WSWA Announces Keynote by Deputy FBI Director Paul Abbate

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Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) just announced a powerful programming focus at 2024 Access LIVE, the association’s annual industry event to be held in Las Vegas next month.

A closing night keynote from Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Paul Abbate and opening night panel discussion featuring experts from all three tiers of the beverage alcohol industry will focus on one of the biggest challenges currently facing all three industry tiers: retail theft, the organization states.

“Retail theft is a threat to wholesalers, suppliers and retailers, but it’s also impacting consumers who are seeing limited choices and more inconvenience,” says WSWA CEO and President Francis Creighton in a news release. “At WSWA’s Access LIVE, leaders from all three tiers will come together to talk about what law enforcement can do to help and what we can do to stop theft while reducing consumer impact. We’re thrilled to welcome the FBI’s Deputy Director as well as subject matter experts from across the industry to address this as well as other important issues impacting the U.S. beverage alcohol marketplace.”

Combatting Retail Theft

Abbate has served as Deputy Director since February 2021 and oversees all FBI domestic and international investigative and intelligence activities, including organized retail theft. Abbate will sit with Francis to discuss the problem of organized theft across the beverage alcohol industry and solutions to solving it, according to WSWA.

Attendees will also hear from a panel of theft prevention experts from the supplier and retail tiers who will share challenges and provide actionable solutions on how to prevent theft in retail spaces, WSWA states. According to a new report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, retailer losses driven by retail crime totaled nearly $100 billion dollars in 2022.

Learn From the Experts

Additional programming will include “Wholesaler Power Hours” on the LIVE Stage where executives and next-generation leaders from the wholesale tier will share their experience and expertise, according to WSWA. “Stories Through the Generations” will feature Bennett Glazer of Southern Glazer’s Wine and Spirits, Charlie Merinoff of Breakthru Beverage Group, Stan Hastings of Moon Distributing and Bobby Harmelin from Allied Beverage Group in a fascinating panel moderated by March Sachs, Executive Partner and Board Member for Republic National Distributing Company.

Another session, “Today’s Distributor and Tomorrow’s Marketplace” will bring together the next generation of wholesale leaders including President of Opici Family Distributing Dina Opici, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Breakthru Beverage Group Hillary Wirtz, and Chief Operating Officer at Best Brands Ryan Moses to discuss today’s marketplace, the value of distribution partnerships and their plans for the future marketplace.


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