales and points of distribution.

Stepping Up Your Company’s Analytical Game-Plan

Lester Jones, NBWA

What is your company’s analytical agenda for the next 5 years? With access to more industry, marketplace, and operational data than ever before, how do you set priorities and work through all the noise?  This seminar brings together a diverse group of industry experts with significant experience bringing data and analytics to beer distributors. Panelists will explain how they are developing data analytics to meet distributor marketplace challenges inside and outside the warehouse. Technology and innovation are opening up a new world of opportunities and this seminar will help you decide what should be at the top of your analytical agenda.

Recruiting and Retaining A-Players in a Challenging Market

Matt Dahlstrom, In:trench Consulting

Are you struggling to find A-players for your team? How about any players? And then, once you find them, do they quickly turn around and find another job? The reality is that today’s workforce has unique needs and expectations of their employer. If those needs aren’t met, it increases the chance that they will choose another employer, or turnover after the initial appeal of working in the beer business wears off.  This session will provide solutions to help you recruit, hire and then retain the best employees, giving them the simple things they need to succeed at your organization.

Conversations You Should be Having with your CPA – Tax and Financial Topics Applicable to Beer Distributors

Gary Cassiello, JGS, CPA, P.C.

Does your accountant have a strong knowledge of the beer distribution industry?  When it comes to tax and financial situations are they able to give industry specific advice? This seminar will discuss a wide range of financial topics and how they pertain to beer distributors. This session will cover effective tax planning along with managing financial statements to make bank covenants. In addition it will highlight industry operations and where they are susceptible to fraud.  This session will highlight best practices pertaining to succession planning, merger and consolidation opportunities. Attendees will receive financial insight into standard industry price per case equivalent, gross profit and operating expenses.

The Not So Great Value Reset

Tim Coughlin, DMG Financial

The value of beer distribution rights rose dramatically over the last 20 years. Acquisition multiples were driven higher by exceptionally low interest rates, a healthy pricing environment, consolidation savings, and perhaps most important of all, buyer’s faith in the resilience of the beer distribution industry. Now, the forces that drove multiples higher are losing their luster. Downward pressures on pricing are increasing. Would-be acquirers are less willing to pay high multiples and the price gap between buyers and sellers is growing. This seminar will discuss how downward pressures on values could impact buyers, sellers, and owners’ seeking succession, and how each should adjust their strategic thinking.

Forecasting – How Much Money are you Leaving on the Table?

Ross Ackerman, GP Analytics

Forecasting isn't just a buzz-word.  Learn how to use the latest forecasting methods for ordering from suppliers to drive a reduction in out-of-stocks, out of code product, but more importantly safely cut your inventory by 20%-25%. Beer distributors generally use either a 4-week, 6-week or 8-week rolling average for forecasting. Learn how to use the latest in forecasting theory by cutting through the intimidating math, making it easy to understand and apply on a daily basis.

One Size Does Not Fit All: Automating & Optimizing Beverage Wholesalers

Distributor Members Only

Matthew Boykin, Cirrus Tech

One size does not fit all when considering the right automated solution for a beverage distributors warehouse. This session will discuss the importance of optimizing the warehouse after the installation to provide the most efficient and optimal warehouse possible.

Sell Me A Beer, Geek!

Suzanne Schalow, Craft Beer Cellar & The Society of Master Beercierge

Over the years, a lot has been poured into this industry, from the education of beer quality to a better understanding of distribution and beer styles, in general. We are churning out more styles of beer than have ever been produced in this country and no doubt have a better understanding of what it is, but we've yet to master the art of talking to customers about beer and actually selling it at the retail level. There is an enormous gap between understanding the product and being able to confidently get it in a customer’s hands, at both on - and - off premise establishments. In this session attendees will discuss relying less on merchandising tactics to sell beer. Instead focus on knowledge of the product and ability to quickly access a beer. Attendees will learn to discuss it with a customer, and have them become as excited to try it as you are to sell it.

Bolting On or Buying In: Beer Distributors and Non-Alcohol Drinks

Gerry Khermouch, Beverage Business Insights

Increasing number of beer distributors place greater reliance on a portfolio outside of beer to efficiently run their operations. Some beer distributors have a few non- alcoholic beverages in their warehouses while others have more significant investments in the non-beer side of their business.  This seminar will address the pros and cons of building a robust distribution company beyond just beer. Strategies to attract and retain new suppliers as well as modern and historical market data on the dynamic non-alcohol beverage market will be discussed.