The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) 75th Annual Convention & Exposition concluded last week in Las Vegas with an attendance of over 2,700.
The WSWA Convention & Exposition serves as a launch pad to catapult new brands and products into the marketplace and spotlight new trends and categories entering the thriving U.S. beverage alcohol industry. Two Exhibit Halls, along with Lower Level and Traditional Hospitality Suites, showcased more than 400 exhibitors to an attendee audience that included distributors, importers and other decision-makers, as well some 130 representatives from trade, local and national media outlets.
The event’s wine and spirits tasting competitions provided an opportunity to gain attention for the more than 700 brand entrants (a record-breaking number). View the results here. In addition, the Call for Cocktails Mixology Competition and Wholesaler Iron Mixologist Competition featured fierce competition from brand and distributor mixologists showing off trend-setting creativity and originality.
The convention concluded with Brand Battle, WSWA’s dynamic version of Shark Tank, as well as the U.S. Beverage Alcohol Forum (USBAF) educational sessions. In Brand Battle, seven pre-selected entrants pitched their brand and story to a panel of leading industry experts. During live voting, judge’s scores were combined with audience scores to crown the winner and runner-up. The 2018 Brand Battle winner was Gray Whale Gin produced by Golden State Distillery, which earned positive panel feedback for its ingredients, positioning, branding and presentation as well as its media and marketing appeal. Rosé Piscine, a unique French Rosé served over ice, was recognized as runner up. Watch USBAF panel discussions Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.
Gray Whale Gin also earned the “Hot New Now Media Award,” as determined by attending media representatives and presented to a brand that captures attention and has broad market appeal. See the award presentation (begins at 31:48).
The WSWA 75th Annual Convention & Exposition ran April 30-May 3 at Caesars Palace Las Vegas. Due to the volume of news and results from this year’s event, additional news releases issued over the next week will provide important information regarding awards presented to industry leaders as well as the selection of new a new chairman and representatives to the association’s Executive Committee.
WSWA is the national trade association representing the wholesale tier of the wine and spirits industry, dedicated to advancing the interests and independence of wholesalers, distributors and brokers of wine and spirits. Founded in 1943, WSWA has more than 380 member companies in 50 states and the District of Columbia, and its members distribute more than 80 percent of all wine and spirits sold at wholesale in the U.S.