The 71st Annual Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America Convention & Exposition (WSWA) concluded today with record attendance, impressive keynote speakers and exciting tasting and mixology competitions at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.
General Sessions included keynote speakers: Captain Richard Phillips, whose story of kidnapping and survival inspired the hit Tom Hanks film, the real Wolf of Wall Street Jordan Belfort, as well as Dan Heath, Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE Center. All of these educational and inspiring speeches can be seen on the official WSWA YouTube channel.
Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist, emceed the Call for Cocktails Mixology, Hoptails Mixology Competition, and Wholesaler Iron Mixologist Competitions, sponsored by The Tasting Panel Magazine, which brought together the best mixologists in the industry to showcase their skills in front of an audience of cocktail enthusiasts.
A complete list of all products, suppliers, competition winners and recipes is available under each competition category on the WSWA Convention website: www.wswaconvention.org.
The event also recognized the long records of business success and community service of two industry veterans. Rocky Wirtz, President of Wirtz Beverage Group of Chicago, Ill., was recognized with the Lifetime Leadership Award, which is presented each year to a wholesaler whose contribution to the association, community and beverage industry defines excellence, inspires loyalty and exemplifies leadership.
Also recognized was Max L. Shapira, President of Heaven Hill Distilleries of Bardstown, Ky., who received the Sidney Frank Award from the WSWA Educational Foundation. This award is given to a person who has made exceptional contributions to the industry in addition to noteworthy philanthropic and community service contributions. The award is named for Sidney Frank, an innovator in the beverage industry who built successful brands and set records for philanthropic contributions and service.
The U.S. Beverage Alcohol Forum offered a number of educational panels from industry experts on the latest trends as well as practical information on brand entry and distribution strategies; on premise activation; use of mixologists as bartenders; digital media marketing; and multicultural outreach.
The WSWA 72nd Annual Convention & Exposition will take place April 12-14, 2015 at the Ritz Carlton Grande Lakes in Orlando, Florida.
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The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America is the national trade association representing the wholesale tier of the wine and spirits industry. WSWA is the voice for wholesalers in Congress, the executive branch, the courts, with the news media, and in communities across America. Member firms represent 80 percent of the total U.S. wine and spirits market. Information about the association is available at www.wswa.org.