Top Takeaways From NBWA's Annual Convention For Beverage Distributors

Read what distributors are doing to combat the challenging and changing market dynamic and learn how Eagle Rock Distributing Company uses technology to future-proof its sales operation.

October 14, 2022

Distributors overcame a handful of challenges since the last NBWA convention. Distributors worked to power through increasing fuel costs, unpredictable inflation, and the onslaught of supply chain issues on top of trying to recruit and retain talent.

The NBWA's 85th Annual Convention filled attendees to the brim with beer industry knowledge, insights and actionable next steps for growing a distribution business amidst challenging times. 

With 120+ vendors, 19+ seminars, 1,800+ attendees and plenty of face-to-face conversations with distributors at the Encompass Technologies booth, there’s no way we can populate every insight and best practice for you, but below you’ll find a handful of our top takeaways.  

Top Takeaways From NBWA’s Annual Convention 

Adaptability to change was a core theme throughout the convention with many conversations finding a foothold in immediate actions companies can take and innovative technology solutions to embrace.

  • Combat Labor Issues: 10-15% of retail staff is not at work due to labor issues, making it imperative to enhance the sales process and service quality between distributor and retailer as a workplace revolution is unfolding in real-time, according to NBWA's President and CEO, Craig Purser.

    • “The number one reason that we find employees leaving across all departments is because of the workload,” said Verno Consulting’s Wes Verno.

    • “I really believe that people – quality employees – are going to be the currency that measures successful organizations going forward,” Purser said.  

  • Implement Cybersecurity Best Practices: The Beer Industry eCommerce Coalition (BIECC) shared how the beverage industry is a growing target for cybercrime and only 16% of companies are prepared for it. 

    • The beverage industry is one of the fastest-growing targeted industries for cybercrime and the time is now to implement the right steps to prevent cybercrime.

    • In addition to drills, panelists discussing the topic encouraged distributors to use third-party audits to help test and improve security.

  • Leverage Retail Sales And Inventory Visibility: Distributors leveraging POS data and gathering insights from inventory are enabling their sales reps to have more time for meaningful engagements with customers.

    • Eagle Rock Distribution Company increased selling time by 120% in on-premise locations after implementing retail ordering platforms and inventory visibility tools.

    • Learn about the tech solutions Eagle Rock uses to future-proof its business.

  • Use Artificial Intelligence And Machine Learning To Your Advantage: Any distributor wishing to take advantage of AI and Machine Learning to increase time savings, improve employee quality of life, and maintain a competitive edge in the market needs to start by moving data and technology into the cloud.

  • Support The Selling Team: There’s no shortage of free resources to help distributors effectively communicate “Why beer?” to retailers like NBWA’s Beer First Toolkit.

All in all, we enjoyed the time to connect with distributors and make sure our solutions were supporting them. It’s clear we share a common interest with many distributors to increase technology integration that will benefit the end consumer. The growing interest in collaboration and data synchronicity across all three tiers of the industry gives beverage distributors an exciting look at the immediate future. 

We look forward to attending and gathering insights from next year’s NBWA Annual Convention for you.

Until then, we’ll continue sharing ways that technology can future-proof your distribution business. Visit our Connect for Distributors hub to learn more.  

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