DISCUS Annual Conference 2021

Building for the Future

October 6-8, 2021 Austin, TX

Thought-Provoking Content

As we continue to build out our agenda and content, we will update the agenda frequently over the next few months. Some of the topics you can anticipate being covered and discussed throughout the conference include: the changing marketplace (direct-to-consumer shipping, ready-to-drink cocktails, cocktails to-go, e-commerce), diversity, sustainability, post COVID response/support, cannabis, responsibility, trends, and innovation. The below agenda is tentative as it is being developed and is subject to change.

Exhilarating Trade Show

In addition to great content, new to the conference this year, we will offer an intimate trade show. Exhibitors from all sectors of our industry are welcome, with a focus on diverse supply chain companies, sustainability, and innovation as we build for the future. The trade show will also highlight the hosting state with our “Taste of Texas” pavilion while offering stimulating content on the trade show stage and an innovation pitch competition. Interested in booths or conference sponsorship? Click here to view our prospectus.

Premier Networking Events

With a variety of events of all shapes and sizes, you are sure to have multiple opportunities to celebrate with colleagues, make new connections , and have chance encounters. With the addition of the trade show, there are more networking opportunities than ever, and our popular networking nook is back too.

In person and virtual tickets available. Feel safer purchasing virtual to start? Purchase a virtual ticket during early bird to lock in prices and upgrade to an in-person ticket at the early bird rate by September 1. In-person tickets also include complementary cancellation insurance so you can commit with confidence.  For all questions related to the conference please visit our Q&A or email [email protected].

Wednesday, October 6

Time Event
8am - 7pm

Registration / Information

9am - 11am

Market Development Meeting (Invite Only)

12pm - 1pm

MAP Export Promotion (Invite Only)

12pm - 5pm

Distillery Tours

1pm - 5pm

State Summit & Networking Reception

1pm - 3pm

WSET Review & Exam (Must be registered)

2pm - 4pm

Supply Chain Roundtable

Viable liquid markets for a liquid industry: Importance of Price Risk Management to the Distilled Spirits Industry

3pm - 4pm

Distillery Barrel Programs for Retailers and Consumers


4pm - 4:15pm


4:15pm - 5:15pm

So you want to Export? How to Tailor Your Overseas Initiatives for success

Distillers and their partners: Promoting Sustainability Up and Down the Supply Chain

Exploring Super Premiumiszation: Launch of the DISCUS Luxury Brand Index

5:30pm - 8pm

Spirits United Opening Reception

Thursday, October 7

Time Event
7am - 5pm

Registration / Information

7am - 9am

Breakfast and Bloody Mary Bar

8am - 6pm

Trade Show Opens

7:45am - 8:30am

Morning Show

8:30am - 9am


9am - 9:30am

Day 1 Keynote

9:30am - 10:15am

Diversity as a Core Business Value – A Case for Continued Prioritization

10:15am - 11am

The Changing Marketplace

11am - 2pm

Taste of Texas Craft Pavilion open

11:15am - 12pm

Evolution of the American Distillery Experience

12pm - 1pm

Innovation Showcase

12pm - 2pm


1pm - 1:45pm

What’s Next for Innovative Pivots in the Drinks Industry?

2pm - 3pm

Innovation Showcase

2pm - 3pm

Legal Track 1: TTB Deep Dive on Labeling, Formula, and Permit Approvals

Track 2: Marketing/Branding TBD

Track 3: Responsibility: Responsibility – Overused term or an opportunity for leadership?

Evolutions in E-commerce

3:15pm - 4:15pm

Track 1: TTB Deep Dive on Labeling, Formula, and Permit Approvals

Track 2: Marketing/Branding: So you want to be the next Aperol Spritz?

Track 3: Responsibility: Drinking Trends in Covid/Zero alcohol movement

Cannabis: How will this emerging market impact beverage alcohol?

3:15pm 4pm

Rapid Rise of Rare Spirits

4:15pm - 5pm

Subjective Objectivity: WSET Blind Tasting

4:30pm - 5:30pm

Track 1: TBD

Track 2: Marketing/Branding:  Heritage is Hip

Track 3: Responsibility:  Drinking so you work in alcohol? How to talk to your kids

Capital Quandary: Best Practices for How and When to Attract Investment

4:30pm - 6pm

WSWA Access Craft/Distributor Reception and Tasting in Pavilion

5:30pm - 7pm 30th Anniversary Reception


Trade show closes

7pm - 9pm

Austin Dine Arounds

9pm - 11pm

Boot the Ban After Party

Friday, October 8

Time Event
7am - 12pm

Registration / DISCUS Booth

7am - 9am


7:45am - 8:30am

Morning Show

8am - 2pm

Trade show open

8:30am - 8:45am


8:45am - 9:30am

Day 2 Keynote

9:30am - 10:15am

Positioning for the Future

10:15 - 10:45am

Responsibility Panel

10:45am - 12:00pm

Operation Gratitude

12pm - 2pm

Awards Luncheon emceed by Peggy Noe Stevens