Annual Convention Seminars By Track

 

Below you will find a detailed schedule of the seminars by content track at NBWA’s 87th Annual Convention & Product Showcase. With over 24 seminars at this year’s convention — at three different time slots — it’s never been easier to maximize your time onsite and bring back fresh ideas for growing your business.

To view seminars by date, click here

Make sure to register for the seminars you want to attend — click here to learn how to do so. If you have any questions about the event or how to register for your preferred seminars, please contact Jenna Sugg at jsugg@nbwa.org.

Distributor of the Future

Strategies to Strengthen the Independent Beverage Distributor

Keith Hochheiser, Partner, Hochheiser & Akmal PLLC
Karen Kovtun, Managing Director, Ippolito Christon & Co.

Exclusivity and perpetuity are the two pillars that create significant value for the traditional brands that are distributed by beer wholesalers. However, suppliers of NAs, RTDs,  FMBs, hard sodas and other non-traditional beverages are inundating the market, persuading distributors to become the “total beverage company” and provide a route to market for brands.

These new “Golden Cases” often offer the appeal of immediate cash flow to the distributor. However, they contain hidden costs arising from the need to efficiently house, sort, pick and deliver an immense number of SKUs of different products. They also contain hidden risks in the supplier-friendly contracts being offered. Therefore, your total portfolio must be carefully analyzed and managed to maximize value and reduce risk.


Deciphering the Data Puzzle

Danelle Kosmal, Consultant, 3 Tier Beverages
Mary Mills, Consultant, 3 Tier Beverages
Lori Scheiffler, Co-Founder and President, Tamarron Consulting

In the dynamic landscape of today’s beer industry, distributors are managing complex portfolios across all types of beverages and fragmented channels. A single data source can provide a partial picture of performance, but understanding a broader range of datasets provides a more comprehensive narrative that facilitates strategic decision-making and sustainable growth

This seminar will highlight the breadth of data available to distributors and provide examples of how to weave datasets together to make better business decisions. We will delve into various data sources at the national and local levels, including free or public sources from the government, data programs from various trade associations, consumer data, surveys, scan data and on-premise sources. This session will also provide an in-depth review of the Beer First Fact Based Selling Tool.

Distributors will leave this session with the tools to piece together disparate data sources, enabling them to gain richer insights into the beer industry within their market and beyond.


What is the Future of Hemp-Infused Beverages?

Christopher Lackner, Executive Director, Hemp Beverage Alliance

Do hemp beverages belong on store shelves next to beer and hard seltzer? The answer to this question could have profound implications for the beverage alcohol market. Across the country, regulators are working to answer this question in states like Minnesota, which has created a regulated marketplace for low-dose hemp-derived THC beverages.

As other states develop hemp beverage policy, this seminar will explore the current regulatory landscape and the road ahead for these products. Attendees will learn about the hemp beverage industry’s history, the people and brands behind the industry and some of the key challenges and opportunities in this space.


Introducing AI Into Your Business and Never Looking Back (Two Parts)

Part 1:

Chris Dowling, Ohanafy
Bill Kraich, VP of eCommerce, Encompass Technologies
Tracy Neal, President/CEO, iSellBeer
Drayton Lee, Director of IT, Champion Brands, Inc.

Part 2:

Sean Mossman, CEO, Behold Beverage Intelligence
Laura Melzow, Strategic Technology Manager, Glazer’s Beer & Beverage
Bud Dunn, President, VXP Tech
Lester Jones, Vice President, Analytics and Chief Economist, NBWA

Perhaps no topic has generated more interest in recent years than the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) and how it continues to transform the way we do business. Hosted by the Beer Industry Electronic Commerce Coalition (BIECC), this two-seminar track will bring together a variety of industry experts who on day 1 will define AI and explain the benefits and risks it offers. Day 2 of the seminar will focus on real-life applications and how distributors are utilizing it in their businesses today.

Cross-Tier Collaboration: The Key to Achieving Successful Market Execution in an Omnibibulous World

Bill Kraich, VP of eCommerce, Encompass Technologies
Brian Drennan, President, Capital City Beverages Inc.

From brand to beer to beverage, the business of a distributor is in constant change. Driven by the ever-changing demands of the omnibibulous consumer, a distributor must better understand shifting preferences of the end consumer while collaborating with suppliers to develop an optimal portfolio of products.

In this session, concerns and trends impacting the overall health of the beer category — a challenge shared across the industry — will be addressed. As the category encounters obstacles and explores new opportunities, it’s imperative for suppliers and distributors to forge stronger alliances to effectively navigate unpredictable market conditions and sustain competitiveness.

Attendees will hear how leading suppliers and distributors are teaming up to stay ahead of trends, bridge communication gaps, accelerate time to market, foster brand growth, make strategic decisions and execute with precision. Distributors will gain valuable insights into the effectiveness of cross-tier collaboration and its pivotal role in agility, market execution, and mutually beneficial success.


Design Management Comp to Drive Positive Results

Wes Verno, Consultant, Verno Consulting

Is your management comp structure driving desired behavior out of your key leaders? As wholesalers have become larger and more complex, the need for highly skilled managers that think and operate more like owners has never been greater. In this seminar, Verno will share ways that advanced wholesalers are structuring their management comp to drive positive results as well as attract and retain key talent.


Control the Controllables: A Forward-Looking State of the Industry

Dave Williams, President, Bump Williams Consulting and Arlington Capital Advisors

The theme of this seminar is about looking toward the future and envisioning what the beverage alcohol landscape might look like amidst:

– Current health and performance of leaders / trailblazers

– Ongoing emergence of select “catalyst brands”

– Overlap of beverage alcohol vs. total beverage

– Evolving consumer demographics and behavior

– M&A, consolidation, joint ventures and alliances

Understanding the potential realities that lie ahead can in turn influence the strategies and tactics you implement to grow and stay competitive in a changing alcohol market.


Transformational Leadership: Defending Contractual Rights & Distributor Branding, Disarming Industry Critics, eCommerce & Digital Sales

Tate Russell, President, Kentucky Eagle, Inc.
Wei Fraser, Director of Marketing, Lakeshore Beverage
Danelle Romain, Executive Director, Oregon Beer & Wine Distributors Association

Hear from industry trailblazers as they share their mission-critical work to strengthen the beer & beverage distribution industry.

Tate will detail why Kentucky Eagle filed a lawsuit in defense of a N/A contract to uphold the validity of the contract and protect their distributor reputation. She will also discuss the value of their groundbreaking rebranding of Kentucky Eagle.

Wei will share Lakeshore Beverage’s journey to transform their sales department by taking advantage of the efficiencies of online ordering and marketing to retailers. In addition, Wei will provide details on how she has streamlined communications to both internal team members, retailers and consumers including how she improved and digitized the POS process.

Danelle spearheaded Oregon’s effort to combat industry critics and discovered intentional misstatement of data by the state health organization. In addition, she led the charge to form Oregon Beverage Alliance, a 3-tier organization focused on stemming alcohol tax increases.

Finance

A Practical Guide to Beer Wholesaler Mergers and Acquisitions

Kary Shumway, Owner, Beer Business Finance
Orman Anderson, CFO, Glazer’s Beer and Beverage
RJ Martucci, Partner, PKF O’Connor Davies

In this lively panel discussion, attendees will learn the practical ins and outs of beer wholesaler mergers and acquisitions. Topics will include business valuation methods, financing options, keys to successful due diligence and pitfalls to avoid with purchase agreements. Attendees will learn practical wholesaler consolidation tactics from veteran industry leaders.


Navigating the Impact of Social Inflation on Jury Awards and Insurance Rate

Matthew Bossier, ARM, President, BevCap Management Property & Casualty Captives

In this eye-opening session, attendees will discover the force of social inflation and its profound impact on jury awards and insurance rates. Hear real-life examples and insightful glimpses into litigation strategies gone awry. Learn from missteps in response to accidents, gaining invaluable lessons on effective crisis management.

To combat this reality, learn how to be prepared for severe accidents and manage litigation aggressively. Attendees will gain practical insights into key milestones, communication tactics, and investigation strategies to mitigate exposure to unfavorable jury awards. Discover effective methods for communicating with and managing insurance carriers throughout settlement negotiations, empowering you to navigate this challenging landscape with confidence and resilience.

Brewing Safety: Navigating Cybersecurity Challenges in Beer Distribution

Thomas J. DeMayo, PKF O’Connor Davies

In today’s digital age, cybersecurity is paramount for businesses across all industries, including beer distribution. This session will offer strategic solutions to safeguard distributor operations against industry-specific vulnerabilities such as the reliance on digital platforms for inventory management, supply chain logistics, financial operations and customer transactions.

Real-world examples of cyberattacks that have impacted beer distributors will be explored, ranging from data breaches compromising sensitive customer information to ransomware attacks disrupting daily operations. By understanding the tactics employed by cybercriminals, attendees will gain valuable insights into potential risks facing their own businesses.

In addition, attendees will gain valuable insights into the unique cybersecurity challenges faced by beer wholesalers in managing their financial transactions, tax compliance and accounting processes, along with practical strategies to mitigate these risks. The presentation will include a proactive cybersecurity framework tailored specifically for beer wholesalers.

Legal Track

Strategies to Strengthen the Independent Beverage Distributor

Keith Hochheiser, Partner, Hochheiser & Akmal PLLC
Karen Kovtun, Managing Director, Ippolito Christon & Co.

Exclusivity and perpetuity are the two pillars that create significant value for the traditional brands that are distributed by beer wholesalers. However, suppliers of NAs, RTDs,  FMBs, hard sodas and other non-traditional beverages are inundating the market, persuading distributors to become the “total beverage company” and provide a route to market for brands.

These new “Golden Cases” often offer the appeal of immediate cash flow to the distributor. However, they contain hidden costs arising from the need to efficiently house, sort, pick and deliver an immense number of SKUs of different products. They also contain hidden risks in the supplier-friendly contracts being offered. Therefore, your total portfolio must be carefully analyzed and managed to maximize value and reduce risk.


Recent Developments and Challenges in Beverage Distribution

Michael Madigan, Madigan, Dahl & Harlan PA

The session will explore timely challenges facing beer distributors including:

  1. Non-alcohol distribution agreements and their differing industry stands
  2. Legislative exemptions to three-tier, tied house, and franchise exemptions
  3. Pending legal challenges to those exemptions which threaten to undermine or eliminate three-tier, tied-house and franchise laws
  4. The risk of selling hemp or CBD products and mitigation measures to address those risks

This seminar is designed to educate distributors about these challenges and suggest strategies for successfully addressing them.


Transformational Leadership: Defending Contractual Rights & Distributor Branding, Disarming Industry Critics, eCommerce & Digital Sales

Tate Russell, President, Kentucky Eagle, Inc.
Wei Fraser, Director of Marketing, Lakeshore Beverage
Danelle Romain, Executive Director, Oregon Beer & Wine Distributors Association

Hear from industry trailblazers as they share their mission-critical work to strengthen the beer & beverage distribution industry.

Tate will detail why Kentucky Eagle filed a lawsuit in defense of a N/A contract to uphold the validity of the contract and protect their distributor reputation. She will also discuss the value of their groundbreaking rebranding of Kentucky Eagle.

Wei will share Lakeshore Beverage’s journey to transform their sales department by taking advantage of the efficiencies of online ordering and marketing to retailers. In addition, Wei will provide details on how she has streamlined communications to both internal team members, retailers and consumers including how she improved and digitized the POS process.

Danelle spearheaded Oregon’s effort to combat industry critics and discovered intentional misstatement of data by the state health organization. In addition, she led the charge to form Oregon Beverage Alliance, a 3-tier organization focused on stemming alcohol tax increases.

Five Keys to Business Succession Planning

Michael Beals, Dickinson Wright PLLC

Business succession planning is a process, not an event. From this seminar, distributors will take away specific action steps to advance their succession planning goals. The session will focus on five keys:

  1. Define the distributor’s ultimate vision for the business
  2. Who’s the boss?
  3. Protect the equity
  4. Multiple shareholders active in the business
  5. Integrate the corporate planning with the distributor’s personal trust and estate planning.

In addition to the seminar content, compliance with TTB and supplier succession requirements will be the subject of a separate newsletter to distributor attendees.


Navigating the Impact of Social Inflation on Jury Awards and Insurance Rate

Matthew Bossier, ARM, President, BevCap Management Property & Casualty Captives

In this eye-opening session, attendees will discover the force of social inflation and its profound impact on jury awards and insurance rates. Hear real-life examples and insightful glimpses into litigation strategies gone awry. Learn from missteps in response to accidents, gaining invaluable lessons on effective crisis management.

To combat this reality, learn how to be prepared for severe accidents and manage litigation aggressively. Attendees will gain practical insights into key milestones, communication tactics, and investigation strategies to mitigate exposure to unfavorable jury awards. Discover effective methods for communicating with and managing insurance carriers throughout settlement negotiations, empowering you to navigate this challenging landscape with confidence and resilience.

Warehouse Operations Track

Navigating Market Dynamics with Strategic Routing

Layla Shikley, Co-founder, Wise Systems

In today’s dynamic market, distributors often encounter situations necessitating strategic re-routes. Whether due to fleet or territory expansion, the addition of retail accounts, seasonal re-routing needs or coping with CDL labor shortages, wholesalers must manage these changes with ease and agility.

This session offers insights from a distributor who will walk attendees through real-life scenarios requiring strategic re-routes, demonstrating the re-routing process using live data on stage. Attendees will also gain knowledge about technologies empowering distributors to execute strategic re-routes with efficiency and automation.


A Beer Distributor’s Guide to Doing More With Less

Kyle Nevenhoven, Head of Solution Consulting Americas – Global Solutions Standardization, Dematic

Labor grows increasingly difficult to find, more challenging to retain and is getting more expensive. At the same time, SKU extensions and new product categories are here to stay. These pressures lead beer distributors to consider trying to do more with less labor for their warehouse and distribution operations.

Automation is an effective strategy to accomplish that end…but what do you automate, and what part of your operation is best suited to automation? Should you automate pallet storage or picking? Are there things you can do in the warehouse to reduce time on the delivery and merchandising end of your business? Which technology is best — automated storage and retrieval (AS/RS), pallet shuttle, Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs), voice technology, robotics, Automated Mobile Robots (AMRs), conveyors, conventional palletizers? All of the above?

Transform Your Logistics

Clay Kobernick, Director, Rehrig Pacific Company
Chris Koch, Chief Operating Officer, Adams Beverages

Explore the transformative power of technology and innovation in distributor warehouse and delivery operations. Attendees will:

  • Gain firsthand knowledge from industry peers on the impact of investing in technology and innovative material handling solutions
  • Learn actionable strategies to improve warehouse and delivery efficiencies in your operations
  • Understand the challenges and requirements of change management in implementing transformative solutions
  • Discover how embracing change in one area can unlock greater potential throughout your operation

Case study results will highlight cost savings and measurable improvements. You’ll leave with a better understanding of the direct impact of technological advancements on business outcomes, including increased driver retention and enhanced employee satisfaction.


The Who, What, When, Where and Why of Warehouse Automation

Matt Ellis, Chief Systems & Consulting Officer, PDC

To keep pace with changing dynamics and rising portfolio- and labor-related costs, distributors must continue to modernize their thought process towards warehouse operations. Complexity, safety, ergonomics and labor availability are forcing the question, “What else is out there?”

Warehouse technologies like automated case handling, automated storage and retrieval systems, conveyance systems and varying degrees of information system solutions are all garnering increased attention. As the number of potential solutions increases so too does the complication of vetting solutions to determine the best path forward, compounded by the need to align warehouse technology with ever-changing order profiles and customer requirements.

This session will review today’s warehouse technology options and break down best practices for properly selecting and implementing the right solution. Selection criteria such as volume applicability, scalability, flexibility, vendor evaluation, implementation options, maintenance and ease of management will be explored through installation examples.

Sales Track

The Billion Dollar On-Premise Opportunity

Jennifer Hauke, Founder, Draftline Technologies
Jenn Litz-Kirk, Director of Content, Beer Business Daily
David Pearson, Molson Coors

Creating an efficient and prosperous draft program is challenging, yet the benefits of seizing a share of the $9 billion market opportunity are well worth distributors’ time and investment. In this competitive arena, it’s essential to bring fresh perspectives, constantly explore potential opportunities and enhance system efficiency if you want to be positioned to succeed at the dawn of the next Draft Super Cycle.

This session will show you how to leveraging a combination of data sources for precise targeting and sales-driving strategies, helping you foster market growth and making your on-premise not only more profitable — but essential to your business.


Delivering Effective Sales Meetings

Tom Fox, Partner, Fox Sales Coaching

Too many sales meetings are one-way communications – very little audience engagement and the transfer of information isn’t accomplished. Join sales coach Tom Fox as he walks you through how to create a compelling agenda and deliver your message in ways that not only transfer knowledge – but ensure that the knowledge is received and understood.

Deciphering the Data Puzzle

Danelle Kosmal, Consultant, 3 Tier Beverages
Mary Mills, Consultant, 3 Tier Beverages
Lori Scheiffler, Co-Founder and President, Tamarron Consulting

In the dynamic landscape of today’s beer industry, distributors are managing complex portfolios across all types of beverages and fragmented channels. A single data source can provide a partial picture of performance, but understanding a broader range of datasets provides a more comprehensive narrative that facilitates strategic decision-making and sustainable growth

This seminar will highlight the breadth of data available to distributors and provide examples of how to weave datasets together to make better business decisions. We will delve into various data sources at the national and local levels, including free or public sources from the government, data programs from various trade associations, consumer data, surveys, scan data and on-premise sources. This session will also provide an in-depth review of the Beer First Fact Based Selling Tool.

Distributors will leave this session with the tools to piece together disparate data sources, enabling them to gain richer insights into the beer industry within their market and beyond.


Transformational Leadership: Defending Contractual Rights & Distributor Branding, Disarming Industry Critics, eCommerce & Digital Sales

Tate Russell, President, Kentucky Eagle, Inc.
Wei Fraser, Director of Marketing, Lakeshore Beverage
Danelle Romain, Executive Director, Oregon Beer & Wine Distributors Association

Hear from industry trailblazers as they share their mission-critical work to strengthen the beer & beverage distribution industry.

Tate will detail why Kentucky Eagle filed a lawsuit in defense of a N/A contract to uphold the validity of the contract and protect their distributor reputation. She will also discuss the value of their groundbreaking rebranding of Kentucky Eagle.

Wei will share Lakeshore Beverage’s journey to transform their sales department by taking advantage of the efficiencies of online ordering and marketing to retailers. In addition, Wei will provide details on how she has streamlined communications to both internal team members, retailers and consumers including how she improved and digitized the POS process.

Danelle spearheaded Oregon’s effort to combat industry critics and discovered intentional misstatement of data by the state health organization. In addition, she led the charge to form Oregon Beverage Alliance, a 3-tier organization focused on stemming alcohol tax increases.

Technology Track

Introducing AI Into Your Business and Never Looking Back (Two Parts)

Part 1:

Chris Dowling, Ohanafy
Bill Kraich, VP of eCommerce, Encompass Technologies
Tracy Neal, President/CEO, iSellBeer
Drayton Lee, Director of IT, Champion Brands, Inc.

Part 2:

Sean Mossman, CEO, Behold Beverage Intelligence
Laura Melzow, Strategic Technology Manager, Glazer’s Beer & Beverage
Bud Dunn, President, VXP Tech
Lester Jones, Vice President, Analytics and Chief Economist, NBWA

Perhaps no topic has generated more interest in recent years than the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) and how it continues to transform the way we do business. Hosted by the Beer Industry Electronic Commerce Coalition (BIECC), this two-seminar track will bring together a variety of industry experts who on day 1 will define AI and explain the benefits and risks it offers. Day 2 of the seminar will focus on real-life applications and how distributors are utilizing it in their businesses today.


Herding Taps! Effortlessly Lasso On-Premise Incentives

Tracy Neal, Founder/CEO, iSellBeer.com
Craig Foster, Vice President of Technology, A Head for Profits

iSellBeer, sales performance management service, and A Head for Profits, draft-services company, have teamed up to bring market level actionable insights and incentive results to your on-premise team! Collectively the pair track activity in 35+ states and they are bringing a new method of tracking activation, placements, and features without burdening your sales reps with surveys.

Brewing Safety: Navigating Cybersecurity Challenges in Beer Distribution

Thomas J. DeMayo, PKF O’Connor Davies

In today’s digital age, cybersecurity is paramount for businesses across all industries, including beer distribution. This session will offer strategic solutions to safeguard distributor operations against industry-specific vulnerabilities such as the reliance on digital platforms for inventory management, supply chain logistics, financial operations and customer transactions.

Real-world examples of cyberattacks that have impacted beer distributors will be explored, ranging from data breaches compromising sensitive customer information to ransomware attacks disrupting daily operations. By understanding the tactics employed by cybercriminals, attendees will gain valuable insights into potential risks facing their own businesses.

In addition, attendees will gain valuable insights into the unique cybersecurity challenges faced by beer wholesalers in managing their financial transactions, tax compliance and accounting processes, along with practical strategies to mitigate these risks. The presentation will include a proactive cybersecurity framework tailored specifically for beer wholesalers.

Workforce Track

Make One of Your Biggest Expenses (Your Health Plan) Work for You

Steve Boyd, EVP Business Development/Co-founder/Owner, Liviniti

Most employers, and their respective HR/operations management, don’t realize the scope of fiduciary responsibility resting on their shoulders, let alone the top-three cost drivers on any health plan: physicians, facilities and Rx. What they also may not know is there are things they can do to not only correct this but turn it into a recruiting and retention asset.

This session will review a current court case for health plan liability, educate distributors on the basics of a health plan and what to look for, and provide suggestions on how to turn a costly and ineffective health plan into a valuable employee benefit.


Design Management Comp to Drive Positive Results

Wes Verno, Consultant, Verno Consulting

Is your management comp structure driving desired behavior out of your key leaders? As wholesalers have become larger and more complex, the need for highly skilled managers that think and operate more like owners has never been greater. In this seminar, Verno will share ways that advanced wholesalers are structuring their management comp to drive positive results as well as attract and retain key talent.


Herding Taps! Effortlessly Lasso On-Premise Incentives

Tracy Neal, Founder/CEO, iSellBeer.com
Craig Foster, Vice President of Technology, A Head for Profits

Bring market level actionable insights and incentive results to your on-premise team! Join experts from iSellBeer.com and A Head for Profits, who collectively track activity in 35+ states, as they explore new methods for tracking activation, placements, and features without burdening your sales reps with surveys.

Decode the Workplace

Matt Dahlstrom, Co-Founder & Senior Partner, In:trench Consulting

Now that the Great Resignation is over, what are your employees really thinking? Come spend an hour with Matt Dahlstrom, Senior Partner at In:trench Consulting, as he shares his findings of a year long study of “Decoding Workplace Dynamics.”

Learn about the “Peter Principle” and how you’re likely promoting the wrong people. Listen to the results of what your employee engagement surveys are saying and why that’s important. Discuss what AI is doing to our workplace and learn about 5 trends all leaders should watch for in 2025.


Incentives vs Entitlements: How to Get More Effort from Your Team

Bud Dunn, President, VXP Tech

Motivating a team to deliver their best effort consistently can be a significant challenge in today’s workforce. This seminar is designed to help leaders overcome this challenge by equipping them with the insights and tools necessary to foster a culture of high performance and engagement. It will delve into the psychology of motivation, revealing how the strategic use of incentives can inspire dedication and hard work.

Attendees will leave with practical strategies for effectively balancing incentives and expectations, ensuring their teams are not only motivated but also aligned with organizational goals. Whether you’re leading a small team or managing a large workforce, this talk will provide valuable ideas for cultivating a motivated and high-performing team.