The third annual U.S. Beverage Alcohol Forum was held at the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) 70th Annual Convention & Exposition April 30. The USBAF is a partnership between WSWA and the U.S. Drinks Conference, in collaboration with Brand Action Team, Next Level Marketing and MHW, Ltd. The Forumwas led by top opinion makers in the industry who covered topics such as trends, technology, digital marketing and distribution of wine and spirits brands in America. Over 200 delegates attended the event representing importers, suppliers, wholesalers and on - and off-premise accounts from all over the world. “We were pleased with the turnout and response from attendees,” said Steve Raye, Managing Partner of the marketing consulting company, Brand Action Team. “We received great feedback on both the session topics and speakers alike, most particularly in regard to the usefulness and practicality of the information presented.”
The conference began with an in-depth look at how brands can avoid the common mistakes facing many wine and spirit brands entering the U.S. market for the first time. Moderator John Baudette, President and CEO of MHW, Ltd., shared his advice on the matter: focus resources on only a few markets at the start, monitor them closely to see what is working to get the product to turn at retail and make sure that there are funds available to support the brand long term. “You only have one chance when introducing a product to the U.S.,” remarked Baudette. “Perform due diligence on the front end, pick the market that will give you the most success and strive to generate measurable results in that area.”
The second session was moderated by Mike Ginley, Founder and Partner of Next Level Marketing, who gave a detailed overview of the structure, volume and trends of the U.S. beverage alcohol market, supported by a candid panel session led by noted mixologist, Tony Abou-Ganim. The following session was presented by Jeff Grindrod, Managing Partner of Brand Action Team, and gave a detailed overview of emerging digital tools suppliers are using to monitor and manage growth. The concluding session, “Digital Retail Marketing” was led by Steve Raye and provided an in-depth look at new digital and social media tools that are available to assist on- and off-premise accounts to drive customer loyalty and leverage word of mouth.
Mike Ginley of Next Level Marketing noted that the turnout was significantly increased from last year, “and we’re quite pleased with the positive feedback we received.”