June 2013
Highlights included keynote presen-
tations from Hall of Fame quarterback
and NFL broadcaster Terry Bradshaw and
real estate mogul and television person-
ality Barbara Corcoran. A number of
industry leaders were honored, includ-
ing Richard Leventhal, chairman of New
Jersey-based Fedway Associates, who
received the Lifetime Leadership Award
(see sidebar). Mark Teasdale, president
and CEO of Proximo Spirits, Inc., re-
ceived the Sidney Frank Award, given
by the WSWA Educational Foundation
to an industry member who has made
exceptional philanthropic contributions.
Teasdale’s extensive community support
includes his work with the Wounded
Warrior Foundation, the group to which
he donated the award’s $10,000 grant.
Industry Insights
On the third day of the convention,
John Beaudette, CEO of importer/dis-
tributor MHW discussed the great op-
portunities created by growth—spirits
were up 3.6% and wine up 1.9% in
2012—as well as difficulties created by
a growing number of SKUs, consolida-
tion and direct-to-consumer sales. It
has become increasingly challenging for
small brands, he explained, given that
the top 10 distributors represent nearly
70% of the industry, which translates
into many small brands not getting the
attention they need to catch on. One
important evolution: wine wholesalers
getting into craft spirits and large wine
suppliers adding spirits to their portfo-
lios (Trinchero, for example, now has
Tres Agaves and Cruz Tequila).
Incoming WSWA President Doug
Hertz sent the message: Evolve your
business or become obsolete. The
president of United Distributors in
Atlanta, Hertz estimates that 20% of
his company’s volume is from products
they did not sell five years ago. And
these same brands represent 80% of
the company’s growth.
Competitions Tap Winners
The WSWA 70
Annual Convention
& Exposition also crowned winners
in four distinct competitions: the
Hoptails Mixology Competition, Wine
& Spirits Tasting Competitions, Call for
Cocktails: Mixology Competition, and
the Wholesaler Iron Mixologist Com-
petition. (A complete list of all win-
ners and selected recipes are available
at wswaconvention.org/media-center/.)
The Hoptails Mixology Competi-
tion resulted in a First Place medal
for Lucas Bols, USA, for the cocktail
Delightful Deception created by the
company’s mixologist, Anthony Pul-
len. The drink features Bols Yogurt,
the newest (and suprisingly delicious)
flavor in the brand’s liqueur line-up. Ty
Ku Saké & Spirits won the Call for
Cocktails Competition with Aroma
Coma, a drink showcasing Ty Ku’s
Coconut Nigori Saké created by mixolo-
gist Ro Patel from the Sling Bar Company.
WSWA presented the Hot, New,
WSWA Convention Shines in Orlando
With Record-Setting Attendance, the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers
Annual Convention Draws New Members and Exhibitors.
ver the course of three days in April, nearly 2,300 industry members
gathered in Orlando for what turned out to be one of the best WSWA
Conventions ever. “This year, we sold out every inch of space—every
exhibit booth, every traditional suite, every lower level suite, every room in this
property, two full hotels plus overflow rooms at nearby hotels—and we did it
earlier than we ever have before,” WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf said.
The theme for this year’s convention was “So Hot, It’s Cool!”;
right: WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf addressed the crowd at
the opening general session.
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