The largest event in the U.S. to unite all three tiers of the beverage alcohol industry is returning in 2024. The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) Access LIVE takes place on January 29 to February 1, at Caesars Forum in Las Vegas, bringing together more than 2,500 attendees from all 50 states and D.C., for two-and-a-half days of lively discussions, interactive experiences, networking opportunities, and relationship building.
Formerly known as WSWA’s Convention & Exposition, the event was reimagined after a four-year in-person hiatus during the pandemic, reemerging in 2023 with a new name and a fresh and expansive approach. Building on the success of last year’s conference in Orlando, Florida, Access Live 2024 will bring back crowd favorites while also developing and improving the lineup and event experience. “There is a lot to be excited about this year,” says Doug Shaw, the president of M.S. Walker and recently elected WSWA chairman of the board. “We expect this year’s event to be the most diverse yet, from products to people, and I am looking forward to being able to engage directly with as many attendees and brands as possible.”
The Shark Tank-style Brand Battle, a proven springboard for many new brands, will return, as well as the Wine and Spirits Tasting Competition. Held on January 28 to 29, before the show’s official start, the blind competition offers winning brands the opportunity to boost their presence amongst attendees for the days that follow and beyond. The exhibit hall will hold 300 booths and 20 suites, as well as the LIVE stage, where educational opportunities take place, such as TED-style talks about pressing industry issues and impactful panel discussions. The main stage, which will open with welcoming words from Francis Creighton, the president and CEO of WSWA, plays host to the keynote speakers, award ceremonies, and the 2024 Brand Battle Championship.
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Changes include moving the event to January for the first time, so attendees can discover new products at a key time of the selling year. At its new location in Las Vegas all events and meetings will occur around one central, convenient space, reducing the amount of running around required by attendees. There will be interactive zones throughout, including the Hub (featuring a digital content lab, a brand building bar, and mixology workshops), the HQ Connect gathering space, and pop-up experiences for brand activations and engagement. Access LIVE is also working on its environmental credentials, reducing swag and using digital signage to scale back on waste, as well as offering more health and wellness activities.
Distributors make up 25 percent of all attendees, with a high concentration of decision-making C-suite level executives, who together distribute more than 80 percent of all wine and spirits sold at wholesale in the U.S. “I think the real value is when [attendees] return to their respective companies and share with their teams everything they discovered—a real value-add for any organization who sends them,” says Shaw. “Everyone leaves Access LIVE more informed, engaged, and energized.”
To register, enter the Brand Battle, or submit an award or speaker nomination, please visit accesslive.wswa.org or contact the Access LIVE hotline at 202-371-5682.
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