The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) kicked off its 84th Annual Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas on Sunday, marking the first time NBWA members have been able to assemble in person since the onset of the pandemic.
During his opening remarks, Craig Purser, President and CEO of NBWA rolled out a new logo that represents the associations expansion into other beverages beyond beer. The board of the NBWA began exploring the idea three years ago to evolve the association into other beverage products. That exploration proved to be “ahead of the curve” and “reflects changes in our industry,” Craig said.
Describing the explosion of non-traditional beer products such as hard seltzers, teas, malt-based canned cocktails and more, Craig pointed to the need for NBWA members to expand beyond beer by saying “everybody wants on your truck and in the cold box.” Craig went on to say that “this may be the most expansive time in our industry. It’s important that we as an association reflect that expansion in our work, in our advocacy and in the way that we talk about ourselves and who we represent.” The suggestion was that NBWA members will not only continue to expand their portfolios beyond beer, but that the NBWA will advocate and lobby on behalf of those products as well.
Craig also took a swipe at the Brewers Association for the BA’s written comments in response to the Biden administration’s Executive Order on competition in the alcohol beverage industry. “And speaking of ambitious suppliers, we were disappointed but not surprised to see the Brewers Association weigh in with an 11th hour, no-holds-barred criticism of the state regulatory system,” Craig said. “They filed supplementary comments in response to the president’s Executive Order on competition with a laundry list of complaints. This is the height of irony because, in many states, craft brewers enjoy privileges that others do not, including direct-to-consumer sales and self-distribution.”
The conference continues through Wednesday. Conference details here.