ABL Confirms Annual Meeting Keynote

Eric Dopkins, CEO & Founder of Milestone Brands to Provide Keynote Address at Organization’s March Annual Meeting in Las Vegas

February 27, 2017 – Bethesda, MD – American Beverage Licensees (ABL), representing America’s beer, wine and spirits retailers, announced today that Eric Dopkins, CEO & Founder of Milestone Brands, LLC, has been confirmed as the featured keynote speaker at the organization’s upcoming annual meeting, being held March 26-28 in Las Vegas.

“Since 2002, ABL has held an annual meeting which brings together our members and representatives from the producer and distributor tiers, in order to grow relationships, promote shared interests, and gain a better understanding of where the industry as a whole is heading,” noted ABL Executive Director John Bodnovich. “To this end, we couldn’t be more excited about having Eric as the meeting’s featured keynote speaker – as he brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in the spirits business, which he will be sharing with meeting attendees.”

In a career spanning more than two decades in the spirits industry, Mr. Dopkins has served in a number of senior leadership positions with companies including Diageo, Boz Spirits, Pernod Ricard, and Young’s Market Company. Immediately prior to founding Milestone Brands, Mr. Dopkins spent two years as the CEO of Deep Eddy Spirits, where he helped grow Deep Eddy’s sales from $6 million to more than $73 million, while also leading the company through its 2015 acquisition by Kentucky-based Heaven Hill Brands.

Additional presenters and sessions open to all ABL Annual Meeting attendees include:

Vivien Azer (Managing Director & Senior Research Analyst | Cowen & Company) – Seeds of Change: The Emerging Cannabis Marketplace & It’s Place Within Alcohol’s Sphere of Influence

Steve Bene (General Counsel | Pandora Media, Inc.) – Update: The Current State of the Music Licensing Landscape

Danny Brager (SVP – Beverage Alcohol Practice | The Nielsen Company) – Where We Are & Where We’re Going: Current and Emerging Trends in the Retail Environment

Bryan Goodwin (SVP, Commercial Sales & Operations | Drizly) & Brad Rosen (CEO & Founder | Drync) – The Next Frontier? Mobile Alcohol Ordering Platforms

Craig Purser (President & CEO | National Beer Wholesalers Association) & Craig Wolf (President & CEO | Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America) – A Whole Lot of Sales: Current State of the Wholesale Tier in the Marketplace

Steve Schmidt (SVP – Public Policy & Communications | National Alcohol Beverage Control Association) – Alcohol Policy: State of the States

Nicholas P. Scutari (New Jersey State Senator | Democrat – District 22) – Recreational Marijuana Legislation: Parallels to Alcohol Industry’s Regulatory Framework

Kraig Naasz (President & CEO | Distilled Spirits Council) will also address the ABL Board of Directors during its meeting.

Registration for the annual meeting is currently available online for $299, and includes access to all ABL events and a complimentary 2-Day Expo Hall pass to the Nightclub & Bar Trade Show 2017. This pass will provide attendees with access to the expo hall on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 28-29, which will feature over 600 exhibitors presenting spirits, beer, wine and numerous other products for beverage businesses.

Click here to view 2017 ABL Annual Meeting schedule of events. For more information on ABL or the annual meeting, please visit www.ablusa.org.


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American Beverage Licensees is the preeminent national trade association for beverage alcohol retailers. Direct retail beverage alcohol sales in the United States generate as many as 1.94 million well-paying jobs. ABL’s thousands of on-premise and off-premise licensee members are independent and often family-owned establishments. The beverage retailing industry pays over $25.3 billion in federal taxes and $18.36 billion in state and local taxes. To learn more about ABL, visit www.ablusa.org.