American Beverage Association Buys Back InterBev

SANDI CAIN, NEWS EDITOR
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Convention Management Group to Manage Expanded Show

Washington, DC – In a bid to expand the reach of beverage trade show InterBev, the American Beverage Association (ABA) reacquired the show from Reed Exhibitions, Norwalk, CT. The association then contracted with Fairfax, VA-based Convention Management Group (CMG) to produce the show. CMG and its president Mike Muldoon has produced Beverage Expo, World Wide Food Expo and other food shows over the past 15 years.  “CMG has a great track record and good recommendations from food and beverage shows,” said Kevin Keane, ABA‘s senior vice president for communications. Susan Neely, president and CEO of the ABA, envisions InterBev as the  showcase for all the products of the non-alcoholic drink industry.

ABA created and managed the InterBev trade show from 1920 to 1999, when it was sold to Reed Exhibitions. Reed and the ABA jointly agreed to enter into negotiations for the ABA to reacquire the show. The deal was approved in October. The sales price was not disclosed.

InterBev 2006 will take place Oct. 23-25 at the Sands Expo Center in Las Vegas. For the first time, the organization will hold its annual membership meeting and state association conference in conjunction with InterBev. The group aims to draw 1,500 to 2,000 from a broad cross-section of the industry, Keane said.

The last show, scheduled for Orlando in 2004, was interrupted by a hurricane and Keane said attendance figures were not available. In 2002, reported attendance was 7,000, up 14% from 2000, as reported by show manager Reed Exhibitions. The number of exhibitors, however, dropped by about 20 percent that year. Two of the three top exhibitors—Pepsi and Cadbury—did not exhibit in 2002.

In the mid-1990s, attendance reached as high as 14,500, according to a report in Beverage Digest. That report attributed the subsequent drop in attendance in part to industry consolidation. Changing demographics also have impacted the industry’s growth, with soft drinks posting a 1 percent increase in 2004, compared to 2 percent to 4 percent throughout the 1990s. In all, the trade publication said Americans spent about $93 billion on refreshment beverages in 2004.

During the 1980s, the ABA created its own trade show division, called InterBev Ltd. that operated InterBev and other industry trade shows. Those included the International Robots and Vision Automation Show and the School and Home Office Products Association’s SHOPA Show. Keane said there was no discussion of going back to that format. “We want to be smart about how we operate,” he said.

Reach Susan Neely at (202) 463-6770 or sneely@ameribev.com; Kevin Keane at (202) 463-6722 or kkeane@ameribev.org.