January-February 2010 Newsletter

Wrap-Up: U.S. Drinks Conference 2009

By: Lana Bortolot
Nearly 150 wine, spirits and beer professionals from around the world attended the U.S. Drinks Conference in New York City, Oct 13–14, 2009. Previously held in London, the conference, in its third year, focused on entry to and regulations of the U.S. market, as well as industry trends, marketing opportunities and challenges.

Seven panels covered the wine, spirits and beer categories with topics ranging from on- and off-premise partnerships, launch and brand-building strategies and, for the first time, a special focus on social media marketing.

The panelists included presidents of start-up brands and new beverage “think tanks,” and officers from established companies such as Sherry-Lehmann, Winebow and Pernod Ricard USA.

The conference was organized by Brand Action Team, MHW, Ltd. and Next Level Marketing.

Fact: Social media has overtaken pornography as the number one activity on the Internet. Fact: 85 percent of social media users believe a company should go beyond having a traditional presence in the market.

Left: Panelists discussed the ways in which to leverage the social media phenomenon: Derek Bromley of Derek Bromley Consulting (left); Paul Mabray, Chief Strategy Officer of VinTank; and Peter Spande, SVP Sales at Federated Media. Panel moderated by Steve Raye of Brand Action Team.
(Right: Steve Raye, Managing Partner, Brand Action Team.
  Left: Jeff Grindrod, Managing Partner of Brand Action Team, moderates the Distributor Panel discussion with John Malone (middle) of Genesis Brands Division and Bruce Levine from The Charmer Sunbelt Group.

Right: Moderator Mike Ginley of Next Level Marketing; Ted Roman, SVP Sales, Wm. Grant & Sons USA (middle); Mark Teasdale, President, Proximo Spirits.  
"It used to be you brought in a brand and distributors would fight over it. Now, you need to build a complete program to support the brand," noted Mike Ginley of Next Level Marketing.

Left: Ginley moderated the discussion of successful brand introductions, which included: Ted Roman, SVP Sales, Wm. Grant & Sons USA; Mark Teasdale, President, Proximo Spirits; Rob Cooper, President, St-Germain; and Steve Lutterman, President, Leblon Cachaça (not pictured).


The 2010 U.S. Drinks Conference will be held October 12–13 in New York City.


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