The beautiful La Quinta Resort & Club will serve as host to the NABCA’s 62nd annual conference.

Opportunity Through Unity” is the designated theme of this year’s NABCA Conference, to be held May 15 to 19 at the La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, CA. Fittingly, under the umbrella of “Unity,” the conference’s two keynote speakers come from different sides of the political spectrum. Kicking off the opening General Session (9 a.m. to 10 a.m.) on Sunday, May 16, is Mike McCurry, who was assistant to President Clinton and Press Secretary from January 1995 until October 1998, and has worked for a variety of Democratic officeholders for almost two decades. McCurry’s presentation, entitled “Making Opportunity,” draws on years of experience in the political arena.

General Session II, on Monday, May 17 (9 a.m. to 10 a.m.) continues the theme of “Opportunity Through Unity” with a speech by Alan K. Simpson, who served as a Republican Senator from Wyoming for three terms, retiring from the U.S. Senate in January 1997. Simpson’s presentation, “Unity: The American Perspective,” provides a broad perspective on building unity in a variety of situations.

The Conference’s first Business Session, on Sunday morning (10:30 a.m. to 12 noon), addresses the topic of “Industry Unity: How Much, How Soon.” A panel of spirits, wine and beer industry executives discuss the plausibility of collectively dealing with issues such as advertising restrictions, accessibility limitations, etc.

At 1 p.m. on Sunday, Seminar I, titled “Federal Affairs and Legislation,” and moderated by NABCA General Counsel James M. Goldberg, features representatives from national organizations who will explore a variety of legislative and legal issues — such as direct shipment and BAC levels — facing the beverage alcohol industry.

New to the NABCA Conference this year are two Product Knowledge sessions. The first, taking place Sunday, 2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., focuses on “Bourbon, The American Spirit.” Parker Beam, of Heaven Hill Distilleries, will detail bourbon’s production process as well as present an overview on the spirit’s development.

In keeping with the locale, conference attendees can enjoy a Southwestern dinner Sunday evening, beginning at 7 p.m.

On Monday morning, following the General Session, “Business Session II” (10:30 a.m. to 12 noon) features an “Industry Relations Workshop.” This session includes a panel of leaders from the control states and members of the NABCA Industry Steering Committee, and explores a variety of issues and problems relevant to the control states and the industry. Outgoing NABCA president Ken Wynn, of Utah, serves as the moderator.

Following lunch on Monday, Seminar II: “Cracking The Code” (1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.), discusses the issues surrounding Shipping Container Code (SCC) compliance. Moderated by Dennis Kellen, operations manager, Utah Department of ABC, the session explores the advantages of technology that includes price quotes, ordering, receiving, shipping, etc.

Monday’s Product Knowledge Session (2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.) features Jim Beam Brands’ Steve Gird, discussing “The Cordial Category,” with a presentation on the cordial production process, among other topics.

Monday evening, there will be a Winter Olympics dinner (7 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.) for all interested conference attendees.

“State of the States” is the topic for Tuesday morning’s Business Session (10:30 to 12 noon). Representatives from licensed states, control states and the Canadian provinces will discuss — and field questions about — the latest legislative and regulatory issues.

Tuesday’s Seminar (1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.), titled “Show Me the Money,” features Jan Byrne, Alabama Alcohol Awareness Officer, who will moderate a discussion on alcohol education efforts, and where and how to get grants for increasing activity in the alcohol education community.

Tuesday’s final Seminar (2:30 p.m. to 4 p.m.) explores how technology is used to deal with underage alcohol consumption. Titled, “Licenses and Libations,” it will discuss the newest technology and how to best use it.

Finally, Tuesday night, the Cocktail reception (6 p.m. to 7 p.m.) will be followed by the 62nd Annual Banquet (7 p.m. to 11 p.m.).


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