Session Details

The ABL Annual Meeting program will be educational and thought-provoking, as speakers address some of the most important issues facing beverage alcohol retailers and the industry as a whole.  Sessions include:

COVID-19’s Impact on the Alcohol Industry 
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the beverage alcohol industry was evolving. But the last two years have driven changes in consumer behavior and created marketplace shifts that may not have happened as quickly, if at all, under “normal” circumstances. Respected beverage alcohol industry analysts Danny Brager and Dale Stratton will analyze pandemic beer, wine, and spirits trends to see which of these changes from the COVID-era are sticking, and which ones may fade.  Using SipSource data as well as other resources, they will share their forecast for the alcohol industry forecast and independent beverage retailers who continue to operate in highly competitive markets.
  • Danny Brager | Owner | Brager Beverage Alcohol Consulting
  • Dale Stratton | Owner | Five Points Consulting LLC

On-Premise Focus: Competing with Taprooms
Chris Black cofounded and ran one of the country’s most famous “beer bars”, Falling Rock Tap House in Denver, for 24 years before the iconic establishment closed its doors last summer.  One challenge that Chris increasingly faced came from those whose businesses he helped get off the ground.  As many ABL bars and taverns face increased competition from breweries that operate as bars, Chris will share his experience and perspective on how bars and taverns can compete in the face of the challenges presented by so-called “own-premise” sales and suppliers who want to both rely on and compete with retail licensees for their own profit.
  • Chris Black | Cofounder | Falling Rock Tap House

Surveying the State Alcohol Policy Landscape
While every state is different when it comes to alcohol polices and regulations, many share similarities with how they regulate alcohol sales and distribution.  Increasingly, national trade groups and corporations are weighing in on state alcohol issues, blurring the lines between tiers and beer, wine and spirits, and using any and all avenues to advance their policy priorities.  This includes a push for Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) privileges in off- and on-premise fashion. A longtime leader in state alcohol policy, Dave Christman, Vice President, State Affairs for the National Beer Wholesalers Association will discuss key issues facing alcohol retailers, including challenges to licensing, enforcement, and the Three-Tier System.
  • David Christman | Vice President, State Affairs | National Beer Wholesalers Association

Impaired Driving Policy – What’s Driving the Discussion?
Beverage licensees remain firmly committed to being part of the solution when it comes to fighting drunk driving as the policy world for impaired driving continues to evolve. With a new federal technology mandate on automakers, the ongoing conversation about changing the legal limit to .05% BAC or lower, and the rise of drug-impaired driving, it’s critical that those involved with these issues are considering all aspects of impaired driving. Highway safety expert and former Mothers Against Drunk Driving lobbyist J.T. Griffin will share his insights and provide an inside look at impaired driving issues, including that what the next 2 to 10 years may hold.
  • J.T. Griffin | Principal | Griffin Strategies, LLC

Federal Alcohol Regulatory Update
While much of beverage retailers’ focus is on local issues thanks to the state-based alcohol regulatory systems in which they do business, they are well-served by staying up-to-date on federal alcohol regulations that can indirectly affect bars and package stores.  This may never have been more evident than now, with the recent release of the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s “Competition in the Market for Beer, Wine and Spirits.”  TTB Assistant Administrator, Field Operations Carrie May will join the meeting to talk about the competition report, as well as the other programs that TTB oversees in its role as the primary federal regulator of the beverage alcohol industry.
  • Carrie May| Assistant Administrator, Field Operations | Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB)

The Liquor Law Enforcement Landscape
Beverage retailers understand that even and fair enforcement of alcohol beverage laws creates a level playing field for competitors and ensures that age-restricted products are being sold safely and responsibly. As the marketplace for alcohol continues to evolve, a working relationship between the enforcement community and beverage retailers is more important than ever before.  As the leader of NLLEA, Carrie Christofes will share her perspective and that of her members when it comes to the enforcement of liquor laws and regulations, including NLLEA’s commitment to improving the standards and practices of liquor law enforcement, and ongoing and anticipated challenges with liquor law enforcement in a (post?)-COVID-19 world.
  • Carrie Christofes | Executive Director | National Liquor Law Enforcement Association

Covering the Industry: Latest Trends in Beverage Alcohol Business
Beverage retailers know that getting the right information at the right time is how they stay ahead of the game. Harry Schuhmacher and Sarah Barrett have their fingers on the pulse of what’s happening in the beer, wine and spirits world.  As they do for their daily industry-focused publications, Harry and Sarah will share their thoughts and perspectives on the ever-evolving industry, as well as some of the hottest and most important issues in the beverage alcohol marketplace.
  • Harry Schuhmacher | Publisher & Owner | Beer Business Daily
  • Sarah Barrett | Executive Editor | Wine & Spirits Daily