“The entire industry needs to step up and help support beer, show its value to our retail and on-premise partners, and help make beer a more appealing and the first option for young, legal drinking age customers,” said NBWA Chairman of the Board Gordan Green. “But let’s be clear – beer isn’t going anywhere and continues to be America’s top alcohol drink of choice.”
Green's call for unity came on the first day of the National Beer Wholesalers Association's annual convention and trade show. NBWA President Craig Purser also called for the industry to come together to boost the category and address falling consumption.
“This year, many distributors struggled while others have had an incredibly successful year,” said Green. “We know we cannot control market forces, the changing tastes of consumers or actions by our suppliers. But when things get tough, we know we have a champion in our corner. NBWA is OUR advocate, and it’s only as effective and strong as its members, so I encourage you to get involved.”
Green and Purser also presented the NBWA Life Service Award to the Chairman of Indiana Beverage, Bruce Leetz. The award is the Association’s highest honor and recognizes individuals who have committed their life to the beer distribution industry.
“We are privileged to recognize Bruce, who is a strong, loyal member of the industry, and has provided selfless leadership throughout his career,” said Purser. “One bit of NBWA lore – as far as I know, Bruce was the first and ONLY NBWA sergeant at arms. A position we basically made up to keep Bruce around!”
In addition to the Life Service Award, the NBWA also presented two other awards for exemplary leadership in the beer distribution industry.
Eagle Beverage Corp. in Frontenac, Kansas, was honored with the 2023 Public Affairs Award for the company’s “Folds of Honor” campaign.
Both Jennifer Grant, General Manager and Vice President of Markstein Sales Co., and Michele Connors, owner of S.R. Perrott, Inc. were honored with the Freida G. Maisel Trailblazer Award for demonstrating leadership and inclusivity in the industry.