WSWA 71st Annual Convention & Exposition Continues in Las Vegas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE / April 9, 2014   Contacts:
Jeff Solsby / / 949-933-5030 Rosalind Napoli / / 310-339-4115  

WSWA 71st Annual Convention & Exposition Continues in Las Vegas 

Mixology Competition Winners Announced

  (Las Vegas, NV)—The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) 71st Annual Convention & Exposition continued its second day with record attendance, impressive keynote speakers and exciting tasting and mixology competitions at Caesars Palace, Las Vegas.   Today’s General Session opened with keynote speaker Dan Heath, Senior Fellow at Duke University’s CASE Center, a noted decision-making consultant and educator who spoke about how to streamline decision and management processes.   Dan was introduced by Gerry Ruvo, Chairman of Campari America and also Chairman of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), the General Session sponsor.   Following the morning session, the action moved to the competition area where Tony Abou-Ganim, The Modern Mixologist, emceed the Call for Cocktails: Mixology and Wholesaler Iron Mixologist Competitions both sponsored by The Tasting Panel Magazine.   A complete list of all products, suppliers and mixologist winners is available under each competition category on the WSWA Convention website   Yesterday’s program also included recognition of the long records of business success and community service of two industry veterans. Rocky Wirtz, President of Wirtz Beverage Group of Chicago, Ill., was recognized with the Lifetime Leadership Award, presented each year to a wholesaler whose contribution to the association, community and beverage industry defines excellence, inspires loyalty and exemplifies leadership.   Also recognized was Max L. Shapira, President of Heaven Hill Distilleries of Bardstown, Ky., who received the Sidney Frank Award from the WSWA Educational Foundation. This award is given to a person who has made exceptional contributions to the industry in addition to noteworthy philanthropic and community service contributions. The award is named for Sidney Frank, an innovator in the beverage industry who built successful brands and set records for philanthropic contributions and service.   Tomorrow’s General Session speaker is Captain Richard Phillips, whose story of kidnapping and survival inspired the hit Tom Hanks film. He will be introduced by Dr. Peter Cressy, President of DISCUS.   Following the General Session, the WSWA convention will feature a half-day educational program, the U.S. Beverage Alcohol Forum. This program will offer education on the latest trends as well as practical information on brand entry and distribution strategies; on-premise activation; use of mixologists as bartenders; digital media marketing; and multicultural outreach. One day registration is available for this forum.   Keep up on the latest convention photos, news and other developments via Twitter at and on Facebook at Video coverage is available on the YouTube channel:   The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America is the national trade association representing the wholesale tier of the wine and spirits industry. WSWA is the voice for wholesalers in Congress, the executive branch, the courts, with the news media, and in communities across America. Member firms represent 80 percent of the total U.S. wine and spirits market. Information about the association is available at  


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