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ST. LOUIS — Convenience store retailers took to the field at Busch Stadium Wednesday night for the kickoff of the 2015 Convenience Store News Beverage Retailing Summit.
The event began with a behind-the-scenes tour of the home of Major League Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals. This peek inside the famed ballpark included stops at the Redbird Club, the home radio booth where KMOX broadcasts all home games, the Champions Club and the team owner's private suite.
The tour was followed by cocktails at the visitor's dugout and dinner on the track, led by George F. Reisch, brewmaster at Anheuser-Busch Inc.
Reisch is a fifth-generation brewmaster by trade and the director of Brewmaster Outreach for Anheuser-Busch. His family's brewery, Reisch Brewing Co. in Springfield, Ill. was in operation from 1849 to 1966.
Having served as president of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas from 2008-2009, Reisch is a tasting judge at the World Beer Cup, Brewing Industry International Awards, and the Great American Beer Festival. He also serves as a member of the board of advisors for the North American Brewers Association.
The Beverage Retailing Summit continues Thursday with Bonnie Herzog, managing director of beverage, tobacco and convenience store research at Wells Fargo Securities LLC, presenting the keynote entitled "The Evolution of the Beverage Shopper & How Beverage Suppliers Are Meeting Their Needs."
John Zikias, chief operating officer for North Carolina-based Holmes Oil, which operates the Cruizers c-store chain, will provide a retailer perspective on the critical role of dispensed beverages in the c-store product mix. Additional general sessions will tackle understanding and capturing shopper attention; capitalizing on dayparts; and research on healthy beverages.
Retailers will then have their choice of attending concurrent breakout sessions that will explore innovation and category insights for: hot and cold dispensed beverages; alcohol, beer and wine; and non-alcoholic packaged beverages.
This year's event is sponsored by Anheuser-Busch Inc., Red Bull North America and V8 as gold sponsors, and Nestle Waters North America, PFI, Sparkling ICE and Whirley-DrinkWorks! as silver sponsors.