Adapting to New and Changing Market Dynamics

At its 85th Annual Convention and Product Showcase last October, The National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) introduced Gordon Green as the organization’s new Chairman of the Board.

Green has been a member of the board for 12 years and previously held positions in the wine and soft drink industry. We recently caught up with Green, President and Equity Manager of Capital Distributing in Oklahoma City, to recap his chairmanship and accomplishments.

Beverage Wholesaler: What have been your biggest accomplishments so far?
Gordon Green: This year has been particularly tumultuous with the challenges of the nation’s largest brewer affecting many distributors across the country. Even for those of us that don’t carry that brand, the impact of significantly decreased category volumes, a glut of inventory, and continued marketplace disruptions have been significant. Providing leadership during this difficult time while maintaining focus on all the other issues facing our industry as well as helping set us up for future success has been a challenge, but I’m proud of what I’ve helped NBWA accomplish.

BW: What do you think are some of the biggest struggles currently plaguing the industry?
GG: Our industry is constantly facing headwinds. These include ongoing pressure from suppliers, including terminations without cause, big soda’s continued entry into alcohol, the expansion of the ready-to-drink (RTD) spirits category, constant attacks on the three-tier system and the changing preferences of consumers. All of these issues have required distributors to adapt to new and changing market dynamics. NBWA has worked to help members manage through these changes and challenges.

BW: How has your previous experience in the wine and soft drink industry helped you as chairman for NBWA?
GG: I wasn’t born into the beer industry, and I started off my career at Gallo Wine Company and then worked for both PepsiCo and Coca Cola distributing facilities. With the beer distribution industry’s current challenges and opportunities – expansion of the RTD spirits category, big soda’s entry into the alcohol space and the changing preferences of consumers to name a few – my previous experiences positioned me well as a strong advocate for the industry by giving me a broader understanding of the alcohol and beverage industries.

BW: What do you think the future holds for NBWA and the broader industry?
GG: The future for the beer and beverage distribution industry is bright, but we all need to take control of our own destinies and make smart decisions to position ourselves well based on changing dynamics. I think we can expect continued expansion of the sector and blurring of the lines, continued pressures on the middle tier from suppliers and continued need for diversification of our product offerings. We will also need to fight to protect our businesses and our investments as they continue to face pressure from regulators, lawmakers and in the legal arena.


BW: What advice would you give to the next chairman?
GG: It’s often been said that for the NBWA Chairman, whatever you think will be your priorities, do not end up being your priorities. So my advice to our incoming chairman – and future chairs – is to be flexible, be prepared for change, to listen to your board and members and to lean on the NBWA. We are incredibly lucky to have an organization with the knowledge, the team and the dedication to advocate for beer and beverage distributors. Trust that they will fight for the industry and always strive to do what’s in our best interests.


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