After several years of pandemic-induced isolation, the wine and spirits industry finally reconnected in-person at this year’s WSWA Access LIVE conference. Featuring exhibitors and attendees from across the world, Access LIVE gave us an opportunity to not only learn about the direction in which the industry’s heading, but also about the faces we can expect to join us along the way.
New flavors, new faces
A lot has changed in the past few years since our last time together, and the products on display reflected that. New consumer trends have fueled innovation across the industry, from RTD beverages like Sunshine Punch (which also happens to be this year’s 2023 Brand Battle Champion) to artisan tequila brands like Inspiro, a drink made by women for women.
And of course, a wine and spirits conference wouldn’t be complete without sampling some of these new and exciting brands! Attendees had the pleasure of tasting a variety of new products, both at vendors’ individual booths as well as at the daily afterparties.
Diversity leads the way
Diversity has been a hot topic these past couple years, and the wine and spirits industry is no exception. Featuring sessions from industry-trailblazers such as Pronghorn and Women of the Vine & Spirits, attendees were able to learn about some of the industry’s biggest diversity-initiatives and why the market as a whole could benefit from them.
This year’s Access LIVE also marked the first WSWA appearance of SERV Vodka, a line of vodkas created in partnership with six of the world’s most iconic drag queens. In an age marked with increasingly anti-trans rhetoric at both the government and societal levels, SERV is working to highlight inclusivity and celebrate the LGBTQ community.
Hanging with celebrities
Some of this year’s new faces were a little more familiar than others. Walking the trade-show floor, attendees might’ve run into big-name celebrities Guy Fieri (A.K.A. Mayor of Flavortown) and Jason Momoa (better known for his superhero persona, Aquaman), who made guest appearances to promote their own entrees to the industry.
To coincide with the launch of his new brand MoShine, hip-hop superstar Nelly even decided to celebrate with us by performing at this year’s closing night afterparty.
See you next year!
Despite having been away from one another for so long, Access LIVE was brimming with energy and set a great tone for the remainder of the year. Armed with the knowledge and new connections we made, we feel confident in the direction the industry is heading.
We’re looking forward to next year, and can’t wait to reconnect with you all again. See you then!
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