Annual Convention Seminars


Below you will find a detailed schedule of the seminars at NBWA’s 86th Annual Convention & Trade Show. 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

SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8, 2023 | 1:00 – 2:45 p.m.

The Beer Wholesaler Financial Training Program
Kary Shumway

In this interactive financial training workshop, you will learn how to read wholesaler financial statements, create a dashboard of key metrics, and implement a cash flow management plan.

Participants will actively engage in break-out sessions to ‘crowdsource’ key performance indicators as well as ideas to control and reduce business expenses.  At the end of the workshop, you will walk away with proven, profitable and actionable strategies that you can implement in your beer business right away to get results.

MONDAY, OCTOBER 9, 2023 | 8:00 – 9:15 a.m.

Dollars and Sense: Behavioral Considerations for the Next Generation of Distributors
Jeff Kreisler, JPMorgan Chase & Co., NA

Led by the principle that behavioral science can empower organizations and individuals to learn, adopt and grow, this thought-provoking presentation will seek to engage with current- and next-generation beer distributor owners & operators to discuss the following topics:

Embracing Organizational Change. How the next generation of leaders can harness the forces of change to maintain important traditions while embracing the opportunities of the next few decades.

Engagement, Incentives and Motivation in the Workplace. Discuss pivotal discoveries in behavioral science and their impact on workplace motivation and help business leaders understand what forces impact productivity, satisfaction, motivation and relationships with and at work.

Financial Decision-Making. Practical and entertaining insights of behavioral science to help create better financial decision-making structures for the irrational and illogical among us. Jeff will expose the hidden forces that secretly drive choices about money.


Hand Sustainability to Finance to Increase Profits & Decrease Pain
Neil Baier, Crescent Crown Distributing, LLC
Molly Reilly, Double Green

Operations teams have enough going on, and in today’s highly charged, high-cost, hot topic and getting hotter world, the last thing they need added to their plate is evaluating environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) programs. Translating financial returns and forecasting future costs and performance measurement are what finance gets paid for, which is why having your finance department take on sustainability makes sense.

Baier will share real-world examples of the costs and returns of the energy-saving programs deployed by Crescent Crown, along with the pains, hiccups, learning experiences and processes they now follow to save time and generate even greater profits. Reilly will join Baier to share tips on how distributors can measure what they treasure, forecast future energy costs and analyze actual returns to prove their success.


Building Systems: Retrofit vs. Replace, and how to Analyze, Compare and Take Action
Shawn Verbrugghe, HotWattEnergy, Inc.

Many wholesalers need to make decisions on how they will maintain, extend or improve their aging building systems. The variables of capital expenses, system lifecycles and inefficiencies, business growth, facility expansion and where owners are in their careers are all major factors that influence these decisions.

This session will help guide distributors through the process of determining if and when it’s time to retrofit or replace building systems. It will educate them on how to make quantifiable decisions on which direction is best for businesses and their unique facilities.

Distributors will learn how to make mechanical and financial decisions around replacing or retrofitting their refrigeration, HVAC and lighting systems and learn the why and how of comparing options, and how utility incentives and tax deductions can impact project decisions.


Today’s Competitive Portfolio: Dynamic, Agile, Nimble and Adaptive

Grant Barrett, In:trench Consulting Group
Matt Dahlstrom, In:trench Consulting Group
Darin Spence, In:trench Consulting Group

On average, distributors add approximately 100 new brands and packages every year. That complexity disrupts warehouses, creates inventory havoc and distracts selling efforts. A dynamic portfolio means having the right lineup of brands that adjusts with changing consumer tastes, yet efficiently retires the underperforming ones. This session will provide straight-forward solutions for adjusting and rebalancing your portfolio to meet ever-changing market conditions and consumer trends.


Maximizing the Potential of Your Sales Team and Brands
Alex Brewington, Iowa Beverage
Kristen Giger, Boston Beer Company
Cam Koorangi, Encompass Technologies
Tommy Riley, Encompass Technologies

The modern distributor salesperson represents generations of relationship building, community involvement, hard work and commitment. While technology eliminates some of the day-to-day functions of a sales rep, this doesn’t mean the role goes away entirely. The foundation of selling is built on maintaining strong relationships with customers, but if your sales teams are still spending the bulk of their time manually tracking inventory, collecting payments and taking orders, opportunities are being left on the table.

Distributor leaders will discuss the future of sales organizations, and how building a modern toolbox can enable your team to be more effective, efficient, and profitable. Panelists will share perspectives on how they’ve made technology a key component of their go-to-market strategy by enabling their team to utilize data, analytics, and eCommerce tools to drive sales.

Suds & Savings: Streamlining Beer Distributor Operations with Reimbursement Technology
Lee Adam, Cardata

The beer industry moves fast, and so do the dedicated beer distributors who spend countless hours on the road each day. This seminar explores how technology can help streamline day-to-day operations for beer distributors, from tracking and effectively reimbursing teams on the road, to keeping up with employee compensation trends in the marketplace. Discover benchmarking and cost-saving opportunities that can help you better reimburse your mobile teams and optimize your operations. Distributors will receive actionable solutions to save costs and boost productivity.


Best Practices Implementing AI and Machine Learning into Your Business
Richard Boyd, Tanjo, Inc.
Aaron Cunningham, Glazer’s Beer & Beverage
Bud Dunn, Atlas Sales, Inc.
Thomas Johnstone, Eagle Rock Distributing
Lester Jones, NBWA
Sean Mossman, Behold Beverage Intelligence

Businesses across the country are discovering that strategically implemented artificial intelligence and machine learning can improve operations, reduce manual tasks and streamline back-office functions. While it may sound futuristic, there are tools and resources available today that can be utilized by distributors to drive exceptional results without inflating your operating budget. Join a panel of experts in this field and beer distributors who will share best practices learned as they’ve started implementing AI and machine learning into their businesses.


Turning Your Sales Management Team into Coaches & Leaders
Tom Fox, Fox Sales Coaching

Too many managers are missing critical elements of coaching and leadership by putting all their efforts on motivating their teams to succeed. While results are always important, effective leaders must establish a culture of customer focus and consistent improvement for every team member – something managers can miss with so much going on. Fox will review common leadership frameworks and how to drive better results by establishing an onboard process to set the team up for success, effective on-the-job training and a healthy culture that focuses on exceeding customer expectations.


Recent Developments and Challenges in Beverage Distribution
Mike Madigan, Madigan, Dahl & Harlan, P.A.

The alcohol industry has been characterized by controversy and strife since the passage of the 18th Amendment 105 years ago and its repeal by the passage of the 21st Amendment 90 years ago. The legal, legislative, and regulatory battles over alcohol remain have never been more numerous or contentious, as powerful soft drink companies, distillers, and wineries enter the beer market, beverage portfolios expand and change, and consumer taste and demand evolves rapidly.

The distribution models and government regulations of spirits, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages differ dramatically from beer. Consolidation and, in some cases, monopolization is occurring at the supplier, distributor, and retailer tiers, while the pace of technological change is accelerating. All these developments have blurred the lines between beverage categories, distribution models, and regulatory structures as well as precipitated increasing legal and legislative challenges and changes to existing alcohol regulations.

To survive in this ever-changing commercial environment, distributors need to fully understand the nature of these challenges, advocate effectively for the merits of the DSD model that has proven so successful for beer, and be prepared to flexibly adapt and change where necessary. This seminar is designed to educate distributors about these challenges and outline strategies to successfully address them in the future.

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2023 | 8:00 – 9:15 a.m.

Strategies for Financial Success in Beer Distribution: Navigating Tax Regulations, Maximizing Profitability and Measuring Performance
R.J. Martucci, PKF O’Connor Davies, LLP

The beer distribution industry is a highly competitive and rapidly evolving business. To stay ahead of the competition and maximize profits, it’s essential for wholesalers to develop effective budgeting strategies and minimize tax liabilities.

This presentation will provide a comprehensive overview of financial strategies and best practices that wholesalers can implement to achieve financial success in their industry. Attendees will learn about the various tax regulations that affect the beer distribution industry, including federal, state, and local taxes; how to stay compliant with tax regulations and minimize tax liabilities through effective tax planning strategies; strategies for maximizing profitability, including optimizing pricing, managing inventory; and developing effective sales and marketing strategies.

You will also get valuable tips on how to identify key performance indicators and use financial metrics to measure performance, such as gross margin, return on investment on brands and products, and inventory turnover. By understanding and analyzing these metrics, attendees will be able to make data-driven decisions that drive profitability and success.


Being a Market Leader in the Evolving State of Post-COVID Employee Benefits
John Kirke, BevCap Management

Are you maximizing the recruiting and retention benefits of a strong employee benefits package? COVID and a hard labor market has created an opportunity for wholesalers to evaluate and upgrade employee benefits to better compete for valuable talent. This session will explore the current state of “table stakes” employee benefits, new perceptions, and best practices, as well as how to evolve your benefits strategy to separate your company from the competition.


Using the 2023 Wholesaler Survey Results to Enhance Your Annual Planning
Wes Verno, Verno Consulting, LLC

Every few years, Verno Consulting surveys hundreds of wholesalers on the most pressing operational issues and opportunities within the industry. Topics covered in the 2023 wholesaler survey include: NA and wine & spirit involvement and success factors, compensation structure, strategies to reduce employee turnover & improve employee retention, overcoming the CDL shortage, succession planning efforts, diversity in the workforce, managing SKUs and suppliers, service strategy, online ordering, and many more.

Verno will select the most relevant findings of the survey and present them during this engaging and forward-looking seminar. Attendees will receive a copy of the survey results and will be better equipped heading into their annual planning & budgeting season.


Let’s Talk E-Commerce: What It Means to Have an Omnichannel Approach
Moderator: Lori Scheiffler, Tamarron Consulting
Cameron Barratt, Heineken USA
Brian Eddington, Northeast Sales-GA and Skyland Distributing-NC 

Bill Kraich, Encompass Technologies
Andrew Levy, Provi 

The evolution of e-commerce has skyrocketed within beverage alcohol in the last few years. While the industry has been focused on the growth of consumer adoption around online ordering, B2B digital solutions have entered the market and will be significant drivers of revenue for the wholesale tier.

As distributors refine and build out their e-commerce strategies, it can be difficult to determine what playbook makes the most sense for the organization. This panel discussion, led by industry leaders, will discuss the importance of an omnichannel strategy to meet the evolving needs of your supplier partners, retail customers, and eager sales force. Attendees will walk away with actionable insights into how they can transform their e-commerce strategies and what new opportunities they can unlock.

Utilizing Modern Technology to Transform Your Operation
Kyle Billings, Pope Distributing
Robbie Maletis, Maletis Beverage
Patrick Tickle, Encompass Technologies

The beverage distribution industry has been built over decades to become one of the most successful industries in America. Leaders in the industry are true innovators and continue to leverage technology in all areas of their business across warehousing, logistics, and sales. In today’s dynamic market, it’s favorable for distributors to determine ways to remain agile and competitive in order to turn challenges into opportunities.

Join panel leader, Patrick Tickle, and panelists Robbie Maletis, General Manager of Sales at Maletis Beverage, and Kyle Billings, Director of IT/Logistics at Pope Distributing for a discussion about tech-driven approaches to running a distributorship.

Panelists will share their first-hand experiences in making strategic decisions to empower their teams with solutions that drive sales growth, create efficiencies, enhance operational visibility, and enable data-driven decision-making. Each panelist will share best practices for selecting and utilizing the right solutions to their fullest potential in addition to effectively rolling out new tools and processes both internally and in the market.


Adding Wine, Spirits and NAs to an Operation
Matt Ellis, PDC/KPI Integrated Solutions

With the change in customer desires, SKU proliferation and delivery costs, many wholesalers are adding wine, spirits and NAs to their current operation. This will typically add nuances to the business that many wholesalers aren’t used to. These include, but are not limited to: style and product knowledge of the sales person, sizes of deliveries, less than truckload inbound shipments, mixed pallet receipts, bottle picking, empty case building and inefficient space requirements.

This seminar will explore the impact that portfolio diversification may have on your business to help wholesalers understand that a case doesn’t always equal a case when adding new SKUs and volume. We will also cover the impact of adding minimal volume to substantial volume.


Reducing Warehousing Injuries with AI
Tyler Denny, Fahr Beverage
MJ LaMonica, LaMonica Beverages
Kristopher Mizel, CompScience

Over the last ten years, the warehousing and distribution industry grew to employ over 1.9 million people. At the same time, injury rates are higher than average – an alarming trend that needs to be halted. New technology gives us more ways to efficiently reduce injuries and keep our people safe while they work. In this session, Tyler from Fahr Beverage in Waterloo, IA and MJ LaMonica from LaMonica Beverage in Love Park, IL, will share their learnings from working with CompScience and show you how to utilize ordinary security video as a record of activities that can be analyzed with AI to create better safety protocols that can be implemented by loss control and ergonomics experts


Activating the BREW Pledge
Sarah Bettman, Bettman Leadership

You signed the BREW Pledge and are excited to take action, but now what? In this engaging session, we will share best practices that have been instrumental in a successful start for NBWA distributor members. You’ll likely be surprised by how simple and easy some of these steps are. We will also share some of the common traps that organizations fall into even when they have great intentions.

The BREW Pledge activations fall into four categories:

  • Recruitment & retention
  • Education & advancement
  • Positive environment & fostering a culture
  • Sponsoring connections.

Learn more about these categories and the criteria to earn BREW badges.  Distributors can utilize BREW badges in a myriad of ways, from recruiting new employees to showcasing during Hill and legislative visits. What makes this session most exciting is that any implementation activity you commit to will earn BREW badges along the way. Just showing up will get you your first badge!


Finish Strong – Insights, Tools and Selling Techniques to Drive Beer Sales in October – November – December
Tom Fox, Fox Sales Coaching
Mike McDonnell, Tamarron Consulting
Mary Mills, 3 Tier Beverages

You’ve no doubt heard Lester Jones’ concerns about beer’s declining share of the alcohol category. 3 Tier Beverages, Tamarron Consulting and Fox Sales Coaching will help ease those concerns and build your confidence about 4th quarter beer sales.

Mary Mills from 3 Tier Beverages will give an update on 2023 beers sales, provide sales & consumer insights and identify opportunities for Beer in O-N-D (October/November/December) based on information from NielsenIQ, CGA from NielsenIQ and VIP.  Mike McDonnell from Tamarron Consulting will review Beer First selling tools & programs available to all distributors to address the opportunities. Last, but certainly not least, Tom Fox will engage the audience with case studies and sales call examples to show how to effectively explain the insights, use the Beer First tools and generate wins for beer!