WASHINGTON – More than 725 spirits industry leaders and supply chain partners gathered last week in San Diego for the sold-out annual conference hosted by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) in collaboration with Women of the Vine & Spirits Global CONNECT!

The conference, held March 4-6, brought together leaders and speakers from inside and outside of the spirits sector to network, share ideas and drive innovation in the marketplace. Featured speakers Guy Fieri and Dan Butkus of Santo Spirits kicked off the conference with a lively session on supporting the spirit of hospitality. Other session topics covered courageous leadership, DEI integration, innovation and more. The conference also featured a trade show and tasting floor with representation from spirits producers and brand owners around the country.

During the conference, DISCUS launched the Cocktail Party, a fictional political party with the goal of unifying adult consumers around key issues facing the distilled spirits industry. The party’s nominee, “Cher A. Spirit,” was also in attendance to meet attendees and take photos with supporters.

Women of the Vine & Spirits announced the launch of 86 Harassment, an industry-wide initiative supported by DISCUS, with a dedicated website and resources to address sexual harassment and gender-based violence in the beverage alcohol and hospitality industries.

Devil’s Cask was named the grand winner of DISCUS’ Innovation Showcase Competition sponsored by The Spearhead Group, and a number of distinguished industry leaders were honored at a special award dinner held on the flight deck of the USS Midway, a historic U.S. naval aircraft carrier and museum.

Award winners included:

DISCUS Lifetime Achievement Award 2024: Jim Bareuther, Former Chief Operating Officer at Brown-Forman

DISCUS Impact Award for Emerging Leaders: Arielle Pierre, Associate Manager of Inclusion, Diversity & Equity (IDE) at Moët Hennessy USA

DISCUS Dave Pickerell Memorial Craft Member of the Year 2024: Brooke Glover, CEO and Co-Founder of Swilled Dog

DISCUS DEI Leadership Award 2024:  Hillary Wirtz, Senior Director Culture & Inclusion, Breakthru Beverage

DISCUS Top Shelf Award 2024Senator Bill Dodd, (D-CA)


The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States is the leading voice and advocate for distilled spirits in the U.S., advocating on legislative, regulatory and public affairs issues impacting the distilled spirits sector at the local, state, federal and international levels. DISCUS members are committed to responsibility and encourage adults who drink to do so in moderation.

Women of the Vine & Spirits (WOTVS) is the only global membership organization dedicated to empowering and advancing women across every industry sector and all three-tiers of the beverage alcohol industry. Women of the Vine & Spirits is an organization for members to connect through our global and diverse network and collaborate across all industry sectors. Providing members with resources and opportunities to thrive is the cornerstone of our organization’s success. We offer steadfast support to equip women at every position in the field with membership benefits that include education, training, mentorship, entrepreneurship, and networking as well as tools, services, and resources for personal and professional development. We use storytelling to cast a light on experiences common to women and highlight the successful career paths of the women currently driving our industry to a more inclusive and equitable future. Together, we are a committed community, taking action, and making a positive impact on the beverage alcohol industry, through business development & innovation (BDI), worldwide. For more information, please visit womenofthevine.com.