Events

An Expanded WSWA Brand Battle Tournament Returns Virtually for 2021

Wine and spirits brands should enter now to showcase their products and connect with wholesalers all summer long

2019 to 2021 winners. Photo courtesy of WSWA.

Over the years of the annual Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America (WSWA) Convention and Exposition, the Brand Battle Tournament—a can’t-miss, Shark Tank-style event for craft, start-up, and small-production wine and spirits brands—has become one of the highlights of the convention. This summer, the WSWA Brand Battle Tournament is going virtual for the first time ever, with SevenFifty Daily and Beverage Media Group as its media partner—and everyone’s invited.

Going virtual allows the event to expand and accommodate more brands than ever, with the virtual stage providing the perfect platform to showcase products, particularly for brand managers seeking distribution partnerships for the U.S. marketplace. The tournament will publicly showcase rising brands with unique stories, packaging, and flavor profiles in an engaging digital environment while panels of wholesaler judges provide valuable, thought-provoking insight and feedback to competitors across eight different product categories. These categories range from vodka and gin to low- and non-alcoholic products, offering an opportunity for every brand to gain exposure and place all of their chips on the perfect product pitch.  

The craft brands that register will be engaging wholesaler decision-makers hailing from large and small distribution companies all across the country and receive candid, invaluable feedback. This event provides a rare combination of exposure and constructive feedback with the added value of a live virtual audience composed of global industry tastemakers, media, and wine and spirits enthusiasts—perfect for suppliers looking to connect with wholesalers and keep up with industry trends. 

“It all started on the stage at Brand Battle in Orlando, and I am eternally grateful for the exposure [WSWA] gave me,” says Louise McGuane, a 2019 Brand Battle competitor and the CEO of J.J. Corry Irish Whiskey. “We’d spent two years organically growing the brand, focusing on qualitative distribution, building our reputation ,and telling our unique story.” The brand recently announced a new strategic partnership in the U.S. with Trinity Beverage Group and is planning for a national rollout in the next 18 months.

Competitors should enter for the 2021 tournament quickly using the WSWA Brand Battle Tournament application form; the April 30 deadline to submit brand entrants is fast approaching (per-category entry fees are $500 for associate members and $650 for non-members). All summer long, brands will square off within their categories; trade members and consumers alike can tune in on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. EDT beginning June 8.

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