Takeaways from WSWA Access LIVE

by | Feb 13, 2024 | Wine & Spirits

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America held its annual Access LIVE conference January 29 through February 1 in Las Vegas. More than 2,500 people from all three tiers of the wine and spirits industry—including attendees from Dimensional Insight!—were in attendance for the event.

Access LIVE provides a chance for people in the wine and spirits industry to connect and learn about the latest advancements impacting their business. It’s a whirlwind three days in Las Vegas—here are our takeaways from the event.

There’s a lot of talk about tech and AI

2023 was certainly the year in which artificial intelligence (AI) exploded and businesses in every sector – wine and spirits included – started to investigate how they can leverage it to improve their businesses.

Linda Bernardi, former chief innovation officer at IBM, had a keynote session at Access LIVE in which she spoke about the potential of AI as a disruptor and a catalyst for innovation. There are certainly areas in the wine and spirits industry that could benefit from AI, including supply chain, marketing, and customer engagement. As always, the key for businesses is to start with trusted data and understand how any AI they are using is generating the results that it gets.

New brands are creating buzz

Every year, WSWA hosts the Brand Battle during its conference, which is a “Shark Tank” style competition that will yield one winner in the end. The entrants always represent different categories in the industry, and I especially appreciated the diverse backgrounds and back stories of the brand owners. This year’s entrants included:

  • Quintaliza Tequila (Tequila and Mezcal)—THIS YEAR’S WINNER!
  • JULIET Wine (Wine)
  • Delta Dirt Distillery (Vodka and Gin)
  • Slainte Irish Whiskey (Whiskey and Scotch)
  • NightOwl Espresso Martini (RTD/Hard Seltzers)
  • SUYO Pisco (Miscellaneous)
  • Roots Divino (Innovation)

What stood out to me most about the Brand Battle is that while taste of a product is certainly important, it’s also crucial to be able to tell a brand’s story succinctly and articulately. That’s an important part of the selling process and it’s what attracts a consumer to a brand.



In addition, there was a lot of buzz at Access LIVE around non-alcoholic brands. Statistics show that non-alcoholic drinks are growing in popularity because of generational trends and a broader focus on wellness. Brands such as Ritual were prominent at Access LIVE, and it will be interesting to see the growth of this sector in the future.

Great networking opportunities

Of course, Access LIVE provides great networking opportunities at events such as Celebrate LIVE (the opening night celebration), TASTE (tasting event), and Ovation LIVE (closing night event).

In addition, this year Dimensional Insight held our own event on the tradeshow floor called “A Sweet Escape.” We provided attendees with an afternoon candy and coffee break, and had the chance to meet more than 100 people from all areas of the industry. It was a great event and satisfied everyone’s sweet tooth!



Kudos to our customers

Every year, WSWA presents several awards at its conference, and this year, two of our customers were among those honored. Congratulations to both Kirk Wolthouse from Fedway and Phil Sobel from Allied Beverage Group for winning 2024 Wholesaler Mover and Shaker awards!


The annual WSWA conference is a great opportunity to learn more about the trends impacting the wine and spirits industry, as well as network with others throughout the three-tier system. As always, Dimensional Insight is proud to support this event and see so many of our customers and friends there!

Kathy Sucich
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