Yesterday, the National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA) concluded its 86th Annual Convention and Trade Show in Las Vegas, naming Michigan’s Jim Fabiano II as the new Chairman of the Board. This year, the NBWA Trade Show floor was sold out and boasted an impressive 212 exhibitors from across the country.
“It is now my distinct honor to pass the torch to someone I have gotten to know over our time together in this industry,” said outgoing Chairman Gordon Green in a news release. “Jim Fabiano has the experience needed to lead us into 2024.”
Fabiano is the CEO of Fabiano Brothers in Michigan, bringing a lifetime of experience in the beer distribution industry. His company has been supplying beer in the region for more than a century.
“I’m honored to be your new Chairman representing America’s 3,000 independent beer and beverage distributors. Every day, this industry moves mountains. 140,000 men and women working from before dawn until after sunset to keep shelves stocked, taps flowing, and coolers full in every small town and big city. The livelihoods of so many of our neighbors rely on the extraordinary efforts of distributors – and we always come through,” said Fabiano in the release. “My promise to you is that I will match that level of effort as your chairman.”
The NBWA also presented two awards:
- Luke Dahlheimer of Dahlheimer Beverage in Minnesota received this year’s Kenny Kerr PAC Award, named in honor of NBWA’s first PAC Chairman.
- West Side Beer received the Whitey Littlefield Award, which honors distributors who go the extra mile to grow the NBWA PAC.
Noteworthy Discussions From Industry Leaders
Former NBA All-Star and Mayor of Sacramento, Kevin Johnson, took the main stage to share his unique perspective on leadership and the beer industry. Johnson, whose career has been shaped by public service, as well as his roles as owner of Oak Park Brewing Co. and founder of the National Black Brewers Association, spoke with David Steinman from Beer Marketer’s Insights in a fireside chat.
Attendees also heard from President and CEO of Molson Coors Beverage Company, Gavin Hattersley. Hattersley discussed the lessons he’s learned through his 25 years in senior leadership at one of the world’s largest beer companies, and stressed the need for unity throughout the industry.
“Beer has unified us all, in good times and in bad times. Yet even with all of that history, some folks doubt beer’s ability to grow in the future,” said Gavin Hattersley, CEO of Molson Coors Beverage Company. “Now obviously we have to take those threats seriously, and while of course we will continue to compete in the marketplace, we have to continue to partner with each other through the NBWA, through the BI [Beer Institute], through the BA [Brewers Association], to combat other industries’ efforts to further erode our position. But make no mistake – whether it’s here in the United States or anywhere else in the world, beer doesn’t just have a rich history. I believe it has a very bright future.”
Peter Heimark, CEO of Heimark Distributing in California, led a panel discussion between Shannon McQuade-Ely, of McQuade Distributing in North Dakota; Buck Sawyer from College City Beverage in Minnesota; Will Jenkins from Giglio Distributing in Texas; and Mike Markovich from Summit Beverage in Montana. The panel explored how distributors can prepare for the future in a fast-evolving industry.
Concluding the session was 14-year NFL veteran, motivational speaker and magician, Jon Dorenbos, whose story of overcoming adversity as well as his magic show inspired the crowd.