2018 Conference Program

Immerse yourself in this two and a half day master program on distribution covering a series of in-depth workshops featured below. You’ll walk away with more than just theory—you’ll get practical applications that you can put to work immediately. It’s the best investment growing beer, wine and spirits businesses can make all year. See the full schedule-at-a-glance >>

Don’t forget to check out the myriad of turnkey products and services featured in the trade show hall just steps from the conference. It’s here where you’ll form partnerships that make sense for your small business and kick-start your success with the right solutions curated just for you. Plus, you’ll have access to FREE bottle photography and video sell sheets for your product. Tickets for the trade show are included in your conference registration—talk about a great value! Explore more trade show activities >>

Tuesday, December 4

Keynote: Cheryl Durzy, Founder & CEO, LibDib

The Distributor/Producer Partnership: Finding the Right Distributor for Your Brand

To make the distributor producer partnership work, you need to find the right distributor to fit your brand. But how do you determine who is the best fit? Understanding your distribution needs, the distributor’s portfolio balance and the differences between large and small distributors is key to better determining your next step to identifying your new partner. Do you need the reach and resources of a large distributor? Or the personal attention and support of a small distributor?  Or can you have your cake and eat it too (a combination of both)?

The Distributor/Producer Partnership: Setting Expectations, Legal Documents & Contracts

You’ve selected your distributor, now what? Like any good partnership, be it a marriage or a business, it’s time to set the expectations. Communication, deliverables, goals, vision, roles – each one of you plays a part in making the distribution of your product successful. Setting the terms will go a long way to setting expectations. Terms and contracts which are agreeable to both parties will pave the way to a successful partnership.  What do you need to know before signing on the dotted line?

The Distributor/Producer Partnership: Surviving Consolidation

Distributors are continuing to consolidate as craft and independent producers continue to grow. How are consolidations affecting independent producers and their market growth? What happens to a producer who is suddenly caught up in a distributor merger or acquisition?

The Distributor/Producer Partnership: Breaking Up Is Hard to Do

What happens when the distributor/producer partnership is over? What if the relationship is no longer of benefit to one of you or both of you? Understand the indicators that it’s time to “break up” with your distributor and the legal language you should be including in your contracts to protect yourself if this happens.

Distribution Disruption: Do the 4 Ps Still Matter?

The 4 Ps, Price, Product, Placement, Promotion, have always been the cornerstones of distribution. But with the proliferation of independent producers, the consolidation of distribution and the introduction of technology, are the 4 Ps still the driving factors for success? From self-distribution and economics to regulatory changes and technology, what’s disrupting distribution and how can independent producers capitalize on the changing landscape?

Sales, Marketing & PR for Distribution

Successful distribution requires a sales, marketing and PR strategy which is aligned with the distribution strategy. Partnering with your distributor and understanding their marketing and sales efforts as well as communicating on pricing and promotion will help you to build staff and programming to support their hard work. Understand how to align your efforts including education, product announcements and events to get the word out and increase product awareness and sales.


Wednesday, December 5

How Craft Fits into the Larger Distribution Stream

Join the discussion of where craft and independent products fit in the future of distribution. How important will these products be to distributors’ portfolios? What disruption does the future hold for distribution and how will it affect your brand? Bring your questions.

Launching New Products with Your Distributor

Launching a new product is a major event for any brand. In addition to the time and effort that goes into development of the product, producers need to take the time to research the business side – where does it fit in the distributor’s portfolio? What price point is best? How will marketing and sales be handled vs. other similar products in the marketplace? Understanding what roles, you and the distributor play in this process and how best to communicate will increase your chances of a successful launch.

Demand Planning for Growth Success

Picture this, running out of product just as your popularity is building. With the lack of product, your distributor tells you that you have now lost your shelf space. Worst nightmare, right? Proper demand planning is the key to avoiding this ultimate producer nightmare. Learn how to align demand planning with your growth strategy to ensure your distributor is well stocked and you have the capital to keep up with growth.

Measuring Success with Distribution Analytics

Measurement is vital to any successful business. Using the data, or distribution analytics, provided by your distributor partner can help you better understand trends and patterns to help your business grow. But what reports should you ask for? What data matters and what doesn’t? How do you track the information; how do you use it and why? Learn the value your distribution data can bring to your business.

Keynote: Nick Rellas, Co-Founder and CEO, Drizly

When and How Should You Expand Beyond Your Home Market?

Knowing when and how aggressively to grow is one of the most challenging questions for any craft producer to answer. Are you winning your home market? How do you know if you are ready? Do you ever know? Understand what plans and resources you should have in place to win outside your home market where the rules aren’t the same.

The Big Three: California, New York and Texas

California, New York and Texas represent the three largest distribution opportunities in the US.  Each has different regulatory and commercial climates which require different strategies for marketing and sales success. Get insight on how to expand into and win in these three states.

The Next Frontier: Exporting and Overseas Markets

Overseas markets are the next opportunity for the independent producer as business continues to grow. Learn more about the current climate and regulatory issues facing your products, the international distribution process and the impact exporting can have on your business.


Thursday, December 6

Keynote: Elias Aguliera, VP of Spirits, Beer and Concierge Wine, Total Wine and More

Understanding Control States

Control states can create a game-changing opportunity for any independent producer – if you can learn to navigate the waters. Understand the ins and outs of control states, the pros and cons of distribution in these different waters and what the benefits can be to those who are successful.

Winning with Independent Stores

Winning your home market means being fully-shelved at your area independent stores. For some, you may be required to go through your distributor, but for others you may have the luxury of self-distribution. In all cases, independent stores require more effort, legwork and staffing to ensure your inventory shows up on their shelves. Meet representatives from various independent stores who will talk shelf space, tasting events and how to partner with them to get your product in their stores.

Growing into Grocery Chains

We all want our products on the grocery store shelves, but what’s the secret to getting there? In a situation where you are dependent on the distributor/buyer relationship, how do you compete with the big brands? Join this conversation with leading grocery chains to learn the ins and outs of shelf space, marketing and distribution from the other side of the aisle.


Who can resist this opportunity? Register today!