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WSWA Announces Award Recipients at Annual Convention

May 6, 2009


Washington, D.C.—The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) wrapped up its 66th Annual Convention & Exposition, which featured award presentations to new recipients of the Sidney Frank Award and the Lifetime Leadership Award and the induction of new board officers and new member wholesaler companies to the association. 

Industry visionaries Robert Epstein and Ray Tye were the 2009 recipients of the association’s two major awards bestowed by WSWA on the last day of its convention. Epstein, President of Horizon Beverage Group in Avon, Mass., was presented with the WSWA Lifetime Leadership Award, given annually to the wholesaler who displays exemplary characteristics both in business and community work, and who contributes to the overall good of the industry. While announcing the winner—kept secret until the convention General Business Session—WSWA President and CEO Craig Wolf particularly commended Epstein’s business innovation. While accepting the award, a surprised Epstein declared himself “speechless” but went on to repeat his belief that “WSWA is the best insurance policy that wholesalers have.”

Tye, Chairman Emeritus of United Liquors in Braintree, Mass., was introduced as the recipient of WSWA’s Sidney Frank Award. The award was created by the WSWA Educational Foundation last year, thanks to a generous grant from the Sidney Frank Importing Company. It is presented to a person, brand or entity that is related to the wine and spirits industry and has achieved noteworthy public policy or philanthropic accomplishments, as well as made exceptional contributions to the alcohol beverage industry. A $10,000 contribution will be made to the charitable cause of Mr. Tye’s choosing. WSWA Chairman Rocky Wirtz commended Tye for being an astute businessman and extraordinary human being, just like the award’s namesake. Tye was “humbled to receive the award after 56 years as a WSWA member” and went on to share the spotlight with several industry peers.                                                              

WSWA also announced its new members to the Executive Committee for the upcoming year. The new committee includes: Chairman W. Rockwell (Rocky) Wirtz of Wirtz Beverage Group; Vice Chairman John Baker of National Wine & Spirits; Senior Vice President Robert Harmelin of Allied Beverage Group; Vice President Charles Merinoff of The Charmer Sunbelt Group; Secretary Douglas Hertz of United Distributors; and Treasurer Alan Dreeben of Republic National Distributing Company. In addition, Mel Dick of Southern Wine & Spirits was named to the Board of Directors. 

Carmine Martignetti of Martignetti Companies was named as a representative to the Executive Committee from the association’s Large Member Caucus, joining Todd Epsten of Major Brands Premium Beverage Distributors in that role.

WSWA accepted six new member companies to the association. Its new members include: Brand Name Imports of Sarasota, Fla.; Carolina Craft Distributing, LLC of Rock Hill, S.C.; Jumar USA of Glendale, Calif.; Kent Beverage Co., Inc. of Grand Rapids, Mich.; Megawine, Inc. of Van Nuys, Calif.; and Ultimate Distributors of Atlanta, Ga.

“Member involvement and participation in the association is critically important, so I’m really pleased with the strong team of members we have assembled on our Executive Committee and I’m equally excited by the overall growth of the membership reflected by the new member companies that recently joined,” Wolf said.

 


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