The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA), Alexandria, Va., hosted its 78th annual convention and tradeshow Oct. 11-14 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The sold-out convention featured a two-story tradeshow floor, which accounted for more than 100,000 square feet with more than 84 breweries featuring more than 500 different beer brands.

Nearly 4,000 attendees attended the tradeshow, which also offered 23 education seminars covering topics from mobile apps to warehouse operations and financial implications, among many other topics.

“In addition to an outstanding lineup of speakers during the general session and more than 275 exhibitors participating in this year’s two-day Trade Show, NBWA is excited to offer a diverse selection of education seminars taught by the industry’s leading experts,” said NBWA President and Chief Executive Officer Craig Purser in a statement.

Monday’s opening general session featured NBWA’s outgoing Chairman of the Board Eric Best describing the opportunities for America’s independent beer distribution system. Additionally, Purser highlighted how distributors can prepare for the future.

Purser pointed to the successes of the open and independent distribution system, citing the immense growth in the number of breweries in the United States. He also noted some of the recent environmental changes in the industry, including brewers and importers operating under new leadership and the large amount of new capital flowing into craft beer and big acquisitions, particularly the tentative acquisition of London-based SABMiller by Anheuser-Busch InBev, Leuven, Belgium.

“The global market power that results from this new entity could be like nothing this industry has ever seen,” he said. “The impact worldwide related to raw materials, market share and overall influence is staggering. That is why antitrust regulators and antitrust officials must give this acquisition thorough scrutiny and exhaustive review.

“... At the same time, this proposed global deal reinforces the value of the open and independent American distribution system,” Purser continued. “What better way to demonstrate the value of having three separate tiers — a system that gets new brands to market, generates robust competition and delivers the best selection and value to retailers and consumers?”

 NBWA’s 79th Annual Convention will take place Sept. 25-28 in Chicago.