Bellissima Organic Prosecco from Christie Brinkley

Wine and Spirits Wholesalers Convention and Exposition returns to Orlando this year April 18 through 21. This year’s convention features hundreds of new products, hospitality suites, seminars, cocktail competitions, spirits and wine competitions as well as the US Beverage Alcohol Forum and Brand Battle.

Christie Brinkley at WSWA

Now in its 74th year, the WSWA convention brings together distributors seeking new products and the opportunity to network. Last year I saw products in all categories including ready to drink, agave spirits and other emerging s. I also got to try Bellissima, the organic prosecco line, supermodel Christie Brinkley launched.

Beatbox – ready to drink

People might scoff a bit about boxed wine but Beatbox is one of those breakout products that aimed to win big including getting buzz from the show Shark Tank and also at WSWA.

Call for Cocktails competition

There are two exciting competitions this year at WSWA including the Call for Cocktails and Wholesaler Iron Mixologist.

Call for Cocktails is open to exhibitors and recipes are submitted before the day of the competition. They are pre-screened by the competition director, Tony Abou-Ganim. The brands are allowed to bring their own mixologist or WSWA can also offer local talent to help out.

For the Wholesaler Iron Mixologist competition, it is limited to the first 8 wholesalers who enter their mixologist. The mixologists are given a basket of secret ingredients where they have to create a long drink and an aperitif. Prizes are awarded for Best in Show, Best Long Drink and Best Aperitif. Last year the winners are Max Solano for Southern Wine and Spirits for Best in Show, Nick Nistico for Breakthru Beverage Florida for Best Aperitif and Max Solano also won for Best Long Drink.

Ixcacao from Victoria D’amato-Moran for Call for Cocktails Competition 2016

Here’s one of the brilliant drinks from last year’s Call for Cocktails. Victoria D’amato-Moran even paired her cocktail with a pretty handmade chocolate cup filled with mezcal.

Ixcacao by Victoria D’amato-Moran

  • 1.75 oz Ron Caribe 5-Year rum
  • .25 oz Cent’anni Lemon spice
  • .35 oz Cent’anni chocolate chili spice
  • .50 oz Cappeletti Aperitivo
  • .25 oz Kalani coconut liqueur
  • 2 oz pineapple juice
  • 1 drop fresh lime juice

Shake all ingredients together and strain into hurricane glass with fresh ice. Garnish with chocolate cup of mezcal.

a winner from Spirits Tasting Competition

The other competitions are the spirits and wine competitions. I helped judge the spirits competition a couple of years ago and it’s very exciting to see the medals on display in the exhibit hall the next day.

Cocktail Caviar

We saw presentations during the Brand Battle at The US Beverage Alcohol Forum. The judges favorite was the Cocktail Caviar, flavored vegan spheres that could be added to drinks as a garnish.

Cocktail Caviar

Cocktail Caviar big selling points was it didn’t need refrigeration until opened and it came in many flavors. It was just the sort of special zip for champagne drinks.

Freya Estreller from Ludlows Cocktail Company

This year’s WSWA in Orlando is from April 18-21. For more information, go to their site here.

Related Posts:

2016 Coverage

2015 Coverage

2014 Coverage

2013 Coverage

Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America

© The Minty 2017


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