The Alexandria, Va.-based National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) hosted its 79th Annual Convention, Sept. 25-28 at the Hyatt Regency Chicago. Attendees learned about important issues that beer distributors and the industry are facing and sampled new products during a two-day Product Demonstration Showcase that included more than 160 exhibitors, including 35 breweries, highlighting more than 100 labels of beer. They also attended education seminars on a wide range of industry topics, including warehousing technology, operations, trade practices and consumer insights.

During the Sept. 26th keynote address, NBWA’s outgoing Chairman of the Board Travis Markstein reflected on beer industry developments during the past year and the state of the American beer industry and said: “Our industry, while not without its challenges, is strong. America is still the world’s biggest, most profitable beer market.”

Craig Purser, NBWA president and chief executive officer added: “Disruption continues to transform our world. Our lives. Our industry. Disruption is the new normal for the beer industry as well, but with disruption comes opportunity.”

Purser highlighted increases in sales volumes, imports seeing positive trends, the continued increase in the number of U.S. brewers and the growth in craft brewery valuations. “Thanks to a robust and competitive system of independent distribution, which provides access to market for brewers of all sizes, the U.S. is enjoying a new Golden Age for beer with unprecedented variety offered by more than 4,000 brewers,” Purser said. 

The general session also featured a presentation of the NBWA Life Service Award to Fred Dettwiller of DET Distributing Co. in Tennessee, and Don Heimark of Triangle Distributing Co. and Heimark Distributing Co. in California.

NBWA also announced that Allagash Brewing Co., Portland, Maine, was the recipient of the second annual NBWA Brewer Partner of the Year Award; KettleHouse Brewing Co. of Missoula, Mont., was recognized with the Brewer Partner Sales Execution Award; and Port City Brewing Co., Alexandria, Va., was presented the Brewer Partner Marketing Innovation Award.

In other news, Paul J. Bertucci, executive vice president of F.E.B. Distributing Co. Inc. in Gulfport and Capital City Beverage Inc. in Jackson, Miss., was named NBWA’s 2016-2017 chairman of the board of directors. BI