ABL Announces Final Slate of Speakers for Upcoming Annual Meeting

MARCH 1, 2019 – BETHESDA, MD – American Beverage Licensees (ABL) announced today the final slate of speakers for the upcoming 2019 ABL Annual Meeting, being held March 24-26, 2019 at Bally’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada.  This announcement builds on a program already rich with unique perspectives on a range of issues directly affecting independent beverage licensees.

“The ABL Annual Meeting is the marquee event for independent beverage retailers, providing attendees from across the country with a forum to share, network and learn about important regulatory and legislative developments, emerging industry trends, the evolving legal landscape, and more, said ABL Executive Director John Bodnovich. “The annual meeting is an exceptional opportunity to celebrate our industry, build lasting connections, and impart valuable information and key takeaways that members can apply directly to their businesses.”

Additional speakers for the 2019 ABL Annual Meeting include:

Peter Angus | Executive Vice President – Sales (U.S. & Canada) | Tito’s Handmade Vodka | Afternoon Keynote Address

Peter Angus is a seasoned beverage industry executive with a multi-disciplinary background and more than 40 years in the industry. For the last 12 years, Peter has worked tirelessly with the founder of the craft distilling movement, Tito Beveridge, and developing Tito’s Handmade Vodka into the leading U.S. brand in both On- and Off-Premise has been the most thrilling, rewarding and fascinating experience of his career. Previously, Peter served in varying roles with Seagram, Guinness United Distillers, Diageo and Daucourt Martin Import Co. During this time, Peter has launched over 25 brands; worked on integration teams to unite a very diverse group of brands and company cultures; led the formation of the Channel Marketing Group; and managed the Strategic Account Team that pioneered the Total Beverage Alcohol customer management approach.

Matthew Botting | General Counsel | California Alcoholic Beverage Control | State Regulatory Panel

Matthew Botting was appointed to the position of ABC General Counsel in August 2008. Botting has over 16 years of state government legal experience. He was ABC’s Chief Legal Counsel from 2000-2004 before he left for a short time to work in private practice. Botting returned to ABC in 2005 where he served as a Staff Counsel III until his appointment to General Counsel. Prior to joining ABC in 2000, Botting was a Deputy Attorney General with the California Department of Justice. He obtained his Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Commerce (Economics) degrees from Otago University in New Zealand before relocating to the United States.

Neal Insley | Senior Vice President & General Counsel | National Alcohol Beverage Control Association | State Regulatory Panel

Neal Insley is SVP and General Counsel for the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA). He has worked in the area of beverage alcohol law, legislation and/or policy at the state, national and international level. In the private practice of law, he focused on hospitality and beverage alcohol law and policy, government affairs, administrative law and regulatory/policy issues. He also served as the chairman of the Virginia ABC and as chairman of NABCA. Neal began his career in law enforcement and held the position of special agent with the Virginia ABC while attending law school part-time at nights and weekends. Within the beverage alcohol industry, he has served as a regulator, attorney, administrative law judge, and business leader.

Harry Schuhmacher | Editor & Publisher | Beer Business Daily | Industry Media

Harry Schuhmacher is Editor & Publisher of Beer Business Daily, Craft Business Daily and Wine & Spirits Daily – all read on every continent except Antarctica. Harry has worked in the beer business for over 25 years in a variety of positions and has published Beer Business Daily for nearly twenty years. In addition, he has produced the Beer Industry Summit, a yearly beer executive conference, for thirteen years, and launched the inaugural Wine & Spirits Daily Summit in 2013.  He is often quoted as a beer industry expert in national publications such as Forbes, Fortune, Time, The Wall Street Journal, and Bloomberg. He is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. Harry lives in San Antonio, Texas. He enjoys fishing, reading, and drinking beer in beer-clean glasses.

Keith Villa | Brewmaster & Co-Founder | CERIA Beverages Company | Afternoon Keynote Address

Keith’s higher education began with an undergraduate degree in Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology from the University of Colorado, Boulder in 1986. In 1988, Keith enrolled at the University of Brussels in Belgium, where he would go on to receive a Ph.D. in brewing science and fermentation biochemistry (one of the few such degrees bestowed in the world). Keith created Blue Moon Brewing Company in 1995 as an operating unit of Coors Brewing Company, which later merged with Miller Brewing. When Keith retired from MillerCoors in January 2018 after 32 years, he hinted about plans to create a non-alcohol craft beer with “cutting edge” ingredients. When news about CERIA was announced in late March 2018, it quickly went viral. CERIA’s Grainwave Belgian-style white ale was released in December 2018 and was an instant success!  Now anticipation is building for CERIA’s future non-alcohol THC-infused brews, which will include a full-bodied IPA and a lighter lager.

ABL will also honor Craig Purser, President & CEO of the National Beer Wholesalers Association, as the recipient of the 2019 ABL Top Shelf Award. The ABL Top Shelf Award, the highest honor presented by America’s beer, wine and spirits retailers, recognizes those who have demonstrated professional excellence in the beverage alcohol industry and have had a positive influence in their community. The award will be presented at the ABL Honors Gala on March 25, 2019.

REGISTER NOW! Registration is available online for $299, which includes access to all general sessions and ABL hospitality events + a COMPLIMENTARY 2-day pass to the Nightclub & Bar Show 2019 (Valued at $499). Click here to view 2019 ABL Annual Meeting schedule of events. For more information on ABL or the annual meeting, please visit www.ablusa.org.


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, please visit www.ablusa.org.