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Sunbelt wholesalers adjourn in Opryland.

Sunbelt wholesalers adjourn in Opryland

The first Sunbelt Beer Wholesalers Conference was held August 1-4 at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville, TN. The show was attended by well over 800 people, including over 40 exhibitors, who provided attendees with displays of their products and services during the two days that the show's exhibition floor was open.

The General Opening Session was begun by Bill Williams, president, Tennessee Malt Beverage Assn. Williams introduced singer Lee Greenwood, who entertained attendees with his rendition of "God Bless America." Chris Valauri, executive director, North Carolina Beer Wholesalers Assn., then introduced the keynote speaker, August Busch III, chairman of the board and president, Anheuser-Busch Cos., Inc.

Busch first stressed the importance of the industry's three-tier system working together to defend against "misguided legislative challenges." He noted that the best way to accomplish this objective was for every beer wholesaler to participate in both state and national organizations, in an attempt to strengthen the entire industry.

The key element of the industry's mutual success is the three-tier system, according to A-B's chairman, and only through its wholesalers has Anheuser-Busch achieved the much-needed grass roots marketing support. Furthering this idea, Busch pointed out the AB wholesaler Equity Agreement, which was designed "to strengthen the three-tier system.

Busch also stressed the fact that beer is the "beverage of moderation," and that each the attendees should join the Beer Drinkers of America, the lobbying group fighting against unfair taxation and the opportunity to drink beer responsibly, which already boasts a membership of 500,000 people.

As Busch sees it, another of the big challenges facing the industry includes higher excise taxes, which could add $1 to every six-pack, and have a "devastating effect on industry sales." At this point, Busch said, Anheuser-Busch is supporting the "Can the Beer Tax" campaign, which encourages consumers to call a toll-free number and speak out against the tax. More than 120,000 letters have been received by Congress.

"The most serious challenge," Busch explained, "is that beer is being linked to illegal drugs. This is extremely serious, and symptomatic of the growing anti-alcohol movement in this country which has the elimination of all alcohol consumption, including safe consumption, as its ultimate goal."

Busch also attacked the national media, saying that it has not been fair or truthful in its coverage. "If communication is one-sided and misrepresents the facts," Busch said, "it hurts each of us and it is counter to responsible journalism."

Wholesaler problems addressed

Along with Busch, National Beer Wholesalers Assn. (NBWA) chairman Matthew Dee spoke on the problems confronting the nation's wholesalers, including lower profit margins; a shrinking market; retail chain stores; fewer wholesalers; and fewer brewers.

PHOTO : OUT OF GERMANY - Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Co. announced last week that it will become the exclusive North American distributor for Hofbrauhaus Munchen.
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Title Annotation:Sunbelt Beer Wholesalers Conference, Nashville, Tennessee
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Aug 13, 1990
Previous Article:WI's Kasten blasts beer hike tax plan.
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