WAABI To Honor Wirtz Family at 2010 Leadership Conference

The World Association of the Alcohol Beverage Industries, Inc. (WAABI) has announced exciting preliminary details of their 2010 Leadership Conference. The event, June 5-8, is open to all adults who share the organization’s goals of  (1) Preventing Underage Drinking, (2) Preventing Drunk Driving, (3) Promoting Social Responsibility, and (4) Serving Our Communities.

WAABI will hold their conference at the brand new Lodge at Deadwood, in historic Deadwood, South Dakota. Rooms are available for a WAABI rate of $139 per night. The hotel features a full casino and many amenities, including free wireless Internet access. Details can be found at www.deadwoodlodge.com.
WAABI has chosen this location and time so that members can participate in the Sky Ranch Foundation’s 19th Annual Hall of Fame dinner (separate ticket event) to be held at the Lodge on Sunday, June 6. On June 7, all WAABI registrants (and Hall of Fame dinner guests) will be transported about 90 minutes away to Sky Ranch for Boys for special ceremonies marking the Ranch’s 50th Anniversary. See www.skyranchfoundation.org for details. WAABI has been a crucial part of fundraising and support for Sky Ranch since the very start!

Guests will return to Deadwood by 5:30 PM on June 7. After freshening up, they will convene for the Annual UNITY AWARD reception and dinner. This dinner is included in the WAABI Conference Registration package. Guests are encouraged to attend at a price of $125. For the first time since the UNITY Award was first presented (to William A. Walker of Bacardi in 1991) it will be presented to 3 generations of a single family. The UNITY Award recognizes exceptional leadership and accomplishment beneficial to the entire alcohol beverage industry and those who work in it. The Wirtz family, owners of the Wirtz Beverage Group, have been meeting that standard consistently for many years!
The late William Wirtz was the first to give WAABI strong support in their home base of Chicago, but also in other cities where they do business, including Minneapolis/St. Paul and Milwaukee.
His example was followed and expanded on by his son, W. Rockwell “Rocky” Wirtz, currently President of Wirtz Corporation and Chairman of the Chicago Blackhawks. Rocky’s commitment to the industry is exemplified by his current service as Chairman of WSWA (Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America).
Today, Rocky’s son Danny serves as V.P. of Spirits Marketing and Sales for the Wirtz Beverage Group and  leads strategic marketing initiatives for the company nationwide. He is quickly setting a new standard for commitment to community service, one of WAABI’s core values!
The special recognition for the Wirtz family will be accepted by Rocky Wirtz at the June 7 dinner in Deadwood.
The following morning, WAABI delegates will plunge into a series of presentations and workshops aimed at sharpening their knowledge of industry issues and expanding their participation in programs such as We Don’t Serve Teens. A highlight of the business session will be the Keynote address by John McDonnell, Chief Operating Officer of Patron Spirits, a post he has held since 2005, following several senior positions in the Seagram organization. Since he joined Patron, the company sales have risen rapidly from 340,000 cases in 2005 to more than 1.7 million in 2008! Mr. McDonnell will give an overview of industry trends.
Other speakers are still being recruited to round out the program of business, political and social concerns important to all members of the alcohol beverage industry. Tax issues, ignition interlock requirements, advertising restrictions, are some of the topic likely to be discussed. Conference registration details and forms will be available soon on the WAABI web site: www.waabi.org.

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