First day focuses on future of the beer industry, highlights industry developments over the last year
Las Vegas, Nev. –The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) today began its 82nd Annual Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas, bringing beer distributors together from across the country. NBWA Outgoing Chairman Michael Schilleci of Alabama-based Supreme Beverage and NBWA President and CEO Craig Purser welcomed a crowd of over 3,000 people.
“It’s great to be back together with so many hardworking members of the beer community from across the country,” said Craig Purser, NBWA president and CEO. “Our annual Convention is a great opportunity for beer distributors to connect, network, share best practices and learn helpful tips on how to grow their business. This year, we will be particularly interested in finding new ways to collaborate throughout the beer industry to strengthen the beer category.”
Purser and Schilleci began the day with an update on NBWA’s activities over the last year, including the association’s involvement in the Supreme Court case, Tennessee Wine & Spirits Retailers Association v. Thomas and the launch of the “Beers to That” campaign as part of the Beer Growth Initiative, an industry-wide collaboration to elevate, celebrate and grow all beer. There were also discussions about issues shaping the future of industry such as diversification and e-commerce.
Additionally, attendees heard from craft beer pioneers Jim Koch, the co-founder and chairman of the Boston Beer Company, and Sam Calagione, founder and president of Dogfish Head Brewery, together on stage for the first time since their companies merged earlier this year. Koch and Calagione shared their thoughts about recent industry trends and the future of the beer industry.
Keynotes speaker Kristen Soltis Anderson rounded out the first day’s program. Soltis Anderson, the co-founder of Echelon Insights and author of ‘The Selfie Vote: Where Millennials are Leading America (And How Republicans Can Keep Up), shared insights on how millennials are influencing consumer trends and politics.
Purser and Schilleci also recognized three beer distributors with the Life Service Award for their service and commitment to the beer distribution industry. Betty Buck, president of Buck Distributing Company, Eric Best, general manager of Bob Hall, LLC and Don Fields, chief operating officer, vice president and equity manager of Perry Distributors Inc. were all honored.
“It’s been an honor to lead the Board of a top-notch organization with incredible members over the last year, and I could not be prouder of what we’ve accomplished,” Schilleci said. “While we faced challenges, I believe we effectively strengthened and promoted the beer distribution industry nationally and in communities across the country.”
“Today was filled with encouraging and enthusiastic discussions,” added Purser. “I look forward to another productive day tomorrow.”