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Beverage Media
August 2013
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T
he 11
th
annual ABL Conference
took place June 9
th
-11
th
, for the
first time in Washington, D.C. In
part inspired by the conference locale,
emphasis was stressed on policy issues and
information. The event featured 25 speak-
ers—more than any previous conference.
The keynote speech was delivered
by Congressman Tom Petri (R-WI), who
is Chairman of the Subcommittee for
Highways and Transit of the House
Transportation and Infrastructure Com-
mittee. His remarks touched on a variety
of issues like the state of politics in Wash-
ington today, highway safety policy, new
technology for automobile safety and other
issues that come before his subcommittee.
Other highlights included a panel
featuring craft producers’ insights into re-
tailer relationships and the future of craft.
Bill Butcher, Port City Brewing founder;
Rob Deford, Boordy Vineyards President;
and Wes Henderson, COO of Angel’s
Envy Bourbon, spoke frankly about obsta-
cles they’ve faced to reach where they are
today and future growth opportunities.
The Alcohol Industry Leaders panel
featured the heads of leading trade as-
sociations: Dr. Peter Cressy, President &
CEO of DISCUS; Craig Purser, Presi-
dent & CEO of NBWA; Joe McClain,
President of the Beer Institute; and Craig
Wolf, President & CEO of WSWA. The
panel discussed federal and industry-level
issues facing their members and ways they
could cooperate on shared concerns.
There were also individual educa-
tional seminars for ABL members which
touched on a variety of issues. Particularly
relevant since the National Transporta-
tion Safety Board’s recent recommen-
dation to lower the legal BAC limit to
0.05%, former law enforcement officer
Bill Georges discussed the fight against
drunk driving. Retired detective Martin
Johnson presented a seminar on fake
i.d. prevention. Neil Trautwein, VP and
Employee Benefits Policy Council at the
National Retail Federation, addressed the
expected impact of the Affordable Care
Act on small business owners.
Beverage Media held a presentation
called “Digital Success: It’s in Your Own
Backyard.” The session focused on how
the best opportunity for retailers selling
wine online is within their own market—
where consumers are already familiar with
their store name and brand. The talk went
on to highlight how these “in-market”
consumers show a greater inclination to
become repeat customers than “out-of-
market” consumers. The latter half of
the presentation then described how an
INDUSTRY
EVENT
ABL Conference 2013
Licensees Converge on The Nation’s Capital
BY CARA McILWAINE
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