Home Wine Business Editorial Three Tier Talk WSWA Convention Survival Guide

WSWA Convention Survival Guide


Every year, over a four-day period, the adult beverage world descends on one special location for the WSWA convention. Makers come from all over the globe to meet with distributors, other brands, and all things booze to hopefully better they’re lot and chances for success for the given year. It doesn’t matter if it is Las Vegas or South Florida there are drinks flowing, golf games being shot and deals being struck. As usual BevStrat will be there to support our brand clients and our soon-to-be clients, and all things liquor, wine and beer related.

This year is a special honor because we will be speaking at a leadership panel with industry bigwigs on the Sunday before the event officially begins. The irony is not lost on me. I have  been an advocate for small brands and I think it is wonderful that I’ve been chosen to speak on this panel. It will finally give a voice to the small and independent brand that is looking for a seat at the big boys table.

So as you begin to make your pilgrimage down to Orlando, Florida I encourage you, in fact I implore you to do a little bit of ground work, if it is not too late, so that you are prepared and can take the fullest advantage of your time with the biggest distributors on earth.

  • Pre-work is the name of the game here, make your calls, do your research before you got to Orlando. Check out the convention website to get a list of attendees.
  • Have a least two meetings set up per day. That will allow you time to walk the show floor and meet people you might not have met prior.
  • Business gets done at the bar – always!
  • If you are able to swing by a distributor’s suite drop a sample with your business card on it (they may not be able to see you at that moment, but they will absolutely take the sample and hopefully call you)
  • Know your numbers. What is your FOB? What is your laid in price? What is SRP? What markets do you want to be in?
  • Identify lighthouse distributors. Find out who you want to be with, perhaps SGWS perhaps Breakthru. Perhaps MHW and others. Know what markets they are in, and where your brand would play well. A conversation with education and knowledge is so much more fruitful than a conversation full of one-sided questions.
  • Understand that it takes time. No one makes a decision on the spot at WSWA.
  • Be cognizant of distributors who will take your brand on as a client and then shelve it because they have a competing client that they want to promote. It’ll be very beneficial to know what other similar brands the distributors you’re talking to have in their portfolio.

There are so many tricks and tips, but we can share more when you are at the show.

The fact is, and I mean this, the WSWA Convention is the best show in our business.  There is no place under one roof where all the answers are at your fingertips in one place at one time.

Suppliers need to arm themselves with knowledge pre show. That will make the effort and expense of the show so much more beneficial

See you in Florida. I will be at the pool or at booth 1201.

Brian Rosen

Three Tier Talk

by Brian Rosen, www.BevStrat.com

Brian Rosen is Former CEO of America’s #1 Retailer, Sam’s Wines in Chicago, Former Partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Retail and sought after retailer consultant.
EMail: [email protected]
Phone: 800-953-1312
Web: www.BevStrat.com

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