Sunday, October 8

1:00 – 2:30 p.m.


How Current and Next Generations Can Work Together to Build Effective Next Gen Leadership

Joe Verno and Wes Verno, Verno Consulting LLC

This session is specifically designed for next generation leaders and current leadership to attend TOGETHER. Learn how to create a formal next generation development plan and how to communicate progress at each step along the career path. This plan will serve two purposes: to learn how to be the best possible leader and be fully competent to run the business, and to get approved as successor or equity manager by the company’s major supplier partners. Discuss the roles of each person involved in executing the development plan, and explore career path options and timing for the selected career path.

The Future of Beer Retailing

Beer Industry Electronic Commerce Coalition (BIECC)

With continued advances in technology and consumer demand for variety, value and convenience always growing, what will the beer aisle and beer retailer of the future look like? How will beer distributors be able to help retailers meet consumer demand and succeed in an increasingly competitive marketplace? Join a panel of experts from across the tiers who will discuss the ever-changing retail landscape and where it appears to be headed.


Monday, October 9

8:00 – 9:15 a.m.


Adding Value to Your Distributorship via Companion Products

Joe Cekola, Imperial Beverage Co.; Steve Economos, Eagle Rock Distributing Co., Inc.; Marion Glover, Glover Capital

A diversified distributorship is in many cases a more profitable business. Many product lines including wine, spirits, non-alcohol and snack foods all could potentially benefit from being in your beer distributorship. However, the decision to add these products has costs, and a distributor needs to account for the many new legal, regulatory and business costs. This panel will explore the decision to purchase an existing non-alcohol business or the issues to consider in adding other products to your beer distribution business.

Get Your Legal House in Order!

Rebecca Maisel, Gulf Distributing Holdings; Mike Madigan, Madigan, Dahl & Harlan; Moderated by Paul Pisano, NBWA

The most important asset in any beer distribution business is the contractual right to distribute beer, yet many operations may be overlooking critical due diligence and maintenance in supplier contracts as well as other legal matters. This panel will explore the importance of hiring in-house counsel or elevating the understanding of the legal needs of distributorships with regard to contracts, labor law issues, human resources or a variety of other challenges confronting beer distribution businesses. The panel will share best practices to help increase efficiency and reduce heartburn as well as updates on several issues facing beer distribution facilities.

Hang Together or Hang Alone

Sean McLaren and John O’Connor, OMAC Beverage Advisors, LLC

This seminar will discuss the merits of franchise protection and other statutory issues that protect the value of a wholesaler’s business. A state's regulatory and legal environment is a consideration when banks issue credit, and strong, consistent laws add value to all three tiers. OMAC will discuss specific examples of the good and bad when beer distributors and brewers work together … and don’t. There is a lot going on within the friendly confines of the three-tier system these days, including attacks on franchise laws, lawsuits among suppliers/distributors and various attempts at legislative changes. OMAC will delve into several of these current and past events to discuss the ramifications they have on the industry as well as the value of your business.

How to Gain the Trust of Brewers Who Didn’t Choose You

Jack McCraine, Baker Tilly

In the ever‑changing craft distribution market, there may come a time when you add craft brewers to your portfolio who didn’t choose you. Whether it be due to consolidation, new geographies, or lower margins, how do you gain their trust and develop a mutually beneficial partnership? What happens if they refuse to sell their distribution rights as part of a consolidation? Join Baker Tilly's guest panel for an overview of best practices for growing your portfolio with craft brewery partners that are hesitant to join your roster.

How to Turn Property into Tax Savings

Michael Clugston, Cost Segregation Services Inc.

Have you ever wondered how the super-wealthy pay so little in taxes? There are several strategies investors use that are both legitimate and wise. If you own or lease commercial property, this discussion is for you. Come and hear Michael Clugston, national account executive with CSSI, break down the tax strategy known as cost segregation. He will show you exactly how CSSI’s tax and engineering strategists will analyze your building(s), divide personal property from real property, and reduce your taxable income, thus lower your taxes. Clugston will work closely with your CPA to bring this deduction straight to you. This breakout session is worth $60,000 - $100,000 for every $1 million in building cost basis. Is there anywhere else you would rather be?

Managing a Growing Portfolio

Greg Ellis, PDC

Beer business dynamics are changing at an astounding pace. As a result, warehouse requirements are more complex than just 12 months ago. Distributor acquisition, brand expansion, go‑to‑market changes and customer requirements are all contributing to a multifaceted business model. To keep pace with changing dynamics, distributors must continue to modernize their warehouse capability. Using sample warehouse design analysis, warehouse layouts and numerous case studies, PDC will demonstrate the out‑of‑the‑box approach that distributors – from 1 million cases to 15 million cases – must take when planning for the future.

Organization Structure Watchouts: Improving Structure and Effectiveness

Joe Verno and Wes Verno, Verno Consulting LLC

To a large extent, business success is based on strategy, structure and systems. If your organization structure breaks down, your strategy and systems also will break down. Organization structure impacts effectiveness and profits more than any other aspect of the wholesaler. This seminar will address these key questions: Is your organization structure aligned with your overall business strategy? Does your organization structure have too many layers? What are the right spans of control for key functions? Who should manage specific functions? What are the most common organization structure design errors? How can you balance organization structure needs and costs? Are your managers doing $50 an hour work or $20 an hour work?

Power Play Strategies: David vs. Goliath

Andy Christon, Ippolito Christon & Co.

Today’s distributor landscape has evolved into one dominated by consolidated mega-distributors and large suppliers, both characterized as “Goliaths,” and by smaller successful distributors more typical of the proverbial “David.”  Distributors like David may have a harder time surviving when Goliath threatens.  However, just as in the biblical parable, there are power play options for David that when used with nimbleness and skill will enable David to stay in business and thrive.

The 36-Month Employee

Scott Nielsen, Liquid Knowledge

Statistics tell us that the average individual entering the workforce today will have seven different jobs before the age of 38. Simple math would tell you that the average length of employment per job if they entered at age 22, would be just over two years per job. It's stats like these that have the industry complaining about this generation known as millennials. The purpose of this seminar is to help distributor management teams learn the power and importance of when and with whom to apply the right influence, time and effort, to develop the right individuals. In this seminar, participants will leave with an understanding of how to build, structure, coach, train and develop the “36-month employee.”

Truth from the Trenches About Warehouse Automation

Darin Spence, Encompass Technologies

NBWA members have experienced first-hand how increasing SKU counts have resulted in a variety of challenges for warehouse operations, including space constraints, longer pick lines, increased pick errors and high employee turnover. One new solution is an innovative warehouse automation strategy that orchestrates proven pick methods to reduce travel time while increasing pick productivity, pick accuracy and storage space. A panel will share the factors that led them to warehouse automation, the implementation process, how they will scale in coming years, the maintenance and, most importantly, results.


Tuesday, October 10

8:00 – 9:15 a.m.


Beer Industry Data Review

Jim Kallies, Fintech; Lester Jones, NBWA

NBWA and Fintech will present an update on the alcohol industry’s sales to retailer data managed by the EFT payment process of Fintech’s OneSource® solution. Timely and reliable sales to retailer data is in short supply in the beer industry. This data brings a new level of insight to the marketplace for beer distributors and their partners. This seminar will bring together new and existing industry data to present a fresh outlook on trends that are shaping the industry today.

Calling All Communicators! Building the Distributor Brand Through Effective Communications (Distributor Members Only)

Distributors build beer brands every day. But it’s important to build the brand of your own business, too. Top communications professionals will share the latest trends to help you develop a proactive approach to selling your own story about the brands you build, the great jobs you support and the community projects you sponsor. This session will address how you can use various social media platforms and traditional media to effectively communicate with consumers, elected leaders and other important stakeholders. Hear best practices from distributors around the country and learn about resources that NBWA makes available to distributor members so you can produce big results without a big budget.

Delivering Effective Sales Meetings

Tom Fox, CM Profit Group

Too many sales meetings fall short of exceeding expectations because they don’t engage their audience and, ultimately, your meeting objectives are not met. Fox will highlight the fundamentals of developing an effective meeting agenda – making sure to spend time on those items that will make a difference and ensure that the knowledge that needs to get transferred does so. If your sales meetings are not inspiring and educating your teams, this session is a must attend.

I Love Incentive Tracking! (Distributor Members Only)

Tracy Neal, CPG Data

Industry veteran and company founder Tracy Neal will introduce you to a panel of distributor sales managers who can honestly say that display tracking is no longer the headache that it was before using CPG Data as an execution tracking platform. After a brief introduction to how CPG Data works, you'll hear real stories from distributor peers as Neal moderates an interactive Q&A between the audience and the panel. If you can take away one idea that saves you one hour across the 40 incentives you'll track this year, then this session will be worth a whole week's worth of work in value – or an extra weekend – however you choose to look at it!

Investing in Performance

Joe Thompson, Independent Beverage Group

IBG has spent the last six to eight months researching the historical trends of the three-tier system including cost, volume, margin, profitability, consumption per capita, share of stomach, etc. A complete understanding of these trends is critical for anyone considering buying, selling or merging. With a focus on distributors and their ability to add value to brewers, retailers and consumers, this seminar will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of the three-tier system and present ways to maximize the strengths and minimize the weaknesses. With the emergence of alternative distribution systems such as Amazon, Drizly and self‑distribution, it is critical that distributors enhance the sales, marketing and logistic benefits they deliver.

Managing Your Health Care Costs for the Future

Jason Dixon, BevCap Management LLC

What will the new American Health Care Act mean for you and your distributorship? Since the inception of health care reform, companies across America have been looking for ways to reduce one of their top five line-item expenses – health insurance. Hear from a panel of industry experts and fellow distributors on creative ways to manage member dollars outside of the traditional approach to avoid wasted spending and provide state-of-the- art benefits to your employees.

Re-Thinking Performance Management

Matt Dahlstrom and Grant Barrett, In:trench Consulting Group

Annually, your employees expect feedback on their performance. Whether it’s good or bad, they want to know how they’re delivering against expected results. The question, however, is how effective is your process? Employee expectations are shifting; needs are evolving and distributor leaders are finding it harder to keep pace with performance reviews. Come listen to Matt Dahlstrom and Grant Barrett share their insights and practical tools for evaluating your company’s performance, and walk away with the tools needed to lead more engaged and productive employees.

Selling Draught Beer Quality

Matt Meadows, New Belgium Brewing Company

Delivering high quality products to customers means more profits for wholesalers and retailers. It is often a challenge to convey this concept to those who view quality as an unnecessary expense. This interactive presentation will move beyond basic draught quality and will focus on how to provide high-profit, consultant-level service to your customers. Attendees will leave this session with effective selling tools to demonstrate how improving quality means greater profits.

The Future of Direct Store Delivery: Strategies to Improve Operations and Delivery Efficiencies

Robert Grace, enVista

Today, a typical side‑load truck driver handles every case four times before it is delivered and opens and closes the truck bay doors as many as 280 times a day. This coupled with the explosion of SKU growth and reduction in the time available for your warehouse to pick and load the delivery vehicles every day has wholesalers re‑engineering their operations. Choosing the right delivery method and optimizing your warehouse operations can reduce these types of inefficiencies and increase profitability. This seminar will detail the evolution of delivery methods and the different options available to distributors today. Attendees will learn a five‑step methodology for evaluating your delivery strategy. By choosing the right delivery method, distributors will improve operational and delivery efficiencies.

This Is Not Your Grandfather’s Beverage Warehouse Anymore

Stephen Golladay, Total System Thinking Solutions

This seminar will discuss day-to-day operations with the changing environment of labor constraints, packaging challenges and the shrinking space, and how to ensure that a distributor can operate into the future. Golladay will talk about the use of technology first to determine the process and then how to apply appropriate technology that assists the process. Lastly, he will share the importance of building a collaborative team with all departments, realizing the warehouse must not operate in a vacuum. Attendees will gain an understanding of how to ensure the warehouse drives a successful supply chain.