The National Beer Wholesalers Association highlighted the role of America’s beer distributors at its 72nd Annual Convention & Trade Show last week in Las Vegas.
NBWA Chairman of the Board Phil Terry addressed the group about the future of America’s beer distributors and the challenges to a state’s ability to regulate alcohol. NBWA President Craig Purser talked about the impact recent economic and political changes have had on the beer distribution industry. Purser also discussed the meaning of a distributor focused agenda; contrasted the system of alcohol regulation in the United States to the deregulation of alcohol in the United Kingdom; and highlighted the fact that there are now more 1,500 breweries in the United States, up from less than 50 in 1983.
Jim Koch, founder of Boston Beer Co., also spoke about the important role beer distributors and their partnership with brewers, and how they enabled the growth of his business. The convention also featured the panels “It’s Not Your Father’s Beer Business” and “Because Alcohol is Different.” In the session “Because Alcohol is Different,” three advocates for effective public policy and public safety shared their perspectives about the role of state-based alcohol regulation.
NBWA also announced its board of directors for the 2009-2010 term. Mitch Watkins, president of Watkins Distributing, Sales & Service, Twin Falls, Idaho, will take the helm as chairman of the board. Other board officers include: Vice Chair Larry Del Papa Jr., president of Del Papa Distributing Co., Galveston, Texas; Treasurer Steve Lytle, chairman of Columbia Distributing, Portland, Ore.; Secretary Bob Archer, president of Blue Ridge Beverage Co., based in Salem, Va.; Immediate Past Chair Phil Terry, president and chief executive officer of Monarch Beverage Co., Indianapolis.
The association also honored several leaders during the convention. The NBWA Life Service Award, the association’s highest honor, was presented to three beer distributors who have dedicated a lifetime of service to the industry, community and fellow distributors: Lawrence J. Del Papa, Del Papa Distributing, Galveston, Texas; Frieda Maisel, Gulf Distributing Co., Mobile, Ala.; and Gene Vukelic, Try-It Distributing, Lancaster, N.Y.
The NBWA Industry Award was presented to two beer distributor state association executives for their service to the distribution industry: Steve Higginbothom, Wholesale Beer Distributors of Arkansas Inc., and Victoria Horton, California Beer & Beverage Distributors.
The NBWA Public Affairs Award was presented to two “sister companies” for executing public affairs programs that promote responsible consumption and help fight underage drinking; educate elected leaders, lawmakers, the media and the public on the important role of beer distributors in local communities; and advance the advocacy efforts of the Association and America’s beer distributors. They were Premium Distributors of Virginia, Chantilly, Va. and Premium Distributors of Washington, D.C.