USBevX launches its inaugural year: Expo and conference brings beer, wine, spirits and cider pros together

By Hal Conick

- Last updated on GMT

This year's USBevX will span the beer, wine, cider and spirits industries.
This year's USBevX will span the beer, wine, cider and spirits industries.

Related tags Alcoholic beverage

Spirits, cider, beer and wine industries can all learn from each other, say the organizers behind the inaugural US Beverage Industry Expo, or USBevX.

The event wants to remove each sector from their traditional silos and offer a fresh perspective on the industry.

Robert Larsen, a communications consultant with this event and owner of the California-based Larsen Projekt, which works to take on marketing and communications for the wine industry and beyond, told BeverageDaily each sector can find new opportunities in today's ever-changing landscape.

“With the people we’re going to have in the room, the biggest takeaway will be discovery,”​ he said.

Larsen highlights a couple of key areas that may be addressed at this year’s conference, including bringing wine up to speed with the rest of the alcoholic beverage industry. There are many hurdles right now with regard to marketing wine, so vast creativity is a necessity.

In addition, packaging, legal issues and how to promote products will be key topics for discussion. Craft beer has been successful in promoting its products; and Larsen said large companies, as well as spirits, cider and wine, will need to keep an eye toward what craft brewers are doing.

In particular, he mentioned the success of Lagunitas Brewing Company​, which has seen huge expansion and even inked a worldwide distribution deal with Heineken.

“If wine and spirits can look at that and have an understanding of [what Lagunitas does] … they can use as a model to at least acknowledge that there are new ways to go to market. It’s certainly one thing we’ll talk about at BevX,”​ he said. 

“Also, big beer companies are taking notice and absolutely having an understanding that alright, our previous business model worked and got us to be this huge, but now there’s a piece of this market that is being taken away from us so we need to pay attention.”

What is 'the new normal'?

With approximately 40 speakers from across the alcoholic beverage industry, as well as dozens of exhibitors, Larsen said the event will address “the new normal” ​and find new opportunities in an ever-changing landscape.

“How can you look at your business as an opportunity to address something in a unique fashion within your category so you can be successful? Potentially without a whole lot of investment,” ​Larsen said, of one of the questions that will be addressed.

Larsen wants the conference to be a place where professionals from the spirits, cider, beer and wine industries can come and find new ideas to answer old problems. Taking “the path toward an ah-ha”​ moment, he said, and getting a good picture of what trends are coming next in the industry.

Is there crossover in useful information between these alcoholic beverage industries? Larsen thinks so.

“If you get down to the root of it and you think about our consumer, it is the same consumer​,” he said. “We have to [address that]. Those that don’t are going to be stuck.”

BeverageDaily will be at USBevX when it takes place in Washington D.C. on February 16 to 18. See the full list of speakers at this year’s conference here​. 

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