The Beverage Alcohol Retailers Conference, the only national educational event for off-premise retailers, had a successful debut in Minneapolis from June 12-14.
More than 175 industry members attended the event at the Radisson Blu Downtown, which include training sessions, networking receptions, keynote addresses, panel discussions, tasting classes and tabletop exhibits. The conference was produced by Beverage Dynamics magazine, a national trade publication serving off-premise retailers.
“We’re proud to bring educational opportunities to the readers we serve,” says Beverage Dynamics publisher Amy Collins. “BARC is an in-person extension of the magazine, allowing retailers to connect, develop and innovate.”
The two-plus day event kicked off on Monday, June 12 with training courses from TAM and WSET, followed by a networking reception. Tuesday morning began with a keynote from Liquor Stores NA President and CEO Stephen Bebis, who shared insight from his 40-plus years in retail management. Wednesday’s keynote speaker Tom Shay, retail consultant and president of Profits Plus, who spoke about the characteristics of successful businesses and how to win in a challenging economy.
Other educational session topics included point-of-sale systems, category management, craft beer and spirits, e-commerce and digital communication strategies. Analysts from the Beverage Information & Insights Group, NABCA and NBWA provided an overview of beer, wine and spirits consumption, while industry association leaders participated in a panel discussion about challenges and opportunities facing retailers.
A highlight of the event was the presentation of the Retailers of the Year Awards, which recognized 15 store owners who are models for the industry. Following the presentation, five of the winners took the stage to answer questions from the audience in a town hall forum.
“Our first year was very well received by retailers, and I look forward to gathering their feedback as we plan for the second-annual BARC,” says Beverage Dynamics Editor Jeremy Nedelka. “Independent beverage alcohol stores face challenges from regulators, legislators and national competitors. It’s important that we provide a forum for them to come together and learn how to improve their businesses and succeed in today’s environment.”
Educational sessions were presented in partnership with Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), American Wine School, National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA), National Beer Wholesalers Association (NBWA), Techniques of Alcohol Management (TAM), the Michigan Licensed Beverage Association, the Minnesota Licensed Beverage Association and the Minnesota Municipal Beverage Association.
Beverage Alcohol Retailers Conference sponsors included Marie Brizard Wine & Spirits, Serralles USA, WineFetch, Ron Abuelo, Phillips Distilling Co., Sellr, Vektor Vodka, Drync, The Presidents’ Forum of the Distilled Spirits Industry, BlueOco, Smokin’ Mary and Retail Information Technology Enterprises.
Dates and location for the 2018 Beverage Alcohol Retailers Conference will be announced soon. For more information about BARC, visit BevRetailersConference.com.